Here’s the outline to the sermon I preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship for our Carol Service 2021 (Cookies & Carols)
The GREAT LIGHT of Jesus (Matt 4:16)
Matthew 4:16: “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
INTRO: Let’s spend a few minutes and consider the meaning of Christmas together. I am speaking to you tonight as a Christian and I want to invite you think about how Christians find Jesus Christ to be the great joy of Christmas. In particular, please consider with me what we just read in Matt 4:16.
Here, we see that Jesus is the great light that shines upon the darkness of this world.
Has anybody here ever been to ANTARCTICA? If you had, you might know that for 4-5 months of the year, those in live in Antarctica live in a land of total darkness. Because of where Antarctica is located on the globe, for 4-5 months they never see the sun: no sunrise or sunset, but only darkness and stars above. When the sun does return, it is an incredibly relief and joy for the scientists who live on those bases there.
Consider with me the tonight THE ARRIVAL OF ANOTHER GREAT LIGHT. At the very first Christmas our world experienced the dawning of a GREAT LIGHT on this Earth. This is the light of Jesus Christ, God the Son. God Himself came to Earth, and His light shined brightly.
-Matt 4:16 was written by one Jesus’ disciples: Matthew
-Here, he is giving a quotation from the prophet Isaiah, written 600 years earlier
-We are to see that Jesus is this Great Light that shines upon the darkness of this world.
QUESTION: How was Jesus the GREAT LIGHT?
-In his life of holiness, he shined the light of God’s righteous and goodness upon the Earth
-1 John 1:5: “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
-In his ministry of healing and teaching, he shined the light of grace and mercy
-He healed the sick, raised the dead, instructed us on who God is and how we might God.
-In his mission to save us from our sins, he shined the light of God’s love on the world.
John 3:16: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.”
FLASHLIGHTS AND DARKNESS: My children enjoy playing with flashlights, and I did too as a kid. One thing with flashlight is that you can’t really tell they are on or bright if you use them outside during the day or in a sunny place. But in the dark, at nighttime, when the lights are out, the light shines bright.
OUR WORLD HAS MUCH DARKNESS IN IT:
-We see darkness in big ways: crime
-We see darkness in smaller ways: selfishness, lying, jealousy
-We see the darkness in how we view God: a coldness toward God and lack of love for Him.
-The Bible describes all of this DARKNESS as SIN: turning away from God’s good design for our lives.
Sobering Fact: According to the Bible, we not only experience the darkness but we contribute to it.
-Consider ways you have added to the darkness.
-None of us are completely immune. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23
The Hope of Jesus, the Great LIGHT
-Jesus shines on “those dwelling in the darkness”
-He comes to us in love, not waiting for us bring ourselves out of the darkness
-1 Tim 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
-He defeats the darkness by going to the cross and dying for our sins, our contribution to darkness
2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
-He brings us into the kingdom of light and gives us a new heart.
Col 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
What about you? Have you experienced the GREAT LIGHT of Christ in your life?
-You can experience this by faith in Jesus Christ.
-The great promise of Jesus:
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”