Sermon #59 John’s Gospel
Title: “I AM
The Light of the World.”
Text: John 8:12-20
Subject: Christ the Light of the World
Date: Sunday Evening — August 2, 2009
Tape: John #59
Reading: Ron Wood and Rex Bartley
Isaiah 49:1-26 or Genesis 1:1-2:3
There is a very close affinity between light and life. Where there is no light there is no life. Light is vital to life. We see this in the very beginning of the Book of God, in the very beginning of creation (Genesis 1:1-2:3).
(Genesis 1:1-3) “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
As it was in the creation of the world, so in the new creation of grace, when the Lord God moves upon the sin-darkened heart of His chosen, when He sends His Spirit to correct the chaos of the fall in His redeemed, He causes the Light to shine in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God; and that Light is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Old Testament, our Lord Jesus was spoken of in type and in prophecy as the Light of Life. The Jews understood clearly that the Messiah would be the Light by which God would reveal Himself to men.
Š The Pillar of Fire
Š The Sun of Righteousness
Š The Golden Lamp Stand
(Isaiah 42:1-6) “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (2) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (4) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (5) Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.”
(Isaiah 49:6) “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
(Isaiah 60:1-3) “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (2) For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (3) And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
So, when the Lord Jesus announced in the Temple Treasury, in John 8:12, “I AM the Light of the world,” those who heard Him understood, or should have understood, that He announced Himself as the Messiah, the Christ of God. Turn with me to John 8:12-20.
Our Lord had been interrupted by the Pharisees who brought the adulterous woman before Him. Once He had bestowed on that poor sinner the mercy and grace of free forgiveness, He walked over to the Treasury (the very prominent place where the priests put the Temple offering boxes), and continued preaching.
(John 8:12-20) “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (13) The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. (14) Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. (15) Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. (16) And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. (17) It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (19) Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. (20) These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.”
First, our Lord Jesus here reminds us that this world is a place of darkness, utter darkness. It is impossible to overstate the spiritual darkness of the world in which we live. I do not suggest for a moment that people are not enlightened academically, philosophically and politically. Multitudes are. But still “darkness covers the face of the earth, and gross darkness the people.”
(Job 5:14) “They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.”
(Job 12:25) “They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.”
(Isaiah 9:2) “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”
What darkness, what thick, thick darkness engulfs this world!
What darkness people all around us live in day by day!
What is the cause of the darkness? Why is it an constantly thickening blackness and darkness? — Fallen men and women are devoted to their own hearts’ lust!
(Ephesians 4:17-19) “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (18) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (19) Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
Though learned in arts and sciences, the vast majority of men and women in this world know absolutely nothing about…
I want to be as personal as I possibly can. I’m talking to you. If you are without Christ, you live in darkness.
Christ the Light
Second, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Light, the only light that can dispel the darkness that engulfs your soul. Here, the Lord Jesus says of Himself, — “I AM the Light of the world.”
John’s Gospel was specifically intended to demonstrate the eternal deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. John was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to demonstrate the fact that our blessed Savior is Himself God. This is evident form the very first sentences of this Gospel narrative.
(John 1:1-5) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (4) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
John tells us of seven distinct statements made by our Savior in which He used the words “I AM” to display His Godhead, to declare Himself the self-existent God who revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. Every time we read where our Savior said, “I AM” we should understand that He is declaring, “I AM Jehovah-Jesus, God your Savior!”
More than 50 times John quotes the Lord Jesus saying to men, “I am He!” In verse 12 of our text, He calls Himself “The Light of the world,” telling us plainly that He alone is the Light, that there is no light except Him, for He is God, Jehovah, the great “I Am!” — “I Am the Light of the world.”
(John 9:5) “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
(John 12:35) “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.”
(John 12:46) “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”
John picks up this same theme in his fist Epistle (1 John 1:5).
(1 John 1:1-7) “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (2) (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
The crucified Christ is risen like the sun, to diffuse light, and life, and peace, and salvation, to sin darkened souls in the midst of a dark, dark world. What the sun is to the whole solar system — the center of light, and heat, and life, and fertility — that the Sun of Righteousness is to all upon whom He shines the life-giving beams of His saving grace!
He only is the true Light Who came into the world to save sinners, Who died as our Substitute on the cross, and sits at God’s right hand to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him. — “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” (Psalms 36:9)
Immediately, the Pharisees jumped on our Lord with His own words (v. 13), quoting what He had said back in John 5:31.
(John 8:13) “The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.”
(John 5:31) “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.”
But, when they thought He was trapped by His own words, our Savior seized the opportunity and asserted that He is the Son of God, One with the Father (vv. 16-18).
(John 8:16-18) “And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. (17) It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.”
He was not separate from the Father when He walked through this world. He was in the Father’s bosom in heaven, as the Son of God, though as the Son of Man, our incarnate God, He was standing in front of them. And He was not alone in His testimony and judgment. Here, too, He and the Father were and are One. As the Son reveals the Father the Father verifies the Son. So, by the very law they hoped to use against Him, the Savior says to His detractors, “the testimony of two men is true” (v. 17; Deuteronomy 19:15). He asserted again and again that He is the Christ, the Son of God; and the Father bore witness to His claims…
Christ Jesus, our Lord is the Light of the World. He alone reveals…
Third, we see here that believers are people who follow Christ. Look at verse 12 again.
(John 8:12) “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
To follow Christ is to commit yourself to Him as your only Lord and Savior. To follow Christ is to submit yourself to Him, bowing to His will and His rule. — “Following” is just another word for “believing.” It is the same act of soul, only seen from a different point of view. As Israel followed the pillar of cloud and fire in all their wilderness journey — moving whenever it moved, stopping whenever it stopped, asking no questions, marching on in faith — so must we must follow Christ. Believers are people who “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth” (Revelation 14:4).
Those who follow Christ do “not walk in darkness.” They are not left in ignorance, like the many around them. They do not grope in doubt and uncertainty, like the blind man our Savior healed, they see clearly. They “have the light of life.” They are all taught of God. Walking in the Light we see light! We see, and see clearly…
Walking in the Light, we recognize that light has many different affects upon those upon whom it shines.
Š Light is repulsive to creatures who love darkness (John 3:19 — The Disciples in John 6 — The Pharisees in verses 1-11). — If you turn over a log in the woods, bugs will run everywhere, because they are creatures of darkness. Light is repulsive to them. In the same way, the light of the Gospel is repulsive to men and women who live in darkness.
(John 3:14-19) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
Š Light is revealing to those upon whom the light shines (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
(2 Corinthians 4:3-6) “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Š Light revives the earth, and causes it to spring with life. — Just as plants grow by the light of the sun, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we walk in His light.
Š Light is restful. — Like the light of the sun which warms us creating a place of peace, Christ Jesus, the Light, brings us to a place of peace. We gain peace because the burden of sin is lifted and the path through life and to our eternal home is made clear and sure, all mapped out and arranged for us. We are secure in Him; and that gives rest in our souls. — It is like the joy and comfort of seeing the porch light at your own home after being away from your family for a while.
Š Light is reflected. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so when the Sun of Righteousness is risen upon the soul, the heaven born soul reflects the Light in which he lives.
(Matthew 5:14-16) “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Not in Darkness
Fourth, those who follow Christ the Light “shall not walk in darkness.” We do not walk in the darkness of the unregenerate. Believers do not walk in the darkness of unbelief, the darkness of religious superstition, and the darkness of heresy. We walk in the Light of the Gospel. — That means that we know who we are, whose we are and where we are going.
Š Though we were blind, now we see.
Š Though once we believed not, now we know whom we have believed.
Š Walking in the Light we know that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. — We are in the covenant of grace and in the love of God. — And are going to heaven and eternal happiness.
Christ is the Light that cannot be quenched. The lights with which many please themselves flicker in trial and go out in the valley of the shadow of death, and prove worse than useless. But the light that Christ is and the Light He gives shall never fail.
Know not God
Fifth, those who do not know Christ, those who do not follow the Light, do not know God. Our Savior told the Pharisees standing before Him that, with all their pretended light, they were utterly void of the knowledge of God.
(John 8:19) “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.”
The Man Christ Jesus, our Mediator, the sinner’s Substitute and Surety, is the only saving revelation of God. He is the Wisdom of God and the Word of God.
Š To know Him is to know God and have eternal life.
Š To be ignorant of Christ, is to be ignorant of God and dead in trespasses and in sins.
Š May God give you grace to know Him and to live by Him.
Š Oh, may God the Holy Spirit grant that we who know Him and live by Him may yet grow to know Him who loved us and gave Himself for us (Philippians 3:10).
(Philippians 3:10) “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
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