Please find my notes for this past weekend’s teaching at Grace Community Church. These notes are for personal use only. For permission for all other uses please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to forward to others. (c) 2012, Terry Broadwater.
Shine the Light. This weekend we celebrate Easter and I want this to be a very relevant experience in regards to the resurrection of Christ. What’s the impact of this great event on the world, on you and me? Think of it in these terms: as we sit here in this dark auditorium, it captures in some way why we have Easter and what Jesus has done for us. Basically, we were all “in the dark”, we had lost our way, and we desperately needed someone to “light” our way, to lead us out of our “darkness” and into the “light”; in reality, from “death to life!”
Isaiah, the prophet, talked about the day when that would happen, when Jesus would rise from the dead, when the “Light” would come, when he said, “The people who have walked in the dark have seen a bright light. And it SHINES upon everyone who lives in the land of darkest shadows” Is. 9:2 CEV.
So, hey, the light has come and it’s all good, right? Well, as most of you know, not really. Sure, Jesus’ resurrection seals the deal on being able to live forever, our sins can and are forgiven, death no longer has dominion over us in Christ, and we can live in the light, but there’s still this craziness of dealing with darkness… You see, here’s the thing, after Jesus’ resurrection it wasn’t all over! The story didn’t end. It was just the close of a chapter, a very significant chapter, but not the end of the story! Now, we’re living in that next chapter- it’s the chapter between Jesus’ defeat of the ‘darkness’ and the time when there will be no more darkness!
Yes, the Light has come, the only way to real life and living forever has been illuminated. But it’s still a ‘choice’ until God says, ‘OK, that’s it, no more time, no more earth, no more choice, the final decision is made, heaven or hell, that’s it, people are going to have to spiritually deal with the light that Jesus brings, that enables you to see things for what they really are, or the darkness that the devil uses to casts it’s shadow over your life until one day, you’re completely swallowed up by darkness…
We can take the ‘Light’ for granted. We can get used to the light, get real routine and religious about it. We can see how far we can move a way from the ‘Light’ and still ‘see’. Others start to get so used to the darkness over their lives that they begin to adjust to it… But, then, no matter who you are, if you’re not careful, and you’re assuming you can still see where you’re going or know what you’re doing, you may find yourself in a situation where suddenly, there’s no more light…
LIGHT DISPELLS THE DARKNESS!
Remember what Isaiah said, “The people who have walked in the dark have seen a bright light…” And as you know, the ‘Light’ changes everything. But this isn’t just about what happened back in the day when Jesus rose from the dead. Isaiah also said, speaking on God’s behalf, in Is. 42:6 “I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness… and you will be a light to guide the nations.”
Later Jesus Himself would say two very profound things: Jn. 8:12 “I am the Light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” Jn. 12:36 “Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
Jesus puts it all into perspective. “I’m the Light,” he says, and you are “children of the light!” In Mt. 5:14 he comes right out and says, ”You are the light of the world.” In other words, even after he’s resurrected, there is still a ‘time’ when light and darkness will sort of ‘co-exist’ and darkness will prevail unless there are people who let the light that is in them (Jesus) shine out to others around them, revealing the way…
Wow, right there is the solution to how “people walking in darkness will see the light…” But it’s also not as easy and effortless as it sounds! The fact is Jesus died and rose to save the world; but the world still needs saving! And now, Jesus has given those who have found the Light- the children of Light, the responsibility of shining the Light; or more specifically, revealing Jesus to those whose lives are “shadowed” or “shrouded” by darkness!
When you think about it, it’s an incredible, somewhat unbelievable plan- Jesus died and rose to save the world, but because ‘time’ isn’t up yet, and people still have a choice, and therefore darkness still looms, Jesus calls his church to be people of Light, bringing “light”, illumination, revelation, to those still deciding, still choosing! Even though, Jesus, through His resurrection, forever overcame and dispelled the darkness, the “choice” that people have, keeps the darkness around because people can choose to ignore the light, cover it up, or walk away from it altogether. And that’s why Jesus reproduces His Light in our lives, and then sends us out into the darkness to bring the Light…
That’s also why the same devil, the lord of the darkness, who could not defeat Christ, now has turned has attention to trying to attack and defeat the “children of the Light!” As far as he’s concerned, Christians, the Church, those who claim to be followers of Jesus, those who have the Light, just won’t do it. We’re too weak, cowardly, and susceptible to temptation and we lose focus… So, Satan makes his sinister plans to pull the children of the Light more and more into the shadows…
LIGHT SAVES YOU FROM THE SHADOWS!
Here’s the thing, to fully appreciate and put Easter into perspective, you’ve got to understand what’s going in the spiritual realm. We think Easter is all about eggs and bunnies and jellybeans, and I’m about to make some of you upset with me, but that’s part of a strategic plan to pull us into the shadows! Consider, that since the time of Jesus’ resurrection, Satan has stepped it up! At that point, hell realized that it was done for, that God wins! So, Satan decided to go after the weakest link… yep, you and me!
Think about it, the devil said, “If I can’t defeat God because Jesus has conquered death and hell, then I’ll create shadows and I’ll go after people, that which God loves the most, that which Jesus gave His life for. If people are that important then I’ll make it my priority 24/7 to tempt them with the shadows, to move among them in the shadows, to cause their minds to be blinded to the truth…”
But, 1 John 1:5-7 “God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
Very truthfully, there is a very real conspiracy going on here! And the outcome all depends on whether the ‘children of the light’ will ‘let their light shine’ so people can find God! When those who ‘walk in the dark, see the light’ the shadows begin to lose their ability to control people’s lives! When we let our light shine- the character and conduct of Christ on display in our lives, fulfilling his cause in our workplaces, communities, families, it overwhelms the shadowy schemes and strategies of Satan! When we realize that we may be weak, but Christ in us, is strong, we find the courage to face the shadows in the name of Jesus and they- the shadows, must flee!”
JESUS SENDS US TO SHINE FOR HIM!
The true power of Easter is in the fact that Jesus has multiplied the effectiveness of the “Light!” My life becomes a guide for people, just like Isaiah and Jesus said it would, and should every day! And when the character and conduct of Christ, and his cause is being lived out, that means the LIGHT is shining out from my life AND PEOPLE WILL BE DRAWN TO THE LIGHT, WHICH IS JESUS!
Every person who has Jesus Christ living in them, who has received the illumination, enlightenment, and revelation that Jesus brings to their lives, has the ability to be a LIGHT! Although, the darkness still exists because of people’s free will to be able to choose between good and evil, the light has come… and Jesus says, “You are the light of the world… let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” Mt. 5:14, 16 NLT.
“And the people who walk in the dark will see the light…” Because all over this world, all over this nation, all over this community, wherever there is hopelessness or despair, ignorance or pride, hatred or prejudice, anxiety or fear, loneliness or depression, oppression, shadows, darkness, Jesus shines through the lives of ordinary people in everyday places with extraordinary results!
Sometime we think our life is so insignificant, what can one person really do considering there’s so much need, so much darkness around us everywhere, everyday. But do you know what? In a room as big as this, with so many people here today, this small light (flashlight) in my hand makes a difference… I can lead anyone of you out of here today!
And what happens when other people begin to let their life shine for Christ? You and me can make a difference! When more and more of us begin to let out light shine for Christ it begins to not merely bring illumination, but elimination to the darkness! Suddenly perspectives change, the conditions of someone’s life changes, minds change, and hope is restored; a way out from the shadows is found!
Speaking of Jesus, John wrote, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” Jn. 1:5. Jesus would go on to say himself in John 12:46, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness.”
Against the backdrop of how the church and the culture have crafted “Easter” we forget what it took for the Light to come, the darkness to be defeated, and Light to shine, then and now! Communion, especially at Easter, can put this all into perspective for us!