Sermon for 9/19/2004
Jesus is the Light
Making decisions in the dark can lead to some regrettable consequences. Back in the days before electricity, a tightfisted old farmer was taking his hired man to task for carrying a lighted lantern when he went to call on his best girl. "Why," the farmer exclaimed, "when I went a-courtin’ I never carried one of them things. I always went in the dark." "Yes," the hired man said," and look what you got!"
A. Today we are talking about light. How I wish that we could have some sunlight?
B. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”
C. Yes, Christ might be referring to physical light but more than likely he is talking about spiritual light.
Thesis: Jesus is the Light of Scrutiny. Jesus is the Light of Salvation. Jesus is the Light that Shows Through.
Jesus is the Light of Scrutiny
A. Read John 3:19-21
B. To scrutinize is to examine or observe with great care; inspect critically.
C. When people want to examine something like a diamond or a coin or painting or sculpture or some ancient artifact, they examine it under a bright and concentrated light. Under this light they see all of the flaws and minor details of the piece they are examining. This is putting this piece under the light of scrutiny.
D. Take for instance you ladies. It doesn’t matter how you look at night. Look nasty and no one can see. If someone were to come by early in the morning right after you get out of bed, you would be embarrassed. Why? Because in the light people can see all of the flaws and minor details of face and body.
E. Light gives the ability to observe something. Without light it is difficult, impossible to really examine something.
F. Jesus calls himself the light of the world. Jesus is also called the Word. Jesus Christ himself is the Word sent down from heaven. The Bible also is the Word sent down from heaven. God’s nature and character are revealed through Christ, and God’s nature and character are revealed through the words in this Book.
G. (Heb 4:12 NIV) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
H. When the light of the Word shines down upon us, we are found for what we really are: evil and sinful people.
I. Evil people. Yes? Dr. Scott Peck wrote a book titled, “People of the Lie.” Early in the book Peck tells one of the stories form his counseling practice that helped lead him to see that evil is a genuine reality in the world. He calls it, “The Case of Bobby and His Parents.” Bobby was a 15 year old boy who was sent by the court to see Dr. Peck because his grades in school were falling. He was depressed and he had an accident with a stolen car. Dr. Peck met with Bobby and heard his story. After meeting with Bobby a few times, Dr. Peck was alarmed by what he saw. He was even more alarmed by what he heard. He learned that Bobby’s older brother, Stuart, had committed suicide in June of the previous year. Stuart had shot himself in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. Stuart’s suicide had clearly been the cause for Bobby’s academic slide and personal depression. But there was more. At Christmas time Bobby’s parents gave him a .22 rifle. “Isn’t that the same kind of gun your brother used to kill himself?” an amazed Dr. Peck said to Bobby. “It wasn’t the same kind of gun,” Bobby replied. “It is the same gun.” Dr. Peck was stunned. Bobby’s parents were all but telling him to commit suicide too. Dr. Peck called the parents to this office. They seemed to be quite normal, blue collar, church going, and hard working people. Dr. Peck confronted them with their deed. “Don’t you see that giving Bobby this gun is like telling him to go out and kill himself?” Dr. Peck inquired. The parents, Dr. Peck tells us, could see no such thing. They were blind to the consequences of their own deeds. In his continued work with Bobby and his parents Dr. Peck began to formulate the thesis that these parents were evil people. Bobby was in the clutches of evil powers. This evil resided in his parents. They were people who could simply not tell the truth about themselves. This is Dr. Peck’s definition of evil. Evil people deceive others by building layer upon layer of self-deception around them. Evil people are not the same as sinful people. It is not their sins in themselves that distinguish between evil people and sinful people (everyone is sinful). The difference is that evil people refuse to acknowledge any fault at all in their character.
J. Think about some of the people in the news. Saddam Hussein still believes that everything he did was right. Osama Bin Laden believes that leading terrorist activities is a good thing. When people like this are brought to question about these activities, they attempt to throw the light on others. It was the Kurds. It was the Americans. It is simply not true. Dr. Peck says 99% of the evil done in the world is carried out by those who are convinced they are absolutely right. Make every attempt to delude themselves to believe that they are right all of the time. No thought about what they did wrong, because they are right.
K. (1 John 1:8 NIV) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
L. Well, we are not evil, but we all have evil tendencies. WE do not like to have our sins exposed. We do not like to have the Word focused on us and the Spirit lets us know that we fall so short. We are spiritually bankrupt.
M. We don’t want to get serious about our walk with Christ because it is so humiliating. It is even dangerous.
N. It reminds me of a church on the brink of closing its doors. The leaders get together and say that the answer is prayer. They are right! They pray that God will reveal to them what is wrong. Then it happens. The elder who’s been swindling from work is caught; the deacon’s wife who has been having an affair is found out; the Sunday school teacher’s teenager who has been dabbling in witchcraft is exposed; the truth about the preacher’s shaky marriage becomes known. Hidden things come to light. Things that are uncomfortable. So what does the church do? They stop praying. They don’t want to push for more prayer, because deep down they’d rather not deal with the mess.
O. This is the reason a lot of people don’t want to go to church. Their sins are exposed to their minds and their hearts and they do not like it. They love the darkness where these things are not exposed. They love their sins and they don’t want to be reminded of their wickedness. Some are evil and run from the light. Others, even though the truth hurts, come into the light so that Christ can transform them.
P. The longer I walk with Christ the more my sinful condition is made known to me. Lately, I have been convicted of my selfishness. (Phil 2:4 NIV) Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Q. When Crystal tells me that I am selfish, I don’t like it. I have two choices, ignore the teachings of Scripture and do what I want to do or admit this is a problem and submit it to Christ who will help me to deal with it.
R. Do we believe that Jesus will transform lives? Do we believe that no matter what the situation, nothing is beyond the touch of God? We need to stay in the light, recognizing that hidden things will become known. When the problem is us, we need to give them to Christ because…
Jesus is the Light of salvation
A. We all hate the light. WE love darkness. We do not love the things of God. We do not love the church. We do not love the Bible, the Word. Naturally, we run away from these things. But to have salvation we must go into the light of Christ.
B. John 8:12
C. We want to have the light of life, not the darkness of eternal death. Must come out into the light. Believe, repent, confess, and be baptized.
D. We cannot stay in the light without having the light of salvation in our hearts. Without Christ, we will run from the light. We are like creatures of the night.
E. Amy Grant- Out in the open
And you say
Come on out come out
Come on out come out
Out in the open
Come on out come on out
Come on out come on out
Into the light
There is no jury
There is no judge
Ready and waiting
Are the steady arms of love
F. While Alexander the Great was still in his early teens, Philonicus the Thessalonian offered to sell Alexander’s father Philip his horse, a temperamental, but strong horse. Philip took his son along to see the horse go through his paces, but the stallion proved so unmanageable that none of the men could even mount him. Alexander noticed that he seemed to be afraid of his own shadow, so he quieted the horse by turning his head toward the sun! Then Alexander mounted the horse, let him run freely for a while, and soon, by keeping him headed toward the sun, he got him under control. Millions today are afraid of their own shadow, the shadow of their evil deeds, the haunting shadow of their own guilty conscience and the shadow of hundreds of fears and failures. When they are pointed toward Christ, their shadows immediately fall behind them, for Christ is the light of the world and all who follow Him shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. The closer one walks to Him the more light he has; and the farther one gets from Christ, the deeper are the shadows. And he, who is so foolish as to walk away from Christ, walks even deeper into the shadows that will eventually plunge him into eternal darkness.
Jesus is the Light that Shows Through
A. (Mat 5:14 NIV) "You are the light of the world.
B. Philippians 2:15- children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—
C. A little girl, on the way home from church, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.” The mother said, “Oh! Why is that?” The girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?” “Yes, that’s true,” the Mother replied. “He also said that God lives in us. Is that true, too?” Again the mother replied, “Yes.” “Well,” said the little girl. “If God is bigger than us and he lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?” I like that little girl’s way of putting it. If God lives in us, then there’s no way of keeping him from “showing through.” That’s the essence of Christian living- living in such a way that people around us will see God in our lives.
D. (Mat 5:16 NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.