1 John 1:3-5 “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.  This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
1 John 1:1-4 is the introduction to the book of 1 John, and it mentions the purpose for writing it. Before we get to verse 3, let us first briefly review verse 1 and 2 that we learned last week. 1 John 1:1-2 says, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life  and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” ‘The Word of Life that was from the beginning’ is Jesus Christ the Son of God. Jesus Christ, who is God the Son, dwelt with God the Father for a long time and then came to this earth to give eternal life to sinners who had nothing to look forward to but death. The disciples, including John, saw Jesus Christ who is the eternal life. They also saw the providence of salvation being fulfilled through Jesus Christ. They are witnesses of everything, beginning with His public ministry and crucifixion to His resurrection and ascension. That is why John says he is proclaiming to others what he has seen and heard in absolute certainty. The following, verse 3 says, “…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” When the disciples heard the gospel and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, Jesus called them “brothers” or “friends.” They were no longer just random people to the Lord. Jesus acknowledged that they had fellowship with one another. These disciples who had fellowship with the Lord preached the gospel, and those who heard this gospel and had faith came to have fellowship with these disciples. It means they became brothers and sisters in the Lord. Just as Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we also become brothers of Jesus Christ and sons of God the Father by hearing the gospel and believing in the Lord. Because we have this fellowship with God, we can live a life of a child of God on this earth and also enjoy honor in heavenly kingdom. This is truly something amazing. For example, long ago when there were kings, it was unimaginable for kings to have fellowship with the commoners. And God is a being who cannot be compared with any king of this world. He is the almighty and all-knowing God. He is the Creator and Ruler of everything. Therefore, how amazing is it that we mere creatures have fellowship with the glorious God, and that we are called brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ? The reason we are brothers and sisters is that we listened to the gospel and believed it. Even though God is giving us such tremendous love like this, many people despise this love. They hear the gospel but don’t believe it. Instead they disrupt the gospel works. There are some people who may say that they believe, but they are actually negligent toward the love of God and disappoint Him. None of you should fall into this category of people. What you have to remember here is that not all those who say they believe the gospel have fellowship with God. People may say that they know the Lord and God, but God may say He does not know them. I will explain how we can have true fellowship when we look at verse 6. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, verse 4 says, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” It means that if those who heard the word of God preached by the apostle John came to have fellowship with the disciples and a relationship with God, then John would be full of joy because of it. If you preach the gospel or give spiritual counseling to others, you will understand what this means. Spreading the gospel fills you up with so much joy. If you save a soul by preaching the gospel, or if you give grace and strength to a believer by solving his problem through spiritual counseling, you who delivered the word of God have the greater joy. Of course, those who hear the gospel and are saved, and those who received solutions to their problems will be filled with joy, too. The happiest moments in my life are when we give glory to God. My joy is complete when you change every day and your souls prosper, and when I hear your testimonies of blessings. I am also happy when you pray, preach the gospel, and diligently do good things for God’s kingdom. When I see the workers in faith come into spirit one by one, my joy is beyond explanation. Luke 15:7 says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” As written, when I think of the believers who commit sins, I spend all night shedding tears, but if they turn back and live in the truth again, I am happy again. 3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” If you cultivate this word in your heart to love and serve the flock of the Lord with the heart of the Lord, then the Lord will also consider you precious. I hope you will diligently spread the gospel and teach the souls, so that you will also be filled with joy that comes from those souls. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as I said, 1 John 1:1-4 is the introduction to the book of 1 John. The apostle John saw, heard, and touched Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came down to this earth, and he says that he will proclaim it to others. He also says those who believe this word will have fellowship with God and that through this fellowship his joy will be complete. Now, let us begin the main content of 1 John. 1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” God existed as light in the beginning. It is such a beautiful light like a rainbow; it is like the glittering that would come out from a pile of many kinds of precious stones as big as a mountain. Within that light, he had the chiming voice from within. In spiritual sense, too, God is perfect light that has no darkness at all. Namely, He is perfect goodness and truth itself that has no sin or evil whatsoever. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” In the physical world, where there is light, there is shadow as well. But God is perfect light, and He does not have any darkness, as said, “with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” And yet, He knows about darkness better than anybody else. It’s not because He has experienced evil or that He has any evil natures. He knows everything about evil, but He has only natures of goodness in Him. In latter part of Mark 10:18 Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone.” God knows about good and evil from the beginning and yet He is only good. But unlike Him, human beings who are just creatures did not know about good and evil at the beginning. Man had to actually experience what evil is like so they would be able to understand the goodness of God in the heart. Only then, (through this experience), can people become true and good children who revere and love God from the heart. (The reason why God allowed for Lucifer’s rebellion to take place and for the world of evil spirits to be created is found here.) God, who existed as light and sound in the beginning, came to have a form and separated Himself into the Trinity for the purpose of human cultivation. God created the first man Adam to gain someone who could understand God’s heart and share true love with Him. But Adam still could not understand God’s heart. Because he never experienced any darkness or evil, he didn’t really understand what goodness was. For this reason he could not truly thank God or love Him from the heart. If we do not experience the pain of a disease, we cannot really understand how happy a thing it is to be healthy. Those who have never experienced poverty cannot really understand how great a blessing it is to be well off. When taught by their parents even little children can kiss and hug their parents saying, “Mommy, daddy, I love you.” But we cannot say these children have true love and thankfulness for their parents. Likewise, because he never experienced any pain, the first man Adam did not understand how thankful he should have been for all the things that God had given him. He didn’t know how to love God from heart. He didn’t know how happy the life that he was living in the Garden of Eden really was. For Adam to understand true happiness and love, God allowed him some time to experience the opposite concept, which was evil. This is human cultivation, and the world of evil spirits was necessary for this. For this reason God did not destroy Lucifer but just left her, even though He knew she would become corrupted and betray God. Furthermore, God gave Lucifer and the evil spirits the ‘authority of the air’ to be able to control men of flesh. Thus, after Adam committed the sin of disobedience and corrupted into flesh he came under the authority of the enemy devil and Satan and experienced sins and pains. Brothers and sisters, even though the darkness is very thick, it has to flee when the light comes. Even though a room is completely dark, if you light a lamp the darkness will go away. Likewise, even though the power of darkness is very strong, it cannot stand against God who is light itself. God can control all the powers of darkness including Lucifer, and He can even destroy them in a moment if He wanted to do it. In fact, He will confine them all in the bottomless pit through the Great Judgment. But during the period of human cultivation, He doesn’t control darkness as He pleases. He rules over it strictly according to justice. God just lets the powers of darkness do what they want within the authority He has given to them. The enemy devil and Satan rule over people of flesh, and this was allowed by God’s justice. Genesis 3:14 says, “The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this (namely it was enticed by Satan to cause Adam and Eve to sin), cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you will go, and dust you will eat all the days of your life.” Also, God said to the man in Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Here for the serpent that deceived Adam and Eve ‘to eat the dust’ does not mean a serpent will actually eat dust. Here ‘dust’ refers to the men of flesh who commit sins. The ‘serpent’ represents the enemy devil and Satan, the ruler of darkness that incited the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Namely, the enemy devil and Satan will capture the corrupted and fleshly men as though they were their prey and bring tests and trials upon them. This is what it means by the serpent ‘eating the dust’. Romans 6:16 says, “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” As written, those who commit sins and dwell in darkness will be slaves of the enemy devil and Satan who rule over sins. Even if Satan brings tests and disasters upon those who belong to sins, it is justified by the law of spiritual realm. Even if Satan leads them to death in the end, God cannot help but let it be. But within the law of justice, God has also given mankind a way to be freed from the power of darkness. Namely, they have to believe in God and depart from darkness and live by the word of God. Then, they are no longer slaves of sin, and thus, the enemy devil and Satan cannot bring any trials or disasters upon them. God keeps them with His blazing eyes so that the evil spirits cannot even touch them. On the other hand, even though they believe in God, those who dwell in darkness cannot be protected by God. The enemy devil and Satan, the ruler of darkness, will say those are his slaves, and God has no recourse but to concede them to him. Brothers and sisters, the enemy devil, Satan thought that he could keep his authority even after the crucifixion of Jesus. But, even though Jesus opened the way of salvation by dying in the place of sinners, it doesn’t mean everybody will believe that fact. For example, God does not say to everyone, “If you do not believe in the Savior Jesus Christ, you will fall into Hell,” by writing it in the sky with fire. When people hear the gospel they have to open their hearts and accept it with faith so they can be saved. Therefore, the enemy devil and Satan thought that they could give rise to doubts in the minds of people to prevent them from believing in the gospel, and they also thought they could deceive even the believers to commit sins so they couldn’t be saved. They also thought they could stop preachers from spreading the gospel by severely persecuting them. In this way they thought that God’s plan would fail and they could win the victory. But God saves the souls through the works of the Holy Spirit while strictly following the rules of justice. He gives faith to the people so they can hear the gospel and believe it despite hindrances of Satan. He guides them to live by the word. He gives them understanding in heart through the Holy Spirit. He shows the evidences of His power through His people. He shines the light on each one’s life so they can depart from darkness. When the true children of God come forth by abiding in the rules of justice, the justice of God will shine even more brightly.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, John 15:14-15 says, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” If God had wanted to do it, He could have prevented men from being deceived by the serpent. Also, when Adam disobeyed His command, God was so heartbroken that it was as if He had been betrayed by His own son. He grieved thinking of the sufferings that the human beings would go through from that time on. Nevertheless, He did not forcefully stop Adam from disobedience. It is because God wanted him to enjoy true happiness. At that time Adam didn’t know unhappiness, but God didn’t want him to live forever without understanding true happiness. God wanted him to understand true goodness, love, and happiness through the human cultivation. But once mankind commits sin and experiences evil, they don’t have a way to be redeemed by themselves. Even though they now know evil, they are now sinners and they are destined to fall into Hell. That is why God gave His one and only Son whom He had prepared in advance for us. For the disobedient people who committed sins to be able to come to the heavenly kingdom, Jesus Himself took the punishment of death. Furthermore, if anyone accepts that love and lives in the truth, Jesus calls them a friend. He teaches them the providence of salvation and even secret things of the spirit with the desire to share everything like best friends. Can you boldly say that you are friends of the Lord? I hope you will cherish the love of the cross, love the Lord to the utmost degree, and dwell in the truth completely. I pray in the name of the Lord that, in doing so, you will become children of the light who can be acknowledged as the friends of the Lord and friends of God.