The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Light that is Really Darkness

No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light. (Luke 11:33-36)

Most believers know they are called to be the light of the world, and that Jesus exhorts His disciples to let their light shine before men. But I want to draw our attention to the peculiar warning Jesus issued in this passage.

According to Jesus, the “eye” is the lamp.  It is possible for your “eye” to be good, making your whole body full of light. It is possible for your “eye” to be bad, making your whole body full of darkness.

The King James Version of this passage instructs us to have a “single eye.” What is a single eye? An eye that is focused on what God wants us to focus on (His Kingdom and His righteousness–Matt. 6:33). It is not divided, trying to focus on different goals at the same time.

We are to “take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.”   Apparently, many are trying to light the way for others with what is really darkness.  What terrible deception, to think you are a leader of the blind while you are blind yourself!  The bad eye of a leader will result in many people falling into a ditch.

An obvious example of this is the “stars” in our world–the musicians, the celebrities, the actors. Many bask under their “light” which is actually darkness, and they become like their idols–full of darkness themselves. Satan masquerades as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), but we can be sure his “light” is really darkness.

Many of us know that there are also “stars” in professing Christendom that are actually full of darkness. They are simply religious celebrities adored by idolatrous followers who do not discern the voice of the Good Shepherd, and who willingly follow the voice of a stranger.  These tell people who walk in their own ways that they will have peace. They strengthen the hands of evil doers. They teach covetousness.  They teach that we should pursue our best life now, contrary to the teachings of Jesus. They seek worship, setting themselves up as antichrists. They do not advance the kingdom of God, but instead advance their own kingdoms. Their “light” is darkness.

Scripture talks about the stars falling from the sky, both in Old and New Testament prophecy. There may be valid interpretations that are strictly literal, but the Spirit has been showing me how, spiritually, the lights that are really darkness must fall, and will fall. All that have lifted themselves up against the knowledge of God will be abased. Their “light” will be shown for what it really is, and they will be cast down, just as satan himself was cast down as a streak of lightning to the earth. And yet Daniel says this about the righteous–

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Dan. 12:3)

Those who are powered by the True Light (John 1:9) will shine forever because the True Light cannot be extinguished.  The Word of the Lord endures forever.

I want to share a burden on my heart here that relates to the warning of Jesus.

There is a “light” shining in our American churches that I am convinced is darkness. And even many who preach holiness & the true grace of God are deceived by this false light. They are promoting it and advancing a leaven that is sure to bring terrible repercussions.

This is the “light” of American freedom and prosperity that is fueled by patriotism and militaristic bravado. Who can deny the warm glow that patriotism can effect in us?  And yet we are not called to advance American patriotism. We are not called to advance the causes of materialism, capitalism, republicanism, or even “freedom” as defined by the world. Look at the fruit of America, which has ripened into abominations on the left and the right. “I did it my way” is not the mantra of the kingdom of God. “I have a gun, and I will kill anyone who threatens my space, family and stuff” is not the formula for advancing the kingdom of God.  Can we just admit that?

I see value in some of these things, but there are many things that have some value that will lead us astray if we seek after them, rather than seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

We have churches praying for the success of soldiers that are sent to do things Jesus would never do. We must shake this foolish “Americans are righteous” mentality. The righteousness of America truly is filthy rags, for she has forgotten God and done whatever she pleased.  If we can see the corruption in our government, surely we can understand that the military moves of our government will also be corrupt more often than not. Soldiers are taught to hate and to kill without mercy, and this does affect civilians unfortunate enough to get in their way. The world will do what it will do, but can ambassadors for the kingdom of God really take part in this?

We are told by pastors to support the American soldiers while the plight of Christian civilians in other countries is conveniently forgotten (not to mention the plight of our enemies, which also should provoke compassion in us rather than rage).

How did “supporting the troops” come to equal sending them to do things their consciences cannot bear (hence all the military suicides we are seeing), and how did we come to forget that many members of the Body of Christ live in these other countries? They belong to us, and we belong to them.  Shall the body parts of our Lord destroy one another?

How did we ever come to dismiss the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus teaches the principles of the Kingdom of God?  How did we come to think loving our enemies only applies to the person who lives next door?  Who is my neighbor?–How many of us have justified ourselves in hating others and refusing to see them as people Jesus wants to save?  Have we been so dazzled by the false light of patriotism that we now read the Scriptures through a haze of deception?

We pledge to a flag and to the republic for which it stands, not considering what a terrible oath this is in light of what our nation has become. We are not a nation under God, no matter how much we might wish for that with great floods of emotion.  When I see a flag in a sanctuary, I want to tear my clothes and throw ashes on my head.

This message I am typing out is met on every side with rejection. Only a few seem to see the kingdom of God as it really is–trumping all other kingdoms, and demanding our whole allegiance and a complete change in how we live life.

Many believers have been killed in the past simply for refusing to offer sacrifices to lesser gods. Often they were not asked to give up their belief in Jesus entirely.  They just had to continue sacrificing to the gods of war, etc., alongside of Jesus. They refused. Most today are not refusing; they freely sacrifice, and they even slander peace-loving believers.  I’m sorry, but Jesus is our King and He will not be relegated to being “one of the gods” we serve. He never said He will let you serve “God and country.”  But if you serve Him alone, He will help you serve your country in the way that profits it most.  You will be like Jeremiah, thrown in a well for being a traitor to your people even though you have broken your heart over them a thousand times.

The world says survival of the fittest, the bravest, the one with the most guns. Jesus says the meek will inherit the earth. I don’t know how to put the two together.  I can’t reinvent Jesus as Rambo.  I must choose to believe and follow the Jesus who is.

The world knows it can tack the name of God onto its agendas, and many professing Christians will leave their Lord to follow and promote a lesser “light.”  Are you really a disciple of Jesus, or are you a crusader that sports a Constantinian cross, seeking a stake in this world?  The “bad eye” of too many leaders is causing many to stumble, even among those who teach obedience to Jesus in other areas.  My conviction is strong that if we keep going in this direction, we are going to be judged severely. This darkness will not advance the kingdom of God. “Take heed,” dear reader.

Please see also:  Proudly Armed Christians or Humble, Cross-Carrying DisciplesDo Christians Love Guns?–by Andrew Strom;  American Excuses Rather than Repentance

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