Well, good morning, fam. It’s good to see everybody here. If you got a Bible, grab it and go to Acts 2:41-42. We’re going to begin here this morning. My main text of study, the text that we’re going to be really walking through verse by verse is going to be 1 John chapter one. And we’re going to make a beeline there in just a moment. But I want to begin in Acts 2. If you’re taking notes, the title of the sermon is “True Fellowship”. “True Fellowship”. “Koinonia” is the Greek word for fellowship. And it first appears in Luke’s account in Acts 2:42. The context is this. Peter just got done preaching a sermon, a gospel-centered sermon, he highlights man’s depravity and utter need for a Savior named Jesus Christ. And as he’s preaching the Word of God, the Holy Spirit of God uses that Word to regenerate hearts. God causes people to be born again. And at the tail end of Acts chapter two, what you see Luke do is describe how this early church, these new followers functioned as a community. We’re going to airdrop in Acts two beginning in verse 41. Luke says it this way, “So those who received his word…” Again, that’s Peter’s word, gospel-centered teaching. It always begins with that. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about (check this) three thousand souls.” That’s a pretty big baptismal service. Would you agree? I mean, we just saw three. Praise God hallelujah, for the picture of the gospel that baptism provides us that never gets old. Times that by 1000. Actually, more than that because they only counted heads of households back then. Luke goes on in verse 42. And he says, “And they…” Again, early church followers. These men and women had just received the gospel by faith. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the (what? here it is) the fellowship. Koinonia. Today, we’re going to zone in on this word. I want you to think of it as a sharing together of a common life as a result of our common Savior, Jesus Christ. In different grammatical forms, you’ll see it translated as participation. We’ll actually get to a text that translates it that way. Partnership is another one. And in Philippians chapter one, Paul, thanks God for the partnership that he had with the church in Philippi. From the first day until now. Sharing is another common translation. And again, there is fellowship as well which is the most popular translation. Here’s what you’re going to see as we journey together throughout the whole of Scripture, Old and New Testament. We’re going to learn biblically what this word means. 

Emphasis on the word “biblically”. Not traditionally. And I would posit to you, I would suggest that fellowship, traditionally speaking, has been dumbed down in some cases, not with everybody. But in some cases, it has and misrepresented. And I would even say that many people have been led astray from the actual essence of this word by the traditions of men. I’ll give you some examples. The fellowship hall, anybody remember that? Like fellowship only happens at a hall where people come together, right? And they eat food, mostly unhealthy food, right? Or what about this one, we got this awesome event coming up and we want you to be there. Three big things I want to talk to you about in regard to this event: food, fun, and of course, the third one has to begin with an F too, right? Fellowship! I would suggest to you this morning that can be dangerous especially if the people attending these events don’t understand the essence of this term. As we’re going to learn today fellowship, biblical fellowship, biblical koinonia is actually impossible detached from the holy scriptures in the precious gospel of Jesus Christ. 

So, there’s your intro, you’re doing great so far. Let’s look at our main text of study 1 John 1:1-3, we’re going to pick up in verse one. This is John, he’s speaking to multiple congregations, most likely in Asia Minor. He’s not speaking directly to one particular congregation but rather to multiple churches. He says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life. The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.” Now who is John talking about? He’s talking about Christ, the hero of the Bible. Jesus Christ. He’s not talking about you. He’s not talking about me. He’s talking about Jesus and no doubt he’s combating the heresy du jour. The heresy of the day was Gnosticism. Gnostics taught that Jesus was spirit but He wasn’t flesh and blood. And John’s response to that was nope, no dice. No, Jesus was made manifest to us. And then he goes on in verse three and he says, “That which we have seen and heard…” John saw the Christ pre-resurrection. Just think about it. He was in Jesus’s inner circle of friends Peter, James, and John. He saw Christ teach, preach, disciple, pray for people, love the marginalized, and perform miracles, AND he saw Jesus post-resurrection. Kind of a big deal, right? You remember Christ after His resurrection? He appeared for 40 days to many, many people. John saw Him pre-resurrection and post-resurrection. Big deal. But what’s a bigger deal is the fact that John heard Christ. How so? Well, we’ve been taught time and time again here from this pulpit that faith doesn’t come from seeing, right? No, it comes from hearing. Hearing what? The precious gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s Romans 10:17. Right out of the gate, John says Jesus Christ, he’s been made manifest to us. We’ve seen Him, we’ve heard Him, and then he says, “…We proclaim also to you…” This is preaching and teaching. This is heralding. It’s not a conversation. He’s not looking for a response per se. He’s delivering the truth, so that you too, may have fellowship. There’s our Word with us. “…And indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 

Now note that John speaks of two different types of fellowship here. First, he speaks of fellowship with us. That’s fellowship horizontal with the church. And next, he speaks of fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We’ll call that fellowship vertical. Christian, do you know that you’ve actually been called into fellowship with God? This is what we call the effectual call of God. And it’s everywhere throughout Scripture. We’ve been called by God the Father through God the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit but to belong to Him. This is 1 Corinthians 1:9, Paul says it this way, “God is faithful (He is true to the original), by whom you were called (this is the effectual call) into the fellowship of His Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord.” “Called”. This word shows up everywhere. You can’t get around it. Lots of people raise a stink about it, but they shouldn’t because it’s just #facts. Right? When you open up the Bible, Old and New Testament, we see very clearly God is the One who chooses His people. God is the One who calls. This is the effectual call of God. You’ve got the universal call that goes out to everyone, right? And everyone hears the gospel. And then there’s the effectual call of God that goes out toward the elect. And as the Word of God is being preached, the Holy Spirit of God uses the Word of God and the proclamation of the gospel to regenerate hearts. He causes people to be born again. He calls us into vertical fellowship with Him. I’ll give you another text. This is 1 Peter 2:9, Peter says, “But you are chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” If you’re a Christian here today, you should be really, really, really thankful for the effectual call of God in your life. Family, it works and it works every single time. If it wasn’t for the effectual call of God, you would still be in darkness as a child of God’s wrath, you would not be in fellowship with Him, and you never would be in fellowship with Him. Isn’t that pride-crushing? Like you hear that and the disparity between God and man is just immense. God does the work. He does the calling. If you’re anything like me, you need your pride crushed every single minute of every single day. The Bible says God opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble. 

Here’s another pride-crushing text. Since it’s good to have our pride crushed all the time. 2 Peter 1:3-4, Peter says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us (you see that?) to his own glory and excellence.” Now watch verse four, “By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become (look at this word) partakers (that’s actually koinonas as part of the same family of words that we’re going to be studying today), partakers of the divine nature having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” SBC, this is fellowship vertical. He calls and because of regeneration, we’re together with Christ. We become partakers of the divine nature. We have fellowship with the Holy God. How incredibly awesome is that? 

But wait, there’s more. Because of our vertical fellowship with God, we can experience horizontal koinonia with one another. That is the church. Now I need to make this clear, fellowship horizontal is only possible with those who have been called into fellowship with God. You need to know that. Consequently, it’s actually impossible to have fellowship with a non-believer. It’s impossible to share Christ with them and I’ll prove it to you. That’s not Matt Hahn’s new truth for the day. No, that’s an old truth. We see this very clearly in holy scripture. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what (here it is, koinonia) what fellowship has the light with darkness?” As you can see Paul’s posing some questions, but the questions are rhetorical, fam. He’s not looking for an answer. He’s rather proving a point by posing the questions. And the point is, there is no fellowship between light and darkness. There is no fellowship between a believer and an unbeliever. I mean, you can share affinities with someone who doesn’t know Christ. And, by the way, I would encourage you to have relationships with people who aren’t Christians for the purpose of winning them to Christ and preaching the gospel to them, and allowing the gospel as the power of God to do the work in their hearts. But no, you can’t have true biblical koinonia with someone who is not in Christ. You can share affinities. No doubt hobbies, you have the same hobbies. You both can really enjoy grilling steak. Good meat, right? We’re in Texas, everybody loves good meat. You can share that hobby with them. You can share the hobby of shopping or rooting for your favorite sports team, but you can’t share Christ with them. It’s impossible. Because there’s no fellowship that exists between light and darkness. 

John continues in verse four. And he says that this way, “And we are writing these things so that our joy (watch this) may be complete.” See that word “complete”, church? it literally means to fill up or cram. You actually see it using John chapter 12. When Mary’s anointing Jesus Christ, you remember that story? And the fragrance of her perfume filled up the room. You see what John’s doing here, church? He’s calling them into joy. This is a call into the joy of the Lord. He’s fighting for their joy. He wants them to experience maximum amounts of joy in vertical koinonia with God through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and horizontally with the church. He doesn’t want them to miss any drop of joy. And if you’re aware of this great. If not, here you go. This is what happens every single Sunday morning at Sherman Bible Church. It’s a call to joy when Pastor Steve opens wide the Word of God and exposes the scriptures and makes much of Jesus Christ. What is he doing? He’s fighting for our joy. He’s calling us into joy saying, “Look at Christ”. Here He is in the Scriptures yet again, believe upon Him, trust the Word, come under the holy scriptures, and walk in the true joy of the Lord. So church, welcome to joy hour. It might not always feel good. It doesn’t always feel good. Sometimes it’s like OUCH! Anybody? Like “Oh, man, yep, I need to hear that, I’ve got this pocket of indwelling sin here.” It might not always feel good but it is good and it’s always for your joy. John makes it very clear here in verse four. He’s writing these things to these churches in Asia Minor. It’s for their joy. He wants their joy to be complete, and he wants our joy to be complete as well. 

Now watch verse five. 1 John 1:5 says “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is (what?) light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Now this sounds familiar to some of you. John is just simply echoing the very words of Jesus Christ and I get it pizza delivery wasn’t a thing back then. Like there was no such thing as Domino’s and Papa John’s and things like that. DoorDash? No, none of that. But John’s functioning like the pizza delivery guy. He’s simply representing the very words of Jesus Christ. He’s delivering the truth, the truth that he’s already heard before, and he admits it. I’ve heard this. So, what did John hear? This is what he heard. This is John 8:12, “Again Jesus spoke to them saying (what?), ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” So, there you have it. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Remember John 1:1, right? 1 John rivals John chapter one, right? We don’t have time to go there. But read John one today. And John 1:1, the Bible says in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, God in the flesh has spoken. He’s light. He’s the light of the world. Now in order to understand the message of 1 John, we need to juxtapose two metaphors here. The metaphors of light and darkness and we’ll start with light. 

Throughout Scripture, it becomes abundantly clear that light represents biblical truth and I’ll give you a few texts so that we can allow scripture to interpret Scripture. Okay, after all, the best commentary for the Bible is? It’s the Bible. I get it. J Mac’s stuff is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the scriptures. Okay? This is John 17:17, where Jesus says, “Sanctify them in the truth;…” Church, what is sanctification? You’ve been taught about this. Taught well. Sanctification is the onward progress in development, the maturation of the believer in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to change them from one degree of glory to the next. They grow in Christ’s likeness. Jesus says, “Sanctify them in the truth; (how’s that gonna happen?)…Your word is truth.” So, what is truth? God’s Word is truth. Now take a look at Psalm 119:105 and don’t forget John 17:17. The Psalmist opens up the text and says, “Your word…” Now what is your word? Your word is a reference to the truth of God’s Word. He says, “Your Word is (what?) a lamp (there’s our metaphor) a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” The connection here, church, is clear and is replete. Light represents the truth of God’s Word. 2 Peter 1:19 says, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed…” Another reference to scripture here. Essentially, Peter is saying that the Old Testament scriptures are more reliable than experience in context. He goes on to say, “…To which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” So, what do I need to believe? What do I need to love? And what do I need to do? And what do I need to reject? And how can I please God? Have you ever thought about those questions before? The scriptures shine a spotlight on all those things. God’s Word is truth. And don’t miss this, Jesus Christ. The light of the world is truth. Jesus is truth personified. We see this very clearly in John 14:6. The Bible says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus says, “I am the truth” not A truth but THE truth. This is singular and exclusive language which means He’s full of what? Not a trick question. It means He’s full of truth. John 1:14, the Bible says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace, and truth.” So, light represents truth, the word of God and the Word made flesh. 

It also represents holiness. And we see this very clearly in 1 John 1:5, I know I’ve already read this text to you but I’m going to read it to you again because it’s impossible to overdose on Scripture. Isn’t that great? 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is (what?) light, and in him (watch this) is no darkness at all.” That is, He’s sinless, He’s set apart, He is perfect in each and every way. Matthew 5:48 says, “You therefore must be perfect…” If you’re going to try to earn salvation through works of the law this is the context and you got to be perfect as what? “…As Your heavenly Father is perfect.” Family, God is 100% light. There is no darkness in Him, no sinful stain in or on Him. 1 John 3:5, speaking of Jesus Christ says, “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him (watch this), there is no sin.” No sin in Him. No darkness. Now darkness, on the other hand, represents the opposite. Okay, wickedness, depravity, evil, Satan’s domain, that which is opposed to truth. And that’s why as you read through the Scriptures, what you’ll find is various authors, commanding churches on the basis of the gospel, considering what Jesus Christ has done for you to cast off works of what? Light? No, works of darkness. This is Ephesians 5:11, Paul says, “Take no part (no part, resist), take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Here’s another text, Jesus says it this way. This is very helpful in understanding the contrast here between these two metaphors. And I get it this is a lot of scripture. But we need to lean into these indicative so that when we get to the imperative, we’ll have the fuel to actually walk in obedience. John 3:19-20, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved (what?) loved the darkness (that is they love their sin), rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things is (neutral) to the light (no) hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his work should be exposed.” One more John 12:46. I’m going to slow down eventually, I promise. Jesus says “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” Hopefully, by now, you’re starting to understand what John means when he says God is light and in Him, there is absolutely no darkness at all. This is our God, family. He is truth. His Word is truth. And He’s holy. He set apart in nature and in practice. 

Now watch what John says in verse six. Take a look, he says, “If we say we have fellowship with him…” That is if there’s a verbal assent: “Oh yeah, I believe in God. I got a relationship with God. Yeah, I’m a Christian.” Right? You hear people say that all the time. John says if we say we have fellowship, vertical koinonia with God while we walk in that’s a metaphor that denotes perpetual behavior ongoing headlong “…while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Now, timeout. I get three timeouts today by the way. I’m going to use them all right now. Here’s timeout number one. Timeout number one: isn’t this the apostle of love speaking? Absolutely, it is. Timeout number two: isn’t John the apostle of love contending and fighting for our joy? He is. Timeout number three: is this hate speech? No. Not at all. I think most if not all of you would agree with me when I say this. We live in a world today that absolutely loves to divorce love from truth. Right? Would you agree? But you can’t. And I get it. There’s a particular way that we need to communicate truth in love and we need to be mindful of tone and how we say things and things of that nature. But it’s impossible to love someone without telling them the truth and John is delivering to them the truth. It’s hard truth. If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we’re actually liars and we don’t practice the truth. Family, 1 John 1:6 was prevalent back then in John’s day, and make no mistake about it. It’s prevalent today as well. It is, right? I mean entire congregations verbally assenting, if you will, “Yeah, I believe in God” yet walking in darkness. “Oh, yeah, I’m a Christian. But I don’t believe in the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ.” John says, “No dice, that doesn’t work. You’re actually you’re a liar and the truth doesn’t live in you.” Pseudo-Christians participating in counterfeit fellowship. It’s actually a thing and as many of you know, the teaching of James in James chapter two. Super helpful. James says faith without works is what? It’s dead faith. It’s the football player after a touchdown who you know gives the gives you know props to the man upstairs. I hate even saying that from this stage. But that’s the common vernacular, right? But their life, their work, it’s just constant darkness. It’s the celebrity after they receive an award, “Real quick before I go any further and I just want to say I thank God” but their life is filled with darkness. John says if we claim to have fellowship with Him yet we walk in darkness headlong, unrepentant sin, no passion for the glory of God, no appetite for the holy scriptures, we lie and we don’t practice the truth. 

Now notice the contrast here in verse seven. Here we arrive at our main text and family when we say gospel-centered community here at Sherman Bible Church, which we, you know, that’s on repeat often. This is what we mean. 1 John 1:7, John says, here’s the contrast, “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship (koinonia) with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Now herein lies the condition in two promises. The condition is if we walk in the light as He is in the light and the promises follow, we’re going to experience horizontal fellowship with the church and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son is going to cleanse us from all sin. We’re going to experience the ongoing cleansing of God through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit as we walk in the light and confess our sins. Now, that begs the question, though, what does it mean to walk in the light as He is in the light? We need to answer that question rightly. And friends, there is an objectivity to the answer. It’s really not mystical. It’s deep but not necessarily complicated to understand. So, here’s a simplified understanding of it. To walk in the light as He is in the light is to walk in the light of God’s Word, obeying it as the source of truth, while fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ, His person and His finished work. I would submit to you that’s what it actually means to walk in the light as He is in the light. To walk in the light of God’s Word, obeying it as the source of truth, while fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ. The Bible, Christian, has so much to say about the Christians’ joyful duty to constantly look to Christ and to remember Him crucified in their place. I’ll give you an example here in Hebrews 12:2, the author begins by saying, “Looking to Jesus…” “But Pastor Matt, I thought I did that when I was converted and saved?” You did and the faith that you exercised was given to you as the gift. You did look to Christ, yes. You exercised faith in Him and His atoning work and His finished work on the cross. You said, “I believe. My faith is in You, Jesus.” And you’re commanded as a Christian on a daily basis as you seek to walk in the light of God’s Word to constantly look to Him and remember Him. “He’s my Savior, He saved me, I didn’t save myself. He’s great and awesome. I’m not. He was the perfect, spotless Lamb of God who died on my cross.” This is actually the joyful Christians’ duty. The author continues and says, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” I love that. What does that mean? That means He’s the one who started it and He’s the one who sustains it. Text goes on, “…Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” Right? If you’re taking notes write down the word “endured”, Jesus endured the righteous real wrath of God on the cross. You remember Jesus before He died? On the cross? Remember Him in the garden of Gethsemane? What was he doing? He was praying, “Lord, if it’s Your will let this cup pass from me.” He knew what was coming. But ultimately “Not My will Your will be done.” Jesus was a man under authority. On the cross, He was under authority, who’s dying for the sins of the elect. He was enduring it for us. Oh, this is indicative glorious truth that we get to every single Sunday just come and hear and receive. It’s good news, church. It is. It’s great. It’s the best news “…For the joy that was set before me door endured the cross despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” This is what you call gospel truth. And as we learned last week, in the Easter sermon, this truth, this gospel is of first importance not second, not third, not fourth, but it’s of first importance. 

Now how do we look to Christ? That’s a question that needs to be answered as well. Do we look to Christ by downloading that popular Christian TV series called, “The Chosen”? Do we look to Him there? No, I, you know, out of love and care for you, please don’t do that. That TV series is actually heretical. Do you know that? They add to the holy Scriptures. Yeah, no bueno. Don’t do that. Look to the Word of God. We look to Christ by looking to the Word of God. God’s Word provides the perfect and sufficient once and for all revelation of God’s Son. Isn’t that awesome? We do not need another book. We don’t- we don’t need to look anywhere else. For in the scriptures, we see Christ “Cover to Cover”. You remember that series? A couple of years ago, Pastor Steve walked us through every single book of the Bible majoring on Jesus Christ. What’s Genesis about, Sherman Bible? It’s about Jesus, right? What’s the Exodus about? Jesus. What is every one of the 66 books about? Jesus Christ. When you open up the Bible, our source of truth, we see Jesus the light of the world front and center. We see Him prophesied and foreshadowed in the Old Testament. We see Him born of a virgin in the New and fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. We see Him live as our sinless substitute, obeying the law to a tee, fulfilling God’s righteousness, we see Him die in our place, we see Him rise for our justification, we see Him appear to hundreds of people post-resurrection. We see Him ascend into glory and we see Him returning one day for His church. Here’s the point. To keep our eyes on Jesus, we must daily allow the spotlight of God’s Word to shine in our hearts. Remember, God’s Word, family, is light. It’s a lamp unto our feet and a light into our path. 

I’ll give you some more scripture here. Proverbs 6:23a says “For the commandment (that’s a reference to the holy Word of God) is a lamp and the teaching a light,…” Psalm 119:130a says, “The unfolding of your words (I love this) gives light;…” How so? Well again, right? This isn’t a broken record. The unfolding of God’s Word shows us, Jesus, the light of the world. And let me ask you a question what happens when believers grow in their knowledge of the finished work of Jesus Christ? Their love grows, right? I mean, how many of you love Jesus more today than you did five years ago? Anybody? Yeah, I do. You can raise your hand. That’s not a boast. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit using the word of God to show us Christ and increase our affections for Jesus Christ. Let me teach you biblically what’s happening here, okay? You guys are coming to Sherman Bible’s campus on Sunday morning, right? At 8:00, 9:30, or 11:00am, okay? And you’re hearing the Word, you’re receiving gospel-centered teaching but not only that, many of you are heeding the exhortation at the end of the services. Some of you know what I’m talking about: “Hey, you’ve been fed well, you need to go feed yourself.” You’re doing that and throughout the week, you’re opening up the Word of God, you’re seeing Christ, and your love for God is growing, and that spills over and you walk in the light with other people all because of what Jesus Christ has done for you. Please don’t miss the structure of this teaching. It’s because of the gospel that we actually walk in the light as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s because of the gospel. It’s because of the gospel. It’s because of the gospel. 

Colossians 1:13, Paul says it this way, he writes, “He has delivered us…” That word “delivered” is actually the same word that you’ll see in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 when Paul deals with Jesus. Delivering us from the totality of God’s wrath to come that is stored up and is going to be poured out. Jesus delivers us from that but not only that, look at the text, “…he delivers us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” Do you know what this truth does in the heart of a real disciple? It sets it ablaze to walk in the light and experience horizontal koinonia with the church and listen, this is not behavior modification. This is not one of those TED talks, right? This isn’t, “Hey, listen up, church, everybody up here. Everybody, look at me. 1 John 1:7 says you need to walk in the light as He’s in the light. Get to it, go for it. Yep. Pick up those boots and go. Walk in the light. You can do it.” No, it’s not that. We absolutely detest behavior modification. We do. Think about it, it robs God of the glory that He rightfully deserves, right? It elevates man, it diminishes God and at best, it assumes the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not that. What I’m doing right now is not that. This is gospel-centered teaching. This is teaching that is centered on the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. This is, family, you’re loved. Like you’re so incredibly loved and you’ve been perfectly loved by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. So much so that Jesus demonstrated that love for you on a cross. He stretched out His arms and He died for you. He paid the penalty for your sin. He exhausted the wrath that was due to your account and in light of what He’s done for you. Now walk in the light as He is in the light, and experience the deep, rich joys of koinonia that will follow. 

Ephesians 5:8 is also a helpful text here. The metaphors that we’ve been studying light and darkness come into play. I want to divide this text up into three parts and the divisions are really easy to see. And to give you an A, B, and C. Ephesians 5:8a & 5:8b are what we call indicative truths. More on that in a second. Ephesians 5:8c is an imperative command. Take a look at Ephesians 5:8a Paul says, “For at one time you were darkness…” “Darkness.” Now contextually speaking, he’s speaking to the church to Ephesus believers and he’s reminding them that at one time, past tense, they were darkness. That is they were without truth. They were depraved. We’re no longer depraved as Christians but we were depraved. And we were under God’s wrath. We were at one time darkness as the scripture says. The Bible elsewhere in the book of Ephesians commands us to remember our former life. It’s important for us to do this as Christians to know where we came from, to know where God saved us from, and what He saved us out of. This is Ephesians 2:11-12, Paul says, “Therefore remember (remember what?) that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands, remember that you are at that time separated from Christ (you are without the light), alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” At one time church, this was us without hope and we weren’t just walking in darkness per the text, we were darkness. And that’s the bad news. And we need to lean into it. We need to allow that bad news to humble us and remind us of who Jesus is and what He’s actually accomplished for us. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news. Take a look at Ephesians 5:8b Paul says, “…But now (now what, Paul?) now you are light in the Lord…” That is, you’re no longer darkness. You’re light, you’re no longer dead, you’re spiritually alive. How did it happen though? Did we do it? Like did we earn this? Did we climb up the proverbial, you know, mountaintop, and God’s at the top of the mountain? When we get there, you know, after really trying hard and going to church and trying to memorize Scripture and trying to walk in the light and we get to the top of the mountain, and God pulls out, you know, our report cards. “Well, you got, you get really good here and really good here and not the best here. But yeah, you pass. You’re in. Good job.” No, not that quite the opposite. God descended from the top of the mountain. The person and work of Jesus Christ, and He saved us by grace through faith in Him alone. Family, we’ve been delivered and transferred. Isn’t that awesome? Delivered from the domain of darkness transferred into the kingdom of His beloved Son. I’m not going to tell you to turn to your neighbor and tell them that “You’ve been delivered and transferred” because that’s just sometimes really awkward. But I will exhort you to preach this truth to yourself. And for those of you that have gospel-centered community, I would encourage you to remind your brothers and sisters of this truth, this gospel truth. This is what we call indicative truth. I know I mentioned that earlier. But it’s a state of affairs, okay? It’s fixed. Ephesians 5:8a&b, they’re not commands for us to obey. They’re truths that we’re called to actually believe. No command yet. Just you were once darkness but now you’re light in the Lord. But the command’s coming. Here’s the imperative. Take a look at Ephesians 5:8c the Bible says, “…Walk as children of light.” How do we do that? By walking in the light of God’s Word, obeying it as the source of truth with our eyes fixed on Jesus. Family, when you are believing Ephesians 5:8a&b, obeying Ephesians 5:8c will be the overflow. it’s going to burst outta you. It will. No fleshly pressure needed. No manipulation required. I mean, the only pressure that you’re going to experience in this as you’re looking to Ephesians 5:8a&b is the good gospel pressure, right? That pushes you downward and reminds you, “Yeah, you were a sinner and you needed saving. And Jesus is that Savior and you didn’t earn it.” But it also picks you up. There’s a pressure that lifts up your head, if you will, when you’re swimming in a pool of condemnation. No, there’s no condemnation in Christ. And there’s a pressure that puts you that points you back. It pushes you backward to remember your former life. AND there’s a pressure that points you forward to actually walk in the light. And in the light, what are we doing together as a family? Remember, fellowship is the sharing together of a common life in Jesus Christ. What are some of the fruits? Well, we’re certainly boasting in our weakness, right? I mean, we’re not walking around like we’re all that and a bag of chips. No, we’re acknowledging that we’re weak and that we still struggle with sin, that we need prayer, and that we’re going through burdens and we need people to carry those burdens with us. After all the cross has outed us, right Church? He knew no sin became sin for us so that in Him we could become the righteousness of God. Certainly, we’re boasting in our weakness. What else are we doing? Well, we’re definitely confessing our sin. Walking in the light is not synonymous with sinless perfection. 

Okay, John makes that crystal clear. This is 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (And then verse nine) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is one of those fruits. When you’re walking in the light of God’s Word, you’re ready to confess your sins. “I stumbled here. I sinned against you here.” You’re going to God vertically and then perhaps even to other people if you sinned against them. What else? You’re extending forgiveness without delay. Why? Because Christ has forgiven you. What else? You’re meeting people’s physical needs. If God’s provided you the resources, yeah, you’re willing to do that. Why? Because Jesus Christ has met your greatest need. You’re praying consistently for others because you want their highest good and you actually care for them. And you’re loving each other. Why? Because Jesus Christ has loved you well. Yeah, it’s all rooted in the gospel. This, friends, is true koinonia. This is what we mean when we say gospel-centered community and listen, it’s transcendent in nature. It is. It transcends external realities. You could take someone who’s from like, the suburbs, he’s Mr. suburbia, right? And you can pair him with a dude who’s just full-blown country. I’m talking full-blown country-like tractors and feed stores and fixing everything with his hands. You can pair both of them together. And even though they’re so different from an external standpoint if they walk in the light as He’s in the light. If they obey God’s Word as the source of truth while fixing their eyes on Jesus Christ, they can and will experience true koinonia, true fellowship. It’s a promise, church. Oh, what a great promise it is. And listen, we don’t want you to miss this. We want every single covenant member to experience the true depths and joys of biblical koinonia. Don’t miss out on this, family, when you choose to step outside of the light and reject this teaching what you’re doing is you’re forfeiting the many great blessings that actually stem from walking in the light and experiencing that fellowship. You’re forfeiting the care and love and concern and hospitality that you could experience from brothers and sisters in Christ when you say, “No, I’m not going to walk in the light.” Oh, don’t do that. Jesus is- He’s worth it. He died for you. He rose for you. He saved you by His grace. 

I’ll end here. This is 3 John 1:3-4. 3 John’s a little different, very different than 1 John in terms of the audience. 1 John was written to congregations. 3 John was written to an individual. Gaius. I don’t have time to go through much more context. But here you go. 3 John 3-4. John says, “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed (watch this) you’re walking in the truth.” That’s synonymous with walking in the light, family. And then verse four, John says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” John says, “No greater joy”. Hyperbole? You think John’s being hyperbolic? No, I think not. John knows that when children of light walk in the light of God’s Word obeying it as the source of truth with their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, the King of Kings is praised. He’s honored and He’s glorified and the church receives all the joy. May this be the testimony of Sherman Bible Church all for the glory of God and the joy of His people. 

SPEAKER

Matt Hahn

KEYWORDS

God, Fellowship, Light, Jesus, Effectual Call, Universal Call, Walk, Darkness, Holiness, Church, Truth, Gospel, Koinonia, Indicative, Imperative, Bible church, Grayson County

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