It’s a New Dawn, it’s a New Day.
I’m not sure how many of you like coffee? I’m a Starbucks person, but I know many people love Tim Horton’s. I’m not sure why? Overall, I think Starbucks is the best, but there are a lot of differing opinions. When you take a look at the coffee industry, you will notice it is getting very competitive. McDonald’s came out with a new coffee which many people love. Good Earth changed their coffee and is more popular. Second Cup keeps trying to compete but it is now struggling. Timothy’s is almost extinct. Each company is trying hard for a bigger piece of the coffee pie! How many of us here saw the ad for Tim Horton’s dark roast coffee? What they did was interesting as they painted a store black, darkened all the windows and made it so no light came into the store. When guests arrived, they were guided to the counter and given this new coffee to try. It seems like dark is the in thing these days…
我不知道你們當中有多少人喜歡喝咖啡？我是星巴克的人，但我知道很多人都喜歡Tim Horton’s的。我不知道為什麼？總的來說，我認為星巴克是最好的，但也有很多不同的意見。你試看咖啡行業，你會發現這市場競爭非常激烈。麥當勞推出了一些新的咖啡，很多人的喜愛。Good Earth改良了他們的咖啡飲品，變得更受歡迎。Second Cup一直試圖抗衡，但現在仍是苦苦掙扎。Timothy’s卻是幾乎絕跡。每家公司正努力去爭取更大的佔有率！我們又有多少人在這裡看到Tim Horton’s的深層烘烤咖啡的廣告？他們所做的是有趣的，因為他們設計了一個黑色的店鋪，將所有窗口塗黑，使其沒有光線進入。當客人到達時，他們被引導到櫃檯並提供新咖啡作嘗試。在現今似乎黑暗是很潮的東西…
Many people complain about how dark it is this time of the year. But imagine living in the little town of Rae Edzo, up in the Northwest Territories. Many of us here have been up there over the years but only in the summer. If you think it is dark here in Edmonton this time of the year, you haven’t seen anything. In Rae Edzo, the sun will rise at 5:18 this afternoon and set again at 10:06 tonight. That is less than 5 hours of limited light and that’s it… If you lived in Barrow, Alaska, it would be worse. It is located at the northern tip of Alaska. After November 18th, the sun doesn’t rise again until January 24th. That’s about 65 days when the sun doesn’t shine at all. Up there, the earth is tilted in such a way that the sun never shows itself for over two months out of the year. But when the sun does rise for a moment on January 24, the whole town comes out to celebrate, because finally, there is light again.
很多人抱怨在每年的這個時候黑夜是多麼的長。但是想像一下住在西北地區Rae Edzo的小鎮，在座當中也有人曾到那裡，但只在夏季。如果你認為在愛城每年的這個時候是黑夜很長，你就見識淺了。在Rae Edzo，太陽在下午5:18升起而在晚上10:06落下。這是少於5小時有限的光，就是這樣……如果你住在阿拉斯加的Barrow市，這更是雪上加霜。它位於阿拉斯加的北端。 11月18日之後，太陽不會出現，直到1月24日。這是65天看不見太陽的。在那裡，由於地軸是以這樣傾斜的方式，太陽一年當中有兩個多月從來沒有出現。但是，當太陽在1月24日升上了一下，整個小鎮的人都會出來慶祝，因為終於再有光明了。
Is the prophet Isaiah speaking to the people of Rae Edzo or Barrow, Alaska, when he writes in verse 1 of our Scripture reading for this morning: “Arise, shine, for your light has come!”? What God’s Word talks about here is a different kind of light, and a different kind of darkness. And when this special light that God speaks about begins to shine through that ugly darkness, the results are much more spectacular and joyful than anything you could experience in northern Alaska.
Today is the last Sunday before Christmas. In the Christian church year, the celebration of the birth of Christ goes on for two Sundays after Christmas. Next week is the official beginning of what is called the Epiphany season of the church year. What does the word “epiphany” mean? An “epiphany” is when something reveals itself, or shows itself. For example, in Barrow, Alaska, after 65 days of darkness, the sun finally reveals its glory for everyone to see. That’s an epiphany. In the church year, the Epiphany season is when The Son of God reveals His glory for everyone to see. In many Christian traditions, everything you would see and hear in church reflects that truth that the Word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood.
You can sum up the festival of Epiphany with one phrase, and that one phrase is the theme for our sermon this morning: It’s a New Dawn, it’s a New Day. When Jesus came into the world, everything changed. Life would never be the same for humanity. So God says to you and I this morning, ““Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” The Bible pictures you and me and the rest of the world as a group of people living in darkness, people who have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the sun to rise: “See,” God says, “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples.”
你可以以一短語總結頓悟節，這就是我們今天講道的主題：這是新的曙光，這是新的一天。當耶穌來到這個世界，一切都改變了。人類的生活將不再一樣。神今天早上對你和我說:“ 興起發光．因為你的光已經來到、耶和華的榮耀已升起來照耀你。” 聖經提醒你和我和在世界其他地方很多人生活在黑暗中，人們一直在等待，等待，等待太陽升起：“看，” 神說，“看哪、黑暗遮蓋大地、幽暗遮蓋萬民。”
God pictures our world as a very dark place. It is spiritually dark. You can see evidence of spiritual darkness by looking around you. People are kidnapped in the Middle East and killed by Muslim extremists. This seems to be a regular occurrence on the news. And it isn’t just happening abroad. These kinds of acts are happening in our own country. Extremists are everywhere killing soldiers, police, civilians and even aid workers, those trying to help and alleviate suffering around the world. They say they are doing this to try and cleanse their religion and the world of what they consider evil influences on their culture and religion. For them, spiritual darkness came from the West with Christianity and Judaism as the primary sources.
But these kinds of evil and darkness aren’t just the blatant things we see going on around us. There are many other less dark appearing things going on that we don’t see or choose to ignore. I’m talking about things like abortion which continue to happen in our country at an alarming rate. The legalization of prostitution is going to be a reality very soon. Assisted suicide is seemingly becoming a reality with all the talk in Ottawa about it. There are even changes in the definitions of gender where we will defined no longer as men and women. And then there is the whole definition of marriage.
If we truly opened our eyes and see our world as God sees it, we will notice that spiritual darkness isn’t that hard to see. Look around you, watch people, listen to them talk, see what they do, and it will become very, very clear to you that our world is a very dark place spiritually.
But the most frightening place to look and find spiritual darkness is probably within us. We are being bombarded by our culture, including many daytime TV celebrities, who will tell you that there is an incredible amount of good, and an incredible amount of strength inside yourself: “If you would only reach deep within yourself, you would see how good you really are!” But this has not proven to be the case. Over and over again, people look within themselves for strength to bear up under trying circumstances they are enduring, and that strength is not there. A few weeks ago, a young woman took her own life because she didn’t want to face the suffering of brain cancer nor did she want her family to worry and see her suffer.
People define themselves by what the media proclaims. Hope is found within themselves. That is where you will find something good. But I know for myself and probably most of us here, the more closely you look within yourself, the clearer it becomes that there is nothing there but selfishness and materialism filling every crevice. According to Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?” In essence, when God sees your soul, He sees a very dark place, a place full of sin.
人們透過媒體宣稱的去為自己尋找定義。希望是在自己身上，在那裡你會找到好東西，但我知道我自己，也許在這裡的大多數人，當越接近去看自己，就越清晰看到內裡沒有什麼，只有自私和物質充盈在每一個縫隙。根據耶利米書17章9節 : “人心比萬物都詭詐、壞到極處、誰能識透呢？” 從本質上說，當神看到你的靈魂，他看到一個非常黑暗的地方，一個充滿罪惡的地方。
Look back at Isaiah’s prophecy. “For look, darkness covers the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the Lord will shine over you, and His glory will appear over you.” The birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is described in the Bible as the rising of the sun on a very dark place. The sun rises, and the darkness disappears. You enter a dark room with a candle and everything becomes clear. What happens to the darkness of your sin and guilt when Jesus rises in your life? It disappears! Jesus shines his forgiveness and grace into your life, and the darkness in your soul disappears.
回頭看以賽亞的預言。 “看哪、黑暗遮蓋大地、幽暗遮蓋萬民．耶和華卻要顯現照耀你、祂的榮耀要現在你身上。” 主的誕生，耶穌在聖經中被描述為太陽在一個非常黑暗的地方上升。太陽升起，黑暗就會消失。當你點上蠟燭進入一個黑暗的房間，一切都變得清晰。當耶穌的光升起，你生命中罪和內疚的黑暗會如何？它會消失！耶穌以祂的寬恕和恩典照亮你的生活，你屬靈的幽暗亦會消失。
If you feel guilt in your life, guilt from committing sin after sin, guilt from trying to make things right with God, even though you know you can never do enough, then you may be someone who is trapped in darkness. But then you learn that Jesus Christ was born into the world. You learn that He came for the purpose of doing what you could not do and that is make everything right between you and God. You learn that your sins are freely forgiven because Jesus has died for all of your sins on the cross. You can feel your guilt melt away. It is as though the sun has risen in Barrow, Alaska for you. Finally you can see that because of Christ, everything is good between you and God. You have gone from darkness to light.
This is Epiphany – when someone trapped in the darkness of sin sees and believes in the glory of Jesus Christ. Many of the people in the world who believe in God also believe that they will get to heaven based on their own merits. They think in the end, their good deeds will outweigh their bad ones. Or they think God’s love will supersede any bad deeds we may do. But we know from Scripture, that this is not true.
這是頓悟 – 當有人被困在罪惡的黑暗中看到並相信耶穌基督的榮耀。許多人在世界上相信神，也認為根據其本身的優點，他們會進入天堂，他們認為最後他們的善行會超過其惡行，或者他們認為神的愛將取代任何壞事，我們可以這樣做。但是，我們知道，按聖經這是不正確的。
You see, under the old system of the Law, none of us could measure up. In school we are measured by letter grades and percentages. But with God, it is different. God doesn’t accept us because we are 51% good. He doesn’t accept us because we are 90% good or even 99.9% good. With God, apart from His love and grace, there are only two outcomes. Either we measure up or we don’t. It is either all (100%) or nothing. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You may think you are good enough on your own merits but Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”Under the old system, it was impossible for us to measure up. None of us are worthy. But because of God’s love and grace and what Jesus did for is on the cross, we are now have the opportunity to come into a right relationship with God.
你看，在法律的舊制度，我們沒有人能達標。在學校裡，我們是以字母等級和百分比來衡量。但從神方面來說，這是不同的。神不接受我們，因為我們是51％的好。他不接受我們，因為我們是90％好，甚至99.9％的好。從神方面，除了祂的愛與恩典，只有兩種結果，無論我們是達標或做不到，要是全部（100％）或一點也沒有。羅馬書3章23節: “因為世人都犯了罪、虧缺了神的榮耀。” 你可能會認為自己的優點已夠好，但以賽亞書64章6節說，“ 我們都像不潔淨的人、所有的義都像污穢的衣服．我們都像葉子漸漸枯乾．我們的罪孽好像風把我們吹去。” 在舊體制下，去衡量自己是不可能的，我們沒有一個是有價值的。因為神的愛與恩典和耶穌在十字架上所做的，我們現在有機會與神建立正確的關係。
When someone finally stops trusting in himself for salvation and starts trusting in Christ, everything becomes new. That is why Paul writes to us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
當有人最終停止信靠自己，並開始相信基督的救贖，一切都變成新的。這就是為什麼保羅寫信給我們，哥林多後書5章17節 : “ 若有人在基督裡、他就是新造的人．舊事已過、都變成新的了！”
The old has gone, the new is here. Do you understand what that means? It means we no longer have to measure up because Jesus has given us His righteousness. That means when God sees us, He doesn’t see the filth of our sin, rather He sees the glory of His Son. Isaiah 61:10 says this, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness.”
“This is what happened to the wise men from the East. Every year, these Gentiles from a far away land are the focal point of the Epiphany season. They came from a place where no one knew about the Christ. No one knew about the true God who was sending a Saviour. But somehow, they knew. And when they saw His star, somehow they knew that the Messiah had come. And so these men left their land of spiritual darkness because they wanted to see and worship the Christ. They made the long trip to Jerusalem, and they were probably surprised to see that this city was just as spiritually dark as the land they had come from.
But finally they made their way to Bethlehem and they found the Messiah. Isaiah talks about the wise men in verse 3: “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Later in verse 6 it says, “… all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.” There, in the form of a little child, the wise men saw the light of the world. There they saw the glory of God, and this is what filled them with a spirit of awe and worship. They had gone from darkness to light, and they rejoiced, and gave this child who was their God their gifts from afar.
但最後，他們找到方向去到伯利恆，他們找到了救世主。先知以賽亞在第3節談論智者說：“萬國要來就你的光、君王要來就你發現的光輝。” 其後在第6節 “……示巴的眾人、都必來到．要奉上黃金乳香、又要傳說耶和華的讚美。” 在那裡，透過一個小孩子，智者看到了世界的光。在那裡，他們看到了神的榮耀，而這敬畏和崇拜的靈充滿了他們，他們經歷了從黑暗走向光明，他們歡欣鼓舞，並從遠處給這個孩子—他們的神，送上禮物。
Many people call Epiphany the “Gentile Christmas,” because one of the main themes of the Epiphany season is that Christ is a light, not just for a select group of people like the Jews, but for all people, all over the world. Epiphany is when anyone living in the darkness of sin, people like you and me and those wise men from the east – anyone can come and see the glory of God, as he reveals it through the person of Jesus Christ. Just as the sun rises on every nation, on every kind of people, no matter who you are or what your background is, just as the sun, every morning, rises on you, so it is with Christ. His grace, his forgiveness, his salvation, rises and shines on the Jews in Bethlehem, but also on the wise men from the east. His grace and forgiveness rises and shines on every person on this earth – every person is invited to believe in this child, to worship him, to find their salvation in him. No matter who you are, you too, can go from darkness to light.
很多人叫頓悟節為“外邦聖誕節，” 因為頓悟節的主題之一，基督是光，不只是為一群被揀選的人，如猶太人，而是所有的人，遍布世界各地。頓悟是當人活在罪惡的黑暗中，就好像你和我，來自東方的智者 – 任何人都可以進來，看到神的榮耀，因為神透過耶穌基督顯示出來。正如太陽從每一處升升起，照亮每一族的人，不管你是誰，你的背景如何，就像太陽，每天早晨升起照亮你，這就是基督。祂的恩典，祂的原諒，祂的救恩，上升照亮在伯利恆的猶太人，也照亮從東邊而來的智者。他的恩典和寬恕上升，照亮這地球上每一個人 – 每個人都被邀請去相信這個嬰孩，敬拜祂，從祂身上找到自己的救贖。不管你是誰，你也可以從黑暗步向光明。
And no matter how dark the world becomes, the light of Jesus Christ will never stop shining in and through you. When you hear stories about places with no sunlight, it is easy to feel sorry for them. But I don’t want you to feel too sorry for the people of Rae Edzo or Barrow, Alaska. While it is true that right now, the sun almost never rises there, things will change. Six months from now, the earth will tilt a different way, and then, in Rae Edzo and Barrow, Alaska, the sun will never set. We experienced that when we went up there at the end of June. In Barrow, Alaska, they have 24 hour sunlight from May 10 until August 2. For almost three months the sun will not stop shining in Barrow.
不管世界多麼黑暗，耶穌基督的真光將永遠不停地閃耀，並照透你。當你聽到沒有陽光的地方的故事，很容易為他們感到難過，但我不希望你感到太對不起Rae Edzo或 Barrow地方的人。雖然這是事實，今天太陽幾乎未曾在那裡升起，但事情會改變，六個月後，隨著地球運行的位置改變了，在Rae Edzo和阿拉斯加的Barrow市，太陽就不會落下，在六月底我們在那裡曾經歷過。在阿拉斯加的 Barrow市， 從5月10日至8月2日他們有24小時的陽光，有差不多三個月太陽不停地照著Barrow。
And so it is with your soul. Once the grace and mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ rises in your life, it will never stop shining. No matter how dark the world gets around you, Christ’s love will always shine in your life. Spiritually, right now, you live in the “land of the midnight sun.” My hope for all of us this Epiphany season is it will be a time when you see ever more clearly the glory of your Saviour, Jesus Christ.
But there is more to this passage than just experiencing this “Sunshine” ourselves. We are also called to share it with others. That is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We are called to take His message of love, hope, peace and salvation to a world lost in darkness. But we are also called to live a Christ-like life. This means what we do is also a reflection of the new life we are experiencing in Christ.
今天的信息不只是要經歷這 “照亮” 自己，我們也被呼召與他人分享，這就是作耶穌的門徒，我們要將祂的愛、希望、和平與救贖的消息，帶進黑暗迷失的世界。同樣地我們也被呼召去活像基督，這意味著我們做什麼也是經歷著在基督裡的新生命，這正是我們的反映。
To do that I want to share a story I read about an eccentric old man who carried an oil can with him everywhere he went. If he passed through a squeaky door or a stiff gate, he would apply oil to the hinges. His practice of lubricating made life easier for those who followed after him.
Nearly every day we encounter people whose lives grate and grind harshly with problems. In such situations, we face two different choices – either to aggravate their problems with a spirit of criticism or to lubricate their lives with the Spirit of Christ. Some people we meet carry unbearable burdens and long for the oil of a sympathetic word. Others are defeated and feel like giving up. Just one drop of encouragement could restore their hope. Still others are mean and sin-hardened. Such people can be drawn to the saving grace of Christ through regular applications of the oil of kindness.
幾乎每一天，我們都會遇到生活受磨損和面對嚴峻問題的人，在這種情況下，我們面臨兩種選擇 — 要是以批評加劇他們的問題或是以基督的靈去潤滑他們的生活。我們見到一些人面對難以承受的負擔和缺少同情世界裡的油，另一些人飽受挫折、感覺像要放棄。只是一滴鼓勵的油就能讓他們回復希望，有些人可能仍是沒有改變或是被罪惡纏累著，這樣的人可以通過定期施予仁慈的油將他們引到基督的救恩裡。
When we receive Christ as our Saviour and Lord, the Holy Spirit indwells us and equips us to bless others. As we enter this New Year, my hope is we would be prepared to share the Good News of Jesus with others and to pour out God’s oil of helpfulness every day and everywhere. “Arise, shine, for your light has come. And the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… shine His light to others. Amen.