Great Light

Dear Brethren,

You have heard that mankind is becoming smarter and smarter.  People love to believe it, because it makes them feel good.  Evolution teaches that mankind has gradually risen above the lower life forms, and that the human brain has evolved to its present brilliance.

For the last two to three hundred years man has been making vast strides forward.  The period opened with the genius, Sir Isaac Newton, who introduced mankind to a scientific world of advances in physics, math, astronomy and philosophy.  It was as though the doors of heaven had sprung open and begun to reveal the solution to every question and problem that held man captive in the dark ages.  It is true, knowledge is increasing exponentially.  Space travel is commonplace, and many believe that we are on the verge of finding a cure for every disease.  Enlightenment has burst forth and revealed the answers to an unbounded future.  Man is brilliant!

That is a wonderful picture.  The difficulty is that it just does not match the results of the "Enlightenment" we see all around us:  Bitter divorces spawning millions and millions of orphans and juvenile delinquents.  Hundreds of contagious and degenerative diseases leaving its victims blind and maimed for life.  Jails that are over-crowded with felons who are a constant danger to society.  Abortions that amount to the genocide of nations.  Psycho wards bursting at the seams with the criminally insane, and school children denied their future by being administered prescription drugs to sedate their young minds.  Wars for territory, wars for oil, wars of religions, wars of ideologies,... the list goes on and on, but let's cut to the chase.  Man has not begun to solve the worst problems.  This world is on the brink of suicide - self destruction.  Something is terribly wrong with this "Enlightenment" picture! 

Brethren, the truth of the matter - as evidenced by mankind's present plight - is that mankind is yet, very much in the dark ages.  Many in the Church of God have been deceived into believing that they are the chosen enlightened ones - while in fact, they, too, remain in darkness.  How can this darkness end?  Destruction was forecast two thousand years ago - it is a done deal.  "Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."  (Matthew 24:22)  There is the good news - this darkness masquerading as enlightenment will be shortened.  The Great Light has shone to a few, and is about to be seen by all.

"The people which sat in darkness saw Great Light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death Light is sprung up."  (Matthew 4:16)  John wrote that it is only Jesus who is the True Enlightenment, and only He can disperse the bindings of the dark ages:  "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all."  (1John 1:5)

Jesus Christ is that Great Light.  He brought the Good News of His Father's coming kingdom - the Kingdom of God.  It matters not at all how men define it, because Jesus has defined it many ways.  Over and over, He said, "The Kingdom of God is like unto..."  What matters is if we take advantage of our calling.  Too many are neglecting their invitation to the Kingdom of God by petty disputes.  Is it sufficient to be a part of a team that preaches the gospel and feeds the flock?  Must we be in the group that best warns the world?

Brethren, our calling is so much more than that. Jesus said that every principle in the entire Bible describes how to live in the Kingdom of God.  He said, "Man shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  (Matthew 4:4)  Therefore, to be in the Kingdom of God we must be living according to the rules of the Kingdom - here and now.  It is about developing righteous Godly character - here and now.  Should we be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14), or must we find the right man, and pledge our loyalty to him?

Jesus said to get-off the mundane and inconsequential issues that do not amount to a hill of beans in His sight.  "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."  (Romans 14:17)  The Scriptures give us God's guidelines and rules for every area of our lives, including personal appearance, dating and marriage.  "Let your adorning be (not the outward appearance and clothes), but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."  (1Peter 3:3-4)  We are told that when we are free to marry, marry whom you want - but they, too, must be converted Christians.  "... you are free to marry whom you will; only in the Lord."  (1Corinthians 7:39)

Jesus Christ is the Great Light.  What does He require of us?  What criteria will He follow when judging those who will be in His Kingdom, and those who will not?  The answer is to practice pure religion; the answer is not being in a man-made organization.  It is not adherence to what men have taught.  "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."  (James 1:27)  That is what indicates to Jesus Christ that we are living our Christian lives the way he wants us to.  "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

When we truly serve Jesus Christ, we do not exhibit any competition or division.  "One accord, and singleness of heart,"  (Acts 2:46)  indicates that those in the early Church were serving each other, and that they were willing to overlook differences of opinion in order to enjoy profitable fellowship.  Sorrowfully, throughout the Churches of God today, we see anything but "one accord and singleness of heart"?  Will we have to answer to God for not breaking down the barriers that separate us?  What we are seeing, is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Matthew 24:12.  "The love of many shall wax cold."  "Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ... So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."  (Romans 14:10-12) 

Too many of our brethren have unwittingly accepted a "corporate church religion" instead of a personal faith.  We are not allowed to neglect the, "least of these my brethren."  Some of our brethren now believe their Christian responsibility amounts to little more than identifying and defending the correct organization.  Remember that all who have and are led by God’s Holy Spirit are the Children of God – not just those within our immediate fellowship. 

As we endeavor to keep ourselves doctrinally sound, let's be sure we are actually living our religion and faith.  Are we patient with those who do not understand, or have fallen into doctrinal error?  Do we  become involved and restore a brother who has shown unchristian behavior?  We are our brother's keeper - be they ministers or the least of the brethren.  "Open rebuke is better than secret love."  (Proverbs 27:5)  "What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to revere the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul."  (Deuteronomy 10:12)


Sermon:  "Great Light"

This is #2 in the series: A Blending of the Gospel Accounts