VIDEO Light of the World

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

It is fun to see people switch on their phones’ flashlights and then hold up their phones at a concert or sporting event. A more biblical display of the power of light happens at Christmas Eve candlelight services. One candle lights another, then another, then another—until slowly the darkness in the auditorium is pushed back as the light spreads.

Darkness cannot prevent light from shining. Even the smallest light can enlighten a dark place—like a single candle in the depths of a pitch-black cave. In the beginning, Genesis tells us, “darkness was on the face of the deep” (1:2). That physical darkness was dispelled by the creation of the heavenly lights (Genesis 1:14-18). The apostle John builds on that theme to talk about the dispelling of spiritual darkness when Jesus came into the world. Jesus said He was the Light of the world, then told us we are as well (Matthew 5:14-16).

Your light matters in a dark world—shining alone and in concert with others. The darkness can never overcome the light of Christ in you.

Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light. V. Raymond Edman


John 8:12-59 – Skip Heitzig

Father of Lies

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

Victor slowly became addicted to pornography. Many of his friends looked at porn, and he fell into it too. But now he understands how wrong it was—he sinned against God—and it crushed his wife. He’s vowed to put safeguards in his life so he’ll never look at it again. Yet he fears it’s too late. Can his marriage be saved? Will he ever be free and fully forgiven?

Our enemy, the devil, presents temptation as if it’s no big deal. Everyone’s doing it. What’s the harm? But the moment we catch on to his scheme, he switches gears. It’s too late! You’ve gone too far! You’re hopeless now!

The enemy will say whatever it takes to destroy us as we engage in spiritual warfare. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

If the devil is a liar, then we should never listen to him. Not when he says our sin is no big deal, and not when he says we’re beyond hope. May Jesus help us dismiss the evil one’s words and listen to Him instead. We rest our hearts on His promise: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (vv. 31–32).

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What sin has you feeling hopeless? Do you think this despair comes from Satan or from Jesus? What promise from the Bible might you claim today?

Jesus, You died and rose again to free me from the bondage of sin. Please help me to live in that liberty today!

Read Walking Free: Overcoming What Keeps Us from Jesus.

Becoming a Burden Bearer

God works through us when we bear one another’s burdens

Romans 15:1-7

Every week churches are filled with people experiencing a wide range of problems, and as believers, we’re to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). This isn’t just the job of the pastor—he can’t possibly know about every need in the congregation. That’s why we’re all called to help each other practically and spiritually. But doing this may require some changes on our part.

Awareness. If we’re not sensitive to what people are facing, how can we pray for them or offer some kind of support? Ask the Spirit to help you tune in to the struggles of others.

Acceptance. We’re to accept fellow believers as Christ has accepted us. That means being willing to share the burdens of others, no matter who they are.

Availability. Helping people may not be convenient, but a faith community thrives when we make time to be there for those around us.

The Lord is the ultimately the one who comforts the hurting and helps the weak, but He often does this through His people. Scripture tells us the whole law is fulfilled in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14). Do you limit your support to family and friends, or do you show love to all your neighbors?

The Trinity in Salvation

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14)

There are a number of significant references to the work of all three Persons of the Trinity in the great work of salvation. Note the implicit reference to the Trinity in our text: “The blood of Christ…through the eternal Spirit offered…to God.” There is also a beautiful Trinitarian implication in Ephesians 2:18: “For through [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

The promise of Christ to send the Holy Spirit is a high point of the gospel of John. “I will pray the Father,” said the Lord Jesus, “and he shall give you another Comforter” (Greek parakletos, meaning “one called alongside”), “that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things” (John 14:26). “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

It seems very clear from such Scriptures that all three—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—are each distinct persons. Yet that the three together are one God is also clear from the fact that they are identified by name as One. Converts are to be baptized “in the name [note the singular—one name] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). Note also the benediction formula. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14). What we cannot fully understand in our minds of this wonderful triune Godhead, we can understand and believe with our hearts. HMM

The Fruit of Loving Obedience

And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart…to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. —Deuteronomy 30:6

Obedience is both the evidence and the definition of our love for Christ and the condition for receiving the Holy Spirit. We demonstrate our love not simply in an intellectual comprehension of Christ’s teachings but by applying them to our lives.

A young married man once called on me expressing a desire to be filled with the Spirit. Prompted by the Spirit, I said, “Go and do the next thing God tells you to do!” He left my study hurt that I had not taken more time with him.

For several weeks I did not see the fellow. When he called again, I knew by looking that God had fulfilled the desire of his heart. He confided that at the time he had called on me, he and his wife were estranged. The “next thing God told [him] to do” was to go to the city where his wife was staying and be reconciled to her. He obeyed the voice of God, and his obedience resulted in the indwelling of the Holy Counselor. As one preacher put it, “Obedience is always followed by blessing!” JJJ336

God being who He is must have obedience from His creatures. Man being who he is must render that obedience. ROR143

Before You Can Say “Yes”

God, save me by Your name … For strangers rise up against me … They have no regard for God.—Psalm 54:1, 3

The more disillusioned we are with the world, the more motivated we will be to pursue the Christian way. If we are not willing to face the reality that we live in a fallen world, that the latest invention is not going to bring us Utopia, that possessions fail to give any lasting happiness, then we are not going to move along the rugged road of faith with a steady tread.

My favorite word to summarize the message of this, the first of the Songs of Ascents, is renunciation. The psalmist seems to have made a decision to move away from the lies he has heard, and we too must make a similar decision. We must renounce lies such as that human beings are basically good, we are not responsible for the way we are, we can find happiness independently of God. The truth of God does not begin to dawn upon us until we realize that what we have assumed was the truth—that we are the masters of our fate—is in fact a lie. It is painful to admit that we have been taken in by the world’s lies, but until we accept that we have and confess it, we are not ready to move on into all that God has for us.

If the psalmist were writing today, he might have worded his prayer like this: “Save me, O Lord, from the lies of those who think they know the answer to life but don’t.” We must discover that before we can say “yes” to God we must first learn to say “no” to the world.

Prayer

Father, I would make the prayer of the psalmist my prayer also. Rescue me from those who would represent the world to me in terms that are not entirely true. I turn from the untrue to the True. Help me dear Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Lk 21:29-36; Rm 12:1-2; Col 3:2

How does Paul admonish the Romans?

What did he encourage the Colossians to do?

How to Study the Bible

Psalm 119:18

Read and study the Bible as two young lovers read and study each other’s letters. As soon as the mail brings a letter from his sweetheart, the young man grabs it and without waiting to see if there is not another letter for him, runs off to a corner and reads and laughs and rejoices over it and almost devours it. If he is a particularly demonstrative lover (may the Lord make us demonstrative lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ) he will probably kiss it and carry it next to his heart till the next one comes.

He meditates on it day and night, and reads it over again and then again. He carries it to town with him, and on the street car appears very quiet and thoughtful, until at once a twinkle comes into his eye, out comes the letter and choice portions are read over again. He delights in that letter. Read in Acts 17:11 KJV what the disciples in Berea did: “They received the Word with all readiness of mind.” A frank and noble mind is open to the truth, and wants it more than gold or pleasure or fame or power.

“They searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11 KJV). Precious things are deeply hidden. Pebbles and stones and autumn leaves abound everywhere, but gold and silver and precious stones are hidden deep in the bowels and rocky ribs of the earth; shells cover the seashore, but pearls are hidden in its depths. And so with truth. Some truth may live on the surface of the Bible, but those that will altogether satisfy us and make us wise unto salvation are found only after diligent search, even as for hidden treasure. “Search the Scriptures,” (John 5:39 KJV) said Jesus.

“They searched the Scriptures daily.” Daily, not spasmodically by fits and starts, but daily, habitually. They dug into the Word of God.

Read and study the Word not to get a mass of knowledge in the head, but a flame of love in the heart. Read it to find fuel for affection, food for reflection, direction for judgment, guidance for conscience. Read it not that you may know, but that you may do.

Finally, do not be discouraged if progress in the knowledge of the Word seems slow at first. It is like learning to play an instrument or master a trade. Keep at it, keep at it, keep at it!

Happy shall we be, if, like David, we can say, “Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11 KJV).

Samuel Logan Brengle, Heart Talks on Holiness