Summary: Repentence is a necessary ingredient in our salvation and our continuing sanctification
A. With a little bit of in trepidation I use another cooking example.
a. So we decide to make raisin cookies but we do not have any raisins.
b. But then we determine to make bread but we find out we have no yeast or baking soda.
2. Why have we been thwarted from each of these recipes? - Right because we lacked a necessary ingredient.
3. Becoming a Christian and growing in our Christian faith requires some necessary ingredients and one in particular is missing from many sermons and many Christian lives today.
B. Salvation implies being saved from something.
1. Too often today wrong actions are explained away by a person’s upbringing.
2. Preachers are looking for numbers just like the investment broker, the business tycoon, and the athletic superstar.
a. Too often we are looking to appeal to our congregation and the public at large with only soothing and complimentary messages.
b. We do not want to ruffle anyone’s feathers.
3. Some will say “O please preach convicting sermons.”
a. But I find that convicting sermons people like as long as it does not convict them.
b. You see, how well we like a sermon depends on whose ox is being gored.
4. I am reminded of the cartoon of two persons coming out of the church.
a. The one says to the other, “Great sermon, I wonder who he was trying to repent today?”
II. 16 "The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned."
A. The word in the Greek for darkness means to be in the shadow, in obscurity, or in the life of error.
1. Our lives without Christ are truly in the Shadow lands.
a. We do not know God and we do not truly know ourselves as we ought.
b. Life does not make sense.
There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, Because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
3. But the light brings everything into perspective and clarity. Psalm 107:12-14
Therefore, He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bands apart. (NAS)
4. Coming to the light of the Gospel means we first realize we are in the darkness of our own sin which makes our life incomprehensible and deathly.
B. Without this awareness of sin and turning from it, God can have no part in us.
1. Romans 1
a. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
b. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
2. Those that are without Christ, are in the dark, nay, they are darkness itself.
C. We cannot receive the Gospel which literally means “Good News” until we realize we are living with bad news.
1. The bad news begins with realization we are sinners.
2. Modern psychology and anthropology begin with the notion that good and bad are relative terms.
D. For instance, society deemed homosexuality for a long time as sinful and abnormal.
1. In the late 1970's a pro-homosexual group called “Act-Up” had massive demonstrations outside the American Psychological Associations Convention.
a. They disrupted the proceeding on several occasions. Why? Because the American Psychological Association had defined homosexual behavior as abnormal.
b. Following those upsetting pickets the American Psychological Association set up a committee to determine whether they should call homosexual behavior deviant.
c. In order to appease “Act-Up” the President of the Association appointed homosexuals to the committee.
2. Without any further empirical research, the committee recommended at the next year’s convention that homosexuality be removed from their list of aberrant behaviors.
a. The recommendation passed by the narrowest of margins.
b. But today it is assumed by the media and the public that homosexuality is normal because the American Psychological Association says so.
3. Thousands of years of societal norms, research studies that show the destructive nature of homosexual behavior on individuals, families, children, and society, and the Biblical instruction were simply ignore because of the vote of a simple majority.