Sermon:  True Enlightenment 

Summary:  Everything gets its existence, life, and true meaning from Jesus, who is life, light, 
truth and especially God "interpreted."  Therefore, we need to pursue him as the source of life 
and meaning in all things.

Know:  Our entire life, education, plans, and goals needs to begin, continue and end with 
Jesus as the source and meaning of life 

Feel:  The joy of having true life built upon Jesus.

Do:  Reflect on the place of Jesus in all creation and how that should affect the daily life of his 
people.  Identify assumptions about the nature of reality and truth in daily life that are at odds 
with God and how they affect believers and discuss a plan to have Christ integrated throughout 
all life, plans, goals, etc.

Text:  Jn 1:1-18

Scripture Reading:  1 Jn 1:5-7

Intro:
1.  Have you ever been where it is pitch black before?
	a.  Visiting friend in the country, stayed till after dark, walking back to car
	b.  Occurred to me, there are a lot of people out here with loose dogs
	c.  Sure enough I heard running and growling snarl behind me
		- Didn't know which way to go, to turn, was terrified
		- Let out a frightened yelp, heard whimpering and dog running away
	d.  At that point, I had stepped off the path, didn't know which way to go
		- Determined to have light with me if going out there again
		- Need light to know what is around and where I am going
2.  Jn 1:1-18 - Starts at the very beginning
	a.  Gives us the tools for us to see what is around and where we are going
	b.  If you don't have the right tools, won't see life as it is, in darkness
	c.  John begins with the identity of Christ 
		- Over and over, John emphasizes identity of Christ up to chap 12
		- Jesus is the framework not just of the church, but world and life
		- To see/understand life & world, needs Christ who is light of world
3.  Message:  Everything that exists depends on and is centered in Christ
	a.  Jesus is life, light, truth, and God "explained"
	b.  You need to pursue Christ in all you do
4.  Application:  Your pursuit of Christ needs to be at the center of all you do
	a.  Whether it is school, math, vocation, relationships
	b.  Everything you do needs to be the pursuit of Christ
	c.  Why?  Reasons:

I.  Jesus is light
	A.  Light, truth, and life are all intertwined here
		1.  Can't have one without having the others
		2.  Will focus more on "life" later in this series
		3.  For now, will focus on the idea of light and truth
	B.  Look at what the text says about Jesus as creator God
		1.  Verses:
			a.  v. 4 - In him was life, and life was light of men
			b.  v. 9 - The true light, which "lights up" every man
			c.  v.14 - Jesus is full of grace and "truth"
			d.  v.17 - Grace and "truth" realized through Jesus Christ
		2.  Speaks of "true" light
			a.  This "true" light enlightens everyone
				- Literally, it means "lights up"
				- It is true light, it reveals the true nature of things
				- At night, can't see very well, stumble, fall, groping
			b.  "True" light that there is such a thing as "false light"
				- That almost doesn't make sense
				- You either have light, or you have darkness
				- How can you have "false" light?
	C.  ILL:  Turn out all the lights
		1.  It is pretty dark in here, just a little red light from exit signs
		2.  Hard to tell what color your hair really is, eyes, clothes, etc.
			a.  Ever seen a "black light?"  (that is kind of like false light)
			b.  Definitely cannot see things as they are
		3.  But true light has all the wavelengths in it
			a.  Bright, white light will reflect back all the colors
			b.  With Sun light, you can truly see things as they are
		4.  Light from the SON of God
			a.  Brings true life
			b.  Can see things as they truly are
			c.  Can see what true life is
	D.  So, to see things as they truly are, need to see them through Christ
		1.  He is the creator, source of life, and is the truth
		2.  Need to see all things through Him
			a.  Relationships, education, science, math, behavior
			b.  What is right, what is wrong, our nations laws
			c.  Public life, how to view so-called foreigners, war, etc.
		3.  Everything needs to be seen through Christ
		4.  He is life, light, truth.  Why?

II.  Jesus is God explained
	A.  Some things are hard to grasp and understand
	B.  ILL:  My brother's girlfriend growing up used to speak "Pig Latin"
		1.  I could never find a book - "Pig Latin for Dummies"
		2.  Never quite understand it, needed someone to interpret
		3.  Jesus became God's interpretation
	C.  Notice what it says:
		1.  1:14 - Word became flesh and tabernacled among us
			a.  Old Testament image - "tent"
				- God came to live among his people in a tabernacle
				- Glory of God led his people in the wilderness
			b. Then God tabernacled in a human body
				- Thunder, smoke, lightning, glory of God at 
				   tabernacle changes in the New Testament
				- Glory came in a humble, suffering servant, Jesus
			c.  God no longer tells people, he now "shows" people
		2.  1:18 - No one has seen God, but Jesus has "explained" him
			a.  He has "explained" him (exegesis)
				- Means interpretation, narrative, explanation, 
				  description
				- Came to his own, they didn't receive him
				- So Jesus himself "explains" God
			b.  Jesus doesn't just speak the message, but IS the 
			     message, the word become flesh
		3.  Jesus affirms this repeatedly in his ministry
			a.  What Jesus does ONLY what the Father does 5:19
				- Jesus only does the Father's will
				- He works are the works of his father, nothing less 
				  and nothing more
			b.  If you reject me, you reject the Father 12:47-50
			c.  If you accept Jesus, you accept the Father 13:20
			d.  If seen Jesus, have seen the Father 14:9
		4.  Jesus interprets God
			a.  God didn't send just another prophet with more words
			b.  He didn't just have "a word" with us
			c.  He sent "THE" Word to us
	D.  Part of Christ's mission was to explain God so we can become his 
	      children
		1.  As his children, we are to be like our Father
		2.  Jesus "explains/demonstrates" what our Father is like
		3.  His lifestyle, attitude, values, behavior is to be ours
		4.  Being godly means being Like Christ.
			- How are we to begin?  

III.  Make Jesus our lens
	A.  We need to view and live our life through Christ
	B.  Bring this a little closer to home - Personal reflection
		1.  Time in life when I pursued "real living" - with Primerican
			a.  Motto, "Own your own life"
			b.  Videos of success stories, rallies, excitement
		2.  Wayne, my mentor (learned later he was a Christian)
			a.  His dream, own his own ranch
			b.  Ordered his life around that dream, worked for it
			c.  Encouraged me to write down my own dreams, do the 
			     same.
		3.  What are your dreams? It different things for different people --
			a.  Get into that college I want, perfect job, promotion
			b.   Right person to marry, children, house in country
			c.   Retire early, be financially independent, etc. etc. etc. 
		4.  Didn't learn till later that this is futile
			a.  Nothing wrong in themselves, butů
			b.  I learned something 
				- Pursuit of fulfillment/happiness - empty
				- If I pursue God, fulfillment/happiness will find me
			c.  How did I learn?  Not through trial and error, like Qohelet
				- Through Christ, spending time in THE Word
				- He is the "true" light
				- Lit things up, exposed me and my world for what it is
	C.  My problem, Wayne's problem?
		1.  We met Jesus at church -- What is wrong with that?
			a.  Go home to meet wife and kids, school to meet teachers
			b.  Go to work to meet co-workers/job/boss, 
			c.  Sunday, go to church to meet Jesus.
			d.  What is wrong with that?
		2.  We had our secular life and religious life neatly laid out
			a.  Our daily pursuits had little to do with God
				- We thought being Christian just meant being moral
				- Were not very different than many moral unbelievers
			b.  God was a Sunday thing for the most part
		3.  That is the way our world views God
			a.  See it in school curriculum.  Learn about public
				- Historical truth in history, Scientific truth in Science
				- Mathematical truth in Math, Political/Social Truth in 
				   Social Studies, Psychological truth in Psychology
			b.  Religious truth?  
				- That is something entirely separate than these
				- This kind of truth is intensely private, it is subjective
				- It is something for Sunday, not for history, science, 
				   psychology, etc.
				- It is basically irrelevant for real life
		4.  This is secularism
			a.  Do you realize the word, "secular" is barely a 200 year 
			     old word?
			b.  You will not find this concept in scripture. Why?
	D.  Secularism is an illusion of supposed "enlightened" minds
		1.  Enlightened, intelligent people, no room for God in science, 
		     history, math, politics, social problems, psychology, etc.
		2.  This is black light, not the true light
		3.  All the world, all of life needs to be interpreted in light of the true 
		     light - Jesus, who himself is the creator of it all
		4.  Your goals, your pursuits, your education, your job, 
		     relationships, etc. need to be seen through the lens of Christ

Concl:
1.  All of us do many things to "live life"
	a.  Go to work, set goals, get an education, establish a home, etc. etc.
	b.  This in itself is not living life
2.  In "HIM" is life, and that life is the light of men, that lightens everything up
3.  What does this mean?
	a.  In all of life's pursuits, you BEGIN with Christ
	b.  When making goals, plans, getting a job, going to school - begin with 
	     Christ
	c.  How often do you truly begin with Christ?
		- When making job decision, school decision, friendship decision, 
		- Do not fall into trap of secular thinking (it is an illusion)
		- He is the way, the truth, the life (not just religious truth and life)
	d.  My life is Christ, all I do is to serve Christ, my plans are to please him
4.  Does not mean you have to go into full time ministry
	a.  Marvelous example - William Wilberforce
		- Was going into politics and became a Christian
		- Considered changing and going into full time ministry
		- John Newton encouraged him to stay and go into politics, that 
		   God can use him in a great way
		- Wilberforce spearheaded the abolition of slavery in England, it 
		  was his service to God
	b.  Whatever path God leads you on, remember to look at yourself, your 
	     world, your life through his truth
	c.  That means regular time with him who is the truth - Bible reading, 
	      prayer, reflection, leading to service
5.  What we are talking about is walking in the light, like the scripture reading said
	a.  Are you walking in the light (Invitation)
	b.  Don't walk in darkness, but in Christ who is the light of the world, let 
	     him define your path, and will see the dangers that lurk in darkness

========================
 
Small Group Notes:  True Enlightenment 

Summary:  Everything gets its existence, life, and true meaning from Jesus, who is life, 
light, truth and especially God "interpreted."  Therefore, we need to pursue him as the 
source of life and meaning in all things.


Open (choose one)
- When do you typically need someone to interpret or "explain" things to you?
- When have you been misunderstood?


Explore  (Jn 1:1-18)

1.  What do life, light, and truth have to do with each other?  What do these things have 
to do with Jesus?

2.  Discuss:  How would Jesus "enlighten" or "light up" everyone?  Does this mean Jesus 
exposes people/things/the world for what they are, or does it mean he helps people to 
understand life in a deeper and more correct way?  Explain.

3.  Describe the relationship of Jesus to God.  Describe the relationship of Jesus to us.  
Describe the relationship of Jesus to the world, our country, our neighborhood, in daily life?

4.  What is the mission of Christ according to this introduction?  How does this affect the way
 Christians are to live their lives?


Apply

5.  Identify and discuss some assumptions in our world about the nature of reality and truth in
 daily life.  (eg: truth in the world concerning history, science, psychology, happiness, fulfillment, 
right and wrong, morality, social issues, political issues, ethnicity, work, family, etc. etc. etc.)

6.  Which of these assumptions are at odds with Christ and how do these affect Christians, 
particularly yourself?

7.  Discuss possible ways you can help yourself and others to have Christ integrated 
consistently in all areas of your life?


Prayer