zondag 12 oktober 2014

De preek voor vanmorgen

Johannes 8: 12

Jezus dan sprak opnieuw tot hen en zei: Ik ben het Licht der wereld; wie Mij volgt, zal beslist niet in de duisternis wandelen, maar zal het licht van het leven hebben.

παλιν ουν αυτοις ο ιησους ελαλησεν λεγων εγω ειμι το φως του κοσμου ο ακολουθων εμοι ου μη περιπατηση εν τη σκοτια αλλ εξει το φως της ζωης

Then spoke 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."

Mat. 5: 14

U bent het Licht van de wereld.

υμεις εστε το φως του κοσμου

Ye are the light of the world.

Ye are the light of the world.

The Lord Jesus was with his disciples in the temple on the feast of tabernacles. The remembrance of the travel through the desert. The people made themselves a little hut from branches and leaves. A week long they lived in these to keep the remembrance of this travel. The Jews still have this feast every year. It is one of the three bug fests the Lord has ordained to Israel. Easter – Passover, Pentecost and the feast of tabernacles. Through the ages the ceremonies have changed and were extended. One of the ceremonies was a dance with torches. The temple was illuminated with lots of them. When this ceremony occurs Jesus speaks one of the “I am words”. We find more of them in the gospel of John. In John 8 we read: I am the Light of the world.

Amidst of all the lights in the temple Jesus points to Himself as the Light of the world. As we meet each other for the first time, we give each other a hand and tell each other what our name is. So we make ourselves known to the other. That is what happens here: Jesus makes his name known to us: I am the light of the world.

To understand this, we could think of the sun. It is the fountain of light for us, without the the light, warm and vital power of the sun we can’t live. Well, It is the same with Jesus. Without Him there is no life. He is not a light between others, but He is the Light! He is the perfect source of power.

Everything that lives without Him, far from Him, in neglect of Him is not to be called life. In the Bible it is called death. Since the fall of Adam, mankind has fallen in sin and sin going through to everybody. Paul says in Romans 3: 23: 23  for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

We need the Light and Life from heaven to really live for God. Well: Here it is, or better here He is: The Sun of Righteousness: Jesus, the Light of the world. Why is he this Light?

a.   He is the Son of God, He is God Himself. Man and God in one Person. If you know him, you know God, the fountain of life.

b.  Jesus came as the light came in the beginning of creation. God said there be light and the darkness had to disappear. When Jesus came the king of darkness Satan was defeated at the cross of Calvary. At the third day when Jesus resurrected from the grave new light spread about. When Jesus comes in your live, He unveils the darkness of your sins and your live. Then you know what it is to be a sinner.

c.   But He does not come only to unveil your darkness, but to give you light. He has defeated the darkness of sin and death to give away his life to sinners. When you give Him your sins, He gives you His righteousness that you may live in the light of God.

d.  He is then the light of my life, the daily fountain of energy for my life. Psalm 27: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

May I ask you: do You know this savior, who is the light of the world.

Well to those who have learned to know and believe Jesus, that is  the church of Christ. Jesus speaks that other word, we heart from the Bible. Ye are the Light of the world. The church of Christ is given in this world as the Light for the world.

We all understand that this never can mean that the church can replace Christ. Therefore the metaphor, the image of Light is so meaningful. Jesus is the Light of the world. He gives Himself away in believe and trust to people. They are brought in the Light with Him. They do not become a light in themselves, but they are called to reflect the Light of Jesus.

Think about when you drive in a car in the night. The car has two lights in front. The beams are going straight  forward. On the right and left side are little poles with reflectors. When the lights of the car shine on the reflectors, you see them. If there is no light on the reflector it stays dark.

This is the way Christ calls us to reflect His light. And so the Church becomes the light of the world.

Think about the paintings and drawings I showed to you. Christ is the source of Light. The person and His works give life and light. Who comes in the beam of Christ light comes in the Light.

Once when I was in Kobryn, about some orthodox feast, in the evening it was already dark outside. Inside the church there were many candle lights. We were outside and saw the light coming from the inside. I know, the true light from the gospel is very obscured there. But still. The building as a sign of Christianity still reflects some of the light of the gospel.

Christ calls us to follow Him, and promises that we shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.  The church is called to be the light of the world.

How can the church be the light of the World?

First of all, Calvin says,  Jesus points here upon the apostles and preachers of the Gospel. The light of Christ is first of all and mostly spread through the preaching of the Word of God. In the Bible the light of Christ is given access to the world. Jesus said: it is scripture that testifies from Jesus (John 5: 39). Paul says: it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. (1 Cor. 1:21)

When Luther was kept hidden in the Wartburg, he translated the New Testament in German. He was convinced that the Light of Christ comes in the world in the Gospel. So all people should have the opportunity to read the Bible. And he also made a little book to summarize the most important things in the Bible. He wrote a Catechism. For children and for adults. The main substance is the Apostle Creed, The ten commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. When he was old, he testifies that he still studies his catechism every day. Not to put the Bible on the second place, but on the contrary to better understand the Bible.

When Calvin started his reformation work, he started at the same time his Institutes of the Christian Religion. This book was meant to teach the people in Christian doctrine and open the road to the Bible. The Bible, the Word of God is perfect, complete. We do not need anything  to add to it. But we need explanation, clarification. This is given through the Holy Spirit. John 16: 13,14: However when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak from Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.

The Holy Spirit does normally not work with supernatural and miraculous experiences. He uses instruments.

First He illuminated the apostles and prophets. They wrote down the Word of God in Scripture as He gave them to write it. Then He calls people and gives them clarity and distinction to teach the Bible to others. They are not a source of wisdom and knowledge in themselves, but are illuminated by the Holy Spirit to spread the light of Christ to others, through preaching and instruction.

We believe that The Light of the world is mostly spread through the preaching of the Gospel. Therefore we say that preaching is the core-business of the Church. Pastors have to make preaching the Gospel their most important occupation.  Not long after the Reformation came through the work of the Holy Spirit in Germany, France and Switzerland in several places colleges and Academies arose to instruct and teach young men to study the Bible and preach the Gospel. The oldest university in my country was set up to teach young man to become a preacher, a servant of the Word of God. Verbi Divini minister in Latin.

The calling of God comes in the world through the Word of God. This has to be preached and taught. Along this road God’s calling comes to the world.

This is the calling we hear in the Word of Jesus: You are the Light of the world.

Think a moment about it. Light. Opens up the world around. When there is only darkness, you can’t see a thing. You stumble and fall. When there is no light, there is no life. You can’t grow vegetables in winter. Because there is no light and warmth from the light of the sun.

Well. If people don’t have light. There is no life.

Yeah God let the light of the sun for everybody. And life is going on since Adam and Eve fell out of their perfect state. And there is some light in mankind through what we call Common Grace. We didn’t become devils and demons through sin. But it is not enough to know God. It is not enough to become justified before God. Everybody needs the Light of the world, will he become eternal life, real life as is meant by God when He created us.

Therefore God calls us. To be the reflectors of the Light of the world, Christ.

God’s grace goes out to the world. But He wants to use people in his service. What is the church a wonderful light. Oh yes I know. The church of Christ is divided and corrupted. There are very much sins and shortcomings. We need repentance every time again. But when we see at her calling there is a wonderful light. The light of Christ. We have the most wonderful message for the world.

We live in a secularized world. You could say the ordeals of God are going over the earth. I do not dwell on this now. But you all understand. How can we be a light in this age?

When Israel was in Egypt, one of the plagues was 3 days total darkness. But what do we read in the Bible? but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

Is there light in your houses? Is their light in our churches? We need to hear this word of Jesus every day. You are the light of the world. When I was a very little boy (11 years old) together with my father sitting in the church among the people. The pastor preached about the wise and fool maidens, he cited a children’s verse:

Jesus says that He expects here of us.

That we are like candles burning in the night.

And he wishes that everyone shines to honor Him

You in your small corner and I in the mine.

It was the calling that made my heart want to preach the gospel. Not everybody has a calling to become a pastor, but everybody has a calling to be a Christian, that is a light to give the Gospel witness to others. Jesus says: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. Amen

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