The Gospel of Luke: Zechariah’s Prophecy (Part 3) Luke 1:76-80

Today message text of Sunday, October 28, 2018 from Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson:

From the beginning of this year, we have been venturing through the gospel of Luke and as long as the Lord allows me, I will continue to preach through Luke’s gospel verse by verse and chapter by chapter until I reach the end of this gospel because it is my hope that we see with great clarity the risen Savior Jesus, who has provided salvation to all. This is the main point of Luke’s gospel. Also, since the beginning of this year pastor Gus has been preaching through his sermon series Salvation and the Church. In his sermon series, he has highlighted God’s redemptive plan for sinners to be saved through the propitiation of Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 12:32; 1 John 2:2). Jesus’ atonement allows sinners to be adoptive sons and daughters of God the Father. And the salvation that God has granted to those who confessed with their mouths and believed by faith that Jesus is Lord and God’s eternal begotten Son, is not only saved from God’s eternal judgment and eternal wrath (Matthew 3:7; Romans 5:9) but they have been transformed into a new creation (Galatians 6:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17). And for the last four consecutive Sundays, pastor Gus and I have preached at some length on Luke 1:67-80 which is the prophecy of Zechariah that pertains to God’s covenantal salvation. Again, the points of pastor Gus’s sermons show us that the salvation that God has given to the church not only saved our souls, but it allowed us to be sanctified through Christ Jesus.

Pastor Gus’s sermons pair well with today’s message. This is good. Speaking of today’s message, I like to remind you that Zechariah’s prophecy is about the dawning of salvation. It is about God’s redemptive history and how he’s willing to save people for the sake of his own glory; it about God’s salvific plan for sinners. In Zechariah’s prophecy, he distinguished David, Abraham, and John the Baptist. These three persons, David, Abraham and John Baptist points towards God’s unified covenantal plan to send His Son Jesus so that he can procure salvation, fulfill Scripture, bring glory to the Father, and elect those whom he died for.

For example, God made an everlasting covenant with David, in 2 Samuel 7:12-14 God said to David, “When your days are fulfilled, and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”. Beloved, David is dead (cf. Acts 2:29), along with his sons, in fact, the state of Israel is a secular democratic nation which is far from being a monarchy; it is no longer a kingdom. Since this is true, how is it possible for God to establish an everlasting kingdom on David’s behalf? The everlasting kingdom that God promised to David cannot exist unless God was speaking about someone who is greater than David, and a person who can rule for all eternity (Revelation 20-22). And Jesus has done just that, whenever he returns, he will establish his millennial kingdom and rule for thousands of years (cf. Revelation 20:4-5). He will be Israel’s everlasting king. And during the millennial reign of Christ, the remnant of the Jewish people will be saved, and they worship Jesus as their crucified Savior, and this will allow the nation of Israel to be prominent among other nations. And Jesus would fulfill the words of his Father which he spoke to David.

In terms of Abraham, God said to Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3); and God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15:5, God said to Abraham, “‘Look toward heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and the Lord counted it to [Abraham] as righteousness” (cf. Luke 1:73-75). Just as much Abraham believed by faith in God’s Word and God accredited it as righteousness on the behalf of Abraham (cf. Romans 4:3), was how God will save all who believe in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and if they do their sins will be pardon forever (cf. Romans 4:5-8). Abraham believed by faith in the promises of God’s words, is the same way that we have come to faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul has said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We are saved by the grace of God (cf. Ephesians 2:5) and the prophecy of Zechariah demonstrate the truth. Within Zechariah’s prophecy, he recalled God’s promises were made to David and Abraham and finally Zechariah will show us how his own son John the Baptist was part of God’s plan that ushered in salvation.

At the time the angel Gabriel pronounced the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah disbelieved the angel words (cf. Luke 1:18). Disbelief is a direct act of disobedience towards God, this is evident today as he was in biblical times, because as you know Zechariah was punished for disbelieving. Zechariah couldn’t speak for nine months until the birth of his son, John (Luke 1:63-64). His faithlessness left him speechless. However, after the birth of his son, he believed, and instantaneously the Holy Spirit enabled Zechariah to not only speak about David and Abraham but more importantly, he was able to speak about his son (cf. Luke 1:64). Fathers, Zachariah had exuberant joy for his son and he expressed to his eight days old son, how God was going to use him to help bring about the new covenant.

I hope you were following along as Melvin was reading the text and if you were you would have noticed that Zechariah declared three things about his own son: 1. John’s calling, 2. Johns message, and 3. John’s preparation. This is pretty much the framework of my sermon: Zechariah predicts John’s calling, message, and preparation.

John the Baptist’s Calling: The Prophet of the Most High (v. 76).

When you held your child in your arms for the first time you did know the kind of life they would live, and this is true of your parents when they held you in their arms. As of now, you still do not know for sure if your child would be a good or bad citizen of society, nor your parents had foreknowledge of what was to come about your life. Every good parent has high hopes for their children. They want their children to be successful and have a purposeful life. Every good parent wants their children to be greater than themselves.
I image Zechariah was filled with joy like any first-time parent would be, as he held his son in his arms and speaking prophetically to his son, he knew exactly the kind of person his son, John would turn out to be. As we read in verse 76, Zechariah said to his son, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High”. John’s calling was not a secret, but it was anticipated. Zechariah probably desired his son to become a priest. Zechariah and Elizabeth came from a priestly family, and if tradition and customs would have had it, John would’ve been a priest too. However, that decision wasn’t for Zechariah, Elizabeth nor John to make. That decision was made by God himself before the foundation of the world.

Zechariah’s occupation as a priest helped him to understand Old Testament scripture, causing him to have high expectations of the prophet that would “go before the Lord to prepare [the Lord’s] ways” (cf. Luke 1:76). In fact, the Jewish people knew that God would send a prophet to announce the arrival of the Lord. The only problem was that they could not identify who that prophet was. For example, in the book of John chapter 1:20-21, the priest and Levites came to John and asked, “Who are you?”, and John confessed saying, “‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’” . . . ‘Are you the Prophet?’”. John unequivocally said no! The reason the Jewish people, the priest, and Levites, except for Zechariah, thought that John was Elijah is because of what is said of John in the Old Testament.

The prophet Isaiah predicted John’s calling. Isaiah said, “A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). The prophet Malachi foretold John’s calling too. Malachi said, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6). And when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah inside Solomon’s temple, Gabriel said similar words to Zechariah, he said, “And [John] will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:16-17).
Pastor John MacArthur said, “Like Elijah, John faithfully, powerfully, boldly, uncompromisingly proclaimed divine truth [of the Messiah, Jesus Christ]. That caused some to wonder if he might, in fact, be Elijah” (Luke 1-5 MacArthur New Testament Commentary. p. 38). MacArthur further said, “John was not Elijah literally” but figuratively, like Elijah who preached about the commandments of the Lord, John would preach about salvation that is found in Christ Jesus.

All of us have answered or asked someone this question: what do you want to be when you grow up? When we were children we had an idea of what type of job we would do for the rest of our lives. As we all know, people aspire to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, musicians etc. Everyone wants a job that is satisfying and meaningful. When I was a little boy I vividly remember telling my mother that I wanted to become a police officer, so she encouraged me to pray to God about my ambitions. We both folded our hands and started praying to the Lord. I prayed a very simple prayer and it only took two minutes for me to pray. However, that prayer never came true. My job as a correctional officer was the only job I had that came close for me of becoming a police officer. Likewise, it was impossible for John to fill out a job application because it was already filled out before he was born.

Therefore, Zechariah’s words to his son were affirming God’s plan to send John as the prophet the of Lord Jesus Christ. God had predetermined that John would be from birth “the prophet of the Most High”. As a footnote, the meaning of “Most High” stresses God’s absolute sovereignty (MacArthur, p. 117), but more importantly, according to Luke 1:32, Jesus is “called the Son of the Most High” signifying his Lordship. Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, therefore, he understood that Mary was pregnant and had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that she can give birth to the Messiah, Jesus is the Most High and John was the prophet who “prepared his ways.”

John the Baptist’s Message (vv. 77-79)

John’s calling was to be the prophet of the Most High, but, how was he going prepare the ways of the Lord? By what means was he to prepare for the Lord Jesus? Simply put, the answer to these questions is John’s message. His message was straight to the point: John told people to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). In other words, he pleaded with people to repent of their sins because Jesus was at hand to usher in the kingdom of God. This is how John prepared the hearts of men to be ready for the Lord’s coming (cf. Luke 1: 17, 76-77). John’s preaching was the mechanism to soften the hearts of men to accept Jesus as Lord and the Lamb of God. This is the pattern God has designed to provide salvation unto men, and this pattern is found throughout Scripture.

In the Old Testament, God sent Moses who prepared the hearts of Israel by preaching the greatest commandment of the Lord, Moses proclaimed to them, “The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). All the prophets of the Lord did the same thing, like the prophet Jeremiah, he said on the behalf of God to the people of Israel, “For this is the [new] covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: [the Lord God] will put [his] law within them, and [he] will write it on their hearts. And [he] will be their God, and they shall be [his] people” (Jeremiah 31:33). The Greek word kerygma means to declare or proclaim the deity of Jesus and his teachings. This why Paul said in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Moreover beloved, by me preaching to you right now is the way God is softening your heart to surrender your will to the Lord Jesus. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, he uses the preacher’s words to bear conviction upon those who are listening (cf. John 16:7-10) and this is the way God design to save people. Before you understood who Jesus is, someone proclaimed to you the truth that you have broken God’s commandments, thereby, making you a sinner who deserves hell; and someone proclaimed this truth too, that God overlooked your sins and has granted you salvation because you believed by faith that Jesus has resin from the grave and you repented of sins, and by so doing, you grabbed hold to the saving knowledge (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4) that Jesus is Lord over all, which is the means of how God saved your very souls from the penalty of death and the penalty of eternal judgment. God opened your eyes to realized that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but he is also the lamb of God, who is your Lord and your Savior.

John’s ministry was ahead of Jesus’ ministry, their ministry was at least 6 months apart, this allowed John to make preparations for the Lord coming by preaching baptism of repentance and forgiveness of sins so that people would believe and accept John’s message that Jesus is the Messiah (cf. Luke 1:16-17; 76-77; 3:3-8). A good example of this is found in Luke 10:2, Luke writes, “The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two into every town and place where he himself was about to go”. The main point of this verse is not the seventy-two disciples, and it’s not that the disciple was sent out together— “two by two”, the point is that the seventy-two disciples prepared by traveling ahead to the places “where [Jesus] himself was” going to. The seventy-two disciples proclaimed Jesus to the towns in which where they were, therefore they said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name”.

Likewise, the Bible characterizes Jesus’ disciples as ambassadors of Christ. Ambassadors represent the person who sent them, and since we are Jesus ambassadors we are to represent Jesus by pleading and proclaiming the saving knowledge of our Lord to others. Whenever we proclaim Jesus to our community, family and friends are how we are preparing people to receive the Lord Jesus into their hearts and then it is up to the Lord Jesus to affirm the message of him that we proclaimed to others. We can make preparation for the Lord by giving people the knowledge of salvation, but it is up to the Lord to save them and forgive them of their sins. This is exactly how John the Baptist prepared the ways of the Lord by preaching the “knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77).

How is it possible for God to forgive people of their sins and then grant them salvation? Do you not know that the soul who sins die (Ezekiel 18:20)? Does not Scripture say, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)? Paul said, “The sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56), and the apostle John said, “All wrongdoing is sin” (1 John 17). Beloved, “because of the tender mercy of our God”, he was willing to forgive us of our sins through the sacrificial atonement of his Son, Jesus. Jesus “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). God’s divine mercy allows him to be compassionate toward undeserving sinners. And don’t think for one second that you and I deserve salvation because of who we are, on the contrary, we deserve hell because of who we are.

When I was a kid. I never understood older people when they said, “But by the mercy of God, the Lord delivered me out of that mess”, or whatever the case might have been. As a kid, I didn’t comprehend how God’s mercy delivered people from adversities. But now, I understand, I can cheer the same words I’ve heard those older people said. By the mercy of God, he has given me the gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ.

The Sun of Righteousness (vv. 77-79)

Jesus has many titles: he is called Lord, the Son of God, the Son of David, the Christ, the scepter of Judah, the Lamb of God, the Author of life, the second Adam, God’s Holy Prophet, and God’s High Priest. But the title Sun of Righteousness comes from the book of Malachi 4:1-2. The Lord said to the prophet Malachi, “The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, … But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” Even in the book of God is pictured as the sun, it says in Psalm 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun”. The sunrises every day depending on daylight saving time. All of us go to sleep each night knowing that the sun will rise the following morning. And innately we do not question, nor do we doubt it will raise the following morning.

There is an abundance of passages that portray God as light which is a metaphor that means salvation, and it also means enlightenment. For example, in Revelation 21:22-25, it says this about God and Jesus, “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives its light, and its lamp is the Lamb [of God] … and there will be no night there.” In the book of Genesis chapter one verse three, during the beginning stages of creation God spoke and said, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” and he created the sun afterward. Furthermore, earlier I asked Melvin read from Isaiah chapter sixty, and according to Isaiah 60:20 it specifically says, “The Lord will be your everlasting light”.
According to verse 77, therefore Zachariah said, “whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high” (Luke 1:79) and he is speaking about Jesus. Again, here in verse seventy-seven, Jesus is personified as the “[sun that] visit us from on high” because he is the sun of righteousness. What do I mean by that? Well, Jesus said, “We are from below; [he] am from above. You are of this world; [he] am not of this world” (John 8:23). Likewise, we were born on this earth; the sun is not of this world. The earth rotates within twenty-four hours creating day and night, and the sun provides sunrays that give light on the earth so that the earth will not be in darkness. Everything is dependent on the sun just as much everything is dependent on Jesus. Jesus is “before all things, and in him, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

Zechariah had in mind the salvation that was dawning upon the earth. He saw the Sun that was rising, and it was shining into world history. Yes, his prophecy was a song about his son John, but ultimately, it was and still is about Jesus. Zechariah knew Jesus was to be born because his mother, Mary, lived with Zechariah and Elizabeth for three months. This means that Zechariah understood Mary was pregnant with the Messiah, the Savior. Therefore, Zechariah was looking towards Jesus’ arrival and John’s message was about the knowledge of salvation, forgiveness of their sins, and God’s tender mercy, which is found in Jesus.

John the Baptist could have just preached about the knowledge of salvation; he could’ve just preached about forgiveness of sins and God’s tender mercy. But Zechariah’s prophecy and John the Baptist’ message would have been incomplete if they didn’t point their listeners towards Jesus. Think about it. The problem in today’s popular Christian culture is that professing Christians only preach about the benefits of what they can receive from God and uses Jesus like a lottery ticket to receive those benefits. A lot of professing Christians desire to heal without suffering. They desire the comforts of life without adversities. They desire salvation without holiness. They desire God’s mercy without the judgment and wrath of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ can only be good news if people hear about the bad news too. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for Zechariah and John the Baptist. In fact, Zechariah’s prophecy and the message of John did indeed point people to Jesus Christ like every preacher’s sermon ought to do.
As you can see in verse 79, which is the conclusion of the point Zechariah has made. Zechariah said, “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death”. He is speaking metaphorically, and his words are a play on words. His gives us words that have opposite meaning. For example, light and darkness have opposite meaning. Light means good and darkness means bad.

Unfortunately, darkness is the condition which people will choose; people choose to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. And the consequences of sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death speaks to the truth that people are spiritually blind to see the light that God’s has given to all in Christ Jesus. People are mentally and spiritually ignorant of knowing that their sinful lifestyle is an act of rebellion against God. In this text, darkness is a metaphorical word that demonstrates sin and, it illustrates to us how sin has affected mankind. Sin has caused people to be totally depraved. Total depravity does not mean people cannot do good things. Sure, Hitler did many good things in his lifetime, but I will not call him a saint. Total depravity means that the nature of man is sinful which causes man’s will, actions, emotions to be fundamentally sinful and unpleasing to God. Jeremiah says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This month millions of people will take their kids to celebrate Halloween, adults, teenagers, and children will dress themselves in the likeness of dark creatures, mass murders, demonic characters. I am not saying that Christians shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, but I am saying that Christian should not celebrate the darkness that is portrayed in Halloween. It is far better for a little girl or boy to dress as an angel than to dress-up as witch or devil. Therefore, understand that by nature people are willingly drawn to darkness and they practice works of darkness. People enjoy darkness because of the power of sin. And Paul says, “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23); because sin is death. The concept of light versus darkness is self-evident in our world. The word light expresses life, darkness expresses death. And without light, darkness would be the reality of this world, it would be normal, and it would be the standard for people.

As I was thinking about this passages that speak of God as light this question came to my mind: what is the purpose for light to shine? The answer is that light eradicates, eliminates, and conquers darkness. Luke chapter one verse seventy-nine applies to all of us. Because if you have escaped the darkness of death, then you were guided into the light of peace. If you accepted Jesus as the light of the world then you are no longer an enemy to God, you are no longer condemned because God was merciful towards you. Jesus said, “The is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 1:19-20). John also writes in 1 John 1:5, he said, “That God is light and in him there is no darkness”. Our Lord Jesus said it best, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus also said “whosoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:44-46).

What was one of the fashions did God used to transfer us out of the darkness of sin and out of the shadow of death into God’s marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)? This is a good question to ask and I am glad you did? And the answer to this question is what the term theologians have coin: the doctrine of illumination. The doctrine of illumination.
God the Holy Spirit have illuminated our minds and hearts to see the light that we have in Christ Jesus. The reason we strive for holiness is that God the Holy Spirit has removed the blind-folders from our souls. And because God the Holy Spirit dwells within is because we can worship God in truth. Scripture says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all . . . truth” (John 16:13).

Let us take examples from these following passages:
1. “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness” (Psalm 18:28)
2. “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening to the eyes” (Psalm 19:8).
3. “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).
4. Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

When I was in my early twenties I remember going to the optician to receive my first pair of glasses. At the time, I didn’t know that I needed glasses to see better until my wife strongly urged me to have my eyes check because of multiple car accidents I caused. After I schedule an appointment with the eye doctor, she checks my eyes and prescribed me some glasses. A week later I went back to the eye doctor the optician gave me my glasses and I put them on and immediately I said to the eye doctor, “Wow I can see”. The eye doctor was surprised by my reaction. She was unaware that I needed glasses for the last twenty years, so she started smiling at my reaction. I told my wife what transpired between me and the eye doctor, and my wife was flabbergasted, befuddle, confused at the sheer fact that I did not know nor was I wise to know that needed glasses. My wife said, “Travis, I could you not know that you need glasses?” My wife and I laugh about this story every time she or I mention it, and I remind her that I just did not know I need glasses. Likewise, if a person believes that they are fine, how would they know they have a disease unless the physician told them they are ill? How would a person know if they are doing wrong unless someone tells them? More importantly, how does a person know that they are in darkness unless the light is shining upon them? You and I were blind sinners before the Lord open our eyes to truly see him for who he is. Were you not spiritually blind to God’s light? Do you remember the first time God opened your eyes to the truth of his Son, Jesus?

Before God enlightened our spiritual eyes, we were like the apostle Paul—blinded. He was blinded to see God’s Son. And prior to seeing the light in Christ Jesus, our spiritual eyes were just like apostle’s Paul’s eyes when scales felled from his, and just like the apostle Paul’s eyes were, God opened our eyes so that we can now rightly interpret Scripture and understand the knowledge of salvation.

John Newton, the slave trader wrote down this famous him that all Christians have sung at least once in their lifetime. The hymn is Amazing Grace and, in this hymn, demonstrate how God has illuminated and opened our eyes to see. John Newton sang,

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Another famous hymn illustrates the same truth and that is from the hymn Turn Your Eyes to Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

John the Baptist’s Preparation (v. 80)

John’s ministry lasted for a short time. Luke is being truly concerned about the childhood of John the Baptist. All we know about John the Baptist’s childhood until his adulthood is what is written down in verse 80 which says, “And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel”. In Luke’s gospel, we do not read of John until we reach chapter three. This is okay because this gospel is not about John, it is about Jesus. And if John the Baptist was here today, do you know what he will say to us? He will say, “My joy is complete because Jesus must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30-31). After Jesus began his public ministry, John the Baptist knew that his ministry would come to an end, but he wasn’t bothered by that discourse. He understood that his ministry prepared for the Lord Jesus’ ministry. From the beginning of John the Baptist’s life, until his death he “came preaching in the wilderness of Judea” about the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:1).

John’s life ought to portray how we always should be pointing people to the Christ who can save their souls (cf. John 3:17-18). This passage is evangelistic in nature. The command to proclaim Christ to the world wasn’t a command that God gave to John only, but he gave this command to all of us. There should not be any reason for our church or other biblically based church in Akron to not be growing if we are preaching and teaching Christ to everyone. If we are proclaiming Christ to our community and telling people the knowledge of salvation and forgiveness of their sins, pretentiously speaking, there shouldn’t be any empty seats in this church or churches across the United States. Believes pray all the time to God to allow our churches to grow numerically, to bring more people into the fellowship of believers; obviously, praying is what Christians always should do, and teaching the word of God is a gift to the church, but are we proclaiming the Word of God to everyone? It ought to pain us to look at someone and not know the assurance of their salvation. Jesus said, “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same ways, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16).

The hymn song, This Little Light of Mine implies how we should always let our light shine amid darkness for the benefit of others and for the sake of Christ glory.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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