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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Balmer

Walking in the Light, Together

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." - from 1 John 1:1-2:2

This is the sermon preview for the first sermon in our series on 1 John. To view livestreams, click here.

When you think of Holiness, what do you think of?

A remarkable person, perhaps? Who wakes up and says their prayers. A person who is committed, and devout, who fasts and who prays, who has incredible commitment to meditating on the scriptures, someone who is seemingly impervious to temptations of ordinary people.

Some think of holiness being a solitary, or even self-serious undertaking. But that is not the vision of 1 John.

Maybe you imagine a solitary monk or nun in the wilderness, away from human contact, the world, and all temptation.

This idea of holiness is that holiness is separate, alone, and distinct.

... And what if that idea of holiness was not at all the vision of the New Testament?

Sure, Jesus retreated to be alone. Then, he returned to his community of disciples.

And his prayer for them was that his disciples would be one, as he and the Father are one (John 17:21).

Of course, there is a monastic tradition in Christianity which has found itself seeking God in the deserts. But even in such places, there is a community. They share a life of work and prayer together.

From the beginning, God declared, "It is not good for man [humanity] to be alone." (Genesis 2:18).

Our relationships are the context in which we seek holiness.

Holiness becomes living the story, together. The story for Christians is about the coming of the Son, Jesus the Christ. And sharing in his life, testifying to it, makes our joy complete.

The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. - 1 John 1:2-4 (NIV)

The Lord calls us to Holiness, not loneliness. We seek holiness together.

As one theologian said:

“For the Christian seeks neither autonomy nor independence, but rather to be faithful to the way that manifests the conviction that we belong to another. Thus Christians learn to describe their lives as a gift rather than an achievement.” - Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character

God made his home among us. He came, lived, died, and rose again, and his ministry does not end there. He wants us to be united to him and to his people. Holiness is not a path traveled alone, but in the Spirit, and with those we're united to in the Spirit.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What ideas do you have about holiness? Does the idea that holiness is something pursued with others, challenge any of those ideas, and (if so) how?

  2. How have others encouraged you to pursue godliness and holiness? How have you encouraged others?

  3. Communities have ways they do things, patterns they follow. They serve as constant reminders. What do we do as a church which forms in us habits of openness to God and God's grace?

  4. Where do we fall short and need to recommit, or what is something we can do to start a new commitment to "walking in the light", as a church?


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