Hello Church of Jesus Christ,
The Christmas season is a wonderful time, especially in Canada. As I was out early yesterday morning walking, on a crisp, cool, clear day, the sun was coming up, AND the moon was shining in all its fullness. Darkness was fleeing, light was overtaking the darkness. It was a magical moment. I remembered that God had given the lights in the sky to dispel/separate the darkness, to govern day and night, and for the growth and nourishment of all life – He deemed light “good” (see Genesis. 1:1-19). Yet here, in this darkness, while the world is in the middle of a global crisis, the two primary lights God created to dispel the darkness still govern the times and seasons. That means God is still ruling and reigning!
There is another darkness, much more sinister, on planet Earth. It is not a physical darkness, but one that haunts every person, every male and female, and affects them at the core of their being. The Bible talks about this darkness, which has two characteristics: ignorance (lack of truth) and immorality (sin/evil). Regarding ignorance & darkness, we have encountered this metaphor already: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Eph. 4:18). God is the One who illumines the mind and reveals truth. He does this mainly through His word, but also through personal revelation as we seek and desire truth, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path”(Psa. 119:105); “LORD, you have brought light to my life; my God, you light up my darkness” (Psa. 18:28). Regarding immorality, the New Testament is full of examples: “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light” ( Rom. 13:12-See verses 9-14). Darkness is associated with immorality and evil deeds, but, as children of the light we do not live in darkness!
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). WE as followers of Christ have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness, and brought into the Kingdom of the Son (Col. 1:13; See 1Peter 2:9)!!! The Son, Jesus is Light. As Matthew declares in the opening of his GOOD NEWS about JESUS, “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (NIV Matthew 4:16 Isaiah 9:1,2). Jesus has come into the world! He is the TRUTH that dispels the darkness of ignorance, because He brings the truth of God to Earth - that God is in Christ reconciling sinners back to God. Jesus is the LIGHT of the World who removes immoral behavior (sin) from people and imputes His righteousness upon them. Do you see that Jesus removes the spiritual darkness from every male and female, dealing with both characteristics mentioned above?(See John 3:19-21) This is the Good News offered to all people, regardless of how dark the world is around us. Here is an incredible promise by Jesus, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12); “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”(John 12:46). THIS IS THE MESSAGE OF CHRISTMAS!!! Listen to why Paul was sent and what he was commanded to preach, “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” ( Acts 26:18). Jesus came in to the world to save sinners! What is our response?
Look at Ephesians 5:8 again: “you are light in the Lord. Live (walk) as children of Light”. Darkness should not be found in us at all. What is found is, “goodness, righteousness and truth” (Eph. 5:9). Did you see that: We are IN the Lord! We are in the Light of the world – Jesus. How can we produce fruit of light, by letting the Light live through us, finding out what pleases Him (Eph. 5:10). We are children of light who live to please Jesus, who is the Light of the world. Living according to darkness is fruitless, it produces nothing – only bad fruit that doesn’t even count as fruit (Eph. 5:11). Our job is to “expose” the darkness (Eph. 5:12-14). By our righteousness shining brightly, we shine light on those who practice deeds of darkness. Our very lives ought to convict people that they belong to darkness. If we do the same things as those living in darkness, we are not the light. You can only be one or the other – you can’t be both! We need to make a choice, “Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” (2Cor. 6:14). Ask yourself, “do my actions display that I belong to the darkness (satan), or the Light of the world” (Jesus)? Listen to the words of Jesus: “You are the light of the world….let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds” (Matt. 5:14-16). YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD! Everything you say and do should reflect the “Light of the world” living in you. A follower of Jesus who has made Jesus Lord, does not live like the world - “For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night” (1Thess. 5:5 NLT).
In Ephesians 5:14, the apostle Paul is quoting an old Christian hymn, based on some Old Testament passages: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." What a wordfor the church today, that seems to be asleep. When one sleeps, they are in darkness, no light is coming in. When one is dead, the light is extinguished. It is time for the church of Jesus Christ to rise up in the light of Christ, and let itself be led by Him. We have followed the darkness (world) long enough! As God originally intended for the Sun and Moon to dispel the darkness, govern the times and seasons, and bring growth, so must we allow Jesus to remove darkness from us and purify us. We must allow Him to govern and rule as Lord of the church. And, we must allow Him to grow us up in Him, till we reach maturity, shining in all our fullness, as we were destined to do. We are to prepare ourselves for that day when there will no longer be sun or moon, but God Himself will be the Light by which we live. He will be our God, and we will be His people and walk by the light of the risen Lamb - There will be no night (See Rev. 21:23-26). What a glorious day that will be! But now…we are the light of the world that leads the nations to God as Jesus, The Light of the world lives through us! Church! Arise, shine for your light has come!!!
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. (1John 1:1-7)