REMAIN IN THE LIGHT
By Lay Pastor Budy Avianto
Lemah Putro, Sunday, November 11, 2018
Are we aware of the fact that we were once darkness but now light in God (Ephesians 5: 8). In other words, light outside of God is not true light. As children of light, we do not partake in any practices of darkness that bring forth nothing. Instead, we should expose those practices (v. 11).
Please note that sinful acts result in nothing but lead to death since the wage of sin is death (Romans 6: 23). The flesh may take pleasure in the joy and comfort of the world. But all these do not last long and will find their way to hell. The point is: Once in the light, never ever turn around and go back to darkness – after obeying the Word, do not live in the old, lustful lifestyles.
Where does darkness come from? It comes from the principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6: 12). Obviously, we have nothing to do with blood and flesh but with something invisible, penetrating our minds, feelings and will with such great power.
Where does light come from? God is light (1 John 1: 5).
Where is man’s position? The Triune God created man according to His image and likeness (Genesis 1: 27). This means that man was created in light but fell into sin and was cast out of the Garden of Eden after they got persuaded by and listened to the serpent that twisted God’s command (Genesis 3). Stay on guard because the power of darkness is still working as the mastermind, the devil, is sill at large and has not been cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20: 10).
However, God does not want man, His creation, to live in the darkness of sin (Ephesians 2: 1-2) and eventually perish. With His great love, He raised us from the dead (vv. 4-5) by sacrificing His only Son who died on the cross. Because of His mercy, we were saved by faith (v. 8).
The question is: Do we believe that Jesus died on the cross to bear the curse of our sins? If so, we do not need to die from God’s wrath. On the contrary, we will receive salvation. President can grant pardon to a person awarded death sentence without having to know each other personally. It is way far different from God’s forgiveness to sinful man. His Son bore the curse of death in man’s place. Jesus was crucified so that we may have life. If we understand this, we can realize how priceless our salvation is – as priceless as the blood of the flawless Lamb of God.
Following our salvation, what is next? Doing good works that God has prepared beforehand so that we may walk in them (Ephesians 2: 10) and become imitators of God (Ephesians 5: 1). So, do not listen to the whispers of evil spirits. Rather, imitate God, the Creator.
How do we imitate Him? Because we did not join Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry along with His disciples, we can imitate Him through the Word – the living bread coming down from heaven
(John 6: 48, 50). Even the Word itself is God (John 1: 1). If we take pleasure in reading and pondering on the Word of Christ, we will have faith to practice it.
The question is: May we imitate servants of God? Without hesitation, the Apostle Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11: 1). This implies that as long as Paul said and did things in line with God’s Word, we may imitate him.
We may model ourselves after a servant of God who follows in God’s footsteps. But how do we know that the servant of God patterns himself after God? For this reason, we have to diligently as well as carefully read the Bible. Then we can find out whether or not the servant of God speaks, acts and preaches according to God’s will instead of man’s thoughts, cultures or traditions. That’s what the believers in Berea did (Acts 17: 11). Remember that servants of God are not immune to the temptations of evil spirits, roaming around and ready to “devour” them.
What is the will of God? He wants all people to be saved (Matthew 18: 14) in Jesus who died and rose from the dead to be our model. It is crystal clear that He died to redeem us from our sins.
When catching a woman red-handed committing adultery, the Pharisees and the Law Experts took the woman to the Lord Jesus. They knew that stoning was awaiting the woman. Wisely, Jesus challenged anyone who had never committed sin to stone the woman. Beginning with the eldest, they went out one by one. This means that they were all sinners. They turned their backs on light since they loved darkness rather than light (John 3: 19). Jesus was left alone with the woman. Then he said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8: 1-11). Jesus did not condemn but pardon the woman as He gave her a chance to repent and eventually receive salvation.
Let’s not judge others by their mistakes. Instead, we are to introspect ourselves. Are we better than they are (Romans 2: 1)?
How do we live in the light?
We do not take part in the works of darkness; instead, we expose them (Ephesians 5: 11).
God is light (1 John 1: 5) and Jesus is the light of the world (John 8: 12). Let’s model ourselves after Him who is light. That way, we, who were once darkness, may obtain the grace of salvation to walk in the light like Him who is light. In doing so, we may become the light of the world. We should not cover our light, but let it shine on our families and reach out to others through our works so that our heavenly Father will be glorified (Matthew 5: 14-16). The seven churches ( the Golden Lampstand) in Asia Minor also lived in the light (Revelation 1: 20).
Prior to His ascension, Jesus gave His great mandate to His disciples to be His witnesses (testifying that Jesus is the light of the world) in Jerusalem, across Yudea and Samaria, and worldwide (Acts 1:8). To begin with, they had to be light before they brought their light to the world.
In the Tabernacle, the Golden Lampstand was the only object that gave light in the Holy Place. This Lamspstand was made of a talent of pure gold modeld through the processes of heating and hammering until the beautiful object took shape (Exodus 37: 17, 24). On top of the Lampstand were seven lamps filled with oil from pressed olive (Exodus 27: 20). To keep the lamps burning continually, Aaron and his sons arranged them from evening to morning (v. 21) by trimming the wicks and adding olive oil. That way, the light would spread evenly and the lamps would not run out of oil.
Like a lamb, Jesus was lead to a slaughtering block to be “burnt.” Yet, he did not open His mouth. He did it for the sake of our salvation. Because of His stripes, we were healed (Isaiah 53: 3-7). Humanly speaking, He was scared of the impending suffering without doubt, but He surrendered it all to His Father’s will (Matthew 26: 38-39). God the Father desired to crush His only Son to be light (Isaiah 53: 10-11). On the cross, He terminated all our rebellion and sins with His last words, “It is finished” (John 19: 30).
To look beautiful (like the Golden Lampstand) is not enough. We are to be light for our family members in the first place before we bring our light out there. Our spouse and children experience our light through our words and actions first before our neighbors, school friends, colleagues, fellow church members and communities do.
The process to be light takes place through the “hammering” by the Word of God. It can be some advice, warnings or reprimands. Let’s not get it wrong and turn the Word down when it sounds harsh. Instead, let’s welcome it with an open heart and repent for our own sake. When it comes to hammerings of despise and horrible agony all the way to His death on the cross to bear our sins, Jesus is our spotless model.
We don’t live like the foolish but like the wise (Ephesians 5: 15).
Realizing how priceless our salvation is (as priceless as the blood /life of the Lamb of God), we must maintain our salvation with great care. With this in mind, we will live as the wise men, not like the fools. One will make a blunder if they are in the light but turn back to darkness because they prefer to listen to the voices of the rulers in the air and evil spirits.
We make good use of the time we have, knowing that these days are evil (v. 16).
We do not know what is yet to come from minute to minute. Therefore, let’s use our time wisely. Every breath we take is a valuable grace of God that we must benefit from because His coming is drawing nearer and nearer. The evil spirits also know that their condemnation is getting closer and closer. That’s why they are doing their best to deceive as many people as possible, including those walking in the light so that they will give in to the desires of the flesh again like before.
We understand the will of God and are filled with the Spirit instead of being drunk with wine that arouses lustful desires (Ephesians 5: 17-18).
The Lampstand burns because of the flame and the pure olive oil. Our light shines thanks to the flame of the Holy Spirit and the annointing oil of the Holy Spirit. In this way, we live / walk in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5: 16). And the Holy Spirit guides us (v. 18).
The Golden Lampstand is the only object that shines on the Table of Shewbread and the Altar of Incense. The Holy Spirit helps and shines on us when we read the Word of God so that we can understand God’s will since the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16: 3).
If we love Jesus, we will carry out all His commands. He asked the Father to give us a Helper, namely, the Spirit of the truth. But the world rejected Him because they did not know Him (John 14: 15-17).
We love God not in words but in actions. We do what He says because faith without actions is dead (James 2: 17, 26).
The Holy Spirit lives in our hearts. When we obey His Word, our lives will be sanctified until we are found without blemish before Him. Like the Lampstand that keeps burning throughout the night, sanctification never stops since these days are evil and dark. Therefore, never grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4: 30) who teaches and reminds us of everything that Jesus has said (John 14: 23, 26).
Speak in psalms, hymns, and always give thanks in the name of the Lord (Ephesians 5: 19-21).
The Lampstand also gives light to the Altar of Incense. Everyone must know how to pray in worship. Do we give thanks because He bore our sins? Do our worship prayers smell sweet like incense before God the Father and please Him? Do we pray and worship in the Spirit and truth? Or, do we pray for requests and our daily needs? The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. God searches the hearts and knows what the mind of the Spirit is (Romans 8: 26-27).
The Lord still provides time and gives us a chance to obtain salvation. Let’s give ourselves to be “hammered” until we are found holy without blemish before Him. Like Him who is light, we are the light of the world. We are first the light of our families. Then we give light to our communities, shining brighter throughout the cities and across the provinces until our light reaches the whole wide world. Amen.