Basic Christianity: Living in Light

Published September 25, 2017 by

Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.

 

This past Sunday, our service theme was “God is Light.” Pastor Bobby preached about what it means to walk in the light from the text 1 John 1:1-7. The basic message of his sermon was that the more you get in the light, the more you will live under the cross.

People have tried different ways to connect with God: mystics try to find God within themselves, moralists try to find God by following rules, and intellectuals try to find God through systems of thought. But 1 John has a different message: It is not up to us to connect with God since, in Jesus, God connected with us. As a result of God’s movement to us in Jesus, Christianity is about knowing and fellowshipping with God.

1 John 1:5-7 points out that, since God is light, if we know God we will walk in that light. People called gnostics had been teaching a different idea. They made the false claim that you can encounter God and it could have no effect on your life. They believed in reconnecting with the perfection of heaven through intellectual speculation and mysticism, not through everyday life. Many modern people also separate spirituality from the rest of life.

In contrast, Christianity involves a way of life centered on God, who is light. Jesus is supposed to shed light on everything we do. That leads to growth in both our knowledge of God and our knowledge of ourselves. The further we go in Christian life, the more we understand the extent of God’s goodness and holiness, along with the depth of our own sinfulness.

God’s love for us then compels us to love others as we walk in the light and under the cross. The light of the cross shows us who we really are (both in worse shape than we thought and more loved than we could have hoped). That frees us from separating life into compartments, such as more and less spiritual parts of life. All of our life can be lived in the light and under the cross.

Questions for reflection and prayer

How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through this Scripture passage and sermon?

How would you describe what it means to walk in the light that 1 John describes?

What would change about your life if it was entirely lived in the light without being split into separate “compartments” of the spiritual and the secular parts of life? What might that cost you? What might you gain from that approach to life?

What sort of community would we be if we were committed to walk in the light as a community and to not compartmentalize our lives? Is there anything you would find dangerous about that?

How did Jesus call for and allow people to walk in the light, to truly know themselves as both hopelessly sinful and deeply loved, as they encountered him (think of specific examples from the Gospels)? What would it look like for you to have kind of interaction with people who don’t yet know what it means to walk in the light?

What is one specific area of life in which you can grow in walking in the light, in truly knowing yourself in light of what the cross says about the goodness of God and your own sinfulness?

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