I AM The Light of the World
2 Corinthians 3:18 - We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
I. I AM he light of the World
John 8:12-14 - Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me.
A. If we're reading the Bible with imagination, this is a really awkward moment.
- In his teaching, he says, "I am the Light of the World," and someone “You're trying to testify about yourself, and you're a liar." That's awkward.
- The idea of light and the imagery of light for a Hebrew in the first century, particularly an expert in the law, would have massive connotations.
- Genesis 1. The Bible says the state of the universe looks like this: it is formless, it is dark, and it is void. Then in Genesis 1:3, the Spirit of God is hovering over the waters, and God says, "Let there be light."
- From that sentence, structure began to replace formlessness.
- Formless was being formed, and darkness was put on its heels, and what was void began to be filled with life
Isaiah 9:2 - The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
- This was talking about the coming of Jesus.
- When Jesus says, "I am the Light of the World," Jesus is making some claims that are unacceptable for those who are moral elites.
B. Then, he says, "You can say that my testimony is false, but I know where I come from." What's he talking about?
- Where I am from?
John 1:3-5 - God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
- Where I am going?
Revelation 22: "And on that day they will no longer need the sun or the moon, for the glory of God will be their light."
Jesus says, "I am the light of the world." The world says you are a liar. Jesus says, "How do you know if I'm a liar? I know where I'm from, and I know where I'm going. I alone take what is formless and form it, I alone put darkness on its heels, and I alone fill voids with life."
II. Formless to form.
A. Westminster Shorter Catechism is a tool the church has used for a long time to help intellectually shape our understanding of God.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism is a catechism written in 1646 and 1647 by the Westminster Assembly, a synod of English and Scottish theologians and laymen intended to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland.
B. The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is a great question, "What is the chief end of man?"
- Common language, "Why are we here? Why do we exist? What is this all about?"
- Here's the answer the Westminster Shorter Catechism gives: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever."
- "What's your ultimate purpose?" "To glorify God." "Well, how do you do that?" "By enjoying him."
- "How do you do that?" "By rightly living and ordering my life around his commands that are all meant to lead me into the fullest life possible."
- This purpose should drive us to grow in His grace and knowledge, so we can glorify God by enjoying him.
III. Dark to light.
A. Outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are in the domain of darkness.
Colossians 1: 13 - For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
- When we become Christians, Paul says we're transferred out of the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of his beloved Son.
- It's in this moment that we're moved out of darkness and into light.
B. When Jesus says, "I am the Light of the World," he's talking about illumination.
- The Bible tells us that when the Holy Spirit awakens our hearts to the reality of Jesus Christ, the Scriptures open to us, and we can understand them in a way we couldn't understand them before we became Christians.
- We read them now with our minds informed by truth. Our hearts begin to be shaped, and then, that fuels some of our emotions, so we're free now to worship, not coldly and intellectually alone, but really feel stirred in our affections for the God of the Bible.
C. The work of the light doesn’t stop there.
- There is nothing hidden from God, ever. You have no secrets…not in your mind, not in your heart, not in your activities.
Psalm 139:11-12 - I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
- There’s this really heinous lie that Christians believe that because we're Christians we should be past a certain point, and we shouldn't struggle with some of the things we're struggling with.
- When you believe that, you're drawn into secrecy in ways that let the hooks of death and destruction get into you.
- Here's what happens. Here's why it's so heartbreaking.
Psalm 32:1-6 - Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
- David is saying, "When I'm in the dark, when I'm living a duplicitous life, when I have chosen not the embarrassment of confession but the self-determined willpower to overcome in the darkness, projecting an ideal self, projecting a better version of me than is reality and bearing the weight of that.
- Jesus wants to shine the light on your darkness and forgive you of your sins. IF not, the floodwaters of judgement will drown you. It will come out.
- This is a stunning mercy that God gives us in Christ. He is the Light of the World. He puts darkness on its heels.
IV. He takes what is void and fills it with life.
John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have a rich and satisfying life.”
A. What Jesus is after for you and for me is a rich and satisfying life.
- You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy the good graces of common grace.
- You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy a really good meal. You can be a God-hating pagan and love steak and a good bottle of wine…or corn dogs.
B. For the Christian,
- Rooted in the Word of God, informed in his mind, ministering to his heart, and forming his ministry, shaping his body, a great steak and a bottle of wine leads to worship of something greater.
- "How generous is God, not only that he provided this but that he thought it up?"
- If you don't think God is about in a real sense enjoying who he is, why give things different flavors?
- Why do that? Because he wants to be glorified in our enjoyment of his creative brilliance. It's an awesome truth.
- Tom Brady "Oh my God! This can't be it."
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has put eternity into the heart of man. Therefore, only what is eternal can fill the gap of eternity.
He takes the void and fills it...
Summary: When Jesus says "I am the Light of the World," we now have purpose. If the chief end of man is to bring glory to God by enjoying him forever, that brings purpose into my neighborhood, purpose into my workplace, purpose into my sons' and daughters' activities. It means I am reflecting the light of Christ anywhere and everywhere. By enjoying him, I line myself up with his good, right commands that are meant to lead me into the fullest life possible. Because Jesus is about LIFE!
Jesus is the Light of the World. He forms the formless. He brings light to the darkness. He takes the void and fills it with life.