Adjusting to the Darkness

Scripture: Isaiah 60:2, 2 Peter 2:17, Luke 1:79
Date: 01/01/2012 
We are living in a time where there has never been more darkness. It is in this time of darkness that God's people will shine the brightest.

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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 and the light of God burns those things out of our lives if we don't turn away. 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.

Well, you know, it's nice to know that here we are living in a time when never has there been more man-made light than you have in the world today and yet there's great darkness. You've probably seen this amazing satellite picture that has been taken from space. They use 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 - they've got it - the pictures taken. 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 - especially you go to verse 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 your things by the gross - and what did that mean? As a dozen of something. Or, the word gross might mean disgusting - I mean 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, when 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.'

You know, 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's wearing - 'clothed with the sun, standing on the moon, a crown of stars' - why do you think that she - what she's 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.

You know, 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. Oh, 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 of 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.

You know, they've got some scriptures that talk about this. 2 Peter, chapter 2 verse 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 is 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, verse 13, speaking of the lost, "Raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame, wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness and 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 the Bible uses to describe this gross darkness. The blackness of darkness forever. How is it for those who have been with the Lord and they walk out into the world? You know, don't they see the contrast? It's a shame if their eyes get adjusted. 2 Corinthians 4, verse 3 says, "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, into our dark hearts "to give the light of knowledge of the glory of God and the face of Jesus."

You know, 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, a 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 that they'll 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. And, you know, some people that have grieved away the spirit, they're like black holes. You try and reach them, they just - they 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. 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 four-year-old boy that tried to pour himself some Kool-Aid and he spilled some on the linoleum on the kitchen floor and 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 and 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, then 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, verse 19. "This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light," Why? "Because their deeds were 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 and 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." 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. And 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.

You know, the Bible tells us that God is light. 1 John 1, verses 5 and 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, verse 15. "Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound! They'll walk, o Lord, in the light of Thy countenance." you know, 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 chapter 5, verse 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 hid. 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 of God or to let that light shine in their lives. 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.

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Luke chapter 1, verse 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, verses 35 and 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 be either fueling that light so it grows brighter and brighter until the day dawn and the Day Star 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'd just become accountable for it. Did you get that? If God gives you increased light and you don't walk in the light, the more He gives you - Jesus said, 'If you were blind and you could not see, you would have no sin, but now that you see, your sin remains.' 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 wondering why you're not getting anywhere, walk in the light. You can't - 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." 1 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." Woo, did you get that? How many want to be cleansed from sin? There is 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. 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 and it begins on fire with that first love. It 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 - you've got a lot of property, you've 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. The Bible says in Matthew 25, verse 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.

You know, 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, verse 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 toward 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. 1 Thessalonians 5, verses 4 and 5. "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so 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.

You know, there were a few other verses I wanted 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, verse 45. "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land to the ninth hour. During the plague of Moses there 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. 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? Are you casting off the works of darkness? "And let us put on the armor" - it doesn't say the 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 oxy clean. 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." 2 Corinthians 4, verse 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 knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus."

So how do we - how do we let these lights shine in a dark world? Well, several ways. One is, very simply, the word of the 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, verse 23. "And the city had no need of the sun and neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Isaiah 30, verse 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 seven-fold." So, picture right now - don't do it - but 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 xeroderma pigmentosum, 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. In 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 thee. 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?

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