09 June 2007

"I AM the Light of the World"--John 8:12, John 9:5

Last time we looked at when Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life.” Think about that. We who know the Lord Jesus Christ will one day sit at a great feast. Revelation 19:9 refers to it as the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” And it’s like we're telling people, “Hey, you're invited to this great feast, with anything you could ever want! You name it, steak, lobster, shrimp, the whole nine yards.” But so many people say, “Nah, no thanks. I'm happy just happy eating rolls.” That is the difference between the Bread of Life, and the bread of the world.

Now, for today's message. My mom told me a story once. It was about a boy who lived on the side of a valley. And he would always look over that valley, and on the other hillside, he saw a house with gold windows. He told his mother that one day he would go and find that house with the gold windows. So, one day, when he was much older, he set out to find that house. The journey was very long, and the hillsides were very steep. And it took all of his energy, and all of his rations, to finally make it to his long-awaited destination. When he got there, he noticed that those gold windows weren’t there any more. He knocked on the door, and the lady of the house answered. He asked, “Do you know where the house is with the gold windows?” The lady answered, “Why yes, it’s directly across the valley!” The boy turned and looked, only to see the windows on his own house glistening in the sun—like gold. That boy followed a light. He thought that light would bring him joy. But in the end he was just wasting his time, his energy, and his resources.

So many people are like that today. So many are looking for a light of truth that they can follow. They try Oprah, and Dr. Phil, and whoever else. Yet we have the light of the world right here in the Bible! We don’t worship the Bible, but we use it to guide us on our journey with Christ. Psalm 119:105—Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. 2nd Peter 1:19—And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place… This word was given to us by GOD. 2nd Timothy 3:16—All Scripture is given by inspiration of God… John tells us in chapter 1 that Jesus was—and is—the Word. What does that tell us? That the Holy Spirit told the OT prophets about Jesus. We saw one other time how Jesus is eternal. From eternity past to eternity future. We saw last time how Jesus is sufficient to fill any spiritual hunger we may have.
All of You, is more than enough for all of me.
For every thirst and every need.
You satisfy me with Your love.
And all I have in You is more than enough
--Chris Tomlin

Today, were going to see how Jesus is sufficient to guide us every day we walk with Him. In the book of John, Jesus mentions twice, “I AM the Light of the World.” In 8:12, and in 9:5. The first time He says it, He’s talking to the Pharisees. John 8:12—“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."” But here’s the problem: these Pharisees did not believe Him. They had seen Him do many things at this point, yet to them He was a prophet at best, and a charlatan at worst. The next verse they answer back, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” You know, it seems like every time He tried to tell them something, they just didn’t get it. And here was the Son of GOD standing right before them, telling them who He was, and they totally and completely missed it.

You see, the Pharisees were depending on their knowledge for salvation. They thought that because they knew what the OT said, and they knew every part of the law, and they memorized a whole ‘nother bunch of rules and regulations, that that put them in GOD’s good graces. But there's a difference between knowledge and learning. You can KNOW a lot of things, but not LEARN anything. You see, you can KNOW what every part of the body is, but if you don’t know how they work, and work together, it doesn’t do you a lot of good. Now, that doesn’t mean we have to know all of the whys and wherefores about GOD. No one can. But when we read GOD’s word, it’s not enough to just know what the words are and memorize the words. We need to know what they mean. What does it mean when Jesus said, "GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son?" Or when Paul says that, If you confess Jesus Christ with your mouth and believe in your heart that GOD raised Him from the dead you will be saved? See, that’s part of the reason Jesus came, to open up the Scriptures to those who seek the truth.

Well, after a lengthy debate—and if you think of how silly it was that these guys were debating with GOD—it says in verse 59, Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. He was probably in a bit of a hurry to get out of there. But notice something: He wasn’t TOO busy. He was always where He needed to be. No matter where He was, He was there for a reason. Even when He was sleeping in a boat in the middle of a storm, that was where He needed to be. And after He left the temple, He was where a blind man needed Him to be.

John 9:1-7—Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. The night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
I want you to notice something here: does it say anywhere that the man said, “Hey you know, I think I’ve got a better idea! We don’t have to go through all this?” NO! The man simply let GOD do what He needed to do. So Jesus rubs mud in this fellow’s eyes, and tells him to go wash in the pool. What did the man do? He went, and he washed, and lo and behold, he could see! Remember Naaman? In 2nd Kings 5:9-14, we read how Naaman, a king, had leprosy. The prophet Elisha told him to go swimming in the Jordan River 7 times. Naaman said, "Uhh, can’t I do it in the Pharpar, or one of those rivers in Damascus? They're a whole lot nicer, and I won't have to get dirty." How many people are like that today? “Lord, I want to obey You, just so long as I don’t have to get dirty.”

Why did He use this occasion to mention that He is “The Light of the World?” Because He had just got done telling a bunch of “church folk” the same thing and they didn’t believe Him. I think He wanted to show His disciples that you can know what the Bible SAYS, and not necessarily know what it MEANS. Because, you see, He had just gotten done telling the Pharisees that He was The Light of the World, and they didn’t believe Him. They called Him a liar. But here is this man, blind from birth. He doesn’t argue, He just goes and does what Jesus tells him to do. It doesn’t take a lot of “book-learnin’” to know what GOD is telling us in His word. So many times we take passages and try to make them so complicated. But if we will just listen to what He’s trying to tell us, it would be so much simpler.

One thing we see in this passage is WE NEED TO SEE THE LIGHT.
How do we do that? Well, there’s a passage in the Book of Acts that explains it. In Acts 26:17-18, Paul is telling how Jesus said to him, “I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

What good is it if we turn on a light for a blind man? Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind. Here, He uses mud. Why? I don’t know. But before we can turn to the Light of the World, we need our eyes to be open. Before someone can be “saved”, they need to know they're “lost.” So many times we tell people about the light before we open their eyes. In other words, we try to lead them to Christ before we show them how much they need Him. When we send teams out to witness, we don’t say to people, “If you follow Christ, your life will be so much better.” Because that may not necessarily be true. And if anyone thinks otherwise, I've got a copy of this month’s “Voice of the Martyrs” I'll let them read. The very first thing we do is to have our eyes opened, and to open the eyes of other who are blind. You know, it’s real easy for us who know the Lord to look at sinners and cast glares at them, and criticize. It’s easy to look at Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of the Hollywood crowd, and laugh at them for their lostness. But you know what? We were just as lost as they are before GOD opened our eyes to the truth.

So, once the Lord opens our eyes, then we TURN FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT.
Isaiah 9:2—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.
Micah 7:9—I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

What is that light? Let me just give you a few examples:

Luke 11:34-35 (NLT)“Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness.”
In other words, make sure the golden windows you're chasing are really gold, and not just plastic sheeting.

John 1:4-5—In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Why? Because men like darkness more than light. Because when we are in the dark, we can do whatever we want and not feel bad about it. But when we do take hold of that light, our evil works will be seen for what they really are.

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.’

Now, once our eyes are open, and we see that light, then we TURN FROM THE POWER OF SATAN AND TURN TO GOD.
Listen to what Jesus says in John 3:19-21—“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
When we keep our eyes closed, and we stumble through life blind, doing whatever we want to do, we really don’t want to be around people who know the truth. Because we know that what we are doing is wrong, but we don’t want to stop doing it. We don’t want to put down the bottle, or the pipe, or the dirty magazine. We’d just rather go through life blind to the fact that we are condemning ourselves with every act of wickedness. We’d rather not come to the light because it might mean that we’ll have to change our ways. You know, there are a lot of preachers out there that preach like that. “I don’t like to talk about sin because, well, it just makes the people in my church feel uncomfortable.” WELL GOOD, IT’S SUPPOSED TO!

John 16:7-8—“…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come,” He will make you feel all warm and squishy inside! NO!!! "…when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…" The Holy Spirit will bring our works to the Light of the World, so that our works may be seen, whether they are good or bad. And that we may see ourselves in the Light of The World, and see ourselves for who we really are, so that we can see that all of our good works don’t make us righteous, but that it is the cross of Jesus Christ, dying and paying for our sins, and giving His righteousness to us that makes us able to stand in the presence of a holy GOD. GOD opens our eyes, we turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to GOD.

Acts 16:31—“…what must I do to be saved?” “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and take a bunch of classes, and go through this ritual and this and…” No! "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!"
Ephesians 2:8-9—…by grace you are save through FAITH…and that is a gift from GOD, not works…
Romans 10:9—if you confess Jesus Christ with your mouth, and believe in your heart that GOD raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED.

I’d like to do something real quick here. I’m gonna read through this passage and give you my commentary on it. Check this out. Some people think you have to go to seminary to understand the Bible. I got nothing against it, I plan on going someday. But you don’t need a degree to understand what God is trying to tell you. All you have to do is ask GOD for wisdom. James 1:5—If any lacks wisdom let him ask God, who gives abundantly, and IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO HIM. That principle is illustrated so perfectly here. Listen to this exchange: [VERSES 30-34]. You're doggone right he is! Because HE GETS IT. He may not have the Law of Moses memorized backward and forward, but his eyes have been opened, he has seen the light, and he knows that he has been in the presences of GOD. How do we know that we are in Christ and that we belong to Him? We need to see the light, and...

Turn to Matthew 5:14-16—“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

  • When we see the light, and we let it shine on us, and in us, and through us, and come out from us.
  • When we let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable to GOD (Psalms 19:14)
  • When we let our light shine before men so that GOD gets the glory.
  • When we lift up our hands, when we call on His name, when He visits this place by His mercy and grace.
  • When peace like a river attendeth our way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever our lot He has taught us to say it is well with my soul. Then, we are the light of the world.
John 12:46—“I have come as a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”
2nd Corinthians 4:6—For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
1st Timothy 6:16Jesus is the only one, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.
And listen to what John says about the city of New Jerusalem:
Revelation 21:22-23—And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Revelation 22:5—And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.

Ye dwellers in darkness with sin blinded eyes The Light of the world is Jesus!
Go, wash, at His bidding, and light will arise. The Light of the world is Jesus!
No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told; The Light of the world is Jesus!
The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold, The Light of the world is Jesus!

Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee; sweetly the light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see: The Light of the world is Jesus!

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