When Jesus told the disciples and the crowd that followed Him, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:13-16) They could not believe their ears, they were horrified. They thought Jesus was speaking heresy. Like when Jesus told the disciples, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father (Abba Father, Strong’s #5 in the Greek) which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9)  “Abba Father” is the customary title and literally means direct address when praying to God. Jesus told the disciples to pray directly to the Father and they could not believe their ears, because in the past they prayed “Avie Father” or around through to the Father.  This is where we get the song Avie Maria.  But here Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world” a title reserved for only the High Priest and some of Sadducees and Pharisees.  The people could not believe their ears.  Can you imagine Jesus was making the common folks equal to the High Priest?  Can you imagine the reaction the High Priest had when he heard Jesus’ words? Jesus was doing nothing, but exposing the darkness in the lie of only the High Priest and his henchmen being the “light of the world.” We all can (our choice) be the “light of the world” if we have the darkness exposed in our lives. Funny how having the darkness exposed in our lives is the condition to becoming the “light of the world.”  But, who wants to have their darkness exposed?  I will be honest not me, but this is the price we all must pay to be the “light of the world.”  Never forget, we know the real price after we finish paying for it. In God paying the price for things are very expensive, this is why many would rather be an actor speaking great swelling words on the stage of life than to have their darkness exposed. Unless we allow God to search our hearts and expose areas of darkness within us (individually) that are not of Him (so they can be removed) we will continue to walk in our darkness and know not God.  The condition to know God is to allow Him to open up our heart and reveal how much we are not like His precious Son Jesus Christ.  But who wants to do this?  Most people (often me at times) like the darkness within and run from God shining His holy light on us to expose us for what and who we really are.

As we look at the magical complexity like qualities of light as it plays against the backdrop of darkness it holds a very vivid and powerful physical lesson that is often extrapolated into the spiritual realm.  Did you know there are 129 occurrences in 55 verses that pit light against darkness?  Now it is important to know the Bible is not talking about the absence of the physical property of light which is darkness in these 55 verses.  I cannot tell you how many sermons I have heard using these properties (light and darkness) to make a moral or religious point. When we read these verses they make good common sense, but if you prayerfully read these verses you will know the Holy Spirit is talking about righteousness and God’s work in our lives (as light) and sin and an unrepentive heart condition (as darkness).  If we walk with the Lord for any length of time and allow God to work in our lives His work in us will be deposited, it will be written on the tablets of our heart and mind. But if we wilfully walk away from God the first thing we lose is the work God has been able to do in our lives. The work God has done in our lives serves as belts and suspenders to keep us along with His grace and mercy. We are not saved by this work it is grace alone, but it acts as glue to bind us together. The work of God in our lives is what brings us all into the unity of the faith, all hearts being dealt with by God the same. Having a prayer breakfast, joint church service or social pot-luck dinners will never bring us into the unity of the faith, but I promise you if we all collectively open our hearts and lives to God’s dealing and judgments (at the same measure) we will have no option because our humbling and submission bring us into the unity of the faith with God and man.  It is the memories of my failures and victories towards my wife that keeps the dedication and commitment of my word to her alive in my heart.  I am sorry to say my Baptist friends we are the only person who can take us out of God’s hand by turning our back and wilfully walking away from God’s invitation of mercy and grace.  The Bible is full of examples. To teach other wise is just plain wrong and in the end many people will be left deceived and undone on judgment day.  I would not want to stand before God knowing I have caused “err” (intentionally leading someone into error) in even one life.

Paul in the Book of Ephesians shares with us the intent of God’s heart as it relates to light and darkness, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (Strong’s #1651, to convict, refute, confute generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted) them. 12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”  (Ephesians 5:8-13)  In the NKJV of the Bible Paul tells us to “expose them.” We as the Body of Christ seldom do this, expose darkness.  But how will those in darkness know they are in darkness?  How will they hear of the conviction or experience the shame of sin if we do not tell them of their need for Christ?  I have been told not to confront sin, just pray for and love them. Well my friend that is not what Paul told the New Testament Church to do, “but rather reprove them.” In all of Paul’s life he did not mince words, oh no he told the truth up close and personal.  But today we compromise and placate sin in the church and in the lives of friends and family members not wanting to offend so that we will have large crowds in our churches and full offering plates.  When will we learn (or will we?) this is just plain wrong in God’s eyes? Well, Paul was not concerned about such things, he was concerned about telling people the truth of God’s words so that they will be able to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

We sing songs like, “When We All Get to Heaven” what a day of rejoicing that will be.  We sing songs that speak of a wonderful time in heaven, are you kidding?  I am not looking forward to standing before a Holy God.  I hear many Christians say they are, well I am afraid their words reveals their presumption and immaturity.  I do not know about you, but I do not believe at first heaven is going to be such a wonderful place.  First we must get through the Judgment Seat of Christ.  We sing songs about no tears in heaven, but the Bible says in heaven God will wipe away all tears, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  (Revelation 21:4).  Maybe these tears God will wipe away will be the tears we shed for the loss we will experience in heaven for our disobedience on earth. Disobedience must always be judged by God no matter where we are.  Oh our sins will be forgiven and we get to go to heaven, but we will come to know all our idle and wasted opportunities, words, and time in our prior life on earth and it will humble us and bring us to tears.  After all who wants to see their hard work, big church and ministry built in their life burned up by fire? Remember it is not what we do for God that counts, but how we do things.  Have they been done for the right reasons and were our motives right? Were they done with the right heart condition? Or maybe they will be tears shed knowing family members, relatives, and friends on earth did not make it to heaven. I do not know about you, but I have family members who are not saved.  This dichotomy of light and darkness that Paul talks about I find myself wrestling within my heart, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”  (2 Corinthians 6:14)  Now Paul is not just talking about marriage here, but all of our life relationships we enter into. How I would love to see my family come back to Christ, but that is their choice and until then my fellowship and communion with them can only be limited. If God and His ways are not the focal point of our relationships then we really have nothing in common.  We may have and love the same parents who did their best to raise us all in God, but that is where any true fellowship or communion ends. Did you know silence about sin is almost always viewed as compliance of sin?  We must never be silent when it comes to sin, we must tell the truth in love. With my family, until there is a change in their heart we will be there for them, we will prayer for them, but our distance from them will speak volumes of the separation between us and the darkness within them.  Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-37) Jesus has come to cut us and our affections out of the world and if our family is a part of the world, sadly they must go from our heart.  Jesus said, “either you are for Me or you are against Me” He meant it, there is no middle ground. However, I would still think it would be very difficult to spend eternity in heaven knowing my family members are in hell.  I think I would probably shed tears knowing this. To think we will not know or be concerned about our family members in hell for all of eternity does not pass the Bible common sense test and is just pure self-centered and selfish thinking on our part.

Lastly this exposing darkness within us is seen in two divine spiritual principles; humility comes before exaltation as death come before glorification. If we desire to be exalted in life and in God then humility must be the beginning point of our assent to Him and what He has for us.  We must decrease in our self-worth and thoughts so we can see the darkness within us. The way up is really down.  Down is the direction of the revelation of who and what we really are.  It is no wonder few Christians want to become like Christ, “meek and lowly of heart” this revelation my friend will kill us.  And death before glorification.  This is the central point of the Gospel.  Death always precedes any thing God does in our lives.  In every victory failure must be present.  There is no victory without failure, so too death to the love we hold for the things of this world in us and our selfish and self-seeking desires must be killed in us before God can glorify us.  Wait a minute, why do we think God has to always being blessing and glorifying us?  He is God!  He makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust.  He gets to do whatever He wants to do. He is God!  God delights in the death of His saints, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”  (Psalms 116:15).  It is our death in God where newness of life in God is found.  Paul told the church at Rome, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” (Romans 6:3-5) No death no resurrection and newness of life.  No death no glorification.  Did you know God also delights in the opportunity to open our heart to us so that we can see what we are made of and how much we are not like Him. This exposing darkness within us is the bedrock of our faith.  Accepting Christ comes out of us first seeing our need for Him and when we see our need for Him we also see the darkness within us.