America’s Journey Into Darkness-1
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 12/28/03
Matthew 4:16 "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." A look at the context reveals that our Lord Jesus Christ is referring to the inhabitants of Galilee who sat in darkness. They were living in the darkness of spiritual error. Christ came into the area and preached the truth to them! He did this in fulfillment of Isaish 9:2. Christ was the "great light" and the light that "is sprung up." By way of application, Christ can lead any person or people group out of spiritual darkness, because He is the spiritual light leading people into the timeless truths of God.
Next, turn to John 8:12 "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. This is a clear declaration! Jesus said, He was the light of the kosmos. The context identifies the kosmos as the human family. Walking in the darkness of unbelief leads to damnation. Walking by faith in Christ leads to life, both here and here after.
John 3:16-21 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
1 John 1:5-7 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Finally, let’s turn to an Old Testament passage, Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Without apology, I assert that the success or failure of this nation depends upon the degree to which we obey the truths and principles of the Bible. The Bible says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…" Psalms 33:12
Daniel Webster, orator, U.S. Congressman, Senator, diplomat and Secretary of State under three different Presidents knew that the blessing of the Lord depended upon obeying the principles of recorded in God’s Word. He said…
I am a student of history, particularly English and American history. During the founding and early eras of this nation our leaders and citizens had a fear of God and, for the most part, walked in the light. By "walked in the light," I mean they acknowledged the God of Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, reverenced His Word and promoted the principles of the Holy Bible. That is not to say that all the leaders and citizens were Christians, or all people live like Christians and that there was no crime, because that was not true. However, in that day, right and wrong was not relative, as people seem to believe today, and there was a good reason for that. The founding fathers and early builders of this nation understood that the truths and principles of God’s Word were absolute, not relative.
James Madison said, "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
In the founding and early eras of this Nation, her leaders sought to walk in the light and therefore our nation was blessed of God. In June of 1992 Pastor Bill & Nancy Darrow, Linda and I visited Leiden, Holland, where the English Pilgrims lived for twelve years. In our wandering around the town to find the "Pilgrim" sites, we met we met a old gentleman on a bicycle. He spoke good English and offered to lead us to the Pilgrim’s Museum in town. That little museum was very interesting. On one of the information cards it listed five reasons why the Pilgrims came to the New World. This is the order they were listed…
When you examine every reason that the Pilgrims came to New World, you see that they were all spiritual in nature. But, the first reason they came to America was a family reason! The family is the basic building block of society. These Christians realized that if they lost their children to the world, it would ultimately lead to the extinction of their culture. Dr. Cotton Mather (1663-1728), a early colonial preacher said,
Our nation is journeying into darkness today because parents have forgotten the importance and worth of a "well ordered family." A well-ordered family does not happen by accident! It is the result of diligent efforts by the parents in rearing their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6). It includes supervising your child’s friends (1 Corinthians 15:33), regulating their activities (Proverbs 4:10-27) and being responsible for educating their children Biblically (Proverbs 22:6).
The Pilgrims took radical steps to stop their children from being influenced by their worldly peers. They knew the value of well ordered families. They knew that when families are out of control, society, as a whole, suffers and disintegrates. American society is suffering today and plummeting deeper and deeper into the dark abyss toward destruction because families are not well ordered. They are out of control. But why? Parents have turned from the Biblical principles of family relationship and child rearing to aimlessly doing that which was right in their own eyes. That’s what Israel had done in Isaiah’s day and we read the result in Isaiah 3:12 "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths."
If Christians are to redeem the time in these evil days they must make it a top priority to strive for a "well ordered family" as Cotton Mather put it. This is walking in the light! While this will run against the world’s grain, it is the right thing to do and will yield blessing from the Lord.
*In our next message we will continue map America’s journey into