I don’t expect to be saying much myself in this message, just quoting from others, and from quite a bit of Scripture. I wanted to start out by inviting you to sing along with me a little children’s song we used to sing, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the Internet. Here are the lyrics, maybe you know the song:
The Lord shall be unto me an everlasting light,
The Lord shall be unto me an everlasting light,
If I follow Jesus, If I follow Jesus,
The Lord shall be unto me an everlasting light.
Don’t mind my becoming a bit teary-eyed as I sing, it’s a beautiful song of a powerful truth.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). He didn’t say there would be no darkness, but that the one following Him would not walk in that darkness, but rather in the light of life. The light of life is an everlasting light. It doesn’t shine for a while and then go out; this light never goes out, and the darkness, try as it may, cannot put it out; it is everlasting, it shines continually and forever. We are invited to walk in this light. There is empowering grace in the invitation when received by faith.
The song comes from Isaiah, who is addressing the city of God—Zion and her children:
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. (Isaiah 60:19,20)
With this passage in mind let’s read something Andrew Murray once wrote:
I was once preaching and a lady came to talk with me. She was a very pious woman, and I asked her, “How are you getting on?”
Her answer was, “Oh, just the way it is, sometimes light and sometimes dark.”
“My dear sister, where is that in the Bible?”
She said, “We have day and night in nature, and just so it is in our souls.”
No, no! In the Bible we read, “Your sun shall no more go down.”
Let me believe that I am God’s child, and that the Father in Christ, through the Holy Ghost, has set His love upon me, and that I may abide in His presence, not frequently, but unceasingly. [i]
Not frequently, but unceasingly? Asa Mahan, whose testimony is in Forty Witnesses[ii], wrote the following:
Soon after I became conscious of a personal union with Christ, “I in him and He in me,” I inquired of the Lord whether such blissful union could be an abiding one. In specific answer to such inquiry this promise was, all-impressively, presented to my faith, and has ever since abode in my heart as the light of my life; namely, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” (Isa. 60:19,20).
Why mournest thou, then, for the darkness, follower of Jesus the everlasting light? Let’s keep our eyes fixed on the everlasting light of life.
William Penn in his preface to the Journal of George Fox wrote of the light of the gospel-day that early Friends walked in. Fox’s journal is liberally sprinkled with references to this, “the everlasting day,” as he called it.
When the people were settled I stood up on a seat, and the Lord opened my mouth to declare His everlasting Truth and His everlasting day. (The Journal of George Fox)
Therefore all Friends, mind the oneness, and that which keeps you in the oneness and unity, it is that which keeps you out of the world; and this one light leads you out of darkness into the everlasting day, where ye see the church of God. (Epistles of George Fox, Number 46)
Labor to exercise a good conscience towards God, in obedience to him in what he requires, and in doing to all men the thing that is just and honest; in your conversations and words giving no offence to Jew or Gentile, nor to the church of God. So you may be as a city set on God’s Zion hill, which cannot be hid; and may be lights to the dark world, that they may see your good fruits, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. For he is glorified in your bringing forth good fruits, as you abide in Christ, the vine, in this his day of life, power, and light, that shines over all. Therefore all that believe in the light, walk in the light, as children of the light and of Christ’s everlasting day; that in the light you may have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and one with another; keeping in the unity of his holy spirit, in the bond of his holy peace, in his church, that he is head of. My desire is, that God’s wisdom everywhere may be justified of her children, and that it may be showed forth in meekness, and in the fear of the Lord in this his day, Amen. (Journal, 1687)
Whilst I was under this spiritual travail and suffering, the state of the city New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven, was opened to me; which some carnal-minded people had looked upon to be like an outward city, that had dropped out of the elements. But I saw the beauty and glory of it, the length the breadth, and the height thereof, all in complete proportion. I saw that all, who are within the light of Christ, in His faith, which He is the author of, in the truth, and power of God, which are the walls of the city, such are within the city, are members of this city, and have right to eat of the tree of life, which yields her fruit every month, and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations…. This holy city is within the light; and all that are within the light are within the city; the gates whereof stand open all the day (for there is no night there), that all may come in…. The Christians in primitive times were called by Christ ‘a city set upon a hill’; they were also called ‘the light of the world…’ (Journal)
The fruit of the light
This everlasting light brings forth children, and brings forth fruit.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness “ (1 Thes. 5:5)
For ye were once darkness, now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness… (Eph. 5:8-11 ASV)
The King James Version has here, “the fruit of the Spirit,” but the American Standard Version and many others have “the fruit of the light.” I like that. It reminds me of the promise Moses gave Joseph:
And of Joseph he said: “Blessed of the LORD is his land, With the precious things of heaven, with the dew, And the deep lying beneath,
With the precious fruits of the sun, With the precious produce of the months [the moons]… (Dt. 33:13,14 NKJV)
And that reminds me of this:
And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow every tree for food, whose leaf shall not whither, neither shall the fruit thereof fail: it shall bring forth new fruit every month, because the waters thereof issue out of the sanctuary; and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for healing. (Ezek. 47:12)
Fruit every month? And note that the reason these trees bring forth unfailing fruit is because their roots are in a perpetually flowing river.
And here again:
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit (Jer. 17:7,8)
All these remind me of this next one, which is very easy to relegate to the future. Let’s not do that.
And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:1,2 ASV)
That is the fruit of the light bearing fruit every month of the year. That is the city from which flows a river of everlasting life “proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” within her, a city the light of which is the everlasting light dwelling within her. “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 2:5).
“God is light,” writes John in his first epistle, “and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). So there is no night in this city, no darkness at all. The citizens of this city, because they abide in this city, dwell in this city, and walk in this light, have fellowship with Him who is the light, and with one another, “and the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanseth us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:7).
Here is what Francis Ridley Havergal discovered so wonderfully one day:
First, I was shown that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” and then it was made plain to me that He who had thus cleansed me had power to keep me clean; so I just utterly yielded myself to Him and utterly trusted Him to keep me….
It was that one word “cleanseth” which opened the door of a very glory of hope and joy to me. I had never seen the force of the tense before, a continual present, always a present tense, not a present which the next moment becomes a past. It goes on cleansing, and I have no words to tell how my heart rejoices in it. Not a coming to be cleansed in the fountain only, but a remaining in the fountain, so that it may and can go on cleansing. (Frances Ridley Havergal, Forty Witnesses)
Are you and I saying that this is not so with us? Yet this is why He has given us His own abiding anointing—the Holy Spirit—to teach us to abide in the Anointed One (1 Jn. 2:20-27). That anointing abides in us, and is the empowering to abide in Him, and in fact teaches us to abide, as we are ready and obedient learners of the anointing.
And so, dearly beloved of the Lord, let us not be of little faith; let us not put off into the future, or into faraway Heaven, the everlasting light of the everlasting day, nor the everlasting life that springs from the fountain of life, nor the eternal unfading inheritance, nor the fadeless glory, nor the unfading leaves of the tree of life, nor the fruit of the light that fails not, nor the ever-present and continually cleansing blood, nor the incorruptible manna, nor the abiding Presence and anointing… all of which are the manifold blessings of the New Covenant. There was a day when our Lord was just dying to inaugurate this New Covenant so He could bequeath to us all these and more. He is living today that He might cause us to know them in vital relationship with Himself, to the praise of His glory.
[i] Andrew Murray, Apostle of Abiding Love, by Leona Choy
[ii] Here is a pdf of Forty Witnesses: