The True Light

The True Light

Home Church Service 1/15/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

                                                                                                                                           John 1:6–13 (NASB95)

Last week we began our series in The Gospel According to John. In this first message, John firmly establishes the fact that he is a committed Jew, entrenched in Jewish traditions and the rich customs of the Judaism of the Second Temple period. John introduces us to The Eternal Word by using three simple but very important words… “In the beginning.” These three words link this gospel to the Torah and, as we are learning, for John, everything begins with the Torah.

This week we are introduced to John the Baptist, a man sent from God to witness to the Light. The Baptist freely admits he is not the Light but has come to testify about the Light with one simple purpose, that all might believe through his testimony. John, the author of the gospel, tells us the Word is also the Light, in fact, He is The True Light coming to the very world He created.

John was a man sent from God to testify about The True Light. He came to the world He created to enlighten all men but was rejected by His own. To those who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God, born not of blood or the will of the flesh or man, but of God.

Like John, we too have been sent to testify about The True Light. Our witness is to enlighten all people on why the Light came to the world He created and to show how all people can become members of God’s family through spiritual rebirth.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “Why did The True Light come to the world He created?”

As Christ followers, we too have been sent to witness to and reflect The True Light.

1). We must first understand that The True Light came to the world He created to enlighten ALL people.

Our witness will make known The True Light to those who are ready to receive Him.

Scripture makes a strong contrast between what has been said about Jesus and what is being said about John the Baptist. As we learned last week, Jesus was “in the beginning.” John tells us He “was with God” and “He was God.” Remember we learned the word “was” is a continuous action in the Greek language, so “was” is literally “was continuing.” John the Baptist on the other hand came into existence at his birth, the Baptist was “a man” sent from God. John the Baptist had an earthly mother and father, we can read about them in Luke chapter 1.

As Christ followers it is important for us to have a solid understanding of these first three verses, for in them we must see ourselves. One of my all-time favorite tee shirts had a Christian theme, it was very simple but the figures on the tee shirt we very well known. It was a white shirt with the black silhouettes of Jake and Elwood Blues – The Blues Brothers. Above them was a simple line from the movie – “On a mission from God.” If you have seen the movie, you know the line comes after Jake and Elwood have been released from prison and before they set out on a crazy adventure through the city of Chicago.

More importantly, this is a simple summary of John the Baptists purpose in life – he was sent “on a mission form God,” a very special mission. “From God” is literally translated as “from beside God.” John the Baptist has been sent from the very side and heart of God, making the Baptist a man uniquely sent by God. But John the Baptist hasn’t just been sent by God, he has been sent to witness, to testify, meaning he has been sent by God WITH a message that has been prepared FOR him. John means gracious and this is the message that the Baptist has been sent with – God’s grace has now entered human history.

John the Baptist came from God with a special message – to proclaim the Light. The Baptist brought a crucial message, the good news of salvation through Christ and this message must be declared to all people that they might believe, through his message, that Christ is the True Light. During his ministry, John the Baptist is the only true representative of God’s Light. John has a Christ-centered message with the goal of winning people to personal faith, regardless of their condition or attitude. What’s more, John has the same message as Jesus – a message to enlighten all people.

John the Baptist came to testify to the True Light. John’s message says light is clean, pure, clear, and good. It penetrates, enlightens, and reveals. Light guides, exposes and strips away darkness. This is the message of Christ when He says, “I am the light of the world.” The Baptist proclaims Light calms, conquers, and ends chaos. It discriminates between right and wrong. Light warns and protects. Is this not the message of Jesus in stating, “I am the Good Shepherd” or “I am the way, the truth, and the life?”

Our world is in dire straits right now. The spirit of antichrist is on the rise. The world is full of darkness – the darkness of sin and despair; the darkness of sickness and death; the darkness of corruption and destruction. This darkness looms over the whole world. But Christ came as The True Light to give light to ALL people. Christ gives light through natural revelation – that is through creation and the order of the universe. He gives light by giving us good gifts and displaying God’s goodness towards us. Christ gives light through God’s word – God has revealed Himself and His truth through the Scriptures. Christ enlightens us to the truth that He loves us and cares for us.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

You have been sent on a mission from God. Do you now have a sense of where you are being sent?

How has the message of The True Light been played out in your life?

Knowing that Light is pure, penetrates, exposes, calms, warns, and protects, what is the Light shining upon in your life at this moment?

As Christ followers, we too have been sent to witness to and reflect The True Light.

2). Secondly, we must understand The True Light came to the world He created to show All people how to become more like Him.

Our spiritual rebirth begins and ends with God the Father.

John, the author of the gospel, tells us that The True Light was coming into the world He created only to go unrecognized and, ultimately, to be rejected by His own. More importantly, John adds that The True Light came to show ALL people how to become like Him – a child of God. Before this, however, John expands on his statement from verse 3, “All things came into being through Him…” John expands this statement by saying “He was in the world” and “the world did not know Him.” In other words, the world and those in the world He created did not recognize Him.

Christ was actually in the world long before He came as a human being, for the power and presence of Christ were already in the world. Christ gave the light of order, purpose, and beauty to the universe as a whole. He gave humanity the glorious light of living in such a beautiful world. Christ gave spirit to every person – the light of knowing and worshipping God and of living with God forever. He gave messengers to the world, prophetic lights to proclaim the truth. Is it any wonder the people of the world had a hard time recognizing this carpenter from Nazareth as the King of the universe?

John next gives us the bad news – He came to His own and His own did not receive Him. The word “own” is used twice here. The first “own” is in the neuter plural in the Greek language, thus the first “own” should be translated as “His own things.” The second “own” however is best translated as “His own people.” Some have tried to translate the first “own” as home or place – which would certainly fit coming to “His own people” but we lose the emphasis on the entire universe being created by Him and through Him. “His own things” would certainly include His home or place.

The world Jesus created is certainly His home and Israel is, without a doubt, His specific home, and the people He had chosen as messengers to the world. However, we run into an issue when we assume “His own did not receive Him” is the entire nation of Israel. This would be a false assumption on our part, for John present Jesus as Judean, not as Galilean, thus making “His own people” the people of Judah and more specifically, the capital city of Jerusalem. Thus, Jesus is only rejected by Judean Jews and not the entire nation of Israel, for there were many Christ followers in first century Israel.

The good news is that there were some who did receiver Him and believed in His name. Those who received Him did so by faith, believing in His name – the Word, Life, and Light. Specifically, Yeshua, which translated in English is Jesus, means Jehovah is salvation and Christ which means Anointed One or Messiah. Thus, those who received Him believed that He is the Anointed Savior and Redeemer promised by the Lord. In addition, those who received Him were given a gift – the right to become like Yeshua, a child of God.

To receive Yeshua means to believe, accept, welcome, and love. Those who received Him believed in His name and His works. They accepted His teachings, His reality as the Son of God, His commands, and His demands. They welcomed Him in word and deed, following His teachings and His example. They loved Him because He first loved them. The gift to those who received Him is the right to become children of God. The word right implies power or authority. It is a legal term referring to an officially granted right or privilege, given or granted by a king, judge or government. But it also implies responsibility and purpose. Being a child of a king comes with responsibilities. We become a mouthpiece for the king, His official representative among the people. It also gives us purpose no longer are we lost and wandering, we now belong to the King for which we live and lose our lives.

To become means we become something we are not. When we receive Christ, God, the highest power of all, gives us the privilege to become what we are not – a child of God! We become one of His dear children, meant to become like The True Light – to become more Christlike through a spiritual rebirth that begins and ends with God. Blood, flesh and man are the human means of physical birth but to become like the Light requires something of God – a spiritual rebirth.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Consider your own perception of Jesus for a moment. If He were in the world today as a carpenter, and began teaching in our culture, as it currently stands, could you receive Him and believe in His name?

Keeping in mind your perception of Jesus, how would you show your belief in Him? How might you welcome Him?

As a child of God, you are a child of the King. What are your responsibilities as His child and how are you handling them?

As Christ followers, we too have been sent to witness to and reflect The True Light.

This is one of the most important passages for discovering the meaning of John’s gospel account. This passage is part of the prologue and from the prologue the path for what follows is set – how we read and understand the prologue will affect how we read and understand the rest of what John has to say.

We too, like John the Baptist, are sent by God to testify about The True Light. As such, we must remember that servants and messengers of God are not sent by people but by God alone. There is no church or committee, no government or other public entity, on this earth that can deter, deflect, or destroy the servant or messenger from God. As God’s servants or messengers, we are sent forth from God – right from the very side and heart of God. He alone determines our message, and He alone can change or stop our message.

As God’s messengers we have received the highest of all callings and missions. Our calling is to tell others about Yeshua, The True Light; our witness is to enlighten ALL people. Our mission is to bring people to personal faith in Yeshua, that they receive Him and believe in His name. Not everyone will believe through our message – for some we will simply be planting the seed of faith. Our message, however, is a given message – one that God has prepared especially for you and your experiences. We have not been left on our own to think up a message. We are not dependent upon our reason, thoughts, or ideas. Our message is Yeshua – The True Light.

John’s gospel account came to a world where rank counted and those who were slaves had no rights or freedom. John’s gospel message promises ALL people, regardless of rank or status, nothing less than personal membership in God’s family. Likewise, today, people complain about what seems to be God’s indifference to pain and suffering – some even blaming Him for both. Yet this gospel shows that God does indeed care, for this is why He came to the world He created! God simply could not have cared more, for He sent His only Son that people could receive Him, believe in His name, and become children of God. And yet He is still ignored and, in the end, rejected.

Finally, the theme of witness permeates this gospel account. The witness of the truth of God’s self-revelation in the Word is manifold in this gospel. It is comprised of the witness of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the witness of Christ’s works, and the witness of His disciples. Add to this your own witness and it is clear to see the purpose of the theme of witness is that ALL might believe, in fact, this is the very purpose of the gospel itself.

We do all things to the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

Next week: John 1: 14 – 18

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