Called Out of Darkness :: by Howard Green

Have you noticed there is a comfort level that exists around people who act, believe and live the same way for the most part? Conversely, there is a level of discomfort when people are around others who live by a different standard. Nowhere is this comfort or lack thereof more evident than when the life of truly born again Christians intersect with the world around us.

Not only do we notice the comfort levels fluctuate, but along with that comes a palpable level of tension. This is the place where the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God meet. When Christians come out from among the world and live holy lives in the company of the unsaved…the difference between the two kingdoms couldn’t be greater.

It’s a sad day when the lines between many who call themselves “Christian” and people in this dark world are virtually indistinguishable. Our generation is marked by pseudo-Christians who are dabbling in the darkness instead of being called out of darkness.

1 Peter 2:9-12: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

Why did God call us out of darkness?

He called us out of darkness so we can bring glory to His name. The world will see our deeds, love, and even our conduct as we live among them. One day soon, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. There is a clear distinction between the repentant person and the one who won’t repent and it will culminate on judgment day.

Those who reject Jesus day after day will remember the way believers lived for Him and every time they rejected Him. They will bow the knee and proclaim He is Lord to the glory of God. It will be too late to repent and ask Jesus to be their Lord then.

The Bible gives a number of reasons why we are to live holy lives and one of the most important is our witness to the world. Although many will reject Jesus right up to the moment of death or His return…some people will trust Him as their Savior. The Lord draws people by His Spirit and this happens in a number of ways and one is by the witness of a Christian life. It is critical that Christians live in a way that is in stark contrast to this world and it’s darkness.

Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

1 Peter 1:13-18: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

The Scriptures above make it clear that Christians are to live in a way that is diametrically opposed to this world system and culture. Why is it that so many “Christians” are indistinguishable from the worldly unsaved people around them and why doesn’t the fruit of their life match the profession of faith they proudly proclaim on Facebook, Twitter, to their fellow church members or others?

I don’t know what motivates one to play games with the Lord, but I suppose it has much to do with lack of true conversion and pride. This Christian posturing and evangelical cloak people wear allows them a sense of belonging into a sort of quasi-Christian social club.

You might be the recipient of accolades and positions within your church or fellowship because some folks thrive on this evangelical club mentality. That is religion, not biblical Christianity. Here’s the thing…God isn’t fooled. He isn’t impressed with our posturing, spiritual platitudes, and religious clubs we are cultivating. Look at the way He tells us to live in this world:

We are to abstain from the passions of the flesh as sojourners and exiles here. We are supposed to keep our conduct honorable in the world. We are to let our light shine before others all of the time…not just between 9:00 and 11:30 on Sunday mornings.

Peter refers to us as obedient children and exhorts us to run from former passions being holy in all of our conduct because God (our Father) is holy. We were rescued from the futility of our former ways by the blood of Jesus. This is how we are to live at all times and most certainly before the world because they are watching.

News flash: The world is laughing. They have had their fill of disingenuous “Christians” who are playing religious games. They are sick of the same old song and dance of “Christians” who claim to be one thing and clearly demonstrate they are no different by the way they live. We should despise legalism and hyper grace teaching because both are equally manmade and worthless. Both extremes do nothing to build up Christians and mature faith. Far from being legalistic…the holy, righteous, godly life we are commanded to live is one that bears fruit. This is the kind of living the world does take notice of.

The lost sinner in the world may be the guy you work with or your neighbor. It may be the church member sitting on the same pew or it might be a family member. I can assure you…many are watching your life and mine. True Christians must continue to walk the narrow way and live holy. If you are a game player and one who has one foot in the world and one foot playing “Christian” by means of association, you need to stop and repent.

Why should the world listen to pseudo-Christians? Some people in the world are looking for something and hungry but don’t know what for. Unfortunately the only “Christian” witness they see lives just like they do. These pseudo-Christians aren’t living as those who are called out of darkness. Instead they are busy watching the Real Housewives of…wherever.

They can’t miss episodes of Breaking Bad or Weeds…two very popular shows that glorify the darkness of the drug culture and its lifestyle. That is two examples of filth masquerading as entertainment. They will move heaven and earth for a sporting event or concert, but neglect fellowship with true Christians.

They may secretly flirt with someone who is not their spouse and later…proudly wear a Promise Keepers shirt or attend the church marriage seminar. They may use crass language in the workplace or home and allow their kids to “play” violent video games, but they will join the popular boycott because their church friends will be pleased.

These are just a small example of the filth that is being consumed by many who name the name of Christ. This isn’t a call to pillar of the community or solid citizen morality. This is a call to holy living instead of being indistinguishable from this world. As a whole, how did the evangelical church go from reading the Bible and books by Tozer, Spurgeon, and others to consuming the same amounts of garbage and filth the world does in just forty short years?

It’s because God, the Bible, and holy living were substituted by and large with seeker sensitive pseudo-Christianity.

There is no way people can have it both ways, but there are many so-called “Christians” who are living as though they can have this world and heaven too. God is watching and the world is watching. There has always been some in the church who are unmistakably not true Christians. Let me ask you a question:

Christian friend, have you ever seen a time like the one we live in where there is such a separation between true born-again Christians and those who are sort of “Christian?” Truly born- again believers want to fellowship, live increasingly godly, and yield to His will. The pseudo-Christians want to have…their best life now.

Colossians 3:1-4: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

I don’t know the day or hour, but I believe we are living in the days very near the Lord’s return. He told us He was coming soon. Knowing this…how should we live? We must live according to the will of God…not our own. I know many of you reading this article will agree when I say:

“I want to live in such a way that the world will either hate me for being a follower of Jesus, or want to follow Him as well because they have seen His presence in me.”

There really is no middle ground here, live a life on fire for Jesus or live for yourself. We have been called out of darkness and truly born again believers don’t dabble in it. Those of you who are following hard after the Lord, please be encouraged to finish well. Those of you reading this article and wanting the best of the world and God, I want to lovingly warn you that time is running out to repent.

God is a jealous God and He wants nothing less than all of you…not divided affections. If you are comfortable in this world and feel at home here, you need to evaluate your affections in light of what the Bible says about the follower of Jesus.

Have you been called out of darkness?

People in the world need the hope of the gospel. This will never be demonstrated in the life of a lukewarm Christian. The saving gospel is best demonstrated in the life of a truly repentant, converted, faithful person who is living holy while the world around them including pseudo-Christians are not. Some will come to Jesus because of the gospel and live out in a life yielded to Him.

1 John 2:15-17: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.