352 The Candle of the Lord
Proverbs 20 verse 27 reads…
“The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly“.
In this run up to Christmas and over the holiday period they recon that we light and burn more candles in one week, than the whole of the nation did in one year before the dawn of electric power? The first advent of our Blessed Lord Jesus was Gods way of sending or giving light into our darkness – but do you realize that God has another candle which he has placed inside every one of us – we call that the spirit of man. It is in the spirit that God wants to give us direction, leadership, counsel and hope. The tragedy is that like at the first illumination, at the coming of Jesus, as the apostle John writes “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19 Men still reject light, and more tragic still is that many believing Christians similarly reject the light that comes from the Spirit. I recon that some of you listening today will reject today’s message because that’s what the Bible predicts you will do. If you do, you stand on very precarious ground right now.
Let me teach you today in the time left to me, that we Worship a Spiritual God, we Walk a Spiritual Journey, we Fight a Spiritual Devil, and we will only Win this Spiritual war with Spiritual weaponry.
Yet many of you are functioning every single day devoid of any spiritual reality, so much so that I recon if the Spirit left you in the middle of the night, you’d get up in the morning and would not notice. You’d notice if the milkman did not leave the milk, or the postman had not brought you mail, or your wife had not fixed your breakfast, – but the absence of the spirit, the absence of God in your life, you may not notice – because you are far too much tied to this world than to the next. Far too much governed by what others think and what others do, and how you look to others, that you care precious little about how you are looking to God. You lean on your five senses, and if you can’t taste it, touch it, smell it, see it, or hear it, then you simply don’t believe it exists. I’m not speaking now to the lost and lifeless, I’m speaking to those of you who claim allegiance to Jesus, who claim that you love him and live for him – while at the same time you’re walking hand in hand with the world, and function every day in its principles, purposes and practises.
You are more in tune with the preachers voice than with the voice of God. You could tell if I had a cold, but could not identify with what makes your Heart, your Hopes and your
Homes cold. You have all the right words, you know the Bible verses, you know the Church rules, you know the Prayers and their language, but inside you have no light, only darkness. Jesus said: If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:23
Now believe me, I am not saying these things to scare you, but to prepare you – for your time is short and the opportunity to fulfil your destiny comes but once. How tragic to think that you could die and go to your grave never having achieved the purpose for which you were created – because many have settled for the “good” at the expense of the “great”. If you are expecting to go through life as a Christian, doing your own things, making your own decisions, spending on your own needs, fulfilling your own ambitions, dreaming your own dreams, and having written on your Tombstone “I did it my way” – then my dear Brother or Sister, you are walking in a very great darkness – walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit – for the spirit of man is the candle of the LORD. God wants to illuminate your life, to light it up, to give you direction with peace and power for the journey and to bring you to a destination, the destiny that He has prepared for you. Without that light, without that interaction with the Spirit, you will plough and plod on in the muddy fields of life, with muck up to your elbows – and you will be going nowhere slowly.
Some of know exactly what I am speaking about – you have been ploughing a hard furrow all of your life. Always moving but never arriving – always buying but never possessing, always in the race but never winning, always loving but never being loved, always knowing the answer but never being asked the question, always fighting the battle but never winning the war.
Is that you? If so, then its time to change, time to tune out the world, the flesh and the devil – and time to tune in to the Holy Spirit of God that wants to make your Human Spirit sensitive to him. So then how do we do that?
Remember, as I said a moment ago …
We Worship a Spiritual God, we Walk a Spiritual Journey, we Fight a Spiritual Devil, and we will only Win this Spiritual war with Spiritual weaponry. The Bible tells us that
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth“. John 4:24 We cannot receive “spiritual” things with the “flesh” no more than we can receive “supernatural” things with the natural. We may eventually receive the manifestation of the miraculous in the flesh, and in the natural, but the things of God must first of all be received in the Spirit. That’s why the WORD of God is so vitally important, for as John writes
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life“. John 6:63 We receive from God first of all by a WORD in our Spirit. That word then meditated on, will produce fruit, flow and function – LIFE, the life of God is in the word. It is the word that changes the heart, changes the mind, changes the condition, changes the circumstances, changes the sickness, and this is where it matters most, – changes the words that come out of your mouth. It is not your circumstances that are the problem, its your reaction to those things that’s needs to change. Luke writes: …
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh“.
Luke 6:45 – What lies within, (in the Spirit of a man – the candle of the Lord) must come out!
I can tell where you are in your walk with God, at what stage you are on your pilgrim journey, and I can tell that, simply by what is coming out of your mouth. Its amazing the things we let slip in conversation? Pause with me for a moment to reflect on that “Stable at Bethlehem” It was as we know a regular cattle shed, – for months and maybe years before it had stood like any other cattle shed or stable in the region, with nothing of significance to make it or mark it as “Special”. BUT come the first night of Christmas, all changed. For in that dark and dismal stable God placed a light. Oh I recon that the Inn-keeper, or maybe Joseph himself – lit some sort of lamp to illuminate the birth place of the baby, but there lying among the straw in a manger, a cattle trough, lay an even greater light – “the Light of the World”. – and I can tell you now, that that stable was Never ever the same again. If the Human Spirit (the Candle of God) is once illuminated – lighted up by the Holy Spirit, you can Never ever be the same again. Paul says you are a brand NEW CREATION (2 Cor 5:17) And as I said last week, the transformation is both instant and progressive.
Many who have trusted in Jesus and received wrong teaching, or incomplete teaching, expect all things to change immediately and then give up when they experience little change. Let me Explain. Its rather like you deciding today to go on a diet. You make an instant decision today, and no more jam doughnuts for you, … but that does not mean that you will fit in to those jeans tomorrow, The transformation will happen, because it is both instant and progressive. So it is with the commitment to follow Jesus. The decision is an instant Spiritual one, but it takes time for that decision to be worked out in your living and life style – that’s the progressive part!
Not only do we Worship a Spiritual God, but we Walk a Spiritual Journey! When Mary and Joseph set out for Bethlehem, they were on a Physical Journey, and had no doubt made provision for the way. Perhaps they had packed water jars, for themselves and the little Donkey? Perhaps they had packed some Bread and Butter for a road-side snack? Maybe they had packed some warmer clothes for the night time chills? And no doubt some money to pay for their lodgings and keep. Its wise to make preparation for every eventuality. I was taught that a good Boy Scout will “be prepared”.
We too are on a journey, a pilgrimage if you like, from earth to glory – and while there are truly physical aspects to this journey,
it is essentially a Spiritual Journey that we are making, and no amount of material preparation can match the needs and necessities that may arise. The apostle Paul likens the journey to a race set before us (Hebrews 12:1) and he urges us to lay aside the weights (the baggage of the past) that could hold us down or keep us back. We need to know that God leads us on this journey by the Holy Spirit. He does not lead us year by year, or month by month, not even day by day, – rather God leads us Step by Step! The Bible says
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23
God usually shows his children the way forward step by step. Again the Psalmist reminds us that Gods word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path. Psalm 119:105
The word of God in the human spirit, illuminated by the Holy Spirit gives direction to the feet, to the path, to the way ahead and the way forward. You may ask me “How did you get here” to this place in your life, to this ministry, to this opportunity, to this destination – and my reply would be – “I got here by heeding Gods word – step by step!” It would be wonderful if God showed us the way ahead for the next ten years and we could do even greater planning, and make even better preparation, – but I recon that if God had shown me much of what I would be doing – Like the prophet Jonah, I would have ran far away.
I had to discover, to find out the hard way that we Fight a Spiritual Devil, and we will only Win this Spiritual war with Spiritual weaponry. I had to be schooled in the unfamiliar and in the unrecognisable – for like many of you listening to me today, I too was born and reared on a kind of Religious diet that spared me from most of the spiritual realities that come from the pit of Hell. I too was raised on the “Old Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace” but knew little of nothing of the deceitfulness
of the enemy of our souls. I knew little of “warfare” and the “Battles” and reckoned that most demonic activity was confined to places like Africa or India. I didn’t realise until comparatively recently that the Devils and Demons of hell can live next door, or in the next street or the next city or can sit beside you on the next bus, or the next pew. I was a “child” of the faith and needed to be schooled. It was a schooling that could take place not in the Classroom of the Seminary but in the Classroom of the Spirit. – For “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord searching the inward parts…”
God was to show me, illuminate things inside of me that no academia could identify. The word of God had to create inside of me, in my Spirit, strength, faith and courage which could not be produced in College or University or by any measure and means of academic learning. These were Spiritual maladies that needed spiritual remedies. These were Spiritual
Enemies that needed Spiritual Victories. Tackling these problems with reason, rational, intellectual resources or human experience would not work, these were issues that only the WORD written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy (softened) tables of the heart (2 Cor 3:3) could resolve. Without that light –
one lives on in darkness.
The tragedy is that many of us in the Christian Believing Church today, fail to see the darkness that still surrounds us – we have a measure of light but most of it comes from without and not from within. We look to others to teach us, we look to the Preacher, the Priest or the Pastor – we look to the Books, the Bible reading notes, the TV and Radio Broadcasts, but we fail to look inside for the word that the Spirit wants to write on the heart.
Back in Bethlehem, when the Angels announced to the Shepherds that “The King had come” – they might well have gone to look for him also in the wrong places had they not been told of his whereabouts? “You shall find the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 ) Jesus has a habit of showing up where and when you least expect him. Who would have thought that the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe and everything beyond it, would show up in a humble stable surrounded by cattle and donkeys. What a place to find him?
It could be that All of the answers you are looking for today are not where you might expect to find them… they are all bound up inside of you, if you have stored Gods word away in your heart, then the power of the Holy Spirit longs to release those truths into your life and into your circumstances. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. You have the light within you,
it just needs to be switched on.
We read in Luke Chapter two, that while the Shepherds watched their flocks that night, Suddenly – without any warning, without any prior notice, and without any expectation, – suddenly a great light shone about them and a multitude of Angels appeared in the sky above them. (v13)
This speaks to me of Revelation. That sudden dawning on the soul of a New perspective of a Old truth. Something you had read about and known for all of your life suddenly springs to life with a new vitality and a fresh punch you’ve not noticed it before.
Many in the Church nowadays are happy with Information, – so very few of us seek Revelation. God wants to shine a light within, to show us something we’ve not seen before – a new angle on an old story or a fresh scent to an old flower. Of course he can do it via the Preacher, or the text book, but it comes then as information and not revelation, and thus may hold no life (no vitality) for you personally. You see the word is LIFE, the Rhema – is Revelation, – The Logos, is Information.
You have the light of God, – but are you switched on?
A Christmas tree may be wonderfully festooned with lights, but if it is not switched on, the tree will remain drab and dull – lifeless. Switch on, and the tree immediately comes to life – it gives light, it brings joy and excitement and brightens the whole room. In the same way, a Christian may have studied and shared the words of God for years, but if that word is retained only in the memory and released merely to argue a point, then the word has no life – the Christian is viewed as drab ands dull – not welcome at my party! But if that word has been hid in the Human Spirit, and is being illuminated by the Holy Spirit
every day, then the word lives in the person and the person reflects undoubtedly that same word in their walk and talk.
It spills out! They truly do light up the room, they add an excitement to the party and carry an infectious joy wherever they go. Is that you? Is that me?
NOW HIS FINAL WORD.
I’m sure that like me, some of you have Candles in your home
at this time which you don’t light – they are what we call “ornamental candles” – and can be displayed all year round.
I have a beautiful one on my living room coffee table which I bought in Italy some years ago while ministering there. It depicts four turtle-doves sitting on a bird bath. The Doves are made from white wax – while the water in the bird bath is made from a blue wax. It is all wax and has at its centre a light-able wick, which if lit, would melt the entire piece, over time. But its not meant to be lit, its merely an ornament!
I reckon that God will sometimes see many of his children as ornaments – and while he may permit that, he does not prefer that; For the spirit of man is the Candle of the Lord.
Will you join me in a Prayer at this Christmas season
And say “Lord don’t allow me to be an ornament,
please light up my life today.”
God Bless You…. Amen