The Light of Life

Scripture: (John 8:12 KJV)  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.

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was empty. a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface. Then God said, Let there be light,Ē and there was light. (NLT)

 Darkness and light, good versus evil, the ever-continuing drama of life unfolds as each day brings us closer to the end. Sometimes we all can get caught up in the darkness. The worse part is when our spiritual eyes adjust to the darkness and the light then hurts. One of the most interesting facts about the scripture quoted above from the book of John is that Jesus says this right after forgiving the woman caught in adultery. The light of life is not one of condemnation but it is one of comfort, direction and peace. Too often when we think about the Church, thoughts of condemnation and guilt fill our minds as we see our own sin reflected by the light. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. He comes into our lives not to blind us but rather to light the way home. We come to the realization that we are no longer in the Garden of Eden and life is hard. The darkness creeps in and we close our eyes to the truth. After so long we give up hope of ever getting back that light of joy in our lives. That is why Jesus tells us we need to come as little children. We need to run and jump into His arms knowing that He will carry us home.

            Do you remember being a child? Sometimes it is hard to imagine some people as ever being young. Do you know the people I am talking about? Sometimes I look at people and try to imagine what they were like as a child. What did they look like? What were their hopes and dreams? How did they play with their friends? Then I look back at my own childhood. Do you know I still carry a picture of myself in my wallet of me when I was like 6 years old? I think it helps remind me to try to keep that childlike spirit alive. But what happens to that Spirit? What happened in your life to rob you of that innocence? I think I know one of the main thieves of my youth. It was death. Death came into our family and changed everything. Death comes into life and destroys all hope. Death comes and all things that were once secure become shaken. Death comes and childish things vanish. I remember like it was yesterday my Father handing me my brotherís belt. He had died in a car accident and as my Dad, without a word handed me my brotherís belt. The reality of the finality of death struck me like a rushing wind. I would never be the same. Life would never be the same. Many of you have lost people close to you and I know you understand the feelings of loss. Then we all know that we must go on and so we do, yet something of ourselves has been left behind. We died a little with the one we loved. I know my wife feels this lose when her Nanna died. I know others have lost husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. O, death you have stolen life from us. O, grave, you have left us cold and alone sitting here in this awful darkness.

 But as time goes on we pick up the pieces of our lives and rebuild. It is good to know that we have a master carpenter available to help in the rebuilding of our lives. Not only can He light the way for us but he can also be a trusted guide. He has been to the enemies camp and defeated even death itself. He is our blessed hope. He is our assurance of a bright tomorrow. He is our firm foundation. Jesus Christ went to the grave and came back victorious. I want us to read what Isaiah wrote about our Lord almost 700 years before His birth:

 (Isaiah 53:1- 11 NIV)  Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.  He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied ; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

            Yes the thief came to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came that we might have eternal, abundant life in Him. And because He lives we can now walk in the light. Nothing we have ever done can be used against us. His blood cleanses us. Read with me the victorious account in the book of Revelation:

             (Rev 12:10 & 11NIV)  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

            The accuser of the brethren has been heaping guilt and condemnation on us long enough. He has held us down with the fear of death ling enough. He has kept us in darkness long enough. It is time that we looked up to the light of the world and opened our eyes to see the light of life. Jesus Christ died upon that cross so that our sins would be forgiven. He went into the grave and took back the keys of death and hell then God brought Him forth from that grave and He lives eternally by His side reigning in power. He then sent His Holy Spirit that we too might have the light of life. Not only have it but also be it. We just read how they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. Romans 10:9 reminds us that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead we will be saved. Salvation is yours today as you speak the truth of eternal life in Christ. Some of us have to stop being undercover Christians. Jesus told us that if we confess Him before men than He will confess us before the Father but if we deign Him He will deign us. I know that in the past you may have rejected Christ. In the past you may have not confessed Him as your Lord. In the past you may have just shyed away from the truth. But now His Holy Spirit can come upon you and give you power to be His witness. Draw closer to Him today. Ask for His Holy Spiritís presence in your life. Bring Glory to God the Father in the things you proclaim. We have one great purpose in life and that is to know Jesus. Know His depth, His peace His great love. Know the reality of His mercy. To know the tenderness yet the ultimate power of His touch.

Let us no longer, ever again, be ashamed of the light that is within us. Jesus said at once that He was the light then He turns to you and says You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus. You have eternal life. All of your sins are forgiven. Within you is a peace that passes all understanding, a joy unspeakable, Love that knows no limit and so much more then we could even imagine. Do you want to experience this power? Do you want the light of God to shine bright in your life? Do you want the fire of revival in your heart? Then stir up that which is within you. Be not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God. It is when you start sharing the good news of eternal life, that eternal life reveals itself within you. Let that river of life flow from within you. There is no more darkness, no more despair, no more confusion, no more pain, we overcome the world by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony, not savoring the things of this world but rather the eternal things of God. Not even shrinking from death. O, death where is your sting now that the light of the world is come? You, you reading this now, you are the light of the world because the light of life dwells within you. And that light is Jesus Christ. He lives, He lives, He lives within our hearts. In Jesus name. Amen