Glow in the Dark
Glow in the Dark (2) - A Song in the Dark
We are in part two of our series entitled “Glow in the Dark,” considering how Jesus is the light of the world and all of us are invited to reflect his light and his glory. Therefore, it’s important that we understand that the Word of God is a light for us in this dark world; and that by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we seek Jesus, the glory of God becomes an everyday reality for us. But the truth of the matter is that many of us are trying to do life on our own, without any help or guidance from the Holy Spirit, and so we are essentially choosing to walk in the dark.
Some of you that have kids or younger brothers and sisters know what it’s like to walk through the house at night without a light. In other words, you know that there are different levels of pain based upon the types of obstacles that you may encounter in the dark as you walk down the hallway or across the living room floor at night. And it’s not always the big things that cause the most pain, they may cause you to trip or stumble, but standing barefoot on that little piece of Lego, or putting all of your weight on that little toy soldier or figurine can be excruciatingly painful.
Today, I want to talk to you about a Song in the Dark, because often we find ourselves trying to go through life without so much as a flashlight, but God has called us to walk in the light as he is in the light. In fact, he has given us what we could call a spiritual flashlight, because the Bible says,
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalms 119:105).
You see, it’s the Word of God that helps us to walk with confidence, that increases our faith, and empowers us to keep putting one foot in front of the other as we trust God to guide us through the darkness. The Holy Spirit tells us that the Word of God, the Bible, is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path through life.
And so, whether in the past, present, or future, we need the presence of Jesus, the Word of God, and the encouragement of others to help us walk through this dark world. In fact, God has given us the tools we need to Glow in the Dark, because not only has he told us to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness, but he often does his greatest work in the dark. You see, you may have thought that it was awesome when the check came, when the lump disappeared, and the mountain was moved, but those were just the aftereffects of what he did in the dark when you thought he wasn’t doing anything at all.
God does some of his greatest work in the dark and we can see this over and over and over again in the Word of God. For example, as we turn to Acts chapter 16, the Bible tells us that King Herod had Peter arrested and locked in prison. Herod was so fearful of the mighty power of God that Peter had demonstrated in the community, that he had Peter guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. In other words, he had him chained up in prison where he was guarded by 16 soldiers, but the Bible says,
“The church was earnestly praying to God for him. And so, the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance” (Acts 12:5-6).
“Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” He said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists” (Acts 12:7).
Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Peter finds that he has been set free. Thinking that he was dreaming, Peter followed the angel out of the prison.
“They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him” (Acts 12:10).
Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches.” In other words, God often does his greatest work in the darkest moments of our lives. After we’ve done everything we could do, after we asked everyone else for help, then we prayed like we should have from the beginning and God gives the answer. We get the breakthrough we needed, because when we were unaware, God had been working in the dark.
You see, often we just don’t know what God is doing in the darkness. In Mark chapter 10, as Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd was with them. As everybody is rejoicing and talking about what a great day it is, Jesus stopped to heal a blind man named Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46). And I wonder if there are any of you who know what it’s like to be in deep darkness, midnight in your life, while everybody else is rejoicing and praising God because it is daytime in their season of life. And so, you are groping your way through the deep darkness, shouting out,
“Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:48).
And I assure you it may have been daytime for Jesus and his disciples, but it was certainly the deepest dark of night for blind Bartimaeus. It was midnight, in fact, it was so dark that Bartimaeus couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. But he was about to have a moment of revelation, a moment of illumination, because God was working in his darkness.
The Bible says, Jesus stopped in broad daylight, and in the middle of blind Bartimaeus’ night, Jesus said,
"Your faith has healed you." And immediately he received his sight…” (Mark 10:52).
I want to encourage you today to Glow in the Dark even if you’ve got daylight, because that doesn’t mean the person next to you isn’t having their own personal midnight. Or that just because they’ve got daylight, that doesn’t mean that you’ve got daylight, but God does some of his best work in the dark.
In fact, the Bible tells us that it was late when Joseph and Mary settled down in the stable. Darkness had settled over Bethlehem, Jesus was born at night, and the Bible says,
“There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8).
When an angel of the Lord appeared to them announcing that Christ the Savior had been born.
Even the wise men came at night, we know that because they were following a what? They were following a star, right? And so, do you recognize what God is doing in the darkness of your life? Can you see where he is working, where he is walking, coming to you during the fourth watch of the night?
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, they were terrified, thinking that he was a ghost. But the Bible says, “Jesus said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid” (Matthew 14:25-27).
As followers of Christ, we need to live with the expectation that God is doing great things at night. We’ve got to be ready in the deep darkness, keeping our lamps full of oil, because the Bible says, “at midnight.” Somebody say, “at midnight,” tell your neighbor, “at midnight.”
“At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom” (Matthew 25:6).
And so, the bridegroom comes at night, just like Creation started at night, and God does some of his best work at night, because Adam even gave birth to Eve in the middle of the night. The Bible says, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and made a woman from the rib he’d taken out of the man (Genesis 2:21-22).
Even Abraham offered sacrifices, entering into covenant with God at night. The Bible says that as the sun was going down a great darkness fell upon Abraham. A smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces (Genesis 15:17). Because God does some of his best work at night, and so he was working, he was walking in the middle of the night with the burning lamp.
There may be some of you right now who are walking in the midnight hour, darkness has fallen, and for you it might feel like an endless night, because it’s been a long season of deep darkness. But God is working in your personal midnight, because he is light, and as the psalmist said,
“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalms 139:12).
And God has called us to Glow in the Dark, reflecting his image, exposing the darkness, lighting up the darkness so that the night will shine like the day.
The Bible says that Jacob stopped for the night because the sun had set and so he lay down to sleep (Genesis 28:11). It had been a long day, he was exhausted, he didn’t know how he was going to make it, he didn’t know if he could hold it together anymore, but the Bible says,
“He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” (Genesis 28:12).
It may be midnight in your life, you may feel like you’re about to have a nervous breakdown, but Jacob discovered that standing there above the stairway stood the Lord watching over him. When he awoke from his sleep, he thought,
“Surely, the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t aware of it” (Genesis 28:16).
God often does his best work at night, and in your midnight hour he is watching over you.
In Psalm chapter 27, David said that it is the presence of God that kept him from collapsing.
“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret place of his tabernacle, he shall hide me; he shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me” (Psalms 27:5-6, NKJV).
And so, there is a pavilion, a covering, a secret place that anchors you, that stabilizes you in his presence when all hell is breaking loose. When all you can see is darkness, God give you a power that far exceeds your environment, your situation, or your circumstance. His glory supersedes it all, every time, all the time, wherever you are, because the Bible says that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
“According to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
And so, even now in your midnight hour, it’s at work in you right now, it’s his power that is at work within us, in the church, in the body of Christ. And God said, I can do immeasurably more, not according to what you see, not according to how you feel, it’s according to his power that is at work within us, but you’re going to have to work it. In other words, you’ve got to Glow in the Dark, you’re going to have to work it, you’re going to have to sing a song in the darkness. David said,
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me. Therefore, I will offer sacrifices of joy in his tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord” (Psalms 27:6, NKJV).
You see, when you sing a Song in the Dark is your faith begins to move the heart of God, and when you move, he can move. When you step into it, he can part the waters.
There are some of you listening who are in the deep darkness of your own personal midnight. You are in a fight right now, the devil has lied to you, tried to shut you down, tried to shut you up, but your head shall be lifted up above your enemies. I know the midnight hour can be overwhelming, the darkness can feel overpowering, and walking by faith is difficult, but it is possible according to his power that is at work within us.
And so, you need to throw off your jacket, roll up your sleeves, and fight the good fight. You’ve got to make up your mind that you’re going to drive the forces of darkness back, that you’re going to push them back, because when you push, they are going to move. We know that because the Bible says,
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
And so, to be a conqueror you’ve got to fight, you’ve got to push back, and you’ve got to resist the opposition. If you’re going to Glow in the Dark, you’ve got to make up your mind that you are going to be a conqueror. You may not feel like a conqueror, you may not look like a conqueror, but according to the Word of God, you are more than a conqueror.
You may be in the midnight hour of your situation, but your situation doesn’t define your reality. Only God can define your reality, and when you call on him, when you begin to praise him in the dark, his power begins to work within you. Just like we talked about Paul and Silas last week. They were thrown into jail in Acts chapter 16. They were expecting to go to trial in the morning, but the magistrates made the mistake of locking Paul and Silas up together.
What I mean about it being a mistake was that Jesus promised,
"If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).
And so, the enemy messed up when he let Paul and Silas face the darkness together, because the Bible says,
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
And so, Paul and Silas are locked up together, two believers locked up together, thinking with the mind of Christ, speaking on the same frequency, and the Bible says, “About midnight.” In other words, at the darkest part of the night, when the jail was quiet, when the lights were out, when everybody should’ve been sleeping,
“Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25).
I believe there is something that unleashes the power of God when you sing your praises in the darkest part of your night. Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns to God letting Satan know that they were not about to submit to his schemes. They may have been the darkest point in their ministry, but they were not about to give up.
If you are here and you are at the darkest point of your life, if all hell is breaking loose, when the devil expects you to give up, open up your mouth and give God a shout of praise. I know it sounds crazy to sing in prison at midnight, but you’ve got to be daring enough, different enough, to let loose a warrior’s cry, a victor’s chant, and sing at an unexpected time. It doesn’t even matter whether you can keep a tune, it just matters whether it’s dark enough for your praise to stand out strong enough that the mountains move and the chains break.
The Bible says, “The other prisoners were listening to them,” but they needed a song that went beyond the prisoners. Their praise had to go beyond that, because they needed a breakthrough, and at some point they penetrated into the spirit realm and the Bible says, “Suddenly.”
“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose” (Acts 16:25-26).
If there is anybody listening that needs to be set free, you need a door opened, if you have a song of praise in your mouth, when you open your lips, foundations will shake and chains will come loose. But you’ve got to have the faith and the courage to sing a Song in the Dark. In the deep darkness of midnight Paul and Silas sang hymns to God.
And it’s such an amazing story, a great historical victory, but I can’t help but think about an even greater victory. I can’t help but think about what the disciples said about Jesus. That on the night of the Passover,
“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve" (Matthew 26:20).
Let me give you some context, this was the night they arrested Jesus, when the Lamb of God was about to go to the cross. This was the night that he was to be unveiled as the Son of God, the Christ of Glory.
And so, this was that night, on the night of the Passover, and the Bible says, after they had eaten the Passover meal, they all began to sing. Now, remember, only Jesus knows that he is going to be the Paschal Lamb, and the Bible says,
“When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).
What I find to be so amazing about this is that in the darkness of the Passover night, it wasn’t just the disciples singing, but Jesus was singing with them. And so, on the day of his arrest, the day of his suffering, Jesus was singing. And I wonder if you have ever thought about the fact that Jesus literally sings over us. I say that because that’s what the Bible says,
“The Lord your God is with you… he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
And so, Jesus is singing, but how could he sing when he knows he’s about to go to the cross? You know, we overheard him in the garden, and we heard him praying,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42).
And so, we know that he hesitated to go to the cross, he wasn’t singing because he was happy about going to the cross, but he was singing because he was looking beyond it.
The Bible tells us that it was their tradition to sing Psalm chapter 118, and so he sang,
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24).
And so, Jesus could embrace this day, he could sing this song in the dark, because he knew that this was the fulfillment of his divine purpose. This was the day of atonement, this was the day of redemption, this was the day of restoration and healing. And so, it was this day, this particular day, and Jesus recognized the dawn of a new day because,
“There was evening, and there was morning” (Genesis 1:5).
And so, they were singing and Jesus knew that this was the day, because it was so dark. It wouldn’t be this dark, not this kind of dark, not the deep darkness of betrayal if God wasn’t getting ready to do something. Jesus knew that this was the day because he told his disciples,
“This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (Matthew 26:31).
And so, Jesus knew that this would be a day of deep darkness, that he would experience the pain of rejection and betrayal, the hostility of the chief priests and leaders of the people, and it was all evidence that this was the day that the Lord had made.
Now, honestly, this is crazy to be singing this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it, because this day was already unfolding before Jesus. He had already told Judas,
"What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:27).
Now, we don’t normally think about the betrayal by friends with gladness, but none of that mattered to Jesus, he wasn’t concerned about the darkness because he was looking ahead. He knew that this was the day, this was the appointed time, and Jesus was singing as Judas went to get the soldiers because he was looking forward to our redemption on the other side of the cross. That’s why the Bible tells us about Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
“Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
That is amazing focus, fixed on the Father, trusting the will of the Father and it is that kind of love, faith, and obedience that led Jesus to wash Judas feet. Not only that, but then the Bible says Jesus invited Judas to sit next to him at the table.
“Dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him” (John 13:26-27).
Jesus showed Judas the full extent of his love, serving his enemy, feeding his enemy, sitting with his enemy, and he loved him to the end. He sat at the table with John on one side and Judas on the other, because you can’t be a great man or woman of God until you can sit in between John and Judas and treat them both the same. Jesus was able to sit in between John and Judas, knowing which one is which, feeding both with the same bread, drinking together from the same cup, and then walk off into the darkness singing the same song.
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, PC Study Bible, Preaching Library, and Sermon Central. Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.