Light Work… Part Two
Text: 1 John 1:3-10
Proposition: Light work is the way you live your entire life, it’s all about walking in the light of Christ, it’s all about fellowship with God and with each other.
Introduction: So far in this exploration of 1st John we have asked two questions, ‘Who is Jesus?’ and ‘What is God like?’. John’s answer was that Jesus is God, eternally existing, from eternity past to eternity future. Jesus is the One who has fellowship with the Father and now He comes that we too would gain an entrance into that very same closeness He has to the Father. The joy of that fellowship is what He hopes for us and offers to us by His cross.
Last week we tackled the question, ‘What is God like?’ John’s answer in verse 5 was simple yet profound… “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” By that term ‘light’ we came to understand that God gives understanding, He enables us to see what sin would otherwise obscure. We also recognized the way light is the opposite of darkness, literally without darkness. It is a metaphor for purity, in describing God it means He is sinless in all His actions, motivations and will.
So where is John going with these two conclusions? The answer is that it all comes down to ‘fellowship’. The Greek word for fellowship is ‘koinonia’, it essentially means, “the share which one has in anything, in association, participation, community or communion with.”. As we read verses 3 to10 you’ll hear this term a few times as it introduces us to the ‘Light Work’ of fellowship in Christ. Last week the first point of this sermon was, ‘What Does it mean, God is Light?’ We answered that question and as we did it led us to ask another. Have a look at 1st John 1:3-10.
II. With Whom Do I Have Fellowship?
In every one of the verses from 6 to 10 there is this small but critical word, ‘if’. That makes each of these verses a conditional sentence, in essence it’s saying, ‘if this is true then this other thing cannot be true’. It’s an ‘either/ or’ condition that is attached to the statement that then is further contrasted with negative effects and positive effects. It’s in or out, yes or no, that John puts on the table and the effect of it is to call us out, to declare where we stand. Yet the main focus here is still fellowship, that very real aspect of having a share in, a communion that connects and even binds us to something and someone. So who is it that you have fellowship with? John says in verse 6, “If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness we lie and do not the truth.” Who is the ‘him’? I think John is referring to Jesus mainly but also to God the Father. Okay, so then what does it mean to ‘walk in darkness’? The Greek word ‘walk’ is ‘perepateo’, meaning simply, ‘to progress in, to make due use of opportunities’ . So to walk in darkness is more than to be tempted or even to sin because of being tempted. To walk in darkness is to continually make progress in the opportunities sin presents to you. It looks more like a lifestyle than an event. So John says to us, ‘get real’, if you have a lifestyle of darkness quit lying to yourself and others and especially to God. Your option is either to walk in the light or to walk in the darkness, you can’t do both. If you try to do both, to live a double life, truth is displaced with deception, you deceive yourself. So John puts the opposite thought on the table in verse 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.” That word ‘walk’ is the same one used earlier, to progress in, to make due use of opportunities, except this time it is attached to the term, ‘walk in the light’. If we walk as Jesus walks, or walk with Jesusin those things that He naturally did, loved to do, sometimes even wrestled with doing yet not His will but the Fathers will be done, if we walk with Jesus like that, we walk in the light. So what did that look like? What did Jesus naturally do?
He naturally wanted to be close to the Father so He talked with Him constantly. He naturally loved people, He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. To Him they weren’t ‘Rotti sheep’, half sheep half Rottweiler. They were just people who couldn’t see because sin obscured their hearts. So what was it Jesus loved to do? I think He loved to see light come into peoples eyes and hearts as faith in God came alive. He loved to see lives turn from sin, He loved to see people love well, as they loved the Lord their God and their neighbours. If we walk in the light, if we make progress and take advantage of opportunities, just as Jesus does, we suddenly discover that we have fellowship, communion, community, participation, association with, even a share in what God is seeking to do in those around us. Fellowship is not a pot luck or any kind of social event, fellowship is more than casual friendship. Fellowship is communion with Christ and then by extension with each other. But here’s the really amazing part about fellowship, it becomes the environment where we are continually reminded about the blood of Jesus Christ. So what does John mean when he says the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin? Why didn’t John simply say the life of Christ or even the death of Christ or the cross of Christ? Why the, ‘blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.’? Let me simply suggest to you that it’s because blood is vascular, it runs through vessels called arteries and veins, it conveys oxygen and food to the body and it takes waste and disease away from the body. Think of sin like a cut or tear in the skin. Instantly the blood brings fibrinogen to knit the wound closed, it creates a temporary covering and then it gets to work repairing the flesh and replacing the skin. It does that so the body will have a better defence against infection, be able to stand against the wear and strain of work, even Light Work. When sin creates a tear in the skin of your soul, when it wounds your relationship with God it’s the blood of Jesus that does the restorative work. That blood was the very life of Christ, it was poured out at great cost on the cross and it’s effect was to completely pay the price of our sin. We have a repairing work that goes on in us when we walk in the light, having fellowship with others, with Christ. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from ALL sin. The great benefit of walking in the light is fellowship, a fellowship by which we are held close to the blood of Christ until we see Him face to face.
III. Light Work is All About Being Awake To Fellowship.
I remember the first time I changed a battery in a car. It was in a hard to get at place you so you had to grab it and pull it up to yourself holding it close because it was so heavy. It wasn’t until a little while later that I noticed these small holes in my shirt, holes that kept getting bigger as the next days went by. The battery acid, invisible at first touch was literally eating holes through the cloth. Sin is like that, we can deny that there is any such thing as a sin nature in us, we can say things like, I’m only human, we all make mistakes. The thing is you deceive yourself if you say you have no sin, no tendency to reject God, to ignore or directly resist the truth of my need of Christ. It’s that sin that eats holes right through the fabric of my integrity, it smears off of me and onto my relationship with others around me. Sin destroys fellowship with God and with those around you. It may appear harmless at first but it is corrosive to fellowship.
I’ve since learned how to handle car batteries and I’ve discovered that if you mix some baking soda in water and then wipe that water over the battery posts covered with corrosion there is this amazing chemical reaction that happens. The baking soda reacts against the acid, dissolving it. So what is it that can dissolve the acid ruin of sin? It’s in 1st John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confess, agree with God about the truth of what you have thought, said or done that was corrosive to fellowship. The neutralizing effect, the baking soda if you will, is the blood of Christ paying the debt of sin, reconciling the debt to zero. It works on any sin, He cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness. Jesus is faithful to do that, He is just, that is He the pure one takes sin upon Himself, that sin, my sin is applied to the cross where the blood of Jesus was poured out as our sacrifice for sin, for all time. The effect of agreeing with Jesus about your sin, of asking the Father to forgive you, is that He cleanses you. The damage of sin to your relationship with the Father is repaired, restored. The damage of your sin in your relationship with those around you and the fellowship it has destroyed is your responsibility to reconcile. Do not make Christ a liar by saying that you have not created a tear in the fabric of relationship when in fact you have.
Light Work… it’s all about being awake to fellowship, learning how to value it for what Christ designed it to be. Light Work is the way you live your entire life, it’s about walking in the light of Christ, it’s about the fellowship with God and with each other you were designed for.