November 10, 2023, 4:13 PM

How Dark can the Darkness really Be? 

I grew up loving Superman.  Well actually I grew up loving Mighty Mouse, but Superman quickly became an acceptable substitute.  My Aunt Lelia sewed me my very own Superman Cape.  I was probably 3 or 4 at the time, and it is still in the running for top 5 gifts I’ve ever gotten.  It snapped on in front, but that eventually had to be replaced with black velcro straps as I out grew it.  Lots of kids have a blankie that has to go everywhere with them to keep them safe. I had one too, but mine gave me powers so that I could keep everyone else safe.  It empowered me to be a hero that could fight for: TRUTH, JUSTICE, and the American Way. 

Sadly, I grew up to find myself in a world where nobody fights for Truth or Justice, and it seems that America has lost her way.  We live in a culture that has moved past arguing over what is truth.  Now we argue over if Truth is even real. If justice is even possible. 

Romans 1:18 warns us, and we should open our ears to hear it, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Paul there points out a very clear and inevitable path that all men who reject God travel.  That path goes from the rejection of God, to the denial of truth, to the embracing of unrighteousness, to empty/foolish/ and darkened hearts.  

So what are we supposed to do when we find ourselves in the midst of such a broken mess? When it seems that there is no answer, and prayer doesn’t seem quite like enough? ANSWER: We turn to our Hero.    

Jesus is the Hero that we don’t deserve, but desperately need. To understand just how much we need Him, we must first see how dark the darkness is, how broken the mess is.  We need to understand just how UNGODLY our Desires have gotten. 

Jude 17-19 says

17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

As Jude (half brother of Jesus) begins to wrap up his letter, he reminds them (and now us) that there will be mockers in the last days.  It may be tempting to grab on to that phrase “last days” here and run with it.  But, whether or not we are in the last days is not what Jude is trying to help us with.  He obviously thought that they were in the last days when he wrote this, or at least nearing them. In fact, every generation of the church (including the first generation) has believed that they were in the last days in their time.  And in a way, we have all been right.  

I offer as my argument: the fact that we live amongst so many Mockers.  Jude says that Mockers are sensual people, who cause divisions, who do not have the Holy Spirit, and are driven by their own ungodly lusts. 

We think of sensual as an adjective describing something of sexual nature.  It can, and many times it does, but it is not just limited to that.  A Google search for sensual’s definition will tell you that Oxford’s Languages defines sensual as “relating to or involving gratification of the senses and physical, especially sexual, pleasure.” The Bible Sense Lexicon defines our word here as “finitely natural - characterized by the created, finite, and fallen world.”  

In other words: Sensual Persons are not Spiritual Persons.  They know nothing of spiritual reality.  They know nothing of the Spirit of God.  The bible has lots to say about the Sensual Man: 

1 Corinthians 2:14 says that the Natural man (finite, created) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 

Jesus in John 3:6 tells Nicodemus that which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit.  He is telling Nicodemus that without being born again, you are trapped in a situation where you can only react to the world from your lost and broken sin nature.  

Philippians 3:18-19 says about the sensual man 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

Romans 1:24-25 says about the sensual man: 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Scripture says that the sensual man has rejected God and given himself to the brokenness of nature.  He can only worship what he can see, touch, taste, and feel.  And the brokenness and the emptiness of those things leaves him unsatisfied with what this world has to offer.  Is it any wonder that cults often turn to sex & drugs.  Rejecting God, they have been locked out of spiritual worship and so they must turn to things that produce the closest thing to bliss this world has to offer.  

As the sensual man tries to fill his soul with everything this world has to offer, he is left wondering: “What, if anything, will ever be enough.” Sex, Drugs, Power, and Money are the usual suspects, but they are far from the only vices.  As a young man, I turned to strength & power training.  What a rush when you hit a PR on the squat, and know that that weight doesn’t rule you.  You feel invincible.  But it doesn’t last.  

Speed is fun.  High speed is exhilarating.  Pushing yourself just to the brink of losing control, while maintaining the ability to rein it back in.  Pushing your senses and reflexes to their maximum.  What a rush and a thrill.  But it doesn’t last. 

The sensual man has a fundamental problem of knowledge.  The only thing outside of yourself that you can truly know is the Spirit of God.  That is because God fully knows you, and yet has still chosen to make himself known.  With everything and everyone else, there will always be one more step of revelation needed.  Whether that be something about yourself that you believe would change the relationship if they found out.  Or, something about themself that they have yet to reveal for fear that it would change the relationship.  With every new discovery, scientific or relational, there becomes a new gap between the known and unknown.  

But not so with God.  God has revealed Himself in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  He reveals Himself through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  All in spite of our greatest fear: if someone knew everything about me and every thought, they would surely reject me.  In rejecting God, the sensual man finds himself trapped between what his soul longs for and what his spirit cannot touch.  

Finding a spiritual void that engulfs everything that this world promises will fill it, the sensual man becomes jaded.  Having tried so many answers that proved to be untrue, the jaded man becomes cynical.  Having recoiled into loneliness as the only safe haven he can truly know, the cynical man becomes a mocker. 

The Jaded Man becomes cynical because the only thing outside of yourself that you can truly know is the Spirit of God.  The Cynical man becomes a mocker because he has deduced from his efforts that there is nothing worth knowing outside of himself.  This is how dark the Darkness is: So dark that you can’t see or fathom anything else of value being anywhere near. 

The cynic embraces mocking as a two-fold coping mechanism.  First, to edify himself by displaying that he can see past the lie of whatever solution for his soul is offered up next.   Second, as a way to attempt to drown out the hunger pangs emanating from his soul.  Thus the cynical man burst forth with his siren song of mockery; inviting other sensual men into the treacherous shore line of spiritual loneliness that they instinctively know they should be warning others of.  

The mockery can come in many different forms.  But, in all cases the mocker rejects God as God by denying the truth, rejecting righteousness, abandoning godliness, and abhorring the Glory of God.  This is our darkness.  A world destined for loneliness, because it has rejected the Hero it needed.