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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Speaking of Jesus - Oct 2009

Coming off of our summer sermon series on 1 John, it struck me how John so often uses the metaphors of light and darkness. Light refers to truth, the will of God, and of course, Jesus. Then, obviously, darkness refers to those things which oppose all of these: falsehood, sin, and Satan. In the opening of John's Gospel, John says that in Jesus is life "and the life was the light of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:3-4) Jesus came to shed light on our sin and darkness and defeat that with his love and mercy. He shows us the way He has given us to get to heaven. Not by our works (which apart from Him are always in darkness), but through His mercy and grace.

And, as those who have come into the light of God's grace (1 John 1:7), Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world! (Matthew 5:14) In other words, we are to go around embracing people with the love of Jesus, bringing His light into their dark worlds. We do this by telling people the good news that Jesus has forgiven all of their sins by dying on the cross in their place and rising again. This news we shine into their lives will reveal a number of things that were previously hidden in darkness.

First, it will reveal sin and grace. Embracing people with the gospel means that we are giving our friends knowledge of their fallen condition as well as the knowledge of the mercy God has had on them through the cross of Jesus. Sometimes when you wake up at night and turn a light on, it hurts your eyes. But it is necessary to go through that so that you can see where you are going and avoid further danger. Sometimes, this light of knowledge can hurt to hear. But, such a message exposes sin in order to bring about faith and repentance and is ultimately a good thing!

Second, the light will provide security. Many people we know have a hard life or are facing seriously difficult issues. Enlightening them with the love of God in Jesus can provide security in this dark world. Just as it is easier to walk comfortably through a lighted alley than a dark alley, it is more comforting to live in this world knowing that, no matter how rough it is, there is a God whose tender mercy and love is always there for you.

Third, light provides growth. Many people are struggling through life with no hope and no future. Living in darkness makes them feel hopeless. But, just like when you give a dying plant sun, when you give a hopeless person the gospel of Jesus Christ, transformation and growth take place! To see God's purpose and plan for our lives through the light of Jesus Christ gives us excitement and joy amidst this dark world.

John says, "the darkness has not overcome [the light]." We who are in the light and called to be lights to the world cannot be overcome by the darkness that exists all around us. But we can agents of light in these dark places for those who, due to their lack of knowledge, have little comfort and little hope in this world. Let us embrace our loved ones with the light of Christ!

Pastor Bob

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