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Advent 1997 -4- Arise Shine

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Reading Isaiah 60:1-5
 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.                      Isaiah 60:1 (NIV)

I.   Rise and Shine!

     A.  The Dawn of God’s Glory

           1.  When the day dawns, the light has always been there, but dawn is when we see it.

                 a.  It is a universal human experience to be lost in the dark from time to time.

                 b.  When we’re in the dark the sun still shines. We just can’t see it.

           2.  When God comes He comes to chase the darkness away from His people.

                 a.  But look! It’s not up to us to make it light again. God dawns on us!

           3.  When God comes shining on us, it’s time for us to rise and shine!

                 a.  Wake up! Take notice! Get to work!

     B.  Darkness all around

           1.  Even God’s people can be in the dark.

                 a.  At best we see as through smoked up glass.

                 b.  Though we have a beginning, we still know less than a fraction of his love, his goodness, his justice, his ways.

           2.  God’s people are surrounded by people who know nothing but the darkness.

                 a.  Every day we are assaulted by people who assume that darkness is normal.

           3.  The Nations live in darkness and need the light too.

                 a.  It’s not just for us, it’s for them!

                 b.  Our job: shine so they know it’s here!

     C.  Reflection Reflex

           1.  We’re supposed to arise and shine — like a city set on a hill, or a lamp on a stand.

                 a.  His light is supposed to leak out of our cracks, shine through our transparent lives, emanate from our hearts on fire from His touch.

           2.  We do this by reflecting God’s light like planets reflect the light of their sun.

                 a.  A planet cannot absorb all the light that hits them, it bounces off.

                 b.  Sometimes it looks like the planets are the source of their light. They never are.

           3.  We do this by absorbing and emitting light like glow in the dark stars.

                 a.  This glow in the dark plastic absorbs light energy and then releases it slowly.

                 b.  This kind of plastic needs to be “recharged” constantly to work.

II.  Attracted to our light

     A.  Nations and kings

           1.  The nations/gentiles and not only them but their leaders.

                 a.  When they see the light they recognize how dark their lives are.

                 b.  They had been used to living up to a much lower standard, and a much lower expectation of life’s meaning.

           2.  They come to see the marvel—how did this light get here?

                 a.  Light is a curious thing to those who live in the dark most of the time.

                 b.  Like nocturnal insects, they are attracted to it.

           3.  That means the light shines in a way that gets noticed!

                 a.  This is our part: if the nations are supposed to be attracted to the light, they’re going to have to see it.

                 b.  When our little light shines, we’ll look different. We’re supposed to look different.

     B.  Sons and Daughters

           1.  Not only do the nations come, so do our families, and the families of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

           2.  They are carried home, just as they were carried off. Carried home by whom?

                 a.  By fellow family members who return to the Lord.

                 b.  By former enemies of God who have now found Him.

                 c.  By God himself who goes looking for His lost sheep.

III. Radiating Joy (in reverse order).

     A.  Joy in the Blessings

           1.  The wealth of the nations/gentiles is brought to us: God’s people. (See v.9)

           2.  All the good things of the earth were always intended for God’s people.

           3.  People from the whole earth become God’s people and return their treasures to Him.

     B.  Joy in the Home Coming

           1.  They were captive to the nations living in darkness, but now they are returned.

           2.  We rejoice when those who grew up in the Church return to His light.

           3.  We rejoice that those who never knew Him find His light through us.

     C.  Joy in the Light (see also vv.19-20)

           1.  We rejoice in the light itself! That God should shine on us, how can we contain our joy?!

                 a.  And He will never stop shining.

                 b.  God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (1John 1:5b)

           2.  That God should shine through us, how could we find a greater honor?!

                 a.  Of all God’s blessings the one I find most astounding is that He accomplishes His purposes and shows us His love through the likes of you and me!

                 b.  That God should work through fickle, imperfect, rebellious and sinful creatures like us is more honor than we could ever earn.

                 c.  Using us demonstrates His greatness: what can he not do, if he can use us for purposes so great! What a great God we serve!

The Bottom Line:

Let God’s light shine Through us so that we can Light the way so others can Find God.

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