“Walk in the Light” Isaiah 2:2-5 from the New Year Sermon Series: Where Do We Go From Here?” Pastor Leonard · JANUARY 1, 2017January 5, 2017
- war, rumor of wars and violence and a culture of death pervades parts of places such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine/Israel along with the violence that is alive in our own cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago where 700 plus were murdered in 2016.
- The divisive vitriol associated with our most recent political process and its outcome has now rendered us both in and outside the church divided, distraught and depressed.
- Many of our nation’s migrants and immigrants, religious minorities now live in fear of being profiled, deported and separated
Indeed – “it is the worst of times”
“It is also – the best of times”
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”
- lift up our heads,
- open our eyes, and open up our hearts,
- lift up our voices and holy hands in the midst of the darkness that we will see – see with your spiritual eyes – what the prophet Isaiah is saying to us this morning in Isaiah 2 :
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. Out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
- weapons of war causing death and destruction will be transformed to bring about life and liberty! What we have in Isaiah 2 is a vision of God’s preferred future, a vision of health and wholeness not just for God’s people but for the entire world.
“Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”
“Come, O Come OCMC, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord together in 2017!”
- having a previous history of seeing the light of God in the past is inadequate…
- having a vision or vision statement about wanting God’s light isn’t enough,
- praying about receiving/experiencing God’s light is needed yet apparently incomplete.
- even hearing/singing/reading about the light in our Scripture is not enough…..
“walk in the light of the Lord”
- We can continue “to busy ourselves” with being busy choosing to isolate ourselves in a “safe bubble” distancing ourselves from those that don’t think/look/act/pray like us (flee).
- We can join in the escalation of stone throwing (social media, etc.) that occurs and will only intensify between those who disagree (fight).
- Or we make a move towards the “True Light” of Jesus choosing to daily “Walk in the Light” of the Lord together. Recognizing Walking in the Light of Christ is a supernatural gift/act of grace by the Holy Spirit that will require of us to love and pray for our enemies, be discipled and disciple others and to passionately seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.
- A corrupt political system and unjust leader
- The Genocide of innocent male babies.
- A broken people – occupied violently by the Romans.
- An inconvenient birth. It was inconvenient enough that Jesus was conceived by Mary and Joseph out of wedlock- but their wasn’t even a place available to house them and he would spend his early years as a migrant crossing back and forth across the borders of Fertile Crescent.
“There’s nothing romantic about the Christmas story. If anything, it offers a slice of a brutal world in which a child is born on the street, so to speak, with next to nothing in the way of rights and security, and not even a home. He whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas said, even as a grown man, “…..I have no place to rest or lay my head”.…But now this man from Nazareth comes to us and invites us to mirror God’s image, and shows us how. He says: you too can become light, as God is light. Because what is all around you is not hell, but rather a world waiting to be filled with hope and faith.” Doors to the Feast
“4 In him/Jesus was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
“5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
- The so called Pagan wise men from the east – who surprisingly became the key witnesses of the True Light of Jesus.
“if you want to walk fast walk alone… if you want to walk far walk together”
- King Herod didn’t have the heart to look for the light.
- The religious (church folk like us) leaders didn’t have time to look for the light.
- And apparently the masses were blinded by the darkness of their own difficult existence.
“I am the Light of the world; he/she who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”John 8:12
“let (y)our light shine (in the darkness!) before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (So that people will come to church? So that people will give us a plague?) NO not at all – to lead them to the light which is Christ!” Matthew 5:16
- swords (weapons of destruction) will be turned into plowshares (prosperity)
- spears (weapons of death) will be turned into pruning hooks (life)
- Learning of war will be outdated!
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” “The chain reaction of hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
- Apathy and isolation hides well in the dark.
- Suspicion and hate hides well in the darkness.
- Anger and despair hides well in the dark
- Death & Destruction hides well in the darkness
“8 For you (and I) were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord.”
3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
- Remember Saul was very religious but his heart had become hardened from the darkness
- In fact his hardened religious heart led to him to hate specifically hate Christians
- His hardened heart – led him to hate – his hate – led him to want to hurt somebody instead of help somebody – in fact truth be told he sought to fight & kill Christians. We would call him a terrorist today.
- BUT when the light of Christ came upon him – Saul became Paul and a new man in Christ – the old was gone and the new had come! Paul
- For you it may not be as dramatic as the Damascus Road but it maybe closer to the Emmaus Road experience…where unlike Paul whose fear led him to fight these 2 disciples fear led them to try to Flee from the darkness (hide).. And on the slow winding Emmaus road Jesus opened the eyes of his disciples to see him clearly in the scriptures
“30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him,and he disappeared from their sight… 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem.”
- they got back up,
- walked in the light – right back into the darkness where death, destruction,
- We are going to walk in the light by being awoke in God’s word together – not just reading for education but transformation.
- We are going to walk in the light by praying together here on Sunday mornings prior to the service in our homes, in our workplace, and in the OC community.
- We are going to walk in the light of Christ by caring for one another – bearing one another’s burdens, discipleship, inviting a brother or sister to join us on our journey
- We are going to walk in the light in wisdom toward those who are outside (these walls), redeeming (and healing) this time.”~ Colossians 4: 5
- Look up – eyes, hands and heart
- Get up – putting down devices and distractions
- And began to walk together in 2)17 in the Light of the Lord
“Walk in the light, beautiful light, come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright. Oh shine all around us by day and by night, Jesus is, Jesus is the light of the world;”