Walking in the Light: Turning Away From Sin

Scripture: 1 John 1:1-10, John 3:19, John 8:12
Date: 07/18/2009 
Lesson: 3
1 John opens with a description of God's holiness and a call to 'walk in the light.'
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We're so glad to welcome you to "central study hour," another lesson study coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We're so glad that you are tuning in and joining us this morning. We welcome you with open arms, even though you're not physically here, but you are part of our family. And so we're so glad that you're tuning in and joining us this morning.

We're gonna sing a couple favorites that have come in. And our first one is from chris in North Dakota, ken and maria in Michigan. And their favorite song you'll find on 510 in your hymnals, , "if you but trust in God to guide you." Pay close attention to the words of this song. It's beautiful, 510. And we will sing first, second and fourth verse.

[Music] Wasn't that beautiful? I really like the part--where was it--about no matter what you're going through, Jesus went to the cross, and so you have confidence and you have trust in him that he will get you through. And sometimes on a beautiful, sunny day like it is here in Sacramento, you think that everything's going great but you know that it's not. There are a lot of people suffering and hurting and we have Jesus that will just--come to him and he will hold you in his arms and carry you through. Our next song this morning is "faith is the victory." It's on 608. And this is from yvonne and rhonda in antigua and barbuda, jose in argentina, roxenne in California, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, girma in germany, deonne and jacqueline in grenada, ray in Hawaii, cordnal and tonnette in jamaica, catherine and Peter in kenya, shnell in New York, madu in nigeria, diane in New Jersey, leandra in New Mexico, joyann in New York, shaqiji in the Philippines, andre in saint lucia, ana in south korea, and rodell in trinidad and tobago.

This is a favorite, "faith is the victory," 608; 1, 2 and 3. [Music] I forgot to tell you that if you have a favorite hymn that you'd like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, go to our website, saccentral.org, and click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in your favorite request, and we will sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, this morning we come into your house, thankful and glad because through you we do have victory.

And we claim your promises this morning, that with you all things are possible. And that when we need you every moment of the day that you are there for us. And that with you we can do anything, we can get through anything, and we just thank you so much. We thank you so much for making the Sabbath for us as a reminder of your love. And we come to you this morning.

We want to keep your day holy, and we pray that you will help us. Come and live in our hearts, fill ours with your spirit as we open up Your Word together. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you, debbie and jenny, our musicians.

And welcome everybody. I'd like to greet those who are watching on television, our extended class. And you know, just this week central church has a lot of members that are scattered around the world, many in North America, who for some reason or another cannot attend a local Seventh-day Adventist Church. And this week I was excited to be able to meet a couple that were visiting here in town and be able to eat with them. I want to greet our extended central members that are watching this broadcast and all of our students around the world.

Always exciting to hear how these songs come in and these requests from so many different places. We are continuing a study-- it's comparatively new--dealing with the epistles of John. That's John 1, 2 and 3. And it's called "loved and loving." And we're on lesson number 3 today. We'll get to that in just a moment.

We have a free offer as we frequently do. And the offer today is offer number 187, "is it possible to live without sinning?" It's kind of a provoking title, isn't it? And so if you'd like a free copy of that, call the number. It's 866-788-3966. Or if you don't have a pencil, you want an easy way to remember that, it's 1-866-study-more. I like that.

-866-Study-more. So I tell you what. Let's get into the lesson for today. It's lesson number 3. I got a lot to cover.

And by the way, I want to tell our friends that are watching, I'll say more about this later. You may--hopefully you do-- notice a little difference in the broadcast today. As of this week, our studio for the first time in about, must be 13 years now, has upgraded our cameras. And so we're very excited. I expect they're probably doing a little troubleshooting and getting used to the new cameras.

But we've gone to high definition. Some of you know that the tv stations around North America-- I think it was this month-- digital is now mandatory for a full-power television. And so there's a lot of upgrades that we're trying to catch up with. And so you're gonna see some changes not only those of you who are watching--and why you'd want to watch me in high definition, I don't know. But anyway, it's gonna be high definition.

But in addition you'll see in the church the projectors are gonna soon reflect that and it's gonna be very nice. So I'm looking forward to seeing that. Anyway, the lesson today, lesson number 3, "walking in the light, turning away from sin." And we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from John 1:9. This comes from the new American standard version.

So if you want to read it with me out of the lesson, ready? John 1:9, "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Every evangelist really needs that verse, people need to know there's so much truth in there, that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just," he has the right to, "forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." That's such a wonderful verse. And I'll tell ya, the letters of John, he just had a way of summarizing so much truth, the apostle John, in just a few words. What's the most famous verse in the world? John 3:16. How much does he fit into that one verse? It's just, it's tremendous. It's astounding.

And you'll find that as you look through the letters of John there is so much there. We got a lot of verses we're gonna consider. And we'll be bouncing around through 1 John. We have given out some verses I expect some of you will be helping us to read. But right now we're focusing first on the first section that God is light, the light.

I've got a verse I'd like to ask someone to read. It's 1 John 1:5. I think we gave that out. Who has that? Got--where are the microphones? We got a microphone here. You have that verse? Okay, let's give them a chance to focus in on you.

John 1:5 and why don't you go ahead and read that for us? "This is the message which we have heard from him and declare to you that God is light and in him is no darkness at all." Now, what is the shortest definition of God, one of the favorite definitions? God is--? "Love." Now here we're reading "God is light." Have you ever heard people say, "how can a literal six day creation be true, because God, he makes the vegetation on the third day, but he doesn't make the sun 'til the fourth day, and yet it says there are day and night? How can God say there's light on the first day and there's not even a sun 'til the fourth day?" You ever heard people ask that question? Well, this is your answer right here. "God is light." So when God came to this chaotic orb that was void and this part of our universe, and he said, "let there be light," it was his coming there that brought light. And then he began to rotate the planet, separating the light from the darkness on one side from the other. And that's why it says there's no need for the sun in the new Jerusalem, for God is the light of the city. Jesus is sometimes identified as the "sun of righteousness," Malachi 4, that "will arise with healing in his wings.

" And so God is light. Light exudes from him. What's gonna destroy the wicked when Jesus comes? The brilliance of his coming, a thousand times brighter than the sun. So the reason that all the vegetation could survive that third day--by the way, that also tells us those days of creation were not millennia or millions of years, because how could all the vegetation survive without a sun for millions of years from the third day to the fourth day, or thousands of years? But if it's one day, it's not a problem. And by the way, God was the light there.

You know I have an amazing fact here that I used a few years ago in one of our radio programs on photosynthesis. "Photosynthesis is the process by which chlorophyll-containing organisms, such as green plants, algae and some bacteria capture energy in the form of light and convert it to chemical energy, in the same time transforming carbon dioxide into life-giving oxygen. Virtually all the energy available for life on earth is made through photosynthesis. To produce the same amount of energy that trees and plants produce from sunlight in one day, it would require all of the coal and 20,500,000 coal cars or the equivalent of a coal train that wraps around the world 6 times," the amount of energy that's produced from the sun through trees and photosynthesis in one day. "It takes 8 minutes for a photon of light to travel million miles from" the earth to the sun's surface-- no, I said that wrong.

"From the sun to the earth's surface. But a green plant needs only a few trillionths of a second to capture the light energy, process it, and store it in the form of a chemical bond. The bread we eat, the air we breathe, even the wood we use to burn in our homes comes through the miraculous process of photosynthesis. Lasagna, lumber, air for our lungs all come from sunlight. Nasa scientists have studied this process for years, knowing that it is also the secret to long-term space travel.

" The way to be able to survive in an independent environment in space, they're gonna have to learn how to convert light into more than just electricity, which they do through solar panels. And yet God produces life and light and air and energy all over the planet so easily through light. In the same way that life and air comes through light, spiritual life also comes through light. Now Jesus not only said, "I am the light of the world," he said, "you are the light of the world," as we reflect his light. Heard a story about a policeman one day was walking his beat and he saw a boy down on the street that was shining a mirror up in the window of one of the apartment buildings.

And he thought he was, you know, trying to play a prank or give some people a hard time. You ever seen kids, you know, shine the sunlight in someone's face? They try and blind them or something. He said, "alright, what are you up to? Are you trying to annoy somebody?" He said, "no, sir." He said, "my brother lives in one of those high-rise apartment buildings. And because we face the north side of the street, he never gets to see the sun. So sometimes I come down here and I use this mirror and I shine the sun up into his bedroom, because he's sick and he can't come out.

And you know sometimes the only Son of God that people are gonna see is the one that reflects through you and me. And so we are to reflect the light of Jesus in our lives. Jesus is the light of the world. Now light and sight were very important to the apostle John. Not only does he refer to this in his letter, go to the Gospel of John for just a moment.

I want to show you something that jumped out at me one day when I was reading the first chapter in the Gospel of John. I counted 26 references to light and sight just in the first chapter of John. I mean they go all--read John 9 and see how many there are, where he talks about healing that blind man. But look here, I'm not gonna read them all, but I'm gonna highlight some of them. First of all, if you go to John 1-- I'm in the Gospel of John 1:4, "in him was life, and the life was the light of men.

" Verse 5, "and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." Verse 7, "this man came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of the light." That's meaning like we reflect the light of Jesus as John the baptist did. "That was the true light," meaning there's counterfeit lights out there, "that gives light to every man that comes into the world." And you jump to verse 14, "we beheld his glory." Verse 18, "no one has seen God at any time." Verse 29, "John saw," and he "said, 'behold! The lamb of God.'" Verse 32, "I saw." Verse 33, "you will see." Verse 34, "I have seen." Verse 36, "and looking at Jesus, he said, 'behold the lamb of God!'" Verse 39, "come and see." And he "came and saw." Verse 42, "and he brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looked at him." And then it goes on, it says in verse 46, "come and see." Verse 47, "behold." Verse 48, "I saw you." Verse 50, "I saw you." "You will see." Verse 51, "you will see." That's just the first chapter. Is it just me or does he use a lot of verbiage to talk about light, vision, sight, beholding? Of all your senses, which one is the hardest to deal with? You heard me whining probably a few weeks ago.

I told you I had eye surgery on one of my eyes. And I'm in between glasses right now. And they did that laser surgery to try and correct my vision, improve my distance vision. And it hasn't worked out perfectly, but I don't mean to complain. But I'm between glasses now.

Do you know when you can't see clearly, it's hard to think clearly? And I'm just always going around thinking, "I feel fuzzy." I don't mean like this. I mean I feel fuzzy in my thinking. It's like I can't think because I can't see. You know what I'm talking about? You ever wake up in the morning and you can say, "look, I gotta splash some water in my face so I wake up and I can see clearly and focus." 'Cause it's like if your eyes are out of focus, you almost feel like your thinking is out of focus. And that's also true spiritually.

You know, when we're out of focus in understanding the truth, our whole world view is out of focus. But when you discover the truth--talked to some people this week that were members of another church that just really, you know, avoided a lot of the--some of the difficult truths in the Bible. And they encounter one of the--our evangelistic series where we just go through the doctrines. And they said, "boy, you know, we've been Christians all our lives, but now things are finally clear." And they were so excited. They said they never explained some of these basics.

They just talked about some of the elementary stuff. And things were always fuzzy. But now they're clear. The truth will set you free. And this is the truth, God's Word.

And so light and sight are very important in the Christian life. Jesus is that light. Tell you what, I got another verse: psalm 27:1. Who did I give that to? Do you have that one there, jim? You can read it? Psalms 27:1, "the Lord is the light of--and my salvation; of whom shall I fear? the Lord is my strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" So the idea of God being light, is that a John-new testament concept, or do you find that even in the old testament? Alright, and then why don't you hand the microphone over here? And we're gonna have Timothy 6:16. By the way, you'll find a lot of references, new and old testament, to God being the light.

He's the light of Israel. And when the children of Israel were going through the wilderness, how did God reveal himself to them during the night? A pillar of--he would illuminate the camp. He was their light in the darkness. Okay, go ahead please. 1 Timothy 6:16, "who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.

" You remember the story in the Bible when Moses was up on the mountain talking to God and he walked away and his face was glowing. When you are exposed to the light of God, you absorb some of that light. By the way, if you want to be like Jesus, and that's what a Christian should be, the trick is spend time in his presence, because we are transformed by beholding. Every human soul, our minds are something like a photographic plate. Now we're in the days of digital film.

Is there such a thing as digital film? We're in the days of the digital camera, but you all remember the polaroid cameras. And polaroids really helped you understand how a camera worked, because you get to pull the film right out there and watch it develop before you. And some of you remember when you would accidently take a picture twice on your polaroid. And then you'd peel it off and you got a double exposure. And, but once that film, it was like this virgin film, was briefly exposed to an image, and then it developed, that image was impressed, whatever it saw, was impressed on that film.

And, you know, our souls are sort of like that. We become like what we look at. And that's why it's so important to behold him. We are transformed by beholding him. You ever play with some of that--oh, what do they call it? You know, it's a glow-in-the-dark material that's kind of a whitish-green stuff.

They used to have it on the old timex watches. You hold the light up to it and you take it away and it glows for a little while in the dark, still on the ceiling in I think stephen's bedroom. When he was little, we stuck all these astronomical stars and planets up on his ceiling. When we turn off the light at night, then they'd glow for awhile. And he'd look at them 'til he fell asleep.

That was the theory anyway. They're still there. They're exposed to light for a little while, and then they'd retain some of it and they'd glow. We're like that. That's why it's important to have devotionals every day.

When we spend time with the Lord, like Moses we come away glowing a little bit. And that's why it's important for us to spend time with Christ, 'cause you absorb that light. And it emanates from you, but you gotta recharge. It only lasts a little while. And then it begins to fade.

And so it's so important for us to be exposed to the light of God. And that light then comes out of us... Let's go on to sin, the problem. This is our next section. I'm trying to remember which preacher it was that used to say, "sin will take you farther than you want to go.

It'll keep you longer than you plan to stay. And it'll cost you more than you're willing to pay." Now we've got several definitions of sin I'm gonna share with you. But first I want to read the verse 1 John 1:6. Who did we give that to? Okay. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

" Now verse 8. Verse 8," if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Alright, so one of the things John is trying to impress upon us here is we need to be honest about our sin. God can't cleanse us from our sin unless we confess our sin. Remember we just read that. "If we confess our sin, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us.

" But we need to admit it. You know, it's very popular in a lot of churches to say salvation is encompassed in you go to an evangelistic meeting or convocation, a revival. And there's an appeal made. And you come forward. And you say a prayer, and say, "I'd like to accept Jesus now as my personal Savior.

Thank you, Lord. I now have eternal life." And it really misses a very important ingredient. There is to be confession and repentance. Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we are able to repeat a--you know, some shallow words and not really experience confession and repentance. When the people said to Peter, "what must we do?" He said, "repent.

" And all through the Bible it tells us, "God is not willing that any should perish, but that we should come to repentance." In order for us to be saved, it's not, you know, you say the magic word and then you're saved. It's a change of heart. It's a sorrow for sin and a willing to turn away from sin. And confession is the verbal part of repentance. And so we need to know that we have sin.

If we're thinking we're saved and we're not, being self-deceived is just as dangerous. That's why it says if we say that we've got fellowship with him, but we're walking in darkness, we don't practice the truth. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, because all have sinned. And then again, 1 John 1:10, "if we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His Word is not in us." Oh, that's-- 'cause God says we've sinned, so we're really contradicting God. Now what is sin? In order for us to understand what we repent of, we need to know what is it? What is our typical answer when someone says, "what is sin?" Transgression of the law.

Sin is the transgression of the law. And that's a very valuable, valid definition. But it's not the only one. If you're doing an evangelistic meeting and you're talking about the Sabbath truth, you need to explain sin is the transgression of the law, that the law's still intact. Or if you're talking about the relationship between grace and law, does the law still exist? Sometimes people torture the book of Galatians to try and make it say that we don't need to keep the Ten Commandments anymore.

And you say, "sin is the transgression of the law. And where there's no law, there's no sin." And very important definition, but to be honest it's not the only definition. Let me read some of the others for you. It's sin not to believe in the Lord. John 16:9, the Holy Spirit's come to convict the world "of sin, because they believe not on me.

" Romans 3:23, sin is "falling short of the glory of God." Not living out the glory of God in our lives is sin. If you're living less than the glory that God wants to reveal in you, that's sin. He wants to reveal himself in you. John 4:3, sin is the transgression of the law-- I'm sorry 1 John 3:4. Romans 14:23, "whatever is not of faith is sin.

" If you're doing something and you're violating your conscience, and maybe there's no Scripture that says, you know, you're not supposed to do this, but you know in your heart it's not right, well it's sin. "All that is not of faith is sin." John 5:17, "all unrighteousness is sin." Anything that is out of harmony with the righteousness of God, that's sin. Proverbs 24:9, "the thought of foolishness is sin." There's a definition you probably haven't heard lately. That doesn't mean if you have a foolish thought you've sinned. But if you are choosing to deliberately think foolishness, that's not how God is.

So sin is not just an action; it can be an attitude, according to the Bible. It says 1 John 2:2, "and he himself is the propitiation for our sins--" oh, that's actually--I'm jumping ahead of one more definition. James 4:17, "for him who knows to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Now we typically think of sin in terms of the sins that you commit. They're called sins of commission. I've committed a sin; I killed somebody, you commit a sin.

You commit grand larceny; you steal something. You commit perjury; you lie. That's committing sins. But Jesus said in the judgment, people are judged not just by sins of commission, but sins of omission, good things they neglect to do. the Lord says, "I was hungry; you did not feed me.

I was naked; you did not give me clothes. I was a stranger; you did not come to me." Or in prison and "visit me." And so there are also sins of omission. It's neglecting to do--like when the priest and the levite walk by the man that fell among thieves, they were guilty of sin. They didn't beat him up. They didn't rob him.

How come they're guilty? They neglected to help this man that was in their path. You're not responsible to help everybody in the world, but God will place people in your path and you know you're supposed to do something. To neglect that, it's called the sin of omission. And so he says knowing to do good and not doing it can be sin. So Jesus came, of course, to save us from our sins.

And that then leads me to the verse, 1 John 2:2. "And he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world." The word "propitiation" there means he is the substitute. He stands in our place. The word "propitiation" comes from the Greek word, "hilasmos." And it appears only two places in the new testament, the verse we just read and in 1 John 4:10. "The 'weight of evidence' affirms clearly that 'hilasmos' portrays the placating of God's wrath toward sin.

Hence, Christ's death. It satisfies the just demands of God's holy judgment against sin. He is both the advocate and the atoning sacrifice. Jesus' provision of propitiation does not mean that The Father is uninvolved in the salvation. In actuality God's love is the ultimate source of Christ's work.

This does not guarantee that everyone's sin is automatically forgiven. Christ's work applies only to those who believe in him, which John makes clear at other places. So Christ provides appropriation, an atonement for our sins, but we must choose to embrace it by faith. Let's move on, talk a little bit about response to the sin problem. John 1:7, we're dealing with the first letter of John here.

Talked about light a moment ago. "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanses us from all sin." So, is cleansing from sin something that happens once or is it ongoing? Well, you've got justification, which is when you come to the Lord and all of the sins of the past are cleansed. You experience this great burden of guilt falling from your back. But then the devil's gonna want to keep piling more burdens on. And so from then on, if any man sin--you notice he doesn't say "when you sin.

" Is there ever an excuse for sin? God says, "if you sin," meaning you don't have to. But if any man sin, statistically we tend to. We have an advocate with The Father. So there needs to be ongoing cleansing. What does that come from? Walking in the light.

As we walk in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. You know, I remember hearing a story about a man that went down into the basement to get some potatoes. And why do you store your potatoes in the basement? Because they tend to sprout if you store 'em where there's light. And if you've ever dug potatoes you know that sometimes some of the potatoes grow too close to the surface. And the ones that are poking up above the surface, they start to turn green.

They want to sprout, and that's not the best part of a potato to eat. I've heard it's even a little toxic, eating some of the green parts of a potato, 'cause it's got--potatoes are in the night shade family. So while the bulbous root, is safe, you don't want to eat potato leaves. You ever have a potato leaf salad? Don't do that. So you store 'em in the basement, but this man noticed that his potatoes were sprouting.

And he thought how in the world are they sprouting down here in the basement. He got curious. And he closed the basement door, and he turned off the lights. And he looked. And there was some light that during part of the day came through the kitchen window.

It hit the key hole. This is one of those old skeleton keyholes, it was pretty big. It hit the keyhole of the door. And just a stream of light came through and it hit part of that burlap potato bag in that one spot where the light from the keyhole hit the potatoes, they were sprouting. It talks to you about the power of light.

Well light not only gives life; light cleanses. Where are you gonna find more chance of infection: if you get cut in the rainforest, or if you get cut in the desert? Where are you more likely to get infection, in the jungle or in the desert? In the jungle. Deserts tend to be places that are more sterile. Where did the Lord lead the children of Israel before he brought them to the promised land? He brought 'em through a desert. The light constantly beating down, purifies and sterilizes things.

And so as we walk in that light, it has an ongoing--not only does it illuminate, it purifies. It has an ongoing, sterilizing influence. They say that one of the keys for natural healing, you know the "new start," weimar's got the "new start" slogan, nutrition and exercise and rest and water, so forth. One of those letters, "s," stands for sunlight, because sunlight not only has health benefits, it's got cleansing and sterilizing benefits. A lot of benefits in the light.

So "if we walk in the light as he is in the light," how do we walk in the light? Like he does. What is to be our response? To walk like Christ walks. You ever been liberated by light? You ever been in a dark room, didn't know how to get out, and you stumble around? It's a place that's unfamiliar, some hall or apartment building and the power goes out. And all the sudden then the power comes back on again. I remember one time--i gotta be careful how I say this.

I went to a mission trip in a third-world country. And it was a long trip. And I was ready to go home. Karen and the boys could not come with me. And I was there for about a month.

And when the day finally came to go home, I was ready to go home. And went to the airport, something went wrong. The plane was late. And we were delayed in this fairly primitive country. And they said, "well, we will give you a hotel.

" But their idea of a hotel and my idea of a hotel was different. In this hotel the bathroom was a spigot against the wall and a bucket. Just want you to get the picture. The bed, I've slept on worse, but it wasn't motel 6 quality. And the thing that drove me the craziest was that you only had light for like one minute out of every five.

I don't know why. But the light would-- generator would come on, it would run for about a minute and it would go off for minutes all night long. And this was like a capitol city. And I'm in this dark room. There's bugs crawling around on the floor.

You can't see 'em. That's what makes it really creepy until but, you know, once every 5 minutes, the light comes on. You see the bugs. I mean it wasn't swarming, but you'd see some big cockroaches. And then the light would go off and you could still hear 'em scurrying.

And you can't see 'em. And I'm lying there and I'm thinking, "ah, I'm so depressed." You know, I just want to go home. I can't sleep. And I'm just waiting for the night to end. And I'm in the dark.

And then I remembered, "your laptop battery." I had it all charged up for the plane ride. And I turned on my laptop and it illuminated the whole room, especially if you just open up like microsoft word and leave a white screen on there. And it was such a comfort to me to have that thing on until I could finally go to sleep. A little bit of light can bring you a lot of comfort. And you know, that's the way it is with the truth of God.

It said walking in that light, it liberates us. It's a liberating influence. I went to a place--i don't want to belabor the light scenario, but it's a big part of the lesson here. They have a place in, oh, it was in the east somewhere. It's not far from hartland.

It's called, "endless caverns." And I went to see these caverns. They had 'em advertised up and down the road, "don't miss endless caverns." "Endless caverns." "Endless caverns." I'm in this rental car. It was between speaking appointments. I thought, "oh, I'm gonna go see endless caverns." I got there, I didn't realize what time they closed. And I got there, and I said, "are they tours done?" They said, "well, we got time for one more tour.

" I said, "well where is it?" They said, "you're it." And so they had this college student that took me on a private tour of endless caverns, 'cause it was the end of the day and everybody's gone. And I went down there. And she took me on-- it was very interesting. Of course, it wasn't endless, but it was pretty big. And she said, "well, you want to see--" you know here we are a couple hundred feet below the surface.

"You want to see how dark it gets when we turn off the lights?" And I said, "yeah." She says, "you know, I always ask 'cause some people get scared." So I said, "oh, go for it." And so she turns off the lights and it, I mean it's a--it's a--usually when you turn off the lights, some light's emanating in from somewhere and your eyes get adjusted and you see a little something. This was a kind of light where you couldn't tell if your eyes were open or closed because you just didn't make any difference at all. It was just pitch black. And I said, "now wait a minute, before you turn those on." I have one of those little lights on my keychain. And I said, "I want to try something.

" And so I took my little light. And those of you who know me know I've got--I've actually got a red one and a blue one. And what I do sometimes at night if I'm driving and cars in front of me are going too slow, I alternately flash them. And they always pull over and let me pass. Now someone's gonna arrest me for impersonating a police officer.

But there's these little, what do they call the led, these very bright little lights. And so I turned on one of those things and boy the whole cave just went blue with this. It was kind of neat. So just a little light makes a big difference. Alright, let's move on with our lesson.

It says, "the response to the sin problem," in Hebrew 12:1, "lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily ensnare us." What are we supposed to do? "Lay aside the weight of sin." The Bible says if we walk in the light, it's talking about turning from the sin, turning from the darkness, walking in the light, "laying aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us." That's why we're offering that book that we're offering, "is it possible to live without sinning?" Kind of thought-provoking, huh? What does the Bible say? Would God ask us to do something impossible? Let me ask you a question; does God want us to sin? Does God want us to stop or slow down? Is God able to help you do what he asks you do to? Let me ask it another way. Can the devil tempt us to sin? Can the Lord keep you from falling? If you believe the devil can tempt you to sin, but you don't believe that the Lord can keep you from sin, then you have more faith in the devil than in God. But you don't want to say that too loud, because we're always afraid someone's then going to turn it around and say, "well, what about you? Are you sinless?" What do you want me to answer that question? I'm not gonna satisfy you with an answer. We all tend to sin. There is no excuse for sin.

You need to watch out for anyone who claims sinlessness. I know does it sound like I'm contradicting myself? Let me use the apostle Paul. Paul said, "I do not count myself to have apprehended, nor do I count myself to be perfect, but I press on." Our goal as Christians is to be Christ-like. Christ was perfect. Did I just say something that was true? Our goal as Christians is to be like Christ.

Christ was perfect. He can keep us from sinning. There is never an excuse for sin. As soon as we become comfortable with the idea and shrug and say, "well, we all sin," you're in big trouble. Because then you get to where you are comfortable with sin, and you cease striving against sin.

You cease resisting sin. How does the Bible tell us, what terms does it use to describe what our attitude should be? Flee from temptation. Resist the devil. It's a war. We war against sin.

Don't ever become complacent and tolerant of sin. You need to be tolerant with other people and love other people, but don't tolerate sin in yourself, 'cause it's very dangerous. Isn't that true? Let me give you some more verses. You don't sound enthusiastic. I'm sorry--Ezekiel 18:31, "cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed.

" "Pastor Doug, you're teaching legalism." Wait a second. Is it me or is the Bible? "Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed." When Jesus forgave mary magdalene or the woman in the temple, he said, "go and try to sin less." He said, "go and reduce your sin." What did he say? "Go and sin no more." Can Jesus ever say anything less? When you're parents, if your children get caught shoplifting, would you say to them, "will you try to do a little less of that, be more careful?" What would you say to them? "Stop stealing!" Period. Isn't that right? Well, you got a Father in Heaven that feels the same way about his commandments. He doesn't want to have you sin, 'cause sin is still the transgression of the law. It hurts you.

The response should be a turning away. Again, I want to read for you Ephesians 4:22, "that you put off concerning your former conduct the old man, which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." That's to be put off. We're to put on the new man. Bible says if we confess and forsake our sins, we'll have mercy. Are there any areas in your life that you need to follow the counsel of 1 John? Confessing your sins and forsaking your sins, putting off those old things, walking in a new life.

Alright, "the Christian goal." Someone read for me 1 John 2:1. I think we gave that out. We got that right here? Les will read that for us, John--matter of fact, while they're getting that set up, I'm gonna read 1 John 2:6. "He who says he abides in him ought himself also to walk just as he walked." How are we supposed to walk? Sorta like he walked or just like he walked? Christian is to walk and follow after Christ. Alright, read 1 John 2:1, les.

"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." I'm so thankful for what John says in his letters. He says, "I'm writing to you that you don't sin. But if you do sin, we have an advocate with The Father." Christ is our "parakletos." He is our defense attorney. He is our representative with The Father.

Again, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, "by this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Wow. It's saying again that we ought to walk as he walked. Christ is our example. It says if he laid down his life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for others.

Now when I first read that, I thought what that was talking about is--well, you know, Jesus died for me. So if the occasion ever presents itself where I should jump in front of a speeding car to try and save a child, I ought to be willing to die for others. But that's not what it's really talking about. You're not supposed to go through life and look for an opportunity to say, "you know, I tell you what, I'm gonna give you a double kidney transplant. I'm offering both kidneys.

I'm gonna die for you, because Jesus died for me." He's asking you to do it right now. What that means is: I am not gonna live for myself; I'm gonna die to self. I'm gonna live for others. Christ came to this world. He laid aside the glory and the majesty and all the wonderful things of heaven that he had, the pleasures of heaven that he enjoyed, he laid aside for us.

He laid aside his life to live for us. We right now ought to say, "if Christ laid aside--he laid down his life to live for us, we ought to lay down our lives now to live for him." You know this is a real struggle for young people in school. And I encounter it even in Christian schools are especially troubling when you see it even in Christian schools. You ask the young people, "so what are you planning?" And they'll tell you the various things they're planning. And I'll say, "why are you planning on doing that with your life?" You know, typically you're talking about academy or college.

They're really starting to focus in on what they want to do. And they'll say, "well, you know, because I'll be able to retire early." Or "I'll be able to make this money." Or "this is the kind of-- this is my life plan. You know, I want to be able to own a house here and buy this kind of car and be able to travel and to have the money to do this, I need to do this." Or "this is something I think I'd really enjoy." And that's not all bad. And it's not necessarily wrong to consider, "what will this career pay?" But that should never be the first consideration for a Christian. What should be the first consideration for a Christian when you're saying, "Lord, what do you want me to do with my life? How can I serve you, Lord, best with my life, with the gifts and the abilities and talents that you've given me, how can I serve my fellow man best? Where do you want me to go? What do you want me to do? That's what it means to lay down your life for the Lord, to say, "I'm not gonna consult my convenience or comfort first.

I'm gonna say first, Lord, what do you want me to do?" Now this is not just a decision to be made by kids in college. I think anybody anywhere along the way in their life can say, "alright, Lord, I'm willing to go where you want me to go." Did Moses have to make that decision when he was 80? Moses was called to the mission field when he was 80. Do you think he wanted to go to Egypt? But he said, "I'm gonna lay down my life, Lord, for you." And if you've read the story of albert schweitzer, he had a very successful career as a musician. When he was 30 years old, he was very convicted by the Lord. He says, "I've lived pretty much for myself.

I've accomplished what I wanted. He was getting invitations to play organ and piano all over europe and a very talented musician. He said, "you know, now I'm gonna live for God." He went back to school, studied medicine, went to africa. Many would have thought, well you know, he might be able to serve God for another years of his life there. He until what 90s I think.

So he spent 60 years beyond the time he wasted--it wasn't a waste. But he figured, I've really been living a selfish life, very comfortable. And he went to the congo of africa to serve God and serve his fellow man. He says, "I don't want to spend the rest of my life living for myself." So this is really what John is talking about. If he laid down his life for us, we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for him.

Do you lay your plans at Jesus' feet and say, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" Doesn't Christ say, "whoever," there's no exceptions to this, "whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." That means you say, "I'm not gonna live for myself, what do you want me to do, Lord?" And you know what? I've discovered you will find your greatest satisfaction in doing what God wants you to do, even though it may not be the first choice of your carnal heart. Ultimately Jesus said, "it's more blessed to give than receive," meaning if you give your life away, you'll get the greatest blessing. You'll enjoy your life more if you live for God than if you live for yourself. You'll have more peace. How many people do you know that chose some career that would make them wealthy and successful, and they achieved that and they were empty.

They had no satisfaction, 'cause it was just a totally selfish goal. So we can live our lives for Christ. Finally, "the Christian's comfort." John 2:1-2, who will read this for me? John 2, got a hand right here. Jen, got a microphone? Oh, you got it. Okay, you all ready to go.

John 2:1-2. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." You know it brings us great comfort to know that not only if we confess our sins to God is he faithful and just to forgive us, when you've been forgiven, what would be your first response? If you're in the hospital, and you're dying from west Nile virus, and somebody comes in your room and says, "you know, we've discovered a cure for that. You drink some of this fufu berry juice, and it gives you immediate cure. And you've never heard of it before, but you drink it.

And it tastes awful, but you feel better. It heals you. Well, the hospital's full of people dying from the virus. What would you do? Take your bottle of juice and go home, or would you want to share it with other people in the hospital that were dying? So we obtain comfort, not only because we receive it, but we then become vehicles through which the Lord conveys this healing. Isn't that wonderful news? You know, I am so thankful for the truths that God gives us here in His Word regarding Jesus being the light.

You know in Luke 11:33, Christ says, "no one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light-- the lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body is full of light." Boy, I tell you, I know how that feels. "But when your eye is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when a bright shining lamp gives you light.

" When you've got that light shining out of your heart and your life, you just want to have it flow out and onto everybody around you. I think we've all experienced that before. What's the condition of the world? Does the world see or is the world blind? You know why there's so many different religions in the world, 'cause of blindness. It's like you've heard this story--and I've probably shared it more than once-- of the six blind men in india, an old parable of, six blind men were taken to experience the first elephant. They obviously couldn't see an elephant.

And so their caretaker, they're all grabbing a rope, and he brought them up to the elephant and they let go of the rope. And he said, "here's the elephant." And they gathered around this very tame elephant and began to feel different parts of the elephant. And one blind man got its trunk. He said I know understand the elephant, an elephant is very much like a snake. And another one got on the side of the elephant's body.

And he's feeling the elephant, and he's all, "oh, it's not at all like a snake, an elephant's like a mountain." And another one got a leg, he says, "you're all wrong, an elephant's like a tree. I understand the elephant." One got the tail, he said, "no, an elephant's like a rope." Another one got the ears, "oh, the elephant's like a bird." Another one got the tusk, he said, "no, an elephant's like a stick." And so they're all absolutely sure and they're all arguing with each other about what the elephant is. And the problem is they're all blind. And that's why there's so many religions in the world. Without the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds, we don't understand what truth is.

But through Christ who is the light and through His Word which is a lamp unto our feet, we can walk in the light. We can know what truth is and we can share it with others. Amen? Time is up for our lesson. I want to remind our friends, very good lesson. I remember reading this book.

I was flying one day on an airplane. And it just really blessed my heart. If you like our free offer, offer number 187, "is it possible to live without sinning?" By Joe Crews, great booklet, call the number, 866-788-3966. Those of you who are listening on the radio also, give it to you one more time, 866-788-3966. Again, I want to thank our friends who have been studying with us.

We'd love to hear from you. You could just drop us a line going to saccentral.org. God bless 'til we study again next week.

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