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Message series i am - part 7 - i am the light of the world - pastor chuck bernal - 03-26-17


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This message is Part 7 of the message series "I AM" by Pastor Chuck Bernal. In this message titled, "I AM The Light Of The World", Pastor Chuck talks about the reality of living in a dark world (that is getting darker) and how God's light can dispel the darkness. He further explains how the coming of Christ forever shined God's light in the world and how we as Christians are called to be God's light.

This message was delivered at LifePointe Church in Crowley, TX on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

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Message series i am - part 7 - i am the light of the world - pastor chuck bernal - 03-26-17

  1. 1. I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD Pastor Chuck Bernal March 26, 2017 Jesus said, “I am the Light from God that has come into the world, but men did not want light . . . I am the Light of the world.Whoeverfollows me willhave a life filled with lightand willnever live in the dark . . . I am the Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’thave to stayanylongerin the dark.” (John 3:19/8:12/12:46–ICB/CEV/Msg) FACT ONE: God is total and absolute ___________________________ God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. (1 John 1:5 – HCSB) OnlyGod lives forever!And he lives in light thatno one can come near. Nohuman has ever seen God or ever can see him. God will be honored, and his power will last forever. Amen. (1 Timothy6:16 –CEV) In the Old Testament (Light = OWR) and in the New Testament (Light = PHOS) and the word is always used tosymbolize that whichis “God” andthat which is “GOOD” (love,life, truthandsalvation) Everygood gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there’s no variation or shadow. (James 1:17 – NKJV) OUR TAKE AWAY: God is only one who can _____________ the darkness FACT TWO: The world is __________ & getting ___________________ They will look around them at their land and see onlytrouble, darkness,and awful gloom. And they will be forced into the darkness . . . The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. (Isaiah 8:22/9:2 –NCV/NLT) In the Old Testament (Darkness = HASAK) and in the New Testament (Darkness = SKOTOS) and the word is always used to symbolize that which is “anti-God” (evil, deception,hatredanddeath) Evildoers travel a dark road because they love to hide their deeds in darkness; they can’t see the perilsahead thatcause themtostumble. (Proverbs 4:19 – Voice) But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over. (Proverbs 4:19 – NLT) OUR TAKE AWAY: The world desperately needs God’s _______________ FACT THREE: Jesus is God and He is the _____________ of the world Before the world began, there was the Word. The Word was with God,and the Word was God. He waswith God in the beginning ... In him there waslife. That life was light for the people of the world. The Light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overpowered the Light. There was a man named John who was sent by God.He came to tellpeople about the Light. Through him allpeople could hearabout the Light and believe. John was not the Light, but he came to tell people about the Light. The true Light was cominginto the world. The true Light giveslight toall . . . The Word became
  2. 2. a man and lived among us. We sawhis glory—the glory that belongsto the onlySon ofthe Father . . . John told about him.He said, “This is the One I was talking about. I said, ‘The One who comes after me is greater than I am. He was living before me . . . No man has ever seen God. But God the only Son is very close to the Father. And the Son has shown us whatGod islike. (John 1:1-2,4-9,14-15,18 –ICB) Satan, who is the god of this evil world, has made them blind, unable to see the glorious light of the Gospel that is shining upon them or to understand the amazing message we preach aboutthe glory of Christ, whois God. (2 Corinthians 4:4 – LB) OUR TAKE AWAY: Jesus alone can bring _____________ into our lives FACT FOUR: As Christians we are now the ____________ in the world You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don’t hide a light under a bowl. They put the light on a lampstand. Then the light shines forall the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do. Live so that they will praise yourFatherin heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 - ICB) You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honestand truthful. (Ephesians5:8-9 –CEV) Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives.You’ll be children oflight.” (Matthew 12:36 – Msg) We must _____________ the light – We must ____________ in the light We must ____________ in the light God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, then we are liars. God is in the light. We should live in the light, too. If we live in the light, we share fellowship with each other. And when we live in the light, the blood of the death of Jesus, God’s Son, is making us clean from everysin.(1 John 1:5-7 – ICB) OUR TAKE AWAY: We must _______________ each day how we will live In Four Cups, pastor and New York Times best-selling author Chris Hodges shares an astonishing truth: The key to your spiritual fulfillment is found in four promises that God first spoke to His people in the Old Testament, and that are still at the core of his heart and his plans for you today. God wants to rescue you; to deliver you from whatever holds you back; for you to live out His plan for your life; and for you to be part of a family that is making a difference.
  3. 3. Before the world began, there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning . . . In him there was life. That life was light for the people of the world. The Light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overpowered the Light. There was a man named John who was sent by God. He came to tell people about the Light. Through him all people could hear about the Light and believe. John was not the Light, but he came to tell people about the Light. The true Light was coming into the world. The true Light gives light to all . . . The Word became a man and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father . . . John told about him. He said, “This is the One I was talking about. I said, ‘The One who comes after me is greater than I am. He was living before me . . . No man has ever seen God. But God the only Son is very close to the Father. And the Son has shown us what God is like. (John 1:1-2, 4-9, 14-15, 18 – ICB) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whomthere isnovariation orshadowof turning. (James 1:17 – NKJV) LIGHT PRIMARY PURPOSE TO DISPEL DARKNESS THE PEOPLE WHO WALK IN DARKNESS YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD – SHINE A Detour That’s Not a Detour But it might be helpful to say something about the overarching point of the passage. The passage begins in verse 12 with Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world.” “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” And surprisingly he never mentions light again in this whole chapter. It’s as though he goes off onto a detour because of an objection they raise.
  4. 4. But we have seen before (for example, John 4:16–21) that when Jesus lets someone take him on a detour, he handles the detour in a way that really illumines the starting point and the destination. So it turns out not to be a detour after all. The Focus: Jesus’s Relationship with the Father The dominant focus in the apparent detour in verses 13–29 — the detour away from “I am the light of the world” — is that the testimony and the judgments of Jesus are true because of his relationship with God the Father. At least seven times in this passage, Jesus points to the fact that he is from the Father, and speaks on the authority of the Father, and is going to the Father, and does nothing on his own. He claims, in other words, that his authority is not owing to any human origin. It’s owing to his relationship with God the Father. Imagine the greatest human authority you can, and he is saying: I don’t pretend to have that. What I claim is that I speak from God and for God and as God. I don’t testify to any autonomous human greatness. What I claim — in and under all I say and do — is that “I am.” I am one with God, the great “I am” (Exodus 3:14). Verse 24: “Unless you believe that I am [the he is added in our English translation] you will die in your sins.” Verse 28: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [again, the he is added].” The Big Picture of This Text And the reason I say this emphasis on Jesus’s relationship with the Father is not really a detour from verse 12 — “I am the light of the world” — is that the way Jesus is the light of the world is precisely by being one with the Father. Jesus is the light of the world because he comes from the Father and speaks for the Father and is going to the Father and is one with the Father. So these words of interaction with the Jews look like a detour from “I am the light of the world,” but in fact they are constantly pointing to the way he is the light of the world — by coming from the Father and going to the Father and being one with the Father. That’s the big picture of the text — that is what Jesus wants us to see and believe and treasure from these words. May the Lord do that for you as we listen to him.
  5. 5. A Life-Changing Verse So let’s begin with the claim in verse 12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” This is a life-changing verse if you see it for what it is — see him for who he is. It says that following Jesus is more than tagging along behind him. It means following him for who he is. Being so taken with him that you join yourself to him. When We Follow Him, We Have Him And notice that when you follow him you have him — you have him as the light of life. “I am the light . . . Whoever follows me . . . will have the light . . .” You will have me, he says, as your light. If you follow me, you have me. I am yours. I am your Shepherd and your Sacrifice and your Living Water and your Bread from Heaven and your God, and your Light. Notice the last phrase of verse 12: “You will have the light of life.” What is the connection between light and life? John 1:4 gives the answer: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The life gives the light. The life Jesus has, and the life he shares with those who follow him, gives them light. That is, we are dead and blind to the light until the life of Jesus is imparted to us by God’s Spirit, and then we see. The eyes of our hearts are opened, and divine light streams into our living spirits. And thus we have the light of life. The light that comes from new, spiritual, eye-opening life — the life that gives sight to the blind soul, eternal life giving eternal sight. The Light of the World And what about the phrase “light of the world”? Verse 12: “Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.’” What does “of the world” mean? The whole world is not being lightened — at least not yet. In fact, he says, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.” Which means that if we don’t follow him, we do walk in darkness. And where is that darkness? It is in the world and in our hearts. So being “the light of the world” doesn’t mean removing all darkness from the world as he walks through the world. Here’s what I think it means:
  6. 6. 1. Jesus’s being “the light of the world” means the world has no other light than him. If there is going to be a light for the world, it will be Jesus. It is Jesus or darkness. There is no third alternative. No other light. 2. It means, therefore, that all the world, and everyone in it needs, Jesus as their light. 3. It means that the world was made for this light. This is not a foreign light. This is the light of the owner of the world. When this light comes, it not only makes sin plain as foreign and ugly, but it also makes everything good in the world shine with its full and true beauty. This world was made to be illumined by this light. This light of Christ is native to the world. 4. And finally Jesus being “the light of the world” means that that one day this world will be filled with this light as the waters cover the sea, and all darkness, and all the works of darkness, and all the sons of darkness will be cast out. That’s why Jesus called hell “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). In that day, all will be light. Jesus, the radiance of the Father, will fill the world, and everything will be beautiful with the light of Christ. Light for Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Suffering, and Death In these glorious ways, Jesus is the light of the world. If you follow him now, you will have him as your light in advance of that great day. True, he will reveal your sins. Which is a precious gift — like the fortunate early diagnosis of a deadly cancer. But even more, he will reveal all that is beautiful. He will be the light in which you see God — the light in which you see the history of redemption and the work of salvation. He will be the light in which you see mountains and valleys and oceans and rivers and trees and animals and people. Nothing will be the same again when you have him as your light. Everything looks different in the light of Christ. Yes, even earthquakes and tsunamis and suffering and death. Until his light fills the earth as the waters cover the sea — until it and banishes sin and sickness and pain and earthquakes to the outer darkness — until then, even now, his light will help you bear the sorrows of darkness. It will be a soft glow to
  7. 7. comfort you in your lonely room after the devastating loss. It will be a lamp on your troubled path. It will reveal the wise and loving face of God behind every frowning providence. Jesus’s Offer of Light to All And so I say with Jesus in John 12:36, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When you believe in Jesus as your precious light, when you follow him as your truth and your wisdom and your way and your beauty, you have his life, you are “a son of light.” You are begotten into the family of light. And this light will never go out. In the moment of death, when the world thinks “all the lights go out,” for you it will be the light of heaven. So that’s where Jesus starts in verse 12. He offers them and us all of that. And what an offer it is! I pray you take it. Then Comes the Detour But now begins this seeming detour. Verse 13: “So the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.’” Where did this come from? It came from John 5:31 where Jesus said, taking his words very strictly, “If I bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” The Pharisees pick up on this strict wording of what he said, and say, “See you are contradicting yourself and so your testimony is false, because you are bearing witness about yourself. You just said, ‘I am the light of the world.’” This response of the Pharisees (“You are bearing witness about yourself”) sets up everything that happens in the next 17 verses of our text. The detour is defined by these words. And Jesus is willing to go on this detour. And he uses it to focus all attention on his relationship to the Father. Because that relationship is the key to seeing him as the light of the world, so that this turns out not to be a detour in the end. Caught in a Contradiction?
  8. 8. Have they caught Jesus in a contradiction? He really did say in John 5:31, “If I bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” (The English versions that add the word “alone” in verse 31 — “If I alone bear witness about myself” — are interpreting, not translating.) But what did he mean in the context? He meant: If my testimony comes from myself, if it originates with me, if I am a witness to myself disconnected from the Father, I am false. But the Pharisees didn’t hear it in context. They heard it in isolation, and now they use it to divert attention from the tragic fact that when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” they see no light. A Picture of What’s Happening Here is a picture of what’s happening. It is as though you heard me yesterday in a conversation with a British friend say, “I don’t use the word torch.” And then today I find you lost in a totally dark and dangerous tunnel. And I bring you a bright, burning torch that can show you the way out. And I say, “I have a torch for you. There’s the way. Follow it to freedom.” And you look right past the torch and say, “I heard you say yesterday that you don’t use the word torch. So your testimony that you have a torch is false.” What should I say in response to that? I could explain to you, “In Britain they call flashlights torches. I was saying yesterday that I don’t use the word torch that way. You didn’t understand the context. Here’s a torch. Take it. Get out of here while you can.” But if you are like the Pharisees, you would answer, “There’s no torch here. You contradicted yourself.” Seeing, They Did Not See Now you should respond to this illustration by saying: “That’s absurd. The torch was right there in front of me. And I needed it to get out.” That’s right. And Jesus, the light of the world — the divine, self-authenticating light of the world — was right there in front of them. And they said, “You contradicted yourself. There’s no light burning here.”
  9. 9. The eyes of their hearts were blind. Seeing, they did not see. The light of Christ is not an inference from premises. It is the brightness of God shining on the retina of the human soul. You know it’s there not because you conclude it from an argument, but because you see it with the eyes of your heart. What It Means to Be The Light of the World Jesus responds to the Pharisees in verse 14: “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.” In other words, “I came from God. I am going to God. And you don’t know God. And therefore you can’t see me as the light of God. Because the fact that I am from God is what it means for me to be the light of the world.” He goes on in verse 15: “You judge according to the flesh” — that is, you don’t have spiritual life and so can’t see the light. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. You need, like Nicodemus, to be born again (John 3:6–7). To have the light of life, you need life. But you are only flesh. Your spirit is dead. He continues in verse 15: “I judge none” — that is, I judge no one on my own. I don’t originate judgments. I echo my Father’s judgments. He explains. Verses 16–18: “Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” When His Hour Comes — And Not Before Verse 19: “They said to him therefore, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’” In other words, Jesus says, “I and the Father are so united that if you knew and loved either of us, you would know and love the other.”
  10. 10. These are explosive and dangerous claims that he is making about himself and God. So John pauses to comment in verse 20 how amazing it is that no one is stoning him or arresting him: “These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.” He will go when his hour comes, not before. He Warns Them with Hell Now he spells out one of the implications of their blindness. Verses 21–24: “So he said to them again, ‘I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ So the Jews said, ‘Will he kill himself, since he says, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am . . . [he is added] you will die in your sins.’” When Jesus says in verse 21 that he is going away, he means going to die and rise again and go to the Father. When he says they will “die in their sins” and that they cannot follow him where he goes, he means: When they die, they do not go to the Father. He is warning them, that if they persist in their blind rejection of him as the light of the world, they will perish away from God in hell forever. But He Offers Hope But he offers them hope — and he offers you hope. Verse 24: “Unless you believe that I am . . . [again, he is added] you will die in your sins.” Believe, and you won’t. “Believe that I am — that I am from the Father. And that I and the Father are one. Open your eyes and see that I am the light of the world and receive me as your light. And you will not perish.” Jesus keeps saying it over and over in this passage — that he is from the Father and that that he speaks what the Father speaks. But things come to a climax in verse 28 where he finally tells how it is that they will eventually come face to face with what they cannot see. Verse 28: “So Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [he is added].’” See and Believe
  11. 11. That doesn’t mean that at the crucifixion of Jesus, they all became believers. It means that you yourselves unwittingly are going to help me finish being the light of the world. You are going to lift me up. You are going to crucify me. And when I am crucified, my role as the saving, redeeming, creation-filling light of the world will be secured. And I will rise and reign and shine forever. And the day will come when you will know this. You can know now and have your sins forgiven. Or you can be the ones who crucify me, and die in your sins, and find out the truth only later when it is too late. And so it is with you and me: We see him and receive him as the light of the world now. Or we die in our sins and see it only when it is too late. May God grant you to see and believe now. 1. Jesus is the light who reveals God, exposes darkness, and transforms everything. #WhoIsJesus 2. God’s love isn’t just an act of His will but is an expression of His character. #WhoIsJesus 3. Jesus exposes and addresses your sin not to hurt you, but to help you and heal you. #WhoIsJesus 4. God welcomes the religious and the rebel alike. #WhoIsJesus 5. Jesus came to show us the answer to the question: “What is God like?” #WhoIsJesus 6. Jesus points out sin and reveals beauty for our good and His glory. #WhoIsJesus 7. We don’t follow Jesus because we’re scared of the dark, but because we’ve seen the light. #WhoIsJesus 8. Jesus wants to turn empty, formless lives into lives marked by purpose. #WhoIsJesus 9. The light of Jesus isn’t just something to talk about; it’s meant to be shared with others. #WhoIsJesus 10.Jesus came to earth to give light to everyone. #WhoIsJesus
  12. 12. PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will look at the statement from Jesus, “I am the light of the world.” Within that statement we find the character of light, the action of light, and the extension of light. OBJECTIVES: Each hearer should be able to understand the thoughts involved in this statement and also recognize their responsibility to that light to either allow it to dispel the darkness in ones life to it or to reflect it. AIM: To further educate concerning the statements of Jesus and His claims upon divinity. INTRODUCTION: 1. Read: John 8:12 2. About the Text: 1) In the background of this text, we have the feast of tabernacles (7:37). 2) At the end of this feast, an array of candelabras would be lit in the court of the temple. 3) The rabbis who participated in the feast would then dance around these candelabras. 4) Both the candelabras and the dancing created quite a spectacle for those attending the feast. 5) Jesus likely used this occasion to teach on this particular subject. 6) While the Jewish candelabras only lit the court of the tabernacle, Jesus claimed to have light for the entire world. 3. Series on study of the “I am” statements. 1) John records several statements which Jesus makes that begin with “I am.” 2) These statements give us insight into who Jesus was and what His relationship with both God and man is as well. 3) We learn more about how we need to live our lives from looking at Jesus life. 4) We learn more about who God is by looking at these statements. 4. Exclusivity of the claims. 1) Again, these claims that Jesus makes are exclusive in nature. 2) It is not merely one or two statements that were made, but several. 3) Each of these statements is exclusive. a. When Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” that excludes all other “bread.” b. When Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” that excludes all other “lights.” c. Etc. 4) If anyone wants to be saved today, they must be saved through Jesus. Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
  13. 13. 5. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A. DISCUSSION: Within the statement, “I am the light of the world,” we find . . . . THE CHARACTER OF LIGHT. 1. Light is bright and obvious. 1) Light is bright. a. When you see light, you don’t need any additional confirmation. b. I never had to teach my children what light was. 2) Light is obvious. a. You know it is light. b. It is obvious what it is. c. No one has to tell you, that is not light nor is that. You just know. 3) Jesus, as the light of the world is bright and obvious. a. The Hebrew writer says that Jesus was the “brightness of God’s glory.” Hebrews 1:3. b. 2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 4) When an honest person sits down and looks at the life and teaching of Jesus, one cannot help to come to the same conclusion to which the Roman centurion came in Matthew 27:54, “Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” 5) Jesus is bright and obvious. 2. The source is known. 1) When there is light in the room, it is not hard to find the source. 2) Even a blind man knows what the sun is. 3) The works which Jesus did made His source obvious. a. Confession of Nicodemus–“The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:2). b. Confession of the healed blind man. “The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” c. Jesus words: John 10:36-38, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” 4) The source of this light should be obvious to us as well.
  14. 14. 3. It is virtually unlimitable. 1) Light shines a great distance in the dark. Candle at twenty miles. Stars in the sky. 2) Even when you try to block light with something it can go through our around. 3) The only thing that can really block light is something hard, thick, and solid, like lead. 4) The light of Jesus is unlimitable if we let it have free course in our life. a. Hebrews 7:25 says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” If we truly make the decision to come to Jesus nothing can impede us. b. Notice that those who have committed themselves wholly to Jesus can do all things through Christ. Philippians4:17. c. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 5) What can stop the light from entering our heart? Our own heart! a. Remember, to block light you must have something that is thick, solid and impenetrable. b. We can make our hearts like this so that God’s light will not penetrate our lives. c. Jesus said concerning the Pharisees, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15). d. Hebrews 3:15, 16 The Hebrew writer exhorts us, “…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” e. It is only through the hardness of our own hearts that we will incur God’s wrath and judgment. “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (Romans 2:5). I. THE ACTION OF LIGHT. 1. It dispels darkness. 1) There is no such thing as the presence of darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. 2) When we turn on the light, darkness disappears. 3) John 1:5 states, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” 4) John 3:19, 20 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” 5) Light reproves the darkness.
  15. 15. 6) Jesus teaching approves that which is right and reproves what is wrong. 2. It illuminates objects–both good and bad. 1) You turn on the light to both see what is there. a. Have you ever stubbed your toe on something in the middle of the night? b. Have you ever wondered whether there was a pathway for you in which to walk in the dark? 2) Psalm 109:5 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” It is there so we can see both things that get in the way and the clear path itself. 3) Matthew 5:15, 16 “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” To see the objects in the house, you need light. 4) Ephesians 5:13 “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” 5) Jesus himself illuminated both the good and bad in his life. 3. It enables sight. 1) Without light, we are blind. 2) With light, we can see. 3) Ephesians 5:14 “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” 4) Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” (John 9:39). 5) 2 Peter 1:9 “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 6) Do you want to have spiritual sight? Jesus gives it today! To the blind he gives sight! II. THE EXTENSION OF LIGHT–JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD! 1. It is available to the whole world. 1) John 1:7-9 “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” 2) John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 3) Acts 13:47 “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” 4) John 12:46 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” 5) Jesus extends his light to the whole world. 2. We must be light reflectors. 1) 1 Thessalonians 5:5 “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”
  16. 16. 2) Philippians 2:15 “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” 3) Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 4) John 12:36 “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” 5) Jesus wants us to follow his example. 3. All will be held accountable to this light. 1) In order to judge something you need light. 2) Ephesians5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” 3) John 3:19, 20 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” 4) Truly we will be judged by the words of Christ: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48). CONCLUSION:Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” 1. What will you do with the light of Christ today? 1) Will you recognize the character of this light? 2) Will you undergo the action of this light in your life? 3) Will you extend the light of Christ further into the world today? 2. Invitation 1) If you are a Christian but have fallen away a. You cannot walk with Christ except you walk in the light (1 John 1:7). b. Come back to the light today. 2) If you are not a Christian this morning . . . a. You are in darkness. b. Don’t harden your heart to make your life impenetrable to the light of life. a) Hear the word; Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing . . .” b) Believe with all your heart; Hebrews 11:6 “For without faith it is impossible . . . .” c) Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30). d) Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew16:16). e) Be baptized for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:15,16).
  17. 17. Introduction In John 1:1-5, we read that Jesus came into the world as the Light of the World. It is little wonder that a bright star revealed where He could be found to the searching Magi. After all, He was the Light! It is wonderful that we have so many lights burning brightly during the Christmas season. They are reminders, in a bleak, dark world, that there is a True Light that shines upon all mankind. He came to be the Light, but the darkness does not accept Him. Only when we open our hearts to Him, can the light of truth, joy and peace come into our lives. A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday school presentation. His mother was in the front row to prompt him. She gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it did not help. Her son's memory was blank. Finally she leaned forward and whispered the cue, “I am the light of the world.” The child beamed and with great feeling and a loud, clear voice said, “My mother is the light of the world.“ The little fellow was sincere but sincerely wrong. And so are a lot of people today who are looking for Light in all the wrong places. 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”. Indeed, we can agree with that small boy, it is awful dark on every street in this world today. But thanks be to God, Jesus did come to hang out, if you will forgive the expression, in the alley ways of this sinful, dark world. That is what Christmas is all about. Jesus came because we are in the dark. The year 1809 was considered to be a very bad year. Napoleon Bonaparte was leading his invincible army across Europe, altering the face of the map. However, in that very year the God had born into this world, Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alfred Tennyson, William Gladstone, and Felix Mendelssohn. Each of these men would bring light to their various fields of endeavor. No matter how dark the world seems, God is still the light and He is always at work. The greatest birth of all time came on a dark night long ago. It was a dark night and a dark world in many ways when God hung a star in the eastern sky to announce the advent of His Son. It was a dark night politically, economically, morally, and religiously. But it was the darkness before the dawn. Jesus came, and the world has not been the same since. Let’s look at our text and note the context which precipitates this claim by our Lord. Our text is John 8:12-21. Jesus has just forgiven the woman taken in adultery and has scattered her accusers in the process. He is just before opening the eyes of a man born blind, which is recorded in John, chapter 9. Apparently Jesus was at the Temple area where people were gathered and He spoke to them with this claim, “I am the light of the world.” The Pharisees challenged Him by stating that He had no right to make such a claim since He needed witnesses to back up His statement. They stated that Jesus needed two witnesses. Of course, this was part of their tradition, and not part of the scripture. They had begun to make tradition more important than the Word of God. Jesus answered them and stated His case.
  18. 18. I. THE DECLARATION BY JESUS No person had ever made this statement before, but Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” This had been prophesied by Malachi. We read in Malachi 4:2, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” Indeed, when He was born there stood above Him in the sky a great star shining brightly. Alas, the Light in the manger was far greater than the light above the manger. The star was a mere physical symbol of the marvelous spiritual reality that had come into the world to dispel the darkness. How fitting He was born at night, for He came to rid the world of darkness. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, had been waiting for the Messiah to come. When He saw Jesus, among the words he spoke were these, Luke 2:32, “A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” On the Mount of Transfiguration, recorded in Matthew 17:1-2, Jesus appeared as white as the light. The Scripture states, “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” John on the Isle of Patmos records this also. In Revelation 21:23-25, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.” The grave must be the darkest place on this earth. Sealed over with the still body laying inside, it is a place of utter darkness, where no light can intrude. But Jesus, the Light of the World, broke down the barrier and brought light to this darkest of earthly places. Witness the empty tomb on the morning of His resurrection and angels in Shining apparel. The Light had come to the darkness and scattered it forever! There is no question that Jesus is the Light of the World. II. THE DISPUTE WITH JESUS The religious leaders disputed the claim of Jesus that He was the light of the world. The first recorded words of God are, “Let there be light.” Darkness prevailed over the original creation until God brought forth light and dispelled the darkness. This is a picture of the souls of men. Human beings are in darkness due to sin, but Jesus dispels the darkness when He comes to live in those who receive Him as Savior and Lord. Even though Jesus was the Light of the World, the world did not at first accept that fact. Well they should have accepted it. John the Baptist was the most respected voice among the people before Jesus was began His public ministry. John the Baptist was a witness to Jesus as the light, for John the Apostle records in John 1:6-9 these words, “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as
  19. 19. a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.“ Jesus had proven that He was the Light of the World by the authority of His teaching. The people had well said that no one had ever taught as Jesus had taught. Furthermore, His miracles had revealed the truth of His statement regarding His nature. To top it all off, just before the passage under consideration today, Jesus had forgiven a woman her sins, and had pointed out by the great light of His omniscience nature that the ones accuser her had secret sins of their own and had caused them to drop the rocks of judgment and walk away from her. How is it now that they do not believe Him? Because they are in the dark! They have not seen the Light! The songwriter, in speaking of his own conversion to Christ wrote, “I once was blind but now I see.” These men were still blind, they had not believed on Jesus and they could not see the truth because they decided to remain in the darkness. I believe it was Plato who once said, “We can forgive a little child who is afraid of the dark, but only pity the adult who is afraid of the light.“ What pity we have for the religious leaders in this story who were afraid of the Light standing right before them. Like fish deep in the ocean who had lost their eyes, these men had grown so familiar with their low estate that they did not have eyes to see that the Son of God was right before them. How was it that these men were still in darkness? Paul tells us in Romans 1:21 that those who are lost are in that condition because their hearts are darkened! The heart speaks of the mind, will and emotion. Those who are lost have not allowed Christ to illuminate the mind, to yield the will and to sense in the emotions the love of God in Christ. These people had chosen to be ignorant of the Light. Others around them were believing and their lives were being changed, but the people attacking Jesus just could not see. Listen carefully, one reason they could not see was due to their overwhelming pride. They just simply knew too much for their own good! They thought they knew everything. They had a closed mind. This leads many people to reject Jesus. We can see this in the arrogant question they asked, “Where is your father?” This question was meant to hurt Jesus, for rumors had spread that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Galilean girl named Mary. The antagonists of Jesus were seeking to embarrass Jesus and to ridicule Him. They acted with pride, hatred and evil intentions. Those who mock God cannot also be a friend of God. Least you think that these religious leaders should not be blamed for their ignorance, you need to remember that the idea of light representing God fills the Old Testament. We see this in the glorious light which represented the very presence of God in the fiery cloud which led the people to the promised land (Exodus 13:21-22). This same brilliant light protected them from those who would destroy them (Exodus 14:19-25). The Israelites often sang Psalm 27, which begins in verse one, “The LORD is my light and my salvation”. The Bible, God’s Word, was said to be a light to guide the path of those who cherish instruction (Psalm 119:105); God is seen winning victories for His people by the light of His face, Psalm 44:3. Isaiah tells us that the servant of the LORD was appointed as a light to the Gentiles, that he might bring God’s salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah. 49:6). They knew that the One coming was to be the Light of the World. They simply closed their eyes and hearts!
  20. 20. III. DISCLOSURE FROM JESUS Jesus now reveals that He is the true Light. We not e here that the accusers of Jesus did not question what He was saying, but only whether it was true. They knew what he was claiming. How did they know this? It is interesting that John's Gospel, in chapter 6, 7, and 8, refer back to the wilderness journey of the children of Israel. Chapter Six mentions Jesus as the Bread of Life, and brings up the subject of the manna in the wilderness. Chapter Seven mentions the Water of Life, as related to the water offered in the temple during the feast of tabernacles to commemorate the time when they drank water from the rock. Now, Jesus says I am the light of the world. During the Feast of Tabernacles two huge candelabra were lighted in the court of the women in front of the Temple. This was done to recall the pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day which led the people when they were in the wilderness after escaping from Egypt. The Scripture had not taught the people to do this; rather, it was a tradition which had become part of worship in Jerusalem annually. Women would come with torches and dance around the giant candlesticks. It was said that the entire sky around Jerusalem was lit up by this act. Jesus was claiming that He was that Light. He was telling them that their tradition was empty. They fully understood what He was claiming to be. So Jesus discloses to them truth regarding this illustration. In essence, Jesus was saying that the light which led them in the wilderness was but a foreshadowing of a person, namely, Himself! Jesus is the Light which fills the universe, but more importantly the Light which fills the hearts of all those who trust Him as Savior. 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 asking the best use of his gift and gave him all his possessions. Christ is the only One who can fill your life with light and meaning. Let me tell you quickly, some things which light does for those who stand in its warming rays. Lets apply each of these to Jesus and to our spiritual lives.
  21. 21. A. Light offers Protection "The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him" (1 John 2:9-10). John tells us that light not only reveals mistakes, it reveals the right path to walk. Light lets us see what lies ahead, so we can safely make it through life. When we choose to walk in the love of God we have no reason to fear. The light of God that reveals His paths to us will keep us safe and from harm. Sin and its power will not effect us because we are in the light. Those who model their lives after God’s holiness and love have nothing to fear from God. B. Light offers Revelation Many times we use the expression, "I finally saw the light", meaning, we finally realize the point. Light in this sense illuminates the mind, allowing us to understand what we need to know to find purpose and meaning in life. "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Paul warns that Satan will do what he can to keep people from realizing who Jesus is. Satan wants us in the dark, not in the light. Satan doesn’t want man's mind illuminated, he wants it closed and dark. "For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of Cod in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). C. Light offers Animation We know from science that life requires some form of light. Light is a source for life itself. Jesus is the source for spiritual life. Without Him, there is no life to be known. Those without Him are said to be dead in their sins. Those in Him are said to have eternal life. Jesus is the Light, the animating force of the universe. D. Light offers Reinvigoration In the night, sickness seems far worse, grief more difficult, trouble more foreboding, but with the light comes a renewal, a reinvigoration of our spirits. Almost everything is easier to deal with in the light. As a boy Robert Louis Stevenson was intrigued by the work of the old lamplighter who went about with a ladder and a torch, setting the street lights ablaze for the night. One evening in Edinburgh, Scotland, as young Robert stood watching with childish fascination, his parents heard him exclaim, “Look, look! There is a man out there punching holes in the darkness!”
  22. 22. That is exactly what Jesus does for those who follow Him. He punches holes in the darkness. He gives comfort, peace, forgiveness, hope, joy, and assurance to those who love Him. There is someone here today who has been stumbling around in the dark. You are a Christian, but an eclipse of some thing, some sin, some problem, some fear, some weakness, some disappointment, has cause the Light of God’s love and grace to be blotted out to you. Turn from whatever it is today. Let the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing in His wings for you today! Then we can say with the poet: “Son of my soul, Savior dear, It is not night if thou be near.” Conclusion Let me remind Christians in this worship center that Jesus said in John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” But now that He is gone, is the light gone also? No! You and I are the light. He told us so. We are to reflect His glory in our lives. We are to Christ what the moon is to the sun, we have no light of our own, but we have light from Him to give to this dark world. A tourist was said to have brought back from Germany a little phosphorescent match-safe. One evening he decided to show it to some of his friends. He turned off all the lights, but the obstinate little match-safe had no shine to it. He concluded that he had been cheated by the man who sold it to him. The next day, while looking at it more closely, he read on one side, “If you wish me to shine, keep me in the sunlight.” He followed the instructions, placed it out where the sun's rays could be absorbed, and when he took it to a darkened room, he found that it had a brilliant glow. If you and I are to shine for our Lord, we must stay near to Him. A child heard that Christians were saints. On one occasion she was taken to a cathedral. She sat watching the sunshine through the windows. She asked her mother, “Who are these people on the window?” Her mother replied, “They are saints.” Then the child said, “Now I know what saints are. They are people who let the light shine through.” So let every believer be renewed in the Light of the World today, and let every lost person come to the Light of the World to receive life everlasting. Let us be a light this Christmas shining more brightly than those that we place on our trees or outside our homes. Let Jesus reflect His light through you! In these times of uncertainty and danger, Jesus stands among us today and says to us, “I am the light of the world.” Our nation is divided into warring factions, each one claiming to offer hope for a better future. But who’s to say even what that better future should be? Whose version of “progress” are we to believe? And what will they demand of us, to realize their dream? So we turn with new urgency and gratitude to the only One who can say to us, “I am the light of the world.” When every other light flickers out and the darkness gathers around us,he will still be the light of the world. But not only is that true of him on a grand scale, he is also inviting every one of us personally to himself: “Whoeverfollows me will not walk in darkness,but will have the light of life.” Here is his huge claim: “I am the light of the world.” Here is his personalpromise: “Whoeverfollows me will not walk in darkness,but will have the light of life.”
  23. 23. Here in John’s Gospel Jesus makes seven audacious “I am” statements.And he knew how people would hear him. When he said, for example, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) – and Abraham lived around 2000 B.C. – Jesus knew people would hear that as his claim to be God. How could they not hear it that way? In the Old Testament God said, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14). Here in the New Testament Jesus is saying, “That’s me. I am God. I am eternal. I’m not going away. I will always be. And I am with you now in your time. You can have me, if you want me. I want you. That’s why I’m declaring these astonishing claims about myself. I want you to be sure of me and take me into your moment. You are limited. I am unlimited. You are in danger. I am your refuge. You are dying. I am living. You will lose everything in time. I am offering you everything in eternity. Will you follow me there?” Today we come to the second of his seven “I am” sayings.Back in chapter6 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48). Now he says,“I am the light of the world.” Let’s press into his claim and his promise. Claim: I am the light of the world It’s easier for us to believe that we can generate our own light and wisdom and progress out of our own intelligence. The age of “the Enlightenment,” back in the 1700s, was a brash assertion about how smart we are. But it didn’t work. The Enlightenment was inseparable from the bloodbath of the French Revolution. France went insane with the guillotine – in the name of reason. It wasn’t just back then.We keep proving how our brilliance – not only our stupidity but also our brilliance – can lead us into darkness.My iPhone proves it to me every day. This brilliant communications mechanism wants to make me stupid.Instead of going deep into thought and prayer, like a scuba diver, I’m skimming along the surface of things on my mental jet ski, as I scroll through tweets upon tweets, sound bite miniaturized thoughts that no one cares about for more than a few seconds,when I could be reading a good book or having a wonderful conversation with you.To go deep, to think well, to make real progress – our very genius is making it harder to become a mature human being, as God made us to be. Here is my point. The human race keeps repeating the same mistake, which is this – we deeply believe we can create our own betterfuture by following our own light. But T. S. Eliot asked us, “Where is the life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” And if the maps app on our smartphones is leading us into a new dark age, then how deep is our darkness! Here is what’s even more amazing. It is our darkened world that God loves.Jesus came to us with a light we couldn’t invent, a light we even oppose.But here is all our hope: “The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Jesus did not say, “I am a light in the world.” He said, “I am the light of the world. There is no other. If you ever want to see beyond yourown destructive genius,follow me.” He is not pointing us to light elsewhere and offering himself as our guide into that other light. He is saying he is the light. To follow him is our only path into the luminous and beautiful humaneness we long for. If you do not follow Jesus,here is the rest of yourlife: you will bump into one self-inflicted injury after another, you will never know why, you will never understand yourself,but you will keep believing you’ll soon get the hang of how life works with some new approach.Are you willing to stake all your happiness and youreternal destiny on yourown flawed perceptions? And what about yourchildren? As our nation descends into deeper darkness,how are you going to raise them? How will you prepare them for the future? And what about our city? Is there any credible hope for our city that leaves Jesus out? We are having more Peace in the City events this fall and winter. They will shine with light
  24. 24. from Jesus for our city. Let’s get ready. Let’s bring everyone who will come. For our children’s sake, for our city’s sake, the time has come to turn back to the only One who said or could say,“I am the light of the world.” It’s significant when and where Jesus said this. When he said “I am the light of the world,” we might think he meant, “I am the sun in the sky.” But he had something else in mind. He said this in Jerusalem at the Feast of the Tabernacles (John 7:2). It was an annual, weeklong feast among the Jewish people. But it was more than a party. These great feasts es tablished a narrative framework for the people to understand theirpast history, their present identity and their future destiny.When we remember something, we re-member it to ourselves.We re- attach it to ourselves.We make it our own in a fresh way. The Feast of Tabernacles drew the people back to their early days with the Lord, even before they entered the Promised Land, back in the days when all they had was him, and he was enough.They remembered how God was with them in the cloud, which glowed with the Shekinah Glory, as they walked through the desert wilderness. The Lord was with them in power and glory and light. And this feast was a happy remembrance of it here in Jerusalem. The Jewish people lit the temple up with the brightest lights they had, and they danced the night away with torches in their hands.It was joyous and meaningful to go back to God and put all their ho pe in him alone. But at the end of the feast,they took it all down and went back to the dreary normal, until the next year. It was in that setting that Jesus said, “I am not only the light of this temple but the true light of the whole world. My feast never stops.My dance never ends. I burn always, for whoever will have me.” The Old Testament says,“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear” (Psalm 27:1). The prophet Isaiah said, “The Lord will be your everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19). Job said, “By his light I walked through darkness” (Job 29:3). The prophet Micah said, “When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8). And now Jesus is saying that he is the Shekinah Glory and the only hope of every sinner and sufferer everywhere. He is making an audacious claim. The people hearing him knew it was bold and provocative.That’s why they question him, in verses 13 and following. And Jesus doesn’t backdown. He asserts that his claim is backed up by God. He s ays he has the right to judge us. He claims that he is the only way to know God truly. He doesn’t respond to their challenges by saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I not really claiming to be the light of the world, I’m not saying that I am the direct line to God and without me you have nothing but your own hunches in this life, I’m not saying that without me you are naked and defenseless before eternity and judgment and hell. Far be it from me to say such things.” He doesn’t say,“My intentions are good.” He says,“My testimon y is true” (verse 14). He says,“My judgment is true” (verse 16). That is his claim. Promise: Whoeverfollows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life There is that wonderful word “whoever” again. There is room inside that inclusive word for every one of us here today.No one needs to be left out.The word “whoever” excludes all qualifications. You can be whoever you are, however disqualified, and you can follow Jesus.But what does his promise mean – that his followers will not walk in darkness? It doesn’t mean we won’t sin. It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer. Jesus is promising that one thing will never happen to whoever follows him. We will never be abandoned by God, forsaken by God, rejected by God. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadowof death, we will fear no evil, for he is with us (Psalm 23:4). Many of us are suffering. But if you are following Jesus,you are not slipping into hell, you are not given over to the devil, you are not being robbed of yourfuture. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus your Lord (Romans 8:31-39).
  25. 25. St. John of the Cross made famous the concept of “the dark night of the soul.” We all understand it. We all know what it’s like to be so knocked off-balance by one of life’s many shocks that we fall into a chasmof despairand bewilderment, we suffer catastrophic loss and life stops working, crisis brings down upon us a dark cloud of doubt and sadness,because everything we’d always regarded as normal falls apart, and we have to rethink our lives from the ground up, as we are able. When that happens – not if it happens,but when – Jesus is not breaking his promise; it’s when his promise means more than ever. What biblical character can you think of whose life didn’t fall apart? Abraham was tempted to think God had forsaken him (Genesis 22). Moses had to run for his life (Exodus 2). David lived on the run for years (1 Samuel 16-31). Think of Job, the sufferer. Think of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). All the apostles suffered. Not one of them got “yourbest life now.” Do you know anyone who is a profound and wise and helpful person who has coasted through life? There is a dark night of the soul for us all, precisely because we are following Jesus.But even then, we are not walking in the darkness which is condemnation. When our lives become a living hell, our pain lies to us.The promise of Jesus is the truth. So now we know how to talk to our pain. We say,“Friend pain, I welcome you into my life, because Jesus sent you.But there are some things you have no right to do. You have no right to define me. You have no right to make me hysterical. You have no right to make me resent Jesus.But I do give you permission to take me deeper with him. That I sincerely invite you to do.” My mom’s life verse, which became more and more precious to her the more frail she became, was this: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day” (Proverbs 4:18). Here is what the Lord is saying to us all this morning: “I am the light of the world, the light of your world. Following me is hard. But I am with you always. I know what you’re going through,and I am not ashamed of you. I am not sorry I got involved with you. I am not thinking of backing out.I am totally committed to you. I will neverleave you nor forsake you. Trust me, and take the next step,and I will be there. I will always be there.” Do you see what this means? It means the pressure’s off. You don’t have to understand him. You don’t have to control him. You don’t have to get him to care about you. He just cares, with all his mighty heart, for you, right now. Whateveryou’re going through,your life is crowded with the presence of God. And you can no more walk in darkness than God can cease to exist. All he’s asking you to do is follow him. We don’t have to deserve him. He died for your sins,so that you can now be fully included within his band of followers. What then does it mean to follow him? This word translated “follow” was used of a student following his teacher’s line of thought,of a soldier following his commander into battle, of a servant attending upon his master, of a questionerreceiving counselfrom an expert, of a citizen abiding by the laws of his city. So following Jesus is a big concept.It means we hand ourselves over to him and say,“I’m yours in a big way, in my totality.” And he receives us,with all that he is. Will you accept his claim and move your chips over onto his promise? The best way to judge Jesus is not piecemeal but wholesale, because he never stops making startling claims. So consider him in his total audacity. He made so many claims and performed so many miracles and won so many followers and made so many powerful people angry, that eventually they crucified him. And on the third day – and all his original followers died insisting on this – on the third day the corpse twitched. The eyes opened.The one they found so threatening, so uncontrollable, so scary – he got up and walked out of his grave. The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it.
  26. 26. If you believe that Jesus is the light of the world, but he didn’t rise from the grave, you have a problem. If you don’t believe that Jesus is the light of the world, but he did rise from the grave, you have a problem. So some of us here this morning have a problem. And if Jesus did rise from the grave but you don’t accept him, your problem is, you are walking in darkness. So here is what you need to do. Look again at that word “whoever.” Jesus loves his enemies. He went to the cross to absorb into himself, in six hours of hell on earth, the wrath you deserve.The hammer fell on him, so that it doesn’t have to fall on you.So God has no problem with you today.You’re the holdout.You can start following Jesus,and you will no longer walk in darkness but you will have the light of life forever, not because of what you have done for him, but because of what he did for you at the cross.Your only part is to open up and say,“Lord, I’ve been wrong about you.I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Help me to trust you to the full extent of all you are, and help me to follow you.” He welcomes you. He wants you. Will you close the deal with him today? Batteries Not Included Let me ask you something:Have you ever tried to walk around in the dark? I mean when it’s so dark you can’tsee a thing and you keep bumping into things and maybe even trip over something? Pretty scary, huh? It’s hard to walk in the dark. So if you’re going to walk around in the dark you need…(Showflashlight.) …a light. And you know what? The Bible even says so!In Isaiah it says,“The people who walked in darkness have seen a greatlight. For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.” Who do you think that was? Jesus.In fact Jesus said,“Iam the lightof the world.He who follows me will not walk in darkness butwill have the lightof life. Justas a flashlightlights our way in the dark, Jesus lights our waythrough life and he lights the way to God, the Father. A flashlighthelps to keep us from stumbling over things in the dark, and Jesus helps to keep us from stumbling over problems in life. By the way, this is my favorite flashlight.You know why? Because it’s so bright.In fact, it’s so brightthat whenever I turn it on I have to put on my sunglasses…(Puton sunglasses.) Letme show you how brightit is…1,2, 3…(Act surprised when light doesn’t come on.) What? Oh! (Tap flashlightto make it work.) Let’s try again…(Still doesn’twork.) Well, let’s see what’s going on. (Unscrewflashlight.) No wonder!There aren’tany batteries! Well I guess you can’t always depend on a flashlight,can you? But you can always depend on Jesus Christto lightour way through life and to light the way to the Father because Jesus is the lightof the world. That’s something we should prayabout: Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to be the light of the world. We pray that he will always lightour way through life and lightthe way to you. We thank you in his holy name.Amen.
  27. 27. “At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts,where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees broughtin a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now whatdo you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” John 8:2-6a (NIV) 1. As you read John 8:2-6 above, imagine the scene as itunfolds. Are there any specific images thatcome to mind? Discuss these in your group. What do we know about the woman? How were the teachers and Pharisees trying to trap Jesus? 2. The law said to punish adulterers by stoning them to death. In our own lives, we often think of laws in terms of punishment. As a result, we do all we can to look “not guilty” as opposed to using the law to reveal our guilt as a first step towards forgiveness.Do you have any areas where you claim innocence instead ofusing God’s law to admityour sins? “Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” John 8:8-11 (NIV) 3. Read the scripture above and imagine you are in the crowd watching Jesus, watching those who wanted to condemn this woman, an d watching how Jesus responds to them. You see all of those who had condemned her walk away. You know she is guilty, but yet Jes us does not condemn her. What would you tell your family about Jesus when you return home? Would it change the way you look at your sin and the sins ofothers? 4. In our darkest moments, we know we have sinned, and maybe everyone knows our sin. The enemy readily reminds us of our sin and condemns us. But God does not condemn us. God can transform us and renew us.Talk aboutwhy it is easier to believe the enemyand what can we do with this condemnation? "I am the lightof the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,butwill have the lightof life." John 8:12 (NIV) 5. What does John 8:12 above say aboutwho Jesus is? How do we get into the light? “I have come into the world as a light,so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV) 6. How do we experience this light – externally or internally? How have you been taken out of the darkness?