SERMON – THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EPIPHANY – 26TH JANUARY 2020
Lord God, we thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, the great light into the darkness of the world. We praise you, Lord Jesus for bringing light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death. May you bring light into the darkness that still overshadows our world.
And, as we go into your Word, may you shine into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ; to whom be praise and honour for evermore. Amen.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!! Praise the living Jesus!!!
Turn to your neighbour and say – “Neighbour, The Lord is your light and help.”
All those who believe it, say an accepting and powerful Amen to that.
Let us give a thunderous round of applause for Jesus the Light of the world, our True Light, the Rising Sun, the Morning Star, the Alpha and Omega …….
My friends who are in this house of God and those watching and following us on face book, I thank you. It is always a privilege and a joy to be in the presence of the Lord. I don’t know about you but I am delighted to be here.
I pray as you follow Christ, that He will give you the light of life, in the name of Jesus. I pray that you will live a life that will make you to be good witnesses for the light of Christ, in the name of Jesus. No one will tamper with the light of Christ in your lives. The Lord will restore every light that has been turned into darkness in your lives, in the name of Jesus. You will arise and you will shine.
Reading from Psalm 27 verse 1 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?
Beloved, the symbol of light under which Jesus began His ministry is prominent in three of our readings today – Isaiah Chapter 9 verses 1-4, Psalm 27 verses 1-13 and Matthew Chapter 4 verses 12-23.
The theme of my sermon is – “The Arrival of the Light” Let me hear somebody repeat after me – “The Arrival of the Light.” Amen
Children of God, arrival could mean the emergence or appearance of a new thing; the arrival of a baby, a flight and so on. What about light? Light is something that makes things visible; it is something that illuminates; something that brings solution and meaning into a situation. Light is all things that are good; love, compassion, mercy; something that brings relief, comfort to others; that lessen their burdens. It is often used to portray positivity, goodness, life and hope. I remember whenever I go to Nigeria and many of the developing countries where there is no regular supply of electricity. Most people common form of conversation is something like, we do not have lights for so, so, and so days. However anytime the light is restored, put back on, you will hear a whole street would cheer and shout joyfully and delightfully, the electricity has been brought back. You can see the joy that brings into people’s faces and the people will quickly put on or plugged in everything that needed electricity to run.
The opposite of light is what church? Darkness! Alleluia. And, darkness is often used to convey negativity, evil, death or the unknown. They are things like burdens, challenges, difficulties, and so on. I was coming from an ordination service yesterday and the family friend I gave a lift said, sir look at the weather, it is already so dark and not bright. The time was just before 5.00 pm, in the evening.
St. Matthew, in Chapter 4 compares the arrival of Jesus on the scene to the coming of a great light to a people who had been living in deep darkness. Let me read verse 16 to you – “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
St. Matthew, my dear friends saw Jesus as fulfilling the great prophecy of Isaiah, Chapter 9 verse 2, “The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned.” In a time of great darkness, God promised to send a light who would shine on everyone living in the shadow of death. He is both” Wonderful Counsellor” and “Mighty God.” This message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ and the establishment of his eternal kingdom. He came to deliver all people from our slavery to sin.
Jesus described his mission in similar terms, when he says in John Chapter 8 verse 12, “I am the light of the world.”
My sisters and brothers, when you examine the life of Jesus, you will see clearly that his teaching was truly a source of light to all who accepted him. His words have echoed down the centuries, bringing light to those in darkness and hope to those in despair. The repentant thief on the cross was brought out of darkness into light – Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom. Jesus responded by saying – “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42)
The woman caught in adultery’s despair was turned into joy, through Christ’s forgiveness and her readiness to confess and repent. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11)
One thing to know is that Jesus did not just teach people, but he lived what he taught. It was above all through his deeds and encounters with people that his luminous goodness manifested itself. You see, when you go to human being for help, favour and solution, you can easily be refused, turned down and disappointed. Beloved, not so with Jesus, the problem solver and the one that has solution to yours and mine problems and challenges.
The Bible tells us that many people went to Jesus in darkness and went away bathed in light. Sinners came to him in the darkness of sin, and went away bathed in the light of God’s mercy and love. Outcasts came to him in the darkness of rejection, and went away bathed into the light of acceptance. The sick came to him in the darkness of pain and illness, and went away bathed in the light of well-being.
My sisters and brothers, just imagine, how dark our world would be if the light of Christ had never shone. We will still be wallowing in sin, if Jesus the Lamb of God had not free us from the bondage and darkness of sin. We will still be deep in sin, if Jesus did not restore our broken relationship with God.
The great Russian writer, Dostoevsky, says that without the precious image of Christ before us, we would lose our way completely and perish. It is to Christianity that we owe the foundational ideals of liberty, justice, charity, compassion and mercy.
Beloved, the irony of it all is that, despite the fact that Jesus brought God’s light into the world, not everybody, including Herod, the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, those who crucified him accepted him. The people chosen by God to prepare the rest of the world for the Messiah rejected Him. Listen to what John Chapter 1 verses 9-11, “The true light and that is Jesus, that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
Some refused Jesus’ light and opted to remain in darkness. And that is why he began his preaching with a call to repentance. In Matthew Chapter 4 verse 17; “From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand; has come near.’
My friends, Jesus’ light continues to shine, even in the darkness of this world. His light is the light that no darkness has and will never overcome or extinguish. Jesus Christ is the Creator of life, and his life brings light to mankind.
And here in church we bask in the light of Christ. But, I challenge you, not to be like a person who stands under a street lamp for a while, and then goes out into a dark world. I urge you to carry away the lantern with you from here and to everywhere you go and to everyone you meet.
I appeal to you to follow Jesus the true light, so that you can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. Allow Jesus to light the path ahead of you, so that you can see how to live.
I pray that the Lord will remove the darkness of sins from your lives, in the name of Jesus.
Finally I charge you, with the words of St. Paul, in Ephesians Chapter 5 verses 8&9; “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).
Because you are people who have light from the Lord, let your actions reflect your faith. You must live above reproach morally so that you will reflect God’s goodness to others.
Allow the light of Christ to guide your lives, because by living in the light you will become a source of light to others.
I pray that the light of Christ will shine into your lives. You will never stumble in darkness.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen
Chorus: the Lord is my light; my light and my salvation; in Him I trust, in Him I trust.