Summary: Just as Christ illuminates the entire world, He illuminates our souls; salvation is personal; Christ came for each of us.
Light of the World, John 3:16-21
The famed Congregational Preacher, Dwight L. Moody, once said, “The great trouble is that people take everything in general, and do not take it to themselves. Suppose a man should say to me, ‘Moody, there was a man in Europe who died last week, and left five million dollars to a certain individual.’ ‘Well,’ I say, ‘I don’t doubt that; it’s rather a common thing to happen,’ and I don’t think anything more about it. But suppose he says, ‘But he left the money to you.’ Then I pay attention; I say, ‘To me?’ ‘Yes, he left it to you.’ I become suddenly interested. I want to know all about it. So we are apt to think Christ died for sinners; He died for everybody and for nobody in particular. But when the truth comes to me that eternal life is mine, and all the glories of heaven are mine, I begin to be interested. I say, ‘Where is the chapter and verse where it says I can be saved?’ If I put myself among sinners, I take the place of the sinner, then that salvation is mine and I am sure of it for time and eternity.”
To whom did God give such a rich inheritance as that of His own son? For whom did Christ come into the world to save? It is for you and for me!
As I enter the Scripture this morning, it is to the aim of expounding the nature of the light which has been shed in Christ. Most specifically, my enterprise, here today, is that upon expositing the Word of God as it is found in the Gospel of John 3:16-21, we will all walk from this place more full in the knowledge that it is not for someone far away, not for some person somewhere that Christ came, but that it is most specifically to illuminate our darkened souls, that the light came.
Salvation is not a universal principal or a good idea. Salvation in Christ Jesus is to be an experiential reality. In other words, Salvation in Christ is not something we know about but it is something live in. It is not like a trinket which adorns our neck which can easily remove or lose; salvation is the spirit of God intertwined with our spirit like two strands of very strong rope.
Colossians 2:6-9 says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (NIV)
Now then, Salvation is something we live in because the Scripture tells us that we are in Christ. Living in Christ is an essential part of the Christian life. Indeed, it is the primary thing which motivates all Christian belief and activity.
Just as a man who longs to sail on the sea must first learn the meaning of the riggings, moorings, and sail, so too, a person longing to live a life worthy of the Gospel to which they are called, must come to discover what the Scriptures tells us in regard to life in Christ; life illuminated by the light of the world; the light of the entire world and the light of the world of our individual souls.
Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) – Salvation is in Christ.
Romans 12:5 says, “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (NIV) – Unity is in Christ.
I Corinthians 1:30 says, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (NIV) – Righteousness, holiness, and redemption are found in Christ and as we are brought into the body of Christ through faith, our souls are illuminated with the light of His righteousness, His holiness, and His redemption.
We become one with Christ and all that we are resides in Him and all that He is resides in us. Being in Christ is a matter of being in completion submission to Christ for his sake, even as He was in perfect submission to the Father for our sake.
To be found is a permanent situation because being found in Christ involves not merely a temporary decision but a permanent change of address; a change of status from sinner to saint, a change not only in the nature of relation with God but also a change in the very nature of our nature.