And yes we are beginning the new message series; actually Dad launched it last week. I hope you had a chance to hear his message on Jesus: My One Essential Friend. One essential friend. He’s the one friend you cannot live without. That’s what essential means and that’s what dad talked about last week because we are in the message series of the I Am’s of Jesus. Who did Jesus say He was? And He said I Am. I Am. I Am. All the I Am’s of Jesus. And today I’m talking specifically about I Am the light of the world. That’s what Jesus said. Let me read it, John 8 verse 12, “I am the light of the world, said Jesus. Whoever follows after Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” I Am. All these I Am’s. They begin with three letters: I – A – M. I Am.
Where else do we see that I Am in the bible? First time you see its back in Exodus. When you go out and you look at that statue of Moses out there with the bush, the burning bush that doesn’t burn. Remember? Got Moses’ attention. Moses went over to see what was happening. And what happened was God spoke to him from that bush. And Moses said, “To whom am I speaking?” And God said, “I Am who I Am.” God Himself, I Am the Godhead, I Am who I Am. All right. that was translated Yahweh meaning God, the Godhead and now Jesus is using that very same term. He is saying I Am. I Am. Why is that so important? Because Jesus was just walking around, He was having His ministry and people were like looking at Him like they would you or I as just another human being, as a marvelous teacher, a wonderful prophet and a healer.
But Jesus was more than that. And that’s why these I Am’s are so critical because in them Jesus is saying I Am, I Am who I Am. I Am God incarnate. I Am the Messiah. I Am the Jesus Christ. I Am God’s Son incarnate here, walking, talking, breathing, healing, listening, touching because God cares so much about you that His Son came to earth as I Am. And that’s who is making the claim here.
There are four parts to this verse. There’s the identity of the person making the claim, which is Jesus. And He starts right out, makes no bones about it, and He says I Am. I Am the Light of the world, Jesus said. Whoever follows after Me will not walk in darkness. Darkness is the second part of this message. Darkness is the problem.
Yes, darkness is a problem. I’ve been having to borrow my son’s cars because my one son is home from school, he’s in grad school on the east coast. He doesn’t have a car, he doesn’t need one on the east coast so he’s been borrowing my car all summer. And so we’ve had to play car rotation. And the other night I was driving one of my other son’s cars, kind of old, doesn’t have the automatic headlights. In fact I was coming home from the store and it was twilight and it was quickly getting dark and all of a sudden I realized I was driving in the dark and I couldn’t see where I was going. And I didn’t know where the headlight was because I was unfamiliar with the car. And I was trying to make sure I didn’t take my eyes of the road too far and I’m glancing down for the headlights; where I am?
Fortunately, I was on a very little private quiet residential street but as I was driving, I was thinking I can’t see where I’m going. And then it dawned on me if that’s not perilous enough, I can’t be seen! As I’m coming to intersections, as I’m driving along, children won’t see me if they’re riding their bikes on the sidewalk, I can’t be seen. And that’s just as dangerous as not being able to see myself. And I was hoping my husband wouldn’t see me, you know, driving so recklessly. And I tried to pull around the corner quietly but of course he was sitting on the porch and as I pulled the car in, he goes, well Sheila, driving in the dark are we? And caught, you know, Jim always catches me. But driving in the dark is scary. It’s perilous. You know I don’t recommend it.
But for some of us, that’s what’s happening. This is a metaphor for your life right now. You feel like you’re driving in the dark. You can’t see where you’re going and you can’t be seen. You see no way out. You see no hope. Your completely blind. You feel like you don’t know where to go and what to do. There’s no solution. Maybe you feel like it’s broken beyond repair. You don’t see any hope of getting this marriage back on track, no way out for you. You are in darkness. Your marriage is in darkness, deep, deep darkness. Maybe you’re in financial darkness because you have a pile of bills and not enough income, if any, coming in to pay them. And your life is dark, it’s bleak. You might be depressed emotionally, so depressed that you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. When you hear the alarm, when you see the sunrise come up, you pull the covers over you because your world is dark. Your world is depressed. You don’t see any hope. You’re lost. Being in darkness is being lost. You don’t know where to go. You’re groping. You’re groping. No solution. Blind.
Darkness is a big problem. How did we end up with darkness? Well it’s in the bible. And way back in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, God created this beautiful garden where Adam and Eve had the run of the garden, this beautiful Garden of Eden. And God had all these beautiful trees with fruit, all the fruits and vegetables they could want. But there was one tree and God said this is the tree of knowledge. Of this tree don’t eat, God said. Stay away. Well of course Eve, now I’m not going to blame Eve completely because Adam followed her, you know? But Eve she was tempted. She’s going what do you mean I can’t eat from that tree? What do you mean I can’t have knowledge? Don’t you want me to have knowledge, God? Don’t you want me to know more? Don’t you want me to be all that I can be? Don’t you want me to be enlightened?
And so Eve succumbed to the temptation and she ate of the tree of knowledge. When she took that bite, she plunged this world into darkness and we all have done it. We’ve all taken a bite of that forbidden fruit; of wanting to be equal with God. It’s not that God wants us to be ignorant. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to use our beautiful brains that He has created, but He wants us to know that He is God and not us. And when we try to equate ourselves with God, we plunge ourselves into darkness because we ignore Him and we no longer are following Him, the true light. Rather then being in-lightened by Him, we try to be enlightened with our own minds, with our own thoughts, with our own reasons. And again, we have to go to the source, we have to go to God and it’s when we say, this is where the darkness comes. I want to make sure you understand this. This distinction. In-lightened versus enlightened. In-lightened is God is my source of light. God is my source of truth. God is my source of knowledge. God knows best. Versus en-lightened means I don’t need God, I am smart enough to do it on my own. Okay? Do you all see the difference? But I can tell you that there are people, some of you out there, you’ve thought I don’t need God, I’m smart enough, I can do this on my own. But I want to ask you how’s it working for you? Because I hear from some of you and some of you are saying, Sheila, my life, I messed up badly. And that’s the problem when we try to run our own lives and that’s why God loves us so much. He doesn’t want us to walk in darkness. He didn’t want us to be plunged into darkness. That’s why He said stay away from the tree because it’s not going to help you. It’s going to hurt you. God wants to be the light of our life.
So Jesus, the I Am, says darkness is the problem. God saw that darkness was our problem. But He just doesn’t leave us alone to wander, groping around in our problem and our darkness. He says no I love you, I care for you, and I’m going to give you the light that you need.
And so the third part of this verse is light. Jesus is the light. Light is the solution. Light is the solution. In fact I brought something today to show you. I have this at home and I don’t bring it out too much. It’s a little old suitcase. Can you all see it? Do you have any ideas what I’ve got tucked away hidden here in my suitcase? It’s a suitcase full of darkness. There’s no light in here, just darkness. And I want you to wonder and think to yourself what’s going to happen? Because I’m going to open this suitcase full of darkness in a minute and I want you to think what’s going to happen when I open up this suitcase full of darkness. Here we go. Can you see? What do you see? Do you see light in this suitcase? When I opened it up, do you see any darkness in there, dad?
There’s no darkness in there. The point is I know it’s very simple and maybe elementary, but the point is that light always overtakes the darkness. Always overtakes the darkness. The light is always stronger than the darkness. So if your life is dark, open your heart to Jesus and let the light in. If you know people whose life is full of darkness, just tell them to open up their life to Jesus and let the light in. Because listen carefully: simple but profound, darkness is only the absence of light. Darkness is only the absence of light. The minute you let light in, the darkness is completely dispelled. So take that truth with you and know that no matter how dark your life is, no matter how dark it may seem, that’s because you just need to say, Lord Jesus, let that light come in to me. I want to be in-lightened by Your light today.
Light - without it we’re blind. Light is the solution. Light - without it, we have no sight. Just think about our eyes that God made. They have pupils. When those pupils let the light in, which hits the retina, which hits the optic nerve, which goes to the brain and the brain says oh there’s a picture. Very much like a camera. You can’t take pictures. You can’t see. There’s no sight without light. Light is what gives us the ability to see.
And you know there are luminous objects as opposed to illuminated objects. This is also really important. It’s an important distinction because a luminous object is something that is lit all by itself. Has it’s own light source. Where as a illuminated object is dependent on an external light source. Really easy example of that is the sun. Look at the sun out there; glowing, beautiful, bright. It’s a luminous object. The sun has its own source of light.
The moon on the other hand; no, why are we able to see the moon? We’re able to see the moon because the sun shines on the moon and the moon reflects the light of the sun. And that’s how it is with us. I’m not a luminous object. You’re not a luminous object. You’re not the sunshine. Jesus is the sunshine. We’re like the moon. We reflect Jesus. We reflect His light to the darkness around us. And that’s the difference, but it’s exciting because we don’t have to be the source of sunlight. We don’t have to be the source of positive energy. That’s what Jesus is. He does that for us. Jesus brings true knowledge. Jesus illuminates. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light that whoever believes in Me will not remain in darkness but will have life.” Life; that’s the promise. The promise is life.
You know as we look at the lights, the possible lights, the possible voices that we can listen to and we can follow in our life, be careful whom you listen to. I just need to tell you that. As we try to be intellectual and be enlightened, that’s okay but I’ve even heard people say, Sheila, there is no absolute truth. And I believe there is an absolute truth. I believe that God’s word is absolutely true. I believe that Jesus Christ is absolutely truly the Son of God. But you will hear different voices. And it’s important to choose whom you will listen to because otherwise you run the risk of losing your life. It’s that serious. Dad just said, yes.
And there’s a story that my dad told which I want to tell because I know we have people here today who’ve never heard it and it’s a very, very important story and it fits this message so perfectly. I think the message would be incomplete without it. There was a captain of a ship. He looked out into the dark night and he saw faint lights in the distance. And he thought, wow, we’re on a collision course with another boat, another ship. And so he sent word to the radioman and he said, ‘let them know, alter your course ten degrees south.’ So the radioman did but the return message was, ‘no, you alter your course ten degrees north.’
Well the captain was angered. His command had been ignored so he sent a second message. ‘Alter your course ten degrees south. I am, I am,’ he said, ‘I am the captain.’ And the message came back, ‘Well no you alter your course ten degrees north because I am seaman third class Jones.’ Immediately the captain sent a third message, ‘Alter your ship immediately because I am, I am, I am a battleship.’ And the message came back, ‘well if you know what’s good for you, you’ll alter your course ten degrees north because I am, I am, I am a light house.’ I am a lighthouse.
I am a lighthouse Jesus said. You can take this verse and just put it into one sentence. I am a lighthouse, says Jesus. I am a lighthouse. I am the one that’s not going to move. I am the true North Star. I am an absolute truth and that is true enlightenment if you ask me.
And so the promise then is life. You know we talked about this tree of knowledge, right, and how when we ate from that tree of knowledge, we were plunged into darkness. Now if you were God and you created this beautiful garden and this wonderful man and women and you put them in the garden and you said you can eat of everything but this one tree and they ignored you and they ate it anyway. They rebelled against you. Kind of thumbed their nose at you and plunged themselves into darkness, and as a result, faced death. What would you do if you were God? Wouldn’t you kind of say well you know what, sorry, that’s what you get. That’s what you deserve.
God didn’t do that. Here’s the tree of knowledge that plunged us into darkness. Not the tree itself, but eating of the tree plunged us into darkness. And what did God do? He came and gave us the tree of life. Jesus said, I am the tree of life. I am the lighthouse and I am the tree of life. I will give my life on the cross, on the tree of life. That’s what the cross is, the tree of life so that you don’t have to remain in darkness, you don’t have to face death, you can have life and light abundant here, today, and forever here after. That’s what God did. He went ahead and balanced what we did with the tree of knowledge with the tree of life and that’s an amazing, amazing promise that Jesus gave for us. Jesus said it multiple times in John. He said, “I Am, I Am, I Am the light of the world and if you follow after Me you will have light and you will have life.”
And one of the times He said that was to a man, a blind man. This blind man was brought to Jesus and they said hey, this guy can’t see. Whose fault is it? Whose fault is it that he can’t see? Is it his fault or is it his mom and dad’s fault? Who sinned? Who messed up so that God’s punishing them with this guy’s blindness?
And Jesus said oh no, no, no this isn’t his fault, this isn’t his parent’s fault, that’s not what this is about. That’s what Jesus said. He said I don’t come and punish people. That’s not why they have trials or tribulations. It’s not punishment. This isn’t cause and affect. Jesus said he’s blind so that My glory will be revealed. Jesus said it doesn’t matter that he’s blind because I am the light of the world. And then Jesus spat into the mud and He placed it on the man’s eyes that could not see and He said ‘go wash in the pool of Siloam,’ and the man did. He went to the pool and he splashed the water in his eyes. Splashed the mud away, opened his eyes and he said, ‘I can see. I can see. I can see.’
Why could he see? Because Jesus, the light of the world, gives him the ability to see. He opened his eyes. He can open your eyes. He can remove the darkness from your life. And if you feel like your life has been plunged into darkness, today, Jesus the light of the world says to you, let Me open your eyes. I want you to also be able to say I can see.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we are so grateful. Even though we thought we could do it on our own and we didn’t need You and we were plunged into darkness, You came; You came as light of the world to give us life, You came to hang on the cross and give us on the tree of life so that we can see, we can see we can see. Thank You, Jesus, amen.