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CHRIST - THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, February 26, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“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).


I have recently been criticized for quoting C. S. Lewis. Yet the Bible quotes Satan several times! The Apostle Paul quoted pagan poets Aratus and Cleanthes in his sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, when he said,

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28).

Even the most Lewis-hating preacher must, I think, agree that he was not as bad as Satan, nor as deceived as the pagans of antiquity, quoted by the Apostle! True, he was a high-church Anglican and held some false theological views, but he was hardly Lucifer or a godless heathen! And he made some very good points, ones that we should all be familiar with.

I have no trouble quoting a five-point Calvinist like Spurgeon when he extols the saving power of Christ - though I am not a five-point Calvinist. It does not trouble me when I quote John Wesley, though I equally disagree with some of Wesley’s ideas, such as the possibility of losing one’s salvation. Wesley was such a large-hearted Christian, that I find much good in what he wrote, and I make no apology whatever for quoting him where I believe he was Scripturally correct, as he so often was. I may even, on a few occasions, quote the Pelagianist heretic Finney, though I believe his doctrines of “decisionism” are unfathomably hellish and destructive. Brethren, we must be anchored to the Book, so that we can look at these men with unjaundiced eyes, and “take forth the precious from the vile” (Jeremiah 15:19), as Paul did when he quoted certain truths from those pagan writers. Therefore I have no qualms about quoting C. S. Lewis’ famous statement about our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is full of the meat and marrow of truth about the Saviour. Lewis said,

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Christ]: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing you must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to (C. S. Lewis, Ph.D.,  Mere  Christianity,  Harper  Collins, 2001,   page 52).

I say that statement by C. S. Lewis, though he was clearly wrong on other things, is as near to being a perfect expression of who Christ is as you will find in the English language. I find no fault in that statement at all. And a man who speaks with such authority on Christ Jesus deserves to be heard on this matter, in this time when so much attention is being paid to his literature, whatever his views on other matters may have been.

Was Christ a madman or a devil when He said,

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”?

Or did Christ tell us the absolute truth about Himself? If He told us the truth, the only logical thing to do is to “fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.” But the one thing we must never do is call Him a great moral teacher. “He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Think of the straightforward boldness of Jesus’ words,

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Two main thoughts come to mind as we consider this verse.

I. First, the text shows who He is.

He said,

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

Anyone familiar with the Bible will instantly remember Moses at the burning bush at the foot of Mount Sinai.

“Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:13-14).

Dr. Gill said that I AM is the name of God. “This signifies the real being of God, his self-existence…as also it denotes his eternity and [unchangeableness]…for it includes all time, past, present, and to come; and the same is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am…This is the name…Jehovah, Moses is to make use of” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 329).

The name I AM is therefore translated Yahweh, or as Jehovah in the King James Bible. It is a major name of God in the Old Testament Scriptures. Jehovah - I AM - is the name of Himself which God revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush in the Wilderness of Sinai.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” He was expressing the fact that He is the Great I AM, the Jehovah of the Old Testament Scriptures. “I am [Jehovah] the light of the world.” This is a very strong word of Christ, telling us that He is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It is an unmistakable declaration of His full deity, as God veiled in human flesh. “I am [Jehovah], the light of the world.”

The unbelieving Jews said, “Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true” (John 8:13). Jesus defended who He was by saying to them, “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19). He was, and is, and will always be, “I am - Jehovah - the light of the world” (John 8:12). Jesus is God in human flesh! As Charles Wesley put it, in his famous Christmas hymn,

Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.
   (“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

I am the light of the world.” “Veiled in flesh [Jehovah] see; Hail the incarnate deity, Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel” [God with us. Jehovah with us!]. Amen!

II. Second, the text shows what He does.

Please stand and read it again, John 8:12.

“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).

You may be seated. The Old Testament speaks of the Messiah metaphorically as the light of the Sun. God said through the prophet Malachi,

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise” (Malachi 4:2).

Dr. Gill said, “The Jews themselves say, that light is one of the names of the Messiah; and God himself is called by them, the light of the world” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, page 542). Jesus said,

“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The Bible says that Christ is

“…the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3).

The light and glory of God are seen in Christ, who said,

“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

“The light of the world.” This means “that light is come into the world” (John 3:19) by Christ. It does not mean that all the world will be saved, but that all are confronted with the light of God in Christ.

The light of Christ divides mankind. The Bible says,

“Every one that doeth evil hateth the light” (John 3:20).

“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light” (John 3:21).

And that is my question to you this morning - will you come to the light in Christ, or will you hate the light, and turn away from Christ? If you come to Christ you will find the light of God. If you continue as you are, you will “walk in darkness,” and live in darkness, and die in darkness, and spend eternity in darkness,

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

“Then spake Jesus again unto them,saying, I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12).

He spoke “again unto them.” He had spoken to them before. He had said,

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink”
     (John 7:37).

He had compared Himself to water, and had called them to drink of Him. You heard me preach on that last Sunday. I said, “Come to Christ and He will quench your thirst and satisfy your soul.” Now He speaks to you again, as He spoke to them again. This time He compares Himself to light. 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).

It is a mistake to try to follow Christ before you have believed on Him. Judas left all to follow Him - but Judas did not believe on Him. In the inner recesses of his heart, Judas held back. Outwardly he appeared to follow Christ, but inwardly he did not believe on Him. Judas betrayed Christ and died a lost man - and so will you if you try to follow Christ without first coming to Him by faith, believing on Him in an instantaneous moment of conversion. Turn to John 12:46, and stand as we read aloud the words of Christ.

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide [remain] in darkness” (John 12:46).

You may be seated.

First, you must believe on Christ and be converted. Then

“…he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

There are many sad souls today who are trying to follow Christ without first believing on Him, coming to Him, being saved by Him. John Wesley, whom we shall hear about tonight, tried to follow Christ without being converted. Like Wesley, you must go back to the beginning. Throw out your human works and efforts. Admit that you are lost. Then come to Christ, trust Him, and be washed clean by His Blood, be clothed in His righteousness, and then begin to follow Him!

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin;
The Light of the world is Jesus;
Like sunshine at noonday His glory shone in,
The Light of the world is Jesus.
Come to the Light, ‘tis shining for thee;
Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see;
The Light of the world is Jesus.
   (“The Light of the World is Jesus” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


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

CHRIST - 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).

(Acts 17:28; Jeremiah 15:19)

I.   The text shows who He is, John 8:12a; Exodus 3:13-14;
John 8:13, 19.

II.  The text shows what He does, John 8:12b; Malachi 4:2;
John 14:9; Hebrews 1:3; John 3:19, 20, 21; Jude 13;
John 7:37; 12:46.