Journey to the Light | The Light Increases Our Joy by Reducing Our Darkness

Are You Struggling To Find Joy Amidst The Darkness?

James Greer
Dec 5, 2021    30m
As we approach Christmas, there are many who are struggling to find joy amidst the darkness. Jesus is the Light and the life. And light always overcomes darkness. When trouble comes and darkens our lives, we have to shine God's light on it. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] Morning, Journey Church. I mean journey to the light and the light is already working. What y'all saw up there Sunday night, the young adults were meeting in here and they had a young man and they led him to the Lord. And they called and said, hey, man, what do you think about us just baptize him right now? The water was cold. I said, he can remember it now. Let's do it. And then the first night of the lights, true story, first night of the lights, we always said if one person got saved, it'd be worth it. Amen? The second [inaudible] Bruce baptized, that young man came in here and started talking to him. He said, man, I want to get saved and get baptized too. So they called me again. They said, I know we've never done this. It's a weeknight. What do you think about baptizing? I said it's great. The water is cold and it's a weeknight. So baptized him this week. Amen? So what I'm telling, journey to the light. The light is at work. And then a while ago we just baptized again. Amen? And next service, we're going to baptize again. Amen? So everybody said, whoo. So the light is rocking the house. Amen? I'm so excited, man. I mean God is so good to us and God's favor's on us, and I pray we never take it for granted. And journey to light, really what you're talking about, when you're talking about journey to light, as light increases, our joy increases and darkness decreases. I love the title of the series because as we find light, joy will increase and darkness will decrease. I mean in the last few years, I mean it seems like there's been a lot of darkness going on, a lot of dark times, a lot of things that people had to go through. And so this is a time to shed light on those dark areas. It said in Isaiah 9:2, it said, and the people who walked in darkness. A lot of y'all maybe came in here today. Man, I'm going to tell you what. Downstairs is full. Upstairs, we got people. Man, it's a great time. Didn't the praise team rock the house? Woo wee. They brought some light.

James Greer: [00:02:00] Anyway, and the people, they walked in darkness, but they've seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death. Some people feel like, man, I've been in darkness. I mean I feel like I've been in the shadow of death. But upon them, light has shined. And I pray that's what happens to you today. The light shines upon your darkest area of your life, and you have multiplied the nations and increased its joy. Some of y'all need some joy increased. Amen? They rejoice before You according to the joy of the harvest. And as men rejoice when they divide the spoils. I'm telling you what, the whole thing, thousands and thousands of years ago, both Jews and non-Jews, they were waiting. They knew there is a great light coming. And then all of a sudden, this bright light came to a dark world, and the light was to bring not only joy, but great joy. Whether it is the wise men which we'll be studying about probably next Sunday or whether it's the shepherds which we'll probably be studying about the next Sunday, do you know how they all responded with the light? They said, man, let's go find the light. And I say that that's what we should do. Do your very best to find the light. Have a better relationship, a closer relationship with Jesus Christ during this season than you've ever had before. And while you're getting that closer relationship, you're driving out darkness and you're having time to joy.

James Greer: [00:03:20] It said, listen, some of y'all today, if the truth was known, you came to church and there's really some dark times in your life. Some of you are saying, really I don't feel like I'm in a shadow of death, but I'm in some real shadow times in my life. And Jesus is saying, I came to bring the light in those areas. Matter of fact, some of y'all don't have any joy. You just lost your joy. And He said, not only do I want to bring joy, I want to increase your joy. I mean what a great time. And when He says shadow of death, He's talking about times of great stress and depressed and just really dark time. Christmas can be challenging. It can be stressful and instead of add excitement because what happens is through the process of Christmas, we go after the wrong presents. And so those presents bring pressure. But we can do the opposite of that. During Christmas, if we spend part of our time, part of our progress to possess the right present, listen, we get the right present, we'll be impressed, blessed, find rest in the midst of this mess. And that's what we need to be looking for. Amen? So listen, the right present will impress, bless, and bring rest in the midst of this myth. Matthew 11:28 says, come unto me, all the heavy laden and you shall find rest. Amen? And Jesus said this. He said in John 8:12, He said, I want you to know, when Jesus spoke unto me and to you again, He said, I am the light of the world. Not some light. The light. He that follows me will not walk in darkness but have light of life. Now, like I said, we're going to be learning about the wise men next Sunday, and Sunday after that, we'll talk about the shepherds. But this Sunday, I want us to learn the truth about light.

James Greer: [00:05:10] Because if you don't learn the truth about light, you ready? When you're going through the dark times of your life, you don't know how to drive them away. So let's talk about light and life. John 1:1 says, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word is the light. And the Word, Jesus, He's the light, was with God and the Word was God. So he's trying to tell you, and He, Jesus, the Word, the light was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, through Jesus, through the light, through the Word. And without Him, Jesus, the light and the Word, nothing was made that was made. So he's talking about how the powerful of the light and the Word and Jesus was. In Him was life, and the life was the light of man. He said, listen, I want you to know I'm not only the light, I am the life of man. I am the light and the life. In other words, He brings life. He brings an abundant life, eternal life, and He is the breath of life. And then here is going to be a key verse that we're going to go in and out the rest of the service. And then light shined in darkness, but darkness did not comprehend it.

James Greer: [00:06:23] See, we want to enjoy and understand it because He's not only, He's not another light. He's the light of the world and He wants to give us life that's worth living. And like I said, Jesus has always been and He always will be. But what Jesus did, He came down from Heaven where there is no darkness. And He came to a dark world to bring light. In Heaven, listen, in Heaven, remember, there's no darkness. He came to Earth where its' dark to bring light. That's why I've been teaching you about Kingdom principles. I told you in Matthew 6:10, it says, your Kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. See, God's will was done by then. God's will on Earth was done as it is in Heaven when He sent light to Earth. In other words, God's will was done. I'll bring Heaven to Earth through bringing Jesus Christ, the light, to me and you. Amen? That's what happened. It's a Kingdom principle. A Kingdom principle is when you act or react in a non-natural way, but a supernatural way that brings Heaven unto you. It's like, love your enemy. You don't love your enemy, not naturally you don't. Bless those that curse you. That's not a natural reaction. Amen? But if you want some of the Heaven on Earth, next time somebody cusses you, you just bless them. Now that takes supernatural energy. I mean when somebody honks at you and cusses you and you say, oh, God bless you. He said, is that how you do it? No, we're not going there. I might do that. But anyway. So but anyway, if you want some Heaven on Earth, in other words, you get to experience some Heaven, some of God's power when you react or act in a certain way that's not natural, but it's supernatural. Amen? And so one of the principles is this. It says, and light shines in darkness and darkness can't comprehend it. In other words, it can't overcome it. It can't overpower it. It can't possess it. It can't seize it. It can't hold it. It can't do it. The Kingdom principle, ready? It's whatever's in your life at the darkest time of your life that maybe you feel like it's possessing you, seizing you, holding you down, holding you back, over your head. Times of doom and gloom and heaviness, or even past sadness.

James Greer: [00:08:51] The good news is this. It can't stay that way. Because if you learn to shine light in that area, it has to leave. God doesn't want you to operate in darkness. Do you know what it'd be like in darkness? If it was completely dark in here and you had to operate like that, can you imagine what it'd be like? Cecil, you look better. I'm just saying. But can you imagine trying to go to work like this, go home like this, operate in your marriage like this? I mean your finances like this? See, this is a perfect illustration of God saying, hey, this is how people without Jesus Christ, they're going through their life, they're going through their marriage, they're going through their job, they're coming to church, and they're not operating very well. They're getting through life, but it's in darkness. And Jesus was saying, I don't want you to have to live like that. I want you to have a better life. I want you to have a better understanding. And matter of fact, I wanted you to have it so bad, I sent my Son from Heaven, which there was no darkness, I sent Him to Earth where you could have some light. Now let me see. This is how you're operating without Jesus Christ. This is how you operate when you don't have the light of the world. But when you have the light, look what a difference it makes. It's unbelievable to change when light comes on. Wow. That'll scare you. Darkness has to leave. It gives you direction. It gives you a feeling of safety and security. And that's what God said He was wanting to do with His Son. I didn't say though that you don't have times of sadness or heaviness or darkness to somewhat, sometimes maybe short times of hopelessness. What I'm telling you is it cannot stay if you learn to shine the light on the darkest and saddest place in your life. Jesus is one of the greatest examples. Jesus is the light of the world. Amen? And they tried to put the light out.

James Greer: [00:10:51] In fact, it says in Matthew 26:37, and He took with Him, Jesus did, He took Peter and took the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. In other words, Jesus had a time. He was in the garden of Gethsemane. He knew he was going to go to the cross. Deep time of sorrow and distress. And He said, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even into death. He's in the shadow of death. Y’all stay here and you watch with me. He said, I'm going through this terrible time in my life. And He went a little farther and He fell on His face and He prayed, saying, Oh my Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass for me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but your will. He was saying, Father, if there's any way that people can be saved by their sins other than me going to the cross and paying this terrible price, let it be done. Is there anything else I can do? He knew what it was going to be like. He could perceive they were going to nail Him to a cross, torture Him, and put Him in a dark grave. But what is Jesus? He is the Word and He is the light of the world. Amen? So they took the Word. They took the light. They nailed Him to a cross. They put Him in a tomb, in a grave in darkness. But after the Sabbath on Sunday, the morning was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, they went to the tomb. That's where they put Jesus. That's where they put the Word. That's where they put the light of the world. But suddenly, there is this violent earthquake and an angel of the Lord came down. Where did he come down from? Heaven. Rolled the stone away and sat on it. Well, in Heaven, you know there is no darkness. His appearance was like lightning because he came down from Heaven. It was so bright. And his clothes were as white as snow, Heaven on Earth. And the guards were so afraid that they trembled and became like they were dead. They passed out. Scared them almost to death.

James Greer: [00:12:51] But the angel spoke to the women. Don't be afraid, he said. I know who you're looking for. You're looking for Jesus. That's the Word. That's the light. He was crucified. They tried to destroy the light. They tried to destroy Him. He's not here. He has been risen, just as He said. Come and see where He was laying. Now, listen, this is what happened. I want you to understand. You understand, what they did was they took the light of the world, Jesus Christ, they crucified Him, they put Him in a grave or a tomb or a cave. They put this big stone over it. And they said, listen, we got Him. We got the light. We put Him in darkness where there will be no more light in this dark world. But guess what? Darkness couldn't hold Him. The grave couldn't hold Him. The devil couldn't hold Him. Doom couldn't hold Him. Sorrow couldn't hold Him. And He came out. Amen? You do understand that's a physical picture of spiritual application in your life? The darkest things in your life cannot hold you because Jesus is light, and He's already overcome it. You ready? The same light that overcame the grave that came back from life is the same light that lives in me and you when you accept Jesus Christ. Amen? You should never look at sorrow, you should never look at pain, you should never look at darkness the same way that you looked at it before. What you really got to do is, say, now, listen, how do I apply light to darkness? In other words, how do I apply it to my life? In other words, how can I use this power that lives within me? How can I use this light that's so powerful that the grave and the devil couldn't hold it when I go through it? Well, the Bible told us in John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word. Now, who is the Word? Jesus. Jesus said, I am the light of the world too. All right? So it's all the same. And the Word, Jesus Christ, He is the Word, He is the light. All right?

James Greer: [00:14:35] He was with God. And the Word which is the light and Jesus was with God. So here it is. And He, Jesus, was in the beginning with God. So every time you see the Word or He or Jesus, it’s all the same. And all things were made through Him. Through who? Through the Word, through Jesus. And without Him, nothing was made that was made. In other words, He made everything. He's in charge of everything and all things. And He is what? He is life. He gives us life. And the life was the light of man now that lives in us. And then what He said? And the light shines in darkness. What? But darkness does not comprehend it. See, in the beginning was what? The Word. In fact, the very Word spoke, it brought light. In Genesis 1:3, it said, and God said, let there be light. Guess what happened? There had to be light. Every time God spoke the Word, it had to come about. Not maybe. It has to come about. See? The Word was in the beginning and the Word, listen, everything has to obey the Word including darkness. So what do you do? The first principle I told you is Kingdom principle is darkness can't comprehend it. The second principle is if you learn to speak God's Word in faith, darkness cannot stay. It has to leave. It might be there for a while, but it cannot stay. It might not be three days like it was Jesus. It might be three weeks, but it has to leave. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, it said, Jesus said unto them, me and you, because of your unbelief, for surely I say to you, I got a message for you, if you had the faith of a mustard seed. Do you all know what a mustard seed looks like? I used to carry one in my pocket all the time to remind me. I mean it is so little, you cannot even see it. I mean even Journey Church people. You got that much faith. Amen? So you got the faith. And you say, it didn't say, think about it. It said, if you say to this mountain, the mountain is the darkness, it's an impossible situation, it's the problem you're facing. If you have a problem, you've got a darkness you’re facing, it said, move from here to there, and it said it will move. Not it might not. It has to. Why? Because nothing is impossible for God, for Jesus, for the Word, for the light. No. Nothing is impossible for who? You. He wrote it. It's inspired. He put it that way on purpose. He said, I'm giving you an application how to apply it when you get into the worst moments of your life, which is a mountain. And He said, it's for you personally. We know that Jesus could speak and the mountain moves. Amen? But He said, did you know that you can too? Do you understand what He's saying? The question He's asking you is, what mountain do you have in your life? What is the darkest area of your life?

James Greer: [00:17:15] Let me tell you what I did this week. We had something going on at the house and just major conversation going on with somebody. Wasn't very good. And I know. Anyway. It was getting really out of hand. And I told, we got off the phone and she got a phone, whoever was on the phone. I'm not going to say. But anyway, I said, honey, I'm going to pray against that. What do you mean? I'm just going to pray against it. I'm going to pray that we reverse that. And I said, Isaiah 53:1 says, and who shall believe this report what they're saying and how they're acting. And who has the arm of God been revealed? In other words, I want to see God's power at work. That was the night. The next morning, it was reversed. I thought, Holy Moses, Jesus. Now it doesn’t always work like that. I prayed and it worked. I thought, oh God, what power. You know? But what I'm saying is that's the way God wants. I usually would just fight back. Amen? But instead, I said, I'm going to pray against that bad report. I'm a pray against that action. And I'll be darn, the next morning, God had turned it around completely. It's like it had never happened or better than it was before. So we can apply God. How about fear? I have fear. You have fear. We all have fear. Amen? But I know there's a verse that everybody should carry in their pocket if you have not memorized it. It’s 2 Timothy 1:7. God has not given you a spirit of fear. If God didn't give it to you, where do you think it came from? Amen? But He has given you one of power and of love and a sound mind. And that lives in you and that light of the world is you. You got the power, you got the love, and you got a sound mind. Guess what? If you quote it and you believe it, it has to leave you. How about peace? Oh, man. You know, I tell you how to quote Scripture, right? And how it's supposed to work, right? I lost my peace this week, and I quoted this Scripture. Peace I leave with you.

James Greer: [00:19:03] My peace I give you. Not as the world gives you. Let not your heart be troubled. Neither be afraid. I still didn't have peace. I said, God, I quoted a Scripture. I said, cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Still didn't have peace. Be careful for nothing, but everything in prayer. I still didn’t have peace. Because what I was doing, I was trying to pray around something instead of pray through something. You can't pray against God and win, by the way. Okay? And what I first did, I said, I'm blaming that so-and-so. That's a nice way. For robbing my peace. Then I realized I gave it away. And then I got mad at myself because, listen, I let that so-and-so take my peace when Jesus died to give me peace. So now I went from being mad at him to mad at me. And then comes the bad part. This comes bad part. Then I have to self-examine myself. I would almost stay mad and lose my peace. So I had to say, you know, I preach this all the time and you can have peace in any situation. And God said, well, you know, you preach that. Now do you want to apply that? I said, I don't know about that. Three steps. Are you saved? Yes, sir. Good, good, good. Are you totally dependent on Christ and you represent Christ in the situation? Hmm. I'm not so good, sir. I said, let's do it one time. Are you saved? Yes, sir. I'm saved. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I still don’t have peace. I prayed. Number two. Were you totally dependent on Christ in the situation? Well, not really. I kind of depended on me. I kind of had my thoughts, my ideas. I thought it should be this particular way. But could I still have peace? No, no, no. Go do it my way. So now I have to depend on Christ to supply all my needs, according to his riches and glory. And then that comes to number three. Holy Moses. I don't know. Do y’all talk to God this way? And then He says, did you represent me in the situation? Not no, but no. But I prayed. I quoted your Scripture. I prayed all kinds of Scripture. Did you represent me? No. I really don't want to. Then you don't want to have peace then. Okay. All right. Am I saved? Yes. Going to depends on you? Yes. Will I represent you? I guess.

James Greer: [00:21:44] You don't have to. God doesn't make you do it. See? You don't want peace? I do want peace. You got to do all three. Did you know almost instantly if I said, God, I know I'm saved, I'm going to depend on you, and I'll represent you, I have peace. But you know what? I can't pray against God, and I can't pray around God. I got to pray with God. My spirit's got to be lined up with His spirit. And that minute I do that, I can shine light on darkness, even in my own heart, and He gives me peace immediately. Do you understand how powerful light is in darkness? And what you've got to do before you worry about everybody else is learn to apply it in your own life. Amen, Brother James. How about your children and grandchildren? Oh. And when they're little, I just hope they're okay and then they get old and then they get to teenagers. Then you fall out of bed on your knees. Then they get grown. You keep praying. Then you have grandkids. I mean so it's your kids and grandkids. How many y'all have kids or grandkids? Hey, they will teach you to pray. But we're not supposed to worry. So what do we do? Well, the Bible says, I have been young. Now I’m old. No joke. Yet I have seen the righteous forsaken. That's one reason that you ought to stay right with God because it sends supernatural blessings to your kids and grandkids according to how you are. Nor are my descendants begging bread. Parents and grandparents, do you understand there's a certain amount of blessings and protection come to our kids and grandkids dependent upon on our righteousness with God? Whew.

James Greer: [00:23:20] But then I found this. Oh, I'm going to read it in several translations, I am going to claim it, and I'm going to believe it. You do know, have y’all, me and Debbie, we used to cry at night sometimes. I just wish we were better parents. I wish I'd done this better. And we’d just blame each other and cry. And you know, do the best you can. And then here's this verse. Listen. All your children shall be taught by the Lord. And great shall be the peace of your children. Man, is that not a wonderful verse? Let me read some more translations because I got it in about five. God says, I'm going to teach your children. I'll make them successful. See, you really and truly think it's all about you, don't you? You think you’re God. You think if your kids are good, it's all you. Now you should do your part, but I'm going to tell you what, you can do the best you can. Adam and Eve’s kids, one of them was a murderer. Oh. It's not all about you. You better learn quick to turn your kids over to God. He's the teacher. Another one, Isaiah 54:13 says, listen, another translation says, all your children will be God for a teacher and a mentor. Wouldn't it be great if your kids let God be their mentor? Whew. I myself will teach your children. I'll give them prosperity and peace. Another one says, all the children will be taught by God the Lord, and they will have unlimited peace. All your children, they can enjoy great peace. Now listen, parents, do the best you can, listen, and then let God do the rest. Amen? Isn't that great? Because if you're not careful, you'll think that you’re God and there's nobody in here that’s God. There's no perfect parent in there never will be. Amen.

James Greer: [00:24:59] But there is a perfect God. There's a perfect Father, and He's in Heaven. And we should take this, we should claim it, and we should believe it. And let it give us some peace. Amen? And then for his parents, Isaiah 26, I'm paraphrasing, it says, you will keep perfect peace whose mind stays upon Him. Because He trusts in you, trust God with your children and grandchildren, and you will have peace. Keep your mind on what He says and not, you ready?, what you see. Keep your mind on what He says, not what you see. Do you understand the principle that it's applying? That Jesus is the light to the world, and He came to give us light, and now that light, if you accept Christ, now lives in you? Let me give you some things to think about as we get ready to close. First of all, the most important thing you can do is make sure you have Jesus Christ, the light and the life in you. Because see, if not, you have to live in that darkness. You might not know what the gloom and doom and darkness is. But it's because you don't have the light. Is there really a darkness or a heaviness, a past sadness? Past sadness are tough. I've had those I just kept bringing it with me, kept bringing it with me, kept bringing it with me, and I couldn't seem to let it go. It doesn't mean that you can't remember the past. It doesn't mean you have to let go of your memory. But God doesn't want you to bring your past sadness and heaviness along with you. And maybe you have a past sadness as heavy sorrow. And maybe today is the day you need to put light on that.

James Greer: [00:26:47] Because see, He said, listen, He wants to bring some Heaven down on Earth. What is the darkest area in your life that you allowed Jesus to bring some light? Some of you need joy. If you'd just be honest, you're losing your joy. And Jesus said, I came to not only bring joy, but to increase your joy. In fact, I could put it like this. The area you have no joy, it’s probably because you have no Jesus. The area you need more joy, it’s because you need more Jesus. Because see, when light is really shined in that area, not only does darkness has to leave, joy has to increase. So nobody here has to leave that way. I've never seen a time that there's been so many people contemplating and taking their lives. Weeping is only for the night. Joy will be in the morning. No matter what you're going through, no matter how heavy, no matter how bad you think it is, light’s coming. Light wants to help you through it. Light will bring you through it and heal. One day it will be better. It'll be perfect in its time. Don't give up. Don't give in. Maybe yours isn't that bad. Maybe it's marriage. Maybe it's finance. Maybe it's job. Darkness cannot win in your life. The same light, the same one they put in the grave, they tried to bury, they tried to roll a stone, third day He came out. Now He lives in you if you're a Christian. Let him have His will and His way. Let me pray with you and pray for you as you stand. God, I just thank you that you sent your Son who is the light of the world.

James Greer: [00:28:32] I thank you as we accept Him, He lives in us to give us life and light. If there's one here today that does not have that light of life living in them, I pray today is the day they make that decision that they would admit they sinned and they believe Jesus died on the cross and they would like to invite Him in their life to be a Savior and a light and a guide and a director. For those that came with sadness and sorrow and heaviness, God, you said all the labored and heavy laden, let them come to you and let them find rest this morning. Let them come and pray with somebody and let them shine light on that heavy dark area of their life, and it has to leave. Maybe their sadness and maybe you need joy, you know where you're at. Let the Holy Spirit guide and direct you this morning. Don't leave with sadness and sorrow and heaviness and doom and gloom. God sent His Son from Heaven to die on a cross for you where you could have the light of the world. He wants to give you peace. In any situation, any circumstances, you've got to be saved, you got to depend on Him, and you've got to represent Him. Maybe today's the day you want to join the church. Great day. Maybe you want to follow through in baptism like so many have already and picture the death, the burial, and resurrection and have a beautiful brand-new start and you leave your past in the past. Whatever God's called you to do, I pray that you’d let Him have His will and His way this morning. And I ask it in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bruce Goulart: [00:30:10] On behalf of Pastor James, I just want to say thank you for joining our online experience this morning. Y'all, what an amazing first week to our new series, Journey to the Light. We kicked off our event, the Christmas Light Show outside, y'all, and it's been absolutely amazing. So if you all get a chance to come, check it out. I just want to encourage y’all to come check it out, come drive through, come walk through it, and just come have fun with everybody here at Journey Church. Y’all, if y'all need someone to pray with you right now, we have people on standby that are willing to pray with you. There's a link in the description, if you fill it out, someone will get with you right away. I just want to say, again, thank y’all for joining us this morning.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360