Adjusting to the Darkness

Adjusting to the Darkness

Scripture: 2 Peter 2:1-22, 1 Kings 3:3, 1 Kings 11:1-6
Date: 10/18/2014 
Cultural pressure in our society is changing what Christians used to believe. We need to ask ourselves what is guiding our beliefs.

Alone in The Crowd (PB) by Joe Crews

Alone in The Crowd (PB) by Joe Crews
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I just wanted to give you a little report on Australia. We were down in Australia for, I say we. I was down there by myself, and it got lonely. I was there for about a month doing an evangelistic meeting as well as some training, a little bit of TV taping. [shows pictures] We began with an evangelism counsel at the convention center in Sydney. And the Lord blessed; it was full. You can see there that we had a great attendance. That was also the opening weekend for an evangelistic series which we recorded. That was done by the Hope channel. The media center in Australia works with the Hope channel and they taped a new series. Some of these programs, God willing, will be on in the coming year. They're not going to be done editing them. And it was really good visiting all of our friends in Australia. Let me just tell you, everywhere I went, and I'm not exaggerating people came up and they said, “Oh, we love watching Central Church and the Sabbath School program.” A lot of folks in Australia, you realize, they're scattered all across the country. And they don't all have a local church, or it’s very small. And they get a lot from the satellites that they have.

I spoke one Sabbath at the Rwunga [?]. If the division office church. They said that it was the largest attendance they'd ever had in their history. People came from all over the place and it was wonderful. It's a beautiful church building, too. Has a lot of history there. Among the places that I went, I went also to Avondale College and spoke to the theology students there. They were asking questions about evangelism. The whole emphasis was evangelism training. I also was doing some training with “It Is Written” evangelist trainees during the series, that worked along with our meetings. One of the pastors, he’s an AFCO graduate, Lyle Southwell. He's married to a gal from Wisconsin. And his son got baptized in the middle there at the end of our series.

That's the Blue Mountains. They said, “We’re going to take you to the mountains.” And these are some of the biggest mountains in Australia. Of course, it's not much higher than Auburn. But I said, “Yeah, these are beautiful mountains.” This one gentleman, he was a Pentecostal. Had been watching the “Amazing Facts” program. Someone actually gave him the DVD’s, studied. He took two airplanes to come to Sydney to see our programs there. A lot of dedication while we were there. His name is Wyman. I can't remember his last name. We taped some new programs.

This gentleman is on TV all over Australia. He is actually an agnostic. His name is Andrew Denton. In 2006, I believe it was, he went to the Religious Broadcasters Convention in Texas and he taped the different religious broadcasters. He basically was lampooning Christianity and these ideas about the end of the world. It was a two-hour movie is that he did that was in the theaters in Australia. It’s called God on My Side. Well he interviewed us as well while he was there. We got along fine. He was very nice to us in the movie that came out, in the video. So when I came back to town I said, “Yeah, I was in town.” He said, “Well, come on by. We'll visit.” So I actually preached to him for about half an hour. We talked about God and kind of argued and debated, in a friendly way. Nice guy. His name is Andrew Denton. I mean, he's interviewed Bill Gates and just all these, Bill Clinton and all of these Bills. He does a lot of interviews.

Really weird thing that happened is our meetings went three different locations. Our meetings started in the convention center and Sydney Harbor, but then they moved to a theater. Once the training part of our meetings were over they moved the evangelism part of the meetings to a theater complex. Which I've never done this before, but you have to walk through a gauntlet of movies that are going on to get to our theater. It's a regular theater. So you're walking by all of these trailers and movies that are playing in screens of all the latest movies that are coming out to get to your theater. It's just very strange, especially on Sabbath, when you walk through all this cacophony of noise. And it's this big lobby. They've got 12 theaters in this place. It's the biggest in Sydney. Which makes it probably the biggest in Australia. Every night we had to set up for our evangelistic program. All the TV production equipment for the program. These are some of the volunteers that were helping and people from the media center. And then we had three hours to do our meeting and take it all down because then people started streaming in with their popcorn to watch the next movie.

This is one picture we took of one of our last meetings. And it was kind of strange because while I'm preaching I'm hearing this rumbling noise. I’m going, “What is that?” I thought, “Is it raining out?” I thought it was thunder. It's actually the theaters on the right and on the left. They would have some action scene that was going on and the speakers are so loud that the walls are shaking. So I was competing with Michael Jackson’s debut and the end of the world, 2012. They were releasing that. That actually came in handy when we talked about the second coming because people walk by all these trailers of the world ending, then we'd say, “The world’s ending.” So that was kind of interesting. At the end of the meetings we had just a beautiful baptism. Sydney Harbor is one of the prettiest harbors in the world. Most city harbors with 4 million people, you don't get in the water. But their water is pretty clean there. They are a very environmentally careful country.

Some of the people that went through the meetings were ready right at the end for baptism. About 10 people I baptized right at the end. These folks were just really committed to the Lord. Those are two of the pastors I worked with. This is the speaker for “It Is Written” Australia on the right. That's Pastor Gary Kent. And then Pastor Mark Roberts. And let me tell you about the baptism. That water’s from melted Antarctic ice. I've never really had the sensation before where my head is burning and my legs are freezing at the same time. But that's what was going on. But it was a beautiful day and we had about another 23 of [from?] the local meetings that made decisions for baptism. So about 33 in all. For Australia, they were very happy because it's an extremely secular country. And then they're going to have the TV programs that they're going to air. So that's what we did.

[Thank you comments] [comments on evangelism center in Granite Bay]

The message today is dealing with the subject of Adjusting to the Darkness. And a part of the reason this came into my mind was because flying back from Australia they feed everybody. It's a long flight. And then they turn off the lights, hoping that everybody will drift off to sleep. I have a hard time sleeping on planes and I felt bad turning on the little night light for my chair that I might disturb the people around me. But I noticed that after they turned off the cabin lights it doesn’t take long for your eyes to get adjusted to the dark. And that’s not always a good thing when you adjust to the dark. You ever been to one of those restaurants? It’s supposed to be romantic, the dark restaurants? I’ve got a theory that maybe they’re just not clean and so they turn the lights down and they call them romantic. The problem is you can’t see the menu and so you order and then you have to eat by faith instead of sight because you don’t know what exactly it is that you’ve ordered on the menu. But it’s also dangerous in our world if you get too adjusted to the dark. We’re living in a time of great darkness.

I want to start with an amazing fact. What would you think if I told you that this is the longest burning light bulb in the world? It’s in, not far from here, the firehouse of Hayward, California. Now think about it for a moment. When this light first began to burn, this particular bulb, the Wright Brothers had not flown their plane yet. Then this bulb burned on through World War I. It burned through the stock market crash. It burned on through World War II and the Korean War and the Vietnam War with only brief interruptions while they relocated the Hayward firehouse there in Livermore. Today the Guinness Book of World Records said it’s the longest known burning light bulb in the world; 108 years it’s been burning. Well, 1901, yeah that’d be about 108 years. And you can go down there and look for yourself. It’s still burning. It uses 120 volts. Only puts out 4 watts, though. It was made by the Shelby Glass Company back in 1901 and that’s when they used hand blown glass bulbs. They were eventually bought by General Electric and phased out. And it used a very thick carbon filament. So there it is. You kind of wonder why they don’t make them more like that today, huh? They’d go out of business. I guess they did go out of business, didn’t they? If they made their light bulbs to burn 100years you’d eventually saturate the market.

It’s nice to know that a light bulb can last that long, but it’s also interesting. Here we are living in a time when never has there been more manmade light than you have in the world today. And yet there is great darkness. You've probably seen this amazing satellite picture that has been taken from space. They used some special filters and time delay, but it shows the lights that are being generated from the major cities of the globe. Actually, you can see the whole globe. How much power do you think it takes to light up the world that way? Isn't that phenomenal? Never has there been more man-made light, and yet we’re living in a time in the world where there has never been more darkness.

That was our scripture reading, Isaiah 60:2, “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” Now the word gross is kind of a unique word. It has a few different meanings for us today. Some of you used to buy things by the gross and what did that mean? A dozen of something. The word gross might mean disgusting. You wouldn't want someone to say that those are gross mashed potatoes that you've made. Gross also means concentrated; something that is thick. And so on the Bible says that there is a gross darkness that covers the people, but in spite of that “the Lord will arise on thee and His glory will be seen on thee.” It's in the time of the greatest darkness that the Lord's people are going to shine the brightest. You read in Revelation about the bride of Christ and it describes what she is wearing: “clothed with the sun, standing on the moon, a crown of stars.” Why do you think that what she is wearing stands out? Because she is against the backdrop of a darkened heavens. And it's in the darkness that God’s church is supposed to shine.

It's very dangerous though if we get to the place, in this world filled with gross darkness, that you get to where you're adjusted to it. And you're used to it. There are a couple of kinds of people that will be in the world when the Lord comes. It's going to be the darkest when the Lord comes. You've got your cockroaches and your moths. And I think I've talked to you about that before. It's interesting, in the darkest night. I go up to Covelo sometimes by myself and no artificial lights around. Matter of fact, it's so dark up there at night if there's clouds or there's no moon that when we lay down in the bed upstairs you look at the wall and the airport rotating beacon 10 miles away, you can see it flash. Because your eyes adjust to the dark and all of a sudden you say, “What was that?” There's a periodic flash. You get up, it's a little bitty airport light 10 miles away and it actually can be seen. But while I'm sometimes studying there in the bedroom, I turn on; you know, the House is run on batteries so we use low wattage bulbs, just enough. And turn on lights so I can study at night. And moths that might be miles away see that little light because it's the only artificial light for a long way off, and they’re attracted to it. And they come to it and they start beating against the office window upstairs because they see that little light in the dark. Moths are attracted to the light.

And then I remember growing up in New York City. Some of the places that I lived or my friends lived had cockroach problems. You’d walk into a room; I remember one time, I had a friend named Andy and he had a cockroach infestation in his house. And only if you had grown up in the city, you know what I'm talking about. We used to play a game where we would flip on the lights and see if we could run in before the cockroaches all got away. And we would actually spray lighter fluid on the floor (don’t do this) around them and light it so we’d encircle them. Only crazy kids would do something like this. But they tried to scurry away when you turned on the lights so you had to be fast. They ran from the light. When Jesus comes there’s going to be moths that are attracted to Him. They’ll say, “This is our God.” And there will be cockroaches that will run from the wrath of the Lamb. The problem is that you could get used to cockroaches. And you could get used to the darkness.

There’s a part of a poem by Alexander Pope and it says, “Vice is a monster so frightful mean as to be hated needs but to be seen, yet too oft familiar with her face we first endure then pity then embrace.” And that’s what happens with sin over time. At first it seems like it’s a bad thing. And then little by little, through exposure, we get to where what once repulsed us now intrigues us. What once we thought was so bad now seems attractive. And little by little you can get to where you’re adjusted to the light. It’s like that Irish man who moved to the States and he worked for a year and then his wife finally was able to come and join him. And she said to her husband, “The people here sure talk funny.” He said, “Well, you should have heard them a year ago.” He had gotten used to it. By the way, I discovered, when I’m in Australia I’ve got an accent. Because everybody there told me I had one. I said, “I never had it until I came here.” And I suppose in a couple weeks when I’m in England I’ll have an accent again. But you can get used to just about anything as time goes by. The danger is if we get used to the darkness.

They’ve got some scriptures that talk about this. II Peter 2:17, speaking of the lost it says, “These are wells without water, clouds carried about by a tempest.” Notice the words of Peter, “for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” We all have two destinies: light or dark. The Bible begins describing a conflict between light and dark. God said, “Let there be light.” Darkness covered the earth. God separated the light from the darkness. In the world today there is this conflict still. The Bible tells us that in the last days there’s going to be a deep darkness in the world. Are you children of the light or children of the dark? Jude says it the exact same way. Jude 1:13, speaking of the lost, “raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

You know the angels that kept not their first estate are reserved in everlasting chains of darkness. But these are about the most intense words that the Bible uses to describe this gross darkness. The blackness of darkness forever. What’s the darkest dark you’ve ever seen? I remember going one time—this will never happen again—but while I was speaking somewhere in the southeast (I don’t even remember where I was; I was doing a camp meeting) and I kept driving to the camp meeting by a sign that said, “Endless Caverns.” Any of you remember where Endless Caverns is? Virginia. Yeah, that’s right. It is in Virginia. I thought, “Well, I want to go see it one day.” And I realized I had time before the camp meeting. And so I went in and you have to go down this stairs to the entrance area and they’ve got the little souvenirs. And I said, “Are there any more tours of the caverns?” And they said, “Well, we’re supposed to have one more tour, but we don’t have anyone but you.” It was raining outside. It wasn’t a good day, I guess, and they didn’t have too many people. And so eventually a few people filtered out who had been on the last tour and they had this student who was working through the summer and she said she’d take me on a tour.

And so I went down; I got a tour by myself of this cavern. It actually isn’t’ endless. But I guess the people that first discovered it wondered because it does go on and on. Some beautiful things down there and they’ve got lights stationed everywhere that just illuminate the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. And at some point, I don’t remember what brought it on, but I asked, “Would you mind turning out the lights?” I said, “I’d like to see what it’s like when it’s perfectly black here.” And she said, “No problem.” Matter of fact, it may have been part of what they normally do. So they turned off the lights and you’re 200-300 feet down below ground in this cavern. You can just hear the little drips in the background. No light at all. No bleed over light. And you open your eyes as wide as you can and you wait a little bit and usually when you open your eyes wide your pupils slowly dilate; you begin to take in some kind of shape and form—nothing. And that’s pretty spooky. It’s so dark down there a cat can’t even see. And then I remember on my keychain I’ve got one of those little illuminating lights so you can light up an LED light for your key at night. I pulled it out and I turned it on. It was like you had turned on a spotlight. You could see everything because your eye pupils are about that big. You look like you’re taking LSD. Don’t ask me how I would know that. Things just light up real fast.

I remember hearing a story one time where they had this kind of a circus program and it was in a studio and they were taping this guy in front of a live audience going through his routines with a bunch of tigers in a cage. He had six or eight tigers, big, man-eating tigers in there. And he actually had to go into a chamber where they let him in the chamber, they locked it, then he went into another door because they had a double-door so you could get in and out. And they locked that and he gets in there and he starts working these tigers through this routine and the TV cameras are rolling and they’ve got the lights on and the studio audience is watching. He’s making them all stack up and get on their little stands around. He’s cracking his whip and he’s got a little wooden chair in his hand. And they had a power failure. About 30 seconds was all. But can you imagine how long that must have felt for that man in there? Had no flashlight. And finally they popped on the lights and he was there, well, at least half of him. No, he was still there. And the tigers were still in their positions. And someone asked him afterward, they said, “Were you scared?” He said, “Yes.” “Well, what did you do?” He said, “I knew that they could see me, but I could not see them.” Cats can see about 100 times better than people in the dark. And he said, “They didn’t know that I couldn’t see them. So I had to keep my eyes open and be glaring and cracking my whip and holding my chair. But I had no idea where they were, but I couldn’t let them know I didn’t know where they were.” I don’t know how that fits in, but I just wanted to tell you that.

Black holes. Have you ever been sitting in a well-lit room and then someone turns out the light and all of a sudden the darkness seems twice as dark because you’ve been in the light? How is it for those who have been with the Lord and then they walk out into the world? Don’t they see the contrast? It’s a shame if their eyes get adjusted. II Corinthians 4:3, “If our gospel is hidden, it’s hidden to them that are lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the glorious gospel light should shine upon them. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,” speaking about Genesis, “has shown in our hearts.” That same word that said “Let there be light” back in Genesis, it brings light into our lives, in our dark hearts. “To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.” They’ve got out there in space these black holes. And evidently a black hole is the result of a sun or some great luminary body that has collapsed and has a magnetic force, the gravitational pull, that is so powerful that anything within hundreds of millions of miles gets sucked in. I actually don’t know what that distance is, but the surrounding vicinity, anything gets sucked into it—even light that travels 186,000 miles per second. Black holes are so powerful it will even suck in the light. The devil’s darkness is so intense that he basically gobbles up any light around him. He’s committed the unpardonable sin. Some people that have grieved away the Spirit, they’re like black holes. You try and reach them and they just have no interest at all. The Bible talks about that deep, dark, everlasting gross darkness. Like a black hole, it just soaks it up. Nothing ever shows on it.

Then you know, there are some people who are allergic to the light. There’s a very rare disease called exoderma pigmatosum. It’s mostly children that have it because it’s actually, ultimately it’s terminal. They do not have in their cells that natural mechanism we all have where cells repair from light damage. You and I are exposed to light all the time. And they always say you’re to slather yourself with sunscreen and stuff because over exposure to light, you get burned, but your sunburn heals eventually. Well even your eyes get a certain amount of light damage, but the cells heal. The young people that have exoderma pigmatosum they don’t heal. Their skin cells never heal. They almost all get skin cancer or blindness. They have to live in the dark. Even artificial light hurts them. They’ve constantly got to wear glasses and special clothing and stay indoors. The only time they can go outside is when it’s dark. They can’t even go out when there’s a moon out. They’re allergic to the light. Wouldn’t that be terrible? You probably met people like that, that are allergic to the light.

Now we understand when a child is afraid of the dark, but it’s sort of sad if a grown person is afraid of the light. I heard one time about a 4-year-old boy that was trying to pour himself some cool-aid and he spilled some on the linoleum in the kitchen floor. He wanted to help Mom mop it up. Well it was night. So he ran to the porch door because he knew the mop was outside. They kept it outside on the porch, but it was dark. And his mom saw that he wanted to do this. He went out and he hesitated there at the door because it was kind of dark and scary in the backyard. And his mom said, “Son, you don’t need to be afraid. Jesus is everywhere, even in the darkness.” So he stared outside the door for a minute and he said, “Jesus, can you hand me the mop?” So you expect sometimes children are afraid of the dark, but what’s really sad is if people are afraid of the light.

The Bible describes that. Jesus said, John 3:19, “This is the condemnation.” By the way, that word condemnation is crisis [?] and it’s where we get the word crisis. “This is the crisis, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,” why? “Because their deeds are evil. For everyone that does evil hates the light.” Why did they kill Jesus? Because of His darkness or His light? His light made their darkness stand out. “Everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds be reproved,” or exposed. “But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” It’s a little easier sleeping when it’s dark. And that’s why [there are] a lot of people sleeping in the church. It’s because there’s gross darkness. I wasn’t speaking about anyone right now. I’m talking about generally the church. It’s because gross darkness covers the land and the people. “This is the condemnation that God sends light into the world and men love darkness rather than light.”

Have you ever been in a room where you’re sleeping through the night and it’s dark and all of a sudden the light comes on? When you’re flying cross country and everybody’s got their window shades down; some people are watching their little monitors and they ask you to always shut your windows. And you didn’t know it that during the night the sun came up while you were flying. And when you’re flying from the west to the east the sun comes up pretty quick. Because you’re helping it come up. All of a sudden someone flips up their shade and it’s just blinding you. Or someone comes in your room and they cut on the light and you have had your head under the pillow. You can’t spend your life under the pillow, or with your eye mask on. Eventually you’ve got to get adjusted. If you’re a Christian, the closer you come to the Lord the more it exposes the things in your life that need changing. But you don’t get discouraged by that. You keep approaching the Lord. The light of God burns those things out of our lives if we don’t turn away.

Light actually purifies. Light will sterilize and cleanse us. The Bible tells us that God is light. I John 1:5-6, “This is the message that you have heard from Him and that we declare unto you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we’ve got fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Someone said, “Character is who you are in the dark.” Character is who you are when you don’t think anyone’s watching. Matthew 4:16, speaking of the time in which Christ came. “The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light. And to them that sat in the region of the shadow of death the Light has sprung up.” Psalm 89:15, “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.” God is light and if we’ve got darkness in our hearts and darkness in our life then we need to invite that light, introduce that light into our lives. We are called to be light in the world. Matthew 5:14, not only is Jesus the light of the world, He said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it gives light to all that are in the house.”

You know what a blackout is. When there’s a power failure and people, and sometimes nations, are plunged into darkness. Sometimes we have a blackout in the church and there’s a power failure because God’s people, His children, His church, are failing to reflect the light or God or to let that light shine in their lives. Did you know that you glow? It’s true. I did an amazing fact a few weeks ago. They did some studies in Japan. They’ve got very sensitive equipment right now that can measure light. And they put the subjects in this perfectly dark room and they found out that people glow. It’s a light that is about a thousand times dimmer than what you can pick up with a human eye. I don’t know if a cat can see it or not. But you emit light. They figure that it’s because of, it might actually be because of free radicals. It’s like a natural bioluminescence. All living cells emit a certain amount of light. The interesting thing they found in the study in Japan: they took the subjects and they took these men and they photographed them with this hyper sensitive, very, very sensitive light detecting equipment and they noticed that the light went up and down at different times during the day. And different parts of their bodies glowed brighter. They actually glowed brighter around the chest region of their bodies. So when Jesus said, “Let your light shine,” He was being serious. You’ve all got light. Did Adam and Eve glow? They did. And that’s why they knew they were naked. After they sinned their light went out. Did Moses glow when he talked to God? You’re more sure about that. We’ve got that scripture, right? He actually had to veil his face. And so I think in heaven we’re all going to just glow a lot brighter than we do right now. But you’re still glowing a little bit. Just don’t let your light go out.

The brightest manmade light in the world is not very far from here. It’s down there in Las Vegas. It’s a light that comes out of the top of the Luxor Hotel. Now you’ve heard me talk about this before, but I think it’s interesting. On the top of the hotel, talk about a power bill, they’ve got 45 xenon lights. Each one is as big as a washing machine. And I don’t even know how many million candle power they put out. It’s just really bright. They had problems at first because planes coming into the Las Vegas airport periodically would take a flight path right over the hotel and it would blind the pilots momentarily. They’d fly over this and it’s like a flash of lightening. And they’d go, “What was that? There’s no clouds in the sky,” and they had flown over the light coming out of the top of the Luxor Hotel. You see, you can’t see that light unless there’s dust in the Las Vegas air.

You ever gone out with a big old spot light at night? You go out in the dark in the wilderness and you turn it on, you don’t see the light until it hits something. Those lights are so powerful there might even be clouds overhead. You can shine it and you can see them illuminating the ceiling of clouds that are overhead. Any of you ever done that? You know what I’m talking about? It’s really something. But you don’t see it until it hits something. What’s really fun is you go into your neighbor’s tent. You’ve got to wait until they’re asleep and then you unzip it and you holler and they look at you and you turn it on. Then you throw cold water on them and you run. Now I don’t know why that just came to me. I’ve probably never done anything like that before. Actually, someone did that to me. And then you’re blinded and you can’t do anything about it. Takes a while for your eyes to get adjusted. Light doesn’t do anything unless it hits something. You get the point? Jesus sends His light into the world, but the world’s not going to see it unless it bounces off something. And it’s supposed to be reflecting off you and I. You and I are to reflect His light just as the moon reflects the light of the sun. You can’t see the moon unless it’s picking up the light of the sun.

Luke 1:79, Speaking of Christ and His mission. “He came to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet in the way of peace.” Now we’re told in God’s word that we are to walk in the light. Don’t get adjusted to the dark. Walk in the light. It seems like at one time the things that shocked and amazed us now entertain and amuse us. John 12:35-36, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” Can a person’s light go out? If God sends light into your life it is never stagnant. That light will always get brighter or it will get dimmer. You need to either be fueling that light so it grows brighter and brighter ‘til the day dawn and the daystar rise in your heart. You find the light of God in the Bible described as either growing brighter or it gets dimmer. All of us are like dimmer switches. We’re active. Which way are you turning your switch? Is the light of God in your life getting brighter? Are you studying and walking in the light?

If God gives you light and you follow what He’s revealed to you He’ll give you more light. Well why does He stop giving you light if you stop walking in the light? Because any light that God gives you you are responsible for and you will be judged by. God loves you too much to give you more light than you’re going to walk in because then you just become accountable for it. Did you get that? If God gives you increased light and you don’t walk in the light. Jesus said if you were blind you could not see, you would have no sin, but now that you see your sin remains. We’re accountable for the light that we receive. Some of us have been stagnant in our experience because we’re not walking in the light that He’s given us. I’ve seen it many times in evangelistic meetings. Someone comes and you can see them. They’re on the front row and their faces are beaming. They go, “Wow! How come I’ve never heard this before? This is wonderful.” And they’re asking questions and they’re sitting on the edge of their seat and they’re drinking it in and their faces are shining. And then you cover some difficult subject and all of a sudden their body language changes. You can see it. I’ve seen it so many times. Evangelists get good at spotting this. Instead of sitting up and sitting forward they sit back and they fold their arms. And all of a sudden you can see a little detachment happening. And then maybe they miss a night. And you go visit them. The best is to go visit them before they miss a night. And I’ll say, “Brother/Sister, you were so excited and you were coming. You missed a couple of nights. Can I help you? What’s going on? Did this make sense?” “Yes.” “Did this make sense?” “Yes.” “Did this make sense?” “Yes.”

I remember this one gal was talking to me. She just loved the meeting. She was drinking it all in. And she in particular had a problem with the presentation on Christian appearance and dress. She dressed differently. And when I covered that subject everything changed. And she said, “Brother Doug, I don’t know what happened.” Something happened. She said, “I just felt so close to the Lord and God was in my life and He was here in my prayers and I just felt like He was with me all day long. Now this last week it’s like the light went out.” And I said, “Sister, you remember we covered that subject?” “Yes.” And I said, “You started folding your arms and you didn’t look too happy.” She said, “No, I don’t agree with that.” I said, “Well, God’s not giving you any more light because you’re not walking in the light that He’s given you.” I said, “If you want that light to keep shining you step out and follow what He’s revealed.” You can read in Peter that the light of God is progressive. “Add to your faith virtue, and to your virtue knowledge.” And it’s like Jacob’s ladder. And so some of us want to jump the rungs in the ladder. If God reveals something to you in your life that needs addressing and you are now in a holding pattern, you’re treading water and you’re wondering why you’re not getting anywhere, walk in the light. You can only be in a holding pattern so long and you’re going to run out of gas and drop out of the sky. It’s very dangerous to try to maintain your relationship with Jesus without growth.

When you think you’re standing still as a Christian you’re actually sliding backwards; you’re losing altitude and you may not even know it. You’ve got to be moving forward, friends. Walk in the light while you’ve got the light. Job 29:3, “When his candle shined on my head, and when by His light I walked through the darkness.” “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” I John 1:7, “But if you walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Did you get that? How many want to be cleansed from sin? There’s a condition for cleansing. What is that condition? Turn your back on the darkness and walk forward in the light. Continue to walk in the advancing light that God gives you. You know what typically happens with denominations? We’re part of a denomination, but there’s a history. It’s sad, but it’s true. God will raise up some individual that will discover new light from God’s word that’s been neglected; or a group of individuals. And they’ll say, “How come we stopped baptizing by immersion? We need to go back to Bible baptism.” And a whole new movement comes out of this new light and it’s called Baptist. But then after the founders die the people say, “Well here’s what the founders wrote. They didn’t say anything about this subject so we’re not changing.” And they stop growing. And pretty soon, a couple of generations go by and it will turn into a denomination instead of a movement. If you’ll forgive me for saying so, I’ve seen it happen historical with the Lutherans. Luther found great light and those who recognized it they walked in the light. And then Luther died and they said, “Well, Luther never knew about baptism by immersion.” And they stopped. And John Wesley comes along and he teaches about sanctification and Godly living. That’s why they called them Methodists because they had a method of holiness in their lives and their devotional life. And then Wesley died and his brothers and it kind of flattened out. And pretty soon the church, a few generations go by and they don’t realize that they’re ordaining gays and all kinds of things start happening to the church and you go, “What happened?” They stopped walking in the light.

Are we immune to that? If we don’t continue to live in the light and walk in the light, pretty soon you become a denomination. You become an organization that’s a social club and you just start drifting down back with the world. And you’ll still have your name; you’ll still have your building. What happens to denominations happens to individuals. When you trace the history of the seven churches in Revelation, starting out with Ephesus, going forth conquering and to conquer, you look at the ups and downs of those seven churches. It begins on fire with that first love, eventually loses the love and after going through a few cycles, by the time you get to the end it’s at Laodicea. It’s lukewarm. They don’t know that they’re poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked. It comes on gradually until pretty soon it’s just an institution. Laodicea describes a lukewarm institution; think they’re rich and increased with goods. Got a lot of property, got a lot of institutions, a lot of educational things and hospitals. And the people think they’re rich and increased with goods and in their lives they’re not walking in the light. They’re in darkness. And they don’t know it. And then you end up with the blind leading the blind.

You know, the deepest darkness, biblically, comes before deliverance. “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” Thomas Fuller said. Right now the days are getting really short. I was kind of depressed coming back from Sydney because there it was going from spring to summer and it was just gorgeous. I spent several days walking around the harbor just reveling in springtime. And in one day I went from going into spring to going into winter. Actually, I was going from spring to summer. Now I’m going from fall to winter. And there the days were getting longer and here now the days are getting shorter—all in one day. And I remember, the first day I was back, I looked up and it was 5:00 and it was dark out. And I thought, “Bummer.” You know what I like about Christmas? Not Santa Claus. When you get to Christmas the days finally start getting longer again. You know, in Alaska they have diagnosed; it would happen probably in Scandinavia, too, any of these northern countries where they’ve got the long winter nights. They have diagnosed a depression connected with these long nights where the sun comes up for an hour or two a day and goes back down again. That would be kind of depressing. The nice thing about Alaska, they also produce some of the best vegetables because they’ve got the longest daylight. If you want to have those long days sometimes it comes after the long night.

When is Jesus coming? I’m not talking for a day or hour. No, not 2012, Mayan calendar. Since I mentioned it, I’ll tell you. Karen and I and the boys were in Belize and I got a drive by a Mayan Indian, gave me a ride while I was there. And I asked him about the Mayan calendar and he just laughed, almost choked. He said that’s the most absurd thing they’d ever heard. Here Hollywood’s making a movie about the Mayan calendar and the Mayans are laughing. They don’t think the world’s ending in 2012. They’ve got thousands of calendars and stones that all could be interpreted different ways. But if Hollywood could make a buck. Who knows? It might be 2012 and everyone’s going to be laughing as it happens, but it will have nothing to do with the Mayan calendar. Could be sooner. Got another character out there saying it’s 2011. I actually think it’s happening in 1996. See, you missed it. No, I was just seeing if you’re listening. When is Jesus coming? Midnight. You didn’t know where I was coming from. I know exactly when He’s coming, midnight. I’m not talking about what hour of the day, I’m talking about what hour of the world. The Bible says in Matthew 25:6, “And at midnight there was a cry made, ‘Behold, the bridegroom comes; go out to meet him!’ And all those virgins trimmed their lamps.” They needed to do something when Jesus came to dispel the darkness and help other people find their way to the wedding. It’s during the darkest time of the world’s history that the church is needed the most to let their light shine.

Just before the children of Israel came out of Egypt there was a plague of darkness. Darkness on the headquarters of Egypt. Just before the Lord comes one of the seven last plagues is what? Darkness on the seat of the beast. By the way, I want to read this to you from Exodus 10:21, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand towards heaven, that there might be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness that may be felt.” That’s called gross darkness. “And Moses stretched out his hand towards heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They saw not one another; neither any rose from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Does God want us to be in darkness? Doesn’t the Bible say, “But you are not children of the night”? We are children of the day. “The day of the Lord should not overtake us as a thief.” “Let us not walk in darkness as others do.” I Thessalonians 5:4-5, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a thief. You are the children of light and children of the day. We are not of night or darkness.” The light of God ought to be seen in our lives. There are a few other verses I want to share with you.

When Jesus died it was a time when the world rejected its Creator and there was a supernatural darkness. Matthew 27:45, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land to the ninth hour.” During the plague of Moses it was three days of darkness. During the death of Jesus it was three hours of darkness. Supernatural darkness. And then “Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” At the time where it looks like the world is forsaken by God there’s going to be gross darkness. Could we have the grossest darkness in an age of man where we have the most artificial light? Could it be possible that all of the artificial light we’re able to now create is really deceiving us? We think that that’s a substitute for the real light.

We’ve got something interesting that we’re doing here at Central Church, talking about light and darkness. We’re very intrigued about the idea of putting solar panels on the roof as actually a cost saving. I’ll tell you about that sometime. Where we can convert sunlight into light in the church. I’m really intrigued by solar light because you take the light that God made and if you can store it you can turn it into natural light. Sort of what the Lord does with us. He shines in our hearts and then it is reproduced in our lives. The day is coming when there’s going to be no more dark. Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness.” Are you getting adjusted to the light? Or are you casting off the works of darkness? “And let us put on the armor,” it doesn’t say armor of God. It says the “armor of light.” Do your clothes glow? Talk about good detergent, the blood of Christ will make your clothes glow. Better than oxyclean. Ephesians 5:8, “For you once were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” You all glow a little bit right now, we just need to glow more. Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Don’t get used to the dark. We need to ask God to help us recognize the darkness of this world and reprove it. “For it’s a shame to even speak of the things that are done by them in secret.” II Corinthians 4:6, “For God who has commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts.” And I mentioned this one before. “To give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus.”

So how do we let these lights shine in a dark world? Several ways. One is very simply, the word of God is light. But you don’t see the light of God’s word until it hits something. As you read the word of God and you allow it into your lives and you seek to live it out and you walk in the light people are going to see that light in your life and they’ll follow. And then some good news, friends. We’re going to a place where it’s never going to be dark again. I like this. Revelation 21:23, “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it. And the Lamb is the light thereof.” When you think about the brilliance of heaven; when Ellen White went into vision and she would see the glories of heaven, when the vision ended and she had to come back to the world, and going into vision she’d say, “Glory, glory, glory,” and they’d be ever louder because things were getting brighter, brighter, brighter! And then as the vision ended she’d often say, “Dark, dark, dark.” This world is so dark. The Bible teaches that. Isaiah 30:26, speaking of heaven. “Moreover the light of the moon,” in that kingdom, “will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold.” So picture right now, if you were to go outside and you were to look at the sun it would burn your eyes. Can you imagine living in a world where your eyes are able to adjust to a moon that is brighter than our sun is now? That’s what it says. Our whole world was darkened by sin. And the sun will be seven times brighter than it is now. And I’ve got a theory that in that kingdom, because we will not have exoderma pigmatosum, we’ll be able to look into the sun in its strength and it won’t hurt our eyes. Because God will be brighter than the sun there. The city is not illuminated by the natural sun. It’s illuminated by God, Himself.

I’m tired of living in the dark, this dark world. Gross darkness will cover the people. But as we walk in the light as He is in the light His blood will cleanse us from all sin. You know what the command is to us? It’s in our scripture reading. It says, “Arise and shine.” God is calling us to arise and to shine and let the glory of the Lord arise upon me. His glory will be seen on thee. I don’t know about you, friends, but by His grace I want to be a light in this dark world. At midnight Jesus is coming and this is when we’re supposed to trim our lamps and keep them burning so people will see the light of God in our lives. Very simple message today about light and darkness, but it’s very real. It’s not all theory. We do live in a dark world. How many of you want to let your light shine, to reflect His light off of you? Let’s stand and we’ll sing 515, our closing hymn, The Lord is My Light.

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I’d like to give you an opportunity, friends, to make a decision today. Maybe you recognize that you’re not walking in the light that God has given you. You’ve not been allowing His light to

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