Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light is a sermon teaching us that the Lord has called us from a sin-darkened world to show people the way, the truth, and the light so that they can be saved.

Key Verses:
Isaiah 9:1-7

Isaiah 9:1: “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.”

Isaiah 9:2: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

What is Light?

Everyone knows about darkness and light and we experience them every day. What is the definition of light and darkness? Light is the smallest quantity of energy that can be transported. Light is made up of particles called photons, and these tiny particles are transmitted energy. It is electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that travels at 186,000 miles per second.

That is fast and faster than any human being has traveled by far. The fastest any human being has ever traveled is probably 2,500 miles per hour and that is not on Earth. That is getting away from Earth’s gravity pull. You cannot travel that fast and survive on Earth.

No one has ever traveled like the light. We are going to one day. Scripture says when the Lord comes in a twinkling of an eye we will be transformed, we will be taken out of this world. That phrase “in a twinkling of an eye” basically means at the speed of light. That is faster than anybody can see.

So light is a sensation aroused by the stimulation of the visual receptors. That means that light detected by the visual receptors in the eye and then transmitted to the brain gives us the perception to see. Light makes you able to see. Because we perceive light and we are able to see, and because we are able to see we are able to understand the world around us. Therefore, we are able to learn and increase knowledge and wisdom.

What is Darkness?

The definition of darkness is much simpler. Darkness is the absence of light. What that means is, when light is present and the degree to which light is present, the quantity of light present causes there to be less darkness. And if a light is present in a lesser degree or lesser quantity, there is greater darkness. In other words, light eliminates darkness. We all pretty much know that. We live every day in conditions with greater or lesser light, therefore in greater or lesser darkness.

There is physical light and physical darkness which is what we just described. But there is also spiritual light and spiritual darkness. The same principles that apply to physical light and physical darkness apply to spiritual light and spiritual darkness. That which is spiritual is not physical and that which is physical is not spiritual. Do not mix the two, but what we are saying is the same principles apply to both. We need more light to be able to see. We need more light to be able to see physically and more light to be able to see spiritually and be able to understand so we can know where we are and how we got here and where we are going.

But the world, spiritually speaking, the world, in general, is lost in darkness and groping in the darkness and on its way to destruction, on its way to Hell. The word “darkness” is found 162 times in your English bible while the word “light” is found 272 times, which is 110 more times than the word “darkness.”

One great passage on this subject is found in the first seven verses of Isaiah chapter 9. This is great to learn from but keep in mind spiritual darkness, not physical darkness.

Isaiah 9:1: “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.”

What dimness is Isaiah talking about? “Dimness” means that the light is leaving and as it leaves the void of darkness comes in to surround. But the dimness that is spoken of here clearly refers back to chapter 8 where the Lord warns the people of both houses of Israel, the northern kingdom of Samaria and the southern kingdom of Judah. The Lord warns them to make Him their sanctuary, to place their faith in Him, but many of the people turned away from Him just like people are turning away from God today.

Society Turning to Darkness

Someone once said that our society started turning away from God back when abortion became legal. But actually, it happened way before that. We have always had in our society a turning to God and turning away from God throughout history. For example, back in the colonial days, there was great spiritual darkness here. And then came a period called the Great Awakening and there was a great turning back to God which immediately preceded the American Revolution.

After the Revolution things were good and people started turning away from God. It is not very different from Israel’s history, and if you read the book of Judges, you’ll see the comparison there. What happens is when things are going bad, people tend to turn towards God. But when things are going good people tend to turn away from God. So, there is a constant up and down, back and forth of a darkness and light situation.

The “dimness” talked about here is the dimness of the people in both houses of Israel as Isaiah puts it. And in

Isaiah 8:19: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?”

Here “familiar spirits” is used meaning psychics and mediums. Some say they have a spirit guide who leads them or does a séance and talks to spirits – these are examples of familiar spirits. Shouldn’t we seek God rather than these spirits?

Isaiah 8:2: “And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.”

So, as people turn away from the one true God, who is holy and is light, and turn towards darkness, that is to say, the occult, which means darkness, they wander in the darkness. As they wander in the darkness, they are lost. So as people turn away from God, they first experience dimness and then some darkness, and eventually, total darkness. If you are in total darkness there is no light.

Turning Toward the Light

But the Lord offers great hope.

Isaiah 9:2: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

Those who walk in darkness are lost but you can see a great light. David wrote in Psalm 23, “Though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” Why does he have no fear? Because the Lord was with him. They that walk in the shadow of death, they that dwell in the shadow of death, “upon them hath the light shined.” So, the people walk in darkness and yet God, who created the world, brings light.

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

When God first created the earth it had no shape, it was just a mass.

Genesis 1:2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

The earth was entirely covered in water. The Spirit of God moved over the waters – this is very important in the creation story.

Genesis 1:3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

The light came when God said the light to come. What brought light? God’s word brought the light.

Genesis 1:4: And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Then God made a division and there always has been and always will be a division between light and dark.

Genesis 1:5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

The Creator placed a distinct division between light and darkness. In Exodus chapter 10, darkness was one of the ten plagues God brought upon Egypt in Moses’ day. All the land of Egypt was in total darkness except for the houses of the people of Israel. They had light. Nobody else had light in the whole country but the people of Israel had light. Why is that? Because they were God’s people.

Acts 26:18: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Paul gave testimony on the day he met Christ. Paul states that the Lord said to him that he, Paul, was to be a preacher to the Gentiles. Jesus says He sends him “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” How are the sanctified? They are cleansed and set apart by faith in Jesus. And what are they sanctified from? They turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God to receive forgiveness of sins.

Wrestling with Powers and Principalities

About 29 or 30 years later, Paul would write to Ephesus:

Ephesians 5:8: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

He wrote that they were in darkness but are now in the light of the Lord and tells them to walk as of children of light.

Ephesians 5:11: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

Those who are in darkness are lost. They cannot see, they cannot find their way. The darkness is the darkness of their own sin. The darkness of the heart blinds the mind to the truth. Did you ever hear people talk and wonder how they could think so wrongly? How could they not see truth and reality? How could they get so far off the track in their thinking? The answer is simple. There is a constant battle between the forces of God and the forces of evil, between the forces of darkness and the forces of light.

Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Our battle, our war is not against people. As a church, we are not supposed to take up arms and go out and attack all the evil people. Nowhere in the bible does it tell us to do that. Never. In fact, Jesus said the opposite. He said, “if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, but my kingdom is not of this world.”

It does not mean we should not take a stand for things that are right. It does not mean that we should not speak up or do what we can to make things right. But we are not supposed to go out and declare war on people. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but there is a battle against principalities, those who are in power, in authority, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places – devils and demons. So, what is the battle about? What are they fighting over? The souls of men. God loves people and wants people to be saved. But Satan hates people and wants them destroyed.

II Corinthians 4:3: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:”

There are people who do not know the gospel, it is hidden to them who are lost.

II Corinthians 4:4: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Why would the god of this world want to blind the minds of people who do not believe? To keep them in darkness and not let them come to the light of Christ.

II Corinthians 4:5: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

II Corinthians 4:6: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The Light of the World

Where do you get this light? In Jesus. People are lost, they walk in the darkness of their own sin. They are deceived by the god of this world who wants to keep them in darkness. But Jesus Christ is the light.

John 8:12: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Jesus says He is the “light of the world,” not that he has the light of the world or he’ll show the light of the world. He said He is the light of the world and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.

At Christmastime, we celebrate that He came as the light in this old dark world. We celebrate Christmas in December and it is right that we celebrate. Hannukah is also celebrated in December and is only mentioned in the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John, it is called the feast of dedication. Another meaning for Hannukah is the Feast of Lights. They were celebrating light. The truth that God, and more particularly, Jesus brings light is universal. We celebrate that Jesus came into this old dark world and brought us light.

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:2: “The same was in the beginning with God.”

The bible clearly states that the deity of Jesus, that He was God.

John 1:3: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

God was the Creator.

John 1:4: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

He is the source of life and the life was the light of men.

John 1:5: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

He came into this world and the world did not understand.

John 1:6: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

John 1:7: “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”

John 1:8: “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”

John 1:9: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

Did you ever wonder to think why so many believe things that are wrong are right and things that are right are wrong? They are lost and are walking in darkness. They can’t see the truth.

Isaiah preached to the people of his day, but his words still speak to the people of our day.

Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah 5:21: “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

Isaiah says “Woe” or “judgment upon you” –people are putting darkness for light and light for darkness. They are turning everything around. What you always thought was darkness is really light and what you always thought was light was really darkness. What you always thought was good was really evil and what you always thought was evil is really good. You have had it backward all your life. You always thought it the wrong way. What a description of people today.

God knows we are lost in the darkness and he brought us light:

Isaiah 9:2: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

Peter wrote in his first epistle, “that God hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” What is God calling you to do? Leave the darkness and come into the light, so you can see, so you can live. God calls all of us to come out of the darkness and into the light.

In verses 3 through 5 in Isaiah, mankind wanders in his darkness thinking he is in his own light.

Isaiah 9:3: “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.”

Isaiah 9:4: “For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.”

Isaiah 9:5: “For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.”

What’s he talking about? Well, Jesus says in John 3, “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. For everyone that doing evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light lest his deed should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Did you notice more crime is done at night than in the daytime? If you are doing what is right, you do not mind being seen doing right. You do not mind that God sees you doing what is right. Jesus said:

John 12:46: “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”

I John 1:5: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

I John 1:6: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:”

I John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Light Came as a Child

The light came. The light came as a child. The light came to take us out of the darkness of our sin and into His eternal life.

Isaiah 9:2: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”

Here is the light:

Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

The light comes to us in the form of a child. Wouldn’t you think that if God was to come to save the world, He would just come in all His glory? Yes, He could have certainly done that. Jesus came the first time, and He is coming again. He is going to come in all His glory. As it says in Revelation chapter 1, “every eye shall see him.” You will not have to look for Him. Jesus said that if anyone tells you in the future “he is here, he is there” do not believe them. Because when Jesus comes it is not going to be like that, when He comes everyone is going to know about it. When He came the first time He came as a child, “unto us a child is born.” Nothing more precious a baby being born, the precious gift of a little child. We need to never get away from that thought, that idea, the preciousness of children. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” That is not the same, not every child born is a son. It is significant too because the son is the heir. That is how it was in biblical times and that is how it is when it’s talked about.

The next thing it talks about is “the government shall be on his shoulder.” When Jesus was born as an infant in Bethlehem, He did not take over the government. People wanted Him to. They wanted Him to drive out the Romans, overthrow them, and restore the kingdom of Israel. That was not why He came. He came the first time to bring us out of darkness into the light. He will come again, and He will reign all over the world, but the first time wasn’t His purpose. His purpose was to come and save us. He said so.

Why the Light Came

If you read the story of Zacchaeus in Luke chapter 19, you’ll find at the end of that story Jesus says:

Luke 19:10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus came to save people. Paul reiterates that:

I Timothy 1:15: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

It has been said that Jesus came to teach us, and He is the greatest teacher the world has ever known. He came to be a healer, the most wonderful healer of all time. He came to give us an example and He was a wonderful example, the best there is. But that is not why He came. Why did He come? To save sinners.

“His name shall be called” – here, “name” is singular but there is a whole list of names because we are not talking about several different individuals. These are several different versions of the same name. All of these are different aspects incorporated into His name.

We recently shared with you that Joshua, a book in the Old Testament, is the same name as Jesus, but translated from a different language. The name means Jehovah is my Savior. In Isaiah 43, it says “I, even I am the LORD [Jehovah] and beside me there is no Savior.” Think it through. That has to carry to a logical conclusion. Either Jesus is Jehovah or Jesus is not the Savior. Because Jehovah says, “I am the LORD and beside me there is no Savior.” Is Jesus the Savior? Yes, He is, then He has to be Jehovah. We discuss this because of His name:

Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Is there any question as to who this is?

John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

We beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. There will be no peace until the Prince of Peace comes. We work for world peace and the bible teaches us to live peaceably with all men. But we will not have true peace, world peace until the Prince of Peace comes. He is coming again.

Isaiah 9:7: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

When Jesus establishes peace on Earth, it shall last. He is going to reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem. So we are talking about coming out of the darkness and into the light. But how do you do that?

Isaiah 50:10: “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.”

Do you still feel like you are walking in darkness and fear God? How are you going to have light and stay in the light? Trust in the Lord. Trust the Lord Jesus to save you, to bring you out of the darkness. Trust Him to forgive your sins. Trust Him to give you everlasting life. Once you have done that then walk in the light. John says, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light then we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” How much sin? All sin.

Jesus said this is what it is like to walk in the light. He said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill can be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick that giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Jesus is the light of the world and now we are because He went to Heaven. We are to be spreading the light. D.L. Moody said this, “Remember, a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place. Put one little tallow candle in the middle of a large hall and it will give a good deal of light.”

You and I may not be lighthouses out on the shore guiding all the ships. Some people would be that. But we can be lights where we are. We can be that little candle in the middle of a dark hallway that gives people light.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said this, “The most important light in the house is not the beautiful chandelier that you have in the entryway or your living room. The most important light is that little 60-watt lightbulb that keeps you from breaking your neck when you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.” He is right about that. That little light does not get all the glory does it? People do not walk in and say how beautiful it is, but if it saves you, it is important.

The Lord has called us to be lights in a sin-darkened world. He’s called us to show people the way, the truth, and light, that they may have the light.

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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