The sermon texts are from the current series of pericopes of the Protestant German Church, actually Series IV:

Walking in the Light
 

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
 

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
 

1 John 1, 5 – 10

I know: old people like to talk about the past. "In those days when I was young ..." and so on. Frankly speaking I don't like that. But today Iwill tell you a story about my youth! It has to do with  the picture of the flame, and of course what John is writing.
 

Campfires are one of my favorite childhood memories. At that time I was a member of the YMCA and our youth group often camped. Sitting at the campfire in the evening, singing songs, grilling sausages - I was over the moon. And of course there were these walks in the night! Walking through the forest without a flashlight. Being a little bit scared when something cracked in the undergrowth. Seing the starry sky. These are unforgettable moments.

I loved to watch the flickering campfire for hours. When the logs glowed and crackled. It was the epitome of warmth, safety, peace. A flame is something fascinating. It gives light, inside the light it is completely white.

 

That's what I had to think about reading the text of John, this bright light he talks about. God is light. There is no darkness in HIM! This light, God Himself, makes everything bright, exudes warmth. Everything is cold and dark without this light.

 

Where there is light and warmth, something can grow. Oak trees, roses, strawberries. Wherever cold and darkness exists absolutely nothing grows. Jesus Christ is the light, HE is that warmth in a person. While living in Israel, he exuded light and warmth. With HIM people found safety. HE took light into their lives. HE saved them from their dark thoughts and darkness of their souls. Through HIM they could become joyfull again.

 

Love is like a light. He who loves brings light into the hearts of others, just as God's love makes our hearts bright and friendly. Unfortunately, it can happen again and again that shadows fall on our lives with God. That things happens in life that have nothing to do with God's love. God´s love and these shadows do not belong together, just like sitting happily around the campfire and walking, as scared boys, through the gloomy forest.

 

At some point, life has nothing to do anymore with campfire romance. Life is hard, yes, very often brutal, and especially when darkness shows itself as contrary power to the LORD. Where people live in the hostile darkness to God and abuse the trust of others and destroy relationships because of their lies. Lies belongs in the sphere of darkness. But: wherever truth is being told, light is as well. “Truth is coming to light” as German saying goes.

 

A story: at night a man was coming to Jesus, seeking the light of God. It´s Nicodemus (see John's Gospel, chapter 3). Jesus shows him the way to the light of God. HE says, whoever believes in HIM, the Son of God, will become bright. Jesus says (3: 19-21): "The light has come into the world, and people who do evil things are judged guilty because they love the dark more than the light. People who do evil hate the light and won´t come to the light, because it clearly shows what they have done. But everyone who lives by the truth will come to the light, because they want others to know that God is really the one doing what they do.”

 

Jesus Christ invites everybody to reveal their true colors and say farewell to the darkness. Everybody has to show their true face. There is no place in life for lies and deceit. We have to get out of the dark side and towards the light of God! The place where HIS light shines brightly is the cross of Golgotha. There the Savior and Redeemer was killed, the savior and redeemer of all darkness. HE suffered the dark far-off from God, the father, and bears our guilt. So we can live and develop in the light of God. In that way God's love is shown to us!

 

Please let this word of Jesus flood your heart like sun. This will make your life bright: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never die.” (John 3:16)

 

Wishing you God´s blessing

Yours truly

Hans-Peter Nann

 

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