Sermon Reflections from Light and Darkness | Alex Hardt | October 1, 2023
It is not surprising that the apostle John began his letter reminding the reader of Jesus’ preexistence and that he was speaking as one who had seen and heard Jesus himself. John 1:1 “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. “ John 21:24 “ This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” 1 John 1:1 “ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” John’s gospel was written so that those who read the book would believe. John 20:31 “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Scholars write that this first letter of John was written to believers. It would seem John wants to build up and increase our faith and wants us to know Jesus is the Christ. Knowing this, it is not surprising John begins his letter with the contrast of light and dark. This was a reoccurring theme in his gospel.
Pastor Alex began his sermon with our overwhelming need for light and how darkness is something we often fear or avoid. Why is that? God created us for light and to be like him. We were made in his image and He is light! We can be assured that in God there is no darkness. Pastor Alex wanted us to see that darkness pervades, leads to pathways without light or very little light, and grows darker the farther we get from the light source. John equates darkness to a walk without Jesus, lightless and lifeless. He also equates darkness with sin. Verse 6 “ If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” A life lived in darkness is without truth and not grounded in the truth of God. We know that sin is inherent in our nature. However, John realizes this fact and encourages us to come to Jesus and confess, verse 9 “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I love this verse as it has a promise we can cling to. Confession brings forgiveness always! God is faithful to forgive our sins when we come to him repentant and desirous of change. Being an unrepentant sinner leads to death. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.” Pastor Alex summed it up as A World of Darkness leads to death.
John wants us to see that Jesus brings light into our lives and reassures us that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all! If we can live in the light, why don’t we do it all the time? It is hard and as a believer, we try to walk with Jesus in His light daily. This means acknowledging our sins frequently and focus on Jesus’ light. John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” How does one go about walking in His light? Here are a couple of thoughts: read your bible daily, pray daily, seek out other believers for fellowship, focus on doing good with the hours and days God gives you, focus on using your talents and resources for serving God, participate in worship with your whole heart, give generously, talk about Jesus as you relate to others and let your words and thoughts dwell on Jesus. Pastor Alex summed it up with the truth, A World of light leads to life!
Lastly, how can you find joy in life? 1 John 1:4 “ We write this to make our joy complete.” John wants us to know that telling others, writing his gospel, letters and Revelation brought him joy! He wants to be about the Father’s business of telling others about the good news of Christ. Jesus commissioned the disciples, and us too, in Matthew 28:18-20 “ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus wants us to tell others about Him! John is saying that one of the benefits of telling others about Jesus is joy, complete joy. What is this good news we are to tell others about? The early Christians spoke of it in Acts 5:42 “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” They were proclaiming Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, had come! Life and forgiveness in Him was now available. In Jesus we can have a life that would lead to eternal life John describes in 1 John 5:20 “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” Who do you need to tell about Jesus this week? It will make your spirit joyous in Him.
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