Acts 26:17-18 “… I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
I am going to start with a quote that many of you have heard throughout your lives. Though you have only heard just the last part of the quote. So here is the quote in its entirety.
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana
103 years ago a revolution happened that has made its presence felt even still today. Let me set the picture for you.
After a period of economic decline following a major war that was the cause of many casualties and caused the loss of worldwide prestige. Peasants along with ethnic minorities became disillusioned with the state of the government due to rampant corruption and inefficiency along with being blatantly oblivious to the plight of the working class and also is some respects with the state church at the time for the lack of knowledge and shepherding of the flock.
Because of this, a very small conspiratorial group of elitist intellectuals determined to shape the region to their point of view convinced the people to riot and overthrow the government that was currently in place and expel the ruling class.
Only after this small group came into power did they show their true intentions. These Bolsheviks were driven to one goal. To smash the church and root out Christianity along with its ideals of individualism and capitalism
I am calling this sermon From Darkness into Light and I want to talk about 3 points that have problems not only in the early church but even throughout the Old Testament and, even today we still have
- They suffered from a lack of knowledge.
- They sought knowledge from unsound places
- Their knowledge caused them to reject sound teachings
- They suffered from a lack of knowledge
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6
The passage from Hosea is like watching a series of sitcoms that were all written by some of the same people. You see some of the same lines and some of the same comedic gags. Well, the book of Hosea is not a comedic sitcom. God once again has issued a charge against the people of Israel from turning away from His sound teachings. While God has charged the people with turning away, He lays the brunt of this at the priests of the Temple. The Hebrews for honestly selfish reasons have begun to disregard the Law once again because it interfered with their quest for monetary gain. By oppressing the poor, charging usury, and unethical business practices they reaped the anger of God The priests at this time did not speak out against what was going on. Instead, they bent the interpretation of the Law to tickle the ears of the people and to fill the coffers with gold and grain.
It’s a sad day when you walk into Church and it sounds just like the world, looks just like the world, and feels just like the world for that means Jesus isn’t there. We have too many churches today who seek to fill the seats rather than fulfill the Great Commission and to edify the Body.
Where are the Churches that will preach the Word to the lost?
Where are the Churches that will teach the Word to the body?
Where are the Churches that will be the example of the Word to the world?
While we are over here quibbling over doctrines that have already been answered by the Bible and bending over backward and twisting the scriptures to suit unbiblical teachings just to please the world. Satan has made sure that the salt has lost its savoriness The Church as a whole has lost its effectiveness because we no longer the light on the hill instead we are illuminating a bush.
God doesn’t need pyrotechnics and a laser light show to proclaim the Gospel He doesn’t need catchy worldly, almost Gnostic sappy sounding choruses that honestly drives younger people away to proclaim the Gospel. He doesn’t need to let you know that these are trying times and that we are facing a new normal and that He stands with the latest woke fad that makes sinners feel good about sinning to proclaim the Gospel
He needs Christians to stand up with a backbone and proclaim truth to the masses and not be afraid of the cancel culture. He needs Godly Men to stand in the pulpits across this nation and preach to the lost and to exhort to Christians what the Bible says is sin and not be afraid of losing members. He needs the Church to pray and seek revival for this nation and not be afraid of Satan’s minions.
We have spent the last 60 years trying to please the world and look at what we have reaped! We have reaped a larger demonic presence in the world because we did not stand up to sin in the name of getting along. Because we twisted the scriptures we now allow the latest fads to run the church. Because we stopped living the Word and praying the Word we have prevented revival in our nation.
- They sought knowledge from unsound places
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” -2 Timothy 4:3
When society wants to have a license to sin they look to churches who disregard the Word to bless their evil practices.
Why do certain governmental leaders and US citizens want to shut down the church?
They are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you, but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. – 1 Peter 4:4-5 NIV
The church stands as an indictment to the wickedness of the world. Even weaker churches still shine even if w/ a dimmer light.
There is no neutrality. Those in Christ love Him and His church. Those outside Christ hate Him and His church.
This is why people don’t want Her to meet
People say that doctrine divides the Church, I say Amen because it divides truth from error and the saved from the unsaved.
The Christian doesn’t live in the world to give their opinions, they live in the world to share the inerrant Word of God.
If we affirm the inerrancy of Scripture but do not bow to its authority or trust its sufficiency, we do not honor God or His Word.
We need to stop using the World’s language and definitions.
God’s Word is sufficient
Don’t water it down. God means what He says…
He has not stuttered.
God will always accomplish his will for his glory. It does not matter what the situation or season – whether it be peace with prosperity or pain with persecution – God rules the whole wide world and never does what is wrong. It could be mysterious, but never wrong.
We as a Church are at a crossroads right now. We can just keep our heads in the sand and just let the humanist liberals take over the Gospel and let them water it down as they see fit in the name of getting along. Or do we finally stand up and say enough is enough. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of the hard-hitting truth that is in the Bible. I am not ashamed of the Christian way of life and the culture that we have had for centuries.
The tragedy of today is that the Church is pursuing happiness, not holiness.
- Their knowledge caused them to reject sound teaching.
Colossians 3:5 NLT So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
We’ve taken a misguided “high road” for the past 50+ years thanks to the false idea that the truth does not need to be actively defended, promoted, and protected. It’s going to take a lot of raised voices to take back lost ground, but it can be done.
If you come to church expecting to be entertained it isn’t God you are coming for. The biblical reason to be there on Sunday mornings is to be in His presence, to be convicted of sins, to hear His Word and receive His sacraments.
The more popular the church becomes, the more contemporary music and topical sermons they have the more they lose, they lose repentance, conviction, and the biblical concept of the body of Christ.
Our churches should show forth the Spirit and the power of God into our communities being the body of Christ to the world around them.
The modern church sees faith as simply claiming your Christian, the Bible teaches faith as giving up your life to Christ, take up your cross, and following Him.
For a person to truly know God they must spend time with Him in His church, reading His Word, participating in His sacraments, and talking to Him in prayer.
Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for you to enjoy them?
Wherever I am I hope I dare to stand up and witness for Christ no matter who it might offend.
The Christian should make it his business daily to:
1. Show Jesus Christ to the world around him
2. Overcome and resist sin in his life promoting holiness
3. Remain faithful to their church and the inerrant Word
Our daily life as a Christian is a vocation and calling to serve others for Christ’s sake, not to serve ourselves for our own sake. People will always say true Christians are fanatical and obsessed because the life of a true Christian shows the sin in the life of others. The straight and narrow path conforms itself completely to the Word of scripture, the broad way to hell is us trying to walk “our own way.”
Jesus bought us with His blood, paid for our entire being but many people treat this exchange simply as a Sunday morning rental.
That right there should be enough conviction to send you to your knees in prayer asking Almighty God for forgiveness. I know that it was for me. We are the Army of God and we are losing the battle because we are so concerned about what the World thinks of us instead of battling sin. The whole life of a Christian is a warfare against sin, earth, and the devil, and without Christ, we are lost.
Christians are not in the world to make people comfortable, they are here to show forth Christ and Him crucified. Salt in a wound is not pleasant, but Christ says we are supposed to be that. Light in the eyes isn’t either but we are to be that also.
We are that light and we need to shine brightly and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The mere fact that He has saved you should have you running up to everyone you know and sharing what He has done you.
Will you be that Light?
Let us pray