Jesus exposed a lot of things that had been in the dark for a long time. He shined the light on the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day. He refused to accept half-hearted devotion to becoming a true follower of God. He called sin “sin” and He extended love and truth with His whole self. But Jesus not only called Himself the light of the world; He passed the responsibility of lighting the world to His Followers.
It’s been said by many wise fathers to their kids that nothing good happens after midnight. The dark is when people get in trouble; it’s when we tend to lose our inhibitions and caution. That’s because we, as humans, were made to live in the light.
If you’ve ever worked the night shift, you know how difficult it is to adjust your internal clock; you have to relearn how to live and even when you do, everything seems opposite of what it should be. That’s because you are going against the natural inclination in you to live and move and work in the light.
Jesus told His followers, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), and of course, He was. But why did He choose the light to compare Himself to? A lot of reasons, but maybe the most important involves the purpose of light.
In that day and time, light wasn’t meant to decorate a house; no one had a lamp sitting around because it looked pretty. Light was about utility and work; it existed in a limited supply and it was important that a person made the most of the time they had while the light was still shining. That’s because in the light, we can truly see, and can know the true nature of what’s before us.
When a lamp is lit in a darkened room, there is immediate clarity there. Without the light, there is mystery, apprehension, and fear; you can’t truly identify where or what anything is. But with light comes revelation – the light reveals the true nature of what is and what is not. It shows you that a chair is not a bed and the monster knocking on the window is really just the rain.
You Might also like
By Randy Steele — 3 weeks ago
The Regulative Principle of Worship has been a part of the worshiping community of the Lord from the beginning. It defines our worship and regulates it to the glory and pleasure of God. Traditionally, the principle identifies elements of worship that should be included in the Church’s offerings whether of the Old Covenant or the New. It guides us so that we might offer the Lord His due…It covers the elements of the ministry of the Word of the Lord, prayer, offerings, music, etc. but might it also address our dress?
It was a few minutes before the start of our worship service and I was trying to personally greet as many people as I could. A young man came in and took a seat. He was a first-time visitor and I especially wanted to speak to him. I found that he had recently moved to our city to take a position as a musician with our local symphony orchestra. What I remember most about him was the way he was dressed. I don’t usually notice such things but his clothing was striking. He was wearing pretty ratty denim shorts, a wrinkled t-shirt and flip flops. I’m sure he was comfortable but I found myself being otherwise. As the morning went along, I realized I was thinking about his clothing a lot and I was becoming more and more…perturbed. I knew he didn’t, he couldn’t, dress that way for an orchestral performance that likely required him to wear a black-tie tuxedo. Why, I thought, would he, then, dress so casually for church? It was as though he intentionally, with forethought, dressed as slovenly as he could for worship. He couldn’t have appeared more discourteous for coming into the presence of the Lord. Why? And why did it bother me so?
The Regulative Principle of Worship has been a part of the worshiping community of the Lord from the beginning. It defines our worship and regulates it to the glory and pleasure of God. Traditionally, the principle identifies elements of worship that should be included in the Church’s offerings whether of the Old Covenant or the New. It guides us so that we might offer the Lord His due. How else could we know how to worship except for God’s own direction and instruction. But how far does such direction go? It covers the elements of the ministry of the Word of the Lord, prayer, offerings, music, etc. but might it also address our dress?
God in His Scriptures tells us what the teaching and preaching of His Word should look like (Matt. 4:17; Acts 15:35; 2 Tim. 2:1-2; 4:1-4). He teaches us how to pray to Him (Matt. 6:5-13; 1 Thess. 5:17-18), directs us how to give to Him (Matt. 6:2-4; 2 Cor. 8:1-5; 9:7), shows, even models for us how to sing His praises (Zeph. 3:17 NIV). He regulates these but does He also regulate how we should be clothed before Him in worship? Spiritually speaking, absolutely!
We can only appear in the presence of God clothed in the righteousness of Christ. This is a cardinal truth of the gospel. Our natural, spiritual condition is one of depravity, guilt and unrighteousness. The Lord, however, dwells in holiness and possesses only purity and righteousness. Never the twain shall meet! But once we are in Christ by repentance and faith through the gospel of Jesus, we’re covered in His righteousness imputed and gifted to us in grace. Notice the language the Bible uses for this. “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10). “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). “…and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:24). Clearly, we cannot enter into the presence of Him whose “eyes are too pure to approve evil [nor] look on wickedness with favor” (Hab. 1:13) without having our sin covered by the righteousness of Christ.
We must be clothed in Him under His gospel. That’s the covering of the soul but what about the covering of the body? Does worship before the Lord affect this covering? Does the Scripture in any way regulate this?
This isn’t even a question often asked within broad evangelicalism but should it be? Isn’t it a bit trivial? Where would we go to even begin to find an answer? Perhaps the worship found in Genesis 4 can give us a starting point.
Brothers Cain and Abel were involved in the first recorded act of worship in the Scripture presumably having been taught this by their father. In verses four and five we’re told that the Lord found Abel’s worship acceptable but not Cain’s. The difference in God’s response surely has to do with the distinction made concerning their respective sacrifices which was indicative of the spiritual condition of their hearts. Cain is said to have brought an offering of the fruit of the ground with no further characterization made about it (v. 3). On the other hand, Abel sacrificed to the Lord from his flock what was designated to be “of the firstlings…and of their fat portions” (v. 4). The “firstlings” is simply the first from the flock; off the top as we could say. The “fat portions” of the sacrifice under the Old Covenant were considered to be the best part of the animal that could be offered as an honor to the Lord (See Gen. 45:18; Lev. 3:14-16; Ezek. 34:3). Abel offered God the first and the best he had. Shouldn’t this truth guide our worship of the Lord even today? How would it work?
On a personal level, I have followed the monthly practice of making the first check I write be our tithe to the church. My wife and I want to give the Lord from the first of His blessings to us right off the top. Is this required? No, but we desire to do it this way from hearts that are thankful to Him. In our congregation some years ago, we changed the Sunday morning schedule from Sunday School first to corporate worship being first. We found that people were a bit tired in worship after spending time in a study class and we wanted to offer the Lord in worship the first and the best of our time. Don’t we all do this naturally in our churches? In worship we use the best musicians from our congregations, we’re led by the elders who can best guide us to honor Christ, we have the best preaching available. But what about how we dress? Shouldn’t we come before the Lord in the best clothing we have?
For me that means a suit and tie; I don’t own anything better so that’s what I wear. Doesn’t dressing in the best we have as we come into the Lord’s presence honor Him and show our respect by following Abel’s example of giving Him our first and best? Then what about my young musician friend? If his clothing that morning in church was the best he had to wear, I would have no problem with it. None. In fact, I would thank God that he had come to worship with the saints spiritually clothed in the righteousness of Christ and physically clothed in his best.
So, does the Bible require us to dress up when we go to church? Not necessarily. But why wouldn’t we?
Dr. Randy L. Steele is a Minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church and serves as Pastor of Providence BPC in Albuquerque, NM.
Charles Darwin is Accused of Stealing Theory of Evolution from Rival Naturalist in History’s Biggest Science FraudBy John Dingwall — 2 years ago
Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘This conclusively shows the theory of evolution was first proposed by Patrick Matthew in 1831, 28 years before Darwin published his own version. There is no good reason for Matthew not to be credited with being the originator of the theory.”
Charles Darwin is credited with transforming the understanding of natural history – but a new book claims to have found evidence that he stole his Theory of Evolution.
Written by an experienced criminologist, it argues there are overwhelming similarities between Darwin’s seminal On The Origin Of Species and an earlier work by a naturalist called Patrick Matthew.
Darwin revolutionised the understanding of the natural world, explaining that, rather than being the result of divine creation, life developed from a common ancestor by gradual evolution.
In 1859, having observed such creatures as the giant Galapagos tortoise, he published On The Origin Of Species, spelling out the theory of a ‘Process of Natural Selection’. However, 28 years earlier Matthew had published On Naval Timber And Arboriculture, which expounded similar findings through his theory of the ‘Natural Process of Selection’.
Dr Mike Sutton, whose book Science Fraud: Darwin’s Plagiarism Of Patrick Matthew’s Theory is published by Curtis next Saturday, said: ‘This is the biggest science fraud in history.’
He highlights similarities between key phrases and explanations and cites letters apparently showing Darwin knew Matthew’s work and covered up his debt to his rival.
In one, Darwin’s wife admitted to Matthew that evolution was his ‘original child’, but her husband had nurtured it ‘like his own’.
By Ron Henzel — 2 years ago
Our culture is telling us that it’s “okay to be gay,” and that virtually every kind of “sexual orientation” should be affirmed. It’s telling us that “gayness” is unalterable, except perhaps when it’s not because of “gender fluidity,” and it’s increasingly hostile to “heteronormativity.” By now, it should be clear to anyone who takes the Bible and Christianity seriously, the real issue is, to flip the terms in Niebuhr’s first category, “Culture Against Christ.”
[Note: This article is Part 1 of a projected series.]
Currently, a battle is being waged for the soul of my home denomination. In the theologically conservative Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the question is being asked: What did Paul mean when he wrote, “such were some of you,” and how should we apply it in the life of the church?”
On one side are those who say, “This truth must govern how we both think and speak about ourselves. We are no longer ‘sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers.’ True, those were things that dominated the cores of our beings before we came to Christ. They were even things that people called us. So, they became de facto names for us—i.e., how people identified us. But they are no longer who we are. It was who we were but is not who we are, and we should no longer identify ourselves by any of those terms.” (1 Cor. 6:9-10 ESV)
On the other side are those who say, “Wait a minute! We still struggle with these things. The temptations have not gone away. We doubt they ever will. So, we think we should speak as if we still are those things—as if they identify us. And besides, we want to communicate the Gospel to our culture in a winsome and welcoming way. We want to be like Jesus, and didn’t He identify with sinners? So, why can’t Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction while remaining celibate refer to themselves as ‘gay Christians?’”
These are the two sides in the battle or at least the two most vocal ones. I hope I’ve represented them accurately. If not, I’m sure someone will let me know.
Perhaps at one time, this was a cordial debate or even a minor fraternal squabble. It seems those days are now past us. I will spare you the details, but on various fields, the calls have gone out, the troops have been marshaled, and the battle has been joined.
“Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words?”1
One of the first objections many conservative believers raise in response to the idea of anyone identifying as a “gay Christian” is, “We don’t allow people to identify as ‘adulterous Christians,’2 so why in the world would we let them identify as ‘gay Christians?’ Why would believers think they can make sin part of their Christian identity?”
Those who raise this objection would say 1 Cor. 6:9-10 teaches that all Christians who came to Christ out of homosexuality are fundamentally “ex-gay,” just as all who came to Christ out of a pattern of adulterous behavior are “ex-adulterers.” As Al Mohler put it, “The larger problem is the idea that any believer can claim identity with a pattern of sexual attraction that is itself sinful.”3 Regardless of how much we continue to struggle with temptation, our union with Christ is what identifies us now and that union entails a decisive break with sin—a past-tense crucifixion of it, in fact: “…those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24, ESV, italics added, cf. Rom. 6:6.) Those things no longer represent us.
As we might have expected, comparing “gay Christian” to “adulterous Christian” has generated pushback from the other side. One “LGBTQ Christian leader,” wrote, “Please, please, please don’t use this analogy. I know what you mean, but this one really ticks gay people off, and it gets you nowhere.”4
“Us and Them,” song by Richard Wright and Roger Waters, from Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd, 1973.
Examples could be multiplied here: “promiscuous Christians,” “pedophile Christians,” “drunkard Christians,” “thieving Christian,” “murderous Christian,” and so on.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., “Torn Between Two Cultures? Revoice, LGBT Identity, and Biblical Christianity,” August 2, 2018, https://albertmohler.com/2018/08/02/torn-two-cultures-revoice-lgbt-identity-biblical-christianity.
Justin Lee, “Questions from Christians #5: ‘Isn’t calling yourself a gay Christian like calling yourself an adulterous Christian?’” August 5, 2013, Geeky Justin, https://geekyjustin.com/questions-from-christians-5-isnt-calling-yourself-a-gay-christian-like-calling-yourself-an-adulterous-christian/.