Daniel Fast 2023

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Message Text

John 1:1-13 ESV

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Isaiah 9:2 ESV

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

Isaiah 9:6 ESV

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Message Notes

It had been about 400 years since the last prophet Malachi prophesied that God would send a messenger before Christ who would end up being John the Baptist. Prophecy went dark. God’s people strayed from him and focused on an outward holiness rather than a pure heart. The people were in spiritual darkness. And it was into that darkness that the Light of the World was born. The time of Christ brought light to mankind and that light has burned throughout history. Time and time again, even to this time we currently live in, that light shines as bright as it ever has.

Isaiah wrote that a light was coming into deep darkness. John wrote that “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The birth of Christ was a light flipped on in the world. It penetrated places of darkness that had never been lit. That light illuminated the paths of men like the shepherds, wisemen, John the Baptist, the disciples, and all the way to us today. The light that Christ brought has also been revealing the hearts of men from then until his return.†

1. Light penetrates.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

2 ...those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

Darkness never invites light to shine. Actually, darkness has no say over light. Light always penetrates darkness. Light penetrating should challenge our Gospel strategies, our relationships, our interactions with our communities, and far and wide.

Larry Stewart had lost his job and was living in his car. Hungry but broke, Stewart went into a restaurant and ordered a big breakfast. His plan was that when the check came he would claim he couldn’t find his wallet.† When that happened, the owner of the diner, Ted Horn, came from behind the counter and bent to the floor near Stewart’s feet. “You must have dropped this,” he said, handing Stewart a $20 bill. He made his way to Kansas City and eventually made a lot of money in business. At Christmas, Steward would search for people in threadbare coats and old cars. He found them at thrift stores and coin-operated laundries and gave them cash. He called himself the Secret Santa. He asked only that they in turn help someone else. Over time, Larry gave away an estimated $1.3 million. Larry Stewart died in February 2006. On his deathbed he confided in one of his friends about his benevolent work as the Secret Santa. † This friend vowed that he would carry on Larry’s work as the Secret Santa. Now there are many Secret Santas across the country. They even have a website advancing and promoting their work: secretsantausa.com. They only have one condition to those receiving - that they pass something along to others. It was said of Larry Stewart, “He lit a candle every Christmas that was so bright, everyone could see.”

Matthew 5:16 (NIV) In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

It has never been the design of the gospel to send the light of the world only for the followers of the light to prevent it from penetrating. Where is God calling you to penetrate the darkness with the light of Christ?

2. Light illuminates.†

Psalm 109:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.†

The life of Christ illuminates our way and gives meaning to our lives. If you are stumbling around in this life searching for purpose, let Christ illuminate your path.

Path illumination is not about 5 years from now but right in front of you. If you can navigate the now, the later will take care of itself. Life is less about how this will turn out and more about being sure of the next step.

God promises to illuminate the next step in your life. It may not be easy or fun, but it will be clear. Let him light the way in this time.

The light on my path can help someone else find theirs.

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The same darkness-penetrating light can illuminate my path and make it possible for others to see.

3. Light reveals.

Ephesians 5:6. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.

We should invite and not be afraid to let the light of Christ reveal sin in our lives. God is not trying to catch us but purify us.