AGCC Sun. a.m. 9/27/98
The first created act of God was the creation of "light". Yet, this was
not the first form of light, for the Bible says that "God
is light", before physical light was created supernatural light
already existed, therefore the spiritual is greater than the physical.
The greatest problem for humanity is spiritual darkness! Sin brought about
a darkness far worse than the darkness at sundown. The reason people have such
foreboding at night is that there is a natural AND supernatural repulsion is us
toward darkness. It is light that gives our planet its life, exposed to constant
darkness the world would die as we know it! The same is true spiritually, if
humans stay in a state of spiritual darkness they will find that there is no
life possible for their soul.
Thank the Lord He is the LIGHT! What the world needs most in the dark
spiritual climate we live in is the LIGHT of Jesus Christ!
ILLUS: A poor little boy once heard his
Sunday School teacher say Jesus was the light of the world. He took her remark
quite literally. After class, the boy said to his teacher, "If Jesus really is
the light of the world, I wish He'd come hang out in my alley. It's awful dark
where I live."
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us
that there is life in Christ that will rid the darkness from our soul. As His
light shines in us, it is reflected to others in this world.
I. LIGHT THAT REMOVES DARKNESS 8:12
A. Fire 8:12a
1. Jesus makes these comments while standing near the treasury chests used for taking offerings.
a. This was not a separate building, it was rather in the outer "court of the women" - probably contained 13 brazen chests called "trumpets" from the form of the opening into which the offerings of the temple worshippers were put. 9 chests were for appointed money-tribute and for sacrifice tribute, 4 chests were for freewill-offerings for wood, incense, temple decorations, and burnt-offerings. (Lighfoot's Hor. Heb.)
b. Jesus was here on the occasion of the "Feast of Tabernacles" (mentioned in John 7) - the celebration of the Israelite's travels through the wilderness as they dwelled in tents.
c. As part of the celebration a huge candlelabra was lit to remind the Jewish people of the FIRE by night that led Israel to the promise land.
2. It may be that the candlelabra had just been lit as part of the ceremonies to reflect on God's presence in the FIRE by night that led Israel when Jesus makes the statement that "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD".
a. Jesus is clearly identifying Himself as the one who led Israel in the wilderness!
b. As the fire by night gave Israel light, they never experienced complete darkness the whole 40 years they wandered since the FIRE was in the midst of the camp always!
3. This FIRE was supernatural, not just ordinary fire, and certainly Israel understood this as so.
a. No natural fire could have continued to burn for 40 years above the Ark of the Covenant.
b. God Himself sustained this fire, which never went out. Even by day it was a cloud of smoke that rose above the camp.
4. The desert is a dark place, but God's fire dispelled the darkness!
5. Even now, a small fire is all that is needed to clear away the
ILLUS: A man had built a prosperous business through zealous toil and honest dealings. As he advanced in age, he felt concerned about the future of his enterprise because he had no close relatives except three nephews. One day he summoned the young men and said, "I have a problem, and whoever comes up with the best solution will inherit all that I possess." Giving each of them an equal sum of money, he instructed them to buy something that would fill his large office. "Spend no more than I've given you," he directed, "and be sure you're back by sunset."
All day long his nephews sought to fulfill their mission. Finally, when the shadows lengthened, they obediently returned to make their report. Their uncle asked to see their purchases. The first dragged a huge bale of straw into the room. When it was untied it made a pile that nearly hid two of the walls. After it was cleared away, the second brought in two large bags of thistledown, which when released, filled three-fourths of the room. This was even better than the first.
The third nephew stood silent and forlorn. "And
what have you to offer?" asked his aged relative. "Uncle, I spent half of my
money to feed a hungry child and gave almost all the rest to the church. With
the little I had left, I bought these matches and a small candle." Then he lit
the taper, and its light filled every corner of the room! The kindly old man
realized that here was the noblest of them all. He blessed him for making the
best use of his gift and gave him all his possessions.
B. Following! 8:12b
1. Like the wilderness experience, it was not enough to embrace the FIRE or light of God just once, it had to be followed the entire lifetime all the way to the promise land!
a. Jesus says here, "Whoever FOLLOWS me will never walk in darkness…"
b. The verb here is a present participle in Greek thus indicating continuous action. The light must be followed for it to dispel the darkness each day!
c. God is not interested in a one time commitment to Him, He wants a daily commitment to Him!
d. This same thought of "constant following" or "remaining" was seen in the last message when Jesus said, "I am the vine…REMAIN in me…"
2. Shortly following these words in John 9 Jesus demonstrates the power of His light by healing a BLIND MAN…the man does not just get healed, but he becomes a disciple and FOLLOWS Christ!
3. There is no need for anyone to walk through life in spiritual darkness,
Christ is the light of the world and He will shine in our hearts if we let Him
ILLUS: A woman named Rose Crawford had been blind for 50 years. "I just can't believe it!" she gasped as the doctor lifted the bandages from her eyes after her recovery from delicate surgery in an Ontario hospital. She wept for joy when for the first time in her life a dazzling and beautiful world of form and color greeted eyes that now were able to see. The amazing thing about the story, however, is that 20 years of her blindness had been unnecessary. She didn't know that surgical techniques had been developed, and that an operation could have restored her vision at the age of 30. The doctor said, "She just figured there was nothing that could be done about her condition. Much of her life could have been different."
As I read the news account of her case, some
questions came to mind. Why did she continue to assume that her situation was
hopeless? Had no one told her about the wonderful advances in eye surgery? Then
I thought of the plight of those unreached by the Gospel. How many will go on
living in moral blindness unless we bring them to the Savior? Millions will
never know anything but spiritual darkness because no one has shared with them
the Light that has come into the world. (Romans 10:14)
4. In the wilderness when Israel lived in tents there was one requirement; when the FIRE of God moved they were to move and follow it!
a. If they did not they would be left behind in darkness again!
b. We too must follow Christ if the light of God remains in us!
5. It is tragic and sad that this Israel of Jesus' day was unwilling to embrace the light of the world and follow Him, at least their forefathers had followed the FIRE!
6. As Israel traveled by following the FIRE, they NEVER ceased to be in its light, never did they experience darkness while following the FIRE of God!
a. This is still true, as long as we follow Christ we will never walk in darkness.
b. A Christian has far more light on the realities of life than any unsaved person, for we can see clearly the spiritual realities around us.
7. While the rest of the world becomes restless and fretful when terrible
things happen, God's people are not caught in the dark, we see God's hand at
work in us and in the world as we allow the Light of the world Jesus Christ to
live in us.
II. LIGHT THAT REQUIRES A DECISION 8:13-20
A. Faith! 8:13-19
1. The Pharisees immediately react to Jesus' claim that He is the light of the world!
a. Their reaction is typical of people who live in darkness…they don't want to be exposed for who they really are!
b. They challenge Christ's ability to make such a claim by appealing to the law!
(1. The law required more than a single witness to attest to something being true.
(2. There had to be more than just a "self-witness" to establish truth.
2. Jesus in response tells them that in His case self witness is enough because of where He comes from…since the Father and Him are one, there can only truly be "one" witness!
a. And if they recognized that He indeed did come from God they would have understood this and not challenged the one witness He was giving.
b. So it proves they are ignorant of God!
c. It was in this sense that they judged by "human standards" only!
d. Even Christ at the moment did not come to bring final judgment, so their opportunity to yet embrace the light of the world still existed, this is what Jesus meant by His comment, "I pass judgment on no one."
(1. There will be a future time however when all the deeds of darkness will be exposed!
(2. Christ at this coming came to save, judgment will be for the future.
(3. BUT…Jesus does state that He always has the right to make judgment should He choose to do so, because He is not alone, His Father and He are one!
3. IN the sense that Jesus and the Father are both in agreement, there are two witnesses so that the law can be satisfied, however, this will not be acceptable to them because they have failed to accept Christ as having come from the Father!
a. They have painted themselves into a corner of darkness for which they cannot escape unless they accept Christ as the light of the world!
b. Had they known the father, they would have known Christ!
4. They attempt to make Jesus BEND to their law instead of their yielding
to Christ's light…this is a formula for disaster for them and their
ILLUS: The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."
The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a seaman third class Jones."
Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."
In the midst of our dark and foggy times, all
sorts of voices are shouting orders into the night, telling us what to do, how
to adjust our lives. Out of the darkness, one voice signals something quite
opposite to the rest--something almost absurd. But the voice happens to be the
Light of the World, and we ignore it at our peril.-- Paul Aiello, Jr., Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.
5. We too must decide if we are going to embrace by faith Christ as the light of the world or continue to press our own ideas and laws and reject Him.
a. To reject Him is to live in constant darkness!
b. We must come to Him in faith believing He is from the Father of light!
6. The Pharisees were far more concerned about their own "rightness" than they were about "righteousness"!
a. They not only chose darkness for themselves, but they also led others into darkness!
b. All their rules could not save the soul or remove the darkness of sin,
it took the light of the world to dispel the darkness of the heart and set it
B. Freedom 8:20
1. Christ does not allow them to destroy God's plans … and so He is able to slip away unnoticed by them, because they are blind and in darkness!
a. Christ still had work to do to secure our freedom from sin.
b. The Light of the world is not subject to the power of man any more than the sun is subject to our will!
2. Christ was offering freedom to come into the light and see clearly again.
a. He is still offering this freedom from darkness!
b. Why would you choose darkness over light?
ILLUS: We can easily forgive a child
who is afraid of the dark: the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of
the light. -- Plato,
Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 2.
3. There is no reason to fear the darkness anymore now that the light of
the world has come…what will you do with Christ?
CONCLUSION: Just as there is but one sun to dispel all the earth's darkness, there is but one Son of God that destroys spiritual darkness! As Israel had to continually follow the pillar of FIRE in order to reach the promise land, so must we continue to follow Christ who is the light of the world. Have you embraced the light or are you still living in darkness?