Shine On Us

Steve Viars December 18, 2005 John 8:12

- Thank you for coming to our Christmas Drama Musical entitled Shine on Us...

- to help us be prepared to help us be prepared for what we’re about to hear...can I ask you to think with me for a moment about the subject of darkness...

- have you ever been in a place where it was really, dark?...

- several years ago my daughter Bethany and I had the privilege of traveling to the Ivory Coast, which is a country in West Africa...

- you probably remember reading about it in the news because it is has been a very unstable place politically and militarily...so it’s a rather dangerous place, just like many of the mission fields around the world...

- I was there along with another fellow to teach a group of missionaries who had come in from around the country and some surrounding African nations about helping people learn how to apply God’s Word to the everyday problems of living...

- we were teaching in a compound like many places in 3rd world countries...where there was a high wall of 8-10 feet with glass shards embedded in the masonry at the top...

- and then we were staying about a block and a half away...and the missionaries had told us it was probably OK to walk back and forth during the daytime...but they also offered to take us back and forth by car...

- one afternoon the other fellow was teaching so I was back at our little apartment doing some final preparation for the evening sessions when I realized that it had gotten dark while I was studying...so I thought, OK---I didn’t bring the car...there are a few street-lights along this dirk road lading to the compound---this probably isn’t smart but I should be OK...

- so I started out on this dirk road that ran next to the compound wall---kind of going from street-light to street-light [and then looking around to see if everything was OK]...

- that worked out OK until I was about half way between the apartment and the compound...and all the lights went out, everywhere...followed next by yelling and screaming in a language I did not understand...

- it was one of those experiences where you could put your hand right in front of your face and not see your hand...

- the Bible uses that same image to describe trying to live life apart from Him...

- it is like walking in darkness...

- so we read verses like Job 37:19 - Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.

- sometimes when we are trying to communicate with another person, it’s so hard to try to find a solution or resolve a problem...you feel like you are walking in darkness...

- at other times it is the pain of being mistreated by someone else---that is spoken of in the Psalms where people in authority are being unjust and oppressive...and the Psalmist describes them as people who...Psalm 82:5 - They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness...

- if you are living under that kind of authority, knowing what to do or where to go can be very illusive...

- of course we all know that when we say something we shouldn’t say, or do something we shouldn’t do...what would the Bible call that?... Proverbs 2:13 - Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

- see, its one thing to be in physical darkness...that dangerous and frightening enough...

- but when we are there spiritually...and we don’t know what to do...or we don’t know where to go...

- or we’re fairly certain that the steps we are taking can’t be right or can’t be best...

- if we’re living in darkness spiritually, what do we need?...

- we need the same thing I needed in West Africa...

- at first I just stood there trying to get my bearings...but it was impossible...

- then I started heading for where I thought I remembered that big metal door being in the compound wall...but [surprise, surprise]...I really hadn’t paid much attention...

- so I was sort of stumbling forward in the dark...

- when all of a sudden I heard a generator motor start up...and then this little light came on right over the door...it probably was only a 30 watt bulb...and it was kind of flickering at that...I was never more happy to see a light in all my life...

- friends, that’s what happened at Christmastime--- John 8:12 – Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

- let’s pray and ask God to help us grasp the importance of the message we’re about to hear...about the great news that the light has come.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video