In just a few weeks, my wife will be giving birth to our fourth kiddo. She’s a pro at this. You know how I know? She will have birthed all four kids in just five years.
And let me tell you, we didn’t have them so close together because I have baby fever. The reason we have four kids in five years is because I like my wife. And honestly, I consider it a great blessing to care for God’s kids.
But you know how small kids tend to be afraid of the dark? And all you have to do to help them feel safe again is turn on this tiny little night light. Somehow that 1-watt bulb drives away all the darkness so they are no longer afraid.
It’s really amazing what a little light can do.
My oldest daughter, Leanna, is five and she likes a lot of light. In our master bathroom, we have four lights over each vanity with super-bright daylight bulbs in them so Beth can get her makeup just right.
We only use these during the day because there is another less-intrusive light we use at night.
When Leanna was a little bit younger, she would use our bathroom first thing in the morning. She is always the first one awake (still is). I can’t tell you how many times Beth and I were jolted out of our sleep because Leanna would turn on all the bright daylight bulbs around five in the morning.
It took us a while to get her to understand why she should use the other light instead, but we finally got her trained.
And now, she doesn’t even use our bathroom at all. Turns out, when you have lots of small kids, you find the need to set up some boundaries so that you have your own space – even if it is just the bathroom.
I tell you this story to show you how it just takes a little bit of light to dispel darkness. And when you read through the Bible, you read over and over about light overcoming darkness. It’s a big deal.
So let’s go to the first time light is mentioned in the Bible. Because when it comes to the Bible, there’s significance in the first time you read about a specific principle. And wouldn’t you know, it’s found in the first chapter of the very first book of the Bible, Genesis:
Genesis 1:1-3 NLT – In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
So, God was hovering over the darkness, realized that something needed to be done, and these were the first words out of His mouth:
Genesis 1:1-3 NLT – Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
If your kids don’t like the dark, don’t get mad at them because God apparently doesn’t like it either.
But there is significance in this. The first words God says in the Bible is, “Let there be light.” And then all throughout the Bible you’ll read about light overcoming darkness. Even thousands of years later, when Jesus spoke about His own life, he said:
John 12:46 NLT – I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
God was motivated by the darkness to create light.
Jesus was motivated by cultural darkness to be the light.
That’s why we are here celebrating Christmas. It’s because Jesus came to save us from the dark.
Christmas doesn’t exist so that we can have a nice holiday and give gifts and eat more food than we do the rest of the year. No, Christmas exists because Jesus wants to bring light into the darkness of our lives.
To illustrate this, I actually want to share a part of the Christmas story that you don’t hear much about this time of year.
You see, the first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all have one purpose, to tell the story of Jesus. The first and the third book, Matthew and Luke, tell what we call the Christmas story.
Mark and John, the second and fourth book, skip past the whole story of Christmas and jump into Jesus as an adult. This is easy to look over, so take a look at what I mean:
John 1:1-2 NLT – In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.
The story of Jesus didn’t start in the manger. Jesus has been here all along.
He’s always been a part of what God is doing. That’s why John’s version of the Christmas story is different than you’d expect:
John 1:4-5 NLT – The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
This right here is the real Christmas story. The other gospels give the details of the birth of Jesus, but John gives us the significance of the birth of Jesus.
Jesus came to overcome darkness.
Because no matter who you are, myself included, we all have darkness in our lives. And it comes in varying degrees.
I remember my first encounter with depression that came on me shortly after my second child was born. The lack of sleep combined with several members of my close family passing away within months of each other caused me to slip into this darkness.
Maybe you can relate. The cause might be different. Maybe you lost a job, or you’re struggling in your marriage, or your health seems to be falling apart, or you’re just a little bit sad and you don’t really know why.
But there’s one kind of darkness worse than all of these. It’s spiritual darkness. This is when you keep living in sin and you don’t have any way to get out of it. So, you just carry it around and keep piling it on.
And listen, I sin just like everyone else in this room. But the difference is, I know that I can take it to my Savior, Jesus Christ, who will not only forgive me, but will dust me off, clean me up, and help me get rid of the sin.
There’s nothing darker than carrying around the weight of your own bad choices. The shame and the guilt and the disappointment, it’s heavier than any other kind of darkness.
When looking for stories in the Bible about Jesus bringing light into the darkness, there’s plenty to choose from. But let me share one with you.
This is when the religious leaders of the day caught a woman committing adultery and then tried to use this woman to trick Jesus. They brought her to Jesus making sure He knew that the law of that day said that she should be stoned to death for her sin.
And then they asked Him, “So, what are you going to do? Are you going to fulfill the law and kill this woman? Or are you going to be merciful and disobey the law?”
Of course, Jesus knew exactly what to do and simply said, “Whoever is without sin, go ahead and through the first stone.” They thought they had Jesus in a pickle, but He turned it around on them.
At this point, all the religious people walked away one by one until it was just Jesus and the woman and He asked her, “Who accuses you?”
She said, “No one.” And Jesus replied, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
You’ve probably heard or read that story before and that’s usually where it ends. But the most profound thing happens in the very next verse:
John 8:12 NLT – Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
So this is what Jesus said right after this whole ordeal with the woman who committed adultery. He was basically saying, “Did you see how she just walked away with freedom? I can do the same for you. I can bring light into your life so you no longer have to walk in darkness.”
Jesus wants to bring light into your marriage. He wants to bring light to your health, and to your kids, and your emotions. Jesus wants to flood your life with light so you no longer have to walk in darkness.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Kade, is it really that easy?” Well, there is a condition. And you find it in the very first scripture we read today.
Let there be light.
You have to let Jesus bring light into your life. And we all know what the word ‘let’ means, but I looked it up in the dictionary anyways and check this out:
Let – not prevent or forbid; allow.
Man, who would have known that the dictionary could preach better than me. When I looked this up, I thought I was in church. Come on now, preach it brother Webster.
Here’s what it’s saying. You don’t have to convince Jesus to bring light into your life. You don’t have to do something to earn it. He’s sitting there, patient waiting for you to not prevent or forbid Him but to allow Him to come into your life.
To get out of the darkness, simply allow Jesus into your life.
This isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a daily choice. Every day, you have to wake up and make the choice to follow Jesus. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself walking in the dark.
Honestly, I’ve been concerned lately because I see a lot of people claiming to be a Christian and yet they welcome darkness into their lives and they encourage their friends and family to live in darkness.
And I get it. Culture plays a good game. They convince us that it is wrong to push against what the Bible calls sin. But we’ve been soft on sin for years and look around at the result! I mean, is this really working?
Are people living more fulfilled lives? Are relationships stronger than they used to be? Are people happier than they used to be?
No. People are miserable because they’ve believed the lie that it is better to live in darkness than to face the light and walk free from darkness.
The American church has just played along. We’ve painted this beautiful, fraudulent picture that all you have to do to get to heaven is say a prayer one Sunday at church.
But salvation can’t be purchased. There is nothing that you can do to be saved. Not even the prayer you said one Sunday morning can save you!
What saves you is believing in Jesus. And when you believe in Jesus, you follow Jesus.
In other words, following Jesus is not what saves you. Following Jesus is the result of believing in Jesus!
If you think you’re saved but you are not following Jesus, then I’m going to be real with you. Jesus is not what you believe in. You believe in something else.
Maybe you believe what mainstream media has been telling you. Maybe you believe what you learned in college from someone who thought their way was better than the way of Jesus. Maybe you just believe what you want to believe.
The reality is, if you are not following Jesus, then you really don’t believe in Jesus and today is your chance to change your belief.
I know, this is hard to hear. I was supposed to keep things light and cheery, but that wouldn’t do you any good. I’m here to bring you the truth. And if you think I’ve been too forward with you today, take a look at what Jesus says:
John 8:47 NLT – Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.
How do you know if you truly belong to God? You gladly listen to His words – the Bible. Even when it goes against what you want to do. Especially when the Bible says something different than culture. You gladly listen to the Word of God.
I want to end this message with a question:
Do I truly belong to God?
If the answer is yes, awesome. Take this time to thank God for His Word.
If you don’t know the answer to this question, now is the time to let there be light. And the way you do that is to truly believe in Jesus.