"Sound Doctrine" - (Titus 2:1)

"The True Light"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Among other illustrious descriptions, our Lord Jesus Christ is called "the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (John 1:9).

When Jesus was born a star appeared. "Now after Jesus was born behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him'" (Matthew 2:1-2).

The Savior's entrance into the world was marked by the appearance of that star, and with His arrival on earth came illumination unto salvation, as well. When Joseph and Mary went to the temple to present the Divine Child to the Lord, they were met by Simeon who blessed Him, saying, "Lord my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel" (Luke 2:22-32).

More than once, Jesus claimed, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5). And, He wants to share His light: "He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12).

When Jesus was dying the sun disappeared. While the Savior was hanging from the cross, "from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land" (Matthew 27:45) because "the sun was darkened" (Luke 23:44). The day the sinless Son of God was murdered was the darkest day the world has ever known. The entire ordeal from His betrayal to His crucifixion was dark indeed. Addressing the mob that had come to arrest Him, Jesus said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

All sin is characterized as darkness. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Christians are a people who have left darkness behind in order to enter the light (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9). Though the light is shining, some allow Satan to blind them from it (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

Darkness eternal is the just recompense for sin. "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment then the Lord knows how to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment" (1 Peter 2:4, 9).

When Jesus returned to heaven he became its sun. Of the New Jerusalem it is written, "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light" (Revelation 21:23).

For the faithful, there is a promise of similar glory. "The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).

With Jesus there is light. He is "the Bright and Morning Star" (Revelation 22:16), "the Dayspring from on high" (Luke 1:78), "the Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2).

Can't See The Forest For The Trees

Shane Williams

It is easy to get so close to a temptation that we lose our perspective. It may be something as small as a rumor that we knew shouldn't be passed along, but the urge to "tell it" blocked out our sense of good judgment. It may be something that we have made our mind up about that we are going to do. We are therefore unable to see the right way!

Adam and Eve faced a similar problem long ago. They became so preoccupied with one tree in their garden paradise that they couldn't see the forest for the tree (Genesis 2:17; 3:3).

Just look at what it cost them. The Garden of Eden had been created especially for them (Genesis 2:8). In it they knew no evil, no trials, no sickness, and no death. They enjoyed the company of the Creator Himself. Yet they gave up all they had just to eat of the fruit of that one forbidden tree.

Their mistake is eerily similar to ours. How often do we miss the entire forest of God's goodness for a single tree of temptation? The moment of enticement seems so overwhelming, the idea so irresistible, and our logic so twisted.

Please think about all Adam and Eve left behind in the Garden. We need to fill our minds with the truth of God's Word. We need to rely on Him for strength and guidance. Resist the temptations that come our way (James 4:7). Then we can experience the joy of God's blessing rather than temporary pleasure. Heaven (our inheritance) is imperishable, undefiled and will not fade away (1 Peter 1:4). It is waiting for God's people. "Blessed is the man who endures temptation... he will receive the crown of life" (James 1:12).

God Belongs In The Center

Rusty Miller

In the early chapters of Numbers, we are treated to a layout of the camp of Israel. Three tribes camped on the east side (2:1-9), three on the south (2:10-16), three on the west (2:18-24), and three on the north (2:25-30). In the center of the camp, the Levites were to set up the tabernacle (2:17). Why is this important? It means that God was at the center of the camp, and God was to be their focus, at the heart of everything Israel did. Dads, what about your camp? Is God set up at the center? Is He the focus of all that you are trying to accomplish with your family? Do your children understand that He comes first in all that you do?

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