Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus is the true Christmas light and if we want out of the darkness we need to accept Him into our lives.

The Christmas Light

Text: Jn. 1:6-13


1. Illustration: History records for us an interesting footnote. It was during the dark winter of 1864.

a. At Petersburg, Virginia, the Confederate army of Robert E. Lee faced the Union divisions of General Ulysses S. Grant.

b. The war was now three and a half years old and the glorious charge had long since given way to the muck and mud of trench warfare.

c. Late one evening one of Lee’s generals, Major General George Pickett, received word that his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby boy.

d. Up and down the line the Southerners began building huge bonfires in celebration of the event.

e. These fires did not go unnoticed in the Northern camps and soon a nervous Grant sent out a reconnaissance patrol to see what was going on.

f. The scouts returned with the message that Pickett had had a son and these were celebratory fires.

g. It so happened that Grant and Pickett had been contemporaries at West Point and knew one another well, so to honor the occasion Grant, too, ordered that bonfires should be built.

h. What a peculiar night it was. For miles on both sides of the lines fires burned. No shots fired. No yelling back and forth. No war fought. Only light, celebrating the birth of a child.

i. But it didn’t last forever. Soon the fires burned down and once again the darkness took over. The darkness of the night and the darkness of war.

2. The good news of Christmas is that in the midst of a great darkness there came a light, and the darkness was not able to overcome the light.

a. It was not just a temporary flicker. It was an eternal flame.

b. We need to remember that there are times, in the events of the world and in the events of our own personal lives, that we feel that the light of the world will be snuffed out.

c. But the Christmas story affirms that whatever happens, the light still shines.

3. At this time of year we need to talk about...

a. Proclaiming the Light

b. Rejecting the Light

c. Receiving the Light

4. Let's all stand as we read together John 1:6-13

Proposition: Jesus is the true Christmas light and if we want out of the darkness we need to accept Him into our lives.

Transition: First, let's talk about...

I. Proclaiming the Light (6-9).

A. To Tell About the Light

1. Last week we talked about Jesus being the Living Word. Today we will talk about Jesus as the light of the world.

2. John begins by telling about John the Baptist. He says, "God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony."

a. At the time that John was writing this Gospel there were still some who were following John the Baptist instead of Jesus.

b. Therefore, John wants to point out that there is a great difference between the two.

c. Notice that it says, "God sent a man," referring to John the Baptist, but he has already referred to Jesus as "and the Word was God."

d. Jesus was in the beginning, but John came into existence.

e. However, John made it clear that John had a distinct and important mission: that of a witness, to tell about the light.

f. He was sent not to draw attention to himself, but rather to point people to Jesus. His mission was to testify concerning "the light."

g. We could understand light to mean goodness in general, except that John has already identified Jesus as the light he was referring to.

h. The reason the Baptist was sent was to identify Jesus so that "everyone might believe" in Him.

i. The word "believe" here is a continuous verb indicating that John's purpose was to bring people to the point of decision, to an act of faith (Morris, 81).

j. This is the first time we see the word for "witness" in the Gospel.

k. This word is important because it communicates what happens as the Word enters the world.

l. As if in a courtroom, evidence and witnesses will come forward to verify the truth of Jesus' case (Burge).

3. John continues saying, "John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light."

a. What does John mean by "the light?"

b. He is not talking about a lamp, torch, or even the light of a campfire.

c. He is referring to a "light that illuminates a person's darkened soul (Practical Word Studies in The New Testament).

d. He is not talking about an outer light, but rather an inner light.

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