Examples Described – Light – God is Light, Jesus is the Light of the World

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See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Examples Described – Light – God is Light, Jesus is the Light of the World

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Matthew 5:14-16



Sunday, February 3, 2019 am                        

The Power of Example (3)
You are the Light of the world (1)

      We have been examining some descriptions of examples in scripture – salt, an aroma, leaven, an epistle and a pattern. Today, we want to begin to notice the example that will lead us into our theme, how we are to be lights in this dark world.

Light is a powerful force and an extensive subject in scripture.   Light is contrasted with darkness, as good is contrasted with evil., truth is contrasted with error or ignorance, love is contrasted with hatred, and purity is contrasted with filthiness or corruption.   A detailed study of light (and darkness) will give us a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

I.    God – the power and source light

  1. God is light.   1 John 1:5. A good place to begin a study of light.
    God, who created all things is described as light in its purest form, with NO darkness or anything associated with darkness.
    When we think of God, light is one of the qualities that comes to mind.   Words like glory, brightness, radiance, fire and shining describe the presence of God.   He is so related to light, that whenever He appears to man, there is bright radiance.
    The LORD appears to Moses in a burning bush that is not consumed – Exodus 3:2-5
    At Mt. Sinai, there was lightning and thunder, and He descended upon it in fire (Exodus 19:16-18, 24:16-17).
    When He appeared to Moses ON Mt. Sinai, his glory was so great he had to wear a veil over his face coming down from the mountain – Exodus 34:30-35
    At the dedication of the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle so that Moses could not enter – Exodus 4-:34-35, also the dedication of the temple
    – Luke 2:9 – as angels descend announcing the birth of Jesus   we read “the glory of the Lord shone around them”   Matthew 28:3 – when the angel of the Lord descended to open the tomb where Jesus WAS, we read his countenance was like lightening, and his clothing as white as snow.
    Luke 9:29-31 – at the mount of transfiguration, Jesus’ face was altered and His robe became white and glistening, Elijah and Moses appeared in glory, etc. Matthew 17:2 says His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:5, as Peter is speaking, a BRIGHT cloud overshadows them.
  2. God created light.   Genesis 1:1-3 – to understand light, we go all the way back to the beginning.
    God created light which impacted the darkness   that engulfed the universe He had also created.
    Then, a few verses later (Gen. 1:14-19), on the fourth day, we find that He even gave us the sun, moon and stars as further sources of physical light.
    James 1:17 describes Him as the Father of lights.
    2 Corinthians 4:6 – He commanded light to shine out of darkness.
    Psalm 19:1-6 describe how the heavens declare the glory of God, including the sun.
    IF God can create physical light, He can create and manifest spiritual light – that which we are to be shining.
  3. He controls physical light
    • Joshua 10:12-14 – the sun stands still as the battle is completed
    • 2 Kings 20:8 – He caused the sun to move backwards as a sign to Hezekiah
    • Fire descends from heaven – consumes Nadab and Abihu – Leviticus 10:1-4
    • 1 Kings 18:38-39 – it devours the sacrifice of Elijah and causes the people to fall on their faces, declaring, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!
    • Elijah ascends to heaven in a whirlwind, while a chariot of fire comes down from heaven separating him and Elisha – 2 Kings 2:11
      Matthew 27:45 – at the crucifixion of Jesus, there was darkness over the land for 3 hours.
    • Revelation 21:23-24, 22:5 – in the end, God will be the light that sustains us in heavenly Jerusalem.
  4. Why God is light is important – when we understand who God is and that He is the ultimate manifestation of all things good, it gives us a pattern to follow.   In the light of God we see purity, holiness, love and even truth – they are revealed about Him.   Qualities we seek to imitate – cf. 1 Peter 1:15-16 (be holy), Matthew 5:48 – you shall be perfect as He is perfect (dealing with love), John 17:17 – your word is truth, etc.     By our examples, letting our light shine, we are magnifying Him.

II.    Jesus, the Light of the World

  1. John 1:4-9 – Jesus was introduced as the light of the world.   John, the author, describes Him that way and also identifies John the Baptist as the one who came to bear witness of that light.
  2. Hebrews 1:3 –   Jesus is the brightness of the image of His glory.   Jesus manifested the light of God while on earth.   We better know who God is because Jesus came to this earth – John 14:9-10
    John 1:14 notes that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
  3. Jesus is the light of the world – 3 times in John’s gospel, He described Himself as the light of the world – John 8:12, where He defends His claims by also noting that the Father bore witness of Him. The will lead to His bold declaration, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (8:58)
    John 9:5, as He heals a blind man, He describes Himself as the light of the world.
    John 12:35-36 where He is preparing for His upcoming death He notes, “a little while longer the light is with you…
  4. Other passages also address Him as the light –
    • Isaiah 9:2, The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
    • Malachi 4:2, But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
    • Luke 1:78-79, as Zechariah prophesies about his son, John (the Baptist), he notes that he will be forerunner to, “Dayspring form on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. To guide our feet into the way of peace.
    • John 3:19-21, speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus explains “the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil…
    • Finally, Revelation 1:16 – Jesus appears to John in a vision, described as “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength”
    • and Revelation 22:16 where He is described as, “the Bright and Morning Star.”
  5. What does this mean? Jesus is our hope, and the source of our understanding. He is our example of what the light of God is about – peace, love, truth, purity, holiness and hope.
    It is HIS light we are to be shining.

III.  We are the light of the world –

  1. Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:15 – we are the light of world (Note: Jesus used the same metaphor He applied to Himself.   While in a different way, we are the light – in that we see the relationship between the two).     The point being, we are to be examples by letting our light shine.
  2. The gospel of light
    • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – This text speaks of “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” ought to shine on us.   Even though it is hidden from many by “the god of this age.”
    • Psalm 27:1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
    • Acts 13:47 – Paul in Antioch (of Pisidia) on his 1st journey is teaching the whole city. He makes reference to being “a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.
    • 2 Peter 1:19 – we heed the word as a light that shines in a dark place.
    • 1 Timothy 1:11 speaks of the glorious gospel – a term often associated with the light of God.
  3. Perhaps more than any other illustration of our example, we are described as lights.   Here we have briefly mentioned a few.   Next week we will examine more and notice the qualities of light that describe our example.

So what? Understanding the brightness of God drives home His greatness and holiness, and in the process how important that light is to us.   it helps us understand our hope.   Thus, we need His light shining in our lives AND we need to reflect that light to others.   So how is your light shining?