Sermon at 1st Presbyterian Church Lockhart

" Light, and Witness to The Light"
Jeremiah 31:7-24, Psalm 147, John 1:10-18
January 3, 2010

by James Greene

 

†††††††††† In this Season of Christmas, we have seen God intervening into history.It is God who intimately cares about his people.Jesus was sent to save and to redeem, not only all of mankind, but also the creation that He brought into being.He is

The Light that has come into the darkness of this world.He is the Living Word that is the focus of the Old Testament, and we like John the Baptist are all witnesses to his coming, and to his light.We are called to share that Light, just as we symbolically share Godís Light in our Christmas Eve service.We witness, and give that light, to loved ones, family, relatives, and friends.

†††††††††† I remember one Christmas, when our daughters were young, grandma gave them flashlights for Christmas.These were for the family camping trip to the Frio River during the summer, and to use around the house.I remember being awakened out of a sound sleep at 5AM by our oldest when she asked the question ďAre you awake Dad?Ē as she turned on both lights in front of my eyes.Not only, is it is a quick way to get up in the morning, but it is a sharing of the light we have been given.

 

ILight -

This can be seen in the Light of our readings in the Old Testament. God is active and intimately involvement with His people Israel.In the reading from Jeremiah, - God gathers his people from the ends of the earth.It is the image of God as the Shepherd of Israel.†† He is gathering the blind, the lame, and the women.He is gathering the weak and the marginal of the society.He is the Kinsman redeemer who ransoms them and leads them and restores them.They return to their inheritance weeping, praying and praising the God of their deliverance.It is a picture of Godís redeeming Grace.

It is, God in action, demonstrating His Will;he will gather, watch , ransom, redeem.He will change the peopleís mourning into gladness, and sorrow into praises, and He will comfort them.It shows us the intimate heart of God, and His caring and providing for his people.†† We see the same action in Psalm 147.The people praise God because he is a God of action who sends, spreads, hurls, and stirs. He reveals His Word to Israel.He does this for no other nation!Israel, as a people, is unique in all history.

 

IIHow are we to see this?

The Hope of Israel comes from the Promise and the Covenants made by God with his people.The Old Testament reveals how God works and acts in history.In the poetry of Psalms, we see that emotion, and heart-felt intensity of Godís caring for his people.It is a window into the Light and Hope that God has promised us as His People.

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Light is what Hope is all about!Light and Hope is what Jesus is all about. It is thisGood News, that is our greatest hope and realization: that The Light of the world that has come into the world.He has come to us, and He calls us by name.

 

IIIThe Text John 1:10-18

We see in Gospel of John the witness of John the Baptist to Jesus.It is the fulfillment of Godís promises in the Old Testament.It is the coming of Jesus, The Light, into history.We see John the Baptist speaking metaphorically of how he is a witness to the coming of the Messiah, and how Jesus is the Messiah and that Light.

†††††††††† One of the most important verses in the Bible is V-14 ďThe Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.ĒIt is Godís intimate caring gift for all people that they may be redeemed with the creation.It is God, the same God of the Old Testament acting in his Grace and Truth in history to redeem those who believe in His Word.We see this further explained in 1 John 4:9 ďThis is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through himJesus became Life and Light to us and among us.

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IVSo, what is o\the Light all about?Ē

†††††††††† The Baptist brought The Word from God to the people.He was a witness to that Light, and TheWord.Just as we, in receivingand believing in Jesus gives us the right to be Children of God.It is in this fullness of Grace, and Truth that we are grafted into Godís family.We do not inherit The Kingdom through the flesh of a father, or the adoption, into the nation of Israel.We are birthed into Godís family through his Word and His Grace.It is the gift, like that of the Magi.It cannot be earned; it cannot be paid for by us, it is by this birthing through The Spirit, of believing in The Christ, that we are the Sons and Daughters of God.††††††††

 

This is why we are called to point to the Light (The Christ) that shines through us, to be Christ to those around us.It is accomplished in our hearing and because we are apart of the Good News, and we are Godís Children.God accomplishes his Will though us in the living out of our lives in the image of our Father.It is to be our nature to inspire (like John) and to point the world to that Light.We are to be witnesses to the light of Christ.We are to be committed living examples of what it is to be in, and to do God's Will.We are to live aware of our salvation, and resurrection after this life, because we are Godís Children of his Promise to all those who believe in His Son and on His name.

 

Finally, We also see how God, as the redeemer, calls, rescues and restores the not only the nation of Israel, but also all people to redemption who turn to God and believe in His Son.This is done that all nations may be saved, and creation may be restored.We know that Christ is the redeemer who gives us ďa crown of beauty instead of ashes, and the oil of gladness instead of mourningĒ.This is our understanding that God is faithful and just.†† He is our reason to sing praises with the Psalmist in hope.

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We are children of the Light, and that light is Christ.He is the light and the hope that dwells within us.Our greatest hope is realized that the Light of the world, has come into the world.He came to us and calls us by name.We, like John, need to bear witness to the Light in anticipation of the coming of The One who is bringing the redemption of the world.

It is The God who keeps His Promise throughout all time.†† A-Men

 

 

 

 

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