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THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, June 1, 2003


"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).


Jesus came down from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. This great celebration was held each year to thank God for the harvest. It was similar in character to America's Thanksgiving holiday. And Jesus went into the Temple and,

"Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (John 7:37).

The Pharisees sent guards to arrest Him because they rejected what He preached. But the guards listened to Him instead of arresting Him. There was a division between those who wanted to hear Christ and those who wanted to stop Him from preaching. At last everyone went home, and

"Jesus went unto the mount of Olives" (John 8:1).

When He was in Jerusalem, he usually spent the night there - in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The next morning the religious leaders dragged a woman before Jesus. She had been taken in the act of adultery. Jesus did not condemn her. But He did condemn her sin. He said,

"Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).

A crowd of people had gathered. Jesus turned to them and said,

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

This passage of Scripture is rich in meaning. We could find enough material in these verses for several sermons. But I want us to focus on this verse. Here we find that Christ makes three important points.

I. First, what Christ said about Himself.

He said, "I am the light of the world." This would immediately remind His hearers of the pillar of fire that led the Hebrew people through the wilderness,

"…by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light" (Exodus 13:21).

"…it gave light by night to these" (Exodus 14:20).

It would also remind them of what David said,

"The Lord is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1).

They would also remember that God spoke to Moses from a bush that

"…burned with fire" (Exodus 3:2).

When Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," it was a statement of His deity. "I am" is the name of God. Jehovah means "I am," when He says it. It means "He is" when we say it. Jehovah told Moses,

"Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Exodus 3:14).

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." He was telling us that He is Jehovah, God, the Second Person of the Trinity.

The Muslims tell us that Jesus was a great prophet. But no mere prophet would dare to say, "I am the light of the world." That is an incredible statement! If a prophet said such a thing, he would either be insane, or a deceiver and a false prophet.

But Jesus told the truth when He said, "I am the light of the world." The Pharisees challenged Him, and said that His testimony was not true because He testified about Himself. Jesus answered them by saying

"Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came [I know where I came from], and whither I go" (John 8:14).

Christ knew that He was God the Son, sent by God the Father, to Whom He would return.

The Apostle John tells us tremendous truths about Jesus, when he says,

"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not…He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:3-5, 11).

May I ask you a question? Have you received Jesus? I am not asking you whether you believe the doctrine that Jesus is the light of the world. No, I am asking you whether or not you have received Him. If you have not, why not do so tonight? Jesus said,

"I am the light of the world…" (John 8:12).

Will you trust Him and be saved from the darkness of sin and the darkness of Hell?

II. Second, what Christ said about mankind.

What He said in our text reveals the darkness of this lost world,

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness…" (John 8:12).

This clearly shows that people in the world who are not following Him are in darkness. That is the state of the vast majority of people tonight. That is the way the Bible describes lost humanity,

"For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross [deep] darkness the people" (Isaiah 60:2).

Again, the Bible says,

"They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness" (Psalm 82:5).

The Bible teaches that all mankind once knew God. But the nations of the world rebelled against God and became separated from Him by sin.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain [became foolish] in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened"
     (Romans 1:21).

The religions of the world are the product of mankind becoming vain and foolish "in their imaginations." The result is spiritual darkness. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, and even decisionist evangelicalism, are all products of man's darkened heart. They

"…became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21).

Even the Jewish people, although they are God's covenant people on earth to this very day, turned to ritual and tradition, and lost contact with the living God. Moses said that they

"…forsook God which made [them], and lightly esteemed the Rock of [their] salvation" (Deuteronomy 32:15).

"Of the Rock that begat thee [God] thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee" (Deuteronomy 32:18).

"And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness"  (Deuteronomy 28:29).

The Bible says,

"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).

In view of Romans 1:21, this was also true of the whole human race,

"Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).

"They glorified him not as God…and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21).

When Luther was a Catholic priest, he went on a pilgrimage from Germany to Rome searching for salvation and light. But he found superstition and darkness instead - in the so-called "Holy City." Why? Because man-made religion is full of darkness. And those who practice the religions of man

"grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness"
      (Deuteronomy 28:29).

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." The British commentator, J. C. Ryle, says,

These words imply that the world needs light, and is in a naturally dark condition. It is so in a moral and spiritual point of view: and it has been for nearly 6,000 years. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome [and China], in modern England, France, and Germany, the report is true. The vast majority of men neither see nor understand the value of their souls, the true nature of God, nor the reality of the world to come! [In spite of] all the discoveries of art and science, "darkness still covers the earth, and gross darkness the people" (Isaiah 60:2). For this state of things the Lord Jesus Christ declares Himself to be the only remedy (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John, Banner of Truth reprint of the 1869 edition, volume 2, page 84).

Think carefully about this. It is an extremely important thought. "False lights on every side" seek to draw you away from Christ today. Reason, philosophy, liberalism, false "scientific" theories, and false religious views cry loudly that they have "the light" to show you. Those who believe them are blind. Only Jesus Christ can rightfully say,

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

Why is it so hard, no, so impossible humanly, to get a man or woman to give up the darkness of false religious opinions? It is because the Apostle Paul was right when he said, "Their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21). They would rather be lonely than come with us to church! They would rather be lost than be saved by Christ! But we cut right through the darkness! We say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Christ!" Because Jesus said,

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

Man's heart is full of darkness. Man's religions are full of darkness. This darkness comes from sin - rebellion against God! And sinful rebellion against God will result in the darkness of Hell - for all eternity. If you go on in your sin, you will go into the darkness of Hell when you die, according to the Bible.

"That they all might be damned who believed not the truth"
     (II Thessalonians 2:12).

"To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever"
     (Jude 13).

Three times we read this warning in Matthew's gospel,

"But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"
     (Matthew 8:12).

"Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"
     (Matthew 22:13).

"And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30).

It is the most foolish thing you could possibly do to reject Jesus Christ. I say, "Will you come to Christ?" If you say "no" you are risking your eternal soul. This is madness of the worst kind! You are risking being cast "into outer darkness,"

"Into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched"
     (Mark 9:43).

I ask you to use reason about this. Why remain lost? Why not give up whatever dark thing in your heart that stops you from coming to Jesus? He said truly,

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

And this brings me to the final point.

III. Third, what Christ said about His followers.

Why, He says,

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

Dr. Ryle tells us that "'Following' is only another word for 'believing.' It is the same act of soul seen from a different point of view" (ibid., p. 85). Again, Ryle says, "'Following' is the same as 'believing.' Following here, we must remember, does not mean copying or imitating, but trusting, putting faith in [Christ]" (ibid., p. 89).

Will you believe in Jesus tonight? Will you come to Christ and let Him wash away your sins with His Blood? Will you be saved from sin by Christ?

You have sinned many times - and all of those sins were seen by God, and recorded by God. You have many sins on your record. There is only one way to have your sins washed out of God's record, and that is by the Blood of Christ. He shed His Blood on the Cross to wash away your sins.

There is only one way for your sins to be washed clean, so God will not see them - and that is by the Blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible says,

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
     (I John 1:7).

You don't need to come to Jesus again and again to have your sins washed away. Oh, no! You only need to come to Jesus once. Come to Jesus tonight and every sin you have ever committed, or ever will commit in the future, will be washed away - right now, tonight - because

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
     (I John 1:7).

Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Come to Him tonight and He will wash away your sins with His Blood, and atone for your sins by His death on the Cross. And Christ will give you "the light of life" (John 8:12).

Dr. Ryle said,

The spiritual light that Christ gives is independent of time or place, - is not affected by sickness or death, - burns on for ever, and cannot be quenched. He that has [Christ] shall see light before him on the grave, death, and the world to come, - and shall have light shining round him, guiding him on his journey through life (J. C. Ryle, ibid., page 90).

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

Underlying that whole verse is the Bible doctrine of the fall of man. The world is in a state of spiritual darkness. Lost people do not have a correct idea of themselves, God, salvation, Heaven, or Hell. They are lost in darkness and sin.

That's why you need the light of Christ to point you to salvation. You need the Blood of Christ to wash away your sins. You need Christ to save you.

I want to speak with you in my office about your sins - and the Blood of Jesus. I'm going to ask you a couple of simple questions about this sermon - and then listen to your answers.

I want you to get out of your seat - and come up here, and stand in front of this pulpit. After you have come, we will go to my office for a few minutes and talk about the salvation of your soul from sin.

We're going to sing a chorus. While we sing, you come. Just come right now.

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 8:12-20.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"The Light of the World is Jesus" (by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

(John 7:37; 8:1, 11)

I.   What Christ said about Himself, Exodus 13:21; 14:20; Psalm 27:1;
Exodus 3:2, 14; John 8:14; John 1:3-5, 11.

II.  What Christ said about mankind, Isaiah 60:2; Psalm 82:5;
Romans 1:21; Deuteronomy 32:15, 18; 28:29; Acts 7:51;
II Thessalonians 2:12; Jude 13; Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30;
Mark 9:43.

III. What Christ said about His followers, I John 1:7.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."