Summary: Living in the light of Christ means admitting our wrongs, but it also means new life by His Spirit.
Living in the Light of Christ
One of my favorite contemporary Christian tunes is a song by Geoff Moore entitled, Best Days. Throughout the song Geoff highlights some of the most memorable days of his life – a day when his dad took him fly fishing, taught him how to tie a fly, hook a fish and bring her in and how he related that experience being the fishers of men that God has called us to be. He talks about the day he met this girl that brought him to set a new world record that day, for all the stupid things he’d say, of how he made her laugh, maybe at him, maybe not; but how through it all they fell in love. And at the end of each verse he goes on to sing of how “All the world was right, and I felt so full of life, in the wonder of the light. And I would never be the same, for I knew somehow I’d change, even now I’d have to say, it was one of my best days.”
Today is one of those “best days.” I know it is for your parents who have put together all kinds of preparations for celebrating this day. Yet the best part for them is witnessing the faith that has taken root and grown in each of your hearts through your continued instruction in God’s word from the time you were baptized. Today is one of their best days, as I pray that it is becoming one of yours too.
As we heard in the text today, “God is light.” And He’s certainly been light for each of you – enlightening you to the truth of His word, pointing you in the direction you should go, lighting up your guilt-laden lives with the light of His sin-forgiving grace. He would make right out of wrong. He would bring life out of death. He would work a change for the better in each of us as He would adopt us as His children and fill our lives with His Spirit. And today, each of you would celebrate this joy, take note of this very special best of days, and testify to that truth.
But it’s one thing to speak the truth. It’s quite another to live it. That was part of the problem that some in the early church had. In fact, John later writes in greater detail about a group of very religious individuals who claimed a fellowship with God while doing whatever they pleased. They denied the serious nature of Jesus’ death on the cross as atonement for sin. Not surprising then they also denied the seriousness of their sin that made such a death so essential; and the necessity of the life-changing work of Christ’s Spirit in the hearts and lives of His people. They hailed Christ as their Lord and Savior, but their lives confessed a different story.
And there are many like them today. Jesus suffered a cruel, bitter death on the cross; but the worst bit of it all was the fact that He was rejected by God, forsaken on account of our sins laid on Him. He endured the very pangs of hell, not just in His physical suffering; but in His being abandoned by God, the world’s scapegoat for its transgressions. He was left behind by God, that we might not be; but how carefree we often look at sin. We engage in it without a thought. A raunchy movie; an unfulfilled marital vow; a sexual indiscretion; disrespect shown to a teacher, an officer of the law, a fellow citizen, a concerned parent – “Hey,” we say, “It’s no big deal. Every body does it. And if everyone’s doing it, it can’t be so wrong.” But it is, and when we look to the cross we see it’s a big deal; a big deal denied by the trivial attitudes we adopt about sin, by our flippant decisions to engage in it.
Jesus not only died for our sins, he rose to give us new life, strength to stare down evil, power to overcome the temptation to sin. But we live sometimes as though Jesus were still shut in the grave, an insignificant failure, a hopeless cause. What else are we saying with our lives when we know what we’re doing is wrong, yet we give in to it anyway? What else are we saying with our lives when we consider our golf memberships, our two homes, our boats and cars and everything else as more important than seeing to the growing needs of carrying out the Lord’s work and ministry here at home and abroad? Christ has burst his three day prison in the tomb, but we live as if he were still buried, lock stock and barrel; dead and unworthy of our time and effort when we can’t see our way to finding some way of offering our lives to His service as a volunteer, a caller, a teacher, a committee member or even something so small as serving a lunch or sending a token of thanks to one of our service men or women. Christ is alive, but sometimes you’d never know it with our lives of worry, mixed up priorities and sin.