The Dark The Dawn The Day
In the first few verses of the Bible we read that God created or called light out of darkness, and the light was the first act of creation, the light he called day, and the darkness he called night, then we read …”And the evening and the morning were the first day” Genesis 1:5 Some translations reverse the order, but Gods day does not begin with morning, it begins with night.
That seems a little strange since we associate the day with morning, followed by noon and then the night; but Gods order is not ours.
In today’s sermon entitled
“The Dark, The Dawn, The Day”
I want to show you that this is the natural cycle, or the governing order in which God has set the world, and the universe;- it is all in cycles. God called the light out of the darkness, and the sun arose in the sky for the first time, a great light, around which our would and every other planetary object in this galaxy moves in a cycle. For some, it takes longer than others, and yet they too have their own orbit, cycle or path of progress to follow. The amazing thing is, that God holds it all
in the power of His hand.
Those who don’t believe the Bible would counsel us that it all came into existence by a “Big Bang” and that our world and the surrounding galaxies are billions of years old and took billions of years to form and evolve? One must decide whether or not to accept Scientific Theories which are always subject to change following greater enlightenment, or to accept by faith the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God? There are things settled in Heaven and settled in the Word of God for ever. Mans understanding of them and mans projected theories regarding them do not in and of themselves change those settled facts.
Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret those facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation (or gravity) replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome?
There will always be FACTS that remain unmistakable and undeniable. Biblical Facts are not subject to mans reasoning or intellectual appreciation, they remain ( to the man or woman of faith) Gods Word, and for me, that word is “Settled in Heaven for ever” ( Psalm 119:89)
So then let us consider first, THE DARK.
Gods day begins with “darkness” not with daylight? The greater portion of our world right now sits in darkness, and I am not speaking of those on the other side of the globe who are going to bed as we have just gotten up. There is a darkness that persists and pervades the lives of many at this hour. The darkness of despair has fallen upon many hearts and many homes. Our distance from God has brought us away from the true light and into the darkness, the deep darkness of sin and evil. We live in a world where sin abounds. (Just listen to the news bulletins today) Mans integrity, his honesty has been eroded, due largely to the fact that we are no longer taught to be honest or to have integrity and uprightness of character. We are being fooled by government, taken for a ride by the politicians, many of who think little of telling downright lies in order to win votes. Tax payers money has been taken for personal gain and greed, with little or no sense of remorse, and little political consequence. No one, even those who profess to be Christian will speak out or speak up against these wrongs.
No one accepts any responsibility?
Governments around the world have a tendency to behave in a manner which dictates that if the people don’t know, they don’t need to know, don’t need to be told. Even in so called “democracies” there are many injustices and oppressions. Furthermore, we are being taken for a ride by many business and commercial enterprises, who are robbing us right left and centre. They sneak in the little hidden clauses, the extra charges or fees, the additional premiums, without us knowing, and rip us off and cost us more. Most of them know it is not right, they know that they are taking advantage of their positions of power and authority, but the ordinary man and women in the street is suffering and paying.
We leave our car in the Garage and trust that the mechanic will fit new parts as required, but will they be new, or second hand, will they be necessary or faulty will they be guaranteed, can we trust them, will they really be fitted and how can we know? but pay we must. There is a “something for nothing” philosophy around, that urges people to get well paid – but to do as little for it as possible? There is a claims culture that goes to law with every little pain and problem, and puts an unbelievable and unreasonable demand on our social funding budgets.
There is a despondency and despair amongst our young people, there is little or no example, little or no discipline, and little or no hope in many of their hearts. They are being influenced by those who “do drugs” and made to feel less than normal if they don’t? Many have turned to underage drinking, or Alcohol abuse for comfort, and so few of them have anything to smile about. They create their own limits and break the law, and scream at us “why don’t you stop me, why don’t you tell me where I must stop?” But we enforce no limit? How dark is the world around us, my heart is broken for it, as is the heart of Almighty God !
Maybe the darkness in your world is more personal
than all of this? Maybe your fight is with Cancer, or Disability, or Poverty, or Debt, or Pornography, or Gambling, or maybe your fight is with those you live with? You have a unhappy marriage, and insecure relationship, screaming children, and impossible problems? Maybe you have lost your job, maybe you have lost your career, lost your investments and lost your way? When we get away from God, away from His word and ways, we manufacture for ourselves and our world all kinds of problems. There is no light, no hope and no future without God, and without his Blessed Son the Lord Jesus. The apostle John could say “In Him was light, and the light was the light of men”, but… “He came unto His own and His own received
Him not” ( John Chapter One)
Jesus came into similar darkness 2000 years ago, but back then as they still do, they rejected him, and the light and hope he offered was extinguished, and they crucified him!
I remember a while ago, reading the book “Prison to Praise” by Merlin Carothers, who spoke of a time when he simply didn’t want God in his life. He says, and I quote …”My grandmother always talked about God, but it bugged me more than I wanted to admit. I hated to hurt her feelings, but I didn’t have time for any of that religious stuff, I’d just begun to live” I agreed to go to Church with her and when we went in I thought “Poor people I thought, they don’t know anything about real life out there in the world, or they wouldn’t waste an evening in this barn …”
What Merlin Carothers did not know at that time, was that far from being “poor” these Church-going Folk had found riches beyond any monetary value, they have found light in their darkness. You see my dear friends we are all in darkness without God, that’s how our day in this world begins also. We are born into that darkness and unless and until the light dawns upon us, there we will remain, and there (sadly) some of us will die?
So moving from the Dark, let us now consider THE DAWN.
Many of you have I’m sure gone through one of those long dark nights, when you welcomed with joy and a sense of gratitude, the sunrise, and the dawning day. We often use the word “dawn” to qualify the place where one receives that necessary enlightenment, to move from one place to another. We may say something like, “I stayed in that job, until it “dawned “on me that there was no future in it” or “I dated that girl, until it “dawned” on me that she loved my farm more than my family.”
Every new day needs a new dawn. If you and I are to experience anything more or anything better than the darkness of this world into which we were born, we also need a new dawn. Without light there can be no dawn. Without light the darkness will persist for ever. So we say with the Hymn writer “Lighten our Darkness we beseech Thee Oh Lord”. That’s why the Gospel is preached, that’s why I bring you the SANCTUARY every Sunday, so that I may shine the light of the Word of God into your Darkened situations in the hope that a New Day will Dawn for you!
Nothing, I repeat, nothing can change your Darkness to Day but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now the Dawning of a new Day, while it is required by all, is not desired by all. Rather the world has become accustomed to the darkness, and the Bible says that “men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19 ) For this reason many still enjoy the dark deeds and days of evil. Most will belittle those of us who preach the Gospel, they will laugh at the Church and the Christian and indeed many today are being persecuted by a secularist world for their faith and belief in God. We have become a society apart from God. “We can get by without Him” is in the mind of most, but just look at where “without Him” has gotten us?
What are you like without him? Are you happy without Him, are you at peace without him, are you satisfied without him, are you free without him, are you loved without him, are you content without him, are you living without him? The truth is that none of that is possible without him, without Jesus!
So then – what is it about the Gospel that will dawn on your soul and bring you out of darkness into day? Simply it is the Light of the Gospel, and the light of the Gospel is the light of Men, the light of life and the Light of the world, the Saviour and the Salvation that He offers. Jesus did not just come to save us, so that we could be saved from the wrath and judgement of God to come on the whole world. He did that, but He came to save us for a reason, and for a season.
The Reason was that we might become “as He is, so are we in this world”(1 John 4:17 ) and the season was that we might be like Him all our life thereafter. Jesus came to give us life abundant and life eternal, (not just in heaven when we die, although that is automatically built in to the deal), but life here and now in the same dimension, the same quality, the same blessing, the same potential, the same victory, and the same glory as was His 2000 years ago, as he worked and walked with us on the streets of Jerusalem. When that “light” dawns on your soul, and when God grants you grace to grasp it, and accept it, then the glorious “Day of your Salvation” has come.
So then, following the Dark, and the Dawn, comes THE DAY
but what kind of DAY is it? What kind of day can the Christian expect and why is it better or brighter than the Days of those who live without Jesus?
A moment ago I mentioned that list of benefits and blessings that can be expected by those who have in faith become “heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” ( Rom 8:17) One of that list may seem a little strange to most of you, even to the Christian on whom that particular light of truth has not yet dawned? I said that in Christ we can expect to live in the same dimension, the same quality, the same blessing, the same potential, the same victory, and the same glory as was His 2000 years ago.
Many will know the Scriptures that teaches us that “Gods Glory He will not give to another” ( Isaiah 42:8 … and so on) and while this was and is certainly true in the “Old Testament” times, yet Jesus by his relationship with the Father, ushered in another aspect of relationship for us. He himself prays in John 17 verse 5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” and then in verse 22 – “The Glory which thou hast given me,
I have given to them”
Jesus is not yet returned to Heaven at this point, this is not (as some think) a prayerful petition for any “heavenly reward or blessing”. Jesus was here on earth, in dark and dusty Jerusalem praying that on his followers might descend the “glory” of God. Was that Prayer answered? Yes it was ! When? On the Day of Pentecost!
The Holy Spirit came to all of the believers then, and comes to indwell all believers now, who by the same simple faith accept and grasp this light of life. It is the Indwelling and Enabling Power of the Holy Spirit that brings a “Glory” into your life and mine, and makes every day, a DAY worth living – a glorious day. The Christian life may not be glamorous, but it can be glorious every day. Praise God.
Now what is it to live the Glorious Life, to have a Glorious Day?
There are some who think that a “Lottery” win would bring them a Glorious day, – others who are convinced that Fame and having their name in lights, would bring them the Glory of the masses and the praise of the many. Yet I have at times, mixed and mingled with the very rich and the well known, and have not generally found them to be happy, indeed mostly they are depressed and oppressed by dark days. They have money, they have fame, they have pleasure and they have plenty, but they have no light in their darkness and no glory in their days. Indeed I consider myself more wealthy than all of them put together, for I possess something which money cannot buy, and fame cannot earn.
Since Jesus came into my heart, I have had the “glory” of God resting on my life. Every single day, Gods glory goes before me, and every single day, Gods glory follows after me. Wherever I am …. there is the glory. Let me explain this further. Way back in the book of Exodus, when the children of Israel were wondering in the wilderness before they came into the land of promise – God came down in a Pillar of Cloud in the day time and that cloud moved in front of them and led them onwards. After dark that cloud changed to a Pillar of Fire, and God was both in the cloud and in the fire. The cloud led them by day, the fire followed them and rested at night beside their camp, and Gods glory we read was in both (Exodus 13:21 )
To live in the Glory, or to live a glorious life, means that one is constantly aware that our wise and loving Father in Heaven is both before us and behind us. When I arise in the morning, I know that whatever sort of day today will be, God will be before me in it, and has already prepared and planned the day for me. When it is over and past and I return to my bed, God will be behind me in my day, still working on the things that I have given to him, and still looking after me. Maybe after this sermon, God will continue to speak to you when my voice is silent. While I sleep, I know, and am often conscious of his tangible presence with me, even though I am alone, I am not alone, for I never feel lonely. There may not be a cloud of smoke, or a pillar of fire in my vision, but God is not far from me.
I see his hand in every thing around me, and hear his voice within. His Holy Spirit, bears witness with my Human Spirit that I am His and He is mine, for ever! … and that’s Glory!
With regard to the future, I don’t have to plan and scheme, to fix and fiddle with things to get life to work for me. I know that “all my days are written in his book” (Psalm 139:16 ) and He has already been in my future and has the right people and the right places all lined up for me, so that I can walk by faith into the destiny that He has prepared for me. I don’t need to be anxious about the current economic climate, even if the whole country goes to the wall, my heavenly Father watches over me, and if He provided for his servant, his man Elijah by the brook Cherith, where the Ravens brought him bread and meat (1 Kings 17) then God will also provide for me, for He is no respecter or persons.
( and he will provide for you too… if you live in this Glory) I don’t need to be anxious about what people think of me or say of me, the whole world may think me crazy, but it matters little as long as God thinks well of me and is pleased with the offering of service I can bring to him every day.
My dear friend, if you don’t know Days like this, then you can! What Jesus has done for me, He can do for you. Just give him a chance in your life. Get off of that seat, and give him his rightful place on the throne of your heart. Surrender your past, your present and your future to Him and to His love, and do it now. The Darkness has been eclipsed with the dawning light,
the day is breaking, so get up and enjoy it.
God reaches down from Heaven in this hour to take your hand and to lead you into it.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
Although as Christians we have come through the dawn into the day, it must be understood that the Devil wants to drag us back to the night, and to keep us in the DARK. For this reason, many have failed to fully embrace Gods Day of Salvation and are being pulled back or drawn back into the night and into the darkness that accompanies it. By failing to read and study the word of God, by failing to apply and appropriate that Word or that Truth in ones life, the darkness can soon creep up again and overtake the day. Thus many instead of enjoying their Christianity, are enduring it, and instead of walking in the Glory are walking in Gloom That is why I urge you today to read for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. You can be a preacher, a pastor or a priest and still be walking in darkness, only the Holy Spirit can bring true Revelation to the Word of God. In the words of the little chorus we must all pray…
“Make the Book live to me Oh Lord,
Show me Thyself within Thy word,
Show me Myself, and show me my Saviour,
and make the Book live to me”