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Thistletown Baptist Church
February 8, 2009

Luke 11:33-36 – “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. [34] Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. [35] Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. [36] If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

I Introduction

We continue working our way up to our Missions Conference by focussing our attention on a few texts of Scripture that speak about the concept of “light”. The theme of our conference this year is “Let Your Light Shine” and we are simply preparing ourselves for the conference with this emphasis on light.

This morning we celebrated the baptism of two people. The only requirement for baptism in the Bible is a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That means that all that is required for someone to be baptized is that they are trusting Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. Before Samantha and Colleen were baptised we insisted that they both take baptism classes. When the classes were done they had to write out a testimony of how they came to know the Lord. They had to read the church covenant and doctrinal statement of the church and agree to them both. After that they had to meet with an elder and one other church leader to be interviewed to see if they were ready for baptism. Why all this if all that is required to be baptized is to trust Christ? We want to make sure that they are sure of what they are doing and that they are really ready. Are they deceiving themselves? Do they want to be baptized for the wrong reasons? (A sense of belonging, to be saved, so they can take communion, because it would make mom and dad happy, make my friends happy …) Do they think that they are Christians when in fact they are not? Do they have light that is dark?

What we made Colleen and Samantha do is the requirement for everyone who asks to be baptized into the membership of this church. And after all that we still have seen people baptized who proved by their behaviour that they were not really Christians at all.

II Jesus’ Warning

We find ourselves in Luke 11:33-36 this morning and we are considering what it means to be a real believer in Jesus Christ.

Luke 11:33-36
The purpose of light – 33…
Healthy light – 34 …
Unhealthy light – 34 …
Warning about dark light – 35 …
The Blessing of healthy light – 36 …

In verse 35 Jesus uses an illustration that simply does not make any sense. “Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.” How can light be dark? Light cannot be dark. If there is light, the darkness disappears. He does a similar thing when He says in Matthew 5 that if the “salt loses its saltiness…” Salt cannot lose its saltiness. Salt minus the saltiness is air.

Jesus is talking about self deception. This also is a popular theme of his teaching – see Matthew 7:21-23, 23:15, 25:1-13; Luke 18:9-14; (note John 2:23f).

Light is darkness when it is not light at all. What Jesus is talking about here is people who think that they are believers when in fact they are not. People who think that they are in good with God when in fact they are not. People who are sure that God is pleased with them when in fact He is not. People who are sure thay will spend eternity in the bliss of the presence of God when in fact they will not.

And dear ones – the point of the message this morning is for you to know for sure that you are one of God’s children through faith in Jesus Christ and not one who has light that is dark. The worst kind of deception is self-deception and I want no one to leave here this morning in a state of self deception.

III Dark Light

What does light that is really darkness look like?

1) Adding to grace – Mt. 7:21-23
“I’ve been going to church all my life …”
I sing in the choir, I teach Sunday School,
I know the Bible stories
I was raised in a Baptist Church
My father was a deacon/pastor/S.S. teacher
My mother made us get up every Sunday … .
“I was baptized in cold water…”
“I was raised to know right from wrong…”
“I’ve been good all my life. I don’t steal, I don’t drink, I don’t gamble …”
“I walked the aisle, I signed a card” – Of course I’m saved oh don’t you see, I walked the aisle in ‘93, signed the card and raised my hand, so now I’m headed for the promised land. I bought a Bible, it was big and red. Couldn’t understand a thing it said, but I underline it when I go to bed, so I am sure I have nothing to dread.”
This is Pharisaism. It is self righteousness. It is not trusting Christ at all. It is trusting oneself. I have been told every one of those things and more, mostly by people who have come to this church.

Dear one – who are you trusting? What is it that has all your hope? You? That ain’t good enough. Your works? The Bible specifically says that can’t do it. …

2)Holding on to a Jesus that is different from the One presented to us in the Bible – John 20:31

A Jesus who is not the eternal Son of God
A Jesus who is a good moral teacher
A Jesus who died as an example for sinners but not as a punishment for sin
A Jesus who thinks you are fine just the way you are
A Jesus who has no demands and does not care about how you live
A Jesus who lets you decide what it means to love Him
Dear one – is this you? You have put your faith in a Jesus who does not exist? If I told you that Jesus is a plumber living on Davenport Road would you put your faith in him? Of course not. But why then will you trust a Jesus that is different from the One portrayed in the Bible? (Tom Harpur trusts in a Jesus that he believes never existed!) Jesus said – John 17:3 and you don’t know someone if all your facts are wrong … .

3)Belief that is not demonstrated by a changed life – II Corinthians 5:17

The story is told of D.L. Moody walking along with a friend who pointed out to him a man drunk on the street. “Isn’t that one of your converts?” the friend asked. And Moody replied “It must be. It can’t be the Lord’s”.
Still chasing after money. Still want a spouse more than they want Christ.
Couples claiming to be Christian who can live together as man and wife and not be stricken with conviction that this is sin.
People who compare themselves to mass murders and then convince themselves that they aren’t so bad after all.
People who serve in church for years and who know, deep down in their hearts that they do not have what is being preached about and sung about and enjoyed by others but who convince themselves that they did after all get baptized … .
People who heard a Gospel absent of teaching about sin and came to Christ to get fulfilled, or a sense of happiness or to end the loneliness … .
People who do steal and sleep around and live for themselves … .
Dear one, the Apostle Paul was a preacher and when he was giving his testimony before Herod Agrippa in Acts 26, he said Acts 26:19-20. Hear Romans 6:1-4 …

4)Self confidence

Never a doubt that they may be wrong. Never wonder if Christ is truly theirs or if Jesus ever gets unhappy with them. They may acknowledge that they aren’t all they should be, but “Jesus understands. He won’t hold it against me …”
Dear ones, note well the opening words of verse 35 “Be careful”
We have just spent an entire year memorizing verses that warn us about guarding our hearts.
Heb. 3:12f, Jude
5)No conviction of sin
To be able to sin and not be bothered by it is a sure testimony that someone does not know the Lord. Hear Paul in Romans 7:18-25.
“It’s no big deal”
“Everybody makes mistakes” (They are never sins are they? People talk about their mistakes, their shortcomings, their faults, their failures, … but never their sins …)
“At least I’m not a murderer…”

6) Then there are those who think they are such big sinners that God can’t/won’t save them. This isn’t exactly people who think they have the light but it is worth mentioning. …

7) Jesus benefits me
People who like the fellowship of a church
People who believe the lie that Jesus will make them rich and/or healthy
People who make a profession of faith and find a welcome, concern, help, … Who doesn’t want that in a cold and friendless life?
People who know they are on their way to heaven because they got the job. The blood work showed that there was no cancer.
People who have been promised inner peace but were not told about repentance form sin. So they pray to Jesus and find some kind of warmth coming from that and testify that they know the Lord.
And some of you will leave here this morning confident of heaven, of being in tight with God Himself,
not knowing that one day He will say to you “Depart from Me you accursed – I never knew you.”
Dear one listen. Don’t count your favourable circumstances as evidence of Jesus living in you. It could mean that God has given up on you. …

8) Jesus doesn’t benefit me much
People who have so much trouble they just know that it is because Jesus is testing them.
Dear ones; Christians aren’t the only ones to have trouble. The Christian life brings much trouble. The vast majority of the church in the world today is hungry, abused, persecuted, homeless, naked … . But the troubles they have are not proof that they are saved. How they respond to it may be a proof they are saved. But know this – in the Sudan there is great persecution of Christians. And there is great persecution of Animists – those who worship nature. In Serbia in the nineties there was great persecution against Muslims.

Dear one. Are you looking at all the troubles in your life and concluding that since the Bible talks about trouble for the righteous that you must be righteous? Are you clinging to some hope that even though it is rough now it will be better for you in eternity? Having it rough here is not what gives you eternal peace and safety. Clinging to Christ is what you must do. You turn from sin and trust Him to do for you what you cannot do for yourself – pay for your sins.

IV Is Your Light Dark?

“Ken, all these things that you mention – they make me doubt”. My goal is not to make you doubt. But it is to make sure you have the real stuff. I would rather have you doubt now and find that you got right with God than for you to have no doubts now and hear God cast you aside when you stand before Him on the great day of judgement.

Dear one – are you trusting Christ? Are you trusting in dark light?

He lived a sinless life – that is what God requires of you and you don’t do it

He paid the penalty for sin – that is what you deserve and if you look anywhere but Christ it is what you will receive.

He rose from the dead – that is God’s act of approval, saying that what Jesus has done is completed and death itself is defeated – you will not rise form the dead to life eternal if your hope and trust is not in the living Christ who now reigns over all things.

He offers Himself to you – you must hear His call and respond by leaving behind your sin and trusting Jesus to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Come to Christ – now.