Summary: Transfiguration (C) - God made his light shine in our hearts. As the god of this age brings darkness and we are reminded it is the only true God who overcomes all darkness.
GOD MADE HIS LIGHT SHINE IN OUR HEARTS
February 26, 2006 - Transfiguration - 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Who is afraid of the dark? The fear of the dark is not unknown to any of us, is it? We may not think we are scared of the dark; but when the lights are not on, how dangerous it can be if we get up in the middle of the night and stumble and fall and hurt ourselves. Outside in the dark, if a noise suddenly erupts from that darkness, we are frightened. Today, we are going to realize and study the fact that, by God’s grace and by his mercy, we no longer sit in the darkness. Rather, God has restored unto us the light of the knowledge of salvation. He has given us what we truly need.
It can be hard to fully understand while we are in the light to understand that darkness, which enfolds around us is very dangerous. As we sit in today’s morning light of the blessing of another day that God provides for us, it can be a little hard to understand the darkness. But we will let God’s word speak to us about this. Once again our loving Lord reminds us this morning as his word tells us, we are freely saved by God’s grace. In Matthew: "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Matthew 4:16). This verse describes believers, whether they are Christians gathered here or someplace else around the world. We live in this land of the shadow of death, but as believers a great light has dawned. But again, as we are going to see and remind ourselves and as Paul emphasizes, we don’t shine that light by our own efforts. We don’t come to God’s great light by our labors or worthiness. But instead, as Paul says:
GOD MADE HIS LIGHT SHINE IN OUR HEARTS.
Why does God have to do this miracle?
I. The god of this age brings darkness.
II. The true God overcomes all darkness.
I. THE GOD OF THIS AGE BRINGS DARKNESS
Today, we finish up our sermon texts from Corinthians. As we review these letters we see that Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians because they were a troubled congregation. The believers struggled with sexual immorality and false preachers and other problems. Paul then wrote the second letter to follow up on that first letter. As we look at Paul and his ministry, we see he had a troubled ministry. By God’s miracle of grace Paul became a Christian when God made his light shine in Paul’s heart. Then his life changed so much that Paul gave up everything. When he gave up everything, he didn’t realize from time to time he almost would give up his life suffering for the sake of the Gospel.
But what does he say? Our text begins: "Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." Paul never gave up. The original word says, "We do not give in to evil or we do not lose courage." Paul did not lose courage or give in to evil or lose heart, because he realized that previously in his life he was in darkness that the god of the age had blinded him. Thankfully, by God’s great mercy, he was brought into God’s light. Paul realized the difference, and his message was a simple message--Christ lived, died and rose again. He says: "Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God."
Over and over again, the people were told Christ lived and died and rose again. As we have learned, Paul had to repeat this message over and over again. This was the first generation to hear about the resurrection of Jesus, the Savior of the world. We are also reminded that these Corinthians lived in a society where they learned by listening. They didn’t have books, various translations of the Bible to study, but they went to the temple. Someone would read to them, and they would listen. This meant it was important to hear the same message over and over. The resurrection of Jesus was a good message to hear, because the god of their age also blinded the mind of unbelievers.
What does Paul write? In verse 5 of our text Paul always reminded the believers that it wasn’t him who saved them. It wasn’t even, in a sense, his preaching but the preaching of God’s word. "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake." Again, getting back to the point that Jesus, the foundation of the early Christian church (and our Christian church today), lived, died and rose again was the only message that truly mattered.