Light of the World
By Bobby Blakey on December 24, 2015
Light of the World
By Bobby Blakey on December 24, 2015
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:01] Merry Christmas. Thank you so much for joining us for our first Christmas Eve service here in the building, a historic occasion. We're glad that you're here. Hopefully not our last one, but here it is, our first one.
[00:00:18] And if you're new, if you're joining us. If you're a family member visiting from out of town, we just want to welcome you. We're all new here. It's a relatively new church and we're excited to have you here when we say Merry Christmas. We really want you to have a wonderful celebration of Jesus Christ. We believe that that is what Christmas is all about, that there is a happiness beyond what is happening. There is a joy that can be down in your soul. There is a gift of life that has been offered. And his name is Jesus. And we hope you have a wonderful time celebrating. And we're glad you made us a part of your celebration. And hopefully your family's going to have fun where you're going tonight and tomorrow morning. And one of the traditions that I like to do with my family is I like to go look at Christmas lights. Anybody else still like to do that? Where you drive around, you look at Christmas lights and and my family, I don't know what's wrong with us, but we like judge the Christmas lights. I don't know if anybody else does this because I want a five. No, it's a one and a half. You know, all is kind of silly stuff. And just in case you didn't get to go, it's just. Can we just take a let's just go look at some Christmas lights here.
[00:01:22] This is your typical street.
[00:01:24] Right down there. Yeah, it's about a three. And you just keep working along. It's fun to see what the kids say, why they like one house, why they don't like another one. Then you get to. You ever get to that house. That's just like out of control.
[00:01:38] Like one of these houses where it's like you've got to turn your radio to a certain thing to hear the music. And my son's like, dad, does the mayor live in that house? Like, what's going on? Right.
[00:01:52] And you just think, Merry Christmas. Southern California Edison. Right there. That's. And then you get to places like this and you're like, man who.
[00:01:59] Oh, this is small world. This is Disneyland.
[00:02:04] Wow. I love those lights. There's just something about lights that feels festive. Feels like it's full of life. Feels like it's exciting. It's a great tradition. Christmas lights. We all immediately understand it when we see it. Well, back in the times of the Bible, when Jesus Christ was on the Earth, they used to have a feast where they celebrated light. It was called the Feast of Tabernacles. Guy was a special ceremony that they would do in Jerusalem. We're talking about the people of Israel and they had multiple times of celebration, multiple feast for which they would gather kind of like our Christmas, except they knew how to do it their feast for like a week long usually. And so they had this feast of Tabernacles and everybody would come into the city of Jerusalem. They'd come from all over the nation. Even if you lived in the city, the capital city, everyone would live in tents for a whole week. And the reason they lived in these tents was to remember a time in the history of Israel. Maybe you've heard of it before, the story of Moses and how God used Moses to deliver his people out of Egypt. And he was going to lead them to the promised land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. And as they were going there, they had to wander through the wilderness. And God did miracles in that wilderness to provide for his people. He sent them bread from heaven. He brought out water from a rock. And perhaps the greatest miracle that God would do is he would lead them by day. He led them in a pillar of cloud, and by night he led them in a pillar of anybody know what it was?
[00:03:33] A pillar of fire. Can you imagine that?
[00:03:37] Just you're walking through the wilderness with your entire nation and you're following just fire that's leading you through the darkness.
[00:03:45] What a picture.
[00:03:47] And they would try to recreate that picture when they were all living in tents. Remembering those wilderness days, they tried to recreate that picture at the temple every night of the Feast of Tabernacles. And it looked something like like this. They would light up these four lamps there in the court and it would just make the whole temple glow. It was like it's a small world. It would just make it glow. And what would happen is people would come and they would start dancing. The righteous men of Israel knew how to cut loose at the Feast of Tabernacles, gay men of good piety where it were breaking down and Levitical Priess would bust out an orchestra and they would start playing music and people would come together and they would dance. It says through the night people would even be holding burning torches in their hands while they danced. And it was such a celebration, such a party, that it said that the light from the temple would send a glow over the entire city of Jerusalem just alive.
[00:04:49] And it was on that occasion, on one of those nights that a man named Jesus Christ stood up.
[00:04:56] Perhaps he stood up right in the middle of all of the singing and the dancing and the celebrating when the fire was lit and the light was glowing. And Jesus Christ, he said something here. He said, I am the light of the world.
[00:05:12] Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
[00:05:19] We talk about mastering the moment, talk about stealing the scene can have you ever been to Disneyland? Can you imagine somebody standing up in front of it's a small world and saying, hey, I'm the light of the world, right?
[00:05:31] Small world, big light bill. But I'm the light of the world.
[00:05:35] I mean, you just steals the show once again.
[00:05:39] And he's saying something here, he's not claiming to be the light just of the feast of Tabernacles or just the light of Christmas. He is claiming to be the light of the world. That light just in it. What it is, just the idea that you think of when you close your eyes and you can still have that picture of light coming through. That's who Jesus is.
[00:06:00] That's what he's supposed to represent.
[00:06:02] So we want to break this phrase that Jesus says here down tonight. We just want to look at three things. We want to see the light that Jesus claims to be. We want to see the darkness that he's calling us out of. And we want to see how he gives us that light so that we can then shine that light to other people.
[00:06:19] And so I'm going to ask you, if you've got a Bible, will you grab it and open it to the Gospel of John? Chapter one. We're going through the Gospel of John here at our church. And we want to show you now this is a major theme. This idea of light is a major theme in this gospel.
[00:06:37] And really, you could go so far as to say that the idea of light is one of the main themes of the entire Bible. If you've never read the Bible before, we would just like to give you a brief summary. It starts in Genesis when God creates the world. And here's how it describes the world. In the beginning, it says the earth was without form and it was void. And there was a darkness over the face of the deep over the waters. That's how the world started in darkness. And God said, let there be light.
[00:07:13] And there was light.
[00:07:15] And God saw that the light was good and God separated the light from the darkness. If you look at the beginning of the Bible, Genesis one, it says, here's how it all began. There was darkness and God spoke light into existence.
[00:07:30] And then eventually he separates the light and we know part of the light. Every day we call it day and then and there's also night.
[00:07:37] And that's been our experience throughout the history of our life, is half the time as light and half the time is dark.
[00:07:45] But if you skip all the way to the end of the Bible to Revelation Chapter 22, you will see that there is a promise that someday there will be no more night.
[00:07:56] They will need no lamp. They will need no sun. For the Lord. God will be their light. And they will reign forever and ever. And the new heavens and the new earth and the city that's going to be called the new Jerusalem where God's people are going to live. There's not even going to be a sun or moon or stars or electricity or lights. There's just going to be Jesus Christ who in his unveiled glory, is going to light everything up. This is the story of the world. It starts in darkness at an ends in a glorious light. And Jesus has the audacity, the boldness to make a claim that no man could ever back up when Jesus says I'm the light of the world.
[00:08:43] He's claiming to be God.
[00:08:45] He's claiming to be the both the beginning and the end. He's claiming to be the one who will come into the darkness. And we'll even give your life his light.
[00:08:55] That's what it's gonna say in John Chapter one. Look at it with me here. If you've got a Bible or if you don't, just listen. As I read, it starts by saying that the Jesus was the word and he was with God and he was God. And then it says in John, chapter one, verse four, here's the first idea of light that goes throughout the gospel. In him was life.
[00:09:16] And the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
[00:09:28] And if you want to keep reading about light, look down at verse nine. It gets back to that theme even more here, setting some kind of analogy for us, some kind of analogy of the spiritual realm.
[00:09:38] It says The true light, which gives light to everyone. The light of Jesus is offered to everyone here tonight. Whether you believe or not, here comes the light. He's coming into the world. That's what we celebrate at Christmas. He was in the world and the world was made through him. Yet the world did not know him. He came to his own and even his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
[00:10:16] Here's what it says, that there is a light that came in and this light came into a world of darkness and the darkness tried to put out the light, and the light could not be overwhelmed. It could not be overcome by the darkness.
[00:10:29] So the world is in a spiritual sense here in the dark. And here comes Jesus as the light and the world's trying to end the light of Christ. But it cannot. There is a light that shines a true light that shines to everyone here tonight.
[00:10:44] And his name is Jesus Christ. Now, this is an analogy that John's gonna use throughout his gospel to help you figure out whether your soul is with Jesus in the light or whether your soul is still in the darkness of this world. Two sides that John's gonna present to us. Now, usually when we gather at Christmas time and we think about the Christmas story, we think about the literal accounts maybe that are given to us in other gospels like the Gospel of Luke or the Gospel of Matthew. So the gospel is what tells us the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we have four guys who wrote four different accounts that all go together in an amazing way, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And maybe you're familiar with the nativity scene where we see Joseph and Mary and we're in and that we're not really in in in in Bethlehem nowhere. We're in a stable and we've placed sweet little baby Jesus there in the manger. And maybe in your scene there's even some animals because we kind of got left out, out, out in the stable here. We didn't have a room for us. And then maybe there's some shepherds who came to see this baby because they were told by some angels to to come and see and sometimes even put the wise men who came from afar in there to bring the baby gifts and to worship him as king. And that's the Christmas story that we're familiar with. But John, he wrote his gospel last and he writes it a little differently. He doesn't write like, hey, here's what happened in history. Hey, here's the literal account. He says, I'm going to tell you about Jesus coming into the world in the form of an analogy. And I'm going to use a light. He says, I want you to picture the world with me. It's a dark place. In fact, just go back in your mind to what it said about creation. The world is without form and it's void and there's darkness over the waters.
[00:12:34] And God then speaks light and he starts his creative work. Well, that's just what it's saying is the story of Christmas.
[00:12:43] The world is a dark place. And here comes light. Here comes real hope for mankind. In fact, that's why we're seeing Gloria in excelsis Dale, which is Latin. It means glory to God in the highest because he sent light to us in his son, Jesus Christ. Now there can be peace on earth between God and man that in that dark night, boom came like.
[00:13:09] That's the story of Christmas. That's what Johnson Light has come into the world.
[00:13:14] So maybe a new way that we need to start thinking about Christmas is not in the accounts of what happened in history, but in the analogy that John gives us. That light came into the darkness and the Darknesses response was to reject the light. Lot of people did not want the light to shine on them. And they came to reject it. But they could not. The darkness could not overcome the light. Let me just tell you right now something you're going to find out and you could already believe it tonight or you will believe it later, that nothing can stop the light of Jesus Christ.
[00:13:50] Everyone will see his glory.
[00:13:53] And the Bible describes that when people see the glory. That's often a word that's associated with light, the glory of God. When Moses beheld the glory of God, his face was was radiating and they had to put a veil on him because it was freaking everybody out, because there was light radiating from the face of Moses when he spent time with God on the mountain.
[00:14:14] So the glory of God is often seen in light. And if you read the Book of Revelation, which is the unveiling. OK. The taking off of the covering of Jesus Christ. And you get to see him and all of his glory, which everyone here is going to do. When you see Jesus, he won't be a sweet little baby in a manger. He won't be a man bleeding out for you on the cross. Those are the human pictures that we can grasp of Jesus that happened in history.
[00:14:41] But when we see Jesus as he is right now, when when you see him in the future, he will be unveiled in all of his glory and it will be a light like you have never seen before in your life. The apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved when he sees Jesus in the Book of Revelation, in all of his glory. He falls at his feet like a dead man because he can't even handle the light of Jesus Christ says that his face is shining like the sun in full strength.
[00:15:13] You ever tried to look at the sun when it's shining in full strength? Yeah. You don't keep making that mistake, do you? Right. Burns your eyeballs is what it does. It feels like, right.
[00:15:23] You can't even behold it. It hurts. It's too much for you to take in. That's Jesus Christ.
[00:15:31] He's the light.
[00:15:34] It says in Revelation 22 that there's not going to be Knight anymore. There's not going to be darkness anymore. And it's not because we're going to have solar panels or it's not because we're gonna have this great electricity. No, it's all we're gonna have is Jesus and there's gonna be a whole city of people worshiping Jesus for all of eternity and Jesus just by him being there, the whole city will be lit up. It's an amazing idea. Mean when you read the dimensions of the city of the New Jerusalem that are given to us in Revelation. It's a city like we've never seen before. It's a city that stretches all the way from here to like San Antonio, Texas.
[00:16:12] That's how big this city is. And it says the Jesus, just by being there, light sit up completely so that there is no darkness. That will we believe here.
[00:16:25] Do you believe that there is a glorious light of Jesus Christ that you are going to see someday, that you're going to encounter Jesus in a personal way, that there's a light of the world that you will experience? That's what the Bible's saying. And he came into the world in the darkness. They tried to not believe. They tried to reject, but they couldn't overcome the light. That's how powerful it is. Now go to John Chapter three. The next time we hear about the light is over here in John, chapter three, verse 19. And you might think, well, that's kind of harsh. Why is everybody rejecting Jesus when he comes as a sweet little baby? And he I mean, the only offer that Jesus made was that that he came to die for us, that he came to offer his life to give us life, that he would be the perfect sacrifice to take our place and he would offer us his life and he would then pay for our sin.
[00:17:19] Why would everybody reject that? Was because he claimed to be God. He claimed to have authority.
[00:17:25] He claimed that he needed to that if you were gonna follow him, well, then you had to walk in the light as he is in the light, and you could no longer stay in darkness. And here's what it says in John. Chapter three, verse 19. I hope everybody reads this or can hear this.
[00:17:40] It says, This is the judgment that the light has come into the world. Christmas has occurred. Jesus is among us. And people loved the darkness rather than the light. People willfully choosing to stay in the dark rather than to come to the light of Jesus. Why do. It says because their works were evil.
[00:18:00] It says for everyone who does wicked things, hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
[00:18:22] Well, see, now that starts to get really personal, we went from this kind of analogy of darkness, the world darkness and the light coming in and shining in the darkness can't put the light out.
[00:18:33] Well, now it starts to really get individual for each one of us, it says. And here do you come to the light of Jesus like do you step forward before his light because you have nothing to hide, because you want it to be seen in God. You have put your faith in God. God is working in you. It says many people when they see the light of Jesus, they backup. They run, they hide. They don't want to interact with that light because what it's going to expose about them is perhaps secrets of their heart. Perhaps things they don't want other people to know about them. And so when they come close to the light of Jesus, they back away because, well, it says their works are evil and they don't want to be exposed. It goes so far to date, says this is the judgment, it cuts straight to our hearts here and it exposes our motives and it says that the reason many people reject the story of Christmas might not be just because of the facts or might not be, but just because they can't believe it.
[00:19:33] It might be because they don't want to believe it, because they want to do what they want to do, say and to follow Jesus means you do what he commands you to do.
[00:19:45] So it says right here. I'll tell you right out why people didn't come to the light because their works were evil. And I know some of our friends visiting us here at church right now are like, yeah, I knew it was gonna get to this.
[00:19:57] Here we go. Here we go. You're going to start telling us how this church is full of perfect people and we're just terrible people and we need to join the perfect people. And that's why I hate religion and that's why I'm not even wanting to be here right now.
[00:20:14] Well, we need to clear up a misconception. Church is not about perfect people. When people act perfect at church, we have a word for that that we like to use. It's called hypocrisy. That's the word that we use. OK. Nobody here is a perfect person. That's not even how you become a Christian.
[00:20:35] This whole thing's got so spun around and people don't even know which way is up anymore that people think. And people here at this church think this, that if they come here and they start doing some good things, say that maybe they can somehow please God and impress other people.
[00:20:51] And so we've actually started to buy the lie that we have some kind of light in and of ourselves that we can bring to the table here. You could see that going to any church and you can see hypocrisy in any church, people pretending like they've got it all together, like everything's right in their life, like they've just got it going on.
[00:21:12] And yeah, let me tell you some more about myself and let me show you what else I can do. And I'll just very impressive people. Those aren't Christian people.
[00:21:20] Let's just get it clear right now. There's only one way to get into the light. You have to step out of the darkness. Only one kind of person that's in the light, the people who started in the dark.
[00:21:35] You get called out of the darkness, Jesus is the only one who starts in the light.
[00:21:40] He's the only one who's perfect.
[00:21:42] He's the only one who's there. And then he comes into our darkness, into your darkness. And he says, I see how dark it is in here. But I want to call you into my marvelous light. The scripture says. I want you and I see you for who you are. You can not fool Jesus. He sees past the mask, he sees past the exterior that we put on and he sees straight to your soul and he knows who you are in your worst, in your darkest.
[00:22:13] And he says, I want to call you into my life. That's Jesus Christ. And see the way you become a Christian, the way you become a follower of Jesus, the way you take that leap of faith. We like to call it is you say I'm in the darkness and I need Jesus to be my light. That's how it works.
[00:22:32] I don't know what you've heard about church. I don't know who rubbed you the wrong way. I don't know what hypocrite you ran into that tried to impress you and you left seeing straight through their game. That's not what Jesus Christ is all about.
[00:22:46] Nobody becomes a follower of Jesus by acting like they've got it all together. Now you become a follower of Jesus. When you admit I will never get it all together, and unless you give your life to me, I'm going to die out here in the dark. That's what it means to follow Jesus Christ.
[00:23:02] That's what we're offering you. We're not asking anybody to come in here and be a perfect person. We're asking you to come in here and admit you're not. Maybe something even harder for some of us. I know some people say they've got a lot of problems and you know who their problems are, not them. You met one of these people before. You seen them in the mirror.
[00:23:28] See, one of the things I love about being a pastor is I get to talk to people I love, talking to people.
[00:23:34] And it's amazing how many people you talk to and man, you know, people have a lot of problems and they got financial problems. Now, at the end of the year, things didn't pan out like they were open. And now here it is, the holidays and they got tension in their family.
[00:23:50] Remember, maybe they're separated from someone that they love. And man the New Year's COMAN and we wish we could say Happy New Year, but it feels like there's a lot of fear and there's a lot of doubt about how things are going to work out. And I don't know if we're going to make it another year. And I'm feeling more tired and older and my body's not working the way it's supposed to. We got people among us with some serious illnesses.
[00:24:13] There's a a lot of problems. I mean, very few people who walk in and they say, you know what, the biggest problem in my life is me. And I got one big problem, I seem to ruin every relationship that I get into. I mean, I used to keep blaming everybody else, but one day I started adding what was the common denominator in all my relationships? I figured out I was the one involved in all of that. And maybe that bridge worked both ways. And I kept saying all the things that they weren't doing on their side. But I wasn't even starting to build from my side. Maybe that's the problem in my relationships. Say. And maybe the reason my health isn't too good or my finances aren't too good is if I'm going to be honest. I've done some unwise things with my body and my money in my life. And I've caused myself some problems that I'm now feeling the effects of. Maybe I'm in the dark. See, that's the person who's being worked on by Jesus Christ. That's the kind of person who's starting to get an accurate perspective of what's going on. And let me just tell you right now that Satan is doing everything he can to make people feel like they're already fine just the way that they are. It says that the God of this age goes around and he blinds the minds of the unbelievers. This is what the Bible says in Second Corinthians four four.
[00:25:49] It says that the reason people don't believe is Satan is going around and he's trying to deceive them. And he wants them to be blind.
[00:25:56] He doesn't want them to see that they're in the dark because if they realize they're in the dark, they might just see the glory of Jesus shining in, calling them out of the darkness and into the light. And Satan doesn't want anybody to do that. So it says he blinds them.
[00:26:13] Because even with your eyes closed, you can get a sense of light.
[00:26:16] You can think you're doing all right. You can think you've got it going on.
[00:26:22] Until you meet that glorious light of Jesus so powerful, it opens up your eyes.
[00:26:26] And when you see the glorious light of Jesus, when you see his standard of glory and perfection, what you realize is I fall short of the standard that Jesus has for my life.
[00:26:37] I don't live up to it.
[00:26:39] So when you start to see him in his glory, you start to see yourself in the dark and you realize that the only way to get to the light of Jesus Christ is to admit I'm in the dark and I need his light.
[00:26:50] I don't have any. I got to ask you this Christmas before you go to celebrate. And when did you admit you were in the darkness?
[00:27:01] Got a lot of people who think they're good people, we live in the best country, in the best state, in the best county in America right here. That's us. We're just the best.
[00:27:12] That's what we think. I mean, think about it.
[00:27:13] You think that you think were some of the best people we actually think. Not only are we the best right now in the world, but we're probably the best in the history of the world, if you think about it that way, too. I mean, that's what we think. That's what Satan wants us to think you're good. So, I mean, you guys, you don't just think you're good. You think, well, I'm close to the Lord. I'm Christian. People say things like this. I've always been a Christian. They said, no, you weren't.
[00:27:45] Really, really, you weren't. Now, you started out in the dark as the only way to be a Christian is you get called into the light, out of the darkness, and then you proclaim not that you're good, not that you've got it all together. You proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of the darkness and brought you into his marvelous light. So you stop see people who always have to be right, people who always have it together. That's not how you become a Christian. It's the opposite. We talk to some people at church. Church kind of people.
[00:28:18] Hey, how you doing? I'm doing good. Doing fine. In fact, they kind of give me this vibe sometimes, like, hey, pastor, there's probably some people with some trouble you could go talk to, but I'm doing good.
[00:28:34] All right. And you're in small groups and it's like, hey, let's pray for one another. Let's get real. Let's get honest about what's going on.
[00:28:44] And I'm fine.
[00:28:50] Oh, that's how Christians really talk. Christians are honest people. Christians are pretending to be perfect. Christians are the one kind of person who will admit when they fail, when they fall short, they'll say, I can't do it.
[00:29:03] I need Christ to do it in me. And what you'll hear, they're not going to say they're fine. They're good. They're going to talk about how good Jesus is and how glorious he is and the way that he's working in their life and the things that he's changed.
[00:29:15] And and, wow, I don't understand it because I'm going through a trial this Christmas and I'm separated from somebody that I love. And I don't understand it, Pastor, because I feel like I may be a bad person or something because I should feel like freaking out and anxious and I don't know what's going to happen in this relationship. But instead, I have this peace. I don't know where this peace came from because it's not me, but it's like somebody put this peace in my heart and I'm just trusting in God because I just think he's good. That's the kind of thing Christians say.
[00:29:46] They give the glory to Jesus Christ. They never put the focus on themselves because they realized if it was me and just me, I would still be in the dark right now. Anybody want to say amen to that? But this is the good news of Christmas. He called me into the light and the light shines to every man and there can be some good people. Some been born Christian since day one. Kind of people walk in here tonight and guess what? He's calling to you. And he's saying, hey, I want you to come out into the light. There's just one thing before you can come into the light. You got to admit where you're at right now. He's got to open your eyes so you can see that right now I'm in the dark.
[00:30:25] And that's how I get into the line.
[00:30:28] I'll go with me to our passage, John, chapter eight, verse twelve. And let's look at it. We see this light theme starts in chapter one. We hit it again in chapter three. Here it is now in chapter eight, verse 12. We already showed it to you on the screen. But it says, again, in the context here of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus spoke to them mastering the moment. I am the light of the world.
[00:30:52] I am the light that has come into the world to shine into the darkness. And you get to decide if you want to leave your darkness and come to the light with Jesus or whether you want to stay in the darkness.
[00:31:03] And because your works are evil and you got things that you want to keep doing. That's the decision.
[00:31:08] But then it says here that whoever follows me, those who answer the call to come into the light, they take that leap of faith. They trust in Christ. Confessing their sin and putting their faith in Christ. Well, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
[00:31:29] So now we're talking about the transformation that takes place.
[00:31:33] We call it salvation, we call it being born again. We got all kinds of names for it. But it's as simple as this. We go where the light gets turned on.
[00:31:42] That's what he's saying right here.
[00:31:44] She once you once you get follow me. You can't walk in the darkness anymore, you can't live that way that the world has been living for a long time that way that you were living before you met Jesus Christ. You don't walk that way anymore because now you got something new going on. Now you have the light of life. That's what you've got.
[00:32:05] So here's the thing. We've got to clear up another misconception about what it means to be a Christian. And we got to bring out into the light tonight is you don't just turn the light switch off and on throughout your life.
[00:32:16] A lot of people are acting like that.
[00:32:18] Well, some days I live for Jesus. Some days I don't. Well, let's just hear what Jesus says to say. And I know it's an analogy about light and darkness, but I think what Jesus says here is actually very clear and very specific. Read it with me one more time. Whoever follows me, anybody claiming to be a Christian, a disciple, a follower of Christ, will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. So I know we hear a lot of stories from Christian people at churches saying, well, I was over here for a while in the world and I came back to Christ over here, but then I kind of fell away back to the world. And then I rededicated my life. And then I came back over here to the world. And then I guess it's a reread dedication at this point. And we're coming over here. We've heard that story many times. The problem is that's not what Jesus says right here. Jesus says, no. You're either on one team or the other the whole time, you're either walking in darkness or you've got the light of life.
[00:33:17] We're not flicking the light switch on and off over and over again. Now, once it's turned on, it's always on. Once my light is in you, you're in Jesus Hossain. I mean, literally in the Greek language here, it is a double negative. It is the strongest way that you can say whoever follows me, Jesus is saying it cannot, will not. It's impossible for someone who follows me to walk in darkness. And here's why they can't do it, because they've got the light.
[00:33:46] And once you get the light, you can't go back to the dark period. End of story. Won't happen. Couldn't do it if you wanted to do it. Sorry. The lights on.
[00:33:58] And that's something that that's something that Jesus is very clear about. And the Bible gets into this. It says, no, if you if you are saying that you're in the light. But really, you walk in the darkness. You're not going back and forth first. John puts it like this in chapter one, says, hey, if God's in the light and you're claiming to be in the light as he is in the light, but really you walk in darkness. Here's what you are. John says a liar. That's what first John says.
[00:34:23] Now, you can't change Christianity to match your experience, your experience has to change to match Christianity and this is what it says.
[00:34:31] Once he calls you to the light, you're going to have that light and you're going to walk in that light. And here's even the exciting thing is, you know, the light's going to start shining. Like, you're not going to be able to keep it a secret. Other people are going to start to see it. It's going to come out. In fact, if you if you're in the Bible with me, go to Matthew Chapter five.
[00:34:48] All I want you to see this because we just read Jesus saying I'm the light of the world and we're here to worship Jesus tonight. We're here to give him the glory for this Christmas analogy of the light coming into the darkness to save us. But then Jesus says this in Matthew. Chapter five. Verse 14. Page eight hundred and ten.
[00:35:06] If you got one of our Bibles. Right. In this gospel, Jesus is preaching. And he says something that might seem really confusing because he just said that I am the light of the world. Well, then he says this in Matthew, chapter five, verse 14.
[00:35:21] He says, You are the light of the world. And he's talking to people. A big crowd of people in the Sermon on the Mount and he's described what it means to be a person who will really have a merry Christmas. What it means to be blessed. What it means to be happy. He's describing a person who admits I'm in the dark. I need Jesus. And they run to the light. They hunger and thirst for righteousness. They make peace in their relationships with those around them, like their life has been changed. It was like they were in the dark. And then there was a spark of Jesus Christ that made them a whole new person. And he says to a group of these people, you are the light of the world. So, yeah, Jesus is the light of the world. He came into the dark. But here's what he did. He gave his light to his people and now his people are the light of the world. The only Jesus some people are going to see this Christmas is you and I are going to see you shining his light. And that's what it says we should do. Look at look at the passage. A city set on a hill.
[00:36:23] And that's the picture, I think, of Jerusalem, that on the feast of Tabernacles, a city lit up on top of a hill cannot be hid. And everybody is going to see the light of Jerusalem when it's all lit up like that.
[00:36:34] Nor do people lie the lamp and put it under a basket. That doesn't make sense. No. You put the lamp on a stand. You put the lamp where everybody can see it. And it gives light to all in the house in the same way.
[00:36:47] Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. If God has called you out of the darkness, if you were willing at one point to admit that you were in the dark and you put your faith in the light of Jesus Christ and he called you out, he wants you to know he has put his light in you. And he commands you. Let it shine.
[00:37:12] Anybody ever heard that song before? This little light of mine, I'm gonna learn it. And I don't know why I start singing in these sermons when I've got such a bad singing voice. You guys know what I'm talking about. Right. Right. Don't let Satan it out.
[00:37:26] I mean, this is what we talk about here at church. Hide it under a bush. No, I'm gonna let it shine. Bum, bum, bum, hide.
[00:37:37] Got the light.
[00:37:39] I mean, if that's the truth, if we've been called out of the darkness and we're in the light, we are supposed to be glowing in the darkness around us. Is this world a dark place? Are things going from bad to worse? Are we seeing.
[00:37:50] Are we seeing people head down the wrong path right in front of us right now at this point in history in our nation? Is it happening? Well, we're supposed to be shining.
[00:37:59] We're supposed to be the lights in the middle of the darkness calling people out of the darkness, proclaiming the Excellency's of the light that came into the world, spreadin the Christmas cheer so that everybody can hear it. By our good works.
[00:38:12] Here's what good works as a Christian looks like in a lot of situations in our relationships.
[00:38:17] Hey, I'm sorry. I realize that I've been really a problem in this relationship, that I've been bringing a lot of problems when because I didn't really think about it from your perspective. And I was thinking about it from my perspective only. And I wasn't considering you. And I can see how the things I said were insensitive and I can see how what I said was was harsh to you. And I didn't speak in a loving way. Will you forgive me? That's what good works look like. That's the spark of the light. Started to shine through somebody right there. When all of a sudden my problems don't become as big as all the sudden other people's problems and wow, you realize that I might think I've got a lot of problems, but there's a lot of people here, even here tonight at this church in my. And look at how many problems they have. Maybe I need to help other people with their problems and stop focusing on myself. That's the light shining. That's Jesus Christ. Somebody who gets over themself, somebody who doesn't have to be right, but is willing to be wrong because what they want to do is not point people to themself. No, they want to point people to the light that is now shining in them, that is spreading around to other people. They want to give the glory to the father in heaven. It says here to the light of the world, Jesus Christ.
[00:39:28] That's what we're called to do.
[00:39:30] So I just want to encourage you, if you've put your faith in in Jesus man, you are a part of the greatest story that's ever been told, that there was darkness and the light came in and the darkness tried to overcome it, but it could not. And the light is still shining tonight to all men, to every single person here, the light is shining to you. And if you've taken that step out of the darkness and you've put your faith in Christ and you've trusted in him, you then get the light of life in you. Is that not an awesome idea right there?
[00:40:00] Almost like almost like this tradition that's been going on all the way since back in the day and in Germany when they started putting candles in the Christmas trees.
[00:40:10] Right. And it became Christmas lights. And what churches have done is they've had candlelight services like this one you're in right now. Right.
[00:40:18] Candlelight services were as a symbol that the light came into the world, that the light shined in the darkness, and now we have the light of life. Well, everybody here's got a candle and we're going to pass around some fire, some light. And we are going to have a symbolic way to say the night that I believe that the light of the world has called me out of the darkness. And I want to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ here tonight. I want to say that he's given me the light of life and I'm going to hold this up and I'm going to let my little light shine. And I don't care who knows it, that I've got the light of life living in me.
[00:40:50] And his name is Jesus Christ. That's what we're here to do.
[00:40:55] It's a symbolic remembrance not only of what Jesus did two thousand years ago as the light coming into the darkness, but I am here to encourage you to remember when Jesus gave you his light.
[00:41:07] So everybody celebrates Christmas really at different times in their life, usually not on December 25th, the moment they put their faith in Jesus Christ and they get his light, the light of life now shining through them. See, that's what Christmas is really all about.
[00:41:25] So when we like these candles, you don't have to do it, and if you're a pyromaniac, please don't do it because we don't want this to be our last Christmas Eve service here in this building.
[00:41:36] So nobody's making you do this. If you think it's cheesy or you don't really get the symbolism, well, you know, that's fine. But if you want to say in a symbolic way here this evening, why have the light of life in Jesus Christ in my life? And I want to let his life shine. And I believe that Christmas is about worshiping Jesus for shining down upon us in our darkness. I'm ready to say I was a part of the darkness until he called me out of his light. And we're not looking for perfect people at this church. We're looking for dark people. We're looking for somebody who can admit they're wrong, somebody who knows how to say, I'm sorry because I'm not a perfect pastor or anybody who's been at this church this year could say amen to that. So we're starting from the top down. We're no where people coming out of the darkness and we're stepping into the light. But then we believe that what we have in the light of Jesus Christ is so true and so powerful that there's no possible way I could go back to being who I used to be.
[00:42:36] I might stumble, I might fall, I might have a bad day. But to be the old me anymore. It's not even an option. Couldn't even do it if I wanted to. Because what I've got now is I've got the light of Jesus Christ shining through me.
[00:42:50] Way more powerful than my darkness ever was is the light of Jesus Christ. That's all we're asking for you to do, is to believe that to put your faith in the light of the world here tonight so that your soul can have the light of life as well.
[00:43:04] Let me just tell you, this offer of Christmas, this gift that's on the table of light to all men, it's only available for a limited time. Go back to one more passage in the Gospel of John John, Chapter twelve. Let me just speak maybe to the family member or the visitor or the coworker who got invited here tonight. And you're taking this in. Well, man, we would love to talk with you more about this. This raises questions. We'd love for you to keep even coming back to our church here in more about Jesus. We'd love to talk to you even tonight. We'd be happy to have a conversation with you if you have questions about Christianity. But I just want to encourage you to think about Jesus the light of the world.
[00:43:43] Now, while you have a chance, Liquidy says here in John Chapter 12, look at verse 35 with me here. It says this. Jesus said to them, The light is among you for a little while longer. And this that's referring to him being here on Earth, which now has passed the liquid. He says, walk while you have the light. Less the darkness overtake you, what it what kind of a terrible idea that is to be lost in darkness, chaos, confusion. To be an outer darkness for forever, he says, no walk while you have the light, less darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness. See, they do not know where they're going. They knew where they were going without Christ, without the light that maybe they wouldn't want to keep going that way. But they're deceived. They don't realize where darkness ends up. So he says in verse 36, why you have the night, the light. On nights like this, while you have the light, while you're here in about Jesus at Christmas time. Believe in the light. Put your faith in him. Trust in him. Look to Jesus tonight. Step out of the darkness and into the light that you may become sons of light. You may become someone who has the light of life.
[00:45:02] And so the ushers are going to come forward and they're going to start light some candles. And if you want to participate, you can pass it down your row from person to person. And Ryan's going to come and he's going to sing a song, a song about Jesus calling us out of the darkness and into his marvelous light. You can worship along or maybe it's even a night for some of you to consider. Am I in the darkness? Do I need to step into the light maybe this Christmas? That's what it's all about. Let me pray. Everyone, please pray with me. And then we'll. Let's hold off. Let's not light up yet. Let's. Let's pray first. Here, everybody. Too late. Let's pray. Let's pray.
[00:45:42] God, we just thank you for this beautiful analogy that God John gives us about what Christmases that there was the world full of darkness. And you said let there be light when you sent your son. How appropriate that there were angels singing Glory to God in the highest. How appropriate? There was a star that the wise men followed because the light of the world was here. And God, I just pray that we would examine our hearts, that everyone would experience this in a personal way tonight. And we would ask ourselves, am I in the darkness? Not asking about somebody else, some hypocrite. We know some person who gave us a bad impression of Jesus Christ. God, let us ask for ourselves that if we're in the darkness to see Jesus in all of his glorious light, let us look on him. Let us believe in the light and let us come to the light tonight. And God, I just pray that all of us that you have called to the light at this Christmas, we would remember. The terribleness of being in that darkness and how wonderful it was, how marvelous fit it was to be called out of it by Jesus Christ, to be saved in our souls, to be given the light of life and let us worship again this Christmas.
[00:46:49] Got to pray that this would be a real Christmas celebration, not just the day, December 25th, not just the gatherings with the family and the gifts that in our hearts we would remember what it was like to be in the dark. And we would celebrate the light of Jesus Christ. We pray this in his name. Amen.
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