The Light of All Mankind

Reflecting On Bible Verses That Remind Us That Jesus Is The Light.

Dan Franklin
Jan 2, 2022    26m
Do you feel like the darkness is winning in the world today? This message of eternal hope reflects on Bible verses that remind us that Jesus is the light of all mankind, and that He will overcome the darkness. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Life Bible - The Light of All Mankind
Intro: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] Well, what we're going to do now is we're going to take some time to talk through some of what we just heard in John Chapter 1. We want to zero in on the whole idea, of especially verses 4 and 5 of where we just read, the whole idea that, "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." And this passage is at the beginning of the Gospel of John, it's a great passage. It's familiar to a lot of us because, in evocative language, it's talking about the Christmas story. It's talking about the idea of the word becoming flesh, that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, is described as the Word, and John says in him, in Jesus, was life. And that's what we celebrate at Christmas, we celebrate that through Jesus, life came into the world, and through Jesus, we have life, and not just biological life, even though we know that that's true because a verse earlier we read that there's nothing that has come into existence that didn't come into existence through him. But the life being talked about here is a greater kind of life.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:27] In John 17 verse 3, when Jesus is praying to the father, he says, "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Real life is knowing God, when we're disconnected from God, we still have biological life in some way, but we're not living real life as it was meant for us to live. But when Jesus comes and he connects us to God, that's when we experience real life. "In him was life." And then he says, "And that life was the light of all mankind."

Dan Franklin: [00:02:07] And part of why I wanted to zero in on these verses is because of that statement that John makes there, "In him was the light of all mankind." We heard earlier, as Allie was up here reading the story of the Magi finding Jesus, that some of the very first worshipers of Jesus were not Jews, even though all of the prophecies that came before Jesus were to the Jewish people, gentiles who were some of the first worshipers of Jesus. And I want to make sure we understand, this was not a new idea that God came up with, this was not something that throughout all the Old Testament, he said, just the Jews and the Jews, only just the Israelites and no one else, and suddenly, with Jesus, he says, maybe we should branch out, this was something that was part of God's heart and part of God's plan from the very beginning.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:00] The Jewish nation starts with Abraham. And if you were to go all the way back to Genesis Chapter 12, when God calls Abraham to be the father of the Nation of Israel in Genesis 12:3, he says this, "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God didn't call out Abraham and the nation of Israel saying, there's one people and they're going to get all the blessings, he said to Abraham, all people, all families of the Earth, will be blessed through you. And one day, a descendant of Abraham came in Jesus and blessed all families of the Earth.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:40] But we don't have to wait till the New Testament to see non-Jews being included in what God was doing. If you go to the book of Joshua, and you read in Joshua, and this is the time when the Israelites are about to enter into the promised land, they've just been wandering in the wilderness for all these years. And in Joshua chapter 2, spies are sent into Jericho to look ahead of the army coming in, and when the spies go to Jericho, they end up at the home of a woman named Rahab, who's not a Jew, she's a citizen of Jericho. And when the authorities come to get these spies who are looking at the land, Rahab hides the spies, lies to the authorities, and sends them the other way, and then goes back to the spies and in essence, says this. She says, we’ve heard all the stories about what your God did, and she doesn't say it exactly this way, but she basically says, I want in. And they say to her, all right, when we come and destroy Jericho, you and your family will be preserved. And she and her family were preserved, and they were assimilated, and they were welcomed into the community of Israel.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:44] And if you read in Joshua, just seven chapters later, the Bible is great, the Bible is amazing, it's full of unexpected stories and this is one of them. In Joshua Chapter 9, you get this weird story of this nation called the Gibeonites. And here's what happens, as the Israelites are coming into the land, they're not supposed to make treaties with any of the surrounding nations who are local because God is bringing judgment through Israel to those nations. But one of the local nations, the Gibeonites, they decide to pull a trick, and they dress up as if they've come from this long distance away, they get ragged clothes, they have moldy bread, they go to the Israelites and they say we're from a long distance away, make a treaty with us. The Israelites don't really do their homework and checkup or look for references, they just say, sure, we'll make a treaty with you. And later on, find out that they had been tricked, the Gibeonites tricked them into making a treaty. And when the Israelites go to them and they say, why did you do this to us? They basically say the same thing Rahab said, they said, we heard about all the stuff that God did through you, we want in, and we see an entire foreign nation spared and welcomed into a treaty relationship with Israel.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:56] If you read the Book of Ruth, which you could read this afternoon really quickly, it's a beautiful book. It's about a Moabite woman, a foreign woman named Ruth, who adopts, who embraces the God of her mother-in-law, Naomi. And not only is Ruth welcomed into the community of the people of Israel, she ends up being the great grandmother of King David, becoming a core part of the story that God was telling through the people.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:23] Have any of you ever read the Book of Daniel? Has anybody ever read the book? Oh, OK. It's like you guys are like, no, just let him go, you don't have to interrupt, that’s all right. In the Book of Daniel, you get the Israelites who are in exile in Babylon, and you have King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon ends up being humbled before God, basically losing his mind, and acting like a beast for a period of time until he humbles himself and God restores his sanity. At the end of that story, in Daniel chapter 4 verse 37, The King of Babylon says this, "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble." The King of Babylon is praising the one true God.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:15] And if you go a few books later and you go to the book of Jonah, you get a very reluctant prophet who is sent to the Assyrian nation of Nineveh to give them a message of repentance, which they respond to. In fact, Assyrian Christians today trace their faith back to the story of Jonah, because God has a heart for all mankind.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:39] Then we get to the New Testament, and we get to the Magi, which we already heard read. And we get to stories like Luke Chapter 8, where Jesus goes to a Gentile's area and he ends up healing a demon-possessed man and then telling him, "Go and tell everybody what I've done for you." And then you get into the Book of Acts and things explode and the gospel goes everywhere, including to a Roman man named Cornelius in Acts Chapters 10 and 11, who was a God-fearer, but not a Jew. And Peter ends up going to him because God makes clear to Peter that he shouldn't call anything unclean that God has called clean.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:14] Jesus came as the light of all mankind. And the whole concept of epiphany, and this is significant, this is what I want us all to be focused on this morning, the whole concept of epiphany is that God makes himself known. By the way, are you glad God made himself known? Thank God he made himself known. Life is hard enough, I mean, just imagine this, imagine the horror of going through life just trying to figure it out. Just saying, all right, well, I guess we've got science, and I guess we have psychology, and we have some past experience in history, and we'll try to piece things together to figure out the best way to live life, and the way to live with the most meaning, and the way to live most harmoniously, just us piecing things together. If God had not spoken, where would we be? And even in a largely secularized nation now, the good things that we experience in our nation and in the world are so largely traced back to the fact that God chose to reveal himself through prophets, and through dreams, and through scripture, but most profoundly through Jesus. Whether we realize it or not, even in secular nations, Jesus has still been the light to all mankind in a way that he's revealed himself and revealed the kind of world that he's created for all of us. Thank God that he makes himself known. And the question is, how are we going to respond to him making himself known? Because the light of all mankind is, for all of us, an invitation to that real life, it's an invitation to live in connection with God and to experience the light of his truth. But even more significantly, to experience the light of walking in closeness with him, walking in step with the God who's revealed himself.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:15] And I have the privilege of knowing a lot of you and knowing the ways that God has worked in your life, but I don't know all of you and I don't know where all of you are at this morning. And some of you might be in a place where you're sort of like, all right, God works in other people, I don't know about me. Maybe for a variety of different reasons, maybe you're looking at life and you and you're saying, I don't think I could ever even become a Christian because you don't know this stuff that I've done, you don't know my past, you don't know the darkness, you don't know the sin, but because of all those things, there's no way I could ever become a Christian.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:51] I was reading just yesterday, a book by Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher from a couple of centuries ago. And I just want to read you a quote, this is a simple story that he tells, but it really touched me, and I think it really relates to what we're talking about now. He says, "The foreman of a certain factory in the North had often heard the gospel, but he was troubled with the fear that he might not be able to come to Christ. His good employer one day sent a card to him at work, it said, come to my house immediately after work. The foreman arrived at his employer's door and the employer came out and somewhat roughly said, what do you want John, troubling me at this hour? Work is done, what right do you have to be here? Sir, he said, I got a card from you saying that I was to come here after work. Do you mean to say that just because you had a card from me, you would come to my house and call me out after business hours? Well, sir, replied the foreman, I don't understand you, but it seems to me that since you sent for me, I had a right to come. Come in John, said the employer, I have another message that I want to read to you. He sat down and read these words, "Come to me all ye, that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Do you think after such a message from Christ that you can be wrong in going to him? The poor man understood at once and believed because he saw that he had good authority for believing. So to you, dear soul, you have good authority for coming to Christ, because the Lord himself asks you to trust him."

Dan Franklin: [00:12:38] If you're here this morning and you're thinking, I can't come, it would be presumptuous to come to Jesus and to think that I could be forgiven, to think that I could become a child of God, to think that I could be welcomed into the family of God, it would be presumptuous for me to do that. No, it wouldn't, it would be believing God, it would simply be accepting the invitation that he's given. And some of us in this room, we're Christians, we've come to Jesus in that way, we've experienced his forgiveness and his grace, but there are areas of our life where we're still living like that foreman, we're still like it would be presumptuous to come to Jesus. I mean, I've got issues and I got sin in my life, and because I don't really think that I should go to Jesus, I'm not sure he wants me to come to him to deal with this stuff, I think he probably wants me to deal with it on my own. Or you're dealing with trials, or you're dealing with unanswered prayer, and you're just trying to figure out all of this stuff and you're thinking, I'm not sure I'm supposed to go to Jesus about that, I'm probably supposed to sort this out on my own. That invitation, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.", is an invitation to each one of us, and it's an invitation to life. Don't ever think that by taking Jesus up on his invitation, you're putting him out, he gave that invitation because he loves you deeply, and it doesn't matter what race you are, and it doesn't matter what your ethnicity is, and it doesn't matter if you've grown up in church all your life.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:04] By the way, there's some of us that the fact that we've always, we sort of feel like we've inherited our faith. We're like, well, I'm a Christian because my parents were Christians, and I was brought here and there's nothing special about me, I just sort of inherited this. First of all, God has no spiritual grandchildren, I mean, you're not a child of God because your parents were children of God. But let me tell you this, if you're a believer and you trace that back where you're like, I'm mostly a believer because my parents were believers and they raised me in the faith, and so that's why I'm a believer. No, you're a believer, because God loved you enough to put you in a position where you would hear the gospel, God loved you enough that he is welcoming you into the family, and you are no less a part of the family of God just because you grew up in the faith, and you're no less a part of the family of God just because you grow up nowhere near the faith. The light of all mankind.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:59] Now, let's take a minute and look also at verse 5, because verse 5 tells us something else about the light. Verse 5 says, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." I love this because we talked about this on Christmas Eve, if you were here for our services and read from Isaiah Chapter 9, the great passage, "Unto us, a child is born." And that passage begins with, "For a people walking in darkness, they have seen a great light." Which means Jesus didn't come to a world where we were doing really well, but he wanted to push us over the hump. He came to a world in darkness, the light shines in the darkness, the light of Jesus shines in a dark world. It was a dark world in the first century, it's the dark world now, and the temptation that some of us have is we can start to think that the darkness is going to win.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:53] Lately, I've been watching a lot of hockey, which is mostly because there are only certain sports that I'm able to watch for free, and so hockey, but I'm getting really into it, I'm really enjoying watching it. I was watching a game last night, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Ottawa Senators, and I still don't know a lot about hockey, but I saw their records at the beginning of the game and the Maple Leafs were like, have this great record mostly wins, the Senators have this terrible record, mostly losses. And so it looked like a mismatch from the beginning, and it turned out it was. And not very far into the game the Maple Leafs were up like four to nothing, and I was just looking, and I was watching the Ottawa Senators playing and saying it's got to be so discouraging because in hockey, you know, they constantly have these face offs. It's like, all right, every minute or so another face-off, and you've got to go into that face-off saying, all right, our team is going to win this face-off, our team is going to win possession, and then we're going to look to win possession of the puck, then we're going to look to get into their territory, then we're going to look to score a goal, we're going to look to win this period, we're going to look to win this game, you just have to take it face-off by face-off, part by part. And when you're down four to nothing, it's got to be discouraging to go in and say, we're going to win this one because you're like, well, even if we win this face-off, we're not winning the game. And you might even think, even if miraculously, we somehow came back and won this game, we've got like nine wins this year, we're not going to the playoffs, we're not winning the Stanley Cup. So it's got to be discouraging to say like, all right, now, I'm going to go in and grind it out for each face-off, even though it seems like in the end we're going to have losses.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:33] And I think that's how some of us feel sometimes as we're trying to walk with Jesus, that we're like, all right, I've got to grind this out, I've got to go into every temptation that I face to get angry and explode, or every temptation that I face to get jealous, or to blast somebody on social media, or to give in to lust, or whatever it might be, I've got to go into every one of those battles and I've got to face each one individually, and I've got to look at it and say, all right, regardless of what happened before, I'm going to look to win. In the power of the Spirit, I'm going to look to win this battle, I'm going to look to say yes to God, and I'm going to look to say no to sin. And some of you, you know, it's a new year, it's the second day of the new year and some of you were like, this is the year, this is the year that I stopped doing this destructive behavior that I've been doing. Or some of you are like, alright, this is the year that I read the Bible every day, and I don't want to be depressing, but it's day two and some of you are like well, that didn't go so well. Like, I'm already off this, I was like I'm never going to do this again, and I already did it. Or I said, I'm going to do this every day, and its day two and I've already abandoned it, and you feel this frustration of saying, Gosh, in the end, I'm going to lose. I might win that individual battle, I might win that one face-off, but I'm still down four to nothing with only eight wins in the year, it's not going to matter. And you just feel discouraged, saying in the end, the darkness is going to win.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:54] I mean, for some of you, it might be even bigger than just our personal sin and those battles. You might be looking at the world and saying it doesn't exactly seem like in the U.S. Christianity is the ascendant worldview, it doesn't seem like we're getting more Christian as a nation, it doesn't seem like this is the viewpoint or this is the belief that has all of the momentum behind it. So you can start to feel like, all right, well, why? You know, I can still believe, and maybe I can convince a few people around me to believe, but in the end, it feels like darkness is winning, it feels like in the end, the final word is going to be had by the darkness instead of the light.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:32] And if you're discouraged by that, what I just want to make sure you know is this is not the first time in human history that it has looked like the darkness is going to squeeze out the light. In fact, if you want more good Bible reading to check up on, there is an amazing story in Second Chronicles Chapter 34, where the nation of Israel, the nation of Judah. And they are so far gone, they're so far away from God at this point, that there's a king named Josiah on the throne and the priests go into the temple and you know what they find? They find a Bible, they find a book of the law, and they come out and they kind of dust it off and they're like, oh, I've heard of these, like, I heard that we used to have these things, they haven't read it in years, they haven't been observing it, they haven't been keeping the laws. They go and they show it to King Josiah, they read it to him, and he immediately is mortified, he's like, we haven't been doing any of this stuff, and he leads the nation in national repentance. It was so far to the point that they were like, oh yeah, a Bible, I forgot about those. This is not the worst that it's got, and God is more than capable of bringing dramatic light and revival into dark situations.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:50] And if you're looking at yourself and you're like, I just feel like maybe I can get to the point in my own life where it's good enough, and I can just make sure that when I sin, it's not the really bad stuff, but in the end, the darkness is still going to kind of have its sway in my life. What I want to let you know is that you are not fighting a losing battle, you're not only fighting a winning battle, you're fighting a battle that is already won, Jesus has won the victory. He doesn't say that the darkness isn't going to consume it, he says, the darkness doesn't overcome it. In fact, that the point that the darkness seemed to overcome Jesus, was the point that the light shined most brightly. Because when all the forces of darkness conspired against the Son of God, that was when he saved the world. Victory is certain as we walk with Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:42] And I've just been reflecting on my own life, I don't always do this, but I felt like maybe a couple of weeks ago, God led me to a verse that I just felt like I kept coming back to this, and I was like, all right, maybe this is my verse for 2022. And I want to suggest as one of the pastors here, maybe this is our church's verse for 2022, maybe as we're looking at this year, this is a verse that we need to constantly come back to and keep in mind in all that happens. A lot of you will be familiar with it, it's Philippians chapter 1 verse 6. "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." And do you know what that verse doesn't say? That verse doesn't say it's time to get your act together and try harder, it doesn't say you're going to get to greater godliness by greater willpower, it says he who began this good work in you, he will be the one to complete it.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:50] Annie brought this up earlier when we were singing that song Graves into Gardens, we were talking about the idea, God is the one who does this, God is the one who brings beauty from ashes, God is the one who turns graves into gardens, God is the one who is completing that good work in you. So if right now you're looking at an area failure and you're like, I just can't seem to get past this thing. "He who began a good work in you will complete it." If right now you're like, I'm a total chicken, I don't share my faith with anyone because I'm so scared of awkward moments, I don't think I'm ever going to get past it. "He who began a good work in You will complete it." God is at work in you, and just as Jesus' victory, in the end, is certain, your victory, in the end, is also certain.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:38] So our calling is not to muster up all our willpower to try to get past all of these things, our calling is simply to respond and to walk into the light that's been revealed to all mankind, our calling is to walk in simple trust and obedience to Jesus, our calling is to get as much light around us as we possibly can. In fact, just as a quick side note, I know it's your second day of the year, some of you are really into New Year's resolutions, some of you are not into that at all, we just started a new Bible reading plan. If you're like, oh, I'm a day late, you're a day late, you're on board. We're reading through wisdom books in the Old Testament, we're reading through Job, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. And if you're looking at your life and saying, I know I should be reading my Bible more, yes, you should be reading your Bible more. Not just so that you can tell people, yes, I'm reading my Bible, but because you need more light, you need the light of God shining in your life so that you're pushed to trust him more and more each day. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Don't lose heart in what God has called you to this year because the one who began a good work and you is going to be faithful to complete it.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:00] Now, here's what I want us to do now, I mentioned before that we'd have a second time of quiet, prayerful reflection, that's where we're at now, where we're going to have our second time of this. The first time we were looking back, and this second time we're going to look ahead. And we're going to prayerfully, reflectively ask a different question, and that's this, how are you desperate for God to make himself known to you this year? And again, maybe it is in an area of failure where you're like, I need to just know that God is powerful enough to bring growth and victory in this area. Maybe it's an area where there's something that you've been praying about for a long time, there's a family member that you've been praying for, and you're like, God, I don't even know if I'm asking that you bring them to faith, I just need a sign that you're at work, I just need a sign that the things that I'm doing are not going to be done in vain. Maybe there's just an area where you need help, you need God to reveal himself to you in a certain area of your life. And we want to take time to come and cry out to the God whose light shines in the darkness.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:09] So once again, I'm going to ask you just go ahead and bow your heads. And we're going to once again, we're not going to rush through this, because this is an opportunity for us to quiet our hearts before God and talk to him. Where, right now, are you desperate for God to make himself known to you this next year?

Recorded in Upland, California.
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