Monday, August 19, 2019

Lights In The Dark 3: Shining Through

Shining Through The Darkness

Isaiah 60:1-5

 Introduction: “I Will Arise”

The interrogator wanted to make sure that the county boy met the requirement of the Methodist Church for being a preacher
He asked the boy, "Son, do you know the Bible?"
"Yes, sir, I think I do know the Bible."
"What part of the Bible do you know the best?"
"I reckon I knows the new Testeement the best."
"Good, good. Now what part of the New Testament do you know the best, son"
"Parson, I figure I know the story of the good Samaritan the bestest of all."
Good, good. Could you tell us all that fine story?"

"There was a good Samaritan going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among thorns and they sprang up and choked him and left him half dead. And he said, "I will arise" and he arose and came to a tree and he got hung in the limb of the tree by the hair of his head and he hung there forty days and forty nights but the ravens they did feed him. Delilah, she came along with a pair of shears and cut off his hair and he fell on stony ground. But he said, "I will arise" and he arose and came to the Wall of Jericho and Jezebel was sitting on the wall and she mocked him, cause of all his hair being cut off, and he said, "Chunk her down." And they chunked her down and he said, "Chunk her down again." And they chunked her down again. And he said, "Chunk her down seventy times seven times" and great was the fall thereof and of the fragments that remained they picked up twelve baskets full and now whose wife will she be in the Resurrection?"

The interrogator looked at the young man and said, "Son, you have not just met the requirements of our association, you have completely destroyed them. I am sorry but you are not fit to be a pastor in the Methodist Denomination."

“Well, I guess that means the Lord done called me to be an Independent Baptist”

Let me share with you this afternoon a passage from God’s word that tells us to “Arise.”

Sometimes don’t you just long for a change, the times when it seems dark dreary and just downright dull? Even our spiritual life and the life of our church can sail into the doldrums and you wonder if anything is going to turn things around. I have good news for you, God likes change. He changes things all the time and if you are willing to listen to Him and follow Him you’ll find that the change under God’s leadership is always a change for the better.

Lets go to Isaiah 60 and look at the change God can bring to His people

Cause to Shine Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
The Lord Commands His Nation “Arise and Shine!”

Background and Context

God speaking through Isaiah in the chapters previous to 60 has told the nation Israel it is a mess.

In Chapter 58:1-4 He condemns their religious hypocrisy
¶ Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

In chapter 59:1-3 He exposes their utter sinfulness
Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness

Then suddenly in that context He says in chapter 60:1 to the same people, “Arise, Shine!”
In the midst of such darkness such sin and such hypocrisy He says get up and be a light!
Why? How after such a scathing rebuke could he tell them this?
The reason is in the verse, “Arise, Shine for thy light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

It was not what hypocritical, sinful Israel could do it was what God was going to do.
He was going to bring a light to them, He was going to let His glory be seen in them.

This would happen when their Messiah, their King sent directly from God would rule and reign.  This is a prophecy of what will take place during the millennial rule of Jesus on earth when He returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Their light will be the light of their King.

The Lord Also Commands His church, Arise and Shine.

As I read this passage my heart is also thrilled because I can see the parallel between God’s message to the nation of Israel and his message to his church today.

Look around you.  See the sin, see the heresy, see the hypocrisy, see the darkness its undeniable.  It’s almost overpowering in its magnitude.

Yet, in the midst of such great sin, I believe God is still saying to his people, “Arise, Shine for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

For we, unlike Israel in Isaiah’s time are not waiting for a coming or even a returning Savior, He is already with us. The light of Jesus Christ light has been given to us. God’s glory has already risen upon us.

In the midst of the darkness we stand as beacons of that light, just as God commanded, we must arise. For it is in the rising, the standing up and being seen that the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will also be seen.

We who have seen the light of salvation and the glory of God, are we standing so that others, lost in the darkness, can see it also?

Illustration: Cutting Holes in the Dark

At age twelve, the author, Robert Louis Stevenson was looking out into the dark from his upstairs window watching a man light the streetlamps. Stevenson's governess came into the room and asked what he was doing. He replied, "I am watching a man cut holes in the darkness." This is our task, this is our calling to cut holes in the darkness with the glorious light of Jesus Christ.  -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 178-179

Isaiah’s message from God continues in the next verse.

Covered in Dark Isaiah 60:2

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

The Lord Promises They would be a Glorious light

In Isaiah’s prophecy God paints a picture of strong contrasts.
A world and a people in great darkness.

The darkness upon the heart of the people is even blacker than the darkness upon the world. God calls it a thick darkness.

The Hebrew word here means gloom, like the darkness that comes not only from the night but also from a night is which the sky is filled with threatening black clouds. A darkness in which even the moon and stars can’t be seen.

Then right in the middle of this terrible blackness God says, “But (don’t you love it when the Lord’s buts in?) but, the Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen in thee.”
Let me tell you when this is going to happen. For it will happen when Jesus the King of the Jews returns for his nation. When He returns the Bible says it like a black and hopeless night. The stars will have fallen from the heavens, the sun will not shine, and the moon will be turned the color of blood.

Jerusalem will be at war with the entire world led by the anti-christ, the beast of the book of Revelation and they will teeter the very edge of defeat.

But at that moment at the split second when it seems the most dark and hopeless, a shout will be heard, “Look in the east, there is a light.”  Jesus, like a bolt of lightning, will shine from the east to the west and the whole world will see Him. Then with the army of heaven He will come and save the nation of Israel from their blackest defeat.
It will be then that Israel shall arise and shine for a thousand years in God’s glory. Jesus Christ, will be seen as the King of Israel reigning for a Millennial, a thousand years of light to replace the ages of night.

The darker the night, the brighter our light.

Isn’t it dark in our day as well. People call the murder of unborn children a right and a positive choice. Women whose souls is so seared by sin then celebrate the deaths of their own children. 
More and more couples live together without the sanctity of marriage than are married. We used to call this “living in sin” we call it normal now.

There are more children being brought up by single parents than there are being brought up by the parents they were born with.

All states now allow marriage between man and man, woman and woman and in no state is sodomy illegal.

Men believe that they can be women, and women believe they can be men. Denying not just the reality of biology but of the very creation of God. Worse are the schools, governments and churches that are condoning and even propagating such a moral plague.

The largest churches across our country are preaching a gospel without repentance, a Christianity without discipline and a heaven without a hell.

There are organizations which call themselves churches which are ordaining homosexual men and women into the ministry. There are people who call themselves Christian who commit the most heinous sins on a daily basis and publicly say that God’s Word is wrong when it condemns that sin. Think or name the vilest sin and you can find a group of Christians or a denomination excusing it or even saying God made me them this way.  

Yet at these dark times, the hope of the gospel should shine the brightest.

“We need to realize that the darker is the night the brighter is our light, the more difficult our path the more precious will be our destination, and the deeper is the sin the more uplifting is the gospel.”
When you want to give up on those around you who seem hopelessly lost in the dark, remember you shine brightest to them at their darkest times. Today is  not a time to be discouraged it is a time to “Arise and Shine” for even though there have never there been darker nights, there has also never been a brighter light than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Illustration: Christmas at Ravensbruk by Corrie Ten Boom

It was Christmas, 1944. Betsie had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me.

There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Why, I don't know. They were the saddest Christmas trees I ever saw in my life. I am sure it was with the purpose of blaspheming that they had thrown dead bodies of prisoners under the Christmas trees.

I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked, ridiculed, and sneered at whatever I said. At last I was quiet. It was in the middle of the night that I suddenly heard a child crying and calling, "Mommy! Come to Oelie, Oelie feels so alone." I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feebleminded.

"Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you? That is Jesus."
The girl was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from my bed. Although Oelie was completely emaciated from lack of food, she had a sweet face, beautiful eyes, and wavy hair. It was so touching to hear her call for her mother. Oelie had been operated on and the incision on her back was covered by a bandage of toilet paper.

That night I told this poor child about Jesus. How He came into the world as a little baby -- how He came to save us from our sins.

"The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross. Now Oelie may go to heaven, and Jesus is there right now. He is getting a little house ready for Oelie." Later I asked her what she remembered of what I had told her.

"What is the little house like?" I asked.

"It is very beautiful. There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck -- only good people and angels. And Oelie will see Jesus there."

   Then Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks.  Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck -- 1944. - Corrie's Christmas Memories

Coming of Kings Isaiah 60:3

3  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The Lord Foretells The Future For Israel

Isaiah tells his nation the end result, the future consequence of God’s shining and their arising. He tells them Gentiles and Kings would come to their light.
Imagine it, the nation of Israel, despised, attacked, and driven almost to destruction but now it becomes the place where all the world makes pilgrimage to.

The Bible tells us that during the Millennium all the world will flock to Jerusalem, all the great leaders of the world will make pilgrimages there. 

Why would they do this? Because Jesus will rule and reign on the throne of David and all the world will come to see the “light of the world.”

Isaiah 60: 10-14  And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.  For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.  The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Bringing Those in the Dark Into The Light

The same truth that will bring the nations to Jerusalem during the Millennium, is the same truth that will bring people to our light today.  It must be made known that Jesus rules and reigns on the throne of our heart, that he rules and reigns in our families, and that he rules and reigns in our church.
When people truly see Jesus they will come to our light. We must show the truth of Jesus in us and people will see that truth.  We must quit hiding our light under the bushel and then people will see that shining city on the hill.  We must arise with our testimony of a life changed by God and then we will shine!

Two examples

Bad example The sign
IS THIS A SIGN? Norman Cates shared the humorous story of a guy who prayed this prayer every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him.  The bus was nearly empty, but this guy sat next to our praying friend.
The timid Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus. But before he could get very nervous about the man next to him, the big guy burst into tears and began to weep.  He then cried out with a loud voice, "I need to be saved.  I'm a lost sinner and I need the Lord.  Won't somebody tell me how to be saved?" He turned to the Christian and pleaded, "Can you show me how to be saved?" The believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, is this a sign?
Good example Jesus’ Grandmother

 Did you read about the little boy who returned home after his first Sunday school class? His mother asked, "Who was your teacher?' and the little boy answered, "I don't remember her name, but I think must have been Jesus' grandmother.” Jesus’ grandmother? Why in the world would you think she was Jesus’ grandmother?” “Because she wouldn’t quit talking about him.” -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 490.
Are you willing to arise and let your light shine?

If you’re a child of God then the light is already in you. You’ve just got to get out from under the bushel basket of fear, or sin, or depression and let your light shine.
Scripture Mat 5:14-16 Let your light so shine!

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Illustration: Beaming Face

 A group of prospectors set out from Bannock, Montana (then capital of the state), in search of gold. They went through many hardships and several of their little company died en route. Finally they were overtaken by the Indians who took their good horses, leaving them with only a few limping old ponies. Then they threatened them, telling them to get back to Bannock and stay there, for if they overtook them again, they would murder the lot of them. Defeated, discouraged, and downhearted, the prospectors sought to make their way back to the capital city. On one occasion as they tethered out the limping ponies on a creekside, one of the men casually picked up a little stone from the creek bed. He called to his buddy for a hammer and upon cracking the rock, he said, "It looks as though there may be gold here." The two of them panned gold the rest of the afternoon and managed to realize twelve dollars' worth. The entire little company panned gold the next day in the same creek and realized fifty dollars, a great sum in those days. They said to one another: "We have struck it!" They made their way back to Bannock and vowed not to breathe a word concerning this gold strike. They secretively set about re-equipping themselves with supplies for another prospecting trip. But when they got ready to go back, three hundred men followed them. Who had told on them? No one! Their beaming faces betrayed the secret! -L. E. Maxwell  found in James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 180-181.


The darkness of our world is great, and the darkness of men’s hearts is even greater but it’s not our task to worry about the dark. It is our calling, our command, to shine in that darkness by the power and brightness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord has assured us that in the midst of the deepest night our light will be bright. Will you believe Him this morning and commit yourself to stand up as a light of the Gospel in this dark world?

Who will be the first to see your light? Your brother, your sister, a parent or a child? Your husband or wife, in-laws, or teacher?  Will it be your boss or your employees, will it be your co-worker or your schoolmate?  They are lost in the darkness and we need to stand up. We must arise and let the light of Jesus Christ shine through you!

Song “Let the Lower Lights be Burning”

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
For to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.

No comments:

Post a Comment