Summary: Part 1 of 3-week series The Journey Toward Christ, this looks at Darkness – the place where we all find ourselves before coming to know God.
THE JOURNEY TOWARD CHRIST
Sermon One: Darkness
Wildwind Community Church
David K. Flowers
December 2, 2007
Have you ever been completely in the dark? Can you take just a second to remember what that felt like? What are some words you’d use to describe that experience? They’re not usually good words, are they?
There’s often something terrifying about darkness. All our scariest stories involve darkness. Think about it. Ever heard someone tell a ghost story that happens on a bright, beautiful, sunny day…?” Almost all of them take place in the dark. Are ghost stories even told in the daylight? Of course not, they’re told in the dark.
Now here’s the thing. When we’re in physical darkness, we always know it. Even blind people can detect the difference between when they are in the light and when they are in darkness. But we can be in the dark spiritually and not even know it. When you are in darkness, you don’t know where you are – you are lost – but part of being lost is not knowing you’re lost. There’s nothing harder than seeing your own darkness and admitting it to yourself and others . That’s what I want to talk to you about today. Spiritual darkness. We’re heading toward Christmas so our series is called The Journey Toward Christ, and we’ll start today in darkness – where every spiritual journey begins.
There are people all over this room who are in some kind of darkness right now. Many don’t know it.
Are you in the spiritual darkness of missing God in your life?
Are you in the behavioral darkness of addiction to alcohol or pornography or gambling? Are you in the emotional darkness of negativity, where the whole world and everything that happens looks bleak to you all the time?
Are you in the darkness of being hopeless, where you just don’t think things in your life can ever get any better than they are?
Are you in the darkness of loneliness?
Are you in the physical darkness of illness?
Are you in the darkness of a lack of purpose for your life?
Are you in the darkness of anger, or bitterness, or resentment?
How’s that working out for you? Seriously, I ask with compassion, how does it feel to be you right now? Have you recognized that you may be in darkness?
God has a lot to say to us about darkness. Darkness is a common theme in the Bible. Darkness used as a metaphor for ignorance and spiritual blindness.
The Bible describes a world living in darkness before Christ.
Isaiah 9:2 (NCV)
2 Before those people lived in darkness, but now they have seen a great light. They lived in a dark land, but a light has shined on them.
The world is in darkness when the individuals in the world are in darkness. At one point, we are all in darkness. At one point, we all live B.C. In scripture we have this picture of a world (of individual human beings) who are in darkness before Christ comes to this earth. People who are lost and don’t know their way. They are in moral darkness. Relational darkness. Spiritual darkness. Emotional darkness. They may be fearful, they may not, but either way, they do not know their way. We must read this as a description of those people at that time, but also understand it as a portrait of every human life without Christ. The scripture’s purpose is to show us this.
1.Responses to darkness
a. Ignore it. Ever been in the dark and figured you might as well close your eyes because they’re useless? This is one response people have to being in darkness. “There’s no way to ever really know how to live life, so whatever – darkness is the norm for everybody.
b. Deny it. Refuse to acknowledge the possibility that the reason they keep constantly bumping into things is because they are in darkness. “I know I keep bumping into things and making a mess of my life, but my beliefs really work for me – they really, really do.” “I don’t need God - I don’t need some crutch in my life to make me feel better.”
c. Compensate for it. People who are physically blind develop other senses more acutely so they can compensate for what they lack. When we are spiritually blind, we can put other things in our life in the position where God would otherwise be – money, possessions, addictions, or whatever. I know many people who worship another God they call science and that’s what brings mystery and wonder to their lives.
d. Admit it.
Wildwind is a church that is all about helping people get to that fourth option. But there’s nothing than harder than coming to see our own darkness and admitting it to ourselves and to others.