Because There is Jesus, Part 1:
Jesus Is Our Light

September 25, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

John 1:4-5

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Good Morning!

 

The older I get and the more years I spend in the ministry,

the more fascinated I am about our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Because of Jesus, the world is a better place.

Because of Jesus, America is a better place.

Because of Jesus, all our lives are better. Amen!

This is the premise of the sermon series we begin today.

 

Jesus was the greatest of all positive thinkers.

Jesus is our gift from God, our bridge to eternity.

One of the greatest gifts of being a Christian is that our beliefs are not rooted merely in a set of words; our beliefs are not rooted in an institution.

Our beliefs are rooted in a dynamic Spirit, in a person.

Our beliefs are rooted in a living entity, named Jesus Christ.

The spirit of Jesus Christ is alive and living. He always loves us.

Our belief is centered in His dynamic, loving, living Spirit.

 

The “trouble” light

When I was a boy I loved watching my father work. Dad was a hard worker who worked on the General Motors car assembly line in Linden NJ. When he got home from work, he worked on cars. My father loved cars. We had a big old garage where I grew up. My father had many, many tools in that garage. He used these tools to repair cars. I remember going in there often to watch him.  I didn't have much interest in working on the cars myself, but I did enjoy being near my Dad.

 

Of the many tools he had, there is one that I want us to think about today. He had something called a “trouble” light.  It was a light bulb on the end of a black, rubber handle with a button switch. The light bulb was fenced in with a wire grid and a metal reflector. There was a hook on the top. My dad told me that this was his “trouble” light. He would hook this light to the inside of a car hood. The light would shine on all the remarkable (and unexplainable to me!) parts of the car. I was never much of a mechanic, but I did like to watch my father work. 

 

My father never told me why this tool was called a “trouble” light. I always wondered about it. Odd name for a light, I thought.  Do you turn it on if you are in trouble? If you have troubles, does it help you?  Does it help you solve your car’s troubles? My father would use that light to fix the car and I guessed that car wouldn’t be in trouble any more.

 

It is true, though, that with the help of this light, my father could delve into the depths of the car's internal workings, find the problem, and correct it.  All because he had the light to guide him.

 

Jesus is my “trouble free” light.

I was thinking about this tool and wondered if perhaps what we really need is a “trouble free” light. Perhaps we need a light in our life that never goes out. Perhaps we need a light in our life that shines the way through the darkness. Perhaps we need a “trouble free” light. 

 

If we take a look at the first chapter of John, we read this exuberant description of Jesus Christ.

John 1:4-5

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

What a grand statement!  Imagine!  One in whom the very light of God was shining, One in whom hope was clear, one in whom all people everywhere could see the brightness of God!  In Him was the light that was the light of us all.  And what great words follow!  This light, the light of His personality, shines even when the way is the darkest, when the depression is the thickest, when the outlook is most bleak.  The darkness has not overcome it!  That means that all the trouble, worry, and discouragement the world can throw at us cannot overcome the brightness of Christ. 

 

Think of a lighthouse.  A ship tossed about on a troubled sea, lost in the thick of night, its captain almost unable to distinguish up from down, and certainly unable to discern the location of land and dangerous rocks, suddenly sees the clear, shining bright light shining from the shore.  Suddenly, the direction is clear.  All the mapping points now make sense.  Danger is avoided.  Salvation is near.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, dimmed it, or put it out. 

 

Jesus Christ is our “trouble free” light. I have been thinking of you and praying for you, my friends. I have prayed to the Lord, and asked Him, “What do these folks need?”  And the answer is, they need Jesus, they need to know that Jesus is their light. Jesus is the light that chases troubles. Jesus is the light that shines on troubles and untangles them. Jesus is the light by which you can see and be comforted. Jesus is the light that you can share.

 

The next step

I am holding a flashlight in my hand. It is not a very large flashlight, but it works. I keep it by the side of my bed because we have frequent power outages in Belle Mead.   I find it very comforting to have the flashlight handy at night. The light helps me see in the darkness. In a much larger sense, the light of Jesus Christ helps us to see the next step. Sometimes we are in situations where we don’t know what the next step should be. We may feel overwhelmed, confused, and fearful.  In times like that, I want you to picture the light of Jesus Christ shining for you. You might want to pray:

 

Lord, Shine Your light on this situation so that I may know the next step and have the courage to take it.

 

Jesus is our “trouble free” light, the light that helps us to see our next step.

 

I need that kind of light!  How about you?  Do you need the kind of light that will never leave you?  The kind of light that represents God's everlasting love for you?

 

Are you going through something where you don’t know the next step, you don’t know what to do? Turn to the light of Christ within, your “trouble free” light. The light of Christ will help you to see the next step and give you the courage to take it boldly.   The light of Christ gives us comfort and makes us feel secure.  The light of Christ will overcome darkness and every fear that we may have.

 

Sharing the Light of Christ

It is also helpful to remember, Friend, that the light of Christ is there to share.

I believe that everybody needs Jesus Christ, whether they presently know it or not.

The light is there for us to share.

The whole room gets brighter when we share the light.

I invite you to share the light, by inviting someone to church or to a church event.

You are blessing them by sharing the light.

We are called to share our light.

We are all siting here in church because someone touched our lives and invited us to share in Christ.

 

I would like for every member of our congregation to know in their hearts that whatever our church does, whether it be worship service, concerts, picnic, or any event we hold, please know that everyone is welcome. You never know what seed you are planting when you invite people to take part.

 

May God’s light lead you in the days ahead, and grant you wisdom, guidance, and security.

 

Please remember, Friend: God loves you. I do, too. Have a wonderful week. Amen.

© 2011 Anthony J. Godlefski