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The Light of the World

Did you know that you are the object of one of the most remarkable promises made in the history of the world? That applies to you and that applies to me, and it is fantastic to consider its implications. There stood one day, across the horizon of history, the most remarkable Person ever to stand up in this world. And do you know what He said about Himself? He said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Now you and I instantly know that with light, we can go almost anywhere and do almost anything. But when it gets dark, and there is no light, then there is no guidance. There is no way to know what to do, or where to go. And so when we hear that a marvelous light is promised to us in this world of ours, we ought to think together for valuable moments about what that can mean to you and to me.

The Increasing Darkness

Jesus Christ was the one who made that statement about Himself, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). We want to consider what that means, because there’s a condition in our world today that is becoming a growing problem. That condition is the increasing darkness in the midst of which we live:

“evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

So much is this the case, that the Bible says:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).

In a hundred other places in the Word of God, we are warned of the condition of this world, being lost in sin and wickedness. We are even told what this will finally bring to pass. So the Scripture describes the progressive, degenerate nature of the world in the midst of which we live. It’s a world of sin.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

It’s a world that will one day be judged by God. The Bible teaches that one day, the world will stand before His throne and give an answer for the lives that they have lived. It’s a world that finally will reveal that it has been infected by a dreadful disease called sin. That, of course, implies that if we do not do something about that disease, or be delivered from it, we will be in desperate circumstances indeed!

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

So look! Though the world is a dark place, we have a light that shines, a light that illuminates our pathway, that tells us what is there, and what isn’t. That light is Jesus Christ and the revelation that He’s given to us about the nature of God and the realities of living.

The Scripture teaches that no matter how terrible the world becomes, and how dark and how impossible it is for us to find our ways, that light still shines and is available to you and to me.

Evil in today’s world comes to pass with greater frequency and greater impact than ever before! So much so, that the Bible begins to suggest that these things should be thought of, not simply as packages of evil by themselves, but as signs of a dreadful malady that is continuing to move across the world. The Bible calls them the signs of the times. You and I know that it is more dangerous to walk out of the house in the morning to go to work, or to shop at the grocery store than it was before. It is more likely that you will have some sort of collision with evil that day.

What you learn in school is not the light of the world. You may be an expert at philosophy and psychology and many other things. That is not the light of the world. You will not find revelation as to how to live, just by checking what comes from the human prognosticators. But you will find reality, how to live, a direction in which to go, by looking to the Author of life itself, Jesus Christ. The Bible says about Jesus Christ, that in the midst of every problem, He will give you an illumination, a light, a direction. And you’ll discover that He is:

“able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

So, let me give you an initial and a valid word of advice. Do not succumb to the problems of life. Do not say, “It’s impossible to live in a world like this,” because God promises, “I will use you, and give you amazing strength, remarkable capability. And that will come from a wonderful commodity that I’m forever focusing upon your life today.” What is that commodity? It is the light of God. It is the light of heaven. It is the light of the Bible.

Again and again, the Bible makes you a promise. It tells you not to be overcome by the problems of evil, but to overcome evil with good. The way you do that, is by appropriating the light from heaven, that God will use to irradiate your life. That will not only provide a way for you to survive and get along, but also make you a marvelous source of light for others.

It is tremendous what God promises to use us to accomplish, in the midst of a dark world, if we will recognize the simple fact that Christ is the light of our lives! He wants to use us, first of all, in knowing Him as personal Savior, and secondly, in being empowered by Him to touch a world. The prospects are, of course, characterized by great danger. But they also offer a thrilling set of promises as to what you and I can accomplish.

The Light That Shines Not

People are pursuing a light, but we need to point up the fact that it is a light that shines not. To what am I referring? I am referring to his infernal majesty, the Devil, who presents himself to people in this world as an angel of light. He is even sometimes involved in religious leadership: the Bible says that pastors can become angels of light, but the real strength behind them is Satanic.

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

So we live in a world that is becoming increasingly dark, increasingly confused, increasingly frustrated, increasingly ignorant, unknowing what to do for the days to come, wondering what shall happen.

Who is the Devil? Well, the Bible says that he was an angel in the court of heaven. But back in the Old Testament, we are told about how he rebelled against God. He said, “I can do it better. I can be the master of the universe. We don’t need this old God. Trust me, instead.”

Well, he did beguile a great company of angels into following him and so he began a rebellion against God. The Bible says that what characterizes the life and activity of Satan is that he is a liar from the beginning. He is a deceiver. He tells you something that he hopes you will believe is true, but it is not. And if one believes what the Devil says long enough, he will end up in ruin and despair and finally the pit of hell. There is a light that shines not, and that light is the Devil’s working in the lives of people.

The Bible teaches that the Devil speaks to the rulers of the world and he whispers in their ears what they should do. He loves to subvert presidents and kings. He speaks to ordinary people, especially inquiring minds. I think, for instance, of the student population of the world. A student, with an inquiring mind, wants to find something to believe, something to trust. The Devil steps into the life of that young man or woman and says, “I’m the one that you should believe in and really trust.” So the Bible teaches that many have gone the way of Satan, rather than following Jesus Christ. Christ said about Himself:

“he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

But the Devil says the same thing, and with the guttural tones of hell he beguiles young people especially, working on everyone to come and to believe in him. Be very careful of the light that shines not. Don’t only tell people about Christ and His power to save, but also tell them about the Devil, who, in this time of spiritual deficiency, comes up with a counterfeit spirituality which is a lie. That lie of darkness can bring ruin into the lives of people!

The Eternal Light

So, following Jesus Christ is the way to go in a world like this. “Follow Me,” Jesus said. In fact, you’d be quite excited at what Jesus Christ says is the result of following Him, when we really get serious about doing His will.

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

In other words, “I will give you the capacity to greatly move the lives of others, so that they too can become a part of God’s eternal Kingdom.” God gives us the eternal light, and light of the Bible, the light of the presence of the Holy Spirit, the light of the advice of other committed Christians, and the light of Christ Himself living within us. If you will learn to pursue that light, in spite of alternative advice that may come from others, your life will be a wonderful success, no matter what may be its external circumstances. David said:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

If I were to make a practical suggestion about following Christ in a world like this, I would say, “Memorize the Word.” The best thing that ever happened to me in that regard, is when Lance Latham said to me, “Dave, you’ve got to get started in your Christian life, and I suggest you memorize the Book of Romans.” Believe me, that has been worth more to me than anything else, in the way of knowledge in this world. God has given us His Word. He has given us His Holy Spirit. No one needs to succumb to the power of darkness, because Christ is able to deliver us. I beg of you to keep that in mind. It is the key to success worth having, even in a dark world.

The Great Transferral

Some of us say, “Oh, there is nothing that I can do. I don’t have great capability.” Do you know what God says to you? “What is that in your hand?” Every believer reading this has something they can do for Christ. Maybe it seems ever so small, but it is strategic; it is significant. You are important. You are the light of the world, Jesus says. And I can make you a promise, without fear of contradiction. If you can commit yourself to be the light of the world, if you can commit yourself to be an exponent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there will be brought into your life joy and capability and power, and a sense of the presence of Christ, that you never had before. You’ll find yourself achieving the progressive goals of Christian maturity, and being prepared for heaven, when you arrive, telling the story of how you’ve overcome.

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