Increasing Light From Dawn to Noonday
In our last study, we learned from John 1.1-5 that the ‘Word’ came to Earth to give ‘life’ and, through life, unquenchable ‘light’. ‘Life’ came through our belief in ‘Jesus’, as John 1.12 & 3.16 say and Apostle Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 5.17-21. We ARE new creation; sons and daughters of God the Father! (2 Corinthians 6.18; Ephesians 1.5-6) Thus, we will only die once (James 2.26; Hebrews 9.27-28; Revelation 20.6, 15), as we depart this Earth for Paradise (Luke 23.42) or to join Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4.17-18). And, ‘life’ gives ‘light’, just as the potential for growth begins with spiritual birth and increases with intentional nourishment from Bible study, prayer, and meditation with Jesus the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 5.11-6.2).
A. What is ‘light’?
- King David stated that God’s word is light, in Psalm 119.105.
- Solomon restated this in Proverbs 6.23.
- Jeremiah 8.9 states the contrast bluntly. [So, what sources do you listen to?]
- Paul reminded of this in 1 Corinthians 3.18, quoting Job 5.13 and paraphrasing Psalm 94.11.
- Also, Paul illustrated Jeremiah 13.10 in Romans 1.22-23 (which acts violate Exodus 20.4-6).
- So, whatever words agree with God’s words are light, like Jesus said in John 12.49-50.
- And, we might paraphrase Hosea 14.9 by substituting ‘words’ for ‘ways’ of the Lord. Read aloud to hear.
B. How does this ‘light’ become brighter?
- Solomon gave a good word picture in Proverbs 4.18: from faint to full, dawn to noonday!
- Faint light comes from the simple, casual reading of Scripture.
- Full light comes from the study of Scripture led by the Holy Spirit. Metaphor is 1 Corinthians 13.12.
- Paul discussed this in Ephesians 1.15-22. Notice the level of understanding at ‘noonday’. Who is the Teacher?
- Jesus told His disciples that this would be the primary work of the Holy Spirit, in John 16.8-11. What similarities do these verses have with Jeremiah 9.24? How had Jesus the Son lived these? John 5.19.
- It is important to understand that Jesus the Father defined what was meant by understanding of Himself, that Jesus the Son demonstrated this (Matthew 10.7-8; Acts 10.38), and that Jesus the Holy Spirit continues this teaching and manifestation (Mark 16.15-20).
- The lost are to receive the ‘light’ revealing their sin (John 3.18-20; Romans 8.5-8; Galatians 5.16-21). The saved are to receive the ‘light’ increasing their righteousness (2 Peter 3.18; Galatians 5.22-24; Proverbs 6.16-19). The ‘light’ of mature believers becomes the weapon for overcoming the devil (2 Corinthians 10.3-6; Ephesians 6.10-18; James 4.7; 1 John 5.4-5; Revelation 12.11).
- The work of Jesus the Holy Spirit is to spark the ember and to fuel it into a roaring flame! Light!
C. Are you listening to the right voice?
- We listen to lots of ambient sounds until one captures our attention. It may be someone calling our name or talking about a subject of our interest. (Think: E.F. Hutton commercials of old TV.) What sounds get your attention? For how long do you listen? You control the content, depth, and duration of your engagement with that sound!
- Jesus often exclaimed: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11.15, 13.9; Mark 4.24; Revelation 3.2.)
- 1 John 4.1-6 instructs us to ‘test the spirits’ to determine truth from error. What is the determining question? Indeed, the anointed name, ‘Jesus’, has come into the world, giving life and light and, as Paul wrote, power and wisdom (1 Corinthians 1.24; Philippians 2.9-11; Colossians 2.8-10)! satan wants you to think ‘Jesus’ has not come (2 Corinthians 4.3-4; Matthew 13.18-22). If satan can steal ‘Jesus’ from you, he can destroy your faith (Romans 10.17) and, then, kill your body and mind.
- Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice….” (John 10.1-16; my paraphrase) Was this the same voice Who spoke Isaiah 30.21 and Jeremiah 6.16? Does He speak these words to you today?
- Elijah had to separate Jesus’ voice from the noise around him, just like you and I; 1 Kings 19.11-13.
- What was His question to Elijah? So, how will you answer? How will you hear?
D. Testing spirits.
- In Revelation 2.7, 11, 17, 29; 3.6, 13, 22, Jesus repeats the same imperative: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
- There are two possible meanings to understand. First, listen carefully to the message from the Holy Spirit through this letter, addressed to a specific church but applicable to all. Second, listen carefully to discern the Holy Spirit from the deceiving spirits that speak in the world today.
- Paul commented about this in 2 Corinthians 11.13-15 with a representative illustration. It is important to understand that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”. So, how can you know the true from the fake ‘light’? Their deeds reveal them, like Jesus spoke in Matthew 7.15-20.
- Apostle John sheds more light on the ‘fruit’ in 1 John 4.1-6, 13-15 and 2 John 7. What is the confessional: Jesus is the Son of God and has been born on Earth. This is the message of the Bible. Thus, any mixture of philosophy is weeds sown among wheat and can destroy the harvest, as Jesus discussed in His Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13.18-23.
- How will you know philosophy from ‘Jesus’: 1 Corinthians 12.3. Similarly, in Matthew 16.17, Jesus identified the Source of truth and understanding. In 1 Corinthians 12.8-11, Paul discusses the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Note the work of the Holy Spirit and distribution of gifts at the time when faith-to-receive is applied to the need to be overcome.
- The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth in John 14.17, 15.26, and 16.13. Paul contrasts truth and lie in 1 Corinthians 2.12 and 1 Timothy 4.1.
- Jesus said the Spirit of truth would take from ‘Jesus’ and give it to us; John 16.14-15. The Spirit will not magnify Himself. This is another test of genuineness.
- So, how did the believers in Berea know that Paul’s teaching was the truth? What was the work of the Holy Spirit in this? See Acts 17.11.
- In Revelation 12.11 are the two confessions that the Holy Spirit confirms in and through us. Note the illustration of ‘life’ and ‘light’.
E. Do you hear Who I hear?
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2015. www.sozoclass.com