Celebrating the Light

Posted on 07/09/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


pray GOd will help me and all on my heart in every area of our lives, even miraculously.
   -anonymous

Please pray for me. I have been fighting (and loosing) against thoughts that are sinful (of a sexual nature, but worse, maybe to be described as pornographic). I have been asking God to help me, but I am weak. I am ashamed. What I am doing is more than wrong. It is evil. I want to repent, but cannot do this alone. It's like I get tired when this starts to come over me, and then I loose the strength to control my thoughts. That's very frightening, and I need help. Please ask God to fill and bathe me with the Holy Spirit, to show me how to walk in His Spirit, that He'll help me to repent, and that He will be the heart of my life. Please ask Him to banish this sinfulness from me. To be 100% honest, I have to wonder if I may be under some sort of a spiritual attack. I can't fight this. I need God, I can't do this myself. Please ask God that if I am right that the roots of this are demonic, that He'll cast that demon out of me so that this will never return. Thank you. Your prayers are appreciated.
   -Sarah

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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YOU ALONE

I will bow down
    hail you as king
I will serve you
    give you everything

I will lift up
    my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
    I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT

When I think about the Lord
how he saved me, how he raised me
How he filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost

When I think about the Lord
how he picked me up, turned me around
How he set my feet on solid ground

Makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!
Lord you're worthy
of all the glory
and all the honor
and all the praise!

IT IS YOU

As we lift up our hands
    will you meet us here
As we call on your name
    will you meet us here
We have come to this place
    to worship you
God of mercy and grace

It is you we adore
It is you praises are for
Only you, the heavens declare
It is you, it is you

Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone (yeah)
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone

As we lift up our hands
    as we call on your name
Will you meet us in this place
    by your mercy and grace

I WORSHIP YOU

I worship You Almighty God
    there is none Like You
I worship You O Prince of Peace
    that is what I want to do

I give You praise
    For You are my righteousness

I worship You Almighty God
There is none like You

THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU

There is none like you
No one else can touch
    my heart like you do
I could search for all
    eternity long and find
There is none like you


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Well, it's certainly good to see you, and to be able to share the Word with you again, since I've been unable to do so the last couple of weeks.

In case you missed the announcements, Mariposa and I will be out of town next Sunday afternoon, and won't be able to be here with you; however, we'll be having service, and Pastor Rick Liveoak has agreed to lead us into the presence of the Lord, and through the pages of His Holy Word.

But today... To those who live in the U.S.A.... Happy Independence Day! The rockets' red flare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there... The freedom and prosperity we've shared with the world for years didn't come free, and it didn't come cheap. It came at a great price -- the shedding of blood, the loss of many lives, and the constant testing of liberty's worth to those who were choosing to pay its price.

The words of that song paint a hauntingly beautiful picture: in the darkness of night, and the darkness of the shadow of death, the weapons being used to destroy those who sought freedom served to shed light upon the proof that there was still hope -- they had not been defeated yet.

Most of us aren't in literal trenches, and we don't have to constantly wonder if the next bomb that drops will blow us into eternity. But it can seem that way. Just remember that, every time another one of the enemy's bombs explode only yards away from your hiding place, that's just proof that there is still hope, and you have not been defeated yet.

And if God is on your side, He will carry you through to victory!


Today, people all over America are celebrating. Some don't know why, they just know it's "The 4th of July." But as the sun dips below the evening sky's horizon, there will be flashes of light all across the fruited plains. It really is a celebration of light, and of the freedom that light brings.

1 John 1:5 (KMV) says this:

5 This then is the message which we have heard from Him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

God is light. And in Him is no darkness at all.

What is darkness? Is it the presence of something? Children or some adults hearing noises in their closets or under their beds at night might think so. Is darkness a presence? In terms of spiritual darkness, yes; but what is spiritual darkness? Even satan can appear as a beautiful, radiant light.

In the physical world, darkness is nothing more than the absense of light. When the sun goes down, it gets dark. If there is no light from the moon or stars, it gets very dark indeed.

During a hot summer's day, we might find a tree to shade us from the hot light of the sun. Relative to NOT being under the tree, the cool space under its branches is dark. Is the shade a presence? Or is it simply a shadow, a partial blocking of the light?

Maybe that could explain why satan and his demons are spiritually dark -- because they have been cast out of God's presence. Some people think they want to be as far away from God as possible, and yet, if they only knew the darkness for what it really is, they would come running to the foot of the cross and would cry out for mercy.

Now, I mentioned just a moment ago that satan often appears as an angel of light. Yes, the devil can radiate brilliant light. He can and often does counterfeit God. Even the sun, which God created and which is his servant, radiates light, and yet is not God.

And that's a misunderstanding people fall into all the time: to think that if God is light, that means light is God. We see the same thing with love -- if God is love, that means where we see love of any sort, we see God.

But that's as accurate as saying since the sun is burning gas, burning gas is the sun. Try postulating that to the next person you see out grilling on a propane grill today, and see if you can get them to laugh at you. "Your grill is the sun, because its fire is burning gas, and burning gas is the sun, because the sun is burning gas."

There's an obvious logic flaw there. But we swallow the same logic to say all spiritual light is God, or when we see a touchy-feely feeling we call love, that means God is there.

God is light. But not all light is God.

Meditators from all the religions of the world seek the light. Many breathe it in, and bask in it. Many become one with it, and have the experience that everyone is one and everything is light. Then, because God is light, they believe they have connected with what people call God, with which they are one, which must mean they are God, manifested as a being of light.

But not all light is God, no more than a propane grill is the sun.

Don't worry, I AM going somewhere with this.

"How did you make this burger taste so good???" "It was easy, I cooked it on the sun."

But seriously, thinking such a silly thing would be a lot less dangerious than thinking that love and light are God.


The title of my message today is "Celebrating the Light." But to celebrate something, it helps to know what that something is, and even beyond that, to know WHICH something it is.

If it's my wife's birthday and I give a present and throw a party for the lady down the street, I'll be in the hospital tomorrow. It's not good enough to celebrate "a" woman on June 8th; I have to celebrate "THE" woman.

In the same way, it's not enough to celebrate "A" source of light.


Throughout the pages of history, never has there been a day like today, in which the idea that all religions are the same has swept the whole globe. If I stand up in a public place and proclaim that Jesus is the only path that leads to the Father God, some would say there are MANY paths; some would say WE are God; and some would say I should have said "MOTHER" God instead of Father.

But, if I were standing in the middle of people from mainstream society from all around the world, there would be plenty of people who would accuse me of being narrow-minded and hatefully biggoted, because I'm claiming that "MY" religion is better than everyone else's.

And that sounds like it should be true. After all, out of billions of people, how can I be so sure Jesus is the only true way?

Well, to be perfectly honest with you, if Jesus had not risen from the dead, I'd agree with them. But he did, and that's where what we believe parts company with the religions of the world. We don't serve a dead prophet, or follow the teachings of an ascended master who has nothing to back up his or her claims besides what some would call the "witness of the heart."

Instead, we serve the one who came to earth for the express purpose of taking our guilt and blame and the punishment for our sins, and then, just as he said he would, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, leaving through his angels the promise that he would come again in the same way (which means he will come bodily and visibly, and everyone will see him).

And all the disciples except for one were put to death because they refused to say they hadn't seem him alive and in the flesh.

So no, I'm not following just some religion. Instead, I'm following a person, not a system of belief, a person who has proven that he is who he said he is and he did what he said he came to do, to shine light upon those in darkness, to heal the broken hearted, and to set those in bondage totally free.

So today, yes I celebrate the light from the enemy's bombs on that first Independence Day; but even more than that, I celebrate the light; and not just any light, but the light that is God, shining into our spiritual eyes through his Son, Jesus Christ, the one and only true savior of all mankind.


5 This then is the message which we have heard from Him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

1st John chapter 1, verse 6:

6  If we say we have fellowship with Him, but walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth.  
7  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we walk in the light. How do we walk in the light? It says "as He is in the light." How is God in the light? Well, God is in the light because God IS light; but more appropriately, He is in the light of God.

We can be in the light of the sun. We can be in the light of creation. We can be in the light of the mind, or even in the light of demons masquerading as angels of light.

Or we can be in the light of God. And notice what it says in verse six: "If we say we have fellowship with Him, but walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth."

Once again, what is darkness? It is the absense of light. We can live really good lives and always try to help lots of people, and yet not be walking in the Spirit. After all, that is how we walk in the light -- to walk in God, His Holy Spirit.

When we allow ourselves to distance from God, we're getting closer to the darkness. When we partake of sin, that sin shades us from the light, and continuing in that sin causes us to start walking in darkness.

Unforgiveness creates a barrier between us and God, between us and the Light. Do you want to walk in darkness? Then hold unforgiveness against someone. You'll succeed in shading yourself from God's light, and satan, who operates in false light and spiritual shadows, can wreak havock in your life.

Or you can choose to forgive. Not based on feelings, but based on choice and the power of the Holy Spirit of God who dwells within you. "Lord, I choose to forgive so-and-so, and I put this in your hands." And any time bitterness starts to surface, give it to God, and tell it "So-and-so is forgiven!"

Did you know forgiveness is a skill? It's like a spiritual muscle. At first, you might and probably will struggle with it. But every time resentment comes up, declare that person is forgiven, and then stop and sing praises to God instead. With time, it will become easier and easier to forgive, until forgiveness is a part of you, just like it is a part of God.

Walk in the light, as He is in the light. God doesn't struggle to be in the light. He doesn't worry that He might not be in the light, or that maybe some day He'll mess up and will stop being in the light. True, you and I are not God, but we are God's (meaning we are His, we belong to Him).

Yes, you can walk away from God; but as long as you continue to hold on, even after times you've messed up and let go, then no one and nothing can take you out of His hand! And that's a great comfort, that it doesn't depend on your strength or on mine, but on His.


Did you know that it's not up to you to produce light? You don't have to make yourself good so you'll start shining. That's how the false religions of the world do it. Instead, get closer and closer to God, getting rid of anything that might stand in between you and Him; and then He will shine through you, and good works and good fruit will start to flow.


How about revelation? Well, sure. As we read God's Word, he reveals it to us. And as we walk with Him in our daily lives, He reveals things to us about life, all in perfect agreement with His Word. You see, God isn't confused, unlike us. He doesn't say one thing and then later decide He's wrong or outdated. No, we do that, except mainly about other people or about God. We reserve the admission of error for everyone besides ourselves.

So is enlightenment from God? Does it help us walk more in the light? Well, that would depend. Some enlightenment, in fact most of the enlightenment in the world today, disagrees with the Word of God. In that way, it shines false light, and is actually a spiritual shadow, sent to us to separate us from the true Light.

Have you ever had a moment of enlightenment? A time in which something seemed so incredibly clear? An "Aha!" experience? It certainly looks and feels and sounds and smells and tastes like light. But does it agree 100% with God's written Word? After all, God gave us the Holy Scriptures so we wouldn't be left guessing about the most important things in life -- what comes after the grave, how to please Him, how to have eternal life, and so-on -- And then we have a moment of enlightenment. It sounds great. It feels right. We know that it must be true. And yet it doesn't line up with Scripture.

Do we use our personal experience to question the Scriptures? Or should we use the Scriptures to question our experience? If your moment of enlightenment disagrees with the Light of God's Word, then it is a shadow, shining a light that is not God, and it's been sent to you to put some distance between you and the true Light -- a separation between you and God.


One last point I'd like to make, and then we'll close: Try standing in the sun for awhile on a hot summer's day. You'll start sweating. You'll probably feel as though you're melting. You'll become increasingly uncomfortable, until you feel as though you're going to die.

Actually, don't try that. It's not a good idea at all. But DO try standing in the light of God for awhile. You're likely to start sweating, getting uncomfortable as He starts stripping away your layers, exposing more sources of shadows, things that, by their exposure, are a challenge to change.

In Zechariah chapter thirteen, we see some prophecies concerning Jesus. In verse seven, we read, "Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." This was fulfilled when Jesus was betrayed, and all the disciples fled.

How many of you know that the Shepherd has been struck repeatedly throughout history, sometimes even by those who claim to be his sheep. And in the last of the last days, the Shepherd will be struck what would seem to be a fatal blow, so that those who are luke warm will either get right with God or they will be part of the two-thirds it talks about in verse eight who are cut off and spiritually die.

Sometimes it doesn't take something quite that big to cut people off. Sometimes they just need to get offended, to think someone has treated them wrongly or isn't doing what they think God wants them to do, and they wander away from the flock.

Sometimes it takes a collection of lies, such as the Zeitgeist documentary, which is based upon rewritten history (lies). Or it might take some questions they've been unable to answer, such as why there is so much pain the the world if God is good.

And they fall away, from offense or entertained doubt.

But chances are you're part of the ones who God is bringing through the fire. As verse nine says:

9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,
      Will refine them as silver is refined,
      And test them as gold is tested.
      They will call on My name,
      And I will answer them.
      I will say, 'This is My people';
      And each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

Sounds great; but notice he doesn't say he will bring them through in a dazzling blaze of glory; rather, it says he will bring them through the fire, like silver and gold are heated with a great heat so the impurities will rise to the surface and be scraped off, so they can be purified.

Sometimes it gets uncomfortable in the light, so we distance ourselves just a little; maybe with compromise, or with excuses, or with anything else that seems good to us. God will bring us through; but he will bring us through fire.

Stay in the Light. Even when the Scriptures say something you'd rather not believe or live by. That's the heat of the Light of God. Even when the Holy Spirit leads you out of your comfort zone, to worship more openly, or to talk to that stranger in the store and ask them if they're right with God. God will bring you through, but he will bring you through the fire. And oh, the marvelous things he will do in your life while you're there! You will come out pure and shining, reflecting his Light as it shines through you into the world of darkness. And as you stay in the light even when it hurts, then you will walk in the Light even as He is in the Light.


So today, we celebrate the Light. Jesus said in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world: he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Jesus is the light. He said only what the Father told him. He did only what He saw the Father do. He studied the Scriptures, even though He was the Word of God. He fasted and prayed. And he obeyed, even when it meant suffering and death.

"Walk in the Light as HE is in the Light."


Let's stand to our feet, as anyone on the ministry team comes and stands at the front.

Can we celebrate the Light today? Maybe you realize that there are shadows in your life, things that have been coming in between you and God. Maybe some of them are perfectly good things, just a bit out of priority.

And today's altar call is quite simple: you're all invited to come gather at the front as an outward act of your inner heart's cry, "Lord, we want to walk more fully in your Light! Forgive us for accepting counterfeits, for letting other things come before you, for allowing things into our lives that cast shadows on us, separating us from you."

If anyone needs to leave, you're dismissed. If you can stay, let's answer God's call to walk more fully in the Light.

If you want someone to talk or pray with you, you can instant message me or Mariposa or anyone else on the ministry team.

After this time at the altar, we'll meet in the Fellowship Room to your left just to hang out together for awhile, and I hope to see you there.

Come, and let's surrender our shadows to the Lord, as today we join together in His presence to Celebrate the Light!