Pastor Bart continued his series on “Truth” Sunday. He looked at John 8:12, where Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (NLT) He taught us that the Light exposes our sin and at the same time it exposes God’s love for us. John 1 says that Jesus is the Light, the Light that brings life because “God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ” (v 17, NLT). Our response is simple and difficult at the same time.
The Light exposes our sins. We have a choice, to acknowledge our sins or to hide in the darkness. By acknowledging our sins, we are one step closer to living in the Light. This of course is extremely difficult for us. No one likes to admit that they are sinful. No one like to admit they have any weaknesses or badness at all. But this is the only way we can receive forgiveness, by acknowledging that we need it.
The Light exposes God’s love for us for He clearly can see our sin even clearer than we can. He is willing to forgive us of those sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness if we only believe. God’s love for us is so great it really blows me away.
This is simple. We have rejected God. God cannot stand sin and must banish it from His sight. He could do just that but He Loves Us. As such, he sent His only Son to take our place, that the punishment for our sins would be placed upon Him and not us, if we only believe that we are sinful, need forgiveness, and that Jesus died for those sins. The Light exposes God’s love for us because it shows how sinful we are, how much forgiveness we really needed, and how incapable we are of every making up for those sins yet God still accepts us! Wow!
Ok, but that is only the first step. Pastor Bart exhorted us to not only step into the light but also walk in the light. He said to walk in the light is to live the life of love. He said the key to walking in the light is about loving God and loving others and NOT obeying a list of do’s and don’ts. I certainly don’t believe he was advocating disobedience, rather, that legalism (following a bunch of do’s and don’ts to be saved) is not walking in the light.
Now, I think this is where a lot of people mess up and why Pastor emphasized love over law. The Light exposes our sins. It is our nature to want to save ourselves and so we make a bunch of doctrine, laws, canon, to say what is good and what is bad – as initially exposed by the Light. This is kind of funny to me, for we apparently think this is the easy way instead of accepting God’s love and forgiveness and then living that life of love.
Well, maybe it is easier to follow a list of rules. To love God and to love others means we are placing them as more important than ourselves. By following a list of rules, we make our own obedience as important and we can make/follow whatever list we want. To love God and to love others expands the boundaries of our lives to areas that we are uncomfortable with – our sinful natures don’t want to go there.
This is our challenge, to live the life of love. To love God with all our heart. soul, and mind. To love our neighbors in the same way we love ourselves (put ourselves number one). We must acknowledge our sin, ask God for forgiveness, and maybe the hardest part, accept that forgiveness. As we accept God’s love for us, we can then show that love to others and accept them, just as God accepts them.
[edit on Tuesday] I was doing some study today in John and ran into John 3:18-21. It kind of bowled me over. I don’t remember Pastor reading or refering to this passage but I am guessing he had certainly read it and was influenced by this passage if he didn’t mention it in his sermon. I am going to have to go back and listen to the sermon again. But anyway, this passage certainly connects the Light with love. People love darkness more than the light because they know their sins will be exposed in the Light. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (NIV) Walking in the light not only exposes our sins but our love for God and what He does through us – it proclaims God’s forgiveness, His Love, His faithfulness to us.
I encourage you to listen to Pastor’s sermon to hear more of his challenge to us. Go to www.flatlandchurch.com or download it from iTunes.
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