The visible reminder of Invisible Light.”
~T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), poet and literary critic
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
~Plato (c. 428-c. 348 BC) Athenian philosopher
“If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”
~Brennan Manning (1934-2013) in Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
“We modern people believe in absolute freedom…. Therefore, we believe in no god…. If there was a god and if there was a god we could know, who told us how we had to live, and who gave us the rules and the regulations, well, then we wouldn’t be free.”
~Albert Camus (1913-1960), French philosopher and writer
“The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
‘Turn on the dark,
I'm afraid of the light.”
~Shel Silverstein (1930-1990), children’s author
“…if two thousand years of pious handling had not dimmed both John’s story and its demand, this gospel would still be seen as the burning outrage it continues to be, a work of madness or blinding revelation.”
~Reynolds Price (1933-2011), professor, literary scholar on the Gospel of John
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
~Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss psychiatrist
For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it
~Amanda Gorman, first-ever youth poet laureate at the presidential inauguration
John 1:1-18 (NASB)
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 came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. 5 And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it.
6 A man came, one sent from God, and his name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and yet the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own people did not accept Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and called out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who is coming after me has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; God the only Son, who is in the arms of the Father, He has explained Him.
Receiving and Believing the Light of Jesus
John 1:6-13; January 31, 2021; Don Willeman
January 31, 2021 • Don Willeman • John 1:6–13
Living for the Glory of God, Part 7: Living into our New Identity
August 6, 2023 • Don Willeman • John 14:18–20, John 15:4–5, Colossians 2:6–15
QUOTES FOR REFLECTION “Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.” ~Ernest Becker (1927-1974) in The Denial of Death “Religion used to be the opium of the people. To those suffering humiliation, pain, illness, and serfdom, religion promised the reward of an afterlife. But now, we are witnessing a transformation, a true opium of the people is the belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace, the huge comfort of thinking that for our betrayals, our greed, our cowardice, our murders, we are not going to be judged.” ~Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004), Polish-American poet and Nobel Laureate, regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century “The final dignity of a thing is its glory—that is, the realizing of its built-in potential for good…. The true glory of all objects appears when they do what they were made to do.” ~J.I. Packer & Thomas Howard in Christianity: The True Humanism “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” ~Irenaeus (c.130-c.202), early Christian leader in Against Heresies “Living according to the truth is the most authentic way to live because it’s what we were made for.” ~Alisa Childers, singer-songwriter and author “…a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor…. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor.” ~Martin Luther (1483-1546), German reformer SERMON PASSAGE selected passages (ESV) John 14 – The Words of Jesus 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. John 15 – The Words of Jesus 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Colossians 2 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Living for the Glory of God, Part 6: Overcoming Sin by Beholding God’s Glory
July 30, 2023 • Don Willeman • 1 John 3:1–10, John 17:22–26, Colossians 3:1–4
QUOTES FOR REFLECTION “Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” ~Albert Camus (1913-1960), French journalist and philosopher “Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level.” ~Ernest Becker (1924-1974), in The Denial of Death “…over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.” ~David Brooks in The New York Times “‘You are enough’ is a message that enslaves people…. It burdens them with the obligation of being the source of their own joy, contentment, and peace.” “You are not enough, but when your trust is placed in Jesus, his enough-ness is transferred to you.” ~Alisa Childers, singer, songwriter, and author “The true penitent, though he dreads punishment, much more dreads sin…” ~Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) “Modern secularism (which insists on keeping faith private) and modern pietism (which keeps Jesus safely contained in the hearts of individual believers) are usually assumed to be adversaries. But this feud is ultimately a battle between brothers. They share conceptual DNA with Marcion and the Gnostics.” ~Ken Myers, contemporary Christian thinker “It is not a question of whether we worship, but what we worship.” “We are what we love. And love takes practice.” ~James K. A. Smith, Canadian-born contemporary philosopher “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” ~Irenaeus (c.130-c.202), early Christian leader in Against Heresies SERMON PASSAGE selected passages John 1 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 1 John 3 (ESV) 1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. John 17 (ESV) – The Words of Jesus 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them…. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. Colossians 3 (NASB95) 1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Living for the Glory of God, Part 5: Fighting Sin
July 23, 2023 • Don Willeman • Colossians 3:1–10
QUOTES FOR REFLECTION “…God does not let himself be surpassed in generosity, but surpasses our generosity in endless ways.” ~Martin Luther (1483-1546) in Annotations on Ecclesiastes “Unbelief doesn’t see God as the ultimate good. So it can’t see sin as the ultimate evil.” ~Jackie Hill Perry, writer and hip-hop artist “Sin is a deep interior dislocation of the soul.” ~Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957), English writer and poet “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” “…longing, breathing, and panting after deliverance is a grace in itself, that hath a mighty power to conform the soul into the likeness of the thing longed after.” ~John Owen (1616-1683), English academic and theologian “The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘Trust God and get going.’” ~J.I. Packer (1926-2020), English-born Canadian theologian God declares us righteous “…upon the justice of Christ given and imputed to us, and not upon the holiness and grace that is inherent in us.” ~Gasparo Contarini (1483-1542), Italian Diplomat and Cardinal “Because faith alone justifies… publicans and prostitutes will be first in the kingdom of heaven.” ~Hilary of Poitiers, key 4th century Christian leader “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ you’ll be at rest.” ~Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983), Dutch watchmaker and Holocaust survivor SERMON PASSAGE selected passages John 17 (ESV) 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them…. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. Colossians 3 (NASB95) 1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him… John 8 (NASB95) 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 1 John 2 (NASB95) 15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 3 (NASB95) 1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.