By Gloria Li
30 Dec. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: Our Response to the True Light||video||audio||doc
|Worship song: Supernatural Rain||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Our God is Greater||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Hope of The World||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Hallelujah to the Lord||video||audio||lyric|
Scripture Reading: John 8:12
8:12 Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Maji from the east came to Jerusalem
2:2 and asked, "Where is the one who has born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
2:3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
2:4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
2:5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
2:6 But you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of people Israel."
2:7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
2:9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
2:10 When they saw the star，they were overjoyed.
2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Good morning, everyone. Please join me with a short prayer.
Dear heavenly father, thank you so much for gathering us together. Lord when we come to you, please give us your light, your true light to shine in our hearts, help us get rid of all the darkness and to walk in the light. May all of us here see your glory. Through today’s service, may your name be exalted through your message. May your words comfort our hearts. May your words become our hope, light, joy and life. Lord, please be with us. May your holy spirit be with us so that we can have a pure heart to listen to your words. No matter the listener or the speaker, may we be touched by yours words. We pray in your name. Amen.
Jinglan just read the message gospel of Matthew 2:1:12. The story we just read is about the birth of Jesus. We are all so familiar with the story. We just celebrate the Christmas. We have just seen from the video. It shares with us the Christmas Eve in Haidian church when we had four services. The top purpose is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It tells about several wise men who rode camels from the east to Bethlehem. It took the wise men about two months to make this journey. It was a long journey. It was not like travel today. If I want to go to the Germany, I will arrive there thirteen hours later. Why were these wise men willing to travel so long from the east to Bethlehem? In order to worship the baby Jesus. Why did they take so long from one place to another place. Why did they want to worship Jesus? Jesus is the king of Jewish people. Jesus is the king of the whole world.
How about us? We don’t need to take a long trip to go to Jesus. He is already with us, He is near us. Our body is his temple. Jesus is dwelling in our body. He is always with us. As long as Jesus is near us, how do we worship Him? Just attending the service is not enough; just attending the Christmas Eve service is not enough. We know that Christmas Day has already passed. We have already celebrated Jesus’ birth through many different services at the church. We know from:
John8:12 Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.
Jesus is the light of the world. This baby, whose birth we have just celebrated, John 8 :1, says “Jesus is the true light of the world.” He will shine upon this world. So he is the light of the world. He is the light among us.
How do we response to the true light?
This Sunday is the last Sunday of 2012. Our theme throughout this year has been walking as children of light. This year we have studied Ephesians, and the book of Ruth. We had series of sermons on work, and on love and courtship. Through these messages, we tried to know this True Light better, and learn how to live as children of light. What does it mean to live as children of light? It means that after we get to know this light, we need to respond to this light. So what is our response to Him? Let us consider two aspects of transformation as we respond to Him.
The first aspect of transformation is about our identity as God’s people. We must remember that we are heavenly people, we are children of the True Light, and we are temporary residents in the world.
The wise men presented the baby Jesus with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. This was their response to Jesus, the true light of the world--to worship Him with the best gifts they could think of. Gold is a gift for royalty, so the wise men were recognizing that Jesus is the king. We all that know Jesus is our king. Sometimes we claim that He is the king of kings. He is the Lord of lords. If a person is called a king, he should have a country. So Jesus has His kingdom.
Who belong to His kingdom? All people who trust in Him, including you and me. Do you know that you are heavenly people, that you belong to the kingdom of our God—the wonderful, awesome, great, and marvelous God? The Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus’ kingdom is the kingdom of light. In Colossians 1:12-13, he says that we should “give thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” So our God’s kingdom is the kingdom of light. In Matthew6 Jesus told us to seek his kingdom and righteousness first.
Let this thought enlighten your imagination: Your identity is being the people of God’s kingdom, you are the children of the True light. In Ephesians 5:8, Paul says: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Paul said this to encourage the Ephesians to live as children of light. Have you thanked God for your identity? As we are children of light, we belong to God’s kingdom, we know that we don’t belong to this world, but are temporary residents in the world. Even though we are temporary residents in the world, we have the responsibility to live as children of the True Light in the world, to be the light of this world, to show God’s light to this world, and to live with an eternal perspective in this world. If you live in Beijing, you should be the light of Beijing. If you work in a company, you should be the light to shine in this company. If you marry to somebody, you should be the light shining to your life partner. If you are a friend, so be the light to shine your friends. As you are the children of God. We can see God’s greatness in this world which He has created. The universe reflects God’s kingdom.
Do you know how many galaxies there are in the universe? There are more than three hundred and fifty billion, and this is a conservative estimate. And think about all the human beings in this world! There are men, women, young people, old people, Chinese people and foreigners. The universe and the human beings show us how great our God is. He created this universe in adversity. He gave us His most beloved Son to rescue us from darkness and bring us into His light, to save us from death and give us life. His kingdom is forever. His light will shine forever. In His kingdom, you can taste true joy, light, love, peace and life. He is not just the king in heaven. He is the king who will always think about you, care about you and love you unconditionally. And you and I are in this wonderful kingdom. We are so blessed to be His children. Have you ever praised God because of your identity in Him? Have you ever given thanks to our God for His greatness? Have you ever given thanks for His Kingdom? Please remember, we are so blessed to be the people of His kingdom, to the children of the True Light.
Almost all of us have done some travelling. When you travel, you probably don’t care very much about what you are going to eat and drink, and where you will sleep during your trip. Because you know that place is not your home, you are just staying there temporarily. Even though you could face some trouble, you know everything will go away soon. But for us, we often forget that we are living temporarily in this world. Our home is not here, our home is in heaven; we are the people of God’s kingdom. If we can have an eternal perspective on our life in the world, we will have a different attitude for facing our daily situations, and our behavior will change.
How do you act out this identity in your daily life? Even though we do not belong to the world, God doesn’t save us to get us out of the world. God saves us to have us start living for eternity in this world. Have we had the attitude of starting to live for eternity now, in our own life? If we remember our identity and practice it in our own life, our life will be totally different. For example, suppose you are at the workplace and face a big problem. But when you know that you are a child of the True Light, you will have an positive attitude to solve your problem. You will be confident that you work for Him, for His kingdom, and no matter how big the problem is, God will be in your work, and He will work with you, you are not alone. If you are married, treat your wife or husband as the Lord told us in the Bible. In this way, we can act out our identity in our daily life.
The apostle Paul knew his identity. So he could say: “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) How does he describe his troubles? — light and momentary. How does he describe the glory that his troubles will achieve?—eternal glory that far outweighs them.
How about us? How do we describe our own sufferings that we are facing? Are they light and momentary for us? If we remember that we are the people of God’s kingdom, children of the True Light, then we will be very positive to face all the situations in our own lives. We will have a totally different lifestyle. We will be eager for God’s kingdom, and seek all the things that please God and that He cares about.
Dear brothers and sisters, Psalm 90:10 says: “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength.” But our eternal life is forever, with no end. Think about it. Let me give you an example: Our life in the world is like a bottle of water, and our eternal life is like a sea. But for most of us, we sometimes use all of our energy, our eyes, and our heart to focus on the bottle of water, and we forget the vastness of the sea. Does this reflect our life? We forget that we have eternal life. Our life will never end. So brothers and sisters, I encourage you to focus on Jesus.
So, instead of trying to find a good job, looking for a life partner, making more money, what we should I do? What does it really mean to “seek God’s kingdom first” for me personally in my everyday life? How do we live eternity on earth? It means God should be put number one place in our heart. We should seek to please Him in every small thing in our lives. Dear brothers and sisters, open your eyes. Your life can be totally different. You need to live for Him only. Like the apostle Paul, you need to have the right attitude to look at all the things happening in your life, and be positive to solve all the problems you face.
You know that many things you are pursuing may change immediately. You don’t know the length of your life on earth. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. But we do know that God’s kingdom never changes, the true light never goes out. How do we really live with our true identity? Do whatever He commands us in the Bible. When you solve anything in your life, remember that you are the children of light, the people of God’s kingdom. It will never go away and it will last forever.
The wise men came to worship the baby Jesus. How about us - how do we worship Him? We can worship the Lord by remembering our identity as heavenly people, children of the True light and acting it out in our daily life. I am sure this is the beautiful way to worship our Lord during this Christmas season. How do we live as children of light?
Let us go on to the second aspect of transformation in responding to Jesus, the True Light. This is about our calling to be the messengers of Jesus Christ.
The wise men were guided by the star, so they could come from the east to Jerusalem. God uses a star to lead the wise men to the baby Jesus. Shall we be used by God like that star? From Matthew 5:14-16, we know that Jesus makes us the light of the world today. He said: “You are the light of the world.” Being light means shining and giving people light. Shall we be the light to deliver the gospel to the people who are in the dark now?
We know that today many people in the world live in darkness, just like at the time of Jesus’ birth, when Herod tried to kill the baby Jesus. The Jewish people were full of shame and hopelessness as they lived under Roman rule. They needed God’s salvation.
December 1st was World AIDS Day. There are 2031 persons who were infected by AIDS in Beijing this year. The main cause for the spread of the AIDS infection is sexual relations outside of marriage. Why the sexual impurity could be the top reason? It is because many people are living in the dark and lose control of their sexual passions.
And many people are facing psychological problems. Depression（抑郁症）is the top mental disease. There are sixteen million people suffering from depression in China. There are two hundred and eighty thousand people who commit suicide because of depression every year. On the average, one person commits suicide every 20 seconds. Why do they commit suicide? Their hearts are in the dark. They do not have hope in this world. They need Jesus, they need salvation. They need hope in this world.
So brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you to be the light of this world. Deliver the message to them.
Sometimes you feel there is no effect when you share the gospel with others, please remember that it is not your responsibility to make others trust in God. Your part is to share the gospel, and to bring people to the light. God’s part is to transform them into children of light. Don’t be discouraged with your work, but be confident, for you don’t work alone, God is with you. You are joining Him in His work, the work of His kingdom.
Can you count how many hours have you worked for the eternal seed? So let us deliver the gospel to someone who has no joy, and is hopeless, full of worry. We can share eternal life to the people who want to live longer and pursue a high quality life.
Can you imagine that God can use you and me to be His testimony?
Our college fellowship held an evangelistic service on December 15. Before the service started, I was a little bit nervous, because I had never spoken in an evangelistic service before. I didn’t know how to speak so that non-believers could easily understand and then accept Jesus as their own Savior. About half an hour before the service started, we prayed together. Through the prayer, I knew that I was working with God, that I was simply joining God in His work. The service was not about me, it was all about Him. He could do wonderful things beyond my imagination. I could put everything in His hands. He would be in charge of the service. My responsibility was to glorify Him. His responsibility was to draw people He wanted to save. So I was comforted by Him. And there were about one hundred people that came to the front to accept Jesus as their own Savior. This is all His work, praise Him.
So dear brothers and sisters, come on, work with our great God, to be His messengers, to deliver His good news to people in the darkness.
So dear brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you to be the messengers of Jesus Christ in the following year. Our Lord is the true light. From today, we know, our response to the true light is to remember that we are heavenly people, we are children of the true light, we have an eternal perspective to face all the things we encounter in our own life. God calls us to be the messengers of Jesus Christ, to deliver God’s light, life, hope, joy and salvation to the people in the dark.
Let’s make these our wishes or resolutions for the New Year:
I affirm that…
· I am a person of God’s kingdom,
· I am a child of the True Light,
· I am a temporary resident in this world,
· I will seek God’s kingdom first,
· I will act out this identity in my own life,
· I will be the messenger to deliver the true joy, peace, love, hope, light and life to people who live in dark.
May Lord bless all of us and we can follow him with our actions. Amen.