Summary: This sermon addresses allowing the light of Christ to shine into and transform every area of our lives through the help of the Holy Spirit
(I used Andy Stanley’s outlining method of me, we, God, you, we. You will see those broken down in the text of sermon. Also, I blacked out the windows and turned off the lights so that it was as dark as I could get it. Lights out where it says DARK and lights back on when it says LIGHT.)
Dare Something Different: Jesus, the Light of the World
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: 16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
There are some areas of my life where I don’t want just everybody looking. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything “major,” I’m not starting an “I have sinned” speech or anything. It is just a few things, let me give you some general examples. The last thing I do at night before I go to bed is take off my socks, which I do while sitting on my bed. And when I do I toss them in the floor next to the bed, and sometimes I pick them up the next morning, but most often I don’t. So quite often there is a small mound of socks next to the wall by my bed, and when someone stops by the house that mound of socks is the first thing I think about. I’ll welcome whoever it is to the house, and then I’ll make my way by our bedroom door and pull it closed.
There are some other issues as well like stupid little things that make me angry some times, and a little bit of self doubt that creeps in on Saturday nights as I am thinking about what I am going to share the next morning.
My guess is that this is true for you as well. Maybe you’ve been a follower of Jesus for awhile, or maybe you’re still checking things out, but there are areas of your life that you would rather no one look at with a microscope.
Maybe it is an attitude that you have toward someone. Like the guy who said, “What do you do when you miss your mother-in-law?” RELOAD! Perhaps there is an integrity issue and you are not completely honest in some area at home or at work. Maybe there is a secret sin that no one knows about, and somehow you have managed to convince yourself that God doesn’t see into that area of your life, or at least you try not to think about what God sees you do.
We talk about Jesus as the Light of the World as a joyful pronouncement, but we have to realize that Jesus presence cuts both ways. It is a blessing, but it can also be painful. So what does it mean to us that Jesus is the Light of the World, and why is it that, even as a follower of Jesus, many times it is more comfortable not to invite Him into different areas of our life?
The first thing I want us to look at this morning is the broader context of Jesus coming. There was a period between the Old and New Testaments of about 400 years, we have talked about this before, it is called the, cleverly enough, the Intertestamental Period. This period lasted for approximately 400 years, and it was a very dark period of time for God’s people, the Jews.
During this time there was an acknowledgement by the Jews and their leaders that God had stopped talking to them. There were no prophets that came to them, to guide them or chastise them (and you know what it means when someone doesn’t even care enough anymore to try and correct you). The Romans moved in and various governors that ruled the region brought with them various levels of oppression.
The most notable of the oppressors was Antiochus Epiphanies (if you don’t like your name or middle name, now you have a reason to be grateful). He conquered Jerusalem, and slaughtered a pig on the altar in the Holy of Holies, thus desecrating the temple. He forced the Jews to eat pork and if they refused whole families were killed, starting with the youngest and moving to the oldest.