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Christmas 2008 – Lighting Up Your Life (nv 12/7/08am)

The Light of God’s Glory – Let Him Shine on You

OS: 1 Grandpa and Grandson, “Even if it don’t have lights either?”

I.      A Christmas tree just isn’t a Christmas tree without lights.

A.   You know it’s Christmas time when you see lights going up on everything from bushes to houses to barns, and even some pets.

B.    Our first Christmas Tree – (December 14, 1985 – 23 years next Sunday)

                 1.     An exact replica of a very famous Christmas tree seen yearly on TV – The one from Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

                 2.     Did you notice what a difference it made when the poor little tree was decorated?

C.   Prove this point – I will decorate this week and you will be amazed at what a difference light will make on this somewhat of a tree.

II.   Shedding some light on the subject makes all the difference in the world.

A.   2 Begin a series: Lighting Up Your Life

                 1.     2 Corinthians 9:15, Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! – One aspect – Light

                 2.     Lesson #1 – The Light of God’s Glory – Let Him Shine on You.

B.    Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

III.            4 God’s light deserves gratitude beyond measure.

A.   Opposite of  Darkness, hopelessness, helplessness, despair, loneliness, fear, guilt, and on and on.

B.    In this series I want us all the be challenged to allow the light of God to shine on us more than ever, and be transformed by it, and thus light up the world around us.

TS] When Jesus came the light of God’s glory shined its brightest

I.      5 The Light of God’s glory is revealed throughout scripture.

A.   The light of God’s glory shined at creation – Genesis 1,

B.    God’s glory is seen Israel’s journey to the land of promise.

C.   Prophets spoke of a day - His glory would be seen as never

                 1.     Isaiah 9:82, 6 6

                 2.     Isaiah 60:1,“Arise, Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

TS] Before Jesus arrived – It was a dark time – silence from God for over 400 years.

II.   7 The light of God’s glory was never so bright as it was with the coming of Jesus

A.    “the true light that gives light to every man…” (Jn. 1:9)

                 1.     Luke 2 – Shepherds (vs. 9 – the glory of the Lord shown around them)

                 2.     Matthew 2 – Magi (vs. 2 – “where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship Him”)

                 3.     Matthew 4:16 (quoting from Isaiah) “the people living in darkness have seen a great light.”

B.    Jesus spoke of being the light

                 1.     8 John 8:12, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

                 2.     John 12:46, I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

                 3.     Matthew 17, Jesus is transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

C.   Why? Hebrews 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory”

TS] Jesus came as the answer to the darkness.

III.            9 The Light of God’s glory is intended to bring mankind from darkness to light.

A.   Do you like the dark? – this time of year the days are short.

                 1.     In Barrow Alaska, the sun sets in the afternoon on November 18, - doesn’t rise again until January 24. 65 days of darkness. 65 days when the sun doesn’t shine.

                 2.     When the sun rises for a moment on January 24, the whole town comes out to celebrate

                 3.     “Arise, Shine, for your light has come!” – different kind of light and darkness.

                 4.     When this special light that God speaks about begins to shine through that ugly darkness, the results are much more spectacular and joyful than anything you could experience in northern Alaska.

B.    Epiphany is when something reveals itself, or shows itself.

                 1.     You can sum up the religious tradition of Epiphany with one phrase: FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT.

C.   The world we live in is a spiritually dark world.

                 1.     The terrorist attacks in India left a cloud of darkness as one restaurant owner in Mumbai commented, “Suddenly no one feels safe or secure”.

                 2.     Look around you, watch people, listen to them talk, see what they do, and it will become very very clear to you that our world is a very dark place spiritually.

D.   The most frightening place to look is within ourselves.

                 1.     Our culture says, “look within yourself, reach deep within yourself and discover how good you are.”

                 2.     Over and over people look within themselves for strength during tough times and it just isn’t there.

                 3.     The more closely we look within the more we discover our selfish tendencies, and materialism.

E.     10 Matthew 4:16, people living in darkness have seen a great light.

                 1.     The birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is described in the Bible as the rising of the sun on a very dark place.

                 2.     The same things happens to the darkness of our sin and guilt when Jesus rises in our life?

                 3.     Jesus shines his forgiveness and grace into our life, and the darkness in our soul disappears. 

                 4.     This is Epiphany – when someone trapped in the darkness of sin sees and believes in the glory of Jesus Christ. When someone finally stops trusting in himself for salvation, and starts trusting in Christ.

IV.             11 The Light of God’s glory is for me.

A.   No matter who you are, you too, can go from darkness to light.  No matter how dark the world becomes, the light of Jesus Christ will never stop shining for you.

B.    He wants us to wake from spiritual slumber and apathy and see the light that he brings!

                  1.     Imagine for a few moments that you have been trapped inside a cave for many, many weeks. There was absolutely no light within the cave. As time has passed your fear of the dark passed, your eyes have grown accustomed to it, and you’re very comfortable all alone in the dark. Now imagine that a rescue team finds you and offers to lead you out of the cave to the light of day. Once you reach the mouth of the cave you notice that the sunlight is quite bright, in fact it causes your eyes some burning discomfort because they haven’t seen sunlight in so long. Now imagine that you refuse to leave the cave because of that discomfort. Instead you choose spend your life in darkness and solitude rather than feel the warmth of the sun’s rays and see the beauty of the creation around you and see those you love all because that sunlight caused your eyes a little pain at first. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Yet don’t we sometimes treat the light of God’s Word in that exact same way!

                 2.     It may be uncomfortable at times, challenging, etc.

C.   12 May this Epiphany season be for you a time when you see ever more clearly the glory of your Savior, Jesus Christ.

Light – God’s light will make all the difference in the world for your life.

“Arise, Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”

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