5th November 2023

The Light Beyond Sight

Passage: Genesis 1:1-3, Isaiah 8:19-22
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

In the last few decades, I've been thinking to myself that a lot of the movies that they put on seem to have less and less appeal to me. I don't know whether that's because I'm growing older, not enough guns. No, no, I'm joking, in the movies. But there was one that's come out just this year, 2023, set in World War II. And it's on the subject of light. And so, because I knew this service was coming up and I wanted to talk on Jesus' words, I am the light of the world, on his beatitude that says that we are to be the light of the world. Therefore, it might be something relevant in the film. So I watched it. And it was terrific, actually. It was about a French girl who was blind and couldn't see. She had a father who made, in the house where they lived in Paris, a little model of the town and all the various houses. And he would teach her how to feel the way around to the museum where he worked, I think, and where she could learn the way to go. Though she was blind, she could learn the way to where he worked. And the storyline of the film was about the fact that she was blind. That light is more than just physical light. And you may lose the capacity to use your eyes, but there is still something in light, metaphorically, that is very important. And her father taught her that she could understand the way, even though she couldn't see. Anyway, the film goes on. I'm not going to tell you a lot of it, but basically it's a storyline of how there's a German fighter, a soldier in the army, a young man, who's a bit of a genius with electronics. And he's recruited to be an expert in using the radio. And he's given special training. And the storyline is about how he meets her. So it does have a romance in it. But there's something in him that he is taught all the wisdom of the soldier, and in the special training he got. Because after World War I, the Germans being defeated, they actually developed some different battle techniques. And some of them were the use of their dive bombers, the Stukas. Some of it was to do with the use of speed, of racing into battle before the enemy worked out what you were doing. And the third one was that they had crack legions of soldiers who were trained how to go quickly. And act suddenly. And part of the training that they did with him was how they make them climb up high and fall on some, jump on something, and had to do it immediately without thinking. And the sergeant would be calling out, don't think, just act. And the general philosophy that was given to these soldiers that they were people of action. And this young man being someone trained in thinking, as he looked to see what was the light, politically, not physically, but mentally, about the philosophy with which the Third Reich were being trained, he looked and saw a blindness. She was a girl. You couldn't see. But there was a philosopher, a scientist, I think it was, who had a shortwave radio program. I don't know whether you remember. I certainly do. To the days where there were shortwave radios people had in their backyards. And I remember the crystal set coming in and listening to radio programs and just the joy of the access to something more than you usually got. It's all before the days of the crystal sets. Anyway, this program was put out by another person, a man who was a physicist. And he described all the world and its physical make-up. And she, the blind girl, listened in. And through his descriptions, she was being able to see the beauties of the world. Now the film was about that there's more to sight than just what your eyes see. It's about the fact that there's something more to be seen. And the title of the film, it's one of those titles you could pretty well forget. And, um, and it is light the opposite of darkness. No, it is light and darkness. And the film is called All the Light You Cannot See. All the Light You Cannot See. Because even if you might be blind, there is something to be seen. And of course the film is about the beauties of the world. It's about the philosophies of life. It's talking about things that are not physical, but they're more in the realm of existence, but not necessarily something with your eyes to see. But it's also what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that this world is made up of more things than just the ones that can be analysed by the professors at university. This world is made up by more than all the principles of education. And there's more than the learning to be done, that is good learning. And by the way, I think it's rather darkness. If you plunge a nation into not being educated, that's a terrible thing. But, um, but nonetheless, there's a deeper sense of light and darkness that the Bible talks about. And it might come as a bit of a news to you. Let's put up Genesis 1 verse 2, news to you about where darkness has come from. For although we know that darkness is the absence of light, nonetheless, the darkness was something God made. And the first existence of the earth was when it was without form and void. Darkness was over the face of the deep. Now this is not a negative scenario of evil. This is the absence of there yet being the six days of creation, which I believe in, by the way. Before that has happened, there is a scenario where there is form, a formlessness and a void without form and void. And then it says the spirit of God was hovering. It's the same word in the Hebrew as if a big eagle were hovering over its nest protection. The spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And these are the waters that are yet to see. The coming together of all the things that God created. But notice that God is in control even of the darkness. Even of the darkness. Though there is something in the use of the word darkness that also talks about the fear of evil. Now my ancestors are Scottish, some of them. I've got Welsh and French and English. So I'm a bit of a bitzer. I guess. But Scottish is a big part of it. And I've always thought the word Scotland. What did it stand for? Well, those bagpipes that sound like cats getting trod on. And those, you know, men wearing kilts and feeling very cold. Exceptions to things that you see. It's a culture that I knew was the Scottish way of. About Scotland to like. Actually the very word. For the ancient languages, it's Greek. It's a good word for some Scottish people. Because it's a land of darkness. How far north it is. There's a particular make up of Scotland. Where the morning sun is hidden because it's in the way. So they seem to have even more hours of. They should. No wonder they got the name Scotland. But it's a bit of a. It's a. It's a. But darkness also had, especially in English history and Scottish history, a meaning which is something rather sad. It's something that is objectively got peril in it. And walking around in the night is something that people were fearful of. Objective. Subjective anxiety. It's got mint and people exhibited it. I learned about that when going west teaching amongst the Aborigines in western Queensland and in the town I was in I was the only person who walked around at night without a big light. They didn't have street lights, they had those carbide lights. It gets in on some chemical and it makes the gas that you can see the light. Those people all would walk around at night without a big light. Why did they so do it? Because they were the spirit men who came and if they pointed the bone you died. Why did you die? They didn't have to see you. It was something demonic something that the fear of the Bible says the fear of death hangs over all of us all our lives death that is I was going to say normal but it's not normal is experienced by in the depths of every person who does not know Christ because spiritual darkness fear of death is what you lose when you come to Christ I learned that as a young youth pastor down at Wynnum I was in the Baptist church at Wynnum this family who were, I thought they were gypsies, they probably were they lived in the caravan and they looked like gypsies doing the TV and they came to me and the daughter was in those young puberty years and she had some terrible fears that came at night time and the gulls that appeared in her vision what brought that bondage over that family? it came to me I didn't know what to do except that I knew the gospel so I told them about Jesus and how He took on death and He bore our sins and I explained to the girl that she could know the forgiveness of sins and lose the fear of death if she trusted in Jesus as her personal both little saviour, which he did, and subsequently telling me the mother and daughter had those nightmares. Darkness and death have a spiritual side to it, and that spiritual side we get access to knowledge about through the word of God, which is basically, I'm talking about the Bible, of course, but I'm talking about it being what it is, the word of God, and it has a spiritual potency, and all through its pages it speaks about the power of this word of God. Let's go and see a verse in Isaiah that talks about the word of God, and it talks about this in Isaiah 8. The teaching unto the testimony, now that is the scriptures, the teaching. The teaching of the word of God, and it's testifying. It's not just teaching, here's some things to know. It's teaching of God speaking. The word of God is the power of God, and it's like a sword with two edges to it, sharper than that two-edged sword, dividing asunder of where the soul and the spirit and the joints and the marrow meet. It goes to the very centre of your body, but if you don't know what it is, it's the outer part of your body. Eternal God, not to be trifled with, it's not to be argued with, it's for you to listen. If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. I have to confess, I didn't know what that meant when I found this verse, so I was looking it up, but it's the idea that morning, rid of the darkness, and you have a bad night, and you're waiting. I don't know whether you've ever been a person that you'd be sick at night time, it's awful. And you're waiting, and when the sun comes up, there's some sort of relief, you know, it's a dawn that dismisses the darkness. People who have not come together with God, people who have yet no hope, the Bible describes them as having no hope lost in the world. Well, that is to have no hope, and there are people who are born with no hope. There are people who are born with no hope, and there are people who are born with no hope, and there are people who are born with no hope, and never come to know God, and their life's journey is described as having no hope. There never is a moment to wake up and it's okay. That's what that means, and those who speak according to the word, who will not speak according to the word, the people who get expertise, and they have big time deal explainers of things, but they don't do it according to what God says. They have no dawn. They never woke up. They're just human ideas, and so all of the wisdom of the ancient world, of all that it had to say, the Bible makes a summation about the wisdom of the Greeks. It says, by wisdom they did not know God. No dawn. Never to come to know the Savior. What would it be like if you went through all your life and you're waiting for the moment of explanation for what made things as they were, and you never get it, and you get to be the old folks home, and you die and never had a dawn. What a tragedy. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry, and when they're hungry, they will be enraged and speak contemptuously against their king and their God. That's human, sinful human, I might say, but reactions we all have when we're not satisfied, and so you speak badly about the management, or you go on strike against the government or whatever. They have their faults anyway, but that's what people do. Again, they don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. They don't know God. You know, that's what people do against God. If they reject his word, they reject everything. They go through life, and they never find a dawn. When they're hungry, they're enraged, and they speak contemptuously against their king and their God. Anybody here been like that? They turn their faces upward. Could've said turn their noses upward, and they will look to the earth. But behold, distress. And torment.、 darkness and gloom and anguish and they'll be thrust into thick darkness at the end of it all now we're living in a desperate need for what jesus is what jesus has done the victory he's brought about under the leadership of the father as he came into the world with a mission to deal with the fact of sin that we'd all been a part of he came to redeem us and he went and took on our sins having lived a perfect life having passed all the tests he then took that perfect personage to a cross where all the sinful punishment for our sinfulness was placed on him you the bible says not just that he bore the feelings of sin not just that he bore the punishment of sin which he did but it says he bore our sin the ugliness of evil the wreckage that darkness brings one verse of jesus who i believe was being a perfect man someone very wonderfully beautiful but on the cross his visage and the appearance is so marred there is to be beyond recognition well that's what jesus did to redeem you and me and he took on the darkness of the spiritual world in those three hours of his suffering our sins there came an uncanny blackness over the scene. People have tried to calculate whether there was an eclipse but that didn't fit in with the history of things. It was a spiritual darkness that Jesus experienced as he bore our sins. And the wrath of God and all the rebellion of all mankind and all the sins that are done and to be done fell on him. He cried, my God, my God, how thou hast forsaken me or why have you forsaken me? Jesus bearing your darkness so that you don't have to, so that you can get forgiven, so that his light can shine in you. And one of the beautiful things about the exposition about life and darkness is that Jesus said, I am. The light. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. What a fantastic thing. Now, the point that I'm driving toward and I'm steering in the direction of, I hope I'm getting there, is that we as Christians, once we have come to Christ, have received the capacity to grow in being able. To spot the light. In being able to see the light in things. It's actually something that's intuitive that you get when you're converted, but it grows. The more you read these scriptures, the teaching and the testimony, the more you let God's word Christianize your subconscious, the more you see with eyes that are seeing through his perspective, the more you realise the light that you have that being a Christian has brought. And this light, the light that you have, allows you to discern and to see. Now, the name of the film that really caught my attention, staggered me, actually. All the Light We Cannot See. And a part of the development of its plot was that the girl, the French girl, has dangerous moments once she's in a place where there's an underground stream running and she's hiding away from, from a German soldier that's chasing her and he catches her. There's a few lights around and he's trying to drown her, but something knocks the lights out. I'm not sure where the bomb fell or what. I didn't quite follow that bit, but in the darkness, she escapes him. And there's something significant in any given moment if you were to suddenly see that there's no light. Especially when you're a Christian. I'll give you an illustration. You've already realised I like going to films. I've walked out of lots of films I didn't think were right for me to watch, but I still like going to films. I've noticed something on one occasion when there was a blackout. Suddenly there was one very important person who was the important person when it was all black. Who was the important person when it was all black. And everybody's sitting there not knowing what's going to happen. A little girl who's got a torch. And when there's blackness everywhere, my goodness, the light stands out. And when Jesus said, you are the light of the world, the light is actually him and him in our lives and the things that he's led us to. But we suddenly become like that little girl. Well, we are the light of the world. That's what he's talking about because when there's darkness, light becomes very obvious when it's present or when it's absent. Now, in Christian groups like a church, whenever you go on holidays and you go to another church, I do this. I rather like going to other churches and seeing what goes on. But immediately I'm in another church. And there's something that stands out to me. You're listening. And it's sad that many of them have no light. No light. There's Christian things that go. There are hymns that are sung. There's people doing things. Sometimes sermons given. It doesn't take long though to discern. It doesn't take long though to discern. Whether you're listening to the truth that's got the light in it. When I went to theological college here in Brisbane, they had too many students and they had to use the common rooms where you're meant to be for us to socialise in to have extra beds. And I was, because I was the principal's son, I had to suffer the worst thing. And I had a mattress in the common room. Three of us had to not have a room. We had to have a room of our own. The fellow I had to sleep next to in those things, Tony was his name. He won't mind my giving his testimony of it. But he'd been a total outsider knowing nothing about Christian things. Becoming hungry spiritually. And he saw an advertisement for what was called a Christian science room where they had books you could read. And he was interested in truth and didn't want to be unscientific. So he went along and he kept reading things. He didn't think much of when people talked or gave talks. He didn't think much of their doctrine but he kept reading, reading. And he actually came to God in the Christian science room. And he stayed going there because he'd found God not so much through what they said. As a matter of fact, he told me that as he kept going there, he realised that they had no light. And because he'd become a Christian, he'd gotten the capacity to discern. It grew. He actually became someone rather discerning. As he went to college, the more he learned from the scriptures, the more he had eyes to see. And he just saw the group that he'd come to God in nonetheless had no light. I was glad for having learned that from him because after I left college and went overseas in the studies that I got led to do, I went to immediately two different institutions. One was one with lots of doctrines. And they had the idea that truth will be known by an intellectual process of reading all the scriptures and weighing up the doctrines. And your head will lead you to the truth. But strangely enough, I saw a lot of things there that had no light. Then I went to another one. And it was by accident. I mean, I didn't intend to do two master's degrees. I got one from the first in theology and the second one I did in the New Testament. I went there because I had no money. And I'd been at a conference and someone put $50 under the door. They knew I had no money to go anywhere after it. And $50 got me to Chicago. And I knew about the Billy Graham organisation having their museum in Wheaton Grad School. And I wanted to see that. And when I was there, then I had nowhere to live. So I went and booked myself in as a student because you have to pay the bill later. And I got a meal ticket. And they had really good meals too. Chocolate and anyway, I won't go into that. And there I was up there. And very interestingly, their attitude was very different from the first place I went. The first place, all the professors had to have the same doctrines. And they all had certain very strong doctrines. Very strict beliefs. I didn't find many of the beliefs wrong, I have to tell you. But somehow or other, their scheme of things to get a unity was to have you all believing the same things. The second place, they had various professors with different slants on things. And I remember finding this out and thinking to myself, what if they all argue? Because theological people argue a lot. And when they all think they're right. But they have one extra thing to having a decision that they wouldn't just have one style of things. The extra thing is that all the professors they chose were people who loved the gospel the same. And they made the belief in the gospel message, which is the central core of the New Testament, to be that which you have to have to get in the door. It didn't matter if you were charismatic. It didn't matter if you were reformed. And it didn't matter if you were dispensational or if you were something else. But if you love the gospel, that worked out with the students as well, because there was a bloke who was a Seventh-day Adventist who had a room near where mine was. And he loved people coming to Christ and the gospel. In fact, he found out I was going around as a preacher. He came with me to help. And he didn't care too hoot that I was a Baptist and he was an SDA. I used to think SDAs were all off the track. But he wasn't. I discovered actually there's different types. There's lots of people in lots of those groups. And you can find some are off the track and some are not. But I concluded, I had to choose between the one, the first one I went to, where I did my Master of Theology, and the second one I went to, where I did the New Testament, which was nearest to the truth. And you're listening. I'll tell you that this film and its title gives you a clue. All the light we cannot see. And one of the things you notice about any Christian group, after a while the measure of the light is telling you the story. And I saw an awful lot more light up in the second one than I saw in the first. I still like the first. But they were a bit like what happens in politics. Down in Sydney where we lived. We had the Prime Minister in our, we were in his area I guess, not even ours. He was the member for that area and where my church was in Sydney. And he'd come to some of our functions. I already got on well with him. I thought he was pretty good. But of course we wanted to explore where he was as a Christian. Because he was a Christian of some sort. And he told us that he sort of belonged to what is called the Broad Church. Broad Church. What is called the Broad Church. This is Anglican. Have you heard of there being the High Church, the Low Church and the Broad Church? Put your hand up if you know what defines being in the Broad Church. Just so I can see. Who knows what's to be an Anglican in the Broad Church? Well the High Church, it all comes from about the Reformation that happened in Europe. And when some of the keen persons who came to Christ in the Martin Luthers, putting the stress back on the Bible and the Scriptures, caused a lot of people to find God. And some of them came washing over on little boats or came over to England. And they got into the churches there and they began to reform it from the bottom up. They said, hey, it's not just about ceremonies. It's not just about doing, you know, church things. It's not just the big building that you have. It's about knowing Christ. It's about believing the Bible. That's Low Church. And they got lots of people converted from the bottom up. And the Anglican Church got reformed from the bottom up. And that style of things is called Low Church. The ones that were used to the pomp and the ceremony and believed in that and didn't want to change, they were called the High Church. And they were largely the ones with all the authority and the special clothes to wear and all the rest. So there's High Church and Low Church, depending on whether you had been influenced by the Reformation. Martin Luther led it. We evangelicals are Low Church, basically. But because we're not Anglicans, we don't use the word. But there are some in the Anglican set up who didn't like the fact there was this, you know, tension between the Low Church and the High Church. And they said, we don't really want to make so much out of the doctrines. We just want to have nice practices with everybody getting on well together. What that amounted to, though, is that they were saying the doctrines aren't what counts. Do all the right ceremonies right and we're okay. And it basically was accepting the doctrines of the High Church, which were more liberal. And when I say liberal, I'm not thinking of John Howard I was talking about. That's politically liberal. I'm talking about liberal in theology. Liberal in theology is when you don't believe the Bible and you put up with all sorts of other theories that are more intellectual but are not what the Scriptures say. So Broad Church is where they really prefer the doctrines that are not so biblical. And they also want to have that you don't have to get into one doctrinal thing. You can all come and join in together. In fact, they have a saying that some would remember if they were listening to me. And the saying about the Broad Church, I wrote this down, is rather interesting. Broad Church is amongst the Anglicans. And the idea is, do you want to be a Broad Church or a narrow clique? And how they looked at things is if you're a Broad Church, you're letting everybody with their different ideas be together. That's fine. But otherwise, you'll end up a narrow clique. There's a truth sociologically about that. There's also a blindness. And the blindness is, what do you do with the deity of Christ? What do you do with the resurrection of Jesus? Because the Broad Church doesn't worry if you don't believe those things. But the narrow clique is how they describe the people who say, no, you, to be a Christian, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he came and took on human flesh, that he died upon a cross for your sins, that he rose again conquering death. He's gone to heaven and he's coming back one day to judge the quick and the dead, which is the traditional belief of Christianity all the way down through the ages, including the judgement. The Apostles' Creed, for example, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, or do it, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified, dead and buried, rose again the third day, gone to glory, gone to heaven, from which he will come to judge the quick and the dead. That is the true Christian belief. And as to the teaching and the testimony, look at the screen. If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They're never going to wake up to truth. They'll have that description that follows. So you don't get a choice if being broad church means to you that you don't want to care about doctrines. But what I discovered at the second college over there I went to, where I did my New Testament, was that if people make the belief in the gospel, the central gospel is who Jesus is and how he lived and died and rose again and he's coming back, those things, and you all have that in common, even though in other areas you have differences, you have something that makes you united and one. And you can never get everybody to believe everything the same. That's a foolish attempt to make. But you won't have any unity unless you have something in the centre to which all subscribe. And we do that in our church by having a constitution and it includes the facts about Jesus and the facts about your needing to get converted and being a Baptist church of witnessing that you've come to God, not to make you the Christian, but to testify the Bible way of doing it by being baptised in water. And so we do have something central and if everybody believes it, then you have a unity. And what I've discovered ever since is if you go to different places where people try to have a unity by not having any doctrines common, then something else steps in to offer sometimes a political attitude in all the people who don't have their politics the same way they get forced out. Or it might be a social thing. You've got to follow and have songs the same as Hillsong. Or it might be the reverse of that. No Hillsong, all old hymns. None of these things should be what makes us get together but an attitude that anybody can be here. But we have to have something in common. I want to tell you what the something is. That all of you, if you've really come to Christ, if you know Jesus, you've already got it. The Bible says that you've got an anointing. Anointing by which you can see. It is the spiritual component of the light. If it's missing, it's hopeless. And if you go into the country for a change of your job, you go to a local church, listen in to whether or not you can see the light. And you can see the light in a lot of different styles of churches. I've been to lots of ones that I thought were crazy at first. But I found Christians who loved Jesus. I found people who knew the message. And what counted was talking about Christ. I saw the light. It didn't matter about the rest. What we need to be sure that we're understanding is don't stay anywhere where there is no light. And the storyline of this little girl, she heard on the radio a man describing things whereby she could see though she was blind. And one of the big acid tests that you found in the true church, when you go there, do you hear Jesus? Do you hear the Lord? His voice is powerful. And his person is beautiful. And his message brings salvation. And that's the test to know you found the right place. Let's have a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, I thank you for I haven't said too much, but the fact that we're to be the light of the world. And it goes on to say that you don't get a light and stick it under the bed or stick it under a bushel, I think it says. But you put it on a lamp stand. And that we're called to let our light shine. Lord, I ask for our church that you'll make that light the gospel. The message of Jesus, the open word of God and its exposition. And Father, we pray that you'll let there be people who find the light here. We ask in Jesus' name. Amen.

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