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December 6, 2020 1:00 am
Despite all the bright lights of Christmas, much of the world is really a dark place. While those who know Christ can rejoice in the salvation He brought to us, those without God experience a darkness of soul they can’t even comprehend. At Christmas, how glad we are that Christ came to bring a shining light into the darkness.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
Despite all the bright lights of Christmas much of the world is really a dark place, while those who know Christ can rejoice in the salvation he made possible. Those without God experience of darkness of soul. They can't even comprehend at Christmas. How glad we are that Christ came to bring a shining light into the darkness from Chicago. We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today we begin a series on gifts Jesus brought to us. Stay with us for the music of Christmas and then Dr. Luther's message on Jesus, the gift of light. Pastor looks or comes now to open our time of worship and a few moments were going to be singing about Jesus Christ. A prediction made by Isaiah the prophet, regarding the coming of Christ. The Rose the one who is going to bring life and hope and fragrance to a world who desperately needs him.
This of course is the first Sunday of Advent, when you think of Advent, what comes to mind. We generally think of those who anticipated the coming of Jesus. All throughout the Old Testament we had these pointers given to the prophets and through the prophets that Jesus Christ would be coming and sell ads then means the anticipation of Jesus Christ coming and at last he has come, but that word Advent always is applicable for us as well because we anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ. We live in that in between. When we are waiting for the return of our Messiah to earth. And so it is also in anticipation of his next coming that we live during this period of time here at The Moody Church. We have them at least 72 different countries of origin represented and that that is the kind of diversity that we believe is so honoring to God. And during this Advent season we are going to highlight various countries.
Some of the major countries where we have people who originated from those countries and were born there today were going to highlight the country of India and not only will you hear the gospel read in English but also I understand in Hindi and isn't it wonderful to know that God understands all the languages of the world and receives all who come to him through Jesus Christ. So welcome to The Moody Church would you bow your head along with me as we pray together and as we give this service to the Lord, that it may be especially blessed as we have gathered together in his name, a moment of quietness and then we'll commend ourselves to God as we sing together father we pray that in the midst of a familiar season you might come to us with new freshness.
We pray that all the anxieties and the concerns of this world will be set aside as we dedicate these moments to you as we worship you as we give you praise as we give you honor, but also we are here to hear your voice through your word, and so we pray that no matter who is listening or who is participating today draw us together with your power, your love and your strength. We ask in Jesus name, amen. A. These are the words of the prophets of old. Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous branch to spring up David and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel a a a and in and he is King. These arise shine light has come in the glory of the Lord is risen. For behold, darkness, and think darkness the peoples but the Lord will and his glory will be seen, for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God for the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons.
That is the redemption of our bodies. For in this whole we received now hope that is seen is not hope for who hopes for what he sees but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience and on this first Sunday in Advent with all our hope in the Lord Jesus. We light this first Advent candle a candle of hope and for that precious gift, in whom is all the wisdom but knowledge of the world. Best of all, you gave us a Savior. For that we are deeply grateful. In Jesus name, amen. So how y'all doing today everyone doing well. Thought what would happen if an alien from outer space were to come here and be given the assignment of parking his spaceship in the daily Plaza and then being asked to figure out the Christmas season is all about. He of course would you emphasize the fact that it's a very busy time.
A lot of merchants are making a lot of money. There is a time of revelry, but I don't know that he would ever get to the real heart of what the Christmas spirit and what Christmas is really all about anything were to go into some of our town halls are some of our plazas. I he would discover that there are no Christmas trees. There are only holiday trees that are available and that are lit up, you know, to those who want to just call it a holiday tree.
I want to ask the question what holiday is it that you're talking about we get. Would you at least say the word Christmas. Who would have ever dreamed that a Christmas tree in public places would be considered to be a threat to the First Amendment. But the real purpose of Christmas is that Jesus Christ is the one who gave us gifts that we can enjoy gifts that bring us to God the father and they give us a whole new purpose in life and actually even change our destiny. The Bible says in John chapter 1 that Jesus Christ came and he brought light and the dark.
This did not overcome it. Darkness cannot overcome like no matter how dark it is in a cave I candle can make a great difference because darkness never overcomes light. You can go into Ace Hardware today and you can buy a flashlight, but you can't buy a flash dark you can't say what you know I live in this house and it's got so many windows and often times I just need a little bit of darkness.
Can I buy a flash dark know you can buy a flash dark, but you can buy a flash light and the light overcome the dark in the New Testament we read that when Jesus Christ came the people who sat in darkness.
The Bible says it seen a great light, and those who have been sitting in the realm of death to them light has come.
Jesus Christ is the one who brings light to darkness and when the Bible plays off of this motif of light and darkness when it does that what you discover is the darkness actually is a realm in which people live there is such a thing as moral darkness. Some of you perhaps listening to this message. That's where you are at.
There's a sense in which you're living in moral darkness, you're in relationships that you know our sinful and you're trying to assuage your troubled conscience and you're doing the best you can and moral darkness. There is emotional darkness. There is depression there is hopelessness there is even spiritual darkness where you recognize that something is wrong, but you don't know what it is and you go looking for the answer in all the wrong places.
Jesus is indeed the one who brings light. Would you take your Bibles please and turn to John chapter 12 John chapter 12 actually, you can turn to John chapter 12 if you wish, but I'm going to be in John chapter 8. As it turns out, in verse 12, right John chapter 8 verse 12 and again Jesus spoke to them saying I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life. Even in the Old Testament God was spoken of as being a God of light. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I think it was the prophet Micah who said that, rejoice not against me. Oh my Nana me though I fall I shall rise again in the Lord shall be like about me. But even though light is mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with God.
When Jesus Christ come when he comes suddenly there is this burst of light rather than the flashlights of the Old Testament. What you have is the glory of God personally revealed. It is as if Jesus brought a floodlight to the entire world.
What I'd like to do in the next few moments in my remarks will be brief. What I'd like to do is to give you five characteristics of light or five necessities five reasons why light is so necessary and let's set think about each one of them in turn. First of all light is necessary for life light is necessary for life. You know, of course, that this is so true in the physical world.
If you were to take the plants that are growing in your window if you have some like that in you take them into the basement take them into a cave, cut them off from light.
What you'll discover is that they will die photosynthesis which is so important. That's why it is that the grain that was in the pyramids that was there for thousands of years.
That's why didn't grow needed moisture, but it also needed sunlight and in the very same way, what the sun is to physical life.
Jesus Christ is to spiritual life. The Bible says that he came to give us life and to give it to us more abundant and just indeed, like a seed may grow in the ground and then the sunlight nourishes it in the very same way, by his own word, he began us. The Bible says by the word of truth.
So God began at us and granted us life and this life that Jesus gives is not life after we die, though it is that most assuredly, it is life right now because eternal life is granted to all those who believe on Jesus. Even at this moment. Eternal life is given to us and that is a relationship with God. A connection with God and finally we find the answer to our quest light is necessary for life light is also necessary for guidance. Jesus said that if you follow me, you will not walk in darkness, light is necessary for guidance as many of you know I was brought up in a farm in Canada and there was a time when we did not have electricity later on I'll tell you what life was like. Once we had electricity but 10. We used to use lanterns coil oil lamps in the house of lanterns on our way to the barn and the other buildings. I remember as a boy being with my father as he carried that lantern that light gave us enough light for the next steps we couldn't see too far ahead, but bless God we knew where we were walking and we knew that we were on the right path. The Bible says thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. There's a verse in Proverbs. I've often contemplated it says in chapter 4 that the wicked walk and they don't know what it is that they are stumbling. What a vivid picture what a true picture of those who go about in life from one mistake to another one, send to another one addiction to another, one religion to another and they can't seem to find what it is that they are looking for because they're looking for it and there walking in darkness and when you walk in darkness, you can't tell the difference between a brick that might be made out of concrete or gold that you can't tell the difference. And so you stumble along and you can't find out where you are going, so the Scripture is very clear here that light is needed for guidance. We need to know about our relationship with God. We need to know where we are apt in terms of that relationship and we need to know what life is all about. And for that you need light it's in the very same proverb in chapter 4 where the Bible says this, that the light of the Jost are like the dawn that gets brighter and brighter until the fullness of day when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. He guides you he directs you all the way to your heavenly home and the light gets brighter and brighter as you go along the path, so light is also needed for guidance.
Light is also needed to understand ourselves to understand who we are, it was Gattaca, and by the way that German Enlightenment philosopher don't pronounce his name OC okay. He wouldn't recognize that learn a little bit of German, which will put you in some good stead when you get to heaven and it's actually pronounced yet but he said this, only God knows who I really am, and may he preserve made from finding out that's really true. You see, the fact is that you and I love darkness. We are born into darkness and we love it.
Listen to what Jesus said in John chapter 3 he said this and this is the judgment that light has come into the world and people love darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is truth comes to the light so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out by God while you and I are darkness junkies were born that way. We preferred the darkness and we preferred the darkness.
We don't want to come to the light for a number of reasons. First of all because of shame. I'm thinking for example of the woman in a primitive country who took her on the look dirty close to the river, but because there were other women there washing their clothes as well.
She did not undo the bundle she simply took it as a bundle and water and then brought it up, and after doing that a few times she went home. That's the way in which we are we don't want to even expose our sins to God because we have rationalized them. We have told ourselves lies and we have repeated those lies long enough so that we are committed to the darkness and the Bible exposes us, doesn't it. Another reason is because of fear we think to ourselves and don't all of us think this that if people really knew who we were. If they really understood our thoughts if they really understood our motivations. If they understood the privacy of our own hearts and what we are doing, they would reject as they would be shocked because of all of the evil that is really latent within us even if we don't live it out.
And so we don't want to know who we are and the Bible comes along and exposes us and the Scripture teaches us this that there is enough darkness in this culture that if you want to live in darkness.
You can know not only have lots of company.
But you'll be able to remain hidden in that realm of darkness with all of its delusion. It was Luther's said that the problem with the common man who doesn't know God is that he is blind he is sick and he is dad actually actually dead, not just sick but the problem is that he thinks he can see, and he believes himself to be alive what it delusion. There is when you walk in darkness, the hidden life unwilling to come to the light so light actually shows us who we are but light also shows God, for whom he is because God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.
Not at all. And the Bible says that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son cleanses us from all sin. Walking in the light means that I expose myself to God everything that he reveals to me that is sinful. I confess it to God. I own my stuff.
I admitted to him. He is the one who forgives me and cleanses me so that I can walk with God because God is light that the only way we can walk with him is if we walk in light and because of our sinfulness, we constantly need the cleansing that comes to those who want to walk with God and in order to see God. We must be willing to come to the light member that famous story in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah gave six blows to the people around them. He said hello to the drunkards. Woe to those who exploit the poor will low low, but when he gets to chapter 6, the seventh, woe is woe is me because in the presence of God.
Finally, all pretense and in the presence of God.
Finally we see our hidden sin in the presence of God. We see now who we are and it is there that we received the knowledge of who we are, but also the cleansing that enables us to go on you member Joe who was arguing with God and asking all of those philosophical question and then God came along and asked questions of his own and finally Job said, I have heard of the by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes sees the. Therefore, I repent in dust and in ashes. As a matter fact it's not possible for us to know who we are unless we understand who God is.
Calvin the great theologian said in the first sentence of his institutes that there are two questions that are paramount and one is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self and it is clear that you can't have one without the other. If you've never come to God.
If you've never been exposed to the Scriptures. You cannot have an knowledge of who you really are because we walk in darkness.
Now there's another necessity of light and that is light enables us to follow Christ.
You'll notice what he says here and I'm back in chapter 8 where it says in verse 12. I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in the dark as but will have the light of life.
You follow me.
Jesus said in the sermon on the mount that remarkable statement, ye are the light of the world. That's life.
You come to our Christmas Eve service, you'll find that we all have candles and we begin with one candle and then one lights and other lights another in early soon all throughout the sanctuary here. We have candles that are lit, reminding us that Jesus is the light of the world, but you and I also spread his light in so many different ways and with so many different opportunities we live out Jesus to this world when we are willing to participate in Angel tree when we are willing to be able to go to the school that is near us where we had a ministry this past fall when we do those kinds of things we are representing Jesus in the world. Remember that statue in the Kaiser Wilhelm church in Berlin. The statue of Jesus, which was largely destroyed during World War II, and when they were putting it together. They couldn't find the arm and that they decided to have it there and it is there today without one of the arms. Why because they said Jesus Christ is thus represented. We are his arm and we are his representatives to the world. So Jesus said that as we walk in the light, we represent him as well. Now how can we nail this down for ourselves that our lives are changed and transformed.
What about those of you who perhaps do not know God, you think you do because you know about Jesus or because you've had a religious background, but you have never really come to Christ. Let me leave to transforming lessons with you the first one is simply this, that, let us keep in mind that the light that reveals us is also the light that heals us the light that reveals us is the light that feels us now. I began this message by telling you that there was a time when we did not have electricity on our farm, but I remember in November 1962. I remember when those great power posts came across the field and brought us electricity you say well how come you remember. November I think it was November 11, which has other meanings. I think in our history, but I think that was the day when the power finally came.
It was unbelievable.
We could go through this old house the old farmhouse and we could flip a switch. No more lamps no more lanterns. One of the things that we had right in the middle of the farm was a lamp light. It was a light that lit the path floodlight really on a post that lit the path between the house and the barn and what we used to do his kids is we would run toward the light and then we run far from it, and we notice that the farther we ran shadow. We had the longer the shadow became farther ran but when we got close to the lamp are shadow became smaller and smaller and smaller under the yard light and then what we do is stand directly under and see whether or not we could actually have no shadow at all. Now we couldn't have none at all because there would still be a bit of a shadow, but it would be very small and very insignificant, you see folks, the further we get from Christ. The longer the shadows, the darkness, remember this, we are only as sick as our darkest, and that part of us that we deny that part of us that we justify that part of us that we don't deal with that sense of guilt and self incrimination that we feel because we know that we have sinned, and we have alienated ourselves from God that part of us needs to be brought to the light, so that in openness and humility. As we come to Jesus Christ. We then began to walk in the light that he came to bring us remember the words of Jesus men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil is the old story of going into a musty basement and flipping on the switch and suddenly you see all of these vermin scatter in all these different directions. That's the way it is when you and I are exposed to the light, we want to maintain our darkness because it is in darkness that we are comfortable, but the minute we come to Jesus Christ. Isn't it interesting that when we expose our lives to him. When we open our life and our sins are uncovered in his presence. He is there now to cover them. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered in the Bible says and this happens as a result of our faith and trust in him. I urge you today come to Christ.
He knows all about you anyway.
You may think that you are hiding from others and you may be, but you cannot hide from Jesus because the Bible says that all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do so. You and I come to a Christ who already knows about us but now we, owning our own sin in our own darkness and we come to receive healing forgiveness and help. And just like sunlight can bring about healing and the very same way, the son of God brings healing to our own hearts.
So remember that the light that exposes us that reveals us is also the light that heals us and then finally let us keep in mind that light and darkness cannot coexist light and darkness cannot coexist. There is a legend about a cave that said to itself you know there is darkness here, but the sun is never experienced any dark so in the legend, the cave invites the sun to come beneath the earth into the cave so that the sunlight experience dark S so the sun took the cave up on the opportunity and came of course the sun came and says where's the darkness has not here.
It's not anyplace that I can see because when the light comes. Darkness must dissipate and you cannot live with both light and darkness. Now you and I all have some light and darkness within us. Of course, because we are imperfect pictures of God and of eternity, but at the end of the day when we receive Jesus Christ into our lives. As the light. It is then that we are able to walk in light and not walk in darkness, as he has indicated. Remember this light and darkness throughout the entire New Testament. They are not only distinct in this life but also in the life to come. Remember that story that I told you in a different context about a miser who was dying and as he was there about to die. He told his daughter to blow out the candle and she said, but daddy you might need something and he said I don't need any light to die. He lived in darkness. He died in dark. That's why the Bible speaks about hell as motor darkness, outer darkness. Darkness forever. But then I want you to think of the contrast and it is a wonderful contrast of the fact that those who know Christ as Savior. What is their destiny. The Bible says in the book of Revelation. They need no son light of the sun nor the moon to shine upon them. For the Lord God didn't give it them the light and the Lamb is the lamp and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and their honor into it and there is no night there because they walk with God. In light of what a difference. Light makes Jesus said I am the light of the world come to him as somebody who has never experienced God is never experienced conversion come to him also as a believer and I know that you will be received and forgiven and cleansed so that you can walk with him in light. It was the famous philosopher and mathematician puffs skull and by the way, someday, I'll tell you about his conversion was remarkable. Indeed, Pascal's conversion to Christianity, but he says in faith. There is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows for those who don't. There is enough light if you want to believe you come to Christ is the light, but if you want to retain your darkness.
There are enough shadows that can enable you to reject Christ and go on without him.
In a moment were going to be singing together light of the world you stepped down into darkness, open my eyes.
Let me see beauty that made this heart. Adore you. Hope of a life spent with you, Jesus came to dissipate the darkness I and I alone am the light of the world. Let's pray together showing our father we want to thank you today for your goodness to us and giving us the gift of light we ask today that you will help all those who have listened. May all of us come to the light.
We pray father for those who deny their darkness of those who continue on not knowing what they stumble over not knowing that what they are looking for cannot be found in darkness may they come to Christ is the light of the world. And now, before I close this prayer if you need to talk to the Lord. When you talk to him right now about what God may have spoken to you about when you speak to them, hear the prayers of all those lords were coming to you now in the name of Jesus we ask a man in the today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin lutes are spoke on Jesus, the gift of light. The first of four Christmas messages on gifts Jesus brought to us next week will learn about Jesus the gift of life. Be sure to tune in this month we have a special gift for all who share their gift with the booty church. Our Richard and Tina Clois have written the daily devotional book called a closer look at the evidence perspectives on creation and why the Bible and science are in harmony.
This book will be sent when you call 1-800-215-5001 with your gift. Call us at 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 mentioned a closer look at the evidence you write or call online, go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week. At the same time for another Moody Church over with Dr. Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago