Matthew 3:16-17 and John 8:12
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Now over the past year I have shared a lot about myself with my Second Community Church Family. You know how much I love and care for my wife and boys. You know some of the crazy things that I did when I was out in the world. I even shared with you that I am a WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment fan. Today I want to share with you another insight into my personal life. Now I only share these things with you because I love and trust you guys, and I know that you are not going to use them against me some day. Well, here goes nothing. But now that I think about it, I may have told you this before. If I have, just act like you’re hearing it for the first time. I am a huge super hero fan. Superman, Spiderman, Batman, the X-men, especially wolverine. If they have super powers, I like them. Many years ago when the Dark Knight came to theaters, I could not wait to see it because it was the sequel to Batman Begins… There was a scene in the movie when Rachel Dawes the Assistant D.A. was talking to her boyfriend and District Attorney, Harvey Dent who later becomes the villain, Two-Face. They were talking about the Joker, who was having his way in Gotham and Rachel says to Harvey things are so bad, what are we going to do? Harvey responded, it is always darkest before the dawn.
And how many of you know that every time you think your situation cannot get any worse, God steps in right on time.
Every time it seems like your back is against the wall, God shows up.
Every time you think that you cannot make it, you remember that God is in control.
Every time you fee like there is no hope, God makes a way.
Every time you think its all over, God turns it around.
Because it is always darkest before the dawn.
He may not come when you want him, but he is always right on time.
Do you remember the song My Girl? I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. I guess you say. What can make me feel this way? My girl, my girl, my girl. Talking ‘bout my girl. My girl! This song was basically saying that no matter what was going on in the lives of the Temptations, things were good, or the sun was still shinning because of the women that were in their lives. So how much more should we as saints of the most high God know that everything will be all right because Jesus is in our lives?
Now let’s be honest today.
How many of you have problems?
How many of you have issues?
How many of you know someone that gets on your nerves?
How many of you are dealing with bad relationships with your friends and family?
How many of you have troubles at work?
How many of you are tired of messing up?
How many of you are sick of doing the same old things over and over again?
How many of you have drama of some sort day after day after day?
How many of you are disappointed your health is not what you would like for it to be?
How many of you know your money is funny and your change is strange?
Look at your neighbor and tell them the son is till shinning! Last week I asked you if your world revolved around the son. And this week I want you to know that the reason your world can revolve around the son is because the son is still shinning. In spite of everything that is going on in our world, nation, state, county, city, neighborhoods, and schools the son is still shinning.
I am going to argue today that no matter what we are going through.
No matter what our situation is.
No matter how the odds are stacked against us.
No matter how many times that we’ve messed up.
The son is still shinning. You can make it because the son is still shinning. Now I am not talking about the s-u-n, the yellow sun that gives superman his powers, but I am talking about the S-O-N is still shinning. The Son of God. That gives the saints of God power! The storms may rise and the billows may roll, but how many of you know that the SON is still shinning. Little orphan Annie sang the sun will come out tomorrow. I am so glad that I do not have to wait until tomorrow because the son is shinning right now! Tell your neighbor the S-O-N is still shining!
Let’s look at the text. In Matthew we encounter the story of John the Baptist. John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus through the baptism of repentance. And before Jesus began his three-year ministry he was baptized as well.
Let me say this parenthetically on the way to where I am going. That is why we are baptized because we are following the example of Jesus. Because Jesus got baptized, we get baptized. It represents an outward expression of an inward experience. In other words, after you are saved you get baptized too, as a sign that your old self has died and the new self has resurrected. If you are not saved when you get baptized you will just come out of the water a wet sinner. That’s why I do not understand why saved folks do not get baptized right away. Is it because that after being baptized you believe that you will be saved for real. You were already saved for real when you accepted the SON into your life. I believe that some people feel that after a public display of salvation, such as baptism, others will be expecting you to live a certain way and they do not want that kind of pressure. In other words, if they get baptized people might expect them to live right.
People might expect them to stop shacking up.
People might expect them to stop sleeping around.
People might expect them to stop cussing and fussing, gambling and stealing, lying and cheating, drugging and drinking. I don’t know, it is just a theory, but once you get saved, God gives you the power to stop all of that mess anyway. You just have to tap into the power of the Holy Ghost. And you should not be living your life according to what people expect you to do anyway. People don’t set the standard. God sets the standard, and we should be living our lives according to what God expects us to do. But, back to the text, Jesus was getting baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist. When Jesus came out of the water heaven was opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and light shown on him. God spoke, this is my son, whom I love, whom I am well pleased. Just in case there was any doubt, I wanted you to see that Jesus is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she was with child, this child was and is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. That is why Jesus is the reason for the season. Now I know that Christmas is months away, but we all know how everyone acts around the holiday season. People stressing out about getting and giving gifts, Christmas trees, and decorations, but I stopped by to let you know that the greatest gift ever given on Christmas was Jesus Christ. Because God so loved the world… So as we prepare for this and every holiday season let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus the Son of God!
Not only is Jesus the son of God, he is also the light of the world as seen in John 8:12, I am the light of the world, and he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. You see saints of the most high God when Jesus conquered death on the cross and resurrected with all power in his hands he made available to us the keys to eternal life. Through the light that is Jesus the
Christ. Meaning because this light is in you, you can conquer the darkness. You are the light of the world. Light changes its environment. So you should be influencing your environment. Your environment should not be influencing you.
So in these two texts we can see that Jesus is the Son of God and the light of the world. In other words the son is still shinning. How do you know that the son is still shinning Pastor Brian? I am so glad that you asked me. I will give you three reasons why I believe the S-O-N is still shinning, and then I will bid you “good day”!
The first reason the son is still shinning because God loves
The old songs tell it so well.
Jesus loves the little children all the children of the world,
red and yellow, black and white they are precious in his
sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.
I do not know just why he came to love me so he looked
beyond my faults and saw my needs.
Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so. Little
ones to him belong. They are week but he is strong.
Remember he died for you when he did not have to.
Without his death we would not and could not be saved. He would not come down from the cross to save himself; he decided to die just to save me. Because of his love the son is still shinning. Because he loves you, and when you accept him into your life he will live in you.
So not only is the son still shinning because God loves us,
the son is still shinning because God lives in us. I believe
that song says, he lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today he
walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He
lives, he lives, salvation to in part, you ask me how I know
he lives. He lives within my heart.
Because he lives I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.
When Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and
Salome came to the tomb he was gone because he lives.
Thomas was able to touch the holes in his hands because
I am saved today because he lives in me. Do you remember the WWJD craze? “What would Jesus do” Everyone was wearing bracelets, t-shirts, and hats as a reminder of what would Jesus do in this or that situation. But you need to know that WWJD has no effect if he is not living in you. People who don’t have Jesus living in them do not care “What would Jesus do” But because we are members of the family of believers and the fraternity or sorority of the twice born the son is still shinning because Jesus lives in us! So when he loves you he will live in you and when he lives in you he will lead you.
The son is still shinning because God leads us.
You know that voice that you hear every time you are about
to do something you should not do. That is Jesus leading
you. I got saved when I was nine, called to the ministry
when I was 15, but when I got to college I lost my mind. I
did a number of stupid things, but there was always this
voice leading me or guiding me in another direction, and
many times, I just didn’t listen. You know that feeling you
get when you are trying to choose between doing the right
thing and the wrong thing. That is Jesus leading you. You
know why you did not commit that sin you thought about
committing, because the spirit lead you to do something
else. The bible says in the 23rd Psalm that he leads me in
the path of righteousness for his names sake. You are
saved, and you are carrying his name.
He does not want his name going any and everywhere.
Don’t take him to the health club to gossip with your friends.
Don’t take him to watch that dirty movies.
Don’t take him to listen to things you should not be listening to.
Don’t take him to the barbecue where everyone is drinking, smoking, and carrying on.
Don’t take him to that man or woman’s house when their spouse isn’t home.
Don’t take him to the club to make it rain.
Because you are carrying his name you cannot go where everyone else is going. You cannot do what everyone else is doing. You cannot watch what everyone else is watching. You cannot listen to what everyone else is listening to. You are carrying his name. you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. You are set apart, and you are a peculiar people. And the God of your salvation is leading you.
So listen to God, he is always leading you in the right direction. You might not like where he is taking you, but trust him and it will be alright. It will be alright because the son is still shinning.
Many years ago, I visited New Covenant Believers Church here in Columbus to hear Bishop Paul Morton preach, and during his sermon he shared with us how hurricane Katrina destroyed everything he had in New Orleans, including his home, his cars, and his church, but because of the God he serves, he did not hang his head, he continued to praise God in spite of his circumstance. He weathered the storm because the SON is till shinning. At that time he had become the Pastor of two churches, the one in New Orleans, and the new location in Atlanta and had 1200 members in three months. Now if that is not the son shinning, I don’t know what is?
The son is still shinning because God loves us, God lives in us, and God leads us.
Don’t worry about a thing.
I know you messed up, I’ve messed up too.
I know he/she broke your heart.
I know your mother was an alcoholic.
I know your father beat you.
I know you lost your baby.
I know you can’t stop listening too or stop telling the latest gossip.
I know your aunt has cancer.
I know your brother is in rehab.
I know your grand kids don’t visit like they should.
I know you and your children are not getting along.
I know you lost your job.
I know there is no food in the fridge.
I know your are battling your health issues.
I know you have more out go than income.
I know that it seems like your stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I know you don’t know which way to go or which way to turn.
I know it seems like an up hill battle.
I know this world is out of control, but we must always remember that we may live in this world but we are not of this world.
I know it seems like every time we take one step forward we take two steps backwards.
But the son is still shinning.
Let me close with a story about Martin Luther King Jr. entitled
Christ is with us.
The great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King was a person with tremendous courage. He endured vilification, beatings, imprisonments, death threats, his house was firebombed, and as we all know, he eventually was assassinated.
So what kept him going? It was his strong sense of God’s call upon his life. King was just 26 years old when he was appointed leader of the civil rights campaign in Montgomery, Alabama. Apart from terrifying threats from the Ku Klux Klan, King was harassed by police. Arrested for driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit he was given his first stint in jail. The night after his release he was at home when the phone rang. “Nigger”, said a menacing voice on the other end, we are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.”
King was unnerved and very afraid – for himself, for his wife and for his little children. Shortly after the phone call he sat at his kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee. “And I sat at that table” he said, “thinking about that little girl and thinking about the fact that she could be taken away from me at any minute. And I started thinking about a dedicated, devoted and loyal wife, who was over there asleep…And I got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I was weak…
And I discovered then that religion had to become real to me, and I had to know God for myself. And I bowed down over that cup of coffee. I will never forget it…I said, ‘Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think I’m right. I think the cause we represent is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now. I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage…And it seemed to me at that moment that I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you, even until the end of the world.’…I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone.. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”
Three nights later the menacing threat made in the phone call came true: a bomb exploded on the front verandah of the King home. Thankfully no one was hurt. But King was able to get through it: “My religious experience a few nights before had given me strength to face it.” Time and again throughout his ministry Martin Luther King returned to that experience to strengthen him as he faced terrible difficulties.
Just like MLK’s and many others’ experiences it does to matter how dark it gets the son is still shinning.
It does not matter what the situation, God is able to bring you through, and you do not have to worry about another cloudy day. Even if it is pouring down rain, a blizzard, or a hurricane the son is still shinning. The son is still shinning, Jesus Christ is still on the throne and if you surrender to him he will forgive you. He will save you. He will help you get through your situation.
Because he is the light of the world.
The alpha and the omega.
The beginning and the end.
The savior of the world.
The bright and morning star.
The lily of the valley.
The way maker.
The storm taker.
The balm of Gilead.
The rose of Sharon.
The mind regulator.
And the demon terminator.
He is the great I am.
I am your healer.
I am your deliverer.
I am your provider.
I am your banner.
I am your strong tower.
I am your refuge from the storm.
I am your light in the darkness.
I am able to do anything but fail!
The SON is still shinning. Have a blessed day Second Community Church. May the Lord bless you real good!
Oh I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day, but its not because of my girl. It is because of my God, my God, my God, talking bout my God, My God!
The SON is still shinning!