Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Which One Am I? Choices at Calvary


Which One Am I? Choices at Calvary

I want you to go with me now to the last night of Jesus' life on earth. Consider for a moment what it must have been like for those who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  If you would have been there, what character would you have been?  What role, of those involved with the most important event of history, would you have played? Could the relationship I have now with Jesus be an indicator of who I might have been back then?  Look with me at three sets of people whose lives were forever changed by the decisions they made that day.  Then let us look at our own lives and the choices we must make today because of what occurred on Calvary then.

Two Disciples Mark 14:42-46  John 18:10-11

Mark 14:42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. 43. And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44  And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead [him] away safely. 45  And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46  And they laid their hands on him, and took him.

John 18:10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 11  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? 12  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13. And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.

Go with me to a garden it is nighttime and very late.  As we enter the garden we pass by several men huddled together in the night air fast asleep.  A little further up the path we see 3 other men also asleep and then there in the distance we see a lone figure.  We can't quite hear what he is saying but you can see that he is praying and the prayer pours from his soul, like the beads of sweat that run from his forehead.

He finishes the prayer and walks back to the group of men sleeping now we see it is Jesus.  He wakes them up them with a question.  "Could you not tarry one hour in prayer?"  They join the other group and they begin to walk back towards the entrance of the garden.  Jesus senses others coming toward them in the darkness.  Just as they approach the brook which marks the edge of Gethsemane a crowd of soldiers and guards from the temple appear.  In their hands are  spears,  swords and clubs.  A man is in front of the crowd, trying to act as if he is not leading them.  Judas rushes to Jesus and kisses him in greeting.  Jesus looks at his disciple and  says, "Judas, betrayest the son of man with a kiss?"  Judas knows he has not fooled the Lord.  Not now with 30 pieces of silver in his money bag for betraying his Lord nor all the other times he had stolen from the bag instead of giving to the poor.  One of the servants of the high priest steps forward  to take Jesus away.  Suddenly from the shadows behind Jesus a man leaps forward with a short sword and strikes at the man arresting his Lord.  The blow was aimed for the man's head, but Peter is only a fisherman not a soldier and the blow is a glancing one that takes off the man's ear.  Jesus steps between Peter and the wounded man before the crowd of soldiers can respond.  "Put up thy sword, the cup which my Father had given me, shall I not drink it?  This is their hour, and the power of darkness."  Jesus reaches to the wounded man's head and with a touch heals him.

As you gaze at the scene in your mind’s eye, let me ask you a question.  If you were there at this moment in time, which disciple would you be?

Would you be Judas, who betrays him with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver?  Or Peter who leaps from the darkness to defend his Lord?  Of course you say, I would not be Judas!  I would not sell out the Lord, I would not betray the one who has taught me  and whose power I have seen.  Yet today as you sit in the real world and not the world of your imagination and you have never fully given yourself to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are just like Judas, the betrayer of the Lord.

Like Judas you cannot come to a full commitment of your life and heart to Jesus.  Like Judas the things of this world have your devotion and loyalty instead of Him. Your 30 pieces of silver may not be the kind you can carry in a bag, they may be something else you treasure enough to refuse Jesus.  It may be your pride, or your career, or you family or your friends.  Whatever it may be you have given yourself to it and betrayed Jesus who longs to make you his own. 

You say, "No, I would be Peter."  Only if you could also be Peter when he stood on a mountainside with Jesus and when Jesus asked, "Who do you say that I am?"  Peter confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Until you can make that same confession you and I and all others will take our stand with Judas.  Now in the garden betraying Jesus and later under a tree with a noose tied round my neck committing suicide.  For rejecting  Jesus is suicide, suicide of your soul. 

Let us move on several hours into the future.  Jesus has been convicted in an illegal trial,  by an illegally assembled Sanhedrin.   He is beat by their hands, ridiculed by their words and spat upon by their mouths.  So violent is their anger they even tear out his beard with their hands.  From here He is taken to Pilate the Roman governor, that the sentence of death might me carried out.  The sentence is passed and Jesus is led through the streets of Jerusalem with a cross on his back, until he comes to a hill just outside of town.

Two Thieves Mark 15:22 Luke 23:39-43

Mark 15:15-26. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged [him], to be crucified. 16  And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. 17  And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his [head], 18  And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 19  And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing [their] knees worshipped him. 20  And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. 21  And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. 22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23  And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received [it] not. 24  And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25  And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26  And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Luke 23:39  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Jesus walks on the road to Golgotha, weary without sleep and without food for several hours.  The soldiers take the cross beam from His shoulders and grab a man from the street.  Simon of Cyrene who is made to carry the cross behind Jesus.  Finally, they arrive at the mount called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull in Hebrew, in Greek it is called Calvary. Here the cross is laid upon the ground and Jesus weary and worn is thrown prostrate upon it.  His arms and legs are stretched out and cruel spikes are driven into his hands and into his feet.  The bone underneath fractured and broken by the cruel blows of the hammer.  Now the cross is lifted, just as Jesus predicted, lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.  The cross is carelessly dropped into the hole which will hold it in place, jarring and tearing the nail pierced hands and feet again.  Jesus is offered myrrh mixed with gall, a pain killer but he does not accept.  He will not allow anything to deaden the pain and punishment of paying for our sins.  The price must be paid in full.   

On either side are thieves who have also been condemned to die by crucifixion.  One thief joins in with the soldiers and the crowd hoping perhaps to be allowed to die a little faster.  The other looks at Jesus and sees a righteous man, the Messiah of Israel, the savior of the world.  He calls out for mercy and forgiveness, “Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”   And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  In the midst of his suffering, in the midst of dying, Jesus still loving the lost.

Which thief am I?  Which sinner am I?  Paul writes in the book of Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  The issue is not whether I have sinned but what will I do about Jesus?  Would I revile him, curse him,  betray him?  We say no not us,  but to ignore Him and what he has done for you is to revile him, it is to curse him, it is to betray him.  We count the precious blood of Jesus Christ of no effect and trample his sacrifice for us underfoot!

Which thief are you, the one who accepted Him as Lord and called out for mercy? Or the one which scorned Him laughed at him and died with God’s only son, a curse word on his lips.  Will I accept or reject Jesus the Son of God who died in my place for my sin?

Two Soldiers

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  34 and some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, behold, he calleth Elias.  36 and one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.  And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.  38 and the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.  39 and when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

Look at the soldiers around the cross.  There is the one who swung the whip and struck the Lord thirty-nine times with a scourge, a cruel leather whip with several separate straps tied to a handle.  The strands of the whip were braided with bits of lead, bone or stones, so that with each lash they tear,  lacerate and shred the flesh, leaving muscle  and even bones exposed. 

Over there is the soldier who braided the thorns into a crown and put it upon the head of Jesus to mock and torture him.  The thorns are from a desert thorn bush pointed two inch long, needle sharp shafts.  He takes the mocking crown and forces it down onto the head and brow of Jesus.  The thorns piercing down to the skull, tearing the scalp and embedding themselves.   

At the very foot of the cross, under his pierced feet  a group of soldiers are gambling for one of the few things Jesus owned on this earth, his clothing.  One takes his shoes another his robe.  Since his cloak is woven in one piece they gamble over it rather than tear it in pieces. 

At the sixth hour, the world turns black, not an ordinary eclipse but God the father turning his back on the Son as the sin of the world is placed on him.  Jesus cries out, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?"  For the first time in all of eternity He is separated from the Father by our sin.  He calls out with a loud voice, and he surrenders his life.  The earth shakes as if in agony as its Creator dies and for three hours seemingly unending hours, the heavens and the earth are covered in blackness as they mourn His death.

The centurion in charge of the all the soldiers hears the cry of death from Jesus lips, he feels the earthquake and sees the blackness. He puts in words what his heart now realizes, "Truly, this was the son of God." 

One final time let me ask. Which of those soldiers would you be?  Would you beat the Lord who never did anything more than love sinners?  Would you force the thorns down onto his head, laughing as the blood runs from his brow?  Would you gamble for His clothes, while He hangs on a cross dying?

Surely, our minds cannot imagine that we would drive nails into His hands and feet. That we could be so cruel to someone who did so much good and taught such heavenly truths.  Yet, I am just as responsible as they are.  It was my sin that drove Him to the cross as much as any soldier whip.  It was my sin that hammered the nails just as much as it was the arms of the soldier.

There is a story of a man who painted a portrait of this very scene. In the painting we are draw to the Roman Soldier who is driving the spikes into the hands of Jesus.  As a gift, he presented the work to his pastor. As the pastor looked at the painting, he noticed the face of the Roman soldier looked familiar.  He asked the painter, “Why does this soldier seem familiar to me?”
The man replied, " I painted myself into that scene. I know that I was to blame for the death of Jesus."      

 All of us are as guilty as the soldiers but how many of us when finding ourselves at the foot of the cross,  see Jesus dying for us and then as the centurion, seeing the darkness of sin, hearing the voice of Jesus cry out “Father, forgive them” and then confess, “Surely, this is the Son of God?"


So, which one of these players in the drama of Jesus last hours before His death are you?  Which soldier, which thief, which disciple?  They all made conscious choices about Jesus and His death, so must you.  Do you choose to betray Him or defend Him?  To mock Him or call out to Him. To ignore Him or to confess Him as truly the Son of God and Savior?


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Stand Up, Shine Out! -Isaiah 60:1-5


Stand Up And Shine Out -Isaiah 60:1-5

 Change of Direction

 A drunk got on the bus early one morning after being out all night drink. He woke up on a bus bench and climbed into the bus. He staggered down the aisle, and as luck would have it he sat right next to an elderly woman who was reading her Bible.

She looks the wayward drunk up and down. He smiles his best smile though foggy eyes and terrible breath and tells the old saint, “Good morning, miss. Isn’t it a beautiful day?” A light of righteous indignation comes into her eyes and she says, "I've got news for you, Mister.  You're on your way to hell!"

Suddenly the man jumped up out of the seat and shouted to the driver, "Stop. I'm on the wrong bus AGAIN!"

Sometimes we all need to change our direction, lift our eyes, take a view from a new perspective. We don’t have to be drunk to realize we are on the wrong bus in our present circumstances.

God speaking through Isaiah, told Israel they needed a change of perspective, things might be bad but God wanted them to realize they were His blessed people and He wanted them to, “Arise and Shine.”

Cause to Shine - Isaiah 60:1 ​

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

God Commands His Nation

Background and Context

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

In Isaiah 58:1 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.

In chapter 59 He exposes their utter sinfulness 1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

But then suddenly we come to chapter 60:1 and God speaking through Isaiah tells the same people “Arise, Shine!”.” In the midst of such darkness such sin and such hypocrisy He says “Stand up and Shine Out.”

Why? How after such a scathing rebuke of the blackness of their sin, would he tell them this?

Well of course the reason is right there 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, would do or was doing. The reason they would be able to stand up and shine out was because of 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, the Lord of Light was sent from God to rule and reign. This take place at the end of the Tribulation we have been preaching for the past 2 years. Well not quite that long. More specifically this is a prophecy of what will take place during the Millennial rule of Jesus on earth after He returns and scatters the night of sin from the earth.

Their light will be the light of their King, Jesus Christ. Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

Jesus himself claimed this part of Isaiah prophecies. He clearly stated that they were about Him. Every thing from Isaiah 58-66 is about God reclaiming Israel as His nation, His people and His spiritual wife. Each chapter is a sermon. Just like all preachers, The Lord liked to preach themes.

God’s Retaking of Israel and The Plan of Peace

Sermon I. False worship contrasted with true. 58:1-14.

Sermon II. Israel’s confession and her rescue by God. 59:1-21.

Sermon III. Radiance and peace of God’s redeemed people. 60:1-22.

Sermon IV. The joy-bringing gospel of the Annointed One. 61:1-11.

Sermon V. restoration of Zion; destruction of infidel heathen. 62:1–63:6.

Sermon VI. Israel’s plea for help, based on past mercies. 63:7–64:12.

Sermon VII. God’s mercy reserved for spiritual Israel. 65:1-25.

Sermon VIII. Blessing of true believers in the final age. 66:1-24.

Jesus Claims the Promise

When Jesus was here, He began the work that would one day result in God’s people Israel coming back to His father.  In Luke 4:16-21 we read, And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

That is why in our text today, we hear the command of the Lord to Arise and Shine. Jesus has come and His light has banished the thickest night.

Jesus Commands His church

As you read this command given to Israel, shouldn’t it also thrill our hearts? Surely, we can see the parallel between God’s message to the nation of Israel and Jesus’ message to His church today.

All you have to do is look around.  Do you see hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is so prevalent, that most people believe it’s normal. Especially when it comes to politicians and the ruling elite that govern us. They can tell us what to do and then ignore the very same mandate when it comes to them, their friends, and their families.  Hypocrisy is a fog of lies that makes the darkness around us deeper. And let me tell you from God’s word, God hates hypocrites.

In the darkness around us it is easy to see the individual streams of hypocrisy trying to obscure the outright sin that is going on behind its veil. Never in our lifetimes nor in the history of this nation has sin been so openly accepted, encouraged and even applauded.  Babies are sacrificed to the God of planned parenthood, children are groomed for the God of homosexuality, families are being shattered by the god of feminism and many churches are being infiltrated by the god of this world. People, its dark out there.

Yet, in the midst of such great sin, we are told to god and be a light for Jesus. Just as God one day will say to Israel, “Arise, Shine!” We have already received that command from our Lord. Jesus has already sent us forth to be light in this dark world.

Unlike Israel, we are not waiting for a returning Savior, He is already with us. His light has already been given to us. God’s glory, that same glory that led Israel in the wilderness, and filled the Temple, has already come upon the church on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.

We have seen the light of Jesus Christ, we have been baptized in the glory of God through the Holy Spirit and now in the midst of this present darkness we rise and stand as beacons of light, like lighthouses along a dark and stormy shore we light the way to safety and hope in Jesus Christ.

Cutting Holes in the Darkness

At age twelve, 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 God.  -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 178-179

In verse 2 the God tells Israel that in the Millenium they will be those lighthouses for him.

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.

God’s Promise

The people they would be a great light in great darkness

In Isaiah’s prophecy God paints a picture of strong contrasts of a world and a people in great darkness. The darkness upon the heart of the people even blacker than the darkness upon the world. God says it will be gross darkness.

The Hebrew word 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 clouds. A darkness in which even the moon and stars can’t be seen.

Then in the midst of this impenetrable blackness, God says, “But the Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen in thee.”

Let me give you a review and a preview of our Revelation series. When Jesus the King of the Jews returns for his nation, it will be, just as is prophesied here, a black and seemingly hopeless night.

The Bible tells us that the stars will go out, the sun not shine through and the moon will be seen as though it is has been turned to blood.

Jerusalem will be at war with the world and at the very brink of defeat. Taking their last stand in the City of Zion.

Then at that moment, at the split second when it seems too dark to survive, a shout will be heard, “Look in the east, there is a light.”  And all the participants in this battle from the Jews to the army of the Anti-Christ will look to the eastern sky and there they will see the light of Jesus, ripping through the darkness. He come like lightning, the Bible says and with Him all the host of heaven’s armies. He comes to claim victory, to save his people from utter destruction.

Then Israel shall arise and shine and God’s glory seen in her.

Listen to what happens next as its recorded by Zechariah 12:4-6, 8-9 In that day, saith the LORD,I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left:

Vs. 8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

God’s Power - The darker the night, the brighter our light.

Isn’t it always this way with God? Doesn’t he always wait until we have spent our own strength and all we have left is hope in Him?

It should not break us, or cause is to faint or fall away when we see the world around us getting darker with each passing day. Yes, the darkness of men’s souls is so dark at times it seems as though there is no hope.

But it is at those deep dark times that God acts and the hope of the gospel and the promise of His Word shine the brightest. We need to realize that the darker the night the brighter is our light.  The harder our path, the greater will be our joy when we reach our destination.  The more hopeless our situation, the sweeter will be the victory in Jesus.

When you think its time to give up on this world, this country or those family and friends around you who seem too lost in the dark to ever find their way out, just remember you, child of God, you shine brightest to them in their darkest hour. No, it is not a time to be discouraged. It’s not a time to shrink back due to more bad news, or bigger disappointment. Oh no, that’s the time to Arise and Shine, for never has there been darker nights but we are even brighter lights through Jesus Christ.

Christmas at Ravensbruk

   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

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

Jesus In Jerusalem Brings The World

Isaiah tells his nation the result of God’s shining and their arising. The Gentiles and Kings of the Earth would come to their light.

This nation, despised, invaded, attacked, and driven almost to destruction now becomes the nation where all the world comes. The Bible tells us that during the Millennium, the 1000 year reign of the Messiah upon the earth, 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 true, everlasting, “light of the world.” They will come to hear Him, teach the words of life. They will come to feel His healing touch upon their broken lives and bodies. They will come to experience the deepest, truest love they will ever know. They will come to the Son of God and there will no longer be any doubt of who He is or what He can do.

Jesus In the Church Brings The Lost

That same reality, that will bring the nations to Jerusalem during the Millenium, can also bring people the light of Christ today. It can and it will, if it can be seen in us, our families and our church that Jesus rules and reigns on the throne of our heart today, just as He will reign one day on the Throne of David.

We must show the light and truth of Jesus in us and then people will see that light through us. Isn’t this what Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14-16 “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.”

We must not hide our light, we must be that city set on a hill, we must arise and shine!

Don’t be like the timid Christian who prayed every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly, intimidating man sat down right next to him even though the bus was nearly empty.

            The cowed Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus.  But before he got there, the big guy next to him, 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?" Our hero immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, I need to ask you, is this a sign?

It’s not hard, all you have to do is Stand up and Shine Out.

If you’re a child of God then the light is already in you. You’ve just got to get out from under whatever bushel is covering you up and let your light shine.

Luigi Tarisio

Luigi Tarisio was found dead one morning with scarce a comfort in his home, but with 246 exquisite violins, which he had been collecting all his life, crammed into an attic, and the drawers of an old rickety bureau. He loved the violin but by collecting them in his attic, instead of letting others play them, he had robbed the world of all that music. Others, that he bought violins from had done the same. After his collection was discovered and gone through, they found a priceless Stradivarius. It was presented at a concert for the world to hear it music for the first time in over 147 years.

Don’t be like that misguided man. Your light is not meant to be hoarded or hidden. It is meant to be seen. Let is shine. -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 492

Conclusion: “Let the Lower Lights be Burning”

The song, “Let the Lower Be burning” Was written by Phillip P. Bliss. At DL Moody’s urging Bliss became a singing evangelist so in 1874, Bliss and his young wife Lucy, began full time evangelism, “winning souls” for Christ.

Bliss wrote Hold the Fort, Almost Persuaded; Hallelujah, What a Saviour!; Let the Lower Lights Be Burning; and Wonderful Words of Life. He wrote the tune for It Is Well With My Soul. It seemed he had a great future before him, but on December 29, 1876, Philip and Lucy were traveling through Ashtabula, Ohio to an evangelistic meeting at Moody’s church in Chicago. While the train was crossing a bridge it which collapsed. All seven cars fell into the ravine. Phillip somehow survived the fall, but could not find Lucy, the carriages had caught fire but Bliss ran toward them to try to free his wife. They yelled at him to stop, it was too dangerous, but he said, “If I cannot save her, I will perish with her.” He would not let her die alone. That same love and devotion to lost souls is reflected in all his songs and this one is a fitting way to end this sermon.

 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.

Chorus: Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

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.