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Summary: God is light. Nothing stronger can be said. This is as far as human language can go in relating God and light. God is light. Light is of the very essence of God's nature.

The Emperor Trajan said to Rabbi Joshua, "You teach that your

God is everywhere. I should like to see Him." The Rabbi replied,

"God's presence is everywhere, but He cannot be seen. No mortal

eye can behold His glory." The Emperor insisted, however, and

so the Rabbi said, "Let us begin then by first looking at one of his

servants. The Emperor consented to this, and so followed the

Rabbi out into the open. "Now," said the Rabbi, "Gaze into the

splendor of the sun." "I cannot," said the Emperor, "The light

dazzles me." The Rabbi responded, "Thou art unable to endure

the light of one of his servants, and canst thou expect to behold

the resplendent glory of the Creator. Would not such a light

annihilate thee?"

The Jews had a higher concept of God than all ancient peoples,

because God revealed Himself to them as a God of glory, light,

and splendor. The Old Testament has many descriptions of God

like that given in Hab. 3:3-4. "His glory covered the heavens, and

His praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sun rise;

rays flashed from His hand, where His power was hidden." It

was because of this knowledge of the glory of God that the Jews

were an optimistic people. A man's character is determined

largely by the character of the God he worships. If one worships

a god who is a tyrant, and unpredictable, and without mercy, but

cruel, it is not likely he will be a man of flaming joy. Luther lived

for years with a false concept of God, and as a result, lived in fear

and dread. Most religions have had such a dark concept of God

that the followers of these religions seldom knew what it was to be

truly joyful and at peace.

Many ancient peoples, and peoples yet today, whose god's are

made in the image of man, and are only depraved supermen,

cruel and immoral, are no more optimistic than the materialist

who says, "I feel the universe is one huge, dead, immeasurable

steam engine, rolling on in its dead indifference to grind us limb

from limb." You can't expect persons like that to be bursting

with optimism, and bubbling with joy. On the other hand, when

people have the concept of God as He is revealed in Scripture, it

leads to optimism and joy. This was true in the Old Testament,

even before God fully revealed Himself in Jesus Christ.

The Jews began their day at sundown, rather than at sunup.

All their festivals and holidays begin at night, and their Sabbath

also begins at night. All of this was to symbolize their optimism

and confidence in the God of light. Anyone can have confidence

in the day, and look forward to a bright day when the sun rises,

but the Jews began their rejoicing as the sun sank to symbolize

their confidence that even in the darkness light will prevail, and a

new day will dawn. Tomorrow always comes for the believer.

Even death cannot change that. Such was the attitude of the Jews

who had only a shadow of the full revelation yet to come. How

much greater ought our joy and optimism to be who stand in the

full light? Paul in II Cor. 4:6 writes, "For God, who said, 'Let

light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to

give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face

of Christ." We have a message as superior to the Old Testament, as it was

to the pagan darkness surrounding it. That is why John, after

stating that his purpose for writing this book was that the joy of

believers might be full, immediately announces the truth on which

all Christian joy is based, which is the truth that God is light.

This morning we want to examine this primary message and its

meaning. First let's look at the message itself.

I. THE MESSAGE.

John has built us up to a point of

expectation. He has made great statements of his aim to share

with us truths that will lead to fullness of fellowship, and fullness

of joy. We ought to be standing on our tiptoes breathlessly

longing to see what it is he is going to declare. In verse 5, after

this stimulating introduction, John says, this is it! Here it is! This

is the message that we have received, and now pass it on to you.

This is no matter of speculation and theory, this is the message we

have heard from Christ Himself, and now declare to you, and that

message is, God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. We see a

positive and negative side to this message.

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