2 Corinthians 4:3-6
In his book Just Like Jesus Max Lucado tells about a lady who lived about a hundred years ago. Although she was wealthy she was tight with her money. That is why neighbors were surprised when they saw workmen installing wires for electricity. Several weeks later the meter reader noticed that the woman had used very little electricity so he asked her if she was using her power. She said, “Certainly. Each evening I turn on my lights long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.”
Today, as never before, we have a tremendous need to use all our power to shine the light of the gospel in a dark world. Why?
1. We Need to Shine the Light Because Many People are Stumbling in the Dark (v. 3)
Paul speaks of those for whom the gospel is “veiled.” They do not see it or understand its importance. But is that the result of a faulty gospel? One commentator puts it this way: “The fault…is not the not in the gospel, but in those who have failed to discern its glory. The unveiled gospel, openly proclaimed, has been veiled to them because it is veiled in them: the veil is over their hearts and minds…not over the gospel. It is not Paul’s gospel but they who stand condemned. The absence of its saving effects in their lives shows that they are perishing in blind unbelief, while its glory continues undiminished.”1
2. We Need to Shine the Light Because Dark Forces Oppose the Light (v. 4)
People have darkened minds of unbelief because they are affected by the dark forces opposed to the gospel. Paul speaks of the “god of this age,” referring to Satan and his powers of evil.
The hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 left thousands without electrical power. One man who used a portable generator to supply power until the electrical lines could be repaired reported a strange experience. Some daring thieves found the generator in full operation outside the man’s house and stole it. The homeowner didn’t discover the theft until he went outside to put gasoline in his generator. How did the thieves cover up such an obvious crime? They started another gasoline engine and left it running right beside the generator. The robbers took off with their prize, while the owner was lulled into a false sense of security created by the sound of his own riding lawnmower.
In the same way, many people are lulled into a false security by things that do not deliver them. In fact, those forces interfere with their capacity to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why the church must continually uphold the saving power of Christ.
3. We Need to Shine the Light Because Christ is the Eternal Illumination that Drives Out Darkness (v. 6)
Paul takes us back to the beginning of Genesis by alluding to the act of creation: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” When people open their lives to this light, the darkness flees. They see the reality for what it is and respond in faith.
Cyndee Williams has an eye disease called keratoconus, a thinning of the cornea. It causes blindness and is extremely painful, so much so that people who have this condition keep their houses as dark as possible. Cyndee heard of work going on at the Boston Foundation for Sight. This research group developed the Boston Scleral Lens. It fits directly onto the eye and focuses light in such a way as to end the pain and allow vision at the same time. Williams calls it a lifesaver. With this lens she can see her husband and her child and can function in a fairly normal way. She says she is glad not to have to live in the dark any longer.
Christ is like a lens focusing the light of God is a way that the blind can see. When people hear the gospel, the light shines in their lives. This is the genuine light that drives out the darkness and brings salvation.
Sermon brief provided by: Don M. Aycock, Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Palatka, FL.
1. Philip E. Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962; The New International Commentary on the New Testament), p. 125.