I am the Light of the World

 I am the Light of the World "Then said Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the World:  He that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life."  (John 8:12) Introduction             Darkness is enveloping our land and our world.  Not the kind of darkness that results from the winter solstice, but spiritual darkness of the worst kind.  Since the resurrection of Christ, "The Light of the World," light has spread around the globe.  Everywhere that The Light has spread, the lives of men and women, as well as children, have been changed.  Jesus is the true light which lights every man that comes into the world.  Today we are seeing the kind of darkness that is described in the 60th chapter of Isaiah, where God's Word says, "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people."  (Isaiah 60:2)  Nevertheless, the good news is that God's Word says to "arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (Isaiah 60:1)  God's Word describes that "the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:  they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."  (Isaiah 9:2)  This is The Light of the World.  Are you following Jesus?                        What is happening in our generation is that many no longer come to The Light.  The darkness has grown ever darker; so dark and so thick that in some places a man can scarcely see his hand before his face.  Many of our churches have ceased preaching Christ crucified.  Men who have been placed in positions to shepherd and feed the flock of God are no longer doing it.  Francis Schaeffer, whom many called a 20th Century Prophet, spoke of the Christian consensus that existed, at least in Western civilization, for many years.  However, it was not limited to Western civilization.  The church in China, Russia, Korea, and other areas of the world has grown exponentially through the years.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes hearts today and makes men new even as it did in the 1st Century.  Jesus is truth.  Jesus is light.  Jesus is the way and the life.  Jesus came into the world to save sinners from their sins.  He came to seek and to save that which was lost and to give His life a ransom for many.  He commanded His disciples and His followers that would come later to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.  The darkness has grown ever darker and ever thicker, for many have ceased to obey His holy commandments.   The Incarnate Word             In the Gospel of John, we find these words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  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.  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew Him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."   (John 1:1-14)  Jesus, The Light of the World, has come into the world to save sinners and to give His life a ransom for many.  We who know the truth are called to "earnestly contend for the one true faith."  Let us "not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile."   The Birth of Jesus             At this time of the year, the thoughts of Christians turn to a celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is described in the Gospel according to Luke as follows: "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cy-ré-ni-us was governor of Syria.)  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:  and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace,Good will toward men.And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them, in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."  (Luke 2:1-20) The Results of Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ              God's Word is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It is able to pierce to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and bone and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  Jesus, the Eternal Son of the Eternal God came into the world to save sinners.  Paul says, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am Chief."  Paul describes himself as being "Chief" among sinners.  He uses that description because he describes himself as persecuting the Church of God.  However, many professing Christians seem to have developed an attitude of laissez faire toward proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.  Many of these "professors" seem to think that it is "somebody else's job" to tell others of Jesus who is mighty to save.               The Bible describes the fact that Jesus, being the "express image of the Father," all God and all man, lived a perfect life.  One might think that such a life was easy, however, the Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted "in all respects as are we."  Whatever you can imagine that the great adversary of our souls uses to tempt us, he also used to tempt Jesus.  Jesus knew that He had been given a body for the purpose of coming into the world to die for the sins of the whole world.  He voluntarily surrendered His life to pay the price for our sin, our guilt, and the penalty therefor that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  The Bible says that Jesus was delivered up for our offenses and was raised again for our justification.  He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.  What a magnificent statement.  Jesus saves!  We are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus.  What can make the foulest clean?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.               In Him, that is Christ, we are a new creation.  For He gave His life, voluntarily, as the atonement for our sin.  This great doctrine of the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ must be appropriated by each person.  It is not inherited.  You cannot be made a Christian because your parents were Christians or your grandparents.  You yourself must come to the Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with His eternal call.  "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  We do that by repentance and faith.  Repentance, simply put, is surrendering my will to the Lord's will.  I commit to turn away from my sin and, in faith, place my trust in Jesus alone for my salvation.  "Upon a life I did not live,Upon a death I did not die.Another's life, another's death,I stake my whole eternity."             By God's eternal Word, which is truth itself, all who come to Jesus in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ receive eternal life.  None can come unto Jesus except the Father draw him unto Himself.  Moreover, all that the Father has given to the Son shall come, and none shall be lost, and none shall be left out.  He is the light of the world.  He is the light that shines in the darkness, and pierces the darkness, and draws all who will come to Him unto eternal life.   Some Will Not Come             Sadly, there are those who will not come.  Jesus Himself said in the 5th chapter of the Gospel of John:  "But you will not come to Me, that you might have life."  How sad.  God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  (II Peter 3:9)  Are you walking in The Light or are you merely groping in the darkness?  Are you earnestly contending for the faith?  When is the last time that you told anyone of Jesus who is mighty to save?  God's Word says that the foundation of God stands sure.  The Lord knows those that are His, wherefore let everyone who nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  Pursue holiness.  Let this be a challenge to you to tell others of Jesus who is mighty to save, to tell others of Jesus who is the lover of our souls.  He who came into the world to save sinners desires that everyone come to Him.  During this Christmas season, tell everyone that you know the real meaning of Christmas.  Jesus has come to be The Light that shines in the darkness, to be a great light, the Light of the World, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  Let others so see your light that they may glorify our Father who is in heaven. Spiritual Death or Spiritual Life             The alternative choices have great consequences.  Either we, and all that we know, are spiritually alive or spiritually dead.  This is not a choice of merely chocolate or vanilla, but rather the choice of eternal life or eternal damnation.  The Apostle Paul describes both himself, and all others, as being "dead in trespasses and sins" and "by nature the children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:1f).  All of mankind is headed toward "eternal death" apart from God's sovereign grace in giving Jesus to be our redeemer.  Hear the words of the man who many have called the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, preached on the Lord's Day morning on December 2, 1855, at the new Park Street Chapel, Southwark, England. I.                   Eternal Death             Charles Spurgeon's chilling description of Eternal Death is set forth here to set the contrast with "Eternal Life," which God freely gives to all who will come to Jesus and receive Him by repentance and faith. "Oh! had I words that I might this morning attempt to depict to you what eternal death is.  The soul has come before its Maker; the book has been opened; the sentence has been uttered; 'Depart ye cursed' has shaken the universe, and made the very spheres dim with the frown of the Creator; the soul has departed to the depths where it is to dwell with others in eternal death.  Oh! how horrible is its position now.  Its bed is a bed of flame; the sights it sees are murdering ones that affright its spirit; the sounds it hears are shrieks, and wails, and moans, and groans; all that its body knows is the infliction of miserable pain! it has the possession of unutterable woe, of unmitigated misery.  The soul looks up.  Hope is extinct – it is gone.  It looks downward in dread and fear; remorse hath possessed its soul.  It looks on the right hand – and the adamantine walls of fate keep it within its limits of torture.  It looks on the left – and there the rampart of blazing fire forbids the scaling ladder of e'en a dreamy speculation of escape.  It looks within and seeks for consolation there, but a gnawing worm hath entered into the soul.  It looks about it – it has no friends to aid, no comforters, but tormentors in abundance.  It knoweth nought of hope of deliverance; it hath heard the everlasting key of destiny turning in its awful wards, and it hath seen God take that key and hurl it down into the depth of eternity never to be found again.  It hopeth not; it knoweth no escape; it guesseth not of deliverance; it pants for death, but death is too much its foe to be there; it longs that non-existence would swallow it up, but this eternal death is worse than annihilation.  It pants for extermination as the laborer for his Sabbath; it longs that it might be swallowed up in nothingness just as would the galley slave long for freedom, but it cometh not – it is eternally dead.  When eternity shall have rolled round multitudes of its everlasting cycles it shall still be dead.  For-ever knoweth no end; eternity cannot be spelled except in eternity.  Still the soul seeth written o'er its head, 'Thou art damned forever.'  It heareth howlings that are to be perpetual; it seeth flames which are unquenchable; it knoweth pains that are unmitigated; it hears a sentence that rolls not like the thunder of earth which soon is hushed – but onward, onward, onward, shaking the echoes of eternity – making thousands of years shake again with the horrid thunder of its dreadful sound – 'Depart! depart! depart! ye cursed!'  This is the eternal death."            II.                Eternal Life             Spurgeon contrasted eternal death with the gift of eternal life: "There is eternal life in Christ Jesus.  And, oh! if eternal death be terrible, eternal life is blessed; for he has said, 'Where I am there shall my people be.' 'Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given unto me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.' 'I give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish.' Now, any Arminian that would preach from that text must buy a pair of India rubber lips, for I am sure he would need to stretch his mouth amazingly; he would never be able to speak the whole truth without winding about in a most mysterious manner.  Eternal life – not a life which they are to lose, but eternal life.  If I lost life in Adam I gained it in Christ; if I lost myself for ever I find myself for ever in Jesus Christ.  Eternal life!  Oh blessed thought!  Our eyes will sparkle with joy and our souls burn with ecstasy in the thought that we have eternal life.  Be quenched ye stars! let God put his finger on you – but my soul will live in bliss and joy.  Put out thine eye O sun! – but mine eye shall 'see the king in his beauty' when thine eye shall no more make the green earth laugh.  And moon, be thou turned into blood! – but my blood shall ne'er be turned to nothingness; this spirit shall exist when thou hast ceased to be.  And thou great world! thou mayest all subside, just as a moment's foam subsides upon the wave that bears it – but I have eternal life.  O time! thou mayest see giant mountains dead and hidden in their graves; thou mayest see the stars like figs too ripe, falling from the tree, but thou shalt never, never see my spirit dead." "ETERNAL LIFE IS GIVEN TO ALL WHO COME FOR IT.  There never was a man who came to Christ for eternal life, . . . who had not already received it, in some sense, and it was manifested to him that he had received it soon after he came.  Let us take one or two texts – 'He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto him.' Every man who comes to Christ will find that Christ is able to save him – not able to save him a little, to deliver him from a little sin, to keep him from a little trail, to carry him a little way and then drop him – but able to save him to the uttermost extent of his sin, unto the uttermost length of his trials, the uttermost depths of his sorrows, unto the uttermost duration of his existence.  Christ says to every one who comes to him, 'Come, poor sinner, thou needst not ask whether I have power to save.  I will not ask thee how far thou hast gone into sin; I am able to save thee to the uttermost.'  And there is no one on earth can go beyond God's 'uttermost.' Now another text:  'Him that cometh to me, [mark the promises are nearly always to the coming ones] I will in no wise cast out.'  Every man that comes shall find the door of Christ's house opened - and the door of his heart too.  Every man that comes – I say it in the broadest sense – shall find that Christ has mercy for him. . .   I preach that every man that believes shall be saved – that every man who comes shall find mercy. . . I say every man who comes to Christ shall be saved. . . 'Every man that cometh shall be saved, for no man cometh to me except the Father draw him.'" Conclusion             As we draw near to another celebration of the birth of Christ, and reflect on Him who is The Light of the World, and further reflect on the chilling words of Charles Spurgeon describing "Eternal Death," and the thrilling words of Charles Spurgeon describing "Eternal Life," let us all rejoice in the fact that Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  In the Gospel of John, Chapter 5, verse 24, Jesus said, in pertinent part: ". . . He who hears My word and believes on Him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life."             Have you passed from death into life?  How about your children, grandchildren, and other relatives?  Do you know friends and neighbors who have not passed from death into life?  Jesus is The Light of the World.  Tell them of Jesus who is mighty to save "to the uttermost them who come to God in Him."               This Christmas, indeed, this day, let The Light of the World shine in you so that you become the light of the world in Jesus.  Purpose to live as becomes the Gospel of Christ.  Passing from death into life is not the ending point, it is the beginning point.  Purpose to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to "present your body, indeed, your whole self, a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto Christ who is your reasonable service.  Purpose that you will not be conformed to the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus.              At this Christmas season, may the Father draw all that He has given to the Son unto Him.  Choose you this day:  Eternal life or eternal death!  If you come, if your children and grandchildren come, Jesus will receive you and save you to the "uttermost."  Resolve to come.  Resolve to live as "becomes the Gospel of Christ."  Resolve to be diligent to study God's Word and to be a "doer of His Word and not a hearer only."               "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."  (Hebrews 13:20-21) Your brother in Christ, Daniel  

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