The Problem of Our Sin Part 1

1 John 1:5-2:2

5 ¶ 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. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 ¶ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1 ¶ 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. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Preached at FBC Toulon, IL on August 19, 2001 by Albert Harmon; see it at

Sin is today somewhat of an archaic term. It is seldom used in common speech any more. But not only that the very concept of sin, that is that there are things that are inherently wrong, has also almost disappeared. The society has let down the boundaries and we are amused at the degrading sitcoms on TV and rush to see the latest bloody horror flick.

But that is not what upsets me. You see in Paul's day the best entertainment was to go down to the amphitheater and watch the Christians get thrown to the lions. (Don't suggest that to CBS, or they will come up with a new survivor series.) The respectable men of the day would go to the pagan temples to worship which involved both male and female prostitution. The political rulers had taken those positions usually by killing their predecessors and murdering their rivals.

What concerns me today is that in the church we have stopped talking about sin. And what is worse we have stopped talking about our sin. The modern church believes that the problem that the world faces is economic, or political, or environmental.

We do not see that the problem is sin. We have lowered the bar of Christianity so low that you can commit adultery in the White House and your own Baptist Church never says a thing. In the Christian religion most major groups are studying if they should ordain practicing homosexuals to the ministry. I have spoken to some clergy who told me that the biggest problem the school had where they attended seminary was the booze parties on campus.

I wish I could say that in our little church here in Toulon we do not have a problem with sin but that is not true. Sin is a problem here at FBC because each of us has a sin problem.

Now as we look at 1 John, we remember that John was called John the beloved. He was called that not only because John was the disciple Jesus loved in particular. John was also a very loving man. But when it comes to God and our sin we remember that Jesus referred to John as Son of Thunder.

John does not try to be very diplomatic as he comes to this subject but makes strong, bold assertions concerning our sin. I think that John had lived long enough to see the success of straight forward confrontation. As we saw last week John understood the holiness of God and God's abhorrence of sin. Now John wants to address how we are to handle this problem. We can deny that sin is offensive to God. We can also deny that we do sin. And we can even deny that we are sinners by nature. These are the three items we want to cover in this section.

  1. If we say that we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
    1. Who is talking, who is the we.
      1. It is those who say they have fellowship with God.
      2. They are claiming they are walking as God.
        1. Amos 3:3 How can two walk together unless they are agreeing.
      3. We are saying that we agree with Him
        1. 1 John 2:4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
      4. The people talking claim to be Christian.
      5. They claim Jesus as their Lord and Master.
      6. Therefore this only applies to us and not to the world.
    2. But what is their real problem.
      1. These are those who fail to appreciate fully the holiness of God.
      2. They minimize sin.
      3. The deny the very existence of sin.
      4. They deny that God has strict moral standards.
    3. They walk not how the talk:
      1. Walk means a patter of life.
      2. Walk means the course of their life.
      3. It is the life we are living.
      4. It is our daily actions, our goals, our purposes.
      5. Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
      6. Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
      7. Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
      8. Romans 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
    4. In Darkness
      1. The opposite of light
      2. The opposite of God
      3. Contrary to righteousness
      4. Contrary to what is right
      5. It is according to the works of Satan
    5. We lie and do not practice the truth
      1. That is the only explanation that John gives.
  2. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    1. This is to deny they have a sin nature.
      1. Sin refers to the corruption of the old man still present in us, and the stain created by the actual sins flowing from that old nature in us. JFB
      2. Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
    2. To these who deny our sin nature the problem is education.
      1. They think that everyone would do what is right if they only knew what it was.
      2. Romans chapter one make it plain to any who will read it that the problem is not knowing but doing.
      3. That is why all will be held totally responsible.
    3. The result of this idea is that everyone will be ok without God.
      1. I think that many Christians have this idea.
      2. They think that people are basically good and they will do just fine without God.
      3. But the Scriptures say that parents must work at raising their children to know God.
        1. Eph 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
        2. Abraham was a man that would affect his children. Genesis 18:19 "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
      4. Now I know the Bible is true.
        1. I raised two boys and am raising a girl.
        2. I never had to teach them to do what was wrong.
        3. Now I know that your children are little angels but but I think that if you turn them upside down and look at the manufacture mark it says, "children of wrath even as others" Eph. 2:3
        4. None of them were or are perfect.
        5. Victoria tells me all the time she doesn't want to go to church, but she tells me she loves Jesus.
        6. She will never like church until God changes her heart.
        7. But the chances are that God will change her heart if I can keep her coming to church.
  3. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
    1. We even see some Christians who come to this view.
      1. They think they have come to the place where they no longer sin.
      2. When I was working at Kmart and going to seminary, I worked with a lady who thought she had been totally sanctified and never sinned again.
      3. This is because they have redefined sin.
      4. Or some believe that it is only the flesh that sins and somehow that is not us.
    2. Romans 715:18 shows the battle that even the apostle Paul had with sin in his own life.
      1. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
      2. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
      3. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
      4. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
    3. If we think that we can have victory over sin without a battle we are mistaken.
      1. Every person I read about in the Bible had temptation.
      2. Each one had their own victories to win.
      3. We too must wage a war against the world the flesh and the devil.
      4. John uses the term the world times in 1 John and never with a good connotation.
        1. 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
        2. 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world----the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life----is not of the Father but is of the world.
        3. 1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
        4. 1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
        5. 1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.
        6. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
        7. 1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
        8. 1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
        9. 1 John 4:5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
        10. 1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
        11. 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
        12. 1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world----our faith.
        13. 1 John 5:5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
        14. 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
    4. There are always those who think that they are untouched by sin. Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.

The way to deal with sin is not to deny it or to minimize it. Trying to put ourselves in the best light will not help. Proverbs 28:13 ¶ He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Jesus came to cleanse us of our sin. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Have you been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ?


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at