Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on March 1, 2015
Turn with me to Philippians 2:14-18. Over the last several weeks we have been unpacking what it looks like for Christians to progress in our faith. We began by understanding that our walk as Christians should be one that match the gift of our salvation. Meaning that we should outwardly display the reality within. Or to say it another way, if we talk the talk, we should walk the walk.
Last week, we examined how this progress in our faith is one that involves both our working, and God working within us. That we are to be actively pursuing Christlikeness, however our pursuit is driven from within by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. This process of transformation is what the Bible calls sanctification. The end of our sanctification occurs upon our death or upon Christ's return, for at that moment the Christian's work is done and we enter into the final rest of our Father and we be like our brother Jesus Christ.
Today we are going to get more specific regarding this process of sanctification. We are going to look at a specific sin, a specific purpose, a specific solution, and a specific result. So with that said, let us read out text, pray and unpack these four verses.
In verse 14 we see Paul exhort the Philippian Church to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” I think it is important for us to recognize that this statement is not disconnected with the first part of Paul's letter. Therefore you could say, progress in your faith without grumbling or disputing, or count others more significant than yourself without grumbling or disputing, or be obedient like Jesus without grumbling or disputing, or work out your salvation without grumbling or disputing. Pual has spent a significant part of his letter exhorting the church at Philippi, and his desire is that they do all these things, not as a burden, but with joy.
As I thought about this text this week, I have to admit that I felt the weight of my sin. I confess I am a grumbler. I wouldn't necessarily use that phrase. Instead I would call myself analytical or critical, perhaps I would even go so far as to admit that I complain about things, but those are just words. The reality is that when Paul is saying don't grumble or dispute, he might as well use my name right after his rebuking.
This week I have felt like grumbling about the weather, my work, my to-do list, the lack of progress in certain areas of my life, the gas tax, the apathy of others, my sleep habits, food, the list could go on an on. This is not to mention the constant sighs that I express throughout my day, as if I can't bare my circumstance one minute longer. The bottom line is that this week I have felt like one giant baby, whining about every little thing that comes up.
And this is the sad part, I was not rebuked one time for my whining. As I went about complaining and grumbling, the world joined in on the conversation. In fact, many times the more I complained the more worldly fellowship I had. People were mesmerized by my poisonous tongue. Why? Because people love the darkness. The world loves sin, and grumbling and disputing is sin.
Many of you, however, may be saying, really? Is it that big of deal to vent once and a while? Or perhaps you are saying, aren't I entitled to my opinion? Can't I stand up on my soapbox? Can't I express myself and let my voice be heard? The answer to this is no, you can't, at least you can't if you are a Christian.
I want to direct your attention to verse 15. Paul uses a phrase that is not arbitrary. He calls the world a “crooked and twisted generation.” This is not the first time this phrase is used in the Bible. It is used by Moses in Deuteronomy 32:5 to describe the nation of Israel during the time they wandered in the desert.
For any of you who have read about those 40 years, which I hope that all of you have, you will know that there is one word that describes those people, complainers. No matter what God did for them, they whined and complained. They grumbled and disputed. This began almost instantly upon Israel's leaving of Egypt. They complained about being led to the Red Sea, they complained about the lack of water, they complained about food, they complained about not having the right food, they complained about Moses, they complained about the people who occupied the promise land. Complain, complain, complain. This was the display of their hearts after God led them out of Egypt. God had chosen these people to be His people out of all the nations of the world, and how did they respond, they grumbled and disputed.
What was God's response to Israel's complaints? Yes he did provide, but also He killed a fair amount of them. He sent a plague, he swallowed some up in the ground, he gave Miriam leprosy, and he kept all of the adults, including Moses, from entering the Promise land. Why was God so angry about their complaining? Because their complaining was a provocation towards God. Their complaining was an assault on God's Sovereignty. Their complaining was the exact opposite of what they should have been doing, trusting in God, having Faith in God. God desired to use them to display himself to the nations, but what they were displaying is discontent, disunity, and disobedience.
Why is this important to us? Why should we care about Israel of 4,000 years ago? Aren't we different as followers of Jesus? Yes, we are different, but that doesn't mean we are perfect and without sin. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2.
The Old Testament is not irrelevant. The nation of Isreal while wandering in the wildernss is not irrelevant. It is to be an example to to us. We are to take heed, lest we fall. We must recognize that grumbling and disputing kindles the wrath of God, it does not please Him. In fact, God killed his Son on the cross to pay for your sins, not just adultery and murder, but also grumbling and complaining.
Every time you complain about your food, your job, your circumstances, your life, you are complaining about God's providence. Just like Israel, you are questioning the Sovereignty of God as he unveils the plans that he has for you. This is what Paul is trying to get across to the people of Philippi as they work out their salvation, as they obey as Jesus obeyed. He wants the Church to sojourn with rejoicing and not with grumbling.
And don't forget Paul's condition as he writes these words. Paul writing these things while he is chained to a Roman guard. His circumstances are way worse than most of you will ever experience. In this letter do you see complaining? No you see Paul rejoicing, proclaiming, edifying, but you never see complaining. With each step Paul takes, no matter how difficult, he uses it for an opportunity to glorify God, not to grumble against God.
Shine as Lights in the World
Which leads to my second point. Our purpose as disciples is to shine like lights in the world. This is why you live in your neighborhood. This is why you work where you work. This is why you go to the school you go to. This is why you have facebook friends. Your responsibility, your call, your purpose is to shine with the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness that surrounds us.
When you grumble and complain, you are not shining. Instead there is a dark cloud that descends over your testimony. You look just like the world that you are sent to save. As Paul says, you are acting twisted and crooked. Instead of acting like Christ, you are acting like Satan. Do you think that your complaining is going to cause one of your friends or family members to say, “Wow, tell me about your faith. I want know more about the God that you seem not to trust.”
We as followers of Jesus Christ are to be radically different. We are to stand out. We are to be salt in this decaying and tasteless world and we are to be light in the midst of the darkness. And this is to be true in all circumstances, and especially true in difficult circumstances. For when your circumstances are the darkest, your light can shines more brightly. For example, think about the cross. It is the darkest day in all of human history. Creation is killing the Creator. This is the most depraved and wicked act imaginable. However, it is with this backdrop of darkness that we see the light of Jesus Christ shine most gloriously. Did Jesus grumble and complain and dispute with his father? No. He prayed “Thy will be done” and “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” For the Joy that was set before him Him endured the cross.
We are called to be like Christ. We are to be his disciples. We are to follow his lead. When our circumstances are not up to our standard of selfish entitlement, we need to check ourselves before we vent, before we give our two cents on God's providence, before we grumble about the circumstances God has ordained for our lives. So how do we do this?
Hold Fast to the Word of Life
Look at verse 16. What does it say? It says we are to “[hold] fast to the word of life.” What is the word of life? It is the gospel. It is the message of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the promise of God that through the death of His Son, your sins are forgiven and you will have eternal life.
I want you to feel the weight of this. You and I deserve to go to Hell. We deserve to have the wrath of God come crashing down upon us. But God, because He is love provides a way that the price of our sins can be paid and so that we can be reconciled to our Maker. That way is that he kills his Son Jesus. He did this for you! Instead of punishing you for your wretchedness, he punishes Jesus for your wretchedness. And if that was not enough, not only does he forgive you but he adopts you into his family and promises you that you will receive the inheritance of being a child of the Almighty God. And if that is not enough, you will get to enjoy this inheritance forever and ever. Meaning that in a billion years from now, you will still be enjoying the unlimited joy of being a child of God.
And if you have repented of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this is yours right now.
Paul is telling us that we must hold fast to this gospel truth. We must not be casual about it. We must cling to it violently. Never letting these promises slip out of our mind. E must keep our eyes focused to these words, and they must be the anchor of our life. We must hold it, as it holds us.
The question is, are you holding fast to the words of life? Are you clinging to the words of Jesus with white knuckles. Are you soaking, and meditating, and delighting, and cherishing the word of life?
This week I saw a quote from Charles Spurgeon that was somewhat aggressive. Spurgeon said, “There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers.” Does this describe you? Does your Bible sit on the shelf day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year with almost no attention? Instead of holding fast to the word of life, are you holding fast to facebook? HGTV? ESPN? Your business?
I echo what Paul says in verse 16, I do not want to stand in the day of judgment and realize that all of the labors of Cornerstone were vanity. That they were worthless. That my preaching and teaching has fallen on deaf ears. For we know that on the day of Judgment, everything will be revealed. At that time we will not have to look at the dust of our Bibles for God will reveal the dust on our cold dead hearts.
And it only makes sense, for those who who do not have the words of life implanted in their heart, of course they will act like Israel. Of course you will whine and complain and grumble and dispute with God. For that is your nature. You are a rebel, an enemy, an antagonist of God.
But this should not be true for real, authentic followers of Jesus Christ. We must heed the warning of Israel, for we have hope. The hope of eternal life through faith in Christ. And this hope should spring up into our joy.
Be Glad and Rejoice
And that is exactly what we see in verse 17 and 18, “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.“
If God has begun a work in our hearts, and we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ, and we trust in the promises of God, then first we should love to be reminded of these things. And each time we saturate ourselves in the good news of Jesus it should produce in us good feelings. Not feelings that are rooted in our circumstances, but feelings that are rooted in the cross.
This is why Paul could rejoice despite his imprisonment. This is why the Church in Philippi could rejoice despite the threats of their opponents, and this is why you should rejoice when the gas tax goes into effect next week, and when the temperature is negative 24, and when you get laid off from work, and when you get a call from the doctor with bad news. Because our joy is in the word of life.
Let us commit ourselves to stop complaining and start proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us work our our salvation without whining. Let us act like we have actually received the greatest gift ever imaginable. And Let us rejoice.
The Kingdom of Light
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on December 24, 2014
Once again, I want to welcome everyone here tonight who has chosen to spend Christmas Eve with us here at Cornerstone Church. I do not think you will regret it. I don’t say that because of me, or because this building, or even the company or cookies, but because of God and what he has for us tonight in His Word. The only reason we have this Holiday is because of this book and what it says. It only makes sense for us tonight to sit at the foot of God’s throne and soak in His Word.
With that said, I want to encourage each one of you to start a new Christmas tradition this year, that is, if you don’t do this already. Before you open presents, I encourage you to open up the Bible. Spend time reading about the love God as is displayed in Jesus Christ. My suggestion for this year is to read Romans 8. It is not the Christmas story, but it is why we celebrate the Christmas story. After you read this passage, pray and tell God thank you for all He has done through Christ. I cannot think of a more important Christmas tradition than this.
Now let us turn our attention to tonight’s message. Open your Bibles to Matthew 4:12-17. Here at Cornerstone we have camped out in this text for a little over three weeks. Let’s read it pray, and then see what God has to say to us this Christmas Eve.
Darkness is simply the absence of light. Where there is light there is no darkness. Where there is darkness there is no light. The darkness as mentioned in this text, however, is not material darkness it is a spiritual darkness. The light is God, the darkness is the absence of God. Therefore this darkness is a reference to a people who live separated from God. The darkness mentioned in verse 16 is not exclusive to the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. The dominion of darkness covers the entire planet. All you have to do is watch the news to figure this out. The darkness encompasses all humanity, because we are all sinners. We all run from the light into the domain of darkness. As it says in John 3, people love the darkness.
This darkness, that we love, is not a good thing. Living in darkness results in fear, anxiety, lostness, futility, dysfunction, suffering, and anguish. The sin in your life may feel good in the moment, but it produces a wake of disaster in your life. This is the world we live in, broken, rebellious, living as if God is dead to us. However, this is not the worst of it, for this darkness is just a taste of the ultimate and eternal spiritual darkness, Hell. Jesus calls Hell the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and this is the guaranteed destiny for everyone absent a Solution.
Which leads me to point number two, the answer to the darkness is singular. Remember, darkness is just the absence of light; therefore to remove darkness you must have light. Nothing else resolves the problem of darkness, other than light. And what is the answer to the spiritual darkness? What is the solution to the highway to Hell that every man walks upon? Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus stands up and proclaims in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
The answer to the darkness, the answer to the dysfunction, the answer to the suffering is Jesus Christ. No matter where the darkness lies, the answer is the same. Jesus, the Light of the World. This is why the angels proclaim in Luke 2:10 to the Shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Jesus is not the answer for some, he is the answer for everyone!
The question I ask everyone tonight is are you following the Light? Do you follow Christ? And I am not asking do you go to Church from time to time, or are you a good person. I am asking do you love Jesus? Have you laid your life down at the foot of the cross and said, “I am yours.” If you have not yet chosen to follow Christ, then you are still are a citizen of the domain of darkness? This means that the suffering you are experiencing now is nothing what is waiting for you in Hell.
Kingdom of Heaven
The question is how does this occur? How does one go from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of Heaven? What does Jesus do?
It is the Word of God and the power of God that pierces the hearts of man and awakens them to their need for Jesus. The Gospel message opens their eyes to the depravity of darkness and the treasure of the Light of Christ.
Having said that, we still live in this darkened world, not of it, but in it. We still live in a world that is full of sin, dysfunction, perversion, brokenness, rebellion, suffering and anguish. We still feel the weight of this, to an extent. This is a reality for all Christians. We are Citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven, however, for a moment; we live in the domain of darkness.
And despite the love, peace and joy that we have in Christ, and is an undercurrent to our lives, we still mourn, weep, and suffer. We still get cancer. We still struggle with our flesh. The road for a believers is not easy street, it is hard, it is narrow, but it is good. Because we know where our journey ends. It ends with God.
I Am the Light of the World
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on December 21, 2014
Today we are in the third part of a four part sermon entitled, “A Light has Dawned.” This tile comes from Matthew 4:12-17, the text that is behind me. Today's title, however is , “I Am the Light of the World.” Before we get started with today's message, I would like to briefly review.
Two weeks ago started our sermon series by examining the darkness we see referred to in Matthew 4. This darkness is the rebellious, broken world that lies in the hands of Satan. A world that exists in the shadow of death. The reason this world is dark is because of one thing, sin. What is sin? It is the rejection of God’s authority in your life. This sin began in the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve rejected God and instead chose to live there life independent of him. This is called the fall. Because of the fall, all humanity is born into darkness. This is all we know. This is why the world is the way it is. This is why 140 kids were slaughtered in Pakistan on Tuesday, and why racial tension has existed sense the tower of Babel. This is why we have divorces. This is why we have a meth problem. Because we chose to live independent of God, separated from His light. To put it simply, we love the darkness.
Last week, we saw that God, because He is loving, provided a glimmer of hope to Adam and Eve in the midst of his punishment. Specifically, the seed of Eve that God speaks of in Genesis 3, would bruise, crush, gape the head of the serpent, otherwise known as the devil. As we saw last week this was the first explicit prophecy of the suffering Savior, Jesus Christ. And from that point on, God continued to reveal to the world, through His chosen people, Israel, the solution to the darkness being Jesus Christ alone. For 4000 years God would repeatedly provide little glimmers of Hope for His chosen people. As the day of Jesus' birth came closer and closer the light started to shine brighter and brighter, just like the Sun when it approaches the horizon. This testimony of the light of the world continued all the way up to John the Baptist.
From that point on the light of Christ was no longer a distant glimmer of hope, but Christ had broken dawn and the darkened world would never be the same. With that I ask you to turn to John 8:12-30. We will spend the rest of our morning in this passage.
Jesus Is the Light
The events of John 8 took place during what is called the Feast of the Booths. This was one of the bigger celebrations of the Jews, for this feast celebrated the 40 years that God led the Israelites through the Wilderness after they were delivered from the Egyptians. This celebration was one of the three celebrations each year that every Jewish male was required to attend. Not only that, but each time when the Jewish males presented themselves to the Lord at the temple, they were expected to bring an offering.
And it is in this environment that Jesus stands up and says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." This is actually the second statement that Jesus made along these lines during the feast. Earlier in John 7:37, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” Now we see Jesus stand up amongst the mob of people and says, “"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Think about what is going on here. This carpenter's son from the Podunk town of Nazareth stands up on one of the holiest nights in Jerusalem and says He is the Light of the world. Jesus is saying that He is the solution to the darkness, not a solution, but the exclusive solution.
It was CS Lewis who famously argued that no one could be logically neutral concerning Jesus. Lewis was commonly frustrated by people who said that Jesus was a good teacher, or great leader, or had charisma, but they would not accept that He was the Son of God. Lewis said that Jesus had to be one of three things: A Liar, and Lunatic, or the Lord. What does Lewis mean by this?
In John 8, Jesus is not dancing around the bush. He is making a substantial and self centered, claim about himself. Jesus is proclaiming to the masses that He alone is the solution to the darkness. This is not just some moral teacher, or some charismatic leader. Either Jesus is lying, that and therefore he is not the light of the World; He is delusional, which is what we would say today if someone stood up and claimed this, or he is in fact who He says He is, the Light of the World. Logically, those are the only options.
The Pharisees, picked door number two, liar. Verse 13, “So the Pharisees said to him, "You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true." They are saying, you are lying. You are not the Light of the World. So the Pharisees were at least logical in their understanding of who Jesus is.
The question, I pose to each one of you today, is who do you say that Jesus is? Is He a liar, is He a lunatic, or is He your Lord. You have to pick one of the three, Jesus spoke in such a way that you cannot sit the fence. This question is the most important question you will every answer. Your eternity hangs on it.
You Must Follow the Light to Have the Light
Let’s assume that you have decided that Jesus is Lord. Intellectually you understand that Jesus is not a liar and know He was not crazy, so in your mind you have determined that He is in fact the Light of the World. Does this mean you have the light of life? Does your intellectual acceptance of Jesus as Lord mean you are in the clear? I want to read to you two verses.
Earlier I mentioned that Jesus said these words during the Feast of the Booths. According to Josephus, a Jewish historian, during the Feast of the Booths they would light giant lamps in the Court of the Women. These blazing lamps were representations of the pillar of fire that lead Israel by night through the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness.
It was while these giant lamps were blazing and shouting up into dark sky that Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Jesus is saying that He is the pillar of fire that leads us out of our slavery to sin and into the Promise land of God’s Forever Kingdom. So if having the Light means following the Light, what does it mean to follow Jesus? Let me read to you the Words of Jesus regarding what it looks like to follow Christ.
This is the difference between the belief of Satan and the belief of a saint. Satan believes and continues to rebel. Saints believe and follow Christ. The question is, what belief do you have? This, I believe is the issue of today. We have millions of people who claim to have the light of Christ in their heart, yet continue to live their life independent of God. There lives look no different than unbelievers. They have “faith” but no evidence of following Jesus.
Lastly, what if you chose not to follow Jesus? What if instead of laying everything down at his feet you instead, continue to live like the rest of the world? Jesus tells us very clearly in Luke 14:33
So today, I want you to hear the cry of Christ, “"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." And I want you to let go of everything and grab hold of Jesus Christ. Follow him out of the darkness and into the eternal promise land.
A Glimmer of Hope
Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on December 14, 2014.
Open your Bibles to Matthew 4:12-17. Let us begin by jumping right into our text. As I stated last Sunday, during this Advent season we will be using Matthew 4 to launch each sermon. So let us read it, pray and then see what God desires to show us in His Word this morning.
My intent last week was for each of you to feel the weight of the darkness of this sinful world, and to recognize that the present darkness that surrounds us is not some childish game of hide and seek, but that it is a foretaste of what is waiting for every man that does not have the light of Christ dawn upon their heart, Hell.
We briefly discussed how this darkness originated in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s authority over them, and to instead listen to Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Because of their rejection of God’s Lordship over their life, God withdrew from humanity, and it was plunged into spiritual darkness and live in the shadow of death. Therefore every person that has been born on this planet has been born with a darkened heart into a darkened world. If the Bible was broken into a four part play, the fall man would be Part 1, the domain of darkness.
Today I would like to begin with Part two of this play. If I were to name part 2, I would name it, “A Glimmer of Hope.” I have asked you to do this before here at Cornerstone, but I want you to imagine for a moment the first night that Adam and Eve spent outside the Garden of Eden. This experience would have a completely new for them. They would have no home, no food, no protection. Prior to the fall their sleep would have been easy and peaceful, but those days for Adam and Eve were now over. After they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were cast out of the Garden and separated from the presence of God and were living independent of Him in the midst of the darkness.
We don't know the details of what night one was like, but I want to use your imagination. What would that night look like if it were you? For me it would be a night of shame, brokenness, fear, anxiety, lostness, and tears. Perhaps the first several hours after being cast out of the Garden Adam and Eve just walked in silence. Too devastated to talk. Perhaps due to physical and emotional exhaustion they picked a place so as to try to get some sleep. I can almost picture Adam and Eve clinging to each other, surrounded by the darkness of their new reality; perhaps cold, hungry, worried, and staring off into the pitch black night, and running over in their minds the last 24 hours of their life. For the first time they felt the weight of the darkness, the weight of their sin.
Let me ask you something? Have you had those nights? Have you laid in bed with the world pushing down on you? Broken, lost, afraid, ashamed? I am guessing you have. I know I have. Your mind races with worry and fear and sadness. You try to forget the day, weeks, or months, but you can't. It is like the darkness of the world is pursuing you, crouching at your bed, ready to pounce. For me, some of those dark days are best described as spiritually suffocation. It was as if the darkness was pushing into my chest. In that moment you feel as if there is no hope.
If I were to guess, night one for Adam and Eve was not an easy one. Now imagine, Adam turning to Eve in the middle of the night and saying, “Eve, are you still awake?” Eve says, “Yes, I can't stop thinking about what God said. It keeps ringing in my ears.” Adam responds, “Me too. Eve, did you hear what God said to the Serpent? 'I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.' Who do you think God was talking about?”
The words I just referred to, in that fictional dialogue, are actually found in Genesis 3 when God was pronouncing judgment against the Serpent, Adam and Eve. This seed of Eve, that God declared would crush the head of Satan, was the only glimmer of hope spoken of that day. All other words by God after the fall were words of judgment, except this promise of a future and mysterious seed of Eve, that would be a He, would strike, bruise, crush, gape (Depending on what version you have) the head of the serpent. And likewise in the process of striking the head of the snake would have his heal bruised by the snake. Who is this man? It is none other than Jesus Christ, and this is the first explicit prophecy of a suffering savior who would be victorious over sin and death.
Think about this for a moment. God created Adam and Eve and gave them everything. They rebelled against him and chose to listen to the Devil instead of the Potter. God had every right to banish them to Hell, but he didn't. He punished them, clothed them by the shedding of blood, and gave them hope in Christ. What an amazing God, and what amazing Grace! Despite the world being plunged into a dominion of darkness due to Adam and Eve's rebellion, God still provided a glimmer of Hope.
On Fridays, I meet with Freddie Jones at McDonald’s. We usually get done around 7:00, and sometimes I head into work right away, but sometimes I drive up to the Rotary Lodge in Wapsipinicon State Park to pray and read the Bible. This Friday, I decided to drive up there and spend some time with the Lord, and I walked out into the grass and I looked out upon the River and Trees, and I could barely see them because of a gloomy, gray, ominous fog that had descended upon the country side near Anamosa. It was one of those mornings, when you look out the window, you would rather just go back to bed, for it was just an ugly morning. But off in the distance, through the fog, I could see a light piercing through the gloom, just like what I would imagine a lighthouse would be like, a beacon of Hope. And I thought to myself, what a great picture of night one in the dominion of darkness. God had pronounced judgment and cast them out of his presence due to their sin, and gloom and anguish descended, but off in the distance God places a light. The light of His Son, Jesus Christ.
When Adam and Eve stepped into the darkness of their sin, Jesus was there. Why? Because Jesus has always been there. He is eternal. He was in the beginning with God and he was God. It was through Christ that Adam and Eve were made. It was through Christ that the Garden was made. It was through Christ that Satan was made. After he made Adam and Eve, He watched them reject God's authority over them. He watched them choose to follow the lies of Satan instead of the truth of God. He watched them chose darkness over light. And this was not surprise to Christ. For nothing surprises God. He is all knowing, all powerful, all present. He is Sovereign God.
From the beginning of time, Jesus knew his role within the Trinity, to be Hope for the helpless. For in Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men. Before the darkness of this world had its beginning the eternal light of Christ was already burning brightly, and in the fullness of time, His light will shine brighter than the sun. However, for Adam and Eve it was merely a glimmer of Hope.
As Redemptive History progresses, this glimmer of hope, the light of Christ comes closer and closer and brighter and brighter as the ages pass. With each passing generation, more rays of His light pierce through the fog and give Hope to those who have faith in God, to those who have faith in the seed of Eve.
This foreshadowing of the Light of Christ is found throughout the Old Testament. I would argue that the light of Christ is seen in the rainbow, whereby light shines through the water of God's wrath. The Light of Christ is seen in Exodus 13 as the pillar of fire that leads Israel by night out of the slavery of Egypt and into the land of milk and honey. The Light of Christ is seen in the God designed tabernacle and the temple in the seven lamps that illumined the Holy Place, the transition between the Courtyard and the Most Holy Place of God. We see the light of Christ more personally in specific prophecies.
As the years pass, and the darkness of this world continued to reign, God in his goodness, continued to provide glimmers of Hope. In the midst of gloom, anguish, and shadow of death that loomed over all creation, the light of Christ would stand forth as the beacon of man's hope. As the morning dawn of Christ approached so did his light. Listen to the words of the Father of John the Baptist, Zechariah, when John was born. At this time Jesus would be about three months conceived.
Then of course there was the star that camped out over Jesus that lead three random gentiles across the desert so as to worship this young boy. And listen to these words of Simeon, when Jesus was eight days old and presented at the Temple so that he could be circumcised:
What is the Bible about, you could answer this many ways, but one way is that this book is a testimony of the Light of Christ. This book is a single story bout the Light of Christ conquering darkness. From the first glimmer of Hope that was given by God to Adam and Eve to John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, it was all about Jesus Christ, the only answer to the darkness. There is no other light.
The first Christmas was about the dawning of light. A light that would lead humanity out of darkness and into the presence of God. All of history, all of creation, had been waiting for this moment, when Jesus wold burst forth upon the scene. It was a reality that made angels sing, Shepherds rejoice, and wise men to travel from afar.
And it was this glimmer of hope that God had given Adam and Eve on their first night in the domain of darkness. So what does this have to do with you? Everything.
In a way, our life story is very similar to the story of the Bible. We were all born into this domain of darkness. Like Adam and Eve we rebelled against God, and deserve God's judgment because we love the darkness, we love to make our own rules, we love to live independent of God. However, this darkness has only produced pain, anxiety, loneliness, lust, brokenness, greed, and lostness.
However, somewhere along the way, God put before you a glimmer of Hope. God proclaimed to you the Light of His Son. Maybe it was your parents reading the Bible to you, or a family in the community bringing you to Church, or someone at work sharing their testimony, or a gideon Bible in some random hotel. Whatever it was, the light of Christ was put before you, and like a moth to the flame, for some unexplainable reason, you were drawn to it, until the light of Christ broke dawn and shown in your heart.
If you do, if you chose to stand in the light of Christ, then everything is different.