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The Light of the World

Jim_Alaska

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The Light of the World

James Foley

 

 

John 1:1-13

 

A. Our text begins at the very beginning of time as mankind knows it. Since God has no beginning and no end, this reference supports the fact that God is from eternity past. Because we are creatures of time, we cannot possibly comprehend the infinite nature of God. 

I would like to speak to you today regarding the contrast between a Holy, Just and Righteous God and mankind in his natural state, meaning without God.

There are very few churches today that preach about the total depravity of man. This doctrine is very offensive to most, simply because it teaches that mankind, outside of Christ, does not have any good. He is incapable of generating any righteousness at all.

Isa 64:6  “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Definition of depravity: A state of corruption due to original sin that infects every part of man’s nature. Depravity makes the natural man unable to know or obey God.

This then is what the bible has to say about the natural man, or those who have not been born again: 1Co 2:14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

1. Our scripture speaks of Jesus as the personification of light and life. Thinking in these terms, anything outside of Jesus is then darkness and death. 

John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” 

We have the light of the world in yet another form, a form other than the person of Jesus. The bible we hold in our hands is the written Word of God. The Scripture speaks of His Word as light also. Ps. 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. 

To the saved His word guides us through this life. It lights our way so that we know good from evil. It convicts us of our sin, but it also points out His will for our life. This light reveals the otherwise unfathomable love that he has for you and me. 

B. In the scriptures we see a sharp contrast between God and man. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”  By contrast, man is in darkness and this darkness is so black that man does not even know he is in darkness.

Scripture speaks of this condition in: John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

Illustration: The man huddled on the cabin floor was slowly freezing to death. It was high in the Rockies in southwestern Alberta, and outside a blizzard raged. John Elliott had logged miles that day through the deep snows of the mountain passes. As he checked for avalanches and as dusk and exhaustion overcame him he had decided to "hole-up." He made it wearily to his cabin, but somewhat dazed with cold and fatigue, he did not light a fire or remove his wet clothing. As the blizzard blasted through the cracks in the old cabin walls, the sleeping forest ranger sank into oblivion, paralyzed by the pleasure of the storm's icy caress. Suddenly, however, his dog sprang into action, and with unrelenting whines, finally managed to rouse his near-comatose friend. The dog was John's constant companion, a St. Bernard, one of a long line of dogs famous for their heroics in times of crisis. "If that dog hadn't been with me, I'd be dead today," John Elliott says. "When you're freezing to death you actually feel warm all over, and don't wake up because it feels too good."

This moving story illustrates the spiritual condition of many people today. They are cold spiritually, and sadly are oblivious of their true condition. Thank God for all the ways in which He arouses such sleepers. He sends His messengers to nudge them awake. Sometimes the methods used to awaken them are drastic, but always for their good. Let’s not imagine that because He shakes us, He therefore hates us. He awakens us from lethargy because He loves us, and wants to save us from an eternal death.

How about you friend, are you asleep today in the icy grip of sin’s darkness? How long has God been trying to wake you? When you come to church do you not feel the gentle nudging of God’s love? We can thank God that He does not leave us in a perpetual condition of darkness. His great love for lost and dying mankind compels Him to try to wake us from our sleep. 

John 12:46. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” 

1. In speaking of this particular darkness and light, we are not referring to something that can be seen with the eye. Instead we point to a very real spiritual darkness and light. 

Although the title of this message is “The Light of the World” it is needful to also speak of the darkness that envelopes the people around us. This darkness is spiritual, as we have already pointed out. But what needs to be shown is that this darkness can take many forms, even the form of light…."WHAT? How can this be? It sounds like you’re talking in circles. How can darkness be light, this must be a contradiction." No friends, it is no contradiction for the Bible speaks of this subject in this manner: 2Cor. 11:14 and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

So then, in speaking of spiritual darkness it is needful that we point out that one of the most important things that keep people in darkness is not only Satan, but also his ministers. For lack of better words we will call them and it, false religion. Today people by the thousands will sit in so called churches and be fed the poison that assures that they will remain in darkness. They can’t see the poison, nor can they taste it. It is very much like the cold that encompassed that ranger, after a sufficient time of exposure to it, it becomes pleasurable, it actually feels good. And so, Satan has his churches and his ministers, but his followers think all is well; after all, they go to church every Sunday. They listen to a sermon, never once thinking that it contains the very poison that will ensure that their minds are blinded to the real light. 

The Apostle Paul said this: 2Cor. 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

In this world of political correctness we are told that we should not talk in a negative way about other churches. Paul addressed this in this manner: 2Cor.11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 

Do we bow to the god of political correctness, or do we call false religion what it is? If your neighbor’s house was on fire with his family inside would you wake him to warn him or would you sit back and watch, safe and secure in your house? Spiritually speaking there are hundreds in your town today whose spiritual house is on fire, unless someone wakes them to warn of imminent danger they will surely die. 

Ok this last part was important simply because it shows that spiritual darkness can appear as light in some cases. 

But what about other examples of things that can hold people prisoner in the darkness that envelopes this world we live in? Many of these things come in the form of diversions. It doesn’t take much looking to see how the things of this world work against God and against spiritual light breaking through the darkness that seems to hold people in an iron grip. I’ll list just a few for your consideration. 

Sex is probably at the top of the list. It sells everything from food to housing. Never in the history of this nation has sex held such a captive audience. Books, TV, movies, computers, store advertising, or any advertising, how we look, how we dress; sex is “in our face” every waking moment. What better tool for Satan to use than one that can become all encompassing, diverting millions from every thought of God and narrowly focusing the mind on a life of fleshly pleasure? 

And speaking of pleasure or in some cases fun, we can see without too much effort, a world obsessed with pleasure. There was a time in this country that people worked for a  paycheck to be able to feed their family, put a roof over their head, save for a rainy day and generally assure that their family would be taken care of.

When we compare this long gone time to the day we live in we can see something quite different. We have become a nation of pleasure seekers. Sure we work, but there is no work ethic. Today’s worker is only interested in two things; how much can I make and how much time off will I have to play? In and of themselves these two things are not bad, but when these become the whole direction of our work experience they set the scene for “pleasure first” and everything else second. We have a whole generation of people where both husband and wife work, sometimes two jobs, and still they will spend above their means and even indebt themselves for years to come for pleasure and toys. 

Even more insidious is that they teach their children the same lifestyle. Look around you; it is hard to find a kid that doesn’t have a cell phone that will do everything for him except tuck him into bed. And think about all the other electronic devises to keep his young mind occupied. I can’t even list them all. Video games, smart phones, tablets and computers take the place of family interaction and family relationships. 

This is not meant to be a rant against having possessions; it is meant to simply show that there are things in our world that work toward keeping people in darkness regarding spiritual things and especially the things of God. There are thousands, if not millions today for whom the thought of God or their own spiritual condition never even enters their mind. This is where the work of Satan comes in. He has many tools at his disposal; I have just listed a few. He keeps people in darkness in regard to the things of God. The light of Jesus has gone throughout the world through His Gospel, but for many millions it has no effect; why is this? 2Cor 4:3 but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 

Now that we have looked at how darkness and the forces of evil try to block out the light, we need to look at the light itself. For it is only in the light of Jesus Christ that this world has any hope. 

John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” 

This scripture and especially the word “condemnation” speak directly to the subject at hand. It addresses both the fact that God sent Jesus to be the spiritual light that dispels this world’s spiritual darkness and the fact that this world is in darkness due to the depravity of the human race.

This word, “condemnation”, is a judicial word that shows that something has already happened that has resulted in my being condemned. Because Adam was the first man, when he sinned he passed his sinful nature on to all who followed. Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: God must judge sin. As the righteous judge He must pronounce a righteous sentence on those who have sinned. The scripture tells us that the wages of sin is death, and so, all are condemned to death simply because all have sinned. 

But thank God, there is a remedy, for God is not willing that any should perish. 2Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 

If you have not taken advantage of God’s Grace and the free pardon of sin that He has offered you, would you consider accepting the forgiveness He holds out to you this hour? This very day the light of God’s love has shined in the darkness that encompasses your soul. 

Knowing all of this, can you go on in the way you have all of your life? Can you continue to ignore the light that has been revealed and continue in the darkness of unrepented of sin? God sent His own Son that you might have the light of life. Listen to that still, small voice inside you; for that voice is the none other than God’s Holy Spirit showing you the truth of His love.



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Brother Jim, I also commend you on this excellent message!!! I like how very well it was tied together as well! "When you're freezing to death you actually feel warm all over, and don't wake up because it feels too good."  That's so true.  I have a relative (no names mentioned) who has to be "connected" to the worldly things of the world. Radios, TV's, cell phones, internet, games, ,etc. are not bad in themselves, but it's how they are used (and what they REPLACE) that's the issue. You brought it out so well! Anyways, this relative has in his or her home all of these devices (as do I) but it's how those devices are used which is concerning. He or she has to have some "background noise" going at all times day/night asleep/awake 24/7. At their house the radio is playing secular music, the TV is playing worldly programming, the cell phone is used as a means to also distract/divert from family conversation (rather rudely in my opinion), the games played are nothing short of evil blood lust. And this was many years ago when I could still walk/drive/visit them. It's bad enough that these things are coming between family discussions, taking the place of Bible study, and When did/does God have a chance to speak to their hearts and minds if the worldly diversions are taking the place of even quiet time to reflect??? How could they focus or even know what God wants for them if they are continuously bombarding their senses with worldly things? Could it be that if they had a moment of quiet/reflective time they may be pricked in their hearts by their conscience or better yet by the Holy Spirit leading? Could it be they would rather resist the Holy Spirit's guiding to abide in Christ instead of abide in worldly things? Could it be they would prefer to distract themselves with entertaining worldly things so they do not have to think about the fact that there are countless millions of people who have yet to hear the gospel? And that maybe just maybe THEY should be at least attempting to give the gospel to a lost and dying world which is going to hell?  Yes it's easy to judge people from the outside looking in, but just because a person attends church once a week does not mean they have devoted their life to Christ by any means. (Please do not think I am against going to church by any means, that is truly not my point at all). Yet this seems to be the common misconception of many professing Christians these days. Do they make time to pray (and not just when they want or need something for themselves?) Do they make time to fellowship (and not just at church)? Do they ever attempt to share the gospel?  And if you ask them if or why they don't read or study the Bible more, their answer is likely to be "I don't have time".!?!?!?  Ummm... well I understand working people have less time, I understand family life means lots of responsibilities that must be attended to, I understand people need "down time" and there's nothing wrong with (clean... if you can even find clean) entertainment in and of itself. But what IS wrong is when that "down time" is ALL used for worldly entertainment of one form or another.  Do we treasure salvation and desire to share it with others? Do we treasure fellowship amongst believers? Do we treasure sharing the gospel? Do we treasure Bible study? Do we treasure prayer time? Do we treasure Jesus Himself? Or do we treasure worldly things and entertainment more? I think that's a question each person can only answer for themselves. Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 

Again, excellent message, brother Jim,  and very timely for today's circumstances. 

Edited by Ronda

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Thank you for your thoughts on this message and also for your excellent points made about "time". This is a sticky issue. If people like you mentioned could just prioritize time, they would quickly see that what is most important is being left out of their schedule.

Thank you again lady.

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Yes! This is a wonderful and muchly needed message!  Yet again tears of gladness water my eyes because of the truth presented here.  A couple of years ago I memorized John 3:16-21....(I noticed you included John 3:19 in the message)...and I've referred to that passage countless times since then.  What a blessing and encouragement the other scriptures are in this message also!  In and of myself is no good thing, but with my Saviour's indwelling presence...I'm a child of the King!  The more I'm aware of my depravity without Him (including the times that I fail to include Him and attempt to venture at anytime without His leading), the more I can comprehend and know the vastness of His love for me!  O what a Saviour!! 

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Thank you for your thoughts and comments on this sermon WellWithMySoul. I am happy that this was a blessing to you and reminded you of the place we would be without Jesus, the Light of the World.

It is always a blessing to me when I study to present a message that actually has a positive affect on others and glorifies our gracious Lord.

God bless you as you serve Him.

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Thanks for the devotional, Jim! And I stand by every word you have said.

Anyone who has truly been born-again through the shed blood of Jesus Christ will in no doubt have the light of life dwelling within them -- and that light can be seen among those who they come in contact with. What grieves me is that there are so many false converts who have prayed a prayer so that they might be saved; but their sole reason for calling upon the Lord was so that they might escape hell; or they simply desired Eternal life. And what these false converts miss is genuine repentance; and turning to the Lord with a true broken and contrite spirit. Their tree is barren of any fruits of the Spirit, and completely devoid of any sort of conformity to the image of Christ. Christians are supposed to stand out above the rest of the world by their new nature being manifest in their actions; and sadly . . . there are MANY professing Christians who continue to walk in darkness and are no different than the rest of the unbelieving world -- and sometimes even worse. All of us need to do a spiritual inventory and examine ourselves if we have truly been born again (2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pet. 1:10-11). If we don't express Divine love, then all the "good deeds" amount to nothing -- and are done in vain; because they are not done through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 13:2).

God Bless!

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    • Daniel, Thank you for bringing out Romans 5:20, "Moreover, the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Romans 5:20 was a welcomed addition to this devotion on the kindness of God. Alan
    • Good message on how the scriptures condemns our sin and convicts us of our sin, and explains how the true saint will repent of known sin in his life. 
    • Thanks for the devotional, Jim! And I stand by every word you have said. Anyone who has truly been born-again through the shed blood of Jesus Christ will in no doubt have the light of life dwelling within them -- and that light can be seen among those who they come in contact with. What grieves me is that there are so many false converts who have prayed a prayer so that they might be saved; but their sole reason for calling upon the Lord was so that they might escape hell; or they simply desired Eternal life. And what these false converts miss is genuine repentance; and turning to the Lord with a true broken and contrite spirit. Their tree is barren of any fruits of the Spirit, and completely devoid of any sort of conformity to the image of Christ. Christians are supposed to stand out above the rest of the world by their new nature being manifest in their actions; and sadly . . . there are MANY professing Christians who continue to walk in darkness and are no different than the rest of the unbelieving world -- and sometimes even worse. All of us need to do a spiritual inventory and examine ourselves if we have truly been born again (2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pet. 1:10-11). If we don't express Divine love, then all the "good deeds" amount to nothing -- and are done in vain; because they are not done through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 13:2). God Bless!
    • There are always unbelievers who attack the God of the Old Testament, and accusing Him of being some sort of tyrant. What they fail to realize is that the God of the OT is the SAME God of the NT. God's righteous indignation was poured out on those who hated God and despise His ways. Furthermore, we find that the more sin abounded, God's Grace also flourished (cf. Rom. 5:20) -- especially in the Incarnation of the Son of God. God less!
    • Being content with what we have is a sure sign that we are living for Christ and not for ourselves; and it's also indicative of a humble person who is aware that God is giving us what is best for us to mature in our spiritual growth.
    • Thanks for the devotional, Jim! It really gets my blood boiling once Christmas season begins. It's all about what sort of presents will I be receiving; instead of the Greatest gift that God the Father purchased for us: His One and Only Son who bore our sins on the Cross. This world is becoming more paganized as the Coming of the Lord draws near! God Bless!
    • Thank you for posting this, Jim! We know that TRUE Christianity is the ONLY "religion" that is not based on "human achievement" -- but through the imputed righteousness from Christ as you pointed out very well. I am exasperated by all these "cults" that attempt to attain a righteous standing before God on their own merit; not knowing that their "righteousness" is nothing more than a menstrual cloth in God's sight. Matthew 7:21-23 gives an example of those who call Jesus lord, and then "boast" about their works (v.22); such false converts like SDA's, Jehovah's Witness, and Mormons will be in for a rude awakening on that day. Their "works" are nothing more than an "abomination" unto our Lord and God -- and a stench in His nostrils. God Bless!
    • Daniel, I am glad that you like the song, "In the Garden," and the photo. Brethren, I do like to have a good song, and photos, that I can place in my devotions. If you have a favorite song, or a website that features songs that you like, please let me know. Alan
    • The more often we submit ourselves to the will of God, the more we become sanctified through His truth. This brings about spiritual growth and obedience to His commandments -- and separation from the world. This also draws us nearer to Him -- and as a result, we become conformed and transformed to His likeness and treasure the things which He loves -- and despise the things that He despises.
    • The humility of a child and their reliance upon others is what places them in a different category than adults. Most Christian adults have been polluted by their past sins and can't seem to let go of them; and as a result . . . they fail to humble themselves as a child by putting their dependence upon God alone for direction in life and spiritual growth. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:4) God Bless!
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