Isaiah 42:5-7 Sermon – The Light Has Come!

In this sermon Tim talks about Christmas, how there’s so much more behind all the fun things that happen, that it is when the light of the world came to Earth! He reminds us this Christmas to put Jesus first, and reminds us how we can shine His light in our lives too!

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday December 18, 2022.

29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Greg unpacks the movements of Christ, from creating the world to his second coming, Greg encourages us to place our relationship with Christ above all else and enjoy the riches and majesty of an eternal life with Him! Sermon preached by Greg Beech on Sunday January 29, 2023. Find out more here: https://manlylife.org Find us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ManlyLifeChurch
  1. 29/01/23 – The Glory of Christ – Greg Beech
  2. 22/01/23 – Luke 15:1-8 God's Heart for the Lost – by Lani Daniel
  3. 15/01/23 – 1 John 4:11 Friendship In Church by Tim Giovanelli
  4. 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks
  5. 18/12/22 – Isaiah 42:5-7 The Light Has Come – by Tim Giovanelli – Christmas

SERMON NOTES

So whether this is your last service with us for the year before you head off on holidays, or whether you will be joining us next weekend for our Christmas services…

Let me wish you a very happy Christmas!

How do you know it’s Christmas? 

  • I got my first clue last weekend when I went and bought $69 a kilo prawns at Harris farm… I had to take out a 2nd mortgage. 
  • You also know its Christmas in Australia you get your first good sunburn of the year…
  • And of course everywhere you start to see Christmas lights…
  • I like those streets up in Davidson which is singularly responsible for the electricity shortages in the power grid…
  • Why lights? Well it’s the season to celebrate the light of the world, coming into the darkness…

Our theme this year… the light has come!

  • The Prophet Isaiah says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come.”
  • Jesus says, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
  • Jesus says to his disciples, “You are the light of the world.”

What if Christmas is about more than eating over priced prawns or decorating your house…

  • What if Christmas was about God bringing light into the darkness by sending Jesus into the world.
  • And what if Christmas is about the remarkable story of God filling his children with that light in order to bring hope to the world?

One of the things I am enjoying about being a Dad at this particular stage of my kids growing up is introducing them to all the movies I’ve enjoyed over the years.

And our current obsession, having done all of the Star Wars movies, series, stand alone films and TV shows… is… Lord of the Rings…

  • Admittedly getting the kids through each 3 hour films was a little challenging at first, but now having done the first two, they are pumped for the last. 
  • And of course it tells the story of the battle for Middle earth, the hobbits and their little band of friends, taking on the evil forces of Mordor and Sauron…
  • So for the next 25 minutes I’d love to tell you the story of the Lord of the Rings… haha – no!
  • But of course the books were written by the practicing Christian JR Tolkein. And there are heaps of scenes that echo the bible’s story of light versus darkness.
  • Of course Jesus does not conquer with weapons, but with love… but the themes are still there. 

Anyhow, one of the great scenes at the end of the 2nd movie is the battle for Helms Deep. Who is with me?

  • And Gandalf the wizard has said to Aaragon the King in waiting, “Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day. At dawn look to the east.”
  • Well in true epic fashion, the evil troll army have almost defeated the good guys in the castle. All seems lost…

And then, right at the darkest moment, Gandalf the white appears with a huge army of reinforcements on the ridge at first light.

  • As the sun rises at dawn, so does the promised help appear, and the battle is turned decisively in favour of the good guys… 
  • Gandalf the white… with the light of the sun behind him, defeats the forces of darkness…
  • It’s a cool moment… 
  • And I think there is a reason that so many of our stories, echo the greatest story ever told! 
  • We long for light to triumph over darkness, we long for good to overcome evil. 

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

  • If you want to understand the bible a great way is to follow a theme through the whole bible story…   
  • 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….

So from the beginning God separates the light from the darkness and it says, he saw that the light was good. Light brings order to chaos…

As he then forms a people, and God leads them out of slavery in Egypt. And God’s presence is light… 

  • It says; “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.” 
  • As Psalm 27 says, The LORD is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? 
  • So in the Old Testament God is associated with light…
  • And it is his light that guides us, that protects us and saves us

And the promise in Isaiah is that, they aint seen nothing yet! A great light is to come into the world…

Isaiah 9:1 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. 

That is really what Christmas is all about – the coming of light into the world.

  • And I love that imagery of a light dawning upon our lives…
  • Humans of New York – Guy whose quote was Jesus helped me get off crack cocaine and now I own a window washing business… that is what Jesus does. 
  • The light comes into our lives, saves us, transforms us and gives us hope!

So a light is to come into the world that will end the gloom for those living in distress…

  • And this light is linked to the actions of the people who bear God’s name…

Isaiah 42:5-7 “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 a great light is to come into the world… but God’s children also have an incredible role to play in spreading that light… 

  • And what does that involve? 
  • Well it says, his light breaks forth through us, healing the blind, freeing the captives, releasing those in darkness.
  • 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, Christianity is not about just getting saved and waiting to go to heaven!
  • Our faith is an invitation to follow the light of the world… and then to be the light of the world.

That was always God’s plan. 

  • People may ask – Where is God this Christmas? So much darkness… war in Ukraine and floods and financial distress…
  • Let me tell you… he is working through his Spirit filled disciples to spread light into the world…
  • Nicolas Kristoff (NYT’s opinion piece writer) went looking for good news stories in dark places…
  • Although not a Christian himself he kept finding it was Christians on the front lines doing good work in the most difficult of places… 
  • One of those in his article was my friends dad who worked as a surgeon in Angola through their civil war.
  • Following the light of the world, pretty quickly turns you into the light of the world. 

And of course we are living in an environment where Christians are not always perceived as the good guys anymore… and sadly much of this is for sad and understandable reasons…

  • Article about the Salvation Army… 
  • Angry comments – how dare the salvos believe things about human sexuality 
  • But then there was one commenter who simply said: “Thank God for the salvos, they were the ones who picked me up out of the gutter when no one else would.”

You see that is the claim, that without God’s children at work in the world it plunges into darkness.

  • Would Manly miss us? Could it survive without us? Are we essential?
  • That seems to be the suggestion that the Prophet Isaiah makes…
  • That God’s children are meant to be the light of the world… 
  • And without us, the world is plunged into darkness, it loses it moral core, its sense of right and wrong, the value of every individual as special…

The Prophet Isaiah says, “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.”

Now at the time of writing this, God’s people were struggling to believe they had a hope or a future.

  • In Ch 59 they are asking where is God? Vs 9 we look for light but all is darkness…
  • So in chapter 60 the Prophet Isaiah reassures the people that God has not forgotten them and that their mission as a light to the world has not changed. 
  • At this point in Israel’s history it is fair to say that there is nothing going forward from this point that suggests that they were functioning as a great light…
  • As one commentary puts it…  “We meet with nothing in the history… which can be deemed a fulfillment of the prophecy in this chapter; we must conclude it relates principally to future events.”

Any ideas who that may be… clue 700 years later someone is born in a manger.

  • 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 in Matthew 4 we read that the waiting is over. This new glorious morn has begun…

  • Now the author of this gospel is trying to make sense for us of the coming of Jesus, clearly there are miracles around his birth… something special is brewing…
  • So Matthew quote Isaiah… “People living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
  • That is what we are celebrating that the fulfillment of this prophecy has occurred!
  • Like Gandalf promising to come in the midst of the darkest moment of the battle to rescue, so Jesus is the promised one who comes into the world to defeat darkness. 
  • It’s what makes Christmas such a wonderful time of the year…

Well let me finish by just reflecting on some of Isaiah 60:1-3

  1. It says darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples

This is the reality of the world that we live in…. 

Westfield darkness and thieves… was there just one thief? Says something about the human condition…

  • So the world is a dark place…
  • 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 the Ukraine right now or being a refugee fleeing the violence
  • Imagine living under the caste system in India or as a woman in Iran 
  • And it is not just globally…. What about on the beaches? 
  • I know we were so inspired by the work of Josie and Lighthouse Northern Beaches a few weeks ago… but it is also deeply saddening that her work even needs to exist
  • What a tragedy that so many in our community face domestic violence, homelessness and isolation.
  • The light has come and what we do is in response…

Into this darkness, God speaks to his people… 

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”

  • The imagery is of the dawning of a new day 
  • In Hebrew, shine and light are two forms of the same word. We could translate this “give light for your light has come.”
  • As Jesus has come to bring light, we reflect this light…
  • And to us he will then say, “You are the light of the world, let your light shine before others.”

Challenge us this year: where can you tilt the world around you towards light and away from darkness…

  • My guess is you can be part of a great cause… you can give your money and time to positive causes…
  • But my guess to is that you can tilt history towards the light by being present for someone, listening to someone, making time for someone…
  • Your light shines brightest, when inspired by Jesus we stop for the one… we invite people into our homes… we extend hospitality and friendship… 
  • My challenge to us this year, is shine bright right where you are!
  • 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.

Now I know that we as Christians need to let our actions do most of the talking…

  • But sometimes I just get so proud of you guys that I can’t help brag about what you are doing…
  • As it says in Ephesians 5, “everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”
  • You are some of the most illuminated people I know… 
  • Not in a brainy way… well I’m sure you are all very illuminated in that way… but I am talking about how you shine in a dark world. 
  • How you give and get involved with Homes of Hope International and their care for victims of sex trafficking. 
  • How you love one another when someone is hurting or struggling
  • How you have given so generously to the Christmas appeal this year to help make Christmas a little better for those here on the Northern Beaches without. 

That is the invitation this Christmas – behold the light of the world, Jesus coming into the darkness to show us the love of God…

  • And then as the children of God, reflect that light into a dark world… 
  • Proclaim God’s saving love, advocate and work for justice and peace, being a light in your community!

Published by timgiovanelli

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

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