Archive for the ‘light’ Category


Christ reveals the Light and Love of God as Grace and Truth

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

John revealed in his Gospel the “grace and truth” of Jesus Christ. The true light entered the world…

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

This light was revealed to men as “grace and truth.”

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Why is this? Because light in God, when brought to men, becomes truth; love in God, when brought to men, becomes grace. Truth and grace are here on earth, light and love back there with God. This is how John reveals Christ in his Epistles. Jesus is revealed as being with His Father as light and love.

What is truth in the Gospel is light in the Epistles. What is grace in the Gospel is love in the Epistles.

Grace & Truth will bring us into the Light & Love of God

The grace and truth of Jesus Christ will always bring believer’s into the light and love of God. Grace and truth will always develop the justice and righteousness in your life that God loves. His grace and truth is never bestowed lightly or in a whimsical manner. God’s grace and truth must be received by a heart willing to embrace the light and love of God. His light will always bring you to repentance and his love will always develop righteousness in you!

The problem we have is that anything that touches man can be corrupted by man. Man can misuse grace and corrupt truth for his own selfish purposes. This is why we must always preach Jesus Christ coupled with the light and love of God. Man cannot climb up to heaven and corrupt God. He is beyond mishandling. John takes us back to the throne to behold the Son with the Father. Such a vision of the light and love of God will always purify us and produce His righteousness. We can only recover the grace and truth of Jesus as we behold the light and love of the Almighty and Holy God. If, in our walk, we separate the grace of Jesus from the Holy light of God, our life will fall short of God’s Glory and we will become mired in false truth and false religion.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)

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My dad was not always a godly man. It wasn’t until his early 30’s that he started going to church. My mom was the ‘religious’ one. Even when we switched churches when I was 14, his religion was more of a Sunday thing. Our Christmases were as secular as the next door heathen families.

When I was planning for college, Dad seemed to change. He wasn’t religious anymore. God wasn’t a Sunday thing anymore. All of a sudden, it was Jesus Christ. All of a sudden everything he did was all about Jesus. Jesus owned everything he had. Christmas was about Jesus Christ. I liked it, because Jesus had become real to me as well. I was going off to Bible College. It was as I was getting ready to leave that he came to me and with tears in his eyes (my Dad never cried) he said that God was giving him a second chance. In fact that became one of my Dad’s favorite sayings, that God is the God of second chances. Anyway, he asked me to forgive him for not being a good father to me.

Holding Benjamin

Just 3 ½  years after that, I fould myself with a one month old baby boy, back at home celebrating Christmas with my family and my 18 year old wife, Lydia.

That Christmas morning was overwhelming, as my Dad read the Christmas story by candlelight. Here I was, a new daddy, holding my baby boy as my Dad read the story of Mary and Joseph becoming new parents. So let’s join my Dad as he and Mom listen in as I now read the Christmas story with you.

Luke 2:1-38 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Most people stop the Christmas Story here, but Dad kept on reading…

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

As Dad read the part of Simeon holding the baby Jesus and proclaiming Jesus is the light of revelation to the Gentiles, I understand that Jesus had revealed that light to my Dad, and now my Dad wanted me to see that light, so that I could be a good father to my son, Benjamin. The greatest gift I ever received from my Dad is the light of the reality of Jesus Christ. That light burns in my heart and life today 37 years later, and it burns in the heart and life of the son I held in my arms that morning.

Did I make mistakes? Too many to count! Has the light always burnt brightly in my life? No! But the Light was always there drawing me into His presence. Is my family perfect? No, but the Light of Christ is at work in my family, and I pray He is at work in yours.

I only remember a few of the gifts my parents gave me. But I will always remember the gift my Dad gave me that Christmas, the Light of Christ from his life to mine, to guide me as I fathered my children. He had passed that light to me, and now I am passing it on to my children and grandchildren.

When the magi visited the infant Jesus, they presented gifts to Him, treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The amazing thing about those gifts, is that this morning, Jesus is re-giving them to you and me. That’s right, the greatest gifts you will ever receive at Christmas, are not sitting under a tree, but they are here, in this Bible and they come from Jesus Christ.

Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

I know in American culture it is customary for us to give gifts to the one whose birthday we are celebrating. But in may cultures (Asian, Burmese), if it is your birthday, it is a day for you to serve or buy a meal or give gifts. The more you serve and give the better your next year will be. Jesus is going to have a great year next year, because He is giving us some amazing gifts.

Let’s open OUR presents from Jesus this morning.

Gold

The first gift that Jesus gives us is gold, pure gold. Pure Gold represents the pure unfailing Love that Jesus loves us with. Gold is a good representative if Christ’s Love, because Gold is almost impossible to destroy. It is impervious to most acids. Gold is very dense and heavy, a massively solid material. Just a 3 x 3 cube would weigh over 36000 pounds. Yet as solid and dense as Gold is, it can be stretched and used to cover anything. It can be beat on thousands of times until it is microscopicly thin, yet it is still Gold. Paul prayed that we would know the height and depth and length and breadth of the Love of Christ. His love is so solid that it can dash any problem, so yielding that it can take any thing we can throw at it, so flexible that it can cover any sin we could ever commit. His love is never failing.

This Gold was in the Garden of Eden, in the land of Havilah, and the river Pishon flowed around it. Pishon means spreading, and is a picture of the Holy Spirit taking the Love of God and spreading it throughout the world.

Havila means stretch of sand. Abram in Genesis 13:2 was described as being rich in gold.  God promised him a house with descendants as numerous as the grains of sand. Certainly the unfailing love of God extended to every descendant of Abraham. The Love of Christ knows no limits. It knows no boundaries. The love of Christ seeks every sinner, no matter how great their sins. The love of Christ, symbolized by the gold, comes from the ‘hesed’ of God, the mercy of God. When God instructed Moses in how to build the Tabernacle, as God’s House on the earth, he told him to construct the innermost room covered in Gold. This room, the Holy of Holies, is where the High Priest would offer the sacrifice as atonement for the sins of all of the Jews. The ark was covered in gold, which formed the “mercy Seat” Here the offering would be presented before Holy God in utter darkness. Everything in the room was covered in gold, picturing the mercy and love of God. God would see the sacrifice, and His love and mercy would flow upon the Jewish people. The reason His love and merices could flow is because God knew one day, His only begotten Son would hang upon the cursed cross on Mt Golgotha, and there, Jesus would demonstrate His unfailing love for all the sinners of the race of Adam, as He would become their sacrifice, and take upon Himself all their ghastly and dastardly sins. There on Mt Golgotha, the golden love of God was poured out upon the sands of mankind, as His Son satisfied the Holy demands of God’s Eternal Law!

The veil before the Holy of Holies was forever rent in to, from top to bottom, showing the world that God’s unfailing love was now upon the world, because of the forever sacrifice of His Son.

God’s Holy Spirit calls whosoever will to come to the Cross of Salvation, and humble yourself before this unfailing Love, pictured by the purest of Gold! Only at the cross can you receive this gift of forgiveness, right standing and Hope of eternal Life in Jesus Christ.

The spirit of Babylon has corrupted this gold. Indeed, many choose the gold itself instead of the love and forgiveness it represents. One day, Babylon will fall…Jesus Christ who reigns in Heaven above, is clothed in a golden sash across His heart. He will judge the world on the basis of His pure Love. Anyone not found in His heart, anyone not found in His Golden Love becasueof their rejection of Him, will live for all eternity without His Love, in a place where there is no love! They have followed the spirit of Babylon, which decieves with a false gold, a false love:

Revelation 17:4-6 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

This Golden Gift of Christ is Salvation, the New Birth, the True Wealth that only God gives to those who have Faith to Trust Him!

All those who receive the Golden Gift of Christs Love will one day walk in a city whose very streets are pure gold. We will forever walk held up by the unfailing Love of Jesus Christ

Glory to God in the Highest! God’s Hesed is everlasting!

Frankincense

The next gift that Jesus gives us is  Frankincense. Frankincense is tapped from the scraggy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense trees have the ability to grow in extremely harsh environments. They can even grow directly out of solid rock. How they can do this is still unknown, but the Boswellia trees that grow on rock develop a swollen disk like trunk which prevents it from being torn away from the rock during violent storms. The tears from the trees which grow on solid rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma.[1].

  • Frankincense comes from the Hebrew levonah, meaning “white”.[2]

Frankincense was the main ingredient in the holy incense used in the Tabernacle and Temple Worship of Jehovah.

The altar of incense was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was situated in the Holy Place near the curtain before the Most Holy Place. The high priest burned incense when he tended the lamps (Exodus 30:1-9).

Once per year, on The Day Of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and burn incense there before The Ark Of The Covenant.

Frankincense was used in the grain offering (Leviticus 2:1, 2:16, 6:15, 24:7), but was strictly excluded from the sin offering (Leviticus 5:11)

Incense was used to symbolize or accompany prayer (Psalm 141:2, Luke 1:10, Revelation 5:8, 8:3).

Jesus is our High Priest, ever living to offer prayers on our behalf.

Every morning and evening the sacred incense was burned. (Ex 30:7, 8; 2Ch 13:11) Once a year on the Day of Atonement coals from the altar were taken in a censer, or fire holder, together with two handfuls of incense, into the Holy of Holies, where the incense was made to smoke before the mercy seat of the ark of the testimony. (Leviticus 16:12, 13.)

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Through His Intercession, Jesus secured our Justification!

Jesus gives us the gift of His Justice, secured by His stripes, His blood, and His tears. He is interceding daily for us before His Father. His prayers are being offered even now for us, that we would honor God’s House, that we would continue His work and build a House that honors God!

Through the Frankincense of Christ, our sins, though they be a scarlet, are “white” as snow.

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

and being made white as snow, we are brought into God’s House of Justice. Frankincense is never used in the sin offering, for Frankincense is the Holiness of God’s Justice, secured by the blood of Jesus Christ. For by His stripes we are healed.

This incense was placed upon the golden Altar of Incense by the High Priest to be burned before the Lord. It was to be a sweet odor unto the Lord. Through Jesus the stench of our sinful life is converted into a  beautiful fragrance before God.

Myrrh

Myrrh is harvested from the Commiphora myrrha tree in a process similar to frankincense. The myrrh is the hardened resin produced from the taps of the bark. Myrrh means “bitterness”. It was used in perfumes, but most of all it was used to embalm the dead. It also had a numbing effect so was used as an antiseptic and pain killer.  A cousin tree  produced the famous “Balm of Gilead”.

Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia. The related Commiphora gileadensis, native to Eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Arabian Peninsula,is the biblically referenced Balm of Gilead.[3]

Myrrh is much different from the valuable gold and frankincense gifts. Myrrh symbolizes suffering, trials, tribulations, and afflictions. The church of Smyrna is known as the “Suffering Church”. The name “Smyrna” comes from myrrh. Suffering and persecution is something that Jesus experienced from the beginning of His life, from the flight into Egypt to avoid the wrath of King Herod, to the end of His life, to His wrongful crucifixion. In fact we are told that suffering was such an integral of Jesus’ life that, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Jesus never escaped the myrrh, the persecutions, throughout His entire life. No one has suffered more unjustly than He. And just as He was given the gift of myrrh by Wise Men, so we too, along with the gift of gold (salvation), and the gift of frankincense (holiness), are to receive the gift of myrrh (suffering) from the hand of the Lord, the wisest of men. It is not done to destroy us, but to teach us obedience. Suffering, trials, tribulations, persecutions are a natural part of this life. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11)

The sufferings of Jesus produced Righteousness for all who come to Him. Indeed, we cease from sin as we suffer with Him.

Of these three gifts, only myrrh is mentioned at the beginning and end of Jesus’ life.

“Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews” (John 19:39-40).

Gold – symbolizing the (hesed) unfailing love of God which leads to our being born again, is a one time gift.

Frankincense – symbolizing the (mishpat) justice of God applied to our life-our justification-is given to us all at once when we are born again.

But myrrh – symbolizing (tsedeqah) righteousness, must be experienced all our life. Our righteousness is in Christ, but only as we learn to die to sin and to Satan and to the flesh, and that will be a life-long journey.

As we experience the myrrh of life, we will have the gold of His unfailing love sustaining us, and the frankincense of His intercessory prayers encouraging us.

The end result is that we step forth clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all eternity! We walk forever on streets of the Golden Love of God, forever in His House, living and developing as His children!

These three gifts that we have unwrapped this morning are Christ’s forever gifts! But just as He has re-gifted them to us, so we should re-gift them to others!


[2] Klein, Ernest, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English, The University of Haifa, Carta, Jerusalem, p.292


Making decisions in the dark can lead to some regrettable consequences. Back in the days before electricity, a tight-fisted old farmer was taking his hired man to task for carrying a lighted lantern when he went to call on his best girl. “Why,” he exclaimed, “when I went a-courtin’ I never carried one of them things. I always went in the dark.” “Yes,” the hired man said wryly,” and look what you got!”

Have you ever held your Bible in you hand and thought, there is no way I can understand this! There is simply too much in here. How can I even begin to understand it all? I must admit, it seems every week I am thinking exactly that. I keep bringing my thoughts back to this one thought: The Bible is not a history book, it is not an anthropology book, it is not even a religious guidebook. The Bible is the message of God seeking and redeeming men women and children who see His light and respond to His light and walk in His light. That is why so little of the history of the world is not mentioned in the Bible. That is why it is not organized into neat chronological stories. It isn’t about what we can figure out with our little brains. It is all about God and His light. The Bible is written to move us to seek His light.

For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. Psalms 18:27-28

Of course we can’t understand it all! But does that mean we give up reading it, loving it? I will never completely understand my wife. Does that mean I give up trying?

We seek after the light because we love the light! Do you sincerely want the light of God in your life?

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalms 36:9

This Christmas we are focusing on the “True Light” of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, God in flesh, Jesus Christ. He is the “True Light” of Christmas.

As our world becomes increasingly secular, there will be the danger of relegating Jesus to a display, a manger scene, when in reality HE desires no other recognition than to be Lord of your heart and life. He desires to be your light and life. He does not want to be trotted out every December. He does not want to be honored just on Christmas Eve. Jesus desires to light your life every day of your life. That will take a commitment on your part, a commitment which Satan will do everything in his power to obstruct.

The Scriptural foundation for our study this morning.

  • Jesus declared, “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
  • As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. John 9:5
  • …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 12:45-46
  • In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
  • That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Ephesians 1:17-19

John in Chapter one of his Gospel declared that Jesus is the True Light, and His light is the life of men, and darkness will not overcome it. However, that does not mean that the darkness does not try. In fact, a survey of history reveals how the darkness has tried to obliterate the true light.

At the very time, John wrote his gospel there was a falling away from Jesus Christ. People were questioning the deity of Jesus Christ in the flesh. They were saying that He only became God when the Spirit came upon Him at his baptism.

That is why He was inspired to write:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

After a beautiful gospel that presents Jesus Christ in His deity, John concludes with this assurance:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31

However, he questions continued and grew more intense. The doubts about the deity of Jesus spread. Many years later John wrote once more, offering his personal assurance:

In I John:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:1-7

He adds the weight of his own testimony, and bears witness to the life and light of God manifested to the disciples through the Son-Jesus Christ. John declares that the message that Jesus proclaimed to him was that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Our fellowship with God MUST be based on our walk in His light. If we walk in darkness, we have no fellowship with God. But praise God, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, so that we can walk with God in His light!

That is why John concludes His book with an even greater declaration than that which closed out his gospel. Not only can we have Life in Jesus Christ, but also John declares:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. … We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:13-21

  • Are you really desiring to be in God’s purpose;
  • Do you really seek to know what that purpose is, and to be found in it?
  • Everything depends upon whether you have such a concern. Your desire will determine whether you are simply here to increasing your knowledge about spiritual things or whether you are here because of your strong desire to be in God’s purpose, the eternal purpose of God.
  • Are you prepared to commit yourselves to the Lord and to living completely according to His purpose?

From the very beginning God has sought people to fellowship with Him, to walk with Him. However, because God is light, fellowship could only be in the light of His righteousness. For in Him is no darkness at all.

ADAM & EVE

God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening.

However, Adam and Eve loved darkness, and chose to rebel. Their fellowship was lost, their eyes were changed. Now instead of seeing only the light, they saw darkness. Their eyes were blinded by the darkness of sin.

God responds with Abel and the altar. The altar dealt with the darkness of sin and allowed the Light of God into their relationship.

Cain ignored the light and offered that which was cursed. His blindness then led him to murder his brother.

From their experience, we conclude this foundational truth of our relationship with God.

  1. Fellowship with God is only possible through the light
  2. Fellowship is only possible through the removal of the curse of sin.
  3. The removal of the curse requires a sacrifice.

These truth’s are confirmed as we trace the history of the conflict between darkness and God’s Light

From Abel to Noah

From Abel to Noah the darkness becomes more intense and deliberate. The earth – which is the Lord’s – is taken possession of by man for his own ends.

God says, “you like darkness?” How would you like 40 days and 40 nights of rain? Every living creature is destroyed except those saved by the ark.

Emerging from the judgment, Noah builds an altar and offers sacrifice, and in so doing declares, in intent and effect: “The earth” (the renewed earth) “is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Ps. 24:1).

God has fellowship with man again. Light is returned to the world through the altar. Sin was judged by the death of the flood.

However, darkness returns all too soon. Even Noah is an agent when he gets drunk.

Babel

Babel is built by men desperate for a god of their own making, desperate to prevent a future judgment. Babel is cursed by God, and under that curse men are scattered to the four corners of the earth. Then, when, it would appear that the testimony of God has disappeared from the earth, God finds a man willing to obey Him, willing to follow the light.

Abraham

Abraham responds to God’s call. “The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia” or (when he was in darkness) – (Acts 7:2).

The God of glory APPEARED, showed Himself. Abraham had his eyes opened to see the God of glory and all the great redemptive work of God went forward through Abraham on that basis.

Their fellowship was secured when Abraham is willing to sacrifice his own son to Jehovah. The altar is once again in view, and Abraham walks in the light of God, and a new nation of God followers begins.

Israel in Egypt

God remembers his people in bondage in Egypt. In the light of the burning bush, God calls Moses to deliver them and lead them to God’s Promised Land.

God once again sets forth the Altar. In the midnight darkness of Egyptian homes a wail is heard as the angel of death slays all the firstborn males. Yet in the Jewish homes, there is the light of God, for He has seen the blood and passed over them.

His people are redeemed and led across the Red Sea on dry ground.

God leads them with fire. He has fellowship with them in the Tent of Testimony.

The Conquest of Palestine

Next, we have His people led by Joshua who is following the Captain of the Hosts. Their very entrance into the Promised Land must be across the Jordan River, which symbolizes death in both the Old and New Testaments. Once they cross, an altar is made as a monument. It symbolizes the death of the Jews to their flesh and sin and their new life of fellowship with the light of God. Their very first victories reveal that this is to be God’s battle, in God’s strength, under God’s Laws. If they go their own way or rely on their own strength, they will suffer judgment and defeat!

Judges and Kings

From here commences the long and infamous history of Israel’s descent into darkness. What had been intended to be a Kingdom of God and God’s light became a nightmare of the darkness of sin. Repeatedly they departed and deviated from God’s light.

Even though sacrifices were made, the heart of the people was dark and far from God.

God stirred men to bring His people back, men such as Hezekiah and Josiah. However, the heart of the entire nation was never stirred back to the light of God’s word. When the leader died, the apostasy set in and deepened.

First the Northern and then the Southern Kingdoms were captured and led into captivity. The nation was obliterated, the Temple, the Altar were destroyed. The darkness appears to have overcome the light of God.

Yet God reveals His light through Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They are faithful to the light of God; they sacrifice their lives to him on the altar of fire and lions. After Daniels prayer, God moves in a handful of remnant, people who still look to the light of God.

We read about this remnant in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah. It is a great time of revival and restoration, but the darkness creeps back.

Malachi

There is more apostasy, rebellion, until we get the terrible conditions recorded in Malachi, leading up to the awful announcement:

You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Malachi 3:9

How black and dark things were! Were they ever worse? Yet God is not defeated; the light is not obscured; for, in the midst of the blackness, there is that which represents the most blessed victory:

Then they that feared Jehovah spoke often one to another; and Jehovah observed [it], and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be unto me a peculiar treasure, saith Jehovah of hosts, in the day that I prepare; and I will spare them as a man spared his own son that serves him. Malachi 3:16-17

Malachi closes, and for four hundred years, there is darkness and chaos. Surely now the testimony has ceased and faithfulness has disappeared? Surely now the Lord has lost everything? The darkness has conquered the light?

LUKE

Now we take up the book that Luke wrote to his friend Theophilus. Luke brings into our view a certain priest

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth

“And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. Luke 1:6

We also find Mary, to whom the angel Gabriel said:

“Thou that are endued with grace, the Lord is with thee”. Luke 1:28

There was also Simeon and Anna:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25-32

And there was one Anna, a prophetess… she… spoke of him to ALL THEM THAT WERE LOOKING for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36, 38.

Even in the midst of great darkness, God has always had a faithful remnant who seeks HIS LIGHT! Listen to their Witness:

  • Zechariah:  “because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
  • Mary: “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Luke 1:50
  • Simeon: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel”.Luke 2:31-32

Throughout history, no matter how deep the darkness, no matter the degree of blindness, there has been a remnant, a peculiar treasure, a group of jewels who have sought the light of God! Even when there has been no written revelation, they have seen that

1. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)

2. The Kingdom of God is the rule of Divine light.

In the New Jerusalem, the heaven in which we shall one day dwell, it is recorded:

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. Revelation 21:23-25

Birth of Jesus – FOCAL POINT OF CONFLICT

The Birth of Jesus was the revelation of God’s Light in human form. However, what made His light so intense, so beautiful, was that the manger they laid Jesus upon represented the altar that God requires for us to walk in His light.

For Jesus was not born to reign as a King, or Serve as a Priest, He was born to die. He was born to deal for once and for all the mighty deathblow to the prince of darkness.

While we sing of Peace and Silent Nights, the birth of Jesus was a focal point of intense conflict. For God has been set against the darkness from the very creation.

God has always attacked the Darkness

Genesis 1 opens with “Darkness upon the face of the deep”. God did not just look at that darkness and call out in a soft voice: ‘Let us have some light.’ I believe that God attacked the darkness by boldly declaring ‘Let there be light!’ Darkness is contrary to my nature.

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, listen to the stern tone of Paul’s voice as he cries out:

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

This darkness is the work of the devil, and God is adamantly against it.

The Redemptive message of God’s Word is that the Light will overcome the darkness through the altar, through sacrifice, through removal of the curse!

Jesus declared this about Abraham to the Jews:

“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” John 8:56

The Jews were in darkness, their eyes blind to the truth of Jesus, and took up stones to kill Jesus. They refused the light of God, just as their fathers had before them, and their fathers before that.

Abraham saw the light of Jesus Christ!

Satan does not want our eyes open to see the True Light of Jesus Christ. He wants us to relegate him to a pretty story, a beautiful manger scene. However, God wants us to see the conflict that is raging between the darkness and the True Light.

This conflict is ever at our door, for by nature we love the darkness rather than the light. Look at God’s own people to see how easily they became blind to God!

Where do you stand? Where does your family stand? Are you with the faithful remnant? Are you ever looking to the True Light of God? Are you daily dying on the altar, the altar of death to the flesh, the altar of death to sin?

Are you daily looking to the True Light by looking to His Word, by seeking His light in prayer?

On the other hand, are you so rushed at Christmas time that Satan has stolen the True Light from your life. Are you so busy and stressed that you have no time for the True Light?

The supreme work of Satan is not to get good people to do bad things, not to drag good people into the cesspool of sin, nor does he drag young men and women into moral corruption, nor does he make infidels and atheists. These are only byproducts of Satan’s supreme work! His supreme work is to blind us!

Take away the blindness, open our eyes to the True Light, and all this will be dealt with. Satan wants to keep us in the dark as to the True Light! The True Light is the most fatal thing to the kingdom of Satan. Paul put it simply:

“LEST the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine.”

Satan says:

‘If those people get the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, MY kingdom is gone. The battle is over for me. I am lost.’

Satan will do anything to keep us from having light.

This is why Paul prays in Ephesians that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened. The darkness is ever around us.

Paul mentioned those who are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Ephesians 4:18

You may be thinking, ‘Well, we are not in the dark. We are saved people.’

  • That is exactly what the Jews were thinking. What happened to their Temple? What happened to their Holy City?
  • That is exactly what the seven churches were saying, yet every one of their candlesticks is removed today. Today Turkey is covered with the darkness of Satan.

If we want to keep walking in the True Light, we must realize it will only come with sacrifice and conflict. Satan is opposed to the light!

Divine light is POSITIVE.

You cannot have Divine light and be neutral. If God has shined into your heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,

Your life is a challenge to the kingdom of Satan, and his attitude to you will be: ‘We will get you out as soon as we can!’

You will find that Satan will stop at nothing to quench that light. You see, Jesus being the True Light of Christmas is not just a pretty story or Bible theory;

It is a menace to the kingdom of Satan.

Are you walking in the True Light of Jesus Christ? Then your very existence disturbs the kingdom of Satan.

Isaiah 60:1-2

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you.

We love seeing the Nativity scene. We use it to decorate our homes. We even set them up in our front yard. But understand this. That was no simple manger that nestled the head of baby Jesus. That manger was the altar of sacrifice, the means of our fellowship with the Light of God. It was the means of the defeat of sin and Satan. That manger meant the death of God’s only begotten Son.

1. We must constantly be on guard against the darkness entering our life.

2. Realize that Satan’s number one goal is to bring dullness and/or darkness into your life, so that the Word of God has no effect.

3. Disobedience, disregard, doubt, distraction all work to dull our eyes to the light of God’s Word.

4. The Light of God only enters our life through the altar. We must die to our desires, we must lay aside our pride, we must humble ourselves to God’s sovereign will.

5. We must desire the Light of God’s Word more than Life itself.

6. We must daily seek the Light of God’s Word! We must ask for it! We must set our heart upon it!


The IT department had been working 12 hour days for four weeks in a row. Two guys were talking about how badly they needed some time off, but until their project was completed,  time off was prohibited.

One of the guys suddenly lifted his head. “I know how to get some time off work” the man whispered.

“How?” asked the second worker.

Instead of answering, the man quickly looked around. No sign of his Boss. He jumped up on his desk, kicked out a couple of ceiling tiles and hoisted himself up. “Look!” he hissed, then swinging his legs over a metal pipe, hung upside down.

Within seconds, the Boss emerged from his office at the far end of the floor. He saw the worker hanging from the ceiling, and asked him what on earth he thought he was doing.

“I’m a light bulb” answered the public servant.

“I think you need some time off,” barked the Boss. “Get out of here – that’s an order – and I don’t want to see you back here for two days! You understand me?”

“Yes sir”, the public servant answered meekly, then jumped down, logged off his computer and left.

The second worker was hot on his heels.

“Where do you think you’re going?” the boss asked.

“Home,” he said lightly. “I can’t work in the dark.”

Christmas time is all about the lights! Most of us take time to drive around and see the pretty lights. Most of us put up a tree decorated with pretty lights. We may even put them up on our house. Some of us leave them up all year.

The next few weeks we will be looking at the Light of Jesus Christ. As such, I was trying to find out if there was such a thing a “pure light”. The more I researched, the more my brain was fried.

First of all, to know what ‘light’ is, you have to study the following:

  • Particle theory
  • Wave Theory
  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Quantum theory
  • Wave–particle duality
  • Quantum electrodynamics

Plus, there is light we can see and there is light we cannot see with the naked eye. Imagine a light which you can not see.

Now if there is any thing such as pure light, it is achieved by a process called: “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. We hear the abbreviation: LASER.

But even with LASERS light is not always pure, and there are different methods of light amplification. This requires  the study of:

  • Continuous wave operation
  • Pulsed operation
  • Q-switching
  • Mode-locking
  • Pulsed pumping

My mind grew numb reading about light, and I never could get a grasp on if there is such a thing as naturally occuring “pure light”.

I did discover something known as “Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helioophthalmic Outburst Syndrome” People with ACHOO syndrome start sneezing when suddenly exposed to bright light, (usually mutliple times) consecutively. The condition affects 18-35% of the human population.(Wikipedia)

I did find out what “true light” is:

John 1:6-9 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for the true light.

What is “true light”?

  • True used here, means real, genuine, not fake, not artificial.

True, conformed to truth (John 4:37; 19:35). In the sense of real, unfeigned, not fictitious (John 17:3, meaning the only true God, not feigned like idols; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 3:7; Sept.: 2 Chr. 15:3; Isa. 65:16). Spoken of what is true in itself, genuine, real, as opposed to that which is false, (pseudés <G5571>)[1]

Now this “true Light” is also called “great light in Isa 9:2:

Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Now if Jesus is the True Light and the Great Light, then that means there is a fake light, or an artificial light, or a light which is lesser in its power and effect. What makes Jesus Christ the True Light? And here the Bible defines what makes True Light, Pure Light, Great Light. Look to the beginning verses of John:

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Verse 4&5 tells us what makes light true and great-it produces life in mankind, and the darkness does not overcome it.

I. The Character of the True Light

A.THE TRUE LIGHT IS LIFE.

Normal living things need light to grow. With very rare exceptions do things grow in absolute darkness. Most of us know about “photosynthesis.” The word ‘photo’ means ‘light,’ and the word synthesis means ‘to put together.’ Green plants produce food by putting chemicals together with light.

It is light that causes plants to produce food, and the whole life chain of animals and man depends on this process.  Life itself is built on the sunlight.  Without the sunlight, our world would become cold and dark and dead. If a man is forced to live in absolute darkness, eventually he will go blind, because the nerve endings of the optic nerve will die.

Jesus is the True Light that brings True Life to dying man. We are born into darkness, and unless our eyes are opened to the Light of Jesus Christ, we will die spiritually blind and dead.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He came to give us life.  When the Holy Spirit shined the light of the Gospel into our hearts, there was a divine photosynthesis that took place, producing life where before there was only death.

The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. Psalms 119:130

Jesus is the Word and Jesus is the True Light, shining from itself and by itself.

If the Life of the Son of God IS the light that shines in the darkness (which is what verse 4 says) then there are at least four things we can say about this light.

  1. The TRUE light of life has energy and power because the life of the Son has energy and power.
  2. The True light of life has purpose and motion. It is not static like a lamppost or a lighthouse on the shore. It plans and moves. It shines now here now there. It is alive with the life of the Son.
  3. The True light of life grows and expands. That is the way the Life of the Son of God is. His life is a fountain of life (Psalm 36:9). Once the rays start coming out of this light they extend farther and farther and farther.

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. Psalms 36:9

4.  The True Light of life gives birth to children of light.

While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. John 12:36

B.TRUE LIGHT IS NEVER OVERCOME

It is possible for the darkness to overcome the light in our homes. The power can go off, the batteries in our flashlights can go dead, the fuel in our lanterns can be used up. But this can never happen in the spiritual realm. The darkness cannot prevail because Jesus is the true light that “shines in the darkness.” John doesn’t say Jesus is the true light that will shine or that did shine. Rather, he expresses continuing action. He tells us that Jesus has shone, that He is shining, and that He will shine. As the light of the world, Jesus never ceases to shine. Therefore, the darkness has not and does not and will not overcome the light.

  • No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37
  • And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5
  • And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. Revelation 6:2
  • They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TRUE LIGHT

WHAT DOES THE TRUE LIGHT MEAN TO YOU AND ME?

A.THE TRUE LIGHT APPEARED FOR OUR SALVATION

During the Festival of Lights Jesus declared to the celebrants:

“I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”    John 8:12

“Hanukkah” or “Festival of Lights” is celebrated for eight days commencing on the 25th day of the month of Kislev (November to December). It celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel. It begins in the reign of Alexander the Great, who conquered Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy.

More than 100 years after Alexander the Great, Antiochus IV rose to power in the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Greek priest in the Temple, massacuring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. One of the groups which opposed Antiochus was led by Mattathias (Matitiyahu) the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee (“The Hammer”).

This small band of pious Jews led guerrilla warfare against the Syrian army. Antiochus sent thousands of well-armed troops to crush the rebellion, but the Maccabees succeeded in driving the foreigners from their land. According to historical accounts, Jewish fighters entered Jerusalem in December 164 BC. The Holy Temple, the Jewish religious center, was in shambles, defiled and desecrated by foreign soldiers.

The Maccabees cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. When it came time to re-light the Menorah (the multi-branched lampstand), they searched the entire Temple, but only one small jar of oil bearing the pure seal of the High Priest could be found. Miraculously, the small jar of oil burned for eight days, until a new supply of oil could be brought.

From then on, Jews everywhere have observed a holiday for eight days in honor of this historic victory and the miracle of the oil. The observance of Chanukah features the lighting of a special Chanukkah menorah with eight branches (plus a helper candle), adding one new candle each night.

It was during this particular occasion that Jesus Christ pronounced Himself as the “Light of the World.”

The Significance of Jesus Proclamation was that He was our Savior! He is the one who came to save us from the darkness of sin!

Jesus Appeared for our Salvation!

When Zechariah (father of John the Baptist) could finally speak, this is what He said of Jesus:

(Luke 1:78-79)”the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise (Dayspring –  Messiah’s coming would be like coming of dawn, His light driving away darkness of sin,) from on high shall visit us, to shine upon (epiphaino) those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

When the hour of mankind looked darkest, when our world was pitch-black and hopeless, the God of love burst into the darkness of this world in the person of his virgin–born Son, in a definitive moment of divine epiphany. His advent was like the dawning of a bright new day, the beginning of a truly new age.

Zechariah described the birth of Jesus as “epiphaino”- An Appearing.

Appeared (epiphaino from epí = over, upon + phaíno = to shine) literally means to shine upon. It means to bring to light or to show upon.

In the Old Testament:

  • The first use of epiphaino in the Greek translation of the Septuagint (LXX) records that Jacob “built there an altar, and called the name of the place Bethel for there God appeared (epiphaino) to him…” (Ge 35:7)
  • Another use is in the well known Aaronic blessing –The Lord make His face to shine upon (epiphaino) thee, and have mercy upon thee. (Nu 6:25)
  • It is interesting that a frequent prayer in the psalms is for God to make His face shine (epiphaino) upon His servants (see Ps 31:16, 67:1, 80:3, 80:7, 80:19, 119:135)

In the New Testament:

  • For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Titus 2:11
  • But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

The APPEARANCE of Jesus should not have been a surprise.

There were over 300 Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Simeon and Anna were expecting the Messiah and rejoiced when they set their eyes upon Him.

(They) continued to speak of Him (the Messiah) to all those who were (earnestly and expectantly) looking for the redemption of Jerusalem (another beautiful Name for Messiah!) (Lu 2:36-38).

  • Have you ever prayed for God to shine His face upon you?
  • Have you prayed for Him to shine the light of Jesus Christ upon your children and your grandchildren?

Jesus Christ, the True Light, was revealed for you and me.

and which now has been manifested through the appearing (epiphaino) of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10

Peter adds that Christ “was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared (epiphaino) in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20)

The birth of Jesus was the most significant event in the history of mankind! The True Light now dwelt among man and would now offer True Light to sin darkened souls!

B.THE TRUE LIGHT IS SUPERIOR TO ANY OTHER LIGHT!

  1. NOT A SHADOW. The real light in contrast from the dim and shaded light which was conveyed through the types and shadows of the Old Testament ritual.
  2. NOT FALSE. Satan himself, we read, “is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), but he appears as such only to deceive. But Christ is the true Light in contrast from all the false lights which are in the world.
  3. NOT A REFLECTION: there are lesser lights which are borrowed and reflected, as the moon from the sun, but Christ’s “light” is His own essential and underived glory.
  4. THE SUPREME LIGHT: He is not ordinary or common. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another of the stars; but all other lights pale before Him who is “the light.”

At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8

Jesus Came as our True Light

Jesus knew His origin and destiny. He declared (John 8:12)  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

He declared that His witness was enough. He said, “My testimony is true” (alēthēs).

  • It is not false.
  • It is not a lie.
  • It is not a deceptive claim.
  • It is not the claim of an egomaniac setting Himself up as a god.
  • It is not the claim of a man who is out to shatter men’s dreams.
  • It is not the claim of a man who is set on destroying men.

III. WHAT SHOULD BE THE IMPACT OF THE TRUE LIGHT?

A.TAKE HOLD OF LIFE BY FOLLOWING THE TRUE LIGHT:

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)” Ephesians 5:8-9

TRUE LIGHT AND LIFE

  • And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20
  • Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11

Jesus Christ – The Light of the World.

No matter where you turn in God’s Word, you will find that Christmas is about light!  We love to sing the Christmas carol, “Silent Night, Holy Night.” But this great hymn is not about the night or about darkness.  It’s about the light.  The third stanza says, “Son of God, / love’s pure light / Radiant beams from Thy holy face, / with the dawn of redeeming grace.”

Again, we sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” the last stanza inviting us to “Hail the heaven‑born Prince of Peace! / Hail the Son of righteousness! / Light and life to all He brings, / risen with healing in His wings.”

We sing at Christmas because we have something to sing about!  Light has come into the world, and we need never walk in darkness again.

Is there such a thing as pure light? Yes, if it has only one wavelength.

Most light that we see is made up of many different wavelengths.  Sun light is a continuous mixture from the deepest blues to the brightest reds and all colors in between as a prism or a rainbow can show. Pure light produced by a laser can be used for surgery, and for measuring distances with the utmost accuracy. Pure light is used to measure the distance from the earth to the moon within one inch.  This light is bounced back by reflectors left there in the late 1960’s and 1970’s at certain locations on the moon.

So just as pure light can be used in surgery to heal problems, and in astronomy to add accuracy to our measurements, the true light of Jesus Christ shines in the darkness of our sin-sick world, and reveals our shortcomings, and brings healing to our sin-sick souls.

B.IS THE TRUE LIGHT OF JESUS CHRIST LIVING IN YOUR SOUL? DO YOU HAVE LIFE?

“The true light, which enlightens everyone…”

Tom Peterson, a New Jersey banking executive, was renovating an old farmhouse he’d purchased. It was on the township’s historical register, so he asked members of the local historical society to walk through the house with him. “As we passed an old hanging lamp,” Peterson recalls, “one of them said, ‘Be careful with that because you never know what you might have.’ I tucked that away, but the place was falling apart, so preserving a lamp was the least of my concerns.”

Luckily, the lamp wasn’t damaged as Peterson gutted the house. He eventually worked his way up to the lamp and saw a “Stickley Workshop” stamp on top. Some online research convinced Peterson that he’d found an authentic product of the legendary American furniture company. So he sent a photo to Rago Arts, a nearby auction house, which estimated the lamp would bring $20,000 to $30,000. “I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,'” Peterson says.

As it turns out, the estimate was way off. When the dust settled, the lamp sold for a whopping $310,000 – $10,000 more than he’d paid for the entire house.

Like Peterson, many fail to recognize Jesus as the light, the true light, of the world. What about you? Do you know Who He is?

For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. Psalms 56:13


[1] The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament.


Journey 2010 is about a church whose people Live in the Will of God. In order to even begin to know the will of God, we must understand what will always frame His Will. Scripture is very clear on what we must have in order to begin to discern the will of God. In fact, Living in the Will of God will always involve these three components:

1.  Eternal Life

Jesus defined eternal life for us. It is not a prayer you make, nor religious activities you may do. It involves a relationship- “and this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3. Eternal life involves KNOWING God and His Son Jesus Christ. Not one or the other. BOTH must be known. Know the Will of God will always involve knowing Him, and as such will always involve having eternal life.

In the midst of this circle of truth is God’s Will:

To Know God’s Will You must Know God. To Know God you must have Eternal Life. To have Eternal Life, you must know God. To know God’s will is to know God.

2.  Wisdom

Listen to God’s Word on Wisdom:

  • that their hearts may be encouraged…to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, Colossians 2:2-6
  • that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, Ephesians 1:17

Both of these verses are found in prayers of the Apostle Paul. So overwhelmed was he that as he was writing, he was moved to prayer for those who would be reading his letters. He wanted them to know that in Jesus Christ is all wisdom. He prayed that God would open our eyes to see this by giving us the Spirit of revelation in knowing Jesus Christ. In order to know Jesus we must walk in Him. He must be the focus of our life, our learning, our everything.

Living in the Will of God will always involve walking in Jesus Christ. Living in the Will of God will always involve KNOWING Jesus Christ. This is how we have WISDOM, for Jesus Christ is our WISDOM!

  • Wisdom is “seeing Life from God’s Point of View.” Knowing God’s Will will always involve seeing Life from His point of View. After all, it is His Will!
  • Wisdom will always involve more of Jesus Christ in your life, for in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Living in the Will of God requires wisdom, for wisdom opens our understanding to God’s point of View. If you believe that God knows so much more than you about your life and the lives of those around you, then you will want His wisdom, you will want to see things from His viewpoint. Now since living in the Will of God involves Wisdom I need to point out how you get wisdom. It doesn’t automatically come to a Christian. The reason is that we tend to be self-focused and selfish by nature. James Gives this advice about getting wisdom:

Jas 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

You must want to see life from God’s point of view badly enough that you are willing to take your eyes off yourself, take your eyes off this world and focus your being on God and what He has for your life. If you ask for wisdom, if you ask to live in God’s will, yet part of you wants this or wants that, contrary to God’s righteousness, then you will not get wisdom from God. You will not see life from His point of view. You will continue to be like the waves of the sea, tossing to and fro, wandering apart from God’s will. Wisdom from God and knowing God’s Will requires the same desire-a Life that is in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and His righteousness must become the Love of your life, the desire of your heart and soul.

If you are still self-focused and concerned only for your life, why should God direct your life? After all you only want Him to benefit you! But remember, God’s Will is ALL ABOUT HIM and what HE wants!

3.  Faith

Living in the Will of God involves pleasing God. And Hebrews 11:6 says without Faith it is impossible to please God. By faith Moses left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27. Faith allows us to See God and what He wants to do with our lives.

Faith in your life will do Two Things:

  1. Faith will allow you to see God behind everything that happens in your life.
  2. Faith keeps you in a place where you are not sure what will happen next.

If you can see the road ahead you don’t need to Trust GodLiving in the Will of God will always involve eternal life, wisdom and faith.

WHERE DO WE START?

In order to know what the Will of God is, we must know what it isn’t. Here are four common Falsehoods about the Will of God:

FALSEHOOD #1: God Wants Us to Know the Future

This is the biggest mistake we Christians make with regard to living in the Will of God.

Just because God has led a certain way does not guarantee the end result. We keep trying to look down the road so we can figure out the direction God is taking us. The road ahead is always dark at times. There is NO WAY we can know how things will always turn out. There is a reason why God requires FAITH to please Him, because Faith is what brings God into the unknown

It is rarely God’s will for you to know your entire personal future. God doesn’t light the entire road. He promises just enough light for your step ahead.

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

The ancient Jews would carry small oil lamps that gave off one foot power of light. That meant they only had enough light to see one step in front of them. To see the way, they had to take a step. The light would then reveal the next step.

This verse pictures a man in total darkness walking along a dangerous trail. There is no moon in the sky. Darkness clings to him. His only light comes from the lamp he carries with him. When he takes that step, what happens to the light? It goes forward one more step. The light is not bright enough to illuminate even ten feet ahead.

Let’s face the truth–we want to know the future. At least we think we do. We want to know what is going to happen next year, so we can be ready in advance. But God doesn’t play that game with us. The Bible says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Does he know what will happen tomorrow? Yes, he does; but he’s not telling anyone else about it. Or to put it in familiar terms, does God have a blueprint for your life? Yes, he does; but there is no blueprint room where you can go to get a copy!

Suppose God were to offer you a folder with the details of your life (and for your loved ones also) for the next 10 years. Would you take it? You first impulse might be to say yes. But suppose I add this provision. You can’t change anything you find in that folder. Would you still take it? I can tell you that I would run the other way. Life is much better lived one day at a time.

Does God know what you should be doing on January 17th, 2020? Yes He does. But all you get to see is January 17, 2010.

God wants us to trust Him for each and every STEP we take. Jesus said to pray for our DAILY Bread.

He reveals His will one step at a time, so we must trust him moment by moment.

FALSEHOOD #2: The Will of God is Known with 100% Certainty

Many people believe they must be 100 percent certain of God’s will before they make a decision. I can understand their thinking. After all, if you are facing a life-changing decision–a potential marriage, a cross-country move, a new career, which college to attend, whether or not to begin chemotherapy–you’d like to know in advance beyond any doubt that you are doing what God wants you to do. There are two problems with this point of view.

First, sometimes we think we know God’s will with 100 percent certainty only to find out later that we were mistaken. Second,becasue we believe we must be 100% sure, we end up paralyzed into inaction. We are afraid to do anything, so we end up doing nothing. Some people live by the creed: “When in doubt, don’t.” So much of doing God’s Will requires simple obedience without total understanding. Every great Hero of Faith faced a time in their life when they obeyed God without 100% certainty of the outcome. I have always been challenged by Abraham who immediately obeyed God’s command to kill his son Isaac. The scripture says that he knew God could raise him up, but I can imagine there was doubt haunting his mind as they trekked up the mountain. He obeyed, and it became righteousness to Him. So many of my mistakes and failures resulted in my righteousness as I turned to God in total dependence. If I had not failed I would still be that arrogant, self-centered snot-nosed kid I was in my early twenties. God’s mercy is so great!

We see this principle illustrated in Acts 16. When the Apostle Paul and his team left Troas, they sailed across the Aegean Sea in response to a vision of a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (v. 9). When they got there, they found a woman named Lydia. But what about “the man”? He was nowhere to be found. Later on Paul and Silas were arrested, stripped, flogged, and thrown in jail. That night during an earthquake, they led their jailer to Christ, then baptized him and his whole family. The next morning Paul and Silas were released and escorted out of the city by the town leaders, who were glad to see them go. It’s a strange story. In many ways it appears that Paul failed in Philippi. After all, he was in trouble almost from the moment he arrived. Where is the great church he came to establish? But from God’s point of view Paul did exactly what he should have done. He followed God’s leading–God gave more light–Paul took another step and waited for further developments. Step by step, through twists and turns and unexpected means, Paul did what God wanted him to do, even though it wasn’t what he expected to do when he arrived in town.

GOD’S WILL MEANS TESTINGS AND TRIALS

Have you seen this before? (Maybe on those House Flipping Shows?) A couple (after much prayer and seeking God’s Will) buys an older house only to discover that it was in much worse shape than they had expected, costing them many thousands of dollars more to restore. One such couple even consulted with God about the home they would restore. After all kinds of setbacks, the wife wrote this letter:

Seeking God’s will has never caused me much difficulty in the past (partly because I didn’t always!), but when we were in the throes of trying to decide about buying this house, we both prayed long and hard that we would have a clear sense of direction and guidance from the Lord or at least a sense of peace about a decision if it were the right one. Because of the many troubles we’ve had while living here, I had convinced myself that we made the wrong decision and were paying for it in a big way.

Resentment started to taint my relationship with God. Why would He allow us to make such a terrible mistake (expensive one too!) when we spent so much time asking Him for his guidance? Only in the last few weeks have I felt that God does indeed want us here. Our difficulties in getting in here were not God slamming the door shut, but rather him holding it open just wide enough for us to squeeze through. Our difficulties in buying the house now seem like good training for the battles while we’re in it. I have discovered that the outcome of our decisions does not retroactively affect whether it was God’s will!

That final sentence is crucial. “The outcome does not retroactively affect whether it was God’s will.” That’s exactly right. Doing God’s will means taking the next step–whatever it is–without a definite promise about the end result. Many times you won’t have 100 percent certainty; but when the moment comes to decide, you must make the best decision you can, trusting God for the results. Sometimes you’ll know more, sometimes less; but living by faith means taking the next step anyway.

FALSEHOOD #3: The Will of God is My Happiness

Millions of Christians buy into this false idea. They believe that their happiness is God’s supreme goal for them. That sounds good, doesn’t it? “God wants me to be happy.” “God wants me to be fulfilled.” “God wants me to be successful.” They make it all about themselves. They push what God wants aside, and create their own fantasies. This falsehood has been used to justify all kinds of stupid and selfish behavior. I have had supposedly good Christian men tell me “I’m not happy with my wife. God has brought another woman into my life and we are very happy together. It must be God’s will that I should divorce my wife and marry this other woman because God wants me to be happy.”

The French have a word for that kind of thinking: BullCrap!

If your personal happiness is not God’s highest goal for you, then what is God’s will for your life?

  • It is God’s will for you to be holy.
  • It is God’s will for you to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
  • It is God’s will for you to do good works for the kingdom of God.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

First Thessalonians 4:3 states God’s Will very plainly: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” To be “sanctified” means to be made holy. It refers to the life-long process whereby God shapes you, through a myriad of experiences both positive and negative, into the image of Jesus Christ.

Here’s the Bullet Point: He uses the very worst things that happen to us in order to conform us to His Son.

Romans 8:29 says, “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” That is the will of God for your life. He wants you to become like Jesus Christ. Whatever makes you like Jesus is good. Whatever doesn’t make you like Jesus is bad. And God is fully committed to shaping your life day by day into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Most of us know about Corrie Ten Boom. During World War II she was taken from her home in Holland to a prison camp and later to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany. There she and her sister, Betsie, were held, and Betsie eventually died. Corrie Ten Boom was released—by a Nazi clerical mistake—just before the end of the war. In her book “Tramp for the Lord”—she reflects on God’s leading:

Looking back across the years of my life, I can see the working of a divine pattern which is the way of God with His children. When I was in a prison camp in Holland during the war, I often prayed, “Lord, never let the enemy put me in a German concentration camp.” God answered no to that prayer. Yet in the German camp, with all its horror, I found many prisoners who had never heard of Jesus Christ. If God had not used my sister Betsie and me to bring them to Him, they would never have heard of Him. Many died, or were killed, but many died with the name of Jesus on their lips. They were well worth all our suffering. Faith is like the radar which sees through the fog—the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.

How can going to a prison camp be the will of God? It can’t be if God’s will is that you should always be happy and comfortable. Yet going to a prison camp can be the will of God for you if it makes you more like Jesus Christ and gives you opportunities to share the love of Christ to people that would never hear it otherwise. That’s the biblical perspective.

Will God’s plan for you and me always bring immediate worldly wealth and success? No, but God’s plan will always bring peace and joy and fulfillment, even in the midst of sorrow and suffering. Our duty is to follow the Lord wherever he leads us. And when we do that, we find a deep joy in him. The path of obedience leads to a joy the world cannot match.

FALSEHOOD #4: The Will of God is Hard to Know

Many folks think God’s Will is something you have to go to the Oracle to discover. Only after this journey or that experience. My brother who has struggled with drugs most of his life always used to say “If only God would give me a sign.” It was like he wanted a bolt of lightning to strike him before he would get his life right with God. Some people want a visible message from God. Like a God Postcard that reads, “Dear John, Buy the White Toyota. Signed, God.” Or they fear that one night, while they are watching Monday Night Football, God’s will flash His Will across the TV, but we missed it because of a potty break. Or they worry that they have sinned too much and have blown their only chance to do God’s will.

God doesn’t operate that way. He simply says Trust Me, Know Me. Wait on Me.

  • God wants you to know his will more than you want to know it.
  • God is more committed to showing you his will than you are to discovering it.

When you give your will to Him, he will take complete responsibility for getting you from here to there step by step.

  • God has said, “Never will I leave you” (Hebrews 13:5). And He won’t.
  • He also said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8). And He will.
  • He also promised, “Surely I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20). And He is.

We think that God’s will is hard to find. The biblical perspective is quite different. God will reveal his will to anyone who is willing to do it. Sometimes He makes us wait. But He will always show His will to those willing to do it.

YOU WILL KNOW WHEN YOU ARE WILLING TO TRUST & OBEY

God will usually show you His will and expect you to do it, because you told Him you would. He doesn’t give you choices. There is no Plan A or B or C. He doesn’t say, what do you think of this and allow you to say maybe I will or maybe I won’t. Do you have another plan God? This one looks too hard.

HE WILL SHOW YOU HIS WILL WHEN HE KNOWS YOU ARE WILLING TO DO IT.

There is an old hymn called ‘Workman of God’ written by Frederick Faber (wrote Faith of our Fathers):

“Workman of God! O lose not heart, But learn what God is like; And in the darkest battlefield Thou shalt know where to strike.

Thrice blest is he to whom is giv’n the instinct that can tell that God is on the field, when He Is most invisible.”

Nothing will sustain the servants of the Lord in hard times like knowing God’s character. And as the hymn (and life itself) makes clear, you don’t “learn what God is like” by going to seminary and memorizing the attributes of God. You learn what God is like in the darkness of the night, when you feel overwhelmed and burdened and full of fear and uncertainty. Ironically you learn that when you feel most alone, God is nearest to you. So make it your goal in life to know God.

LEARN WHAT GOD IS LIKE:

  • Learn his holiness.
  • Exult in his mercy.
  • Ponder his patience.
  • Consider his ways.
  • Meditate on his goodness.
  • Remind yourself of his justice.
  • Rest on his faithfulness.
  • Linger at the foot of the cross.
  • Take up your cross
  • Memorize his promises.
  • Pray the psalms back to him.
  • Testify to his kindness.
  • Declare his glory.
  • Defend his honor.
  • Be silent before his judgments.
  • Become His Servant

Get to know the Lord. Nothing matters more than this. When I gaze into my future, I see some things clearly, but there are a lot of gray fuzzy areas. Faith allows me to say as Job did so confidently:

“He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).

  • My Abba Father knows the way that I take even when I don’t.
  • My Abba Father knows the way that I take even when I can’t see clearly.
  • My Abba Father knows the way that I take even when I get lost.

Walking in Jesus is a journey whose destination lies somewhere beyond the horizon. Even when we think we’ve arrived, we haven’t. Even when we think, “Aha! I’ve made it at last,” life suddenly changes and we take a sharp bend in the road. But the journey itself ought to be enjoyed. And we should use it to learn what God is like. If you are struggling with this concept of God’s Will, I urge you to start praying this simple little prayer when you awake each morning:

“Heavenly Father, you are in charge of everything that will happen to me today–whether it be good or bad, positive or negative. Please make me thankful for everything that happens to me today. For the sake of Jesus, Amen.”

This prayer is powerful because it doesn’t change anything outside of you, but it will enable God to change everything inside of you. Your circumstances won’t change, but your attitude will. Your heart will start to listen to God. Your eyes will begin to see Him in your circumstances. You will find yourself beginning to know Him as your “Abba Father”, your dear loving daddy. And He will always guide those who hold His hand.

Are you ready to Journey with God in 2010? Why don’t you tell Him right now!