January 5, 2020-“The Tactical Gospel”

Readings:
• Jeremiah 31:10-13
• Ephesians 1:3-14
• John 1:1-14

Sermon:

Last week, I got an email from Capital One asking me to fill out a survey and get a Reward.
Here is that Reward: a tactical flashlight.

I mean, it had me a “Tactical” and I don’t even know what that means.

But it’s a powerful light, let me read you all the things it does:

Zoom,
Waterproof
Nearly indestructible

It does a LOT of amazing things, but guess what it didn’t come with?
Batteries.

You kind of need those to make it work in the first place!

So we get the batteries and the flashlight is quite…tactical…I guess.

But guess what will eventually happen to the batteries?

They die.
And you need new ones.

So even though this light is powerful and can do a lot of amazing things,
It cannot work without a source of power.

That is how we think of light.
It is great to have.
Useful.
Powerful.
But eventually you need to replace that battery or bulb.

So we don’t think of light as being eternal.

So why does it matter to us when Jesus is called The Light of the World?

In my study for this passage I came across a great line from a NT Dictionary, and it said Light is “God in action.”

And that is truly what Jesus the Light is.
God in action.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is always on the move.
He is preaching
Teaching
Healing
Challenging
Inviting

Rarely does Jesus have a “day off” let alone a “chapter off.”

So what keeps Jesus going?
Is it batteries?

In a way yes.

This battery is Love.
Jesus keeps going because the Love that God has for us is eternal, and we are eternally in need of that love and grace to live.

And that Love is so powerful that it never needs to be re-charged.
It is always at 100%.

And you know who discovered this first hand?

Satan. Or as John writes The Darkness.

Who doesn’t love a Good vs. Evil story?
Just look at the movies we watch:
Avengers,
Star Wars,
Disney

In just about all of them you have good people and bad people.

And we want to see the Good win.

We want to see God win.

And we KNOW that God wins!

The Devil, Darkness, cannot win.
And The Devil tries.

My goodness, does he ever!

He even TRIES to defeat Jesus himself.(the Temptation story) and fails.

Then you have opponents like Pharisees and Scribes and Government officials, and one of his own disciples, Judas.

But each time, the Devil thinks he has won.
That he has caused the Love battery to lose power,

God wins.

I don’t think it is coincidence that when Jesus dies it is as darkness falls upon the world,

And when Jesus is raised that it is in the morning and the light has come out.

The Love,
The Light,
Of God
Shines on.
Now and forever.

So what does that mean for us?

Like I said it is hard to associate with Light that is eternal.

Even the sun, our major source of earthly light, sets from our view.

And what makes it hard is that we have lives that are full of peaks and valleys.

And those valleys,
Those low times,

• Depression
• Loneliness
• Addiction
• Abuse
• Adultery
• Violence
• Lying
• Isolation
• Hopelessness

Can make us think the light is gone.

But that is what the Devil wants you to think!

You see, the Devil could not beat Jesus,
Us
And the Devil, the Darkness, can have us convinced that there is no light eternal,
Because there certainly is enough evidence

But there is one thing
One secret that
the Devil doesn’t want you to know:

That light is inside of us.
That Love is inside of us.
God’s gift is in here (point to heart).
And it never burns out.

And this gift of presence leads us to more gifts:
Gifts that Paul writes about in our lesson from Ephesians:
• Adoption
• Redemption
• Forgiveness
• Wisdom
• Insight
• Inheritance
• Marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit

These are gifts that the Devil cannot take away from us.
They are here because God is here.

As verse 14 of John 1 says,

“14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

V.14 “Lives” the specific word that is used, normally it is a different Greek word for “remain/dwell” but this has a specific meaning. “Take up residence” “God’s tenting”

God stays

And because God stays,
The light stays on
The love stays in us
And God’s battery Never dies.

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