(This is the second sermon in a two-part sermon series aimed at helping us understand what it is to be in fellowship together, what makes fellowship possible, and what that means to our mission as a church: to be disciples of Christ who make disciples of Christ.)
TEXT: 1 John 2:1-17
Big Idea: “A heart reconciled to God in Christ will result in a life reconciled to others in meaningful fellowship.”
1. Jesus removes the dividing wall of our sin and brings reconciliation. (1 John 2:1-2)
The source of division between God and man is our sin. Through His perfect obedience to Father and His sacrificial death on the cross for us, Jesus reconciles us to God through faith. Now, we must no longer live in an unchecked lifestyle of sin. But we will struggle, and we may fall. And when we do, Jesus is our advocate and comes to our defense. He doesn’t defend us based on our merit or try to get us off on some technicality. Jesus already took the sentence for our crime. He was already judged for our sin. That means Jesus destroyed the dividing wall of our sin between us and God the Father. What sin divided, Jesus has powerfully, perfectly reconciled.
2. We are can now live in obedience to Christ and in fellowship with one another. (1 John 2:3-11)
To be reconciled with God means you are also reconciled with God’s people. We can’t say we love Jesus if we don’t obey His commands. And we can’t say we love Jesus if we don’t love His people. You cannot divide Christ from His Body. To love Jesus is to love His church. And yet, no one does this perfectly. No one does this without fail. And that’s kind of the point. What we are called to, in living out life together, in fighting our own sin and helping others do the same, we can’t do it in our own strength. The Holy Spirit is our strength. He unifies the believer to Christ and empowers us to live lives unified with one another.
3. Community life is a gift from God as a means for our sanctification. (1 John 2:12-17)
Speaking in loving terms and addressing the church as his own family, John reminds us that our sins are already forgiven, we already know the Father, and we have already overcome the evil one. While our salvation is complete, our sanctification is not. All of us have weaknesses. All of us have temptations. And God doesn’t bring spiritual growth in isolation. He puts us with other imperfect, flawed people, He gives us the transforming power of the gospel, he pours out His abundant grace, He stirs it all together, and that’s how He builds His church. That is God’s gift to you, for your good. And when we live our lives in loving community, it is also a gift those who don’t yet know Christ, shining a light of hope into a darkened world.