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The Lights of the World

Matthew 5:14-16

 

 

Joke—2 guys were redneck carpenters, and one always was teasing the other, who was not repudiated to be very smart.  One night he shined his flashlight up to the 2nd story of a house and said, ‘Would you mind climbing up this light beam and get my hammer for me?’  The nitwit said, ‘Ha, how dumb do think I am?’  ‘I’m sorry,’ he replied.  ‘You’d better be, I know you too well…you’d let me get halfway up the beam and then turn the light off!’

 

“Ye are the light of the world.”

Jesus said this during His ‘greatest of all time sermon’ there on that hillside…to the disciples.  Now, you’ve never seen a more common group of guys, by the world’s standards, than this group.  So ordinary, and very, extremely unimportant, humanly speaking of course.  When Jesus said they were the light of the world, it was in spite of the fact that it was the Greeks who were known world-wide for their superior knowledge, architecture, art, and philosophy.  Aristotle, Plato and Socrates had already given their teachings centuries before Jesus told this unassuming group of men that THEY were the light of the world!  And Jesus is saying that to all His followers, inc. us today.  It makes me wanna lift up my head and realize what a grand and glorious thing it is to be a Christian and a child of the King!

 

Ye ARE the light of the world…Ye ARE the salt of the earth.  In the original language these statements are in an emphatic tense, meaning it would not be wrong at all to say “you and you alone are…”  [meaning Christians]

 

The beatitudes were all about the character qualities we’ll possess as we are conformed to the image of Jesus.  Then 2 illustrations follow which help us to understand the practical application of such to the world around us.  We are to be salt that penetrates and light that radiates.

 

Last time we saw how salt irritates, makes you thirsty, seasons and flavors, and preserves.

 

Light, much like salt, is a miracle.  Last time we saw how salt is comprised of 2 poisons that kill, but mixed together they are ordinary salt.  And so the Christian life is a miracle as we were poisoned w/ sin and sentenced to death, but then Jesus’ death mixed w/ our death sentence and combined to form redemption!

 

Light is also miraculous.  It’s almost impossible to define light…it’s a mystery.  Webster’s Dictionary will tell you that ‘light is that which makes it possible to see.’  Thanks so much!

 

We live in a darkened world, and we were left here to disseminate light into the darkness!  There are many dark places, even right here in America…esp. here!  It’s time for us children of God to rise just as the Son of God did--to be a light to this planet!

 

The Bible says that God is light.  Intellectually that means the knowledge of God is light.  Morally that means the holiness of God is light.  Physically that means the glory of God is light.

 

When Jesus says that we are the light of the world, it means God has deposited His nature inside of us, and we are to let it out.  It’s in there!  It just needs to be allowed to shine forth.

 

Christian, you aren’t the only person ever called ‘the light of the world.’  Who else?  Yes, other Christians, but who else?  Jesus!

 

John 8:12

    Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

So, Christ is in us, and we aren’t really, in and of ourselves, the light, but the light is in us!

 

PS:  That’s further proof that the world is dark today…

John 9:5

    [5] As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

 

Without Him, it’s a dark place, that is, unless He shines thru us!

 

4 Things About The Light:

 

1.     The Power of the Light

v. 14        Like moths to a flame, this world is drawn to the light…it’s hard to resist…it’s part of man’s nature to seek out truth and fill the God shaped void in his heart.

 

Ill.—18th C. Enlightenment brought a resurgence of knowledge and learning.  But it’s interesting that what the world called the enlightenment really produced more spiritual darkness than most any other century.  In spite of much human ingenuity and progress, man still couldn’t answer the 3 most important questions of life:

  • Where did I come from?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?

 

That’s not light, it’s darkness, and people are sucked in like a black hole, having no direction, not knowing where their life is headed, unless a beacon appears on a hillside, a lighthouse I say, showing them the way!  And if only you can answer those 3 questions, then it matters not if you never even passed grade school, you have more light than all the enlightened PhD’s in the world!

 

Now, many people love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil…but many are seeking the truth.  Will they see your light, set on a hill?

 

Here’s how it happened.  Man started in the light, for God is light, but chose to sin, and plunged himself into darkness.  Humanism says the opposite, that man starts in darkness, but is getting better and better, and closer and closer to the light.  We know better.  Sinful mankind is in darkness, but we are to be the light of the world, showing them the way out.

 

So, God loves man so much, and wants to help people in darkness to see His light, so He deposited the light in 3 places…

 

2.     The Places of the Light

        a.     The Scriptures

Psalm 119:105

    Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

But not everyone will see the light in the Bible.

 

        b.     The Savior

Jesus came as the light of the world.  But many reject Him.  And then He left.

 

        c.     The Saints

Like fireflies across your yard in the evening, Christians are left behind to shine as the lights in this world.  The first Bible some people in your life will ever read will be the Bible of your life.  The first sermon they will ever hear will be a sermon in shoes…you!

 

‘You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day

by the deeds that you do, by the words that you say

men read what you’re writing, whether faithless or true

Hey, what is the gospel according to you?’

 

The only way they will get to know Jesus as the true light of the world is if they see that light reflected by you, and shining in you!

 

 

THE MANY STYLES OF LIGHTS:

     a. The CHRISTMAS "Light" Christians...........

            1. Used only one time a year.

            2. Used only on a special occasion.

            3. These are More For Show than anything else.

            4. Some Christians come once a year or on Special Occasions.

     b. The FLASHING "Light" Christians............

            1. These are On & Off - On & Off - On & Off.

            2. These have No Consistency.

            3. These Christians can't be counted on to get the job done.

     c. The FLASHLIGHT Christians...........

            1. Very useful in Times of Trouble but not all the time.

            2. Very Short Life of usefulness.

            3. Begin to fade out slowly.

            4. These usually must be Hand-Held.

            5. These can be Made Brighter if you Shake them but not for long.

     d. The CANDLE "Lights" Christians..............

            1. These are Affected by the Wind and may even go out.

            2. These are Good Inside in times of storm on the outside.

     e. The DIRTY "Lights" Christians...............

            1. These have lost their effectiveness.

            2. The More the Dirt, the Less the Light.

            3. Dirt builds up over time.

            4. These need to be cleaned from time to time.

     f. The SPOT "Light" Christians................

            1. These Concentrate Only on One Area, and do it well.

     g. The FLOOD "Light" Christians...............

            1. These Cover a Wide Area, with usually softer light.

     h. The BEACON "Light" Christians..............

            1. These Warn of Danger and Guide the Traveler on his way…soulwinners

     i. The REFLECTIVE "Light" Christians..........

            1. These Must Receive their Light from Another Source.

            2. Jesus: Sun / We: Moon / Eclipse: World between Sun & Moon.

 

v. 15        The ‘city set on a hill’ is a collective term, indicating the church.  May we be a lighthouse on a hillside that overlooks a storm-tossed sea.

 

I believe in the universal church, or ‘invisible church’, but I’m most thankful for the local church.

 

‘Church-hoppers’ and the non-committed have justified themselves as being part of the invisible church, and not needing to join a local assembly.  And unfortunately, they have invisible service, sing in invisible choirs, visit invisible nursing homes…their tithes are invisible too!

 

v. 14 is collective light…the church, but…

v. 15 is individual light…single candles doing their part.

 

Remember when Jesus cast the demon out of the maniac?  The man wanted to go w/ Jesus wherever He went, but Jesus said, no, go home and tell everyone what the Lord has done for you!  He did! 

 

We should do the same, starting in our own house, acc’d to the end of v. 15.

 

3.     The Putting Out of the Light

v. 15        What bushels do we allow to snuff out our lights?

Probably dozens, but here’s a couple:  one applies to your walk, and the other to your talk…

 

Worldliness—unwillingness to be different, to be salt or light.  We don’t wanna be laughed at or thought of as strange…so, we follow the course of the world, and go w/ the flow, instead of heading upstream…taking a stand.  That worldly attitude is a bushel that will snuff out your light.

 

Ill.—a pastor warned a young man in his church that was moving away that the company he was joining was very worldly and could be a bad influence on him, and furthermore, they would treat him very badly for being a Christian.  Months later he heard just the opposite, that the boy’s experience had been ‘nothing but pleasant.’  The pastor asked, ‘you mean they haven’t persecuted you for being a Christian?’  He replied, ‘Nope!  Matter of fact, they haven’t even found out!’

 

How about it?  Have the people in your life even found out you are saved?  Work / family / neighbors / friends?

 

Your desire to ‘blend in’ to your environment is a bushel that is keeping you from being the light of your world!

 

Then there’s our talk:  And fear is the bushel we allow to snuff out our witnessing opportunities.  I have a confession to make:  I’m afraid-aholic!  [Hi Jerry!]

Let’s take a survey and be honest and show how many of us have had open doors to witness, and even been prompted to by God’s Spirit, but have caved in to fear.  All of us!

 

John 19:38

    And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus…  [Nicodemus came by night…Nic at night!]

 

Nowhere does the Bible teach ‘infiltration’, but rather ‘proclamation’, which is taking our stand.  Jesus took His stand for us on Calvary, will you now take yours?

2 Cor. 4:3-4

    [3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

 

Either the bushel will put out the light, or your light will burn up the bushel!

 

4.     The Purpose of the Light

v. 16        Why do we do good works?  So people will remark, ‘what a great Christian you are?’  No!  The purpose of the light is not to glorify itself.  You don’t turn a light on to draw attention to the light, but to whatever it is shining on.  The purpose of the light is to illuminate Jesus and to glorify the Father in heaven!

 

Salt – get out of the shaker!

Don’t be a light only here in a room full of lights…get out in the dark places!

 

“There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave,

‘Send the light’!”

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