Valley, or a Cave?

Due to technical difficulties, the sermon was not recorded today.  So, I decided to do the next best thing, which is to provide a written copy of the sermon, to the best of my ability.

If you’ve been around Highland for some time, you have, perhaps, heard me encourage believers to: ‘Walk in the Light.’  What I’ve written below offers a bit more context for my encouragement (which actually comes from Ephesians 5:8).

Let’s begin by looking at this critical statement Jesus makes when speaking with Nicodemus in John 3:17-21:

“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”

When the sun comes up over the darkness, everything is under its presence; the vastest ocean, the tallest mountain and the deepest valley.  The same is true for people.  All are in darkness.  All encounter the Light (Jesus).  The intent of the Gospel is that those in the darkness will encounter the Light and then choose to yield to the Light as their only hope, submitting to “His” authority. 

Even when you are in a deep valley struggling with sin that you hate, if you are looking to the Light of Christ as your only hope, then you are in the light of His presence. You are walking in the Light. Press on! Walk in the Light!  Let the conviction of the Holy Spirit refashion your life into Christ-likeness every step of the way!

However, if ones’ deeds are evil, then that person will seek to find a retreat from the
Light, such as a cave.  You see, valleys are a part of every Believer’s journey, but people who go into caves when they see the Light are intentionally hiding their deeds, because their deeds are evil.  (Notice in the passage above Jesus says: ‘For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it...’, this speaks to the intentionality of the heart.)  Now, the Light still rises above these caves, so, just because they are dark places and people who intentionally avoid the Light dwell there, does not mean that these dark places escape the authority of judgment the Light brings.

So, not only does the Light of Christ have authority over and expose the high, low and dark places, but most importantly, it reveals the intentions of ones’ heart. 

This explains one of the most heart-piercing statements Jesus makes that is found in Mark 4:21:  

He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? For nothing is concealed except to be revealed, and nothing hidden except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!”

So, in essence, if one engages the Light, then submerges it into a dark place, then the intention of the heart has already been revealed by the Light they are attempting to submerge.  This statement speaks to the intentional response one makes when they encounter the Light of Christ. 

The question for each of us then becomes (even if we are in “a valley” wrestling with sin), are we walking in the Light?  Are we submitting ourselves to the authority of Christ allowing Him to expose our intentions and desires?  Or, are we ‘avoiding the light’ by seeking out dark places in hopes of hiding our evil deeds and desires?

I pray that if you’re in a valley, that you press on beyond the cave-mouths, into the Light of Christ. While realizing that those cave-mouths may look like a tempting place to rest or find comfort, understand that this luring is a deception of Satan - press on!

- Rob