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December 25, 2005 AM


PHIL 2:14-16

INTRO: How many of you have ever been afraid of the dark? I recall the Jesus said that there were people who preferred darkness over light because their deeds were evil (Jno 3:19). It does seem true that so many bad things happen in the dark! If you walk through a very dark house in the middle of the night, you may well trip over some toy which was left where it did not belong ... and fall. One of the improvements made to many neighborhoods is the installation of street lights. A neighborhood is much safer if it is well lighted at night. Here is a fact: light makes the world a better place. How very appropriate is the theme for this years graduation - Lights In The World. The spiritual connotations of light are everywhere to be found in scripture.


A. 1 Jno 1:5 - ...God is light

B. Jno 8:12 - ...I am the light of the world

C. 2 Cor 4:3,4 - ...the light of the glorious gospel of Christ

D. 1 Jno 1:7 - ...if we walk in the light

E. The Source of true light is with God

1. light originates with Him

2. but there is another thought which we need to consider


A. Mt 6:14-16 - Ye are the light of the world

1. at virtually the beginning of His earthy ministry there is this notable word

2. and the purpose of light is to give light - to dispel darkness

3. in this passage it is the good works of disciples which are to be seen - and which will glorify your Father which is in heaven

4. as Christians, we have a responsibility to good works - Eph 2:10

B. Phil 2:14-16 - ...among whom ye shine as lights

1. Jno 1:5 - the world is a dark place ... 1 Jno 5:19

2. and, yes, people do love the darkness - Jno 3:19

3. what can dispel the darkness? Holding forth the word of life

4. you and I are light bearers - we have a God given obligation to preach the word of life ... the light giving word ... in a dark world


A. This is certainly implied at Mt 5:14-16

1. yes, a lamp can be placed under a basket ... and will not give its light

2. the obligation of light is to shine ... to enlighten

3. but we must acknowledge the danger here

B. Our light can be dimmed by murmuring and disputing

1. Phil 2:14 - such practices, unfortunately too common, dim the light

2. Jno 13:35 - murmuring, disputing, complaining give a contrary message

3. the love and unity among disciples is one of the great differences between people of the world and people of the Lord - it is tragic if we let our negative behavior endanger that quality

C. Our light can be dimmed by failing to be obedient to the Lord

1. Phil 2:12a - if we are not obedient, we tell the world our relationship to the Lord really is not very important

2. why, then, would people drawn to the gospel, to the Lord?

3. 1 Pet 1:14,15 - our obedience brings glory, honor to the Father

D. Our light can be dimmed by our carelessness about our salvation

1. Phil 2:12b - our salvation should be the most important thing to us

2. we should be studying, learning, living the faith every day - focused

3. Heb 2:1-3 - neglecting our salvation will diminish fervor for the gospel

E. Our light can be dimmed by our failing to remember Gods pleasure

1. Phil 2:13 - ...his good pleasure - this is our great purpose

2. when we forget that we no longer live to ourselves and return to seeking our own pleasure, our own purpose, there is not much light left

3. 2 Cor 6:19,20 -people cannot help but see such devotion ... and be drawn to the light by what they see in you

CLOSE: In the heavens there are two kinds of lights. There are those bodies such as the sun which are light givers. And there are those bodies such as the moon which reflect light. We are like the moon. And we must be careful that nothing gets between us and the sun ... or there will be an eclipse. And such an eclipse of a spiritual nature would be tragic for the world.

Cecil A. Hutson

25 December 2005

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)