December 4, 2016
First Presbyterian Church – Coeur d’Alene
Message Series: The World of the Light
Message: Part 2: Out of the Shadows
Scripture Text: Mark 4:21-22
1. This is the four weeks of Advent and we’re looking each week at a passage from the Gospels focusing on darkness and light.
a. Last week we introduced the idea that Christmastime is a season of lights, but Advent is every bit about darkness as light.
i. It’s actually darker, with the sun setting earlier and rising later.
ii. It’s a time to remember that only in acknowledging the darkness within and without can we truly appreciate God’s Light of the World when it comes.
2. It got me thinking about those manger scenes which people sometimes use in Christmas decorating.
a. If we stay true to the Bible’s Christmas Story, almost all nativity sets have the key pieces (Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, a shepherd or two with lambs, three wise men, maybe a donkey or camel thrown in) – but there’s always an important character missing.
i. Yet this figure is pretty important to the story, balancing out the joy to the world and peace on earth with the danger, threat
and evil which was also there that silent night.
ii. I’m talking of course about the Devil. Satan.
iii. None of nativity scenes in our collection has him. I went to Christmas by the Lake where they sell hundreds of Fontanini figures, but no hand-carved Satan.
iv. So I went to the store to find one, and the best I could come up with was this.
b. Placement of the Satan figure is key, though. He isn’t in the stable, out front, worshiping the Christ-child. He’s in the back, lurking in the shadows, hating what’s going on and plotting His opposition.
3. Throughout the Bible, “shadow” is a metaphor for hiding, concealing keeping-secrets.
a. The Bible has good and bad shadow places, because there are good secrets and bad secrets.
i. God uses his own shadow as a place to hide you in order to protect you.
1. Psalm 36:7.
ii. And God keeps himself as a mystery to be concealed, a secret to be kept. He knows that His full knowledge is too great for us. He doesn’t reveal everything.
b. But mostly the shadows are
presented as places of false security – where you think that your secrets can remain secrets, where things you want to hide from God and others can remain hidden, where you can avoid being exposed to His light.
i. Satan exists. The Bible refers to him as a prince of angels. But princes can only stand in the shadow when there’s a King.
ii. Satan can only operate in the shadows, perpetuating the lie that they are out of God’s reach. The light quickly robs Satan of what little power He actually has.
4. Jesus is talking about this in Mark 4:21-22
a. The lamp He is referring to is Himself, and the message which brings light to the shadows.
i. In Christ, everything and everyone is exposed for what’s really there: God, The Devil, ourselves, the world around us.
ii. But as everything is
illuminated, it is also covered with God’s grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
iii. Nothing comes to the light except to be met by perfect love and redemption.
b. So the task of Christians is to remain in the light, not try to conceal anything in the shadows, and bring the light into the shadows.
i. As you walk in His light he also uses you to be His light for others in the shadows.
ii. The goal is for Satan to be in the shadows but be there all by himself.
5. So here are some Advent mindsets for you this week and during this season
leading up to Christmas
a. Don’t try to hide Jesus. From yourself or from the world.
i. I don’t mean to be obnoxious, judgmental or a killjoy.
ii. But Jesus’s light comes to us so we can shine His light in the shadows. If Jesus has something to say, listen. If Jesus calls you to do something, do it.
If Jesus calls you to say something, say it. And, always, if Jesus gives you love to flow through you, don’t block it.
b. Don’t keep things hidden from Jesus.
i. Are you hiding things in the shadows so Jesus can’t see them in order to
expose them, transform them and heal YOU?
ii. First, you can’t. Second, you shouldn’t. Jesus meets every secret and hidden thing with grace and a new life.
iii. You can come out of the shadows without fear.
c. Finally, don’t keep things hidden from others.
i. Keeping to the shadows, Satan feeds you the lie that having secrets and hiding things is good for the people you care about, and who are counting on you. It’s better for them if they don’t know.
ii. But God eventually brings light to every shadow. And when it finds you, you want there to be trust build on humble confession, forgiveness, and honesty in every situation, in every relationship.
6. Coming out of the shadows is scary. But God has a special light for when we’re in the dark, afraid. We’ll talk about that next week.