For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:20, 21 ESV)
Light hurts the eyes of those that are used to darkness; this is commonly known. The light exposes or manifests the reality of what things are. Darkness conceals reality. Ephesians tells us that whatsoever does make manifest is light. It only stands to reason that a person that is not willing to deal with their evil behavior will avoid ‘light’ being cast upon them. They will not acknowledge their sin so that it may be reproved. They hide it, make excuses for it, justify it, etc. In this state he/she will not read the Bible, will not come to church where Holy Spirit conviction can be felt, and they will not pray in a meaningful way so as to touch God. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man in reproving and convicting. (John 8:46; John 16:8). This is a fearful consideration. The Spirit of God will utilize the Word of God to bring conviction of sin and drive home the reality of a future judgment. This disturbs the person’s personal peace; that is to say, it disturbs the scheme they have set up within themselves to ignore their consciousness of their estate before a holy God. They build a fortress of self-deception designed to keep God from disturbing them in their selfish life. Light breaks in upon this scheme as the rising sun through the window of a sleeping man. To escape this unpleasant intrusion and exposure, the evil person cuts out the light of Christ. In effect, they pull the shade.
Pulling the Shades
We discovered that the reason why individuals don’t want any form of light is because their deeds are evil and they plan on remaining evil. Simply put, they don’t want God dealing with them. This is a dangerous state to be in. They avoid light. So what are we to make of Christians that want to always tone down the light supply (as it were) that is cast upon the churches of God and replace it with some lesser thing? Based on our passage, we can only conclude that they are hiding something. They are not wanting the full light of Christ to illuminate, lest they be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. The scheme that men use to protect themselves from the light of Christ suddenly begins to influence the light in the meetings of the churches of God. Leaders hold more influence over the amount of light in a meeting than anyone. If the leaders are backslid, you can forget God moving in most situations. We would see a wholesale change in many circles if the leadership would simply get right with God and repent of their thirst for evil. Seriously. It is a sad day when those being led have to rebuke the leaders for their compromise. Where are the leaders that would challenge the people to rise higher in God? Where are the leaders calling the people to a higher level of righteousness and holiness? Where are the leaders raising the standard and leading the people as salt and light into this present darkened world? Judgment has to start with the house of God and in the House of God it has to start with those that are in the lead. That is as simple as anything.
Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard. (Proverbs 13:15)
It only stands to reason that compromise and ministry do not mix. Imagine this, all the cares of the ministry added to the hard-way of being a transgressor. That would amount to a stress no one can handle for long. The true peace that comes with knowing things are right is invaluable. A leader in compromise is surely a pitiful case.
Out of the Abundance of the Heart
In the Kingdom of God, Christ did not choose a half-in, half-baked, half-backslidden group to preach the Gospel to the then known world. Sure, they may have failed Christ miserably early on, but a case can be made that they really loved Christ and when given opportunity were restored and filled with the Spirit of God. They became new creatures FULL of the Holy Spirit and Fire. You could tell it in their speech. They overflowed with the wonderful works of God. Their minds were bent on God. Serving Christ was not a hobby. Christ was not the result of a brainstorm in the formation of a new social club. He was not an excuse to get together and flirt with some of the opposite sex, rub elbows with young people, or ‘hang-out’ and have fun. He was the very CENTER of all that was going on. He was not the hole in the donut. In fact, these men and women were the ‘real deal’ and because they were the ‘real deal’ they got real results. God moved powerfully among them. When they rose up they spoke of Christ and when they did lie down they spoke of Him. The whole ministry was Christocentric (Christ-centered).
I recall as a young person getting together with a bunch of youth and young adults for a cook out. Being the ignorant young christian I was, I actually brought my bible. Someone says to me in effect,’ look, the spiritual guy- he brought his bible.’ I came there ignorantly thinking we were gathering together in the name of Christ for a Christ-centered gathering. I figured the food and fun would be peripheral things, and God would be the main subject. I was terribly wrong. When I left a bible discussion did break out I’m told and it ended up in an argument. I say God deliver us from this type of lame Christianity. That could have scarred me for life. But fortunately I was stoking my own fire as the old-timers used to say.
Everyone who does wicked things hates the light
It is a sad day when a Christian is in bad reputation for always taking their Christian walk too far. But there it is. Can there be such a thing? Or rather, is the life of one that genuinely desires to serve God too much light shed upon the corruption of the lukewarm and backslidden? Just asking. I mean, why on earth would a Christian ever be criticized for trying to do and teach what is right and good? If I didn’t have any better sense I would think the people with this attitude are double-agents. Why not? Could you imagine Paul or Peter telling a young brother to tone down his love for Christ and step up and get a little fun-loving self-desire going? That is insanity. As if Jesus Christ is not worthy to be burned for and we need to relegate some of that fire to some worldly thing. But this is rife in young adult and youth ministry today. It is a bible-less, ramped-up, hyped-up, noisy mess in many cases. Seriously. Its as if a generation that loved this world and the devil has found a way to morph together serving God and serving the devil until they do all the same things sinners do, except they direct them towards the object of Jesus Christ or ‘God’ instead of this world and the devil. This satisfies their inward desire for worship, but it is a pseudo spirituality. It is emptiness. Vanity. It is a devilish mixture.
Identification With the World
Much of what is called contemporary ministry today is nothing more than worldliness with a christian label slapped on it. I remember the day when our beloved 88.5 FM changed formats to compete, apparently, with K-LOVE. Out went the wholesome music that we all grew up with that are older than 40 years. Out went the hymns. Out went most anything until even Keith Green was too radical for mainstream programming. They must have been losing market share. What did they exchange for? “Positive and encouraging.” Notice a key word missing- edifying. The litmus test for all we do in the churches of God needs to be two things; 1) does it truly glorify God 2) does it edify the churches (the people). People may testify that they feel ‘up-lifted’ but this is a temporary fix for a long term need. Its like a sugar fix when you need complex carbs and a balanced diet. You need spiritual sustenance that builds you up.
I kid you not, I have done this exercise several times. I have turned on the radio in my car and asked my teenaged kids if they could tell me ‘Christian’ or ‘Secular’ as I flipped through the dial. They were often wrong. The sad thing is, it was almost impossible to tell the difference in many cases. But there it is. Soon the whole city was without a means of having wholesome singing. In fact I have had exercises with brethren where we pulled out the hymnal and just read the lyrics to compare them with ‘contemporary Christian music’ so-called. It was a shocking disgrace. It’s was like grape juice compared to watered down Kool-Aid. For real. May as well admit it. We had lost our way and are at risk of losing Christianity.
“The Heaven Function Not the Presence of God”
At the risk of being labeled a heretic I must add that ‘strings’ or the so-called ‘heaven’ function on a keyboard is NOT the presence of God. Often these things are akin to New Age Meditational music, masquerading as God’s presence. When the Holy Spirit truly comes He convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. He don’t come to bring nice fuzzy feelings that don’t challenge our lifestyle. I recall meeting New Agers traveling to be in Benny Hinn’s meetings in 1993 because they had a ‘spiritual feel’ or a ‘mystical feel’ to them. That is not to paint all things of this kind as evil, but we need to know what the presence of God is and is not. If the power goes off and the ‘feeling’ goes away it was not the presence of God. Period. End of discussion. Our God does not need strings to make Himself known. He don’t need a keyboard. You might say, “David played a harp and demons would leave.” This is true, however, David was a man after God’s own heart and it was the worship of the man that drove off the demons. It was God in David, not the instrument. Keep that clear.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:12-14)
I’m sure that some people think that because I reject what is going on today that I’m just some morose spirited guy that is just looking for a reason to gripe. They see me walk in the meetings and walk back out. They hear my comments and say, “There he goes again.” Or better yet, “Don’t mind him, that’s just how he is.” But I want to ask you the reader to consider this passage. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. If you knew you would stand before Jesus Christ in the next 3 seconds would you want to be found in a high state of expectation or in some place of compromise? Do you really know who it is that you will stand before some day? I know we focus a lot on love these days, and maybe even to a fault. But consider the Divine revelation that John saw; And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (Revelation 20:11) The heavens and the earth are going to flee from the face of God into oblivion; because the truth is they can flee but they cannot hide. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. This is not Bambi Jesus. This is the Lamb of God as it had been slain ready to tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God Almighty. If you had and I had a revelation of God as He is we would play far less games than we do, I’m certain of it. We would take this Christian life a lot more seriously. Even as the Rich Man in hell wanted to warn his family, but was told that those on earth have the Word of God- let them hear that. One second into eternity and we hear with our own ears the doorposts tremble, as the Cherubim cry HOLY HOLY HOLY, and our minds are going to sober up as if we drank down an ocean of coffee in a moment of time. Gone will be the foolish ramblings and the cynical attitudes. I’m asking those mine accusers to find me ASAP when we all get before the throne and tell me then that I took Christianity too far. Tell me then that I should have taught young people to have more fun. Tell me then that all this reading the bible and prayer was unnecessary.
The night is far spent, that is to say, shadows are gather and death beds are coming, they are coming for you and for me. This is a picture of the Sun about to arise on this wicked world. No one can stop it just like no one can stop the sun coming up in the morning. We should live as if the Sun were already up and we were already before the Throne of God. The old hymn asks, “why should we linger and heed not His mercy, mercy for you and for me.” We need to put away the watered down Kool-Aid, friends, and get some hymns and sermons with some meat on them. We need to get what we need that will compel us to cast-off the darkness that so many are in love with. It’s Time. It is high time to awake out of sleep- for now our salvation or damnation (which ever we choose) is nearer than we think.