What Does It Mean To Walk In The Light

by Mike Ratliff

1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 ESV)

The Church, the True Church, has always taken the stance that God’s truth is knowable. However, in these “post-modern” times this “stance” has come under considerable attack causing many to question it’s veracity. Also, His truth is as His attributes and character. He is immutable. His truth is never changing. He is Holy. His truth is Holy, separate from the corruption of the world. His truth, the Word of God, is precise. It supernaturally divides man’s “truth” and understanding from God’s genuine truth. It is sharper than a two edged sword.

I never thought I would write or say the following statement. Religion is the bane of genuine Christianity. It dilutes our devotion from where it should be, on God and God alone, while placing it on works and religious activities that suck all the devotion away from God while placing it on things that build up pride and feed the flesh. While genuine expositions of God’s Word by spiritually gifted men is necessary, many Church activities are so far from what Christians should be about that their removal would not in any way hinder the genuine work Christians should be doing.

I am not in any way advocating the doing away with all churches. However, if we look at the primitive church from Acts and the Epistles, we must admit that what passes for “church” these days in most churches is nothing more than repackaged entertainment that is often just cheap ripoffs from movies and television with much attention given to cultural relevancy. Genuine worship in spirit and truth is replaced with “entertaining” music accompanied with appropriate light shows and sound and visual effects. Instead of hearing the Law and Gospel preached as it should be with the emphasis on man’s depravity and utter separation from our Holy God by their sin with the only remedy being belief and repentance in light of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross in their place, fleshly crowds hear feel good sermons that attempt to market Christianity to people as if they were taking Jesus out for a test drive.

Christians do need to gather each week to worship God, fellowship and hear edifying Bible teaching and preaching. However, if the alternative are churches as I described in the last paragraph then perhaps God has another plan. Are Christians called to be church going people who are bound to a certain local church financially, or are they called to walk in the Light?

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)

Walking in the Light is walking in fellowship with our Lord. When we do this we naturally have fellowship with other believers who are doing the same thing. This walk is a walk of continual cleansing. We cannot walk with our Lord without confessing and repenting of our sins. As we confess them to Him in repentance, He forgives us of our sins, cleansing us of our unrighteousness. This is how we walk in repentance as the Lord grants us repentance. This is how we grow in grace and become mature believers. This is how we walk in the Light instead of the darkness.

The only reference to “church” in that last passage was that we will have fellowship with other like-minded believers who are also walking in the Light. If this describes the local church that you attend then praise the Lord! Our focus must be on God and our walk before Him yoked up with our Lord Jesus Christ while walking in the Spirit. If we do this, then we are walking in the Light. None of that is possible without the constant cleansing that comes from being in His presence. I have a hard time believing that the Apostle John meant for religious acclivity to substitute for this.

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:9-11 ESV)

Where was John on the Lord’s day? The Lord’s day is Sunday. He was in exile on the Island of Patmos. There was a Roman garrison there and a few shepherds, but John was alone. What was he doing on the Lords day? He was in the Spirit. What does that mean? It means that He was doing the very same thing we do when we sacrifice our time to read God’s Word, pray, and worship Him. Folks, I know you know my stance on this. Most Christians use church as a surrogate for their relationship with God. Instead of praying, digging into the Word and worshipping our Lord every day as they should, they let a worship team, a Bible teacher and a Preacher do all that for them. They go to church and sit there absorbing all of that and never once do they worship our Lord in Spirit and Truth because they are just there hoping that the sermon ends in time so they can go do something else.

I have been in the spirit in my own devotions before. I have worshipped our Lord in Spirit and Truth on my couch in our living room with no one else around. I have worshipped deeply this way as I have shared before. I have rarely been able to do this in a church service. The issue is, we must do it. We must give God the time to work in our hearts. I find it very hard to believe that His intent was to have us in His building once or twice a week for a couple of hours each time and call that Walking in the Light, yoked up with Christ and being filled with the Spirit.

Our focus must be on God fully devoted to Him and His glory. This is an all day, everyday thing. I challenge everyone reading this to have devotional in the morning and another in the evening every day that is possible. Also, give God your free time. I’m not talking about doing church stuff. I’m talking about getting into the Word of God, praying and worshipping Him. Fast and pray whenever possible. Start taking time away from feeding your flesh and give that time to God. Fast from the world and feast on God. I challenge you to do this and see what happens. What will happen is that you will find yourself walking in the Light. When we walk in His Light we can see into the darkness. What will we see? We will see multitudes of professing Christians blindly practicing their religion thinking they are on the same path that you are when, in fact, they are on the Broad Way which leads to destruction. On the other hand, those walking in the Light are on the narrow way that is hard to find. This way is deadly to the flesh and pride, but it cultivates humility and walking in the spirit.

Fellow believers, let’s get very serious about our walk. Let’s get into the Light, walk in the Light and leave spiritual darkness far behind.

Soli Deo Gloria!

17 thoughts on “What Does It Mean To Walk In The Light

  1. I have to agree with you that the ‘Religious’ Church is a Total waste of time and energy. Why? because they are ruled by Doctrines that were written by Man and are FULL of error and falseness. Even the term, Christian has lost its true meaning. On the topic of Knowing the Heart and Mind of God, it IS possible. I Cor 2: 11-16 says it best.
    1Co 2:11 For who knows the inner workings of a person except the person’s own spirit inside him? So too no one knows the inner workings of God except God’s Spirit.
    1Co 2:12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God, so that we might understand the things God has so freely given us.
    1Co 2:13 These are the things we are talking about when we avoid the manner of speaking that human wisdom would dictate and instead use a manner of speaking taught by the Spirit, by which we explain things of the Spirit to people who have the Spirit.
    1Co 2:14 Now the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God — to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit.
    1Co 2:15 But the person who has the Spirit can evaluate everything, while no one is in a position to evaluate him.
    1Co 2:16 For who has known the mind of Adonai? Who will counsel him? But we have the mind of the Messiah!

    We CAN know since the Spirit in us communicates to the Spirit of God, His very Heart. So then, that argument holds no water since the Spiritual man KNOWSs God’s very Heart.

  2. I LOVE IT!! Yes Mike there is a vast difference isn’t there. Manfred posted a piece on DEF CON from the early 1600′s that shows the same issues were there as well. The difference? Godly men had the brass to call this sin out!

    Elders should be teaching the youngers to go out and accurately preach the Gospel, showing His Word in context. If the elder can both teach within the fellowship, and also go out and preach the gospel, then he is worthy of double recognition.

    Elders are nothing more than functioning servants. Really similar to 3rd graders in a 2nd grade classroom. If they learned the lesson earlier, they can assist the Teacher in helping the 2nd graders learn the lesson well. Yet, if they learned the lesson wrongly, they will pass on the error. If the 2nd grader gets the lesson right they can correct the 3rd graders error, and in that case function as the elder! In NO CASE however are the students the Teacher!

    Today we have thieves and robbers, AKA Hirelings in the jesus franchises sewing tares in with the wheat!

    I encourage folks to read John 10 and see for themselves the context of what jesus is saying regarding this for themselves, paying particular attention to verses 12 and 13 as they relate to the first 11.
    http://biblehub.com/john/10-1.htm

    It is true that if you are fortunate enough to be in a functioning Ecclesia instead of a jesus franchise, you are truly blessed. Mike had to move back to a former town with many difficult memories just to find one for himself! He did this, leaving Kansas City, a town full of “churches” yet the Fellowship of living stones was not to be seen as wolves have scattered the sheep there thanks to all the self serving hirelings!

  3. As far as Walking in the Light, that is a 24/7 activity that is difficult for the Natural Man but an Absolute Joy for the Spiritual. I, also, have spent unlimited hours in the Spirit, searching for Truths and nurishment is His Spirit. Those are the times the Holy Spirit Speaks to me and offers me comfort and knowledge. Others miss SO MUCH when they limit their time to just a hour or so every week.

  4. I think defining the church as the community of those who walk in His light is very wise. It debunks the claim by certain denominations particularly the RCC that they are the one and only true church. They claim holders of the Keys through what they call apostolic succession but I thought Paul went around making the Keys available to everyone.

  5. Having entered His Sabbath rest, or more appropriately having the Sabbath Rest, via the Holy Spirit in me, I find that every day is the Lord’s Day. I no longer attempt to enter in only to depart…For as you point out, we are in continuous fellowship with Him and His Elect, even here!

    Disclaimer* Being such a wretch, and in the process of being sanctified, having been justified, I only appear to be that which I am not yet.

    I challenge each reader to ask Him to bring to your memory each and every sin you have ever committed! He will bring them to mind, and repentance will be a continuous thing.
    For do we NOT want to run to the Light we seek to fellowship with? I now find myself even repenting of the things I dream…

  6. Great post–it is very sad how so many churches are gatherings of anything but those who love the Lord and walk with Him. More often they are bastions of unbelievers coming for a psychological fix–a mile wide and an inch deep. The true followers in these churches are starved for solid teaching and fellowship. The hard times coming will likely have quite a weeding out effect.

  7. Amen and amen, Mike! We still do not have a “church home,” after two years of looking. Perhaps I am too critical, but no place seems right to me. They are either caught up in seeker-sensitive silliness (in which the entire church is like one giant youth group) or hyper-focused on the law and not the gospel. For awhile, we spent Sunday mornings with a few friends, fellowshipping and studying the scriptures. That was great, until I started to feel guilty because another woman and I were doing all the teaching, and I didn’t want to fall into the role of de facto pastor, as we were all “refugees” from local churches. For my part, I think I could be happy without ever joining a church again. Communion with God has truly become a daily walk in repentance for me, just as you describe. I wish I could explain to the “church people” what they are missing! But I worry about my children. Will they be okay without a foundation in the church? And my old pastor’s voice keeps ringing in my ears, berating me for not giving God (i.e., church activities) first priority in my life. Your posts always give me hope.

  8. Mike,
    This message really ministered to my heart. I truly don’t want to cultivate a defensive, skeptical spirit, but I’m afraid I have. Like Agent Mulder from the “X files”, …I WANT to believe. I yearn to see a 501c3 that hasn’t fallen prey to one of the many extreme forms of churchianity, but the prospects thus far seem dim.
    Right now, my struggle is not with Seeker-driven relig-o-tainment, but rather with the curious practice of compelling a fellow brother or sister to pledge with written oaths, membership to “cut covenant” with the local assembly. It seems so much like a form of bondage, or a heavy yoke (unlike Christ’s), and implies a spirit of fear permeates the pastorate, so that “binding the conscience” of a beloved child of our Lord, is deemed acceptable.
    Dave

  9. Windy, thanks for sharing. We are now 7 years out of the jesus franchises. We always look for a biblical fellowship, but none have shown up in the buildings. Our daughter who grew up in churchianity, and even attended Christian school and a Christian college has been a bit turned off once she got to youth group, is now SLOWLY returning to her foundation, as I gently show her Truth and error.
    On the other hand, our son, who went his early years to Christian school and has now been homeschooled and home fellowshipped is pretty solid in his faith and quite conversant with his peers and adults with his faith and scripture in context. Now while our daughter attended a Collegiate Academy which was by testing and invitation only, and was the best school available here, and is now an Engineer, our son actually tests higher on the PSAT’s then she did!
    Our Lord is fully able to provide for us as we submit to Him as Lord!
    Should you or anyone else ever need to talk, ouremail address is: he.must_increase@roadrunner.com

  10. Dave,
    We have been on the receiving end of this practice as well. In fact, we left our previous church because we were asked to sign a covenant dictating, among other things, when we would show up for committee meetings and how much we would give financially. Bizarre.

    Mickey,
    Thank you for your kind, encouraging words! We also homeschool our daughter (our son is only 3). Thanks to the amazing resources available online — including Mike’s teaching! — I feel fairly well equipped to teach her truth from error, and homeschooling gives me the time to spend with her doing that. I hope it is not my pride talking, but I do sometimes feel that if we went back to church I would just spend all week undoing what she was learning there. I would love to chat with you; I’ll send you an email!

  11. Gosh, Mike – you mean we can’t just watch Joel Osteen or Steven Furtick once in a while and call it good? Dude! You’re ruining the broad road for so many! /sarc off/

    The culture has gotten its claws into so many who demand “church” reflect their views that it is becoming more and more difficult to find a biblical sheepfold. We went to a local Presbyterian church for a performance of Handel’s Messiah and the “senior pastor” there looked and talked like an SBC seeker sensitive fella. With no message at all, he gave an ABC invitation. I ’bout puked.

    I am digging into the old dead Baptists folks for more good stuff. I don’t need modern books so much, though are some very good ones. I have more books than I will ever read, unless the Lord extends my years, eyesight, and mind considerably past 80 years!

    People – put your Bible where you will see it in the morning. Train yourself to get up early and spend time with God before the day grabs your attention. In the evenings, spend some time with your family in the Word and in prayer, maybe a hymn. Let the Lord be THE focus of your life. Because living on auto-pilot will send you down the broad path.

  12. Dear Brother Mike,

    Thank you for this exhortation:
    “Fellow believers, let’s get very serious about our walk. Let’s get into the Light, walk in the Light and leave spiritual darkness far behind.”

    I have felt strongly compelled in recent weeks to find more time for prayer, study and worship. I already had morning and evening prayers but daily study was catch as catch can. Now I’ve committed daily time in the evening to study the bible. I’m a homemaker and homeschool our 9 year old son; I realized that during his school time I could accomplish even more study for myself while working with him on his bible studies! :)

    Also, I would like to thank you again for your blog. I often think how wonderful it would be to have you and your regular commenters as a real, albeit little, church. However, this “virtual” church is a blessing.

    I pray that you and your family and your regular commenters have a blessed new year and that each of us grows deeper and stronger in our Lord and Savior each day.

  13. I have learned more not going to church than going. Everything is so different now in churches, I recently attended a church with my daughter in law and I felt like I was at a rock concert. The pastor comes out and preaches for about 20 minutes and then just walks off the stage and the band started back up. To be honest, Im scared of them. I know I’m on the right track with what I do now. Im reading the Bible more now and and beginning to set aside time to daily read the bible. The christian bookstores have new age books, and the other bookstores are full of them. Its nice to hear others that are gong through the same thing with churches. The deception going on is unreal. God Bless all of you!!

  14. Pingback: What Does It Mean To Rightly Handle The Word Of Truth? | Possessing the Treasure

  15. I LOVE that newly constructed word – Churchianity! Wow! Talk about a word that fits the Crime! Now, how do we kill off the problem and bring back to Life the True Body of Christ (no, not the RCC)! LOL

Comments are closed.