Faithlife Sermons

Breaking Through the Darkness

Greater Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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There exists a love far greater than we will ever understand. A love that came to our rescue.
This is not an imaginary love… it is not a love of the past. It is not a love we have to earn or meet the conditions thereof. It is the love of the Father, expressed through the work of the Son… and there is no other love like it.
It is GREATER LOVE. Proven love. Unshakable love. Unbreakable love. Unconditional love. Undeniable love. Love… that was displayed for all generations to see.
Jesus spoke of this love… then lived out this love.
John 15:13 NIV
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
This morning we begin a new series called Greater Love - a series that will take us all the way up to Easter Sunday.
This series will explore several works of Jesus as recorded in John. And the point of this series is simple: To remind us of how POWERFUL and REAL God’s love is for us.
Series point: God’s love is POWERFUL. God’s love is REAL.
GOD LOVES YOU. With each passing week, we draw closer to the day on which we celebrate the greatest act of love the world has ever seen. And as we get there, I hope to see two things happen in our hearts:
One, for the reality of God’s unending love to sink deeper within our hearts.
Two, for the depth of God’s love to be expressed and shared with others.
As our mission statement says, We are to love God and to love people.
Sometimes, we need to be reminded of His love. Sometimes, our hearts need to be gently realigned with His love.
Sometimes, our understanding or expectations regarding God’s love can become self-centered, skewed, and even corrupted. The world does the best that it can to understand love for what it is… not in the romantic form but in the unconditional or agape form.
Many times, I converse with people who begin to apply worldly standards to God’s unconditional love… from which I hear things said like:
If God really loved me than _________________.
This is us placing conditions on our acceptance of His love. His love is unconditional and we will receive it so long as it meets… OUR CONDITIONS!
God’s love is far greater than any love we will find on this earth and this series is designed to prove it to you!
We begin in John 1 today with a sermon entitled, “Breaking Through the Darkness.” Our main text today is John 1:4-5. This passage is describing Jesus and it gives some pretty amazing details regarding what Jesus had come to do.
John 1:4–5 NIV
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1 makes clear that Jesus has been… all along. Jesus wasn’t some new idea God had when sin entered this world. Jesus was present with God in the beginning. Before you, me, this world, and the universe, there was Jesus - the Word. He was with God in the beginning.
Jesus was a part of the creative act of this world. Verse 3 says “without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
And the first mention of Jesus we see in the beginning… comes after the fall of man. After Adam and Eve sinned, God reveals His redemptive plan while speaking to the serpent.
Genesis 3:15 NIV
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
The offspring that God spoke of that will crush the head of the enemy is in fact… JESUS!
The enemy had led creation into a dark place… But God revealed that the days of darkness… are numbered. God had a plan… and that plan involved… Jesus.
Jesus came to this earth to break through the darkness that has been caused by sin. Jesus was sent by God the Father to do what John 15:13 spoke of - to lay down His life for others. He would do this to break the power of sin once and for all.
God did not create us… to live in darkness. God did not create us for sin… He did not create us so we would perish. That was NOT God’s plan at all. His love for His creation is GREATER than that.
Humankind CHOSE sin. Humankind CHOSE to step out of God’s light and into the darkness that comes with sin. God warned us of the consequence that comes with sin… but sin was chosen anyway.
God COULD have left us in that darkness, but His love for us is GREATER!
When darkness entered this world through sin, He unveiled a plan that would FOREVER defeat that darkness in this world and in our lives and at the center of this plan is Jesus.
God sent His Son to this world to BREAK THROUGH the darkness! Even though we sinned, God’s love REMAINED!
And this morning, I want us to remember just how AWESOME it is that God broke through our darkness with the light of Christ! Without Jesus, we would still be in darkness… but today IN Christ, we have life in the light!

From Darkness to Light = From Death to Life

Jesus came to break through the darkness… not only in this world, but also in your life. And I want you to see something very important once again from our main text.
John 1:4 NIV
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Jesus came to this world offering new life… new hope. Jesus offered something that could not be found or formed in this world.
Consider this… Darkness can NEVER produce light on its own. Darkness is not really the opposite of light… it is the ABSENCE of light.
We like to visit caves when we have the opportunity, and it seems like one of the commonalities that cave tours share is the “lights out” illustration. And when the lights go out, you cannot see anything.
The darkness in that cave is its natural state. It isn’t until a source of light is present that the darkness is overcome.
The same can be said of our spiritual condition before calling on the name of Jesus.
NOTHING within us has the capability of breaking through the darkness present in our lives. Sin doesn’t bring darkness to just a part of you… it covers all of you. It may start in one area of your life but it will quickly impact your whole being when left unchecked.
That is what sin does… it DESTROYS. And when a person is caught or stuck in sin, it places you in a spiritual darkness that cannot be overcome on your own.
And here is the sad reality… all of us know this darkness. All of us know what it’s like to live in that darkness. Scripture makes clear that ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
Mankind faced a very real spiritual problem - we were stuck living in a darkness we could not overcome on our own. That darkness would lead us to death - to perish.
Darkness is often associated with death. Darkness is not a place anyone wants to be. Darkness is the reality we face without a Savior. Jesus came to CALL us out of darkness and INTO His marvelous or wonderful light!
1 Peter 2:9 NIV
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Here’s the deal, as darkness is the absence of light so is death the absence of life. In both situations - death and darkness - a source had to become present in order for us to break through. That source… IS Jesus.
The life of Christ… IS the light for all! And look at verse 5 again
John 1:5 NIV
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Not only did Jesus break through our darkness… He CONTINUES to break through as the darkness will NEVER overcome the light and life of Jesus!
Maybe your darkness is a result of not having any hope - Jesus wants to break through with His life and light.
Maybe your darkness is a result of not having peace - Jesus wants to break through with His life and light.
Maybe your darkness is a result of actively living in sin - Jesus wants to break through with His life and light.
Maybe your darkness is a result of bondage or unforgiveness - Jesus wants to break through with His life and light.
God sent His Son to break through the darkness of this world… God sent His Son to break through the darkness of YOUR world.
God didn’t have to send His Son. God did not have to promise Jesus in the Garden of Eden. God didn’t have to call out to Adam and Eve after they sinned against Him. God doesn’t have to offer you the chance to break free from darkness. Yet His love is greater… because He created YOU for something greater than sin.
Jesus is the ONLY source of light that can break through any darkness you face. Why? Because Jesus is the only source of life that can overcome sin’s consequence of death. Jesus IS the giver of life!
All throughout the book of John we see this theme at work. In fact, it is used 36 times! Jesus is described as:
The bread of life
The water of life
His words the word of eternal life
The giver of life
The gift of life
He is the life
Jesus’ life was the light for everyone, which means that He revealed God and His plans and showed us the way back to God; His truth, nature, and power. It was all shown through Christ and made available through Christ.
HE IS THE SOURCE OF LIGHT AND LIFE THE WORLD HAD BEEN WAITING FOR. He is the source they needed then, and we need now!
But here’s the deal… Jesus will not force His light upon your life… His light is something that must be received which means… it is also something that can be rejected.

Believe and Receive

John 1:9-14 shines light on this truth for us today
John 1:9–14 NIV
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This passage shows us two different paths:
One, the path of the world.
This path is a path of non-recognition. This path is the path that CHOOSES to not see Jesus as the source of life and light.
Jesus called… and they did not answer. God reached out… but the world rejected.
This path may be chosen for a variety of reasons:
A person might choose to find a different source of light and life. For whatever reason, they do not see Jesus as the source they are looking for.
A person may chose to remain in darkness instead of coming into God’s light.
No matter the reason, it is a choice to reject… not receive the spiritual breakthrough that only comes through Jesus.
Two, the path of belief.
Verse 12 speaks of a different path - the path of those who believe and receive.
To believe is to understand a few important things:
Our fallen spiritual state.
Our need for a Savior.
Jesus IS our Savior.
When a person choose to believe and they place their faith in Jesus, it opens the door to receive the life and light Christ has to offer.
Upon reception, death is completely defeated… any and all darkness has to flee! Those who believe and receive are given the right to become children of God!
So what does it mean… to believe? John 3:16 uses this word saying anyone who BELIEVES in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life. Is believing in Jesus merely acknowledging His existence… or does it go deeper than that?
It is important to recognize that throughout the book of John, the author never uses the noun belief (pistis) but always the verb believe (pisteuo) 98 times. Why would John do this? He did this for the same reason I bring it up today.
Saving faith in God is practical and active. “Believing” in the true Biblical sense is not just a mental exercise; it is an active faith that surrenders the leadership of one’s life to Jesus.
True faith reveals a continued trust in our Savior. It is displayed through things like selfless action, obedience, and serving.
Believing in Jesus means fully surrendering to Him. It means repenting of sins and actively following or pursuing the Lord.
And in His leading, Jesus will guide you further and further away from any darkness or destructive path. Jesus will never lead you to something He came here to save you from!
When I speak of believing and receiving, I am talking about active faith that leads to the reception of new life.
Think about this for a moment… in the Garden of Eden, When God called out to Adam while Adam was hiding because of his sin, Adam had to move from where he was back into the presence of God.
Adam could have stayed in hiding… he could have chosen not to respond… but had he done so, he would have missed out on the new covering God made for him - a sufficient covering.
Maybe you find yourself living in darkness and yes, you believe in God… but you haven’t come out from the place of hiding yet. The light of Christ wants to breakthrough in your life. God wants to move you from a place of death, into a place of new life.

Light Given to Save

The life and light of Christ were not given to this world to condemn the world. Jesus came to save the world from its sins.
We see this in John the Baptists description of Jesus in John 1:29
John 1:29 NIV
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
We hear this from the mouth of Jesus Himself in John 3:17
John 3:17 NIV
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Remember the cave illustration I spoke of a moment ago?
When the lights go out and you are deep in the cavern… there is NO WAY to safely navigate out of that deep hole on your own. When the lights go out… nobody moves and for good reason.
It isn’t until the lights come back on that the tour can continue… that we move forward with the journey. The terrain is still difficult… but we now have light showing us the way.
Maybe you feel lost and stuck in a dark season. Maybe you don’t know which way to go, the lights are out, the path unclear, and the terrain is more than difficult.
Jesus is the source of light and life you are looking for. He is God’s answer given to this world. God’s love for us is far greater than we will ever understand. His love truly came to our rescue. And His love is here… available for you to receive right now.
God… wants to breakthrough the darkness… with the light of His Son. Will you believe and receive from Him?
There is no other source… there is no other light.
The darkness exists because of an absence of God’s light. His light continues to shine… but we must choose to receive it.
Receiving means believing. Believing means giving ALL to Jesus. It means recognizing Jesus as our source of light, life, forgiveness, and salvation.
I have two calls for prayer today.
One, if you have yet to give your life to Jesus… I want to give you that opportunity today.
PRAYER - Salvation .
Two, if you are in a season or a situation in which you need God’s light to break through, I want to pray for you. God is going to deliver you from that darkness today.
BELIEVING IN AND RECEIVING JESUS IS THE KEY. No darkness can or will ever overcome the light of Christ!
If you are ready for breakthrough, take action by moving to the altar and receiving new life from Him.
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