Sunday, November 23, 2014

SERMON: Light or darkness?

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 1/10/2014

The New Testament presents Jesus as the personification of light or divine illumination.

“I am the light of the world,” Jesus says in John 8:12. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The New Testament presents Jesus as the personification of light or divine illumination.

“I am the light of the world,” Jesus says in John 8:12. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Light is all-consuming. We put this to the test every time we walk into a dark house or room and flip the light switch. Where does the darkness go? Darkness, in reality, is just the absence of light. The darkness is consumed by the light.

Matthew 4 details the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry. He leaves Nazareth and goes to Capernaum to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

A Christian sees this light, and like a moth drawn to an outside light at night, the Christian is drawn to Christ. The light reveals everything the darkness hides.

In 1st Peter, the apostle says God called a chosen people out of darkness into his wonderful light. So where does this light dwell in the Christian?

In 2nd Corinthians 4:6, we are told God has “made his light to shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.”

In the classic “A Christmas Carol,” we see many attempts by Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew and others to change old Scrooge’s mind about Christmas. All attempts fail. However, a visit by the three Christmas spirits changes Scrooge’s heart, which in time changes his thinking. Scrooge came out of the darkness into the light.   

Just as a thief doesn’t look for a policeman, the unregenerate person does not search for God or feel the need for God.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20).

Jesus gives the reason for the world’s rejection of him. He is the light that exposes whether a person is righteous.

There is an interesting parallel drawn between heaven and hell. Consider Revelation 22:

“And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun for the Lord God will be their light and they will reign for ever and ever.”

And we read in Matthew 8 that hell is referred to as a place of “outer darkness” — absent of light or Christ.

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