[a] Where you ever afraid of the dark when you were a child? I think most of us were, if we are honest.
[b] I remember, on one occasion as a child on holiday in Bangor, in Northern Ireland, waking in the small holiday house and there seeing in the dim light, what appeared to me as an enormous spider, just in front of my eyes, crawling across the pillow towards me. It probably seemed much larger than it was, because it was so close - but it scared the life out of me!
[c] Even now, if I'm overtired, I awake in the middle of the night, believing that there are spiders or other creepy crawlys on the bed!
[d] Of course, once I turn on the light, I realise that I have been dreaming! So I can lie down and go to sleep happy.
[*] This is the first Sunday of Advent, and all over the world, candles will be lit, as churches of every colour and creed prepare to celebrate 'The Light of the World' being born in Bethlehem's manger that first Christmas.
[e] I remember someone taking issue with me when I categorically stated "DARKNESS DOES NOT EXIST!"
They said, "Obviously you've never been down a coal mine - you can almost feel it, it's so real!"
[f] But you see, let me put it this way, If I were to go down that dark coal mine, miles under the ground, and take a container with me, and were to capture some of that darkness - seal it tightly in the container, and bring it back for you to see - there would be nothing there - it simply would not exist!
[g] Darkness, as a material tangible thing, simply HAS NO EXISTANCE!
[h] Even the deepest darkness can be dispelled, by the lighting of a match, a candle or a torch - even a little one!
One night when he was younger, I went in, very late to my son Phillip's bedroom, and found him reading one of his Doctor Who books with the light of a tiny little penlight torch!
[i] The children's song states very clearly,
Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light,
Like a little candle burning in the night,
In this world of darkness,
So we must shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.
We have to acknowledge that it is not only the children who must
shine for Jesus, but each and every one of us, especially in such
dark evil days.
The last verse speaks of the various types of darkness we face in this
world, "Many kinds of darkness in this world are found, sin and want
and sorrow, so we must shine; you in your small corner, and I in mine."
[a] I said that darkness is no more than the absence of light. EXACTLY THE SAME PRINCIPLE APPLIES IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM!
[b] When a man, woman, boy or girl is in spiritual darkness, it is because of the absence of the One Who is the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus, from their lives!!
[*] David was sworn in tonight as a Salvation Army Soldier, because he has personally found Jesus, the Light of the World, and has invited Him into his heart and life. This only happened a couple of weeks ago
[c] When He is allowed to come into our lives, then the darkness is dispelled!
Where we live in Port Glasgow is very much off the beaten track, and we have no street lights shining on our house, so it's a good feeling when you get near the front door, and the automatic sensor light comes on, illuminating the whole area. If it comes on late at night, you know something has triggered it, and it gives you a feeling of security.
[d] In a sense It's as though Jesus comes as a great LIGHTHOUSE
- in warning!! We must change our direction - or perish in the
sea of sin!
[e] He also comes to us in GUIDANCE, like the lights on a runway guiding a plane in to land safely even on the darkest night! He will continue to guide until we land safely on Heaven's runway.
[f] He tells His disciples to be "fishers of men", and they do tell me that if you fish at night, then a light will draw the fish!
Doesn't Jesus say, "I if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me."
[g] Dear friend, if you don't yet know Jesus as your Saviour, then we would direct your gaze to the One Who was lifted up on high on an old rugged cross - THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD LIFTED UP FOR ALL TO SEE!
[h] He also comes as a SEARCHLIGHT - revealing those things that would remain hidden.
If you allow His light to shine in your heart today, then you will see all those things which need to be put right, and which are incompatible with being a true follower of Christ.
[i] If you have never received Jesus as your PERSONAL SAVIOUR, then that light will reveal your sins which need forgiveness!
The chorus says, "My sins rose as high as a mountain."
[a] I still remember a testimony given by one of our junior soldiers over twenty years ago in Enniskillen Corps. (Northern Ireland)
Noreen said, after she had found Jesus, that it was like walking from the darkness into a room that was flooded with light!
[b] Permit me to be very blunt with you, and ask you -
DO YOU REMEMBER A DISTINCT DAY WHEN YOU WENT FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT??A DAY WHEN YOU CAME FROM THE DARK NIGHT OF SIN INTO GOD'S GLORIOUS LIGHT??
[*] One of the problems is that you don't realise that you're in the darkness, until you find Jesus, the Light! If you like, your eyes have become accustomed to the darkness, and you think it's normal!
[*] When the Light of the World enters your life, The nature of the experience is such that IT CANNOT HAPPEN WITHOUT YOU KNOWING IT - AND REMEMBERING IT!!
[c] I remember on one occasion, illustrating this point, by blindfolding a child, turning them around a few times and then asking them to find the blackboard and write their name. As you can guess, there was little success, until some help was given!
[d] If for one reason or another, you have had to feel your way round a dark room, you will know what I mean - it makes all the difference in the world when the light is turned on!
SO TOO IT IS SPIRITUALLY!
[a] I said a little while ago, "DARKNESS DOES NOT EXIST!" and that is true!
[b] But let me follow that by saying "LIGHT IS INVISABLE!"
[c] You can however see FOUR things!
[g] Light is the purest thing in the world!
Although it shines through dust and impurities, it cannot itself be contaminated by them!!
[h] Christ, the Light of the World, remains absolutely pure, and even though He bore your sin and mine on the cross, it did not in any way contaminate Him!
[i] Although we are by no means spotless or sinless as Christians, yet He works in and through us, and His glorious light can be seen shining from our lives!
[j] If the light of the sun were to be taken from us, nothing would grow, and we would quickly freeze to death!
[k] Those who choose to live without Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, are going to spiritually and eternally die!!
[l] Many years ago, a man was hurrying home, in the midst of a huge storm. He was on horse back, and was galloping as quickly as he could through the darkness. Suddenly, as lightening flashed across the sky, it enabled him to see, that he was only seconds away from riding into a deep ravine that would have meant certain death for him and his horse.
He was able to stop, just in time, thanks to the lightening that revealed the danger ahead.
[m] The light of God would endeavour to reveal to sinners the terrible danger ahead of losing their eternal souls - as they rush at breakneck speed towards the ravine of eternity.
LIKE A HUGE LIGHTHOUSE HE BEAMS OUT TO YOU THE WARNING - WE
DARE NOT NEGLECT TO TAKE HEED!
[n] Christ the Light of the World, awaits as He does in Holman Hunts wonderful picture, knocking on your heart's door, awaiting entry.
Someone said to Holman Hunt, "You've forgotten to put the handle on the
door!" He said, "OH NO, THE ONLY HANDLE
ON THE DOOR OF THE HEART IS ON THE INSIDE!"
[a] I trust that you are certain that your heart is lit up, by the Light of the World.
[b] If not, then He knocks and waits at this moment for admission.
[c] Don't live any longer in the darkness, with all it's perils
and dangers, but let Jesus in, and allow His Divine light to flood
your whole being - bringing a whole newness of life to you as
it has to David!
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK & 'HAPPINESS & HARMONY'
43 IN HAPPINESS AND HARMONY
JESUS BIDS US SHINE WITH A PURE CLEAR LIGHT (841 - )
(SING 'LIGHT UP THE FIRE')
AT THE CROSS, WHERE I FIRST SAW THE LIGHT (395 - )