I John 1:4-9
Some of the most hilarious videos I have watched are when a person puts on a mask and attempts (usually succeeding) to scare someone. Maybe you have seen the video of a reporter who was asking a high school student if he was going trick-or-treating while behind the teenager was a garbage can that, unknown to him, had someone in it with a gorilla mask on. In the middle of the interview, the person emerges out of the garbage can scaring the guy being interviewed; in fear and protection of himself, the high school student turns and punches the guy in the garbage can. I remember growing up at school or just with friends we would always say, “Hey Halloween’s over you can take of your mask now! Oh wait, that is just your face!’” Yes I know that it was cruel, but it was pretty funny. At least to us it was.
As a Christian, in Jesus Christ we are a new creation. However, when we masquerade around life as something we are not or we walk around living in sin, we are wearing a mask that needs to be removed. The word “mask” by definition is a manner of expression that hides one’s true character or feelings; a pretense. As a Christian when we walk in darkness and live in a way that is against what the scripture says, we are hiding the true character of who we are in Christ. We are being something that we are not when we are not living the abundant Christian life God intends for us to live. When we read I John 1, we see 4 facts from the chapter that we need to come to the realization of when it comes to removing the mask.
Fact #1- Fellowship is made possible only through Jesus Christ. I John 1:3. In order to be saved from your sin and have a right relationship with Almighty God, you must go through Jesus Christ, understanding that you need to be saved from the penalty of sin which is eternal death and separation from God in Hell. Once one puts their faith and trust (dependence) in what Jesus did on the cross as their payment for their sin, calling out for Jesus to forgive them, they can have fellowship with God. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he (Jesus) was wounded for out transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” J (Jn. 1:12, I Cor. 15:3-4, Rom. 3:24, Heb. 9:22)
Fact #2- Joy is given to the Christian who walks in the light of God. I John 1:4-5, 7. We find in I John that God is light. All in the New Testament we find this characteristic of God being light. He is the light that shines in the darkness. In a sin sick and dark world, Jesus (God) will always shine through as greater than darkness because He is Light, He (the Light) dispels the darkness. John the Baptist said that he came to bear witness of that Light. As Christians we are called to show forth the Light of God. One of the best ways that is done is through having joy. When we walk as a true Christian should walk there, in fact, will be joy! Why do we have joy? Because we are walking in the one who is Light! How do we have joy when our circumstances around us change? By keeping our eyes on the Light, God! John 8:12 says, “I am the Light of the World: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Ephesians 5:8 “For ye were sometime in darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” A way that we can walk as children of light is by living with joy in our hearts. There is a difference between being happy and being joyful. The difference between happiness and joy is this: happiness is based on circumstances but joy is based on the Lord. It has been said that happiness is like the moon, waxing and waning. Joy is like the sun, always shining even when night falls or clouds cover it. John 1:5-9
Fact #3-Fellowship is broken when we walk in darkness. I John 1:6, 8. One of the scariest things for me as a Christian (and I am sure is yours, as well) is that I will appear to others as something that I am not. I do not want to live a fake, phony, and fraudulent Christian life. When sin enters into our life the relationship between us and God is broken. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” For example, let’s say that a teenager goes home one day, enters into his house, and starts to throw a temper tantrum. He seems to be livid and out of control. He goes to the kitchen, snatches plates from the cabinet, and breaks them by throwing them across the room. The he starts knocking stuff off of the table. It looks like a tornado went through the home. Let’s say after that teenager settles down, he goes to the distraught parents who are trying to make sense of what just happened and asks for $100 and the keys to the car. Will he be getting what he asked for? NO!!!! Why, because he did something he should not have done and the fellowship with his parents is broken. It is not that he is no longer their child, it is that the fellowship needs some mending. Some wrongs need to be made right. When we sin it’s the same thing. We are still God’s child, which has not changed at all. However, there needs to be a mending of the fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
The most dangerous part of the Christian life though is when we say that we are right with God when we know very well there is sin that is still a part of our life that is unconfessed. As I John 1:6 says, if we say that we have fellowship and walk in darkness we are a liar and untruthful. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot be a servant to sin and a servant to God at the same time. If we say that we are right with God, yet we still are prideful, unloving, bitter, gossiping, slandering, unfaithful to church, not a witness for Jesus, guilty of lust, anger, and the list could go on and on, then we are wearing a mask. We have become a character that we really are not, simply put, a lying and untruthful pretender. This is a hard truth to swallow, it was for me as the Lord dealt with some areas of my life that needed to be unmasked, but it is a necessary truth. We have the choice to continue to wear a mask or to let the Lord take the mask off. Please, do not continue to deceive yourself. The mask is this: saying we have fellowship as a Christian when we are walking after darkness. Do not lie to God, others, and yourself any longer; be free from this chain that holds us down as a Christian. Get the true freedom that Jesus offers if only we will walk after the Light.
Fact #4- Jesus can remove the mask and restore the broken fellowship. I John 1:9. This is a verse that I am thankful is in the Bible. If we confess He will faithfully forgive and cleanse us. He can restore the fellowship. If you find yourself wearing the mask of trying to appear to be the Christian you are not, I challenge you—run to Jesus. How do you rip the mask off and have a restored fellowship? Run back to the cross and see that Jesus can still cleanse and forgive you. He can cleanse you from all unrighteousness! HALLELUJAH! I want to warn you though, if you try and remove the mask in your own power or keep it off in your own power, you will fail. Keep going back to Jesus every day. Seek him continually to help you be the true, genuine follower that He wants and intends for you to be.
Confess and repent of the sin and find Jesus who will forgive and restore you back to himself. He loves you and is not willing to let you stay where you are at in your Christian life. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” God is not done with you Christian. Do NOT give up! Keep fighting in the strength that is made available to you through Jesus! I John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate (one who speaks in our defense) with the Father; Jesus Christ the righteous:”
The chastening of God is not always fun, but it is necessary. When it is over there sure is SWEET FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD! Let’s remove the mask.