Summary: Good sermon for first Sunday of Advent -- lighting of Prophet Candle. The theme of light vs. darkness is woven throughout the Bible. This is what the coming of the Light marked in our world.
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
There’s a fascinating recurring theme woven throughout the Bible. It’s the theme of light and darkness. We begin with darkness in only the second verse of the entire Bible. Genesis 1:2 says, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” And the first recorded words that God spoke in the Bible are found in Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” And Genesis 1:4-5 continues the same theme when it measures the reaction of God and declares, “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.”
And in describing the coming of Jesus, the gospel writer John echoes that same theme from Genesis – but this time in the New Testament. John, chapter 1, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God , and the Word was God. . .In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (vs. 1-5 )
And in Matthew, chapter 6, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
And even the Apostle Paul wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what communion hath light with darkness.” (2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV) “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)
You know, I think that the Biblical writers were probably more conscious of the contrast between light and darkness than most of us are today. Because their lives were governed by it much more than ours are today. And it’s not that we’re not smart enough to know the difference. I just don’t think that we’re as affected by the difference, on a daily basis, as they were. Probably, the longest 8 days I’ve ever spent in my life were the 8 days we lived without electricity in September of 1989, following Hurricane Hugo. . .(personal illustration of the power and phone outages following Hugo)
I’m convinced that we don’t appreciate the contrast as much today – simply because we’re not controlled by it as much today. But, that’s how the Biblical writers described the coming of Christ into the world. That’s how they described the difference that the coming of Christ could make in a person’s life. It was the difference between darkness and light. It was the difference between the fear of walking into a dark room – verses the confidence of hitting the switch before you do it. And, if there’s one thing that Christmas is, it’s the triumph of light over darkness. Isaiah foretold (TEXT), “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) And Jesus personalized that prophecy when he declared (SECONDARY TEXT), “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)
And, this morning, I’ve entitled my message, “A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS.” And I’d simply like to share with you three things that the coming of the Light into the world marked.
1. THE COMING OF THE LIGHT MARKED THE REALITY OF JUDGMENT
Jesus once made an interesting statement about the appeal of darkness to people who have something to hide. He said, “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)
I have a theory about sin. I don’t think it’s original. And, to be honest, I don’t think the great theologians will be putting it in their theology textbooks anytime soon. But I call it the “Cockroach Theory.” Now, since all of us live in such opulence – you’ve probably never personally seen this in your home before. But, if you’ve ever walked into a dark room and turned on the light, and there were cockroaches in that room – you know what they do? They don’t put on their little cockroach sunglasses, and break-out the sun screen, and lay there worshipping that great glowing orb above them – like we humans do. No! You’ve seen what they do. They try to escape that light as quickly as they can. They dart all over the place as quickly as their little legs will carry them – trying to get back in a dark place as fast as they can.