Faithlife Sermons

Light is Dawning

Advent 2020  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:17
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As the 2nd Coming approaches, we should shine as light in a dark world.

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While a few of us still have telephones attached to a cord in the wall, many have adopted cellphones as a way to stay in touch. Most of those who have chosen to carry a cellphone have also made a decision between a smartphone and what the industry calls a “feature” phone. Gone are the days when better reception or battery life were selling points. Today camera options set apart the models. Each camera has an abundance of settings that allow a user to adjust and filter the pic so that what others see may or may not represent the original reality. Remove the red eye, blur the edges and soften the contrast can make any photo a glamour shot.
We live in a filtered world that rarely resembles reality.
Talking points and bias are intentionally manipulated to stay on brand and alter your perception of the world that you think you see. Race, climate, economics, persecution, hate, and phobias are just a few of the filters that some choose to view our world.
Our world can be viewed through a lot of filters. This Advent I want to encourage us to view events around us through a prophecy filter. Not a political filter, not an activists filter, but How does God want you to view and react to the world in which we live.
Join me in Romans 13:11-14
Romans 13:11–14 ESV:2016
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Transition: I want to focus on the difference between darkness and light in v.12 as the unifying principle in today sermon.

Radiating Light Rests Upon a Sober Evaluation (v.11-12a)

· We must start by looking at the world as it truly exists.

The Near Event in God’s Plan - Rapture

1. Near can be a description of time (it is nearly time to leave), a description of location (social distancing is to prevent people from getting near enough to spread the virus), or value (my grandsons are near and dear to me).
2. Salvation is nearer than when we believed.
a. “I thought I already had it.”
b. Paul is talking about one aspect of salvation.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV:2016
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
c. Paul is talking about the promised reality--rapture
Romans 8:22–23 ESV:2016
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
. - salvation of our bodies, God has already saved the inner person.

Accepting Reality (v.12a)

1. The day is at hand.
2. Jesus, the Light, is coming again. This gives us hope in a hopeless world.
3. The first coming brought hopeful light to a people who were dominated by Roman politicians and surrounded by sinful Greek culture.
Transition: As I look at the congregation this morning, I am not seeing anybody in their bedclothes. Those who are viewing online may be thankful that the camera only works in one direction.

Radiating Light Requires a Sweeping Exchange (v.12b)

1. It is inappropriate to live a certain way if you are saved.
1 John 2:6 ESV:2016
6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
2. Notice that the wardrobe of light is described as armor. Armor is not for lounging or fishing, it is preparation for conflict.
3. We are to be people of character so that our actions reflect the power of Jesus who resides in us.
Transition: There is a connection between character and behavior. When our relationship with God changes, then our relationship to other people changes also.

Radiating Light Relies Upon a Spirit-filled Enablement (vv.13-14)

Proper/Decent Behavior (v.13)

· 3 pairs of words
1. Lack of personal discipline – orgies & drunkenness
A. This is talking about those who use their leisure wrongly, whatever weakens their moral fiber.
a. We are bombarded by the media so that we automati­cally think sensually.
b. Less than a week ago I learned of a person looking at chili recipes on the computer, when he suddenly found himself in a pornographic site.
c. I recall sitting in Theology class as a student in Bible College when a quick look out the window revealed a Billboard advertising a woman dressed only in her underwear.
B. You must accept responsibility for your personal choices.
· What music do you play?
· What media do you consume?
· What do you read?
· Would you be embarrassed to show me your browsing history on your phone/tablet?
2. Lack of personal morality – immorality & sensuality (NIV=debauchery)
A. This pair causes us to evaluate our thoughts and values.
B. We cannot rely on society to shape our morals.
I enjoy watching old black & white comedies. Shows like I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show tell of a time when the morals of our society where very different from today. I recall reading that there was a great scandal when the writers of the I Love Lucy show wanted to include a scene in Lucy and Ricky’s bedroom. The only way the network would allow it was if they were shown in separate beds. How far have we come from that?
C. We live in an environment where behaviors that used to be defined in the secular Psychological journals as a mental illness, now are paraded in the streets and defended in the courts.
D. You must live by a personal morality, because the world will accept anything these days.
3. Lack of personal relationships. – quarreling and jealousy
A. Faith must be personal, but it must also be corporate.
B. Your pastor doesn’t have all the spiritual gifts, you don’t have all the spiritual gifts, we need each other!
C. I admire and work hard to defend the spirit of cooperation we have here at FHCC. I realize the spirit that we now share has not always been the way our church was described.
The extent to which we can continue to value the WE over the ME, we will be beacons of light to Chase County and beyond. Otherwise we are in jeopardy

Renewed Thinking (v.14)

1. Guard your heart/mind
Clothing oneself is an act of preparation. My wardrobe reflects what I plan to encounter that day. A check of the weather determines short-sleeves or long. If I’m about to change the oil or work in the yard I choose what I put on.
a. When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are admitting that we are His representatives and that we are choosing to move in a particular direction.
b. Many songs today encourage the pop-psychology idea that a person will be happiest if he/she follows his/her heart.
c. Proverbs 4 says different:
Proverbs 4:23–27 ESV:2016
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. 27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
2. Make no provision (NIV = do not think about)
a. As I began studying for this sermon, to help clarify my thinking about light I started by thinking about the opposite of light. I looked up sleep, night and darkness in some Bible Dictionaries. And found that they are often allegories for evil. So then I looked up the definitions of evil and found that it is generally just “the opposite of a desired outcome”.
b. By putting on the armor of light and putting on Jesus Christ we are making a declaration of the life that we intend.

Conclusion:

4-6 hours ago each of us made some decisions. You decided to wake up, to dress up and to show up.
As you reflect on what it means for Christ to come into this world of darkness and to shine as the light of the world, we have opportunity this Advent season to choose to allow His radiance to shine through us.
Today’s text is part of a section of the book that started back in the previous chapter. At the beginning of 12:1 Paul’s audience is described as brothers. V.11 of today’s lesson describes those who first believed.
This is not a paragraph that instructs us how to become Christians, but how to live as Christians.
The key to becoming a Christian is the last word of verse 11—believe. It is only when we believe that we are sinners separated from God, believe that Jesus offered himself on a cross and in a tomb as payment for our sin, and believe that His death atones for our sin and appeases the righteous requirements of the Father that we can rightfully call ourselves Christians. With these beliefs in place we call upon the name of the Lord and are saved.
For those who have called upon Christ, he has instructed that we share bread and wine as a way of remembering His sacrifice for our salvation and proclaiming His death until He comes again.
By consuming in the bread and wine in prayerful reflection and repentance, we testify to ourselves and to one another that we rest in His promise to come again and receive us unto Himself.

Communion

It is common in this time of year to pass candlelight from person to person and to fill a room with the glow.
For our final song I want us to think about not just passing a candle’s flame, but each of us shining the radiance of Christ. I’ve made some slight adjustments to the lyrics of this song as we surrender to the Lord’s prompting.
Song of Response #307.. “Send the Light
Benediction: Romans 12:21 (ESV) — Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
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