Sunday, January 30, 2011

God Is Light

God is Light

Intro.: I am not one for art – I know very little about it.

  1. Occasionally, an artist stands out.

  2. One of my favorite is known as “The Artist of Light”

  3. His real name is Thomas Kinkade

  4. Here are some examples

  5. Notice that light plays an important part of many of his pictures

  6. Listen to the words of John

Read: I John 1:1:5


Trans: I never liked physics – it was the science that I felt least comfortable studying

  1. But I liked studying the properties of light

  2. I liked setting up mirrors and lenses and filters to see how they would change and alter the image that was being displayed

  3. Sandra will tell you that one of the ticks that I still have is trying to see and understand light – she sees me cocking my head, closing one eye, and she'll say “What are you doing? Playing with light again” And nine times out of ten, she will be right.

  4. John is going to spend some time in the next few verses telling us about light. He begins by discussing how he got his message.

  1. The Message: How it was sent?

    1. Have you ever said anything twice?

    2. Every so often I read a book where a character is in the midst of retelling the same story for the umteenth time – and you can just hear those sitting within earshot saying, “Oh no! Not again”

    3. But you know sometimes it is necessary to re-say something. It may be a different audience, it may be so important that it has to be reheard. For example, E. Stanley Jones, a famous missionary to India, maintained a list of about 20 key ideas that he used to define his ministry. After hearing his list, I built my own list of important topics – and it should not surprise you that those 20 ideas regularly pop up in my preaching. They are important and I think they bear repeating.

    4. Paul did the same thing – he would repeat himself. In fact he did this in I John 1:5 – in the same verse in which he sets up the remainder of the chapter, he also summarizes what he has said in the first part of the chapter.

    5. The first part of I John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you ...”

(Ill.) David Jeremiah, a relative well-known TV and Radio preacher once said that someone told him, “Pastor Jeremiah, you will learn in your ministry that if you communicate from your head you may change somebody’s mind. If you communicate from your heart you might change their attitudes. But if you communicate from your life you have the potential of changing their lives.”i

(Appl.) I mentioned it last week, but, like John, I want to say it again. What we say to another about our faith needs to come from our life, not from our head, not even from our heart, but after our faith becomes integrated into our lives, we are ready to share. Only after our lives have been transformed – and they will be when we meet Jesus.

    1. And that is exactly what John is doing. As we said last week, John had spent three years with Jesus from the beginning of his public ministry to Jesus' death. He had also spent 40 days with Jesus after His resurrection. As he shares in the letter, he is sharing from his own life.

(Ill.) The Amish has a long standing tradition that the greatest sin is speaking for God. It is only when we speak from our lives that we are speaking for ourselves. We are speaking about what we have experienced – not what others have told us.

    1. And so John closes the first part of his letter – and immediately begins the second part of his letter ...

  1. The Message: What did it say?

    1. It is a simple statement, “God is light.”

    2. Light plays an important part in God interaction with His people:

      1. It was the first thing he created in Genesis – and then the stars, sun, and moon, on day 4.

      2. It was by a pillar of light that he led His people from Egypt as they fled Pharaoh’s slavery.

      3. Jesus called himself “The Light of the World.”

      4. Our world needs light; but, but interestingly, heaven does not (see “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”)

(Ill.) Light can tell us a lot about something. I was a chemistry major in college – that was before I began preparing for seminary. But once in seminary, I used that chemistry background to get employment in a medical laboratory that did exams for drugs – both legal and illegal. Now the test for salicylic acid was interesting. Now, I know you have no idea what salicylic acid is – but most of us use it regularly for one thing or another. It is the scientific name for aspirin.

But to test for salicylic acid, aspirin, you add a bit of iron cloride into the sample. It turns purple in the presence of aspirin. The darker the purple, the more aspirin. And you can measure the amount light that goes through the purple and get a good estimate of the quanity of aspirin present. By looking at the light, you can tell something about the sample.

In a similar way, when people see us living in the light of God's love, they can tell something about us.

    1. “God is Light” - but there is more. Look at the very end of today's passage - “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

(Ill.) Have you ever thought about it – there is no way to paint a picture of the dark. The minute we begin to see something in the picture, there has to be light. Darkness can have no light, but light can have darkness – except that God makes it clear that where God is concerned, the reverse is also true. When God is present, there can be no darkness in the light.

(Appl.) Yet we feel the dark, all the time. We know its uncertainty, we know the unknown that comes from being in the dark. I've talked about the times that I have walked into our bedroom with the light out – I have this fear of tripping over blankets at the end of the bed, or of a pair of shoes that did not get moved out of the way, or finding the leg of the bed and stubbing my toe. Fear is something we all have experienced at some point – but when I am living close to God, there it does not need to be there.

You might look at it like this – when I am driving and I see flashing red lights and an arm of flashing lights coming down, I know that a train is coming – I know that I need to do something – stop. We can let that feeling of fear that we experience at times act like those flashing lights. Remind us that we need to do something – and that something is “Trust God”.

It is not always easy - but then we can believe God, “God is light and in Hm there is no darkness at all.” And when God is there, there is nothing to fear. Let the very fear we feel, be the flashing red lights that can remind us that God is there.

Conclusion: Let me finish by saying this – I do not know what your dark space may be --

  • Maybe it is the dark.

  • Maybe it is your health

  • Maybe it is your age

  • For some it may even be your family

But remember that whatever your dark space is, God will be there to give you light.


iMorgan, Robert J. Nelson's annual preacher's sourcebook : 2008 Edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007.

No comments: