1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)
How many days until Christmas? This is the first Sunday of Advent. There are 4 Sundays including today between now and December 25th. Many of you have already gotten into the giving spirit by putting together Christmas Shoe boxes or given different gifts to Gospel for Asia. Our focus should be on giving as God shared with us His only Son. John 3:16 "God so loved the world that He GAVE His only Son, that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life." What kind of response are we going to return to God because of this wonderful gift?
Have you ever sat down and compared the Christmas story as recorded in the 4 stories of Jesus, the Gospels? Matthew focuses on Mary and Joseph and their relationship and then speaks about the wisemen. Mark doesn't mention anything about Jesus' early years but begins his narrative with John the Baptist's ministry. Luke gives us a lot of details about John's birth and the events around Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. The Gospel of John brings a unique perspective to the coming of Christ into this world. Matthew and Luke have a baby narrative but John takes a very different approach to God coming down to this earth to save mankind.
John, the beloved disciple, begins his writings with Jesus being the pre-existing creator. John calls Jesus the Word and he says that this Word is God - not just "a god" as some religions or cults teach. This establishes His deity - that Jesus is God. John is expressing that Jesus was the creator by saying that all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.
Not only was he the source of the creation, He is the source of life. We have Jesus the life-giver a person who then gives His life so that our life does not terminate with death but we can now have eternal life with our Creator and Saviour. It doesn't get much better than this but so many people don't recognize that great gift that we can have. They live life for themselves and fail to acknowledge that Christ forgives and cleanses our lives. He transforms our thinking and gives us a pure heart. We can see clearly and in a new way. He gives us a part of God to live in us in that He gives us the Holy Spirit.
Some of you may have had cataracts. Your sight gets foggy and you cannot see clearly. Spiritual cataracts cause us to misunderstand the word of God because we can't see clearly. We need a spiritual operation so our life is filled of light. As long as we live in darkness, we will struggle, continue to do evil and think wrong thoughts.
Because He is the light he can see in the darkness. My son, Wayne, put out an infra-red camera that can see objects in the dark. His camera had a beautiful 6pt buck come right up to it at about 2 am in the dark of night. It took a picture of the deer with infra-red sensors. The deers like darkness too they can move undetected through the fields.
We can't hide in the dark from God. Some people cause mischief or damage at night because they think they won't be caught. God sees them. Some people are immoral in the dark, whether at a night club, a car or someplace else in the darkness because they think they can't be seen but God sees them. John says in chapter 3:19-21 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Jesus came as the light of the world. He brings light to everyone. Let's use this candle to symbolize Jesus, we will light it and then turn out the lights. Can Jesus bring light to all of us? You can all see this candle. Light from this candle is filling the room with photons. If we sniff out the candle we end up with darkness.
Can we live in darkness? It is impossible to see in complete darkness. But that is the way many lives are today spiritually. Many people are struggling in darkness because they do not understand that Jesus wants to bring them light and they have not accepted that light yet. Maybe you are one of those who doesn't have Jesus' light in your heart, bringing you brightness, joy and peace.
You can ask Jesus to forgive your disobedience, your sin, all the wrong you have ever done and ask Him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and evil. Ask Him to clean your heart and mind and fill it with the Holy Spirit. There is nothing for us to pay for this. This is a free gift God wants to give to every person that Jesus created. He wants us to have eternal life and enjoy being in the home that He has created for us to live with Him forever. You can ask Him to free you from all past bondage and give you a new life. After the service you can share your decision with someone you trust to rejoice with you.
Continuing on in John 1: 6 - 8 There was a man, sent from God whose name was John (maybe there was also a Jake or Abe or Peter) - He came for a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all people through him might believe. He was not that Light but sent to bear witness of the Light.
Are you like John? Do you have light that can shine to bear witness about the true light. Some people are like flashlights and some are like spotlight in the way we shine.
We are all to shine our lights in the darkness to reveal the true light Jesus Christ. Last week Pastor Lowell talked about being effective witnesses. We want to be serious about being a true witness of the transforming power of Jesus Christ. When we turned out heart over to God to become His child, we invited the Holy Spirit to come in and make a change. 2 Cor. 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!" Things should be new.
Others should see the new you because you reflect the light. Just like the moon does not have its own light so we by ourselves do not have light. We are to be reflectors of the light that God puts in us.
At one point in His life after Moses had spent 40 days with God, his countenance was so bright that the people could not look at him. He wore a veil. (Ex 34:29 - 35) Do you want a radiant face. Forget the makeup and spend the time with God. Your face will glow with joy, peace and light.
Jesus' face glowed when He went up the mountain with 3 of his disciples, (Mt 17:1-11, Mark 9:2 - 12, Lk 9:28-36) Let's read Luke 9: 28 -36 28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.' 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.
When we spend time with God He fills us with His radiance and shares His glory. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 - 14 says But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you really believe in the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the One who died for your sins so that when you receive Him you will be cleansed and freed from your past bondage to sin. I want you to experience that freedom. There is no reason to be bound and enslaved to our sinful passions. God has the solution - an intimate relationship with Him. When we love Him and spend time with Him he will cause our lights to shine. Jesus declared, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ( John 8:12.)
Coming back to our focal passage in John 1, we read "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."
Jesus want to give light to everyone. He doesn't want us to wander around in spiritual darkness. That first Christmas, God gave the true light to the world. He also sent a special star to mark the occasion. Many people at the time and even still today do not recognize Him as the Son of God who was resurrected and is now at the Father's right hand ruling in heaven. Do you? What does that mean for you? Do you want others to know that joy and peace that you have?
We need to be reflectors sharing the light of Jesus with others. John 9:4,5 says, "As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
Have you personally received Jesus into your life and asked Him to become your substitute for the punishment that you were to receive? Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." We deserve to die for our disobedience but God offers us eternal life because Jesus took on Himself the sin of the whole world and that includes you. The only way Jesus could do that was to come as a sinless person and then in an act of sacrifice and love, give Himself for us as the payment for our sin. If we receive that forgiveness, acknowledge what Jesus did for us and ask Him to take away our sin we will be saved from hell and be given the gift of eternal life. Are you a child of Light today? We need to get rid of the darkness and come into the light.
You will be able to one day then enter into "The city that does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its light." (Rev 21:23) In that city "There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."(Rev 22:5 )
Jesus said, "You are the light of the world Mt 5:14- 16 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Some of you are still walking in the darkness. Would you consider making a commitment to embrace the light. If you have never asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sins, would you do that today? It is wonderful to walk in the light and not stumble around in the world of darkness, doubt and depression. I would invite you to come forward and take one of the candles that are here and light your candle from Jesus.
I am also giving each of you an opportunity to come forward this morning and take a candle and light it as a symbol that you want to be a part of the Light of the World. You want to be a witness to that Light where ever you are. I want you to come forward because you mean business with Jesus. You want to shine for Him. You want to reflect His light to the world.
Come forward while the music is playing. Take a candle and light it and then put it down again. When all of you have had a chance to light a candle, we will close.
Dec 1, 2013, LEMC
Send the Light
The Light of the World is Jesus 235