Parables of the Lamps (Upside Down Kingdom series #8)
Jason White



When light shines into darkness, it reveals the reality of what exists within the darkness. It’s hard to navigate through a dark room, but we can easily see everything around us when we shine a light into the darkness. This week, Jesus teaches uses the simple analogy of lamps and their lights to teach us about His light that has been given to us!







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*This transcript was auto-generated by a transcription service and may differ from the originally spoken content*Did you know that it was 20 years ago in 2003? That the movie Finding Nemo came out? Can you believe that 20 years ago, right? Everybody knows Finding Nemo, one of the greatest kids movies ever had one of the greatest movies ever, right? I mean, it was, it was awesome. I watched it with my kids. I'm sure everybody has seen Finding Nemo before. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years. But you've seen the movie, you know that there's this one particular scene where we're Dory and Nemo is dad, Marlon are trying to find Nemo, he's been taken and they find themselves in the darkest part of the ocean. I mean, they're swimming along, and all of a sudden, it just gets so dark. You can't I mean, couldn't even see. Well, they didn't really have hands their fish. But if it was you and I, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face kind of thing, right. And so they're swimming through the air. It's just so dark. And you know the same, it's the part where we're Dorries just tap chanting, you know, over and over again, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. And she's just saying it over and over again. And Marlin and her Just keep swimming through the dark, they have no idea where they're going, they can't see anything in front of them. They're just hoping that they're going the right way. And Marlin is just following her along. Well, you know, they finally begin to see a little bit of a faint light in the distance, and they begin to swim towards the light. And finally, there's enough light to begin to see where they really are and what's going on. And what they find out is that they have wandered into the presence of an angler fish, you haven't seen the movie, you don't know what an angler fish is, I think we have a slide of it there. And so all of a sudden they look and go. You know, I mean, they're scared to death, they see these sharp teeth. And then the chase ensues, right? I mean, it's one of the most intense scenes of the movie and they're trying to get away from this fish. Somehow they miraculously escape and they find their way back into the light and begin to kind of see where they're going and can navigate their way at that point in time. But here's the deal when Nemo and Dory sorry, when Marlin and Dory, were finally able to see where they were and what they were in the presence of that didn't change the fact that they were already in the presence of the angler fish, and we're in danger. They just didn't know it. No matter of fact, if it hadn't been for the light, not exposing that, then they would have never even seen it and known that they were in danger. At that point, the light exposed their reality, they had thought they were headed in the right direction or hoping that maybe they were going in the right direction, but didn't really know the danger that they were in because they could not see it, they were in the dark. Unfortunately, our lives can be just like that, too. We can be in danger, we can be in the dark and in danger and not even know it. I mean, it doesn't matter if you're in elementary school, junior high or high school or you're an adult or senior adult adult, we all tend to follow different people in this world. We look to people that are our neighbors, or our friends or certain family members, we look to certain news media and people that we see on certain anchors or certain media sources that are out there. And that that we like or other people have said something good about and we follow them. We see people on the internet or we find people on social media, and we just begin to sometimes blindly follow people and we hope what it is that they're saying is true. And that that's what the best direction for our lives are to think about those particular situations are. But God tells us that this world is in spiritual darkness, that we live in a world of spiritual darkness. And the thing is, is sometimes we don't even know that we're in the dark. Sometimes we don't even know it. But we could be Marlon, who's following Dory through this spiritual darkness and not even know that we're in any real danger, just thinking it's the right thing for us to do and this particular person or these people that we've trusted are leading us in the right direction. That Jesus, of course, came to change all of that and we're going to see that in the two parables that we look at Today these are two short, little parables. And to be honest with you, there is some debate about whether these even really are parables or not. A few commentators refer to them in parables. I was reading a book by James Montgomery Boice. And he has a Harvard degree and a Princeton Theological Seminary degree and was a pastor of a church for 32 years. And he calls them parables. And so I'm gonna go with him on this one and ask for you to extend a little bit of grace with me on this if they aren't actually parables, but we're including them in this message series. Again, the upside down Kingdom where we've been looking at the parables of Jesus. What's really interesting is that these are two different parables that Jesus tells. But the first Senate's, the first line of each one of them are very similar, some phrases and one one of in particular is almost identical. And what he said and both of them and so before we look at each one of them, I just want to look at the first line of both of them. Look at what Jesus says in Luke chapter eight, verse 16. He says, No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand so that those who come in can see the light. Luke chapter 11, verse 33, says no one likes a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl. Instead, they put it on Stan, so that those who come in may see the light. Again, very similar wording here, almost identical in certain places. And they're both about light. And we know that in other places, Jesus explicitly said that He is the light of the world, John eight, chapter 12, I believe is where he says that I'm the light of the world, right. And so Jesus is talking about light here, he references himself as the light. And the idea that he's communicating is just that, and in the same way that none of us would ever light a lamp, and then cover it up so that you can't see the light, that Jesus didn't come into this world as the light of the world, just to stay in darkness or keep the world in darkness. He came as the light of the world to expose the darkness that we were in, and for people to see that he is the way out of that darkness. And so these are two parables that start in similar ways. And he's saying, Listen, I didn't come into this world, to hide the truth about who I am. And what it is that I've come to do for you. He didn't want any of us to miss it. Right? He didn't want anyone to miss the grace, mercy that he was extending through what he came to do at the cross. But he knew that some of us would miss it. He knew that some of those he was even talking to in the moment, we're missing it in the first century. As a matter of fact, we're going to look at the parable that he's talked about in Luke 11. First, it begins in verse 33. But if you back up a little bit and look at what Jesus had said, and what was going on, what Luke tells us had happened before this, what you would see is that Jesus helps a guy who had been mute and possessed by a demon, and he, he miraculously heals the guy, the demon gets removed from him. And now he's able to talk. And I mean, you know, if you had a demon possessing you, and now you don't, if you weren't able to talk, and now you can, that's the kind of thing that usually gets people's attention. People take notice of that kind of thing. And it did. And people began to talk. And one of the things that Luke makes us aware of in that context, was that some of the people began asking the question, how did he do that? And someone actually had the audacity, audacity to say, well, it was actually by the power of Satan, that he was doing these things. It was by the power of the prints of demons and the power of the prints of the darkness, that he's able to cast out the demon and to do these miracles that you see him doing. The God of the universe. The light of the world, was standing right in front of them, doing these miracles, sharing his love and extending mercy to make these people's lives better. And they completely missed it and said, Satan, attitude. He really is. He couldn't see it. These are the people that he was addressing and talking to part of the audience when we get to to chapter 11. And again, he began in verse 33, and said no one likes a lamp puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, so that those who come in it may see the light, verse 30, for your eye, he says is the lamp of your body, when your eyes are healthy, your whole body is full, also full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body is also full of darkness, see to them that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when the lamp shines. It's light on you. So again, they're watching the light of the world with their very eyes, I mean, right in front of them, and they completely missed it. I mean, if, if you and I were in the dark, and someone turned a lamp on right in front of our eyes, and we didn't see it, what would that tell you? There's something wrong with our own eyes, right? There's something wrong with it. I mean, we've got something covering them up to where we can't see the light that's actually right in front of us. And I think that's what Jesus is trying to say you guys are blind, to see the situation that you're really in the light that's in front of you, you need to clean the mud out of your eyes, you've got cloudy vision that you can't really see what's actually going on right in front of you. Maybe it's your own preconceived ideas about the God of the universe, or the Messiah that was to come and they're clouding your vision, and you're not able to really see who I am in this moment. I had someone at a previous church I was at that basically came up and said, the same thing to me that the audience had said in Jesus in so many words. I mean, I just finished preaching, there was a guest family that was there, I didn't recognize him. So after the service, I went by and introduced myself and it was a husband and a wife and a, their daughter, who was I'm guessing in junior high, and their son who was probably 1617, maybe a junior senior in high school, somewhere around in there, and, and after getting to say a few things and just get to know who they were this son who was 17 years old or so basically looked at me and said, You know, I really don't think I believe all of that stuff. You're up there saying about Jesus this morning. Oh, okay. I mean, what do you say to that, right? I mean, he's just pretty bold. And I don't know, if he was really trying to be combative. I don't know, maybe he was, maybe he was trying to get a rise out of me. He didn't know how I was gonna react. And I didn't really know what to say in the moment, I felt like the Holy Spirit was just telling me to affirm that it was okay for him to be in that place. And to say that to me. And so that's what I did. I just said, You know what, I appreciate your honesty, right? I appreciate your courage even to say that, to me, as someone who obviously believes that this is true, so much so that I'm trying to tell others about it, and how it can change their lives as well. And I said, you know, it's okay to be in that particular place. Because I was probably in that place at one point in my life, too. And so I said, here's what I want to encourage you to do. seek it out for yourself in Don't turn a blind eye to it, like read the Bible for yourself, I really want to encourage you to do that. Maybe you would want to keep coming and listening and don't turn a blind eye to it at least just be be open to it right? Just be open to the possibility right? Don't just read it to prove that it's wrong, or your preconceived ideas, try to block those out and just come at it with an open mind and see where the evidence leads. Well, I didn't think much about it after that they continue to come a little bit often on had no conversation with him whatsoever, seven or eight months probably go by. And then after the service, one day, he comes walking down to the front. And he comes up and says Pastor, I just want you to know that I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior today. And I said, What in the world happened? Right? And he said, Well, I just continued to do what you said, I started reading it some on my own. I started reading some other books I been coming off and on and it was like this morning, the Holy Spirit turned the lights on for me. I could see it clearly. Right. And he said, I just knew that that was what the truth was that I needed to receive Jesus in my life. And so I did and a few weeks later, he gets baptized and off he goes on his journey with Jesus and I think it's in a lot of ways what Jesus was saying to these guys, look, there's something wrong with your eyes right? Clean. Get up, get rid of the preconceived notions and ideas and things that you're bringing to the table and in helped me to see whatever it is it's causing you to not be able to see it, then get rid of those things. And he'll reveal the truth to you. And once you begin to see it, then you begin to receive it. Because you know the truth, you know what is required in that response. And He changes your whole life, Jesus says, You're, you receive it, and it starts with your eye and clearly seeing these things. And he says, Then I changed all of you, I changed your whole body, he kind of used that language in there, right? You won't be full of darkness anymore, you'll be full of, of light, because I'll do the work of making you a whole new creation as you begin to see me for who I really am the Messiah, the Savior, your Lord, your rescuer and Redeemer your life, right. So in a lot of ways, I think this is what Jesus is saying, in this first parable that we see and directed at help, okay, you got to clear it up the mud out of your own eyes, the things that you're bringing to the table to see Jesus for who He really is in the spiritual darkness that you're ultimately really in and seeing a need for a Savior in the first place. But then in the second parable, He begins to kind of think through or talk through what I think is on the other side of our salvation, and how he continues to work as the light of the world. So he says there in Luke chapter eight, verse 16, no one likes a lamp and hides it in a jar, a clay jar puts it under a bed, instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in, can see the light for 17, for there is nothing hidden, that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed, that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen, whoever has will be given more, whoever does not have even what they think they have, will be taken from them. What's really interesting, and I don't know if you saw it or not, in here is how the challenge that Jesus gave to them had to do with listening. He's he's talking about sight in light, right? I mean, he's talking about light. And usually the sense that's associated that you would think you would be saying something about sight, but he switches it in begins to talk about hearing correctly. And so in other words, seeing correctly involves and making this connection, Jesus saying to listening, well, and he's talking to the disciples here in the beat, okay, well, what was it that they needed to listen more clearly to and listen well to? Well, this is where it helps to know the context as well. If you go back and look at chapter eight, you would see that this is the same place that Jesus tells the parable of the soils, we looked at this parable, and the very first week of this message series that we're in, and you know, the parable, that's where Jesus is saying different seeds are the seeds fell on different kinds of soil and how receptive it really is. And he mentions how the seed represented the messages about the kingdom, the seed representative represented Jesus's teaching, right? So what he's saying is that these guys needed to listen well to his teaching, that he's the light of the world, and that as they listen to this, he's going to light up the truth in their minds as they receive His teaching through their ears, so that they'll, again see how this applies to their lives as disciples as those who would become part of His kingdom and citizens of that kingdom and how the values of the kingdom he was trying to help them to see and he was teaching about they were hearing about would begin to penetrate their minds and their hearts so that they could trust him with how Jesus worked in and through them as part of His kingdom. You know, in the parable of the soils, he said, when you do that, and when you receive my messages when you receive it well, which is what all the parable of the soils was about being the most receptive soil receiving the messages of Jesus being the truth, then that's when he said, I'll use that to produce much fruit in you and through you things of eternal value, right? So in this parable, the very last thing that Jesus said was what? Consider carefully how you listen, whoever has will be given more, whoever does not have even what they think they have, will be taken from them. Right. So So these were the disciples, they were receiving his messages, they had the message of the Kingdom. They were a part of that kingdom, what they had, they would even be given and more as he produced that fruit in them and through and experiencing more of what they had in Jesus as the Holy Spirit came, and they were sent out on their own in those ways. But the other side of that, remember the other people he was usually dealing with and talking to the Pharisees, the religious ones, the ones who were supposed to be helping the people here and see the truth about who God really is, but they had made it all about religion. And so even what they thought they had, would be taken away from them, and given to those who were receptive and hearing and receiving the truth about what Jesus said, The kingdom of God was really like and what he came to offer. And so through these two parables, we see again, first of all, that Jesus is going to light up our need for him. I mean, if you don't know him, you don't even know you're in spiritual darkness, he's got to do the work of showing you that you're in the dark, he's got to expose the fact that an angular fish is right there in front of you, and you just don't know it, because you can't see it. Right? The light comes, you see the danger and the darkness that you're in, and that he's the light in the way out of those things, then you can enter into that and receive Him as your rescuer, get you out of the darkness rescue you from the situation you're in. But then, in this next parable, we see that after this initial work of salvation, Jesus continues to do this work of wanting to light up the way for each of us to experience him, experience His life in us, experiencing his life through us to produce fruit of eternal value. And so you and I have to be careful, because we know that while Jesus is looking to do this work in us and through us that Satan is still the prince of this world, the prince of darkness, the deceiver, right? And guess what we're told that Satan masquerades, as in this world, an angel of light. And so sometimes, we, as believers who have the light can be looking out into the world rather than to the light of the world. And then we can begin to follow those out in the world. And take Nemo and Dora I mean, Marlin and Dory, right? She's leading us somewhere that we're trusting. And we think that we're going what seemed like the right thing to do what sounds like the right thing to do. But it's really just the way of the world it's the work of Satan trying to steer us away from the life of Christ innocent through us. And into a life of self in performance, right. I mean, this is what happens over and over again, even in the church, a lot of us who have received the life and light of the world into our lives, have been taught in the church, that it's all about, do more, be more, be more crazy, have more crazy love be more radical, right? Do all of these things that you've got to do to be more and do more. And we end up in this place where we're trying to perform and chase and get more blessing from God based on the things that we're doing when the gospel is believed and receive and trust, the work that he's doing in us and through us. And so sometimes, when you and I have maybe even grown up in church, we've grown up in this world. What Satan or what Jesus will do is what he's had to do in my life. You know, what he's done sometimes to light up things in my life to see how to experience more and more of him as my life and the fruit that he wants to produce in and through me. He's actually had to help me unlearn some things that I was taught. Even in the church. I had to unlearn things that I was taught in the church and from sources that I just began to follow out into the world or in other religious settings, because whatever I just thought was so great about them or because someone else in my church recommended something and we just, well, these are the people you're supposed to listen to and follow and trust and ended up in places where juices going. You need to unlearn some of that. Because a lot of that was just religion, which is steering you further and further away from me and more and more into you and your flesh and performance, rather than my work in you and through you. And so maybe that's what Jesus has to do in some of you, as well. continue to help you unlearn some things that you are even taught to shine the light and expose the darkness that we may even be in in that moment. And as we begin to trust him with those things, just like he said, there will be, will be given more, we have it all. And we'll be able to experience more. And he trusts us with more to allow him to be the one to express those things of eternal value in and through us. And so as we look at these two parables, I think, again, as we conclude, it boils down to this, if you've never said yes to Jesus, and what's been preventing that is your eyes and your vision have been clouded up, haven't been able to see who he really is, would you get rid of the preconceived ideas and notions you've had about who he is? Or what other people have said about him? And would you begin to open yourself up to allow Him to reveal Himself to you and your need for Him to maybe even take that step of faith today, as a way of response? And for those of us who have, maybe we need to make ourselves available for him to continue to shine the light on the darkness that we've even exposed ourselves or the people that we're following in this world through the darkness, and we're just continuing to swim and swim and swim in and go, maybe there's some things you need to unlearn? And would you expose those things to me and reveal your truth about how to experience more and more of the life that I have in you, either way, a hope that whatever Lord is leading you to do, and however he's leading you to respond, you'll do so as we close today. Let's pray. Jesus, thank you for being the light of the world. Thank you that you came to reveal the spiritual darkness, the lostness that we were in and to show us our need for you. Thank you for being willing to go to the cross to do what was necessary to rescue us from the darkness that we were in. Father, I just pray for those who may have never said yes to you. And maybe their vision has been somewhat clouded that you will continue to work and open up their hearts and minds to see who you clearly are today. You and that you might reveal that to them, and empower them and enable them to take that step this morning. Father, I pray for those of us who have and maybe we've been trusting and other people and just blindly following them. And we've ended up in places where we're really making it a lot about ourselves and what we're doing and our performance and what other people should be doing and how we're trying to justify ourselves before you or impress other people around us instead of just simply resting in your finished work. Trusting and how you bring us life and what it is that you want to do in us and through us. Expose the darkness. Bring us into the light and show us how to experience more and more of you. We make ourselves available to you in this moment to continue to respond. However, you're leading us right now in this moment in Jesus name. Amen.