“Whose light is it, anyway?” - Summer Sonshine # 2

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Fri, 07/26/2019 - 10:15am

“Whose light is it, anyway?” Sermon for July 14th 2019 at Harbor Church

Isaiah 5:20-24 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

20 Ah, you who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
21 Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes,
    and shrewd in your own sight!
22 Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine
    and valiant at mixing drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of their rights!

24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will become rotten,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 

Luke 11:33-36 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar,[a] but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

 

“Whose light is it, anyway?” Sermon for July 14th 2019 at Harbor Church

Whose line is it anyway? – The TV show That first aired from 1998 to 2007 “The improvisational comedy sketches have entertained Americans and many others around the world. The original host Drew Carey always begabn the show with the same OPENING SPIEL: "Good evening(, everybody), and welcome to Whose Line Is It Anyway, where everything is made up and the points don't matter. So Come on down, let's have some fun and make some stuff up!"

It seems like We increasingly live in a world where truth is relative; and Your truth may be different from my truth. More and more it seems like people decide what they believe is true by simply “making stuff up”.

But according to the Saturday Evening Post

“ The trouble with stretching the truth is that it’s apt to snap back.”

Perhaps, We are experiencing a whole culture and an entire generation of ‘snap back.”

Research on the newest Generation:

Gen Z- Generation looking for Direction

A spiritual blank slate “Not sure” and “don’t know” much more prevalent in their

responses than other age-groups surveyed.

A majority of all gen z don’t believe that there are really any absolute truths. This

is producing a generation without a compass, without a sense of truth north. They

are afraid to share, to challenge, to give offense. They don’t have a clear sense of

what is true, what even what is right.

So, What is true? How do you decide what is true? What is real and authentic to you In terms of what you believe and the values that you live by? What does truth look like, and  Where do we find it?

 A lot a lot has been made of moral relativism in recent years. Situational ethics is how more and more people make decisions is days Is there still such a thing as absolute truth doesn't exist.  We’ve all heard the philosophical questions, and hypothetical examples. For instance, a woman runs by you on the street, obviously in distress. A few moments later a man with a gun runs up to you and says, “a woman just passed by here; which way did she go? What s the right thing to do here; is it ok to lie to protect the woman’s life? But lets consider this story in light of another-

 Telling The Robbers

When the father of the great Emmanuel Kant was an old man he made a perilous journey through the forests of Poland to his native country of Silesia. On the way he encountered a band of robbers who demanded all his valuables, finally asking: “Have you given us all?” and only letting him go when he answered, “All.” When safely out of their sight his hand touched something hard in the hem of his robe. It was his gold, sewn there for safety and quite forgotten by him in his fear and confusion.

At once he hurried back to find the robbers, and having found them, he said meekly: “I have told you what was not true; it was unintentional. I was too terrified to think. Here, take the gold in my robes.” Then to the old man’s astonishment nobody offered to take his gold. Presently one went and brought back his purse. Another restored his book of prayer, while still another led his horse toward him and helped him to mount. They then unitedly entreated his blessing, and watched him slowly ride away. Goodness had triumphed over evil.

—J. A. Clark

Conclusions about The moral of the story ? I leave those up to you.

Personal Example

There is still evil in this world very real and very close to home but in the polite society in which we live we often like to pretend it doesn't exist. I was reminded just a couple of days ago when I got a call on my telephone. Call ID came up Social Security Administration. The man on the phone identified himself as a government agent; an investigator for social security and said that my social security number had been compromised and was associated with criminal activities. The he started asking some questions, and I realized that it was a phishing scam, to get my personal data .. The anonymous nebulous evil world had made itself real and reached in to my  Living Room. Evil is closer to home than we like to think, and it is out there in the world as well. There are Still  people killing other people in armed conflict; hatred divides different people groups. There is oppression and exploitation like human trafficking and people still rob and cheat and covet..

 A very real danger in all this is described in our first Scripture reading. there is darkness is well.  

Watch out: “20 “[Ah], you who call evil good  and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,

IT has been said that all truth is God’s truth, and I agree with this statement. The challenge is in examining your sources and making sur that you have the real deal, and not some attractive counterfeit.

So how do we live with discernment, and how do we recognize and accept something looks good and right on the surface, when i t is actually darkness masquerading as  Light.

 There Are several different ways for us to be more  discerning. The holy scriptures are still the most reliable source for God’s truth. One of the great confessions of the our faith says that The Bible is the only infallible rule for faith and practice, and then it contains everything that we need for life and for godliness. What better reason than this  to spent time reading God’s word and enlightening our minds with it. Bring a pocket NT home with you today!

 Tradition is also another valuable resource for truth. One of the great strengths of our Christian tradition is the way we have been able to maintain purity of doctrine across generations. Creeds and ecumenical council's and their writings have preserved dark the core message of the Gospel and have sustained the church universal.

Then there is the more subjective experience of God’s truth  discovered in the  ministry that the Holy Spirit Brings to us .  That still, small voice of conscience that whispers to us of what is right and true . Here again we need to make sure that  we are not merely yielding to what we hope or wish for as truth.

So we check this against the wise council of people we trust. Like we synchronize our data across different devices, we must check to make sure that what we believe is correct is in synch with others who share the same convictions and Christian worldview. So lets not neglect  or overlook is the council the wise counsel of close friends.

 6947 Lindbergh On Truth—Charles Lindbergh

In my youth, science was more important to me than either man or God. I worshipped science. Its advance had surpassed man’s wildest dreams. It took many years for me to discover that science, with all its brilliance, lights only a middle chapter of creation.

I saw the aircraft I love destroying the civilization I expected it to save. Now I understand that spiritual truth is more essential to a nation than the mortar in its cities’ walls. For when the actions of a people are undergirded by spiritual truths, there is safety. When spiritual truths are rejected, it is only a matter of time before civilization will collapse.

We must understand spiritual truths and apply them to our modern life. We must draw strength from the almost forgotten virtues of simplicity, humility, contemplation and prayer. It requires a dedication beyond science, beyond self, but the rewards are great and it is our only hope.

Our Ethics, Morality & values are all have their source in what we believe to b truth. Our conduct is the practical outworking of moral and spiritual principles which flow from our convictions; it is the application of what we hold to be true in the daily crucible of our lives that define us. Truth is where our character, our morals, our convictions and our integrity meet. When we come to the Lord seekingr light, we are not asking for some new revelation or special knowledge, we are asking God for the grace to living uprightly, according to our convictions, in the light of God’s truth.

It’s like a programmer having a good source code that is constantly being revised and debugged. None of us has a corner on the truth; no one has it all figured out. Instead we are engaged in a life-long process of refining our understanding of truth and applying it to our daily living. It is an ending progression of self-examination where, in the words of the Writer Luke where we careful consider our ways to “Make sure that the light we think we have in us is not actually darkness.”

Who’s light is it anyway? It is the Lord’s. and It is the light of the Lord’ s truth alone that enlightens us as we seek it each day, amen.