Ken Foreman is the Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Faith, a mega-church in San Jose with membership over 7,000.
The Voyage: Sailing the High Seas at Christmas
Out of the Darkness and Into the Light
Movie trailer. This weekend we begin a series entitled, “The Voyage – Sailing the High Seas at Christmas.” The starting point for the series is the movie “Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” It is a movie based on a book by the same name that was written by one of the great spiritual leaders of all time, C. S. Lewis. I hope you get a chance to see the movie or to the read the book. It is a wonderful analogy about our spiritual growth as Christians. The movie is about a ship which sets sail on a voyage. While sailing the high seas there are many adventures that happen on this voyage. Some of the things that happen on their voyage are the kinds of things that happen on our voyage. So how about if we climb aboard, set sail on the high seas, and get ready for the ride of your life?
In the voyage that is found in the movie and in the book, one of key themes is “Out of Darkness and Into The Light.” This week we look at how you can find the light when you are in the dark. Let me set the stage for this week’s message.
As the Dawn Treader sails from island to island, at one point in the quest, the ship sails into a strange darkness. The further it sails the darker it gets. Darkness closes in on them. Darkness is all around them. They wonder if they will escape the dark, or if they will get out of the dark, it looks like they are lost in the dark, and to make matters worse, they discover that this darkness is the place where nightmares come true.
The worst kind of dreams you have, to be in a dark place where your nightmares come true, is a terrible place to be. At one point, Lucy cries out to the great lion for help. Eventually the light starts to break through. The light keeps getting brighter and brighter, until you could not even see the dark anymore. The book puts it this way, “the darkness turned into grayness, ahead, and then almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm blue world again.” Out of the darkness and into the light – that is what happens on the voyage at Christmas. It takes you out of the darkness and into the light.
In one place, the Bible describes the Messiah this way, “the people who are walking in darkness have seen a great light,” (Isaiah 9:2). That is what Jesus came to do. He is the great light that has come into the world to help us find our way out of the dark. If you are on your voyage and you are in the dark, sailing in the dark, stuck in the dark, the worst kind of dark, the kind of dark where nightmares come true – Jesus is the one great light that can help you to find your way out of the dark. If you are in the dark, He can help you find you way into the light.
I. REVEALING LIGHT
On the high seas of Christmas, we find a revealing light. The Bible says that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God,” (Colossians 1:15). One of the famous bands of all time were the Beatles. One of the guitar players for that band was George Harrison. He passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer. Before his death he was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine. During the interview, he talked about the big issues of life. He talked about the big priorities of life. He said, “Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait.” It seems to me he is right.
The search for God is the most important issue in life and yet here is the thing, where do you look for him? Where do you find him? When we need to search for something in our day, we tend to use the internet. You can find anything you are looking for on the internet. This week I went to my computer and I put the word God in the search engine and there were almost four hundred and fifty million sites that have something to say about God. Four hundred and fifty million sites. All of these different thoughts about God. All these different ideas about God. How can we know what is true? How can we know what is false?
Talk about a nightmare, if the most important issue in life is the search for God, and yet we are stuck in the dark when it comes to the search, that is the biggest nightmare of all. But on the high seas of Christmas, the light breaks through, and you do not have be in the dark anymore. If you want to see who God is, if you want to see what God is like, then look at Jesus. He will tell you what God is like. He will show you what God is like. If you want to see what the heart of God is like, look at the heart of Jesus. If you want to see what the mind of God is like, then look at the mind of Jesus. If you are searching for God, click on Jesus, because he is the visible image of the invisible God.
We do not have to be in the dark anymore because we have seen the great light. His name is Jesus. You can trust what He says about God, you can trust what He shows us about God. When He came back from the dead it proved what He is who He says He is, and He can do what He says He can do. This is what set Him apart from every other person in history who makes this claim about God, or who makes that claim about God. Jesus is the only one who came back from the dead to prove that He was telling the truth. He is who He says that He is. He can do what He says He can do. So if you are searching for God, click on Jesus, the one who is the visible image of the invisible God.
II. OVERCOMING LIGHT
On the high seas of Christmas, we find an overcoming light. The Bible says this about Jesus, “the light has come into the world and the darkness has not overcome it,” (John 1:5). The darkness has tried to overcome it. Even when Jesus was born, there were dark forces at work in the world who were trying to stop the baby and who were trying to kill the baby. While the light was still in the cradle, the darkness was trying to snuff it out. But the darkness could not overcome the light back then, and the darkness cannot overcome the light right now. Even though dark forces are at work in the world, the light is stronger than the darkness.
If you turn out the lights in the building, (in fact what if we go ahead and we do that right now), if we turned out all the lights in the building, it can be dark. It can be very dark. It can be so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. But if you flip the switch and turn on the light, the darkness can strain as much as it wants, the darkness can struggle as much as it wants, but if you flip the switch and turn on the light, light is stronger than darkness, and light overcomes the darkness. Maybe that is what you need to hear this week. Maybe that is what you need to know this week.
Right now you may be living a nightmare. It is one thing to be living your dream, but it is another thing to be living the nightmare. I was talking to a lady a while back and she was living the dream, she has two great kids, and lived in a great home, and had a group of great friends, and was involved in a great church. Then her husband decided to walk out on her, and he did not want to be married anymore. Her dream turned into a nightmare, and she can feel the darkness closing in on her.
When you are in the dark when it comes to your marriage, . . . or you are in the dark when it comes to your finances, . . . or you are in the dark when it comes to your kids, . . . or you are in the dark when it comes health, it is the place where nightmares come true. You need to know the great lion is with you. You need to know the great lion is for you. The darkness did not have the last word in His life. And the darkness will not have the last word in your life. You are going to get through the darkness. It may be dark. It may be very dark. It may be so dark, that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. But with help you are going to get through the darkness and you are going to overcome the darkness. The darkness did not overcome him. The darkness is not going to overcome you. The Bible says, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” (Romans 8:37). C. S. Lewis put it this way, “God who foresaw your tribulation has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.”
III. GUIDING LIGHT
On the high seas of Christmas, we find guiding light. The Bible says that “everything got started in him and everything finds its purpose in him,” (Colossians 1:15-18). In one comic, Charlie Brown says to Lucy, “I need help. What can I do for a purpose in life?” Lucy replies, “Do not worry Charlie Brown. Life is like being on an ocean liner, making its way through the sea. Some folks put their deck chairs to face the back of the ship, and others place their deck chairs to face the side of the ship, or the back of the ship. Which way does your chair face?” and Charlie replies, “I cannot even get my chair unfolded.” One of the things Jesus does is that He helps you get the chair unfolded.
He is the great light that helps you find your way. When you are in the dark about your purpose – what are you here for, what are you made for, that is a pretty big nightmare. When you are just drifting through life in the dark, and you do not have a sense of purpose – you get up, you go to work, you come home, you go to bed, the next day you do it all over again, you get up, you go to work, you come home, you go to bed, and the next day you do it all over again. Every day you go through the motions, and you feel like you are just going through the motions, and you are in the dark when it comes to your sense of purpose.
You are existing, but you are not really living. What the great light does is help us to find our way. He helps us find our way when it comes to our purpose. That is what happened to one lady who walked into the office. When she walked in her chair was stuck. She was in the dark. But as she began to talk, as she began to imagine, as she began to dream of ways Jesus could work through her, to use the gifts He had given to her, and the passion He had given to her, and the personality He had given to her, and the experiences He had given to her – to use it all to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others – she was just so happy at the thought of that. She was just so excited at the thought of that, that tears of joy were in her eyes.
It is a very big deal. If you have been wandering around in the dark. Wandering around in the dark without a sense of purpose – you can bring your life to Him. You can offer your life to Him, and ask Him to help you to find your purpose. He will help you to find your way. He will shine His light on your gifts. He will shine His light on your passion. He will shine His light on your personality. He will shine His light on your experiences. He will shine His light on a way. If you take what you have and use it to live a significant life, He will help you to find your purpose and to fulfill your purpose.
When you sail the high seas of Christmas, there is a great light that will help you to find your way out of the dark. One of the favorite carols which we sing at this time of year talks about the dark, and it talks about the light. Part of the song goes like this:
Oh, little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark street shineth,
The everlasting light,
It still does. It is an everlasting light, that is still shines. If you are in the middle of the dark, that light still shines and helps you to find your way, . . . out of the dark, and into the light.