God is Light – Walk in the Light

Sermon by David Robertson on February 28, 2010

1 John 1:5-7

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The Lord’s Day Morning

February 28, 2010

1 John 1:5-7

“God is Light — Walk in the Light”

The Reverend Mr. David Robertson

O come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God and we are the
people of His pasture, the flock under His care.
Let us worship Him
.

It is our missions conference and we’re delighted to have with us David
Robertson who is the pastor of the Saint Peter’s Free Church of Scotland
congregation in Dundee,
Scotland.
Now Saint Peter’s is the congregation that was pastored by the famous
Robert Murray McCheyne in the nineteenth century and David has actually written
a biography of Robert Murray McChenye called,
Awakening, which has recently been
reprinted by Christian Focus Publication. And
in the new edition, I might add, at the end there are pictures of the newly
renovated sanctuary of Saint Peter’s Dundee where so many of the activities for
the Center for Public Christianity, which you’ll hear more about from David
tonight, are held. But we’re
delighted to have David with us.

David went to Saint Peter’s in 1992 when the congregation had seven members.
He was sent by the denomination to do a redevelopment charge.
We’d call it church revitalization, but very frankly there were people in
the Free Church that thought David was going to go there and bury that
congregation, that they were going to close the doors.
But God in His mercy has built up that congregation and I don’t know how
many you have worshipping with you now, but it’s a sizable congregation,
especially for Britain.
There’re not many mega-churches in Britain and Saint Peter’s
Dundee
is a vibrant congregation. And the
other thing that’s so striking about Saint Peter’s Dundee
is it’s a young congregation and it’s multi-national.
I don’t know how many languages are spoken in your congregation.
I know a few years ago you said nine, ten, languages you could hear on a
Sunday morning in the congregation and that is always an energizing setting to
be in where you see university students, young people from all over the world,
gathered, united around one thing and one thing only — the Gospel of the Lord
Jesus Christ. And so it’s a delight
to have David Robertson here speaking to us about the Gospel, about the Great
Commission, because we would aspire to see the same kind of Gospel influence in
our own community, in our own state and nation, and around the world that God in
His mercy has given to this young congregation.
It’s a congregation that’s very old in terms of the history of that
church but it’s actually a very young congregation.
We’re delighted to have David here today bringing the Word of God.

And thanks to the choir. You guys
are great. Your old friend John
Wagner sends you greetings to you from bonnie Scotland.
It’s good to be here and share with you.
I’m going to read from the first letter of John on page one thousand
twenty one. We’ll read the whole of
chapter one.

1 John chapter 1:

“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.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in
us. If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. If we say we have
not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

Let’s pray.

Lord, this is Your Word and we thank You that it is without fault and without
error. We thank You that it speaks
to us of You, that is communicates all that You want us to know, so we pray that
You would open our minds and our hearts and our wills that we may think and
understand, that we may love and that we may obey, for we ask it in Your name.
Amen.

I hope this evening to say a little bit more about the work in
Dundee
and I have a DVD and a couple of brochures and what we’re trying to do.
Dr. Duncan mentioned the Center for Public Christianity and we’ll tell
you about that some. It’s good to
be able to share. Gary Johnson from
Sweden
— Sweden
is always quoted to me by American liberals as an example of a basically a
perfect state. Now I think Sweden
is great but I was debating an American liberal about a week ago, Michael
Shermer of the American Skeptics Association, and he was citing Sweden, but I
looked him up and Mr. Shermer is also an atheist so I suggested to him that
Sweden was perfect because it was socialist and would he accept that and he was
rather embarrassed by basically his lack of knowledge really of what is going on
in Sweden. It’s a beautiful country
but there is a spiritual darkness and that’s why the work that Gary is doing is so important.

I don’t know about Amarillo.
I’m sorry I just know of, “Is There a Way to Amarillo?” — that’s about
it. I have no idea why you would
want a way to Amarillo,
but I’m sure it’s a lovely place and I’m sure it needs its work there as well.
But that’s what we’re going to look at, how the light coming into the
world — whether it’s Amarillo
or Sweden or Scotland or Jackson, Mississippi.

Can I just say something to the children who are here?
It’s really good that you are able to be here.
Can I tell you just a little bit about my own church because it’s a
building somewhat smaller than this but it’s an old, old building.
And about two years ago if you had come into it it was very dark.
We had light, we had pew, and we had lights.
The windows were screened off and we had lights that were orange and it
made me look an alien. Basically I
don’t have much hair on my head and they just made the light bounce off my head
and apparently I looked like death warmed up so it was — I preached a serious
sermon and people were terrified.
It’s strange. What we’ve done is
we’ve completely redone it. You can
see on our website what we’ve done, but the most important thing we said to the
architects was, “Give us some light,” so boy did they give us light.
They opened up all our windows so the natural sunlight shines in, they
put lights in the ceiling that are everywhere, and it’s now so bright that we
never use all the lights. But it is
incredible and it means among other things that the children used to scrawl on
the pews and write on the pews — we can see what you’re doing now so they can’t
do that.

But I was saying to the boys and girls earlier in the morning that light’s a bit
like how we look at God. C. S.
Lewis said, “We believe in God like we believe in the sun, not because we see
the sun, but because by the sun we see everything else.”
If you were in my church right now you would, the light would be pouring
in the window, I would say, “Do you believe in the sun?”
They would say, “Yes.” Why?
You can’t see it from our window.
The sun does shine in
Scotland
occasionally. But they would say,
“Yes, but we can see the effects of the sun.”
And that’s exactly the same that we’re looking at in terms of how God’s
light shines upon us. So let’s look
at this passage, verses particularly the phrase “God is light, and in Him there
is no darkness at all.”

I can also say that Dr. Duncan said there were seven people when we went to
Saint Peter’s. That’s true, but
with what D. James Kennedy used to call a Scotch revival, four of them left, so
we now do get about a hundred and fifty.
It is a younger congregation. Our seniors group we call the “49 Plus” so
if you’re forty-nine years or older you could belong to our seniors group.
That’s a lot of you here!
Most churches have a youth group where people go and do their own thing and it’s
a bit rebellious and they have alternative worship.
We have a senior’s group where they go and do their own thing and they’re
a bit rebellious and have a bit more traditional things as a show of things.
But that’s the way that things are with us and we’re very, very
encouraged by what God has been doing.

This passage tells us that God is light.
The message we’ve heard from Him, it’s a message we’ve heard from God —
it’s not a message we get ourselves or make up ourselves.
It’s a message that the Lord gives us through His Word.
We’ve always got God speaking to us.
Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of
light.” John’s gospel in John 1
says this — “The light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
Psalm 27 verse 1 — “The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I
fear?” 1 Timothy 6:16 — “Who alone
is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light whom no one has seen or can
see.”

It’s funny how your architecture does actually say quite a lot and how we do
things. I went to the main orthodox
cathedral in Sophia and it’s a beautiful, beautiful building, but when you get
inside you see so little of it because everything is dark, even the icons which
are really, really beautiful, they’re dark. And that seems to be the message.
And I’m thinking, no, no.
The light has come. The light has
come.

I think as we consider this and look at this I also want us to think about
what does that actually mean?
Theology, people do like to divide Christians into types of personality.
You know, there’s “Mr. Reformed” who’s kind of into theology and then
there’s you know “Mr. Evangelist” who’s kind of into evangelism and he’s always
going around. You know you’re
almost reluctant to invite him into your home in case he gives in EE tract to
you cat. You know anyone he’s just
going for. And then there’s kind of
“Mr. Pastoral” or “Mrs. Pastoral” who’s full of heart and emotion and just loves
people. So you’ve got someone who
says they love the Word and someone who says they love people and caring for the
Lord’s people, and other people they love evangelism and telling the Gospel —
they love to tell the story. I just
don’t buy into any of that because my argument would be that theology, that’s
the study of God, that’s at the center of all that we do.
The trouble is, of course, that theology is a kind of academic discipline
which doesn’t really get to them.
Now I think we need theology, we need to know more about God, and that affects
us in every way. This evening we’re
going to see how that affects us in our evangelism.
This morning I hope you’ll see how that affects us in terms of our
pastoral care and where we’re at.

But here we have this phrase, “God is light.”
Now it then goes onto say, “In Him there is no darkness at all.”
There’s an attractive righteousness.
God is all light.
There is no darkness
.
It’s pure and unadulterated and uncorrupted.

Now, why does he say the negative
here?
Why doesn’t he just
say, “God is light”? I would read
this and I would think, “God is light.
In Him there is no darkness at all.”
It’s just another way of saying that same thing.
And then a few weeks ago when I was looking at this I grasped something
that you may think is very, very obvious, but I grasped something that was very
helpful to me personally and it’s tied in with this whole idea of good and of
evil. What are good and evil? How
do we know what good and evil is?
If there’s a good God, how can there be evil?
If He created things, did He create evil?

And there are all kinds of ideas.
I’m Scottish and we have a Scottish temperament.
Some people blame Calvinism for it.
I blame the weather. But we
have this kind of idea that, supposing I went home just now and discovered that
it was a beautiful day of sunshine, that fifty thousand dollars had just been
deposited into my bank account, and my church congregation had doubled, I would
sit there and say, “Okay, something bad is really going to happen now.”
That’s just a mentality and a temperament that a lot of us have because
we think, “Okay, there’s something bad coming around the corner.
There’s a dark side.”

Now let’s just do a little bit of philosophy and please forgive me for this, but
there are basically two views.
In any culture in the world there are
two views
. One of these views
is dominant. There’s first of all
monism.
That is the idea that the ultimate reality is unity
.
Now just bear with me a minute.
It’s saying everything is one.
Everything is singular. You
get that in Marxist materialism for example.
You get it in Buddhist spirituality.
You get it in the Hindu, Brahma — they call the oneness Brahma.
The physicist might call it energy.
In Star Wars you would call it
the “force” — “May the force be with you.”
Now the whole thing about Star
Wars
of course that George Lucas was trying to do was teach this Buddhist
form of spirituality about oneness and it’s interesting how people picked up on
it. If you don’t know
Star Wars you haven’t a clue what I’m
talking about. Just switch off for
ten seconds, but the rest of you — you know Darth Vader.
I mean it turns out there’s a good side and a bad side and that whole
idea is to teach monism — we’re all one.

Now there’s a problem with that of course.
We had two young boys in
Britain
recently who tortured another child almost to death.
The problem with this view is that if you believe that then, you’re
saying that what those two boys did was part of the one as much as the people
who are going to help the people in Haiti are part
of the one. You’re saying that the
concentration camps in Auschwitz and Belsen
are as much part of the one as the love you show to your family.
And that’s a horrendous thing.

I did a debate at MillsapsCollege here last year
which I thoroughly enjoyed. I
actually loved it. Loved Millsaps.
Great opportunity to share the Gospel with people.
There was one lady there who was a lecturer and she came up afterwards
and she was really, really angry with me.
I don’t know why. Sometimes
I have that effect on people. I’m
really a warm, cuddly teddy bear.
She said, “I’d love to stay and ask questions, but you shouldn’t have said
that.” I said, “Said what.” And she
said, “What you said about Buddhism.”
And what I’d said was that Buddhists believe that if you’re handicapped
in this life it’s because of something you did in the previous life.
It’s your karma and so on.
And I said, “Why shouldn’t I have said it?
It’s true.” “That’s not the
point,” she said, “You shouldn’t have said it.
You’re just trying to influence these kids.”
I said in my Homer Simpson moment, “Duh, yeah, of course. Of course I’m
trying to influence them. So are
you. We are trying to influence.
We are trying to communicate and discuss.”

But if you have that monist view of the world where good is evil and evil is
good, I don’t mean this in bad language, but what a hellish world to live in
that would be.

So the other view is what’s called
dualism – binary, two-fold, good versus evil
.
The ancient Persians believed that both good and evil were spiritual.
In Greek philosophy the Gnostics taught that the good was spiritual and
the evil was material so they believed it didn’t matter if you committed sexual
adultery because that was just material, that was evil, it didn’t matter, but
spiritual was really important.
They were confused but they ultimately believed in a force that had a dark side.

Now what you’ve got here from this fisherman John is a statement that’s neither
monist nor dualist.

It’s very unusual. It’s
saying there is one God.
There’s not an alternative God.
There’s not God — a good God and a bad God.
And it’s saying that
there is one God who has no dark side.

“In Him there is no darkness at all.”
The Lord our God is one. The
Lord is one God. Darkness does not
come from God. This light is pure
and unadulterated. Why?
Why is this important?
Because we tend to create God in our own image.

Our very small children were one morning at the front and I heard them talking
amongst each other saying, “Why don’t we go upstairs?” because have a balcony
and the kids are not allowed up in the balcony because they could easily tip
over and fall. And I heard another
one say, “No, we can’t go upstairs.”
“Why not?” “Because that’s
where God lives.” Now from a
child’s point of view, you know God was up in the balcony looking down on them,
but adults do that too. We project
our image onto God. Someone has
said that “If God made man in His own image then man has returned the
compliment.” We tend to fear that God is like us, that God has a dark side.
We buy into a dualistic view of God — the God of the Old Testament versus
the Jesus of the New. We listen to
the devil when he comes and he tempts us and he says, “Did God really say…?” and
if God were God or if I were God, then I wouldn’t behave like this.

When you think about it, and this is huge, just think about what you’re doing
when you say, “I don’t believe in a God who would…..…” Or, “I don’t…….”
When you sit in judgment upon God do you know what you’re doing?
You’re basically saying, “I am of sufficient intelligence, capacity, and
morality to be able to judge who God is.”
And what we’re doing is we’re getting it completely wrong.
We’re setting ourselves up as God.
And there’s a fear that we could have — maybe there is a God.

Douglas Coupland, the Canadian author writes some brilliant books.
Douglas Coupland once said in an interview that, “My fear is not that
there is no God, but that if there is a God He doesn’t really like us.”
And that’s a lot of people’s fears — “What have I done?
Why has God allowed this to happen?”
Here John comes and he tells us, “In God there is no darkness at all.”
Where does the darkness come from?
Augustine argues the darkness is negative.
It doesn’t need to be created.
It’s a negation of all the positive qualities of God.
You can work through all that stuff.
You want to go and read, The City
of God,
by Augustine fine, it’s a great book.
Take your time, read it, and then we’ll discuss the whole possibilities
of where evil and darkness comes from.

But I’m wanting to focus on this — that “in
God there is no darkness at all.”

One of my friends who’s an eye surgeon, we discussed this one evening and he
wrote me the next day and he said, “David, I realize how much of my troubles” —
this man’s a Christian — “failure to trust, venture all and love Him back, stem
from failure to grasp this glorious truth.
I can’t get past it.
Everything seems impacted by it.
It’s the most glorious and practical doctrine because it leads to worship, love,
and peace.” God’s light shines.
God’s light illumines. God’s
light gives us knowledge about God.
This is not Gnosticism, dark and secret mysteries — “Come to Catechism class and
you’ll really find the secret” — No.
“Go to RTS and you’ll really find the secret” — No.
“Take this course and you’ll really find the secret” — No.
God’s light shines and you’ll find who God is, who you are, and
everything else. Psalm 90 verse 8 —
“You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your
presence.” That’s why we walk in
the light.

I have an iPhone in my pocket here.
I’ve already switched it off. And
it’s right now, if I looked at it here the screen, would appear gray; I take it
out into the sunshine, you’ll see the scratches.
You’ll see the marks. When
we sing “Shine, Jesus Shine!” there are people who think, “Wouldn’t it be
wonderful if Jesus shined!” and they think of it like spiritual sunbathing.
They lie back and they go, “Oh God, come in.”
And it’s just wonderful and they’re basking and so forth.

When God’s light shines upon us, it is so awesome.
We would be burned up. We
couldn’t cope with that intensity of light.
It’s pure and absolute and holy
.
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil.” — Habakkuk 1:13 – “You cannot
tolerate wrong.” In God there is no
darkness so there’s no point in hiding anything and if any of you here wants to
try to hide any of your sin please don’t be so stupid.
You can’t. It’s impossible.
God sees and knows absolutely everything.

And therefore John goes on to talk about a couple of things that I just really
want to mention. First of all, in
verse 6 he talks about Christians who lie — “If we claim to have fellowship with
Him yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live by the truth.”
There are plenty of people who claim intimacy with God who are lying.
They say, “If God is light a little bit of darkness won’t bother Him.”
Why is my fellowship with God so bad at times?
Why is your fellowship with God so bad?
Because if we don’t walk in the light we are
pseudos, is the language, we are
fakes; we are hypocrites. We refuse
to accept the light that God has given in the revelation of the Scriptures.
We prefer the darkness of our own way.
There’s a heart of darkness within us.
We lie about our relationship with God and we do not do the truth.

Truth is not just telling; it is doing.
There are people who speak a lot about God’s grace but don’t live it —
the man who comes to church and he’s sitting there with his perfect family and
then he goes home and he abuses his wife.
Or the man or the man or woman who comes to church and hears God’s Word
and has all the pious talk and goes to the Bible study and can say all the right
words about Jesus and grace and truth and yet in their hearts they’re consumed
by bitterness or hatred of their neighbor or family member or whoever.
There is no point in trying to pretend with God.
We all pretend with one another.
We all, to some degree, fool one another.
You can’t fool God. There’s
no point in lying.

Verse 7 says Christians can walk in the light — “If we walk in the light as He
is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His
Son purifies us from all sin.”
Walking is kind of a metaphor for the whole of life.
It’s a practical way of living
.
It’s walking step by step.
It’s just walking in the light of God.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”
And look at what the results of this are.
It’s quite surprising because he doesn’t say “if you walk in the light
you will see God.” He says “if you
walk in the light you will have fellowship with one another.”
What most disrupts our fellowship is our own sin.
I kind of hate it when someone comes to our church and they say, “David
that was fantastic and you’re brilliant” and so on.
And apart from admiring their good taste, I realize that this is not good
because six months down the road they’re going to be saying, “You’re the
anti-Christ.” They’re just so — you
know they don’t see.

We have a motto for our church, almost like a mission statement.
Maybe you wouldn’t want to adopt this.
We haven’t put it officially on our notice boards, but our motto is kind
of like this: “We are messed up
people living in a messed up world serving a Savior who sorts out messes.”
Gary was actually right when he said I go
around and create a mess everywhere.
Actually I don’t think I do, I just go around and tell people they’re in
a mess and they don’t want to hear that.
But we are. We’re in a mess.
And when we walk in the light of God it just brings us enormous
encouragement and fellowship with one another because it’s removing the biggest
obstacle we have to real fellowship — our sin.

He says there, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins.” The blood of Jesus His
Son purifies us from all sin. Now
this evening I’m going to look at that in a lot more detail but that’s a
wonderful thing. I listened to U2,
their latest album, and they have a song on there called “White As Snow” and the
refrain is — “What can make my heart as white as snow?”
And there’s nothing except in the words of the old gospel song, “Nothing
but the blood of Jesus.” Nothing
can forgive, nothing can cleanse, but the blood of Jesus.
It purifies us. It’s
continuous. It keeps on cleansing
us as we walk in the light. Not
that it’s sinless perfection, but we keep coming back to Jesus and He keeps
cleansing us. It’s like one of
these washing powders that you put in your washing machine and it keeps
cleansing and it keeps on cleansing.
I just love that idea that you’re almost going back to Jesus and saying,
“Jesus, it’s me again and I’ve done it wrong again and I’ve screwed up again”
and all this kind of stuff. Because
of what Christ has done we are forgiven.

The word that’s used for cleansing here is the word
cathartic, or where we get the term
cathartic. And I love the
dictionary definition — providing psychological relief through the expression of
strong but previously expressed emotions. When you experience the forgiveness
and cleansing of Jesus Christ, that’s why I’m saying theology can’t be dry
because it unblocks so many things.
I have seen people cry over the movement of a communion table.
I don’t mean by that it was cultish like stuff and they were really
freaked out. I mean people were
saying, “It should be here and it should be there and it should be over there”
and they were getting really upset about stuff in the church.
I think, “When did I last weep about my sins?
When did I last weep for joy because I’d been forgiven?”

You know, what’s that kind of ecstasy that — I understand that there was some
kind of game here that has to do with a bowl and soup and something and some
people called “Who Dat?” or whatever — they won — I have no idea what this
means. This is not my language,
right? But I understand in New Orleans people go around honking horns and
hugging strangers and going “Yay, yay, yay, brilliant!”
When was the last time you — I mean actually I love “Who Dat?” because I
think you could use that as a real evangelistic slogan.
You know, “Who’s the Man?”
“He’s the Man!” But when was
the last time that you just came out of church, and you’re a good Presbyterian
so you can’t do this in church, but you came out of church and you wanted to go
“Yay! Bonus!” An old preacher, at least he was in the nineteenth century, he’s
not still alive, but Rabbi Duncan.
And it said that he danced on the Brig 0′ Dee
(bridge)
in Aberdeen for
delight. Just to know that God
forgives it’s just such a cathartic experience.

We stand before God as if we have never sinned at all.
I mean when people come up to me and say, “David I don’t like the church”
or “I don’t like you” and they tell me, I say, “So?
So? What are you trying to
tell me?” We know that.
We know that’s the case.
It’s not about me, it’s about what Jesus has done, and isn’t that fantastic?

The word that’s used for darkness here is the word
scotia, remarkably like Scotland.
Let me finish by saying this.
By the way, when a Presbyterian minister, a Scottish Presbyterian
minister anyway, uses the word “finish” it’s completely post-modern and
meaningless, so don’t get your hopes up.
But let me at least attempt to finish by saying this.
I am occasionally asked, “Why don’t you come to
Mississippi?” and I was thinking that today while I was
experiencing the delights of your whole cuisine while having grits, cheese
grits. Grits to me is the
anti-matter of food because it makes even tasty food taste tasteless.
No matter what you put on them, you put as much honey and sugar as you
want on it and it’s still, it just negates everything.
Now I said that this morning and people were coming out and commenting on
the sermon saying, “You ain’t tasted good grits!”
Well, that’s an oxymoron.
And they were naming me shops and telling me things to have with it.
Actually if you wanted to comment on that what you really need to say as
a comeback is, “From a man that comes from the land of porridge, black pudding,
and haggis, you don’t need to talk about food!”
(laughter)

But I love Mississippi.
I say to people my two favorite places in the
United States are Mississippi and
New York and people burst out laughing as if they were
completely different. But I won’t
come here. Why?
Because God has a put a burden for my own people, a real burden for
Scotland, because the light really did shine on Scotland before, but now it is a
really dark place in so many ways.

Stewart McAllister of RaviZacharias
Ministries
came to us a few weeks ago and he left in absolute tears.
He was crying because of what he saw.
It’s a burden that I face. I
just see so much darkness. I’ll
give you an example. Please excuse
me for just taking a little bit of time to do this.

We have a Christianity Explorer course on Tuesday night.
I’ll get back on Tuesday morning.
I’ll be going to that at night.
In our building which is being redone it’s fantastic that we can do this.
The last time I was at it, two weeks ago, there was a lady who says, “I
can’t believe in God because both my husbands died, my one year old child died
in my arms, my brother died when he was speaking to me on the phone, I’ve got MS
and I’ve just been told I’ve got lymph cancer.
How can I believe in God?”
She’s in great darkness.

There’s a seventeen year old girl who’s a junkie who’s attempted to take her
life several times who’s just out of jail and probably just gone back to jail
who in my view will do extremely well if she lives until she’s eighteen.
She’s in great darkness.

There was an Indian gentleman who was furious that we, furious that we said you
can’t put Jesus up on the mantle piece with all the other gods.
How could we be so arrogant?

There was a Chinese lady who said, “David, I have no questions.
I’ve never been to church in my life until the past two weeks and now I
believe absolutely in Jesus.” She’s
been converted. It’s just
incredible.

There was an elderly lady who knocked on our door at the church office and said,
“You do Bible studies here?” She’s
a church leader in her church and hasn’t a clue about the Gospel and she’s
coming along to our Bible studies.

There’s a doctor.
He’s a Roman Catholic man brought up in a nominally Catholic background,
doesn’t know the Gospel. And so it
goes on. There’s just great
opportunities.

See, the thing about the darkness is this —
if you’re the light, that’s where you
shine
. That’s where you really
shine. So whether it’s
Sweden, or whether it’s Amarillo
in Texas, it’s just a great opportunity.
You can see the darkness. It
does depress me a little bit. I
don’t understand you all. Please
excuse me. I’m just making this
comment. You’re like Americans –
you can do, you can do everything.
You can run the world. You can do
whatever you want. You can invent
spray cheese. You can just do it.
But when I come here I hear so much negative stuff.
You know, I listen to talk radio and if you’re a Christian don’t listen
to talk radio. It will really
depress you. Stop it.
If you really want to grow in grace I just hear people, “The end of the
world is nigh! Doom!
Gloom! Everything is bad!
Everything is awful!” And
you just think, “No, no. It’s
actually a great opportunity.”

Thomas Chalmers tells the story, there
was a man called Guthrie who was just starting out in the ministry, he’s
standing on the bridges in Edinburgh
overlooking the Grass Market which is now a real trendy place but was then a
slum. And he’s thinking, “How can I
go into this smelly, dirty place where half the people die before they’re five
years old?” And Thomas Chalmers
came up to Guthrie, put his arm around him and gestured with his hand and he
just smiled and said, “A fine field, young man, a fine field.”
And it changed Guthrie’s
whole perception because he was going to be light in the darkness.

Is it Springsteen or Bono? I think
Bono quotes Springsteen. He says,
“I’m going to kick the darkness, yell at the darkness, until it screams
daylight.” Well as a Christian, I’m going to go live in the darkness and be the
light. It’s a fantastic opportunity
that we have and it’s true here in
Jackson
as well. You just have so much
opportunity to be light in a dark world.
Faber says this, “My God, how wonderful Thou art, Thy majesty how bright.
How beautiful Thy mercy seat in depths of burning light.
How wonderful, how beautiful the sight of Thee must be, Thine endless
wisdom, boundless power, and awful purity.”

God is light. In Him there is no
darkness at all. If you’re here
this morning and your heart is filled with fear about what God might do, and
maybe God is not light and maybe God is…

No. You forget all of that and you
say, “He is light.
He is pure. He is holy.
He is good.” And He has
called us to be light and He sheds His light abroad in our hearts.
And you go through the Bible and take out all the times light is
mentioned and how it works and it’s just such a relief to have such a pure and
holy and gracious and good God. And
His light is so pure it burns away your darkness. The fog that is in your mind,
the fog that is on your heart, the light of God, the light of Jesus shines and
it rips it apart. May God grant
that all of us will be able to walk in the light.

Let’s pray.

Lord we confess that we are so arrogant and so self-centered and so judgmental
that we think even that we can judge You, create You in our image.
Lord we bless You that You are not like us, that we have hearts of
darkness, that we have dark sides, that we don’t have pure motives, but You do.
You are all pure. You are
all good. There is no wickedness,
there is no evil, there is no cruelty, there is no capriciousness in You at all.
And so we come to You as ones who have hearts of darkness and we ask for
forgiveness and we thank You that as Your light shines upon us, as Jesus
cleanses us by what he has done on the cross through His atoning sacrifice, we
thank You that we can walk in the light, we can bathe in the sunshine of Your
light and Your love. Lord grant
that we would have fellowship with one another and fellowship with You.
We pray for anyone here who doesn’t know You that they would see Your
light. And for those of us who do,
Lord forgive us when we live in the shadows and enable us to step out and walk
in the light. And may it be in
Amarillo, and in Tranas and in Stockholm
and in Dundee and
Jackson and
wherever You call us to, we would be the people of light.
The people walking in great darkness have seen a great light.
For we ask it in Your name.
Amen.

Let’s finish by singing in hymn number 587 — “Who Is On the Lord’s Side?”

And now may the true light who gives light to every man, who came into the
world, grant His light to us and may He enable us to share that light for Him
wherever He calls us. Amen

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