The Light of Men – Part 1 of 2

The Light of Men – Part 1 of 2

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The Light of Men

Text: John 1:4-5  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Jesus Is More Than Awesome

John 1:4-5 tells us that in Jesus was life, and the life in Jesus was the light of men. It also tells us that the life in Jesus shines in darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it.

Jesus was not merely a man. He was not just an angel. He was more than a prophet. He was more than the greatest teacher ever. He did not just teach about God. He did not just teach about truth. He did not just teach about salvation and life. He was in fact, the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

He is THE Teacher of all teachers. He is THE Prophet of all prophets. First Timothy 6:15 refers to Him as “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

He is in fact God, the Creator of all things and the Master of all things. As God, He is the Designer of all things and the Sustainer of all things. Nothing exists without Him. There is nothing He does not know now, in the past, or in the future forever. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is all-encompassing of all things. Nothing is bigger, smarter, faster, or greater than He is. There is nothing that surprises Him. There is nothing new to Him. What is new to us is old news to Him. He is always right. He is never mistaken about anything. He knows the truth about everything.

As we discover more about Jesus, the real Jesus as talked about in the Bible, we experience awe at His greatness and feel the draw of His compelling message, of His inviting promise, and of His accepting love. We are challenged with the obvious question of what does Christ expect of us? What should I do with the message of Christ? The answer is obvious. Accept His message, His promise, and His love; and learn how to live.

Do You Want Only The Best?

Have you ever wondered about the value of your life? Have you ever considered how much effort you make to live? Have you ever taken time to think about what you are willing to do to preserve your life? Have you ever considered the implications of not trusting Jesus, of not trusting His promises? Have ever thought of the implications of not trusting His calling and will for your life?

Choosing Jesus Is Best

If you had a way to know the future about sports, marriage, a career, a family, the stock market and the economy, and health, would you be eager to use that information to your advantage? With such information, you could live without uncertainty about your choices. You could live without the stress and worry about the unknown. You would know the outcome of everything and make the best choices for the best outcomes.

This is what it is like to know Christ and to believe His message. You can’t go wrong doing what He tells you to do. Following Christ means you always know the best choices to make for your life.

Why Some Don’t Trust Jesus

If this be the case, why do so many not run to Christ to find out how to live the best way and to discover what the best decisions are? And for those who profess to be Christians, why do so many live like they don’t trust Jesus? Why do so many say or feel they are afraid of God’s will for their lives?

There are two possible explanations. The first is unbelief. They do not believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. They may say they believe, but they don’t believe God’s will is the best way for them. Jesus addressed this unbelief in Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” They say they believe He is the Lord, but they live like He is not. What they mean to say is they believe in the existence of God, but they do not believe His way is the best way. So they do what they believe is best. Their lives tell the truth about what they really believe.

Some Do Not Believe Jesus

These people may go to church, read their Bible, dabble in a little ministry, and go through the motions of believing in God, but they only do these things as long as it does not interfere with their way. These activities of being Christian appear to be belief in God, but the activities are really just an overlap between what they are willing to do and what God wants them to do.

This kind of Christianity is described in James 2:19. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The devils are not saved, yet they believe and tremble. How is this possible? How is it possible to believe in God and not be saved?

They believe in God because they believe in His existence. But they do not agree with His way. They reject His will and disapprove of His commands. This describes a lot of people who call themselves Christians. They are Christian in name only. They only do what is Christian when they are willing to do it. They do only the commands of God that they approve of. They only do God’s will when His will aligns with their will. This makes them feel good enough about themselves, but they are no better off than the devils. Thinking they believe in God’s existence and doing what they are willing to do deceives them.

Some Doubt Themselves

Second, some do not live in God’s will because they doubt their discernment of God’s will. This is due to immaturity. Hebrews 5:13-14 says, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 

The doubt about God’s will is not doubt in God but in themselves. They wonder if something is really God’s will. This is especially revealed when they have a preference for one choice, but another choice seems more aligned with God’s will. Now they must try harder to discern God’s will due to the interference of personal preference. I’m sure most of us know what this is like. 

Some Choose The Hard Way

Some deliberately choose the path they least desire to resolve this conflict. They confuse pain and difficulty with God’s will. They feel that denying themselves the more pleasurable way is the way of godliness. But determining God’s will is not about what is pleasant or unpleasant. It is about winning souls and making disciples. Jesus did not tell us to pray for whatever we least desire in life. He told us to pray for whatever we desire. This shows that God’s will for your life is not something to fear. Some live hard lives; others do not. Regardless of the path God chooses for you, God’s will is always best. But it is unwise to think that God’s will is determined by always choosing the harder way. This is a clever tactic Satan uses to lead us out of God’s will or to cause us to fear God’s will.

Some Choose God’s Way

The wise way to determine God’s will is to read God’s Word, obey it, and follow the role models of leaders in your church. This will help you grow spiritually and become more discerning of God’s will. Obeying the clear and obvious guidance from God’s Word will exercise your senses and mature your discernment. Here are some obvious commands to begin with.

  • Jesus tells you in Matthew 22:36-38 to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
  • In Matthew 22:39-40, Jesus tells you to love your neighbor as yourself.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 says God’s will is to Study your Bible. 
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says God’s will is to Pray without ceasing. 
  • Ephesians 4:11-16 says God’s will is to Be an active member in the Lord’s church. 

Some Make Mistakes

The immature who faithfully persevere to learn about Christ and to obey Him are in God’s will, regardless of their mistakes. They are traveling on a path that leads to spiritual growth, wisdom, and blessings.

Believing that God’s way is the best way and being committed to doing God’s will does not mean you will always do what is right. Mistakes in discernment happen, especially as you are learning and maturing spiritually. But doing what you know is right keeps you on the path that leads to mature discernment.

Some Are Christian In Name Only

As for the unbelievers, the lost and the Christians in name only, they are on a path of decline. They are not maturing. They do not believe God’s way is best. They do their will rather than God’s will. They are not convinced that God’s will is best for them. Ultimately, they do not believe God really loves them and will take care of them. They are afraid of what He will ask of them. They not only reject God’s will, but they run from it. They choose another way. But any way other than God’s way will always fail to be the best way.

“Christian unbelievers” sounds like an oxymoron. It is a contradiction. They are Christians in name only. Paul referred to such Christians in the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” The term carnal Christian can apply to immature Christians as well as to Christians in name only. But how do you distinguish between the two?

Some Are Carnal Christians

The Apostle Paul could not distinguish between the two. But he did raise the question and exhorted the Corinthians to examine themselves. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul exhorted, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” It is not up to us to judge whether carnal Christians are lost or saved. It is up to the individuals to determine their own relationship with God. They will face God and be judged for their choice to live as carnal Christians or as Christians in name only.

Don’t be surprised if distinguishing between carnal Christians and Christians in name only seems confusing, muddled, and disconcerting. Carnal Christianity is confusing because it is a contradiction. It is hypocritical. On the one hand, carnal Chrisitans claim to believe God, but on the other hand, they live as though they do not.

This hypocrisy and confusion is common and has been a part of the Christian experience from the beginning. To the church at Sardis, Jesus said in Revelation 3:1, “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” The church at Sardis is a great example of how difficult it is to distinguish carnal Christians from Christians in name only. They claimed to be alive, but they were dead. This would lead you to think that they were lost souls who called themselves Chrisitans. They would be Christians in name only. But Jesus called them a church; He referred to them as one of the seven churches; He said He had the pastor in His right hand; and He exhorted the church to strengthen that which remains. This would mean they are carnal Christians. What do you think? More than likely there were both carnal Christians in the church and Christians in name only. Carnal Christians not only lead conflicted lives, they confuse others as well.

The Bible Exhorts All To Do Right

In Romans 6, Paul explains the reason the saved should serve Christ rather than sin. Why is such an exhortation necessary? Because Christians are prone to not believe that God’s way is best and are prone to choose carnality.

First Corinthians 3:11-15 describes the judgment of Christians. Why is there a judgment day for Christians? Because of the choices they make. Most if not all Christians at some point choose their way rather than God’s way. Even Christians who believe God’s way is the right way will reject God’s way at times.

James 2:17 challenges carnal Christians with the statement, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Faith without works is words without action. It is a candle without light. It is a body without breath. Faith without works is understanding God’s will but refusing to do it. This describes many Christians. They are fickle. They believe God’s way is the right way but sometimes choose to do their way. The absence of works makes the claim to know God’s way empty, or dead.

Saying faith without works is dead is an interesting way to state the problem. The implication is that knowing God’s will should compel you to do God’s will. After all, if you believe God’s way is the best way, then it is the only way to go. You can’t do better. Why would you choose to reject the best way? So then, to say you have faith, which is to say you understand God’s will, but you reject it, says that you do not believe God’s way is the best way.

My last example of hypocrisy and confusion being a common part of the Christian experience is found in Ephesians 5. Paul exhorts Christians to live in the light.

He writes in Ephesians 5:1-8, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

The Reason Christians Are Exhorted To Do Right

Why is this exhortation to follow God, to walk in love, to avoid engaging in sin, and to walk in the light necessary? Because Christians struggle with carnality and are prone to follow the flesh rather than the spirit.

Having been saved, we have been delivered from darkness into the light of the Lord. We are now children of light. Therefore, we should live as children of light. We should live as children of life, not of death. We should be a testimony, as was Christ, of hope for everlasting life. Our testimony should be light to the world that there is life in Christ. Our testimony should be that His way is the best way, so much so that it is worth living in His way. It is worth living in God’s will.

Is your life a testimony of light to the world?

Text: John 1:4-5  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Text: John 1:4-5  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

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