Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: the realm of darkness

So Send I You

After the resurrection and before Jesus departed from this world, He told His disciples “As the Father hath sent me, so send I you” (John 20:21). Just a few simple words, so clear and plain that we are apt to miss their implication.

The Father sent Jesus into the Jewish nation to teach and portray the kingdom of God, a kingdom of truth, righteousness, peace and love. The political and religious forces of the day could not stand the message and conspired to get rid of the messenger.

Jesus rose victorious from the grave and now expects people who have experienced his grace and salvation to carry the same message into a world that is just as hostile. The whole world is in a mess and the Christian will be tempted to get sidetracked into fixing the world. But that has never worked and never will work. It cannot work because the problem with the world is not corrupt and misguided people, though there are enough of those, but the real problem is the powers of darkness which manipulate the affairs of this world.

Christians are called to teach and portray a different kingdom, with different values. We should not expect that to go unnoticed by the ruling forces of the realm of darkness. There will be opposition, attempts to deflect the Christian’s efforts to a different approach that will not be a threat to the realm of darkness. Persecution is not a barbaric relic of the past, it may well be the lot of Christians today who bear witness to the light in a world that loves darkness.

Hymn writer E. Margaret Clarkson understood this reality when she penned the poem So Send I You, which was later set to music by John W. Peterson. Here is the fourth of the five stanzas:

So send I you to to leave your heart’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labour long, and love where men revile you,
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

-copyright 1954 by Singspiration, Inc.

E. Margaret Clarkson was born 1915 in Melville, Saskatchewan and grew up in Toronto, where she taught school for 38 years. She wrote So Send I You in 1937 at the age of 22.

Witnesses of the Light

As the apostle John begins telling the gospel story, he identifies Jesus as the Light of the World. Then he says “There was a man named John,” referring to another John, John the Baptist, and says of him, “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.”

Two thousand years later the world still needs someone to bear witness of that Light. That would be you and me, all who live by faith in Jesus Christ. Are we finding it difficult to do that? Or do we think people don’t want to hear? Perhaps we have become too much at ease in the world as it is, forgetting that it is a wilderness of woe. A good starting point is to realize that most people around us are not happy with the way life is going for them. They think there must be a better way, they try to find it, but they don’t really know what it is they are looking for.

We cannot force people to see the light. Force is characteristic of the realm of darkness and we cannot use the means of the enemy of the light to bring people to the light. The first step, then, in being witnesses of the Light, is to be sure that we ourselves are wholly living in that Light.

I am not that Light. I can, and should, speak the truth boldly. But I must remember that it is the Holy Spirit that leads people into all truth, not me.

I should contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; that is I must be steadfast in maintaining its truth, despite opposition. Yet I must not be quarrelsome, for I am not the one who delivered that truth to mankind.

I must demonstrate the reality of the faith by loving everyone as God does; even those who are opposed. I don’t know what is in people’s hearts. God knows; He will judge; I don’t need to.

Truth, or a convincing approximation of the truth, can satisfy the mind for a time, but it leaves the heart longing for something more. True faith that works by love will satisfy both heart and mind and draw people to seek fellowship with others whose hearts and lives demonstrate the work of the Holy Spirit.

And ye would not

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

The devil and the powers of the realm of darkness keep the world in turmoil. Then they tell Christians to look at what’s going on and urge them to get out there and set things right. That gets Christians stirred up, some trying to fix the world in one way, some in another, and blaming each other that they are not doing enough, or are doing the wrong thing.

Why are we, who say that we trust in God, so prone to think that we have to get out there and save the world? Didn’t Jesus say: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)?

When we think we have to do something to fix the world, aren’t we much like God’s people of old, to whom Isaiah said: “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not” (Isaiah 30:15)?

Why don’t we just try this quietness and confidence thing?

Voices of darkness

I had to be at work a little before 11:00 P.M. that Sunday night.  The factory work week began at 11:00 and as Quality Assurance Inspector I had to check the equipment before startup.  Although I interacted with the supervisors and workers on the factory floor, I worked alone, covering all that was happening.  This gave me lots of time to think.

There was a lot to think to think about that night.  During our worship services and fellowship through the day I had picked up hints of things that were not well in our congregation.  As I walked the factory floor that night, I was remembering all the instances I had observed of negligence by our ministers.  The problems were so glaringly evident, yet the ministers were doing nothing to help, rather pretending to be ignorant of the dangers.  The picture became darker and darker as the night wore on.  I became increasingly disheartened.

This was thirty years ago, yet I still remember the time (5:00 A.M.) and where I was standing when a little voice spoke in my mind: “These thoughts are not taking you anywhere you want to go.”  Instantly, I recognized that all the thoughts that had been going through my mind did not originate from within my mind, but from an outside source.  They were the work of the enemy, the accuser of the brethren.

The dark cloud vanished, the evidence that had appeared so solid and unassailable crumbled to dust.  All the grounds for distrusting the working of the ministry disappeared.  The forces of darkness work in darkness.  When a little light comes to expose them, they scuttle away and flee.

They will come back, trying to disguise themselves in a different way each time.  We need not expect that we will ever be free from attack by the principalities and powers, the rulers of darkness, the wiles of the devil.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit also comes to whisper, “Do you really want to go where those voices are leading you?”

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:11-12).

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