Rev Bill\’s Sermons

January 28, 2008

John 1:29-42

Filed under: John — revbill @ 7:40 pm

John 1:29-42

“Let It Shine”

January 20, 2008

Read Scripture

 

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
      Won’t let Satan blow it out , I’m gonna let it shine.
      Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine,

                         let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
               Hide it under a bushel

               NO!  I’m gonna let it shine.
              Hide it under a bushel

              NO!  I’m gonna let it shine,

                       Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

            This is one of my favorite “children’s songs” or spirituals.  It’s easy to remember — and fun to sing.   It’s just one of those “fun songs” that I enjoy! 

            I was surprised when I was on the internet the other day and just happened to “goggle” “This Little Light Of Mine” to see that there are several videos of Bruce Springsteen singing “This Little Light of Mine” in concert.  Of course, it goes a little bit faster than the version I was used to singing!

        This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”  That comes from the Sermon on the Mount, where in Matthew 5:14-15 Jesus said:

“You are the light of the world.

A city built on a hill cannot be hid.

No one after lighting a lamp

puts it under the bushel basket,

but on the lampstand,

and it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).

      So we sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

      I can remember singing that song as a child. It was fin to sing and fun  to do the motions — it was fun to shout no! — and not get into trouble for it. Even as a child, I had some idea what “I’m gonna let it shine” meant.  I understood that I was pledging to let my light shine for Jesus.  I wasn’t sure how I could do that –– or even if I could do that –– but I knew it was a promise –– and I wanted to keep the promise!

      “I’m gonna let it shine.” 

      Are you letting your little light shine for Jesus? 

      John the Baptist let his light shine for Jesus – and others learned about Jesus and came to believe in Jesus because of it.

      Andrew let his light shine for Jesus, too.

      Are you letting your light shine for Jesus?

      There are a lot of you in this congregation are letting their lights shine.  Some have public and very visible roles — like George and Glen – but many of you shine your lights in quieter ways.  Some of you teach Sunday school or sing in the choir.  Some of you serve as ushers. Some of you serve as Elders – and some serve on committees.  Some of you invite friends and neighbors to come to church with them.  Some of you give generously to support the work of the Church or the missions we support.  Some of you just have a kind word and a smile for everyone they meet.  Some of you do several of these things –– and then again some of you do many of these things. 

      Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      I have heard it said that in most churches twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work.  That is probably true. When it comes to letting their light shine for Jesus, some people are like a thousand-watt light bulb.  They shine their light so brightly that they light many different corners.  Their work brightens all our lives.  But — I have to wonder what it would be like if we could have thirty percent of the people involved like that –– or forty percent –– or fifty percent – or – dare I say it — a hundred percent.  After all, every Christian ought to be letting his or her light shine for Jesus in some way. 

      John the Baptist let his light shine.  God had not called John to be one of Jesus’ disciples, but he had  called John to point others to Jesus. 

      That’s what we see John doing in our Gospel lesson today. 

      To understand what John was doing, we need to know a little about him. 

      John was a prophet –– the first prophet Israel had known for 400 years.  People flocked after him.  Instead of setting up a tent at the edge of a city, John went to the desert to preach –– and people came by the thousands to hear him.  He had many disciples.  He was like a religious rock star. But one day John was standing with two of his disciples when he saw Jesus walking by.  John said to his two disciples,

      “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” ––

      at which John’s two disciples left him –– and began to follow Jesus.

      John was letting his little light shine –– and it cost him!  In this case, it cost him two disciples.  We don’t get any indication that John was disappointed at their leaving or that he was jealous of Jesus.  Whenever we hear about John, he is telling everyone how wonderful Jesus is.  John knew that God had sent him to prepare the way for Jesus, and he was happy to do that.

      John the Baptist let his light shine! 

      Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      Two of John’s disciples left him and began to follow Jesus.  One of the disciples was Andrew, and we don’t even know the other disciple’s name.  We don’t know much about Andrew either.  Andrew is one of Jesus’ disciples who mostly stands in the background–  but quiet Andrew did one thing that turned out well.  He went to get his brother, Simon Peter, and said, “We have found the Messiah!”  He brought Peter to Jesus, and Peter became the leader of Jesus’ disciples. 

      Andrew let his light shine! 

      Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      You see — that’s the way it works.

      One Christian lets their light shine, and that light changes another person’s life.  Then that person lets his their light shine, and that light changes someone else’s life. 

      It’s kind of  like throwing a stone in a lake and watching the ripples.  How far do the ripples go?  How many lives do they touch?  It is not possible to say.  God can keep the ripples going for a very long time.

      I am reminded of Mordecai Ham. 

      Mordecai was an evangelist.  In 1934, he conducted a revival meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.  One of the people who came forward was a tall, gangly boy who had just turned sixteen.  I don’t know how many other people came forward.  I don’t know whether Mordecai felt that he had conducted a successful revival.  He may have not remembered that sixteen year old boy very long.  But that boy was Billy Graham, who took the light that Mordecai Ham had given him and held it aloft for everyone to see. 

      Modecai Ham let his light shine.

      Billy Graham let his light shine.

      Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      How well do you let your light shine?

      When we let our light shine, how far does it shine? 

      How much good does it do? 

      Does it change lives? 

      Does it help people? 

      Only God knows!  But God is faithful.  If we go through life letting our light shine for Jesus, we can be sure that God will make something of it.  We won’t know the full effects during our lifetime.  But just wait until we get to heaven.  I believe that God will reveal to us wonders that we never imagined.  I believe that God will show us that our lives really counted for something –– if we let our lights shine.

      A few years ago the Christian music artist wrote and recorded a song entitled “Thank You For Giving To The Lord”.   The setting for the song was a dream in which someone was in heaven and all kinds of people were coming to them and thanking them for what they had done for Jesus in their lives.  People who the person in the dream had never even met were coming up to them and saying:

Thank you for giving to the Lord.

I am a life that was changed.

Thank you for giving to the Lord

I am so glad you gave.

      That’s what happens when we give to the Lord.

      I believe that’s what happens when we let our light shine for Jesus.

       Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      John the Baptist let his light shine and many people – including some of his disciples – discovered and followed Jesus.

      Andrew let his light shine and Peter – and I am sure many others – followed Jesus.

      Mordecai Ham let his light shine and many – including Billy Graham – followed Jesus.

      Billy Graham let his light shine and countless people have come to know about Jesus.

      Let your light shine!

      There is no telling what the effect will be if you let your light shine for Christ!

      Let your light shine!

       Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      John the Baptist – Andrew – Mordecai Ham – - Billy Graham – and thousands of others throughout the centuries have let their light shine for Christ – and others lives have been changed. 

How do we let our light shine for Christ?

            Do we do this by going out and telling others about what God has done for us – and can do for them?

            Of course — that is one way.

            But it’s not the only way!

            In fact — unless we back up what we say about Christ with actions — what we say will lose it’s desired effect.

            By our words — and our actions — we need to tell the world that we know that Christ has come — that we know that Christ has changed our lives — and that we know that Christ can change the world.

            By our words and actions we can let our lights shine!

You see –  Andrew was so excited to tell others about Christ that he could hardly wait to tell Peter. 

He could hardly wait to let his light sine!

             Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

Like Andrew — you have exciting news to tell!

            Let your light shine!

Let your words and your actions proclaim the presence of Christ in your life — and in our world. Let Christ change your life — have a life-changing relationship with Christ — then proclaim the life-changing — world-changing — power of Christ in all you say — and in all you do.

Let the light of Christ shine through you!

            Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      Now — you may be wondering —

      What words — and what actions — do I use?

            Well, you use words that leave no doubt that your life has been changed by Christ — and the lives of others can be changed by Christ, also. 

Words that tell of salvation through Christ — of forgiveness of sins — the things you have experienced in Christ — but don’t limit it to salvation of our souls. 

            You also need words of love and caring — words of compassion — words that not only communicate repentance and salvation — but words that communicate to those in need the Christ has come — your life has been changed — you have been given new life and new hope — and their lives can be changed — and they can have new life and new hope, also.

You use words that let the light and love of Christ shine through you.

            Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

            You can tell about Christ in your words — but you can also tell about Christ in your actions.

            You can let the light of Christ shine through your words – but you can also let the light of Christ shine through your actions.

            Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

            Let your life be changed by Christ — have a life-changing relationship with Christ — and then act in ways that leave no doubt in others minds that their lives can be changed, also. 

            Have actions that show the love, compassion, and caring of Christ to those in need — and everyone is in need in some way — whether that need be spiritual, emotional, or physical. 

            Let Christ change — and make a difference in — your life — then have actions that show to the world — to everyone you come into contact with — that Christ has come — that your life has been changed — and theirs can, too. In fact, the Church — the community — the world can be changed — because Christ has come!

            Let the love of Christ shine through you!

            Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

            The world — the community — everyone you meet every day — need desperately to hear and see that Christ has come. Everyone — regardless of their station in life or the level of their needs — need to hear and see that Christ has come.

      So what – specifically — do you have to do to let your light shine? 

      That depends on what God calls you to do and gives you the gifts to do. 

      God calls and gives gifts to some of us to be preachers–– and others to be Sunday school teachers –– and others to be organists or pianists or choir leaders or choir members –– and others to lead the Church from the Session – and others to work with youth – and others to help with the finances of the Church — and so many more things that are vital to how this Church and it’s ministry is conducted.  But, most of all, God calls us to be Christians –– people who try to live as Jesus would have us live.  That, in itself, can be a powerful witness.  Philip Yancey, the Christian author, asks:

“What would happen in the national consensus

if these nine words came to mind

when you said the word, ‘Christian’:

love, joy peace,

patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?”

       Those are the nine things that the Apostle Paul listed as the fruits of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatian church (Galatians 5:22-23):

“Love, joy peace,

patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?”

      Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      Not all of us are called to be preachers. 

      Not all of us are called to be Sunday school teachers. 

      Not all of us are called to be choir members.

      But all of us –– all of us ––are called to bear the fruits of the Spirit. 

      What could God do with your life if the people who know you best would think of you as a person filled with:

“Love, joy peace,

patience, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?”

      What could God do with your life if you were to shine to light of Christ into the world!

      What could God do with this Church if 10 – 30 – 50 – or 100% of us were willing to let the light of Christ shine through us?

      What could God do in the community – and in the world – if we meant it when we sang:

       This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

                                                            let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

      And really meant it?

      I’m calling on each of us today to do some soul-searching. 

      God wants to make something out of your life. 

      God does not want you to live a life of drudgery. 

      God does not want you to go through life just putting one foot in front of the other. 

      God wants you live a joyful, productive life.

      God wants you to be a light shining in the darkness –– helping others who are trying to find their way.       God wants you to know that it is important that you are alive – that you are letting the light of Christ shine though you.  God wants to have a wonderful tour set up for you in heaven filled with each person yiou have touched for Him.

      So what can you do? 

      You can let your light shine!

     The first thing is to pray –– asking God to reveal what he has in mind for your life. 

      The second thing is to listen –– to hear God when he speaks. 

      And then, when God shows you something that needs doing, do it. 

      When God shows you someone who needs helping, help them. 

      When God shows you a problem, start looking for a solution. 

      With God’s help, you will be astonished at what you can do  –– if you just let your light shine.

      Like John the Baptist.

      Like Andrew.

      Like Mordecai Ham.

      Like Billy Graham.

      Like so many others have done.

      Let the light of Christ shine through you.

      Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

      Indeed:

 

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

                                                            let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.  Amen.

 

 

           

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