This past weekend I had the privilege of sharing a Christian message at the Parkrose Nursing Home Sunday service in Adelaide.
Below is the order of service and a copy of the notes I spoke from.
Parkrose Service 3/1/16
Welcome and Call to worship
Hymn: “Come let us sing of a wonderful love”
Bible Reading: John 1:1-18 Living Bible
Hymn: “Kindred in Christ for His dear sake”
Church Prayer: Geoff
Hymn: “Lord the light of your love is shining.”
Sermon: “ A light shining in the Darkness”
Hymn: “I heard the voice of Jesus say”
Benediction and Vesper. “Now unto Him”
John 1Living Bible (TLB)
1 1-2 Before anything else existed,[a] there was Christ,* with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. 3 He created everything there is—nothing exists that he didn’t make. 4 Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. 5 His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.
6-7 God sent John the Baptist as a witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the true Light. 8 John himself was not the Light; he was only a witness to identify it.
9 Later on, the one who is the true Light arrived to shine on everyone coming into the world.
10 But although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. 11-12 Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them.[b] 13 All those who believe this are reborn!—not a physical rebirth[c] resulting from human passion or plan—but from the will of God.
14 And Christ[d] became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness* and truth. And some of us have seen his glory*—the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father!*
15 John pointed him out to the people, telling the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming who is greater by far than I am—for he existed long before I did!’” 16 We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—blessing upon blessing heaped upon us! 17 For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well. 18 No one has ever actually seen God, but, of course, his only Son has, for he is the companion of the Father and has told us all about him.
Genesis 1Living Bible (TLB)
1 When God began creating[a] the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was[b] a shapeless, chaotic mass,* with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors.*3 Then God said, “Let there be light.” And light appeared. 4-5 And God was pleased with it and divided the light from the darkness. He called the light “daytime,” and the darkness “nighttime.” Together they formed the first day.[c]
14-15 Then God said, “Let bright lights appear in the sky to give light to the earth and to identify the day and the night; they shall bring about the seasons on the earth, and mark the days and years.” And so it was. 16 For God had made two huge lights, the sun and moon, to shine down upon the earth—the larger one, the sun, to preside over the day and the smaller one, the moon, to preside through the night; he had also made the stars. 17 And God set them in the sky to light the earth, 18 and to preside over the day and night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God was pleased. 19 This all happened on the fourth day.[g]
“A light shining in the Darkness”
Have you ever been afraid of the Dark?
I would suggest that most of us have had this fear from most of our lives.
Sometimes it is stronger than at others.
If we are in a dark mysterious unfamiliar place by ourselves we may know this fear.
If we are with others in the same place we are less likely to feel unsafe because of the idea of safety in numbers.
We have more confidence when with friends and love ones.
The cloak of darkness is when burglars and like people up to no good, are up to tricks.
A simple way to allay our fears is often to turn a light on or in fact leave lights on constantly.
One of my fond recollections as a young person was on a family holiday to Port Vincent.
My Dad had recently purchased a Torch with a long battery compartment which held several large batteries.
We went for walks on the beach at night armed with Dad’s torch and I was amazed at how far it could shine and how well it penetrated the darkness.
I have had a fascination with powerful torches ever since.
There seemed to be something magical about them.
Our grandchildren like nothing better to turn the lights off and shine torches and even their star wars light sabres.
Light is one of the premier wonders of God’s creation.
Without light very little food would grow. (Mushrooms do grow in the dark)
Light each day paints a beautiful canvas of colour for us.
Sunrises, Sunsets,Flowers, Blue skies and oceans, colourful birds and the list is endless.
Without light we would not be able to see anything.
Something has colour only when light shines on it.
In the dark everything is the same colour.
God created the Sun and Moon and stars which all give us light.
Without them we would not be able to measure time,or have seasons for agriculture.
From Genesis we have this:14-15 Then God said, “Let bright lights appear in the sky to give light to the earth and to identify the day and the night; they shall bring about the seasons on the earth, and mark the days and years.” And so it was. 16 For God had made two huge lights, the sun and moon, to shine down upon the earth—the larger one, the sun, to preside over the day and the smaller one, the moon, to preside through the night; he had also made the stars. 17 And God set them in the sky to light the earth, 18 and to preside over the day and night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God was pleased. 19 This all happened on the fourth day.[g]
There is no doubt that without light we are sunk.
Light is a gift from God and spiritually also the gift of God Himself.
Ever since the birth of Jesus light has been overcoming the darkness.
In the course of History there have always been Christian people allowing the light of Jesus to shine through them to their part of the world.
I have a wonderful series of three books that traces the history of the Christian Church from Pentecost through to the birth of Europe
The books highlights and clearly shows that since Jesus came and people have embraced Him as Lord and Saviour His light has never been extinguished.
They were all Christians shining their light and using their gifts in the darkness.
I remember being amazed once when I was at work and attending a farewell function for one of my supervisors.
I knew him to be a Christian but even so I was surprised at what he said to me at his farewell.
People had been lining up to shake his hand personally and as my turn came he looked at me and said. “Geoff , you will be a light shining in the wilderness!”
He knew I was a Christian but I was not prepared for that especially when he said it within earshot of other managers and workmates.
I guess it was then that it hit home to me that we can all shine the light of our Lord wherever we are and we often are making an impact without realising it.
At work, in our families, in our clubs, amongst our friends, in Parkrose, in fact anywhere.
The Queen of England made her customary Christmas Message speech just recently.
Here are some extracts from her speech.
“At this time of year, few sights evoke more feelings of cheer and goodwill than the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree.
Gathering round the tree gives us a chance to think about the year ahead -- I am looking forward to a busy 2016, though I have been warned I may have Happy Birthday sung to me more than once or twice. It also allows us to reflect on the year that has passed, as we think of those who are far away or no longer with us. Many people say the first Christmas after losing a loved one is particularly hard. But it’s also a time to remember all that we have to be thankful for.
It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
For Joseph and Mary, the circumstances of Jesus's birth -- in a stable – were far from ideal, but worse was to come as the family was forced to flee the country. It’s no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.
Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ's unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another. Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn't be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.
There’s an old saying that “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness”.
There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them, and for all that brings light to our lives.”
You can look up and read all of Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas messages.
She indeed shines the light of Jesus in her position as Queen and also in her own family.
A family like any other that has had it’s share of sadness and tragedy.
In John chapter 8 we read this.
Later, in one of his talks, Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.”
It follows that one of the most important verses in the Bible for us as Christians is this:
In 1 John 1:7 he says, “If we walk in the light as He [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”A light shining in the darkness!
So what is actually walking in the light?
The Bible tells us quite clearly what it is.
We hear again from John in in 1 John 2
7 Dear brothers, I am not writing out a new rule for you to obey, for it is an old one you have always had, right from the start. You have heard it all before. 8 Yet it is always new, and works for you just as it did for Christ; and as we obey this commandment, to love one another, the darkness in our lives disappears and the new light of life in Christ shines in.
9 Anyone who says he is walking in the light of Christ but dislikes his fellow man is still in darkness. 10 But whoever loves his fellow man is “walking in the light” and can see his way without stumbling around in darkness and sin. 11 For he who dislikes his brother is wandering in spiritual darkness and doesn’t know where he is going, for the darkness has made him blind so that he cannot see the way.
It is really that simple.
We need to love as Jesus loves,
Unconditionally and forgiving all who may have wronged us.
Some time ago I came across an interview on the internet by a Christian television station of a young girl called Miriam who was about 8 years old at the time.
It was in her own language and there were english subtitles.
She displayed a wisdom and faith beyond her years and spoke of missing her home, her school friends and freedom she once enjoyed.
She was living in a refugee camp.
She spoke of forgiving the terrorists who forced them out of their town.
At the end of the interview she sung a beautiful Christian song that is a wonderful testimony.
That interview has been seen by many around the world since and she has indeed been a light shining in the darkness.
Below is a link to the video interview with Miriam.
and also recent Christianity Today article
As we move forward into 2016 there will more that likely be many challenges that this world has to face and for us personally we may have to deal with serious illness, problems within our families but any darkness we may encounter is no match for the Light of Jesus!