Isaiah 60 Sermon – Arise and Shine!

In this sermon Tim looks at the prophecy in Isaiah 60 that the Light was to come to Israel, that light of course being Jesus, and that we have. part to play today in being a light to the world in all we do; spreading God’s love and hope to all those around us!

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday December 5, 2021.

05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Tim introduces us to our first sermon series in 2023, The Farewell Discourse Series – messages from John 12-17! Tim helps us understand who John is and the book itself leading up to chapter 12, before diving into chapter 12 vs 20-33 and what it means to follow Jesus! We can't wait for this series so make sure you stay tuned each week! SERMON NOTES: Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday February 5, 2023. Find out more here: Find us on Facebook here:
  1. 05/02/23 – John 12:20-33 Following Jesus & Intro – by Tim Giovanelli – The Farewell Discourse Series
  2. 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
  3. 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
  4. 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
  5. 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks


Isaiah Week 10 – Arise and Shine

Light really is a wonderful thing, particularly if you find yourself in darkness…

  • Blue Mountains – with Keir… down a 1000m into the valley
  • Signs two thirds in… Closed! Saw that as a suggestion rather than a command…
  • Soon the path got sketchy and the shadows got longer…
  • How we felt… 
  • Guy on the channel 10 news rescued by the Wespac helicopter and wrapped in an alfoil blanket…
  • Got back to the car in darkness… beep, beep… relief to be back in the light

Well, its right that we start December and this season of Advent with Isaiah proclaiming that light has come into the world…

  • We are in the last section of Isaiah in which a future picture is painted of what it looks like when God has saved, and the people are fulfilling their side of the covenant. 
  • Sadly for brevity, we skipped over the start of this section in Isaiah 54 when the people of God are told to enlarge the place of their tent, for they are about to spread out.
  • Isaiah 55 then has this incredible offer to us to “come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
  • It speaks to the grace and kindness of God that will be ushered in through Jesus. 
  • Underserved, unpaid for by us… but lavished upon us!

And then last week we saw in Isaiah 58 that when their spiritual practices match their commitment to justice and concern for the poor…

  • Verse 8, “then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear.” 
  • This whole section is simply amazing!

So we come today to Isaiah 60. Let me read verse 1-3

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

So verse 1, Arise, shine, your light has come…

Well all through the bible there is this amazing motif of light and darkness…

  • Darkness representing all that is wrong and broken about the world and in us…
  • And light representing God’s presence, his character and our mission…
  • Yes, that’s right, before Star Wars, the bible introduced us to the light and dark side…

Well from the beginning in Genesis it says God separates the light from the darkness and it says, he saw that the light was good. 

  • Light brings order to chaos…
  • Then, in Exodus, as God leads them out of slavery in Egypt his presence that guides them is light… 
  • Exodus 13:21“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.” 
  • So the very presence of God is characterised as a light!
  • As Psalm 27 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation. Whom then shall I fear?”
  • So in the Old Testament God is associated with light, and it is his light that guides, that protects and saves us

And the promise in Isaiah is that, they aint seen nothing yet! 

A great light is to come into the world… do you remember Isaiah 9? 

Verse 1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 

So, that’s the promise. A light is to come into the world that will end the gloom for those living in distress…

At this point in Israel’s history, when Isaiah was written, it is fair to say that there is nothing that suggests that they were functioning as a great light…

  • Remember the parable of the vineyard and them only producing bad fruit…
  • As one commentary puts it…  We meet with nothing in their history… which can be deemed a fulfillment of the prophecy in this chapter; we must conclude it relates principally to future events. 
  • As that amazing song we sing at Christmas says…

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 

Till He appeared And the soul felt its worth. 

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, 

for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 

So we read in Matthew 4 that the waiting is over.  

  • Talking about the coming of Jesus, his incarnation… the gospel writer quotes Isaiah 9
  • “People living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
  • The Gospel writer John in chapter 3 says; “This is the verdict, light has come into the world.”

But possibly my favourite moment in all of this is in John chapter 8

  • The people of God have gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. 
  • At this festival the people would quote these very verses from Isaiah about God being light.
  • They are waiting for the fulfilment of the prophecy that light would come… that God himself would come. 
  • John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  • Drenched in the fulfilment of these promises and prophecies… 
  • Jesus Christ, the light of the world!

So, in Isaiah 60 in response to “your light has come”, we are told by God to “Arise, shine!”

  • The imagery here is of the dawning of a new day 
  • In Hebrew, shine and light are two forms of the same word. Ow-re and Ow-rek.
  • We could translate this “give light for your light has come.”
  • Let me say that again… “give light for your light has come.”
  • As Jesus has come to bring light, we reflect this light into a dark world…

God’s presence now comes to live in us through his Holy Spirit. And that Spirit is his light which we are to bring that to bear on our world

  • Arise, and shine! This is active, not passive, The Hebrew word for arise literally means “stand up”. 
  • God is saying stand up and be counted. Stand up and shine.
  • That is why in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus will say; “You are the light of the world, let your light shine before others

So God’s children will have an incredible role to play in spreading that light… do you remember from a few weeks ago? 

Isaiah 42:5-7

It says; “I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

So what does being a light involve? 

Well it kind of goes back to last week and our deeds…

  • When God’s light breaks forth through us, it says, the blind are healed, the captives are freed and those in darkness and released.
  • That is what God wants to encourage us to give our lives to, to be involved in, to care about, to speak on behalf of…
  • After all, this is not about just getting saved, going to church and waiting to go to heaven!
  • It’s time to stand up and shine!

I heard… the Royal family never travels together…

  • So crucial, apparently are they to the future of humanity, that Prince Charles and Prince William cannot be in the same plane…
  • So a new decree, for the same reason… 
  • Manly Lifer’s can now never travel in more than groups of 5 because if we lose you, Manly will be plunged into gloom and darkness…

Does that sound ludicrous? Would Manly miss us? Could it survive without us? Are we essential?

  • Because that seems to be the suggestion that the Prophet Isaiah makes…
  • That God’s children are meant to be light in the world… 
  • And without us, the world is plunged into darkness, people become captive, oppressed.
  • The world loses it moral core, its sense of right and wrong, the value of every individual as special…
  • Maybe you think I am crazy! If you suggested that to people on the street what do you think they would think?
  • Well that is our role… the invaluable light of God, shining through us. 

Well the reason we need to bring this…

Is explained in the next bit of Isaiah 60. It says “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples.”

  • This is the reality of the world that we live in…
  • And I think this manifests in two was… the personal and the societal. 
  • On the personal we all deal with degrees of darkness within.
  • And it manifests in the gossip, the greed, the immorality that lives in us all. 
  • I think sometimes when we talk about sin or darkness we think mainly in terms of others, but the reality is that the line between light and darkness runs right through the heart of us all. 

I remember hearing a story about one of the earliest Westfield malls. 

  • It had no natural light… and not long after the grand opening, the power failed and all of the lights went out.
  • At first people froze, but then eventually carnage broke out. 
  • An hour later when the lights finally came back on, shelves had been stripped, clothes grabbed off racks and stolen. The place had been ransacked. 
  • Now either there was one bad person who somehow in an hour had ransacked an entire mall… or maybe it revealed something different
  • Maybe it revealed something about all of us?
  • The reality is that sin lives in us all, and when darkness covers, darkness is exposed…

That is what Jesus says in John 3; “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

But as we know darkness also manifests itself in injustice and poverty and oppression. 

  • The majority of the world do not know God, through Christ, in a saving, liberating way.
  • And the justice and freedom that comes from God’s people reflecting light is not a reality for billions of people.
  • Imagine living in Syria the last decade or being a refugee fleeing the violence in Ethiopia.
  • Imagine living under the caste system in India or as a woman in Saudi Arabia…
  • And it is not just globally…. What about on the beaches? We have the record for highest drink driving… domestic violence… relationships breaking down, kids doing stuff that would make you blush…
  • What about in you? Anxiety, always comparing yourself to others, habits you cant kick?
  • The world is, by and large, a dark place…

Well let’s not close on that bummer… because in Isaiah 60:1-3 it says that as we reflect light, the world is drawn into this great story!

 Vs 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 

  • This is our mission – Jesus calls us a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, the light of the world… reflecting God’s presence to the world around us.
  • And as we reflect the light of God’s presence and character living in us – the world is drawn to God. The darkness is beaten back and dispelled. 

In 123 AD – Emperor Hadrian began persecuting Christians. An eloquent Greek philosopher named Aristidies observed the Christians and wrote to him this…

“It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbours. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends.

 It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a travelling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.”

You see nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn

  • And while there are truly tragic moments in Christian history when followers of Jesus have committed the most atrocious crimes…
  • The reality is, that when we reflect Jesus, it can only bring light into the darkness… 
  • Here Adrian the persecutor was faced with the reality that it was the Christians who truly knew how to live in a remarkable way…
  • Giving what they had away, loving their neighbours, speaking gently to those who oppress them.
  • Bringing strangers under their roof, treating each other like brothers and sisters…

Well today, there is so much opportunity… I love this area, but I would be kidding myself to think that Manly is all sunshine and lollipops… 

  • And I would simply say, find your thing… find your way to shine the light of Christ that lives in you into a dark world. 
  • First and foremost people need Jesus… and this Christmas what an opportunity to bring friends to church to hear the good news of the gospel. 
  • I was so blessed last week by how many people signed up to help with the Salvation Army… feeding the homeless and giving dignity here in Manly. 

And of course using your money well… if you live here, you are in the top 6% of wealth in the world… so use your time and money to be the light!

  • So many of you individually support Homes of Hope International, 
  • And just this week we committed to giving $20,000 as a church to HOHI, ByGrace Orphanage in Kenya and African Enterprise. 
  • Victoira and I try and give around 10% – to the church and projects…
  • There is nothing worse than a stingy Christian. There really isn’t. 

Well that is Isaiah 60 guys… 

  • Always God’s intention – Arise and shine. Stand up and reflect the saviour of the world.
  • That’s God’s plan… form a people to bless the world… 
  • People who truly know the light, live in it, reflect it into the darkness…
  • Proclaim God’s saving love, advocate and work for justice and peace, being a light in your community!

Alter call – take some time

  • Have you given your life to following the light of the world Jesus?
  • Where are you letting your light shine in the world

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

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