Christmas Eve 2004: God is Light

For our Christmas Eve service tonight, I’ll be bringing a message on the truth that God is Light. Here are my written reflections on that topic.

God is Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'” From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

John 1:1-18

For believers, one of the most precious and familiar passages in the Bible is this one because it describes the divinity of Jesus in clear yet poetic fashion. In particular, this passage keys in on two attributes of Jesus—“The Word” and “The Light.”

People often will focus on “The Word” because it is the more mysterious of the two, but tonight, as we do every Christmas, I’d like to reflect with you on what it means to say that Jesus is the Light.

He reveals the truth.

That’s just the way light works. If you have ever seen a horror movie or any dramatic movie, you will recall a scene or two where someone is in a dark room. I’m always amazed that the screenwriters believe they can fool their audience into believing that! I never walk into a dark room without turning on a light. It’s just silly any other way. Without a light, you can’t see what’s inside. Without a light, you stub your toe. Light reveals the unknown. And Jesus reveals God.

Verse 18 is a profound verse. Jesus, the light, is making God the Father known to people! Now, if there is anything mysterious in the universe, God is it. His wisdom is far beyond human wisdom, his strength is beyond human strength, his presence can be found everywhere at once, and though he is supremely in charge of everything, he allows us to have freedom of choice! God is mysterious and simply beyond human understanding.

But Jesus makes him known. He told his followers once, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me,” and later, he told Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus is the perfect revelation of who God is. The mysterious God made known. Now if Jesus can reveal to us the mysteries of God, there is no mystery, there is no truth that he can’t reveal.

Do you want wisdom? Do you want truth? Do you want to know God? Find the light that’s present only in Jesus!

He is pure.

Another truth about light is that it is mutually exclusive with darkness. The smallest light overcomes darkness completely. Take a look at this candle flame. Within this flame, there is no darkness at all. That’s the way light works. It’s completely exclusive of darkness. You can’t mix the two.

The Bible tells us that the same thing is true about God.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

This Christmas, let’s make Jesus our light.

You know, of course, that he already is! Would you take a moment to think of the darkest time in your past. When was it? What was going on in your life when everything felt the bleakest? Now, this is the most important question? How did light come into that situation?

Did you know that light was Jesus? He is the one who brought light into your life. He took the darkness in your past and lit it all up. Praise him and thank him. He has already been your light.

So you might be going through a dark time tonight. Maybe your heart feels as dark as this sanctuary was when we first came into it tonight, but that’s no way to be. Jesus didn’t come into the world as a baby, live a sinless life, die on the cross, and rise again so that you could live in darkness! He did all that for you so you could know the forgiveness and cleansing of all your sins and could live in his light!

Seek Jesus and make him your light once again.

I want to ask you to join me not only in that, but also in two specific ways.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7

Let’s live in purity.

This is not a condemnation, this is an opportunity. I’ll admit that when I think about living a life of purity, I can feel guilty. I’ll think of all the ways my life is not pure and I’ll compare that to what I think God means by purity, and I’ll feel bad about that. Ok, sure, I should feel bad about sin, but the truth of the matter is that Jesus has cleansed me from sin! I’ve been forgiven. Guilt shouldn’t be in my vocabulary anymore.

Purity is not a condemnation or a statement of how we need to try harder to live up to God’s standard. Purity is an opportunity. God is warmly welcoming us to join him in the light of purity. He provides his Holy Spirit to us to help us remain in that light. It all boils down to simply having fellowship with God. If you and I have fellowship with God—a close relationship with him—then we will walk in purity. That’s what John said, walking with Jesus is walking in the light; staying close to Jesus is staying pure.

Let’s reveal the truth.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Ephesians 5:8-11

Our world needs light. Our world needs light from us. In Ephesians 5, Paul challenges us to be people who are not afraid of the truth. Our goal in life should be to live a life where someone could know EVERY SINGLE SECRET about us and find it to be good. That doesn’t mean we should all wear T-shirts imprinted with our account numbers and passwords and other personal information. What it means is that if someone were to find out EVERYTHING about you, they would see a person who is walking with God despite mistakes.

If we are people who live lives open to any inquiry, then we will be people who have the right to expose darkness in this world around us. It doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. It means we have to be people of honesty and truth. When we struggle, we admit it. When we see injustice, we talk about it and do something about it. When we see darkness, we shine light on it.

There’s one last passage, I’d like to consider today.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

John 3:19-21

This passage contains the secret to everything else I’ve mentioned. Some people don’t want the light of Jesus in their lives because they have grown accustomed to and comfortable in the dark. They have hardened hearts that are unwilling to open up to the light. I pray that’s not you.

Some people, however, have entered into the light and have chosen to live by the truth, and those people realize have realized the greatest truths of all. God is the one who shined the light in their lives. God is the one who has exposed their sin and forgiven it. God is the one who has made purity possible. God is the one who still shines light today.

That’s why these people are not afraid to have light shine on them. They have nothing to hide anyway, because in every aspect of their lives, the stamp of God can be seen. God gets all the credit.

He is the light, the source of light, and the reason light is good.

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