JOHN SHIRK – Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”
This statement was connected to Jesus in Matthew chapter 4. Jesus fulfilled these words of the prophet with His words of life, His touch of healing, and ultimately, by His death and resurrection from the grave.
In the Bible, darkness is often connected with sin and death. There is a spirit of despair in the heart of someone who is caught in the grip of spiritual darkness. Jesus came as the Light of the world. As we welcome His light, the shadows that cause despair flee under His influence of grace and truth. We live with freedom from guilt and shame. We live with the certain hope of eternal life. We live with the awareness that God loves us with an unfailing love. We live with a sense of joy in belonging to His spiritual family. And we live with a heavenly purpose, to reach souls for the Gospel through our witness for Jesus.
The hope that Jesus brought with His coming is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – Today, WJTL remembers the identity of Jesus as the light of the world.
In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
With our focus of faith on Jesus, we have moral clarity with a better understanding of how God wants us to live.
With our focus of faith on Jesus, we have Kingdom clarity with a better understanding of what God wants us to treasure.
And with our focus of faith on Jesus, we have directional clarity with a better understanding of where God wants us to go.
Jesus invites us to follow Him and to see the world in the light of His grace and truth. He offers abundant and eternal life to those who say “Yes” to His invitation.
The identity of Jesus as the light of the world is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – We find this word of instruction in Hebrews 13:16: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
God’s design for our good deeds is for the righteousness of Christ to be exalted. The follower of Christ is motivated to good deeds because the love of Christ is active within us.
After the recent tornado outbreak in Oklahoma, various Christian relief groups moved in to help those devastated by the tornadoes. News broadcasts were drawing attention to the initiative of faith-based groups to come to the aid of those who were suffering.
The compassion of Christ is at the heart of many of these efforts. Doing good and sharing with others will involve sacrifices of personal time. It will require the heart of a servant. There might be a cost involved with making financial donations or buying items that other people need. The risk is worth the potential outcome. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” When we give sacrificially for Christ, God is pleased, practical needs are met, and the door is open for others to give glory to God as a result of our witness.
The “results of sacrificial giving” is a lesson of faith worth remembering.
JOHN SHIRK – From First John 1:6 and 7.
“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
One of Steve Taylor’s classics is “Sin For A Season.” In that song, he exposed the faulty thinking of those who used God’s grace as a license for sin. One of the lines describes their motivation: “Gonna get the Lord to forgive a little sin. Get the slate cleaned so he can dirty it again. And no one else will ever know. But he reaps his harvest as his heart grows hard. No man’s gonna make a mockery of God.” These are the schemes of a deliberate sinner who abuses the grace of God.
God’s grace is amazing, but it is not a license for sin. Instead, it is a pardon for sin and an incentive for change. In Romans 6:1, Paul the Apostle asked, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
God’s grace enables us to come out of darkness and into the light. As we follow Jesus with sincere devotion, we experience the freedom of forgiveness and the fulfillment of joyful Christian fellowship.
Walking in the light of God’s grace and truth is a vital sign of a changed life in the Year of Transformation.