Light of the World

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)

The word gospel means different things to many people and for the most part that is okay. All words carry a connotation of meaning with them. An example would be that a common phrase that I have heard in earlier years is after a truthful point was made by the preacher some would say “well isn’t that the gospel.” Their meaning was the preacher spoke the truth. The simple meaning of the word gospel is good news. Gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom of Heaven. Gospel could also mean the teaching of the revelation of Jesus the Savior who had come to seek and save that which was lost. The gospel could also be the word of reconciliation work of Jesus that man could be restored to a right relationship with God. All of this is wrapped up in the word gospel and can be explained by the six truths of the gospel message.

God created us to be with Him, as we read in (Genesis 1-2) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) God created the universe and all that is in it. All of God’s creative work came before man. All of God’s creative work came into existence by His Word. Then on the sixth day God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) God then commissioned man to have dominion over His creation. “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

God’s creation was created in righteousness as God is a just God. The man, Adam, and the woman, Eve, were naked meaning that they had no disobedience or evil thoughts. They were without sin and righteous before their Lord God and walked in fellowship with Him in the Garden of Eden. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25) Adam and Eve were living as God had created them to live and they had joy before their Creator and happiness in His creation. They had but one command, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

As children of Adam and Eve we were created for the same purpose to be in complete fellowship with God. This was to be a unity of God with man and His creation that all would be in perfect harmony throughout heaven and earth. But the evil fallen angel Satan disrupted this perfect harmony thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden when he tempted man to disobey God’s command. Man fell to the temptation and as a result sin, disobedience to God’s Word, came into the world.

Our disobedience to God’s Word has separated us from the intimate relationship we were created to have with God and left us in spiritual poverty. Satan tempted the woman that if she ate of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” she could be as God. In turn the man ate of the fruit and both fell to sinful behavior. Their eyes were opened to evil and then realized they were naked and became ashamed and hid from God. (Genesis 3:6-8) Today men and women are still hiding from God with the rationalization of twisted truths and the false philosophies of the world. As a result sin had entered into the hearts of man, sin had entered into the world, and sin had entered into the heavenly places.

Man was banished from the Garden of Eden and paradise was lost on the earth. In God’s righteous judgment He cursed Satan, He cursed man, and He cursed the earth. (Genesis 3:15-19) As a result, as God had warned, death entered into the world. Not only physical death but also spiritual death. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) Man was no longer the creature that he was created to be. He was no longer in an intimate relationship with his Creator. Unless that relationship was restored he would suffer the wage for his disobedience. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

Sin cannot be removed from us by are good deeds or intentions. In the book of Exodus God gave Moses the Ten Commands. (Exodus 10:1-17) The commandments were given so the people would know the standard of God’s righteousness. God knew that even these ten rules were not within the people’s ability to obey them perfectly. The truth is that even if we obey all but one we have broken the whole of God’s commands. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10) We cannot compare our goodness to others as we would will still fall short of God’s glory. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The only standard that meets the mark is the righteousness of God’s Son Jesus and that is why we are to seek His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) The knowledge of God’s law and the knowledge of God’s Son shows us our need of His free gift of forgiveness and salvation.

God taught the Israelites the sacrificial system to show that the wage of sin, death, had to be paid in order for sins to be forgiven. The sacrificial system was to be symbolic that their sins could be transferred to the sacrifice and therefore they could receive forgiveness. But they missed the meaning that the sacrifice that God desires is not a lamb but the realization of their broken spirit and a contrite heart as a result of their sin. “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17)

The sacrificial teaching did point to the ultimate sacrifice that God Himself would make that the relationship of God and man could be reconciled. That would be the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Paying the price of sin in the world came at the price of God sacrificing His Son on the cross and raising Him from the dead so that man could once again have eternal life. Throughout the life of Jesus He lived in perfect righteousness. He fulfilled every letter of God’s law. He was the Word of God and He lived by the Word of God. (John 1:1) “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, He was without sin, He had the Heavenly Father’s perfect blood by the virgin birth, and He completed the will of His Father for our salvation. “It is finished!” (John 19:30) By this Jesus paid the price of sin completely once and for all.

Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus and trusts in Him alone has eternal life in the Kingdom of God. This is a free gift from God by His grace based on faith alone and not by any work that we can or could do. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) If we trust that Jesus paid the price of our sin by dying on the cross then all we need do is receive the free gift of His forgiveness through faith. Then we have passed from the curse of sin, death, into life and an eternal home in heaven. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

Life through Jesus is eternal as He is “way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) It is through the work of Jesus during His three year ministry that we can be reconciled to God through Him. “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18) Our relationship to God can be restored as it was meant to be from the beginning.

The promise of Jesus Christ is eternal life that doesn’t start after we die but starts when we accept Him on faith. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The abundant life is the relationship that we can have through Jesus every day of our life here and throughout eternity. It is a life of prayer, worship, and strength that God provides through His Holy Spirit. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)

In that soon to come eternal day the followers of Jesus will live and reign with Jesus in His Kingdom and we will be illuminated by the Light of God forever. “And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 8, 2016

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