For Lord’s Day, November 17, 2013
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I have been meditating on how there are basically two stark and opposite responses to the Gospel message of repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21); especially, the first side of the coin, repentance (a commitment to turn away from sin and unto God in Christ). This verse keeps coming to mind:
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light:
for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (Ephesians 5:13)
Folks often accuse Christians of being judgmental or insensitive for pointing out sin. But all we are doing is shedding the Light of the World upon their world, and repentance for sin and a call to change by and in Christ is a major part of the Gospel (remember, the Lord Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles begin their preaching with, “Repent”; and Christ’s main message in the Revelation to the Churches in Asia is repentance).
One response to the Gospel, that is, to Jesus, is to scurry into the darkness away from what the Lord has to say regarding our doctrine or practice. This flee response is akin to cockroaches when a light is turned on in a dark room; they run toward the shadows. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3:20)
The other response to the Gospel, however, is that of the Christian: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:21). To have God’s deeds wrought in us is to see our own filthy works for what they are and desire to have them exchanged with Christ’s holy work. Christians do not run away from being exposed. Rather, they have Christ’s light showered upon them so that they can be truly cleansed. And then not be ashamed to have light expose their new godly works.
In tomorrow evening’s text (Acts 24:24-25), it is interesting to consider the response of Felix to Paul’s message of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come”. He trembles, but then he defers and walks away. He doesn’t want to change. He is a cockroach. His response is not faith and repentance after trembling like Paul (Acts 9:6) and later his Jailer (Acts 16:29).
Speaking of Cockroaches and Christians, it is interesting to note one web answer to why cockroaches run when a light is turned on: It’s not so much that they are afraid of the light, but rather that they essentially have internal programming called negative phototaxis that causes them to prefer dark environments.
The question for you, beloved, is how are you wired? What environment do you prefer? Darkness? Or light? How will you respond to the preaching tomorrow? As always, along with grace, light and heat will be shed within the auditorium and upon your souls. Will you act like a cockroach and hurry off into darkness? Or, will you act like a Christian, and be drawn toward the light? Consider your answer as you consider Christ’s words: … I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
PS: You might also consider reviewing how one is to listen to a sermon, as explained in Westminster Larger Catechism 160: Q. What is required of those that hear the word preached? A. It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.