As we consider Matthew 5:14-16 where Jesus says—
Mt 5:14 “You are the light of the world”
—there are two pictures that come to mind.
(1) In travelling along the N1 national road towards Cape Town at night, one drives for lengthy periods in the dark and suddenly in the distance one sees the lights of a town in the distance. You don’t see the farms. You don’t see the animals. You don’t the windmills. You don’t see the trees … but there in the distance you see light … the light of a town. Jesus said:
Mt 5:14 “A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Light is noticeable, especially at night. As a traveler, once you see the town’s lights at night you know you are on the right track.
(2) Have you ever wondered why most architects design the majority of their homes, flats and apartments to have their main light in the middle of each room? True, some love side and floor lighting but generally the lights are in the middle of the room hanging from the ceiling. Why? Because light in that position spreads its rays all over the room. One light does the job!
Mt 5:15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Light is not intended to be hidden. The idea of light is to see in the dark.
1) Jesus compares His followers to “light”, just as a city’s lights at night and a light in a room are light for a purpose.
Mt 5:16 In the same way.
As those lights mentioned in verses 14-15 have a purpose, so He intends we shine as lights for a purpose. In the same way!
2) As we saw yesterday, Jesus is the light of the world and He wants us to be what He is … let your light shine before men. Don’t miss the emphasis … light is Gospel Light. This is bringing the Light of Jesus’ world into our world for souls living in darkness to behold the other side … to see true life and true light as opposed to the rebellious life without Jesus. The light we have is His light and that light is the Gospel!
3) The Gospel’s intended purpose is that people see Gospel results in action … that they may see your good deeds. I walked through a Mall recently. In the open area there was a table with a man demonstrating a vegetable peeler. He was peeling apples, carrots and potatoes, plus he was dicing greens. He had a product and wanted people to see what it does. His demonstration attracted people and resulted in sales. We are saved by grace through faith … not by works … but how do people know this is real? We prove salvation and the veracity of the Gospel through
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The light of Jesus in us (salvation), demonstrates the truth of the Gospel through our behavior and service after salvation. Let’s now take what we covered yesterday and so far today and apply it to ourselves.
(1) Serving Jesus as Light means to be a Gospel example to the world. Sadly the Visible Church today does not present itself to the world as Light. What does a Church say to its community when they have a bazaar, with wine tasting, selling drinks such as mampoer and gin and using secular artists to attract the crowds? They are saying to the community in which they minister that “we are one with you … identical”! The Gospel they will present to that community is one of “easy believism”. No change required as we are one. The problem is that Gospel light must expose darkness in the community. Christians must not blend in. Christians must be a sore thumb if need be! If Christianity is not different to the world, why have Christianity?
(2) Serving Jesus as Light means to bring God’s order to the world. Although this point almost duplicates the previous one, there is a difference. Letting “your light shine before others” implies order. It means to bring beauty to your environment. The order or beauty here speaks of light shining so that Gospel morality and ethics are immediately “in the face” of the world. Gospel behavior cannot include changing any morals or ethics. This will weaken the Gospel’s impact. Darkness must be exposed to the point where Gospel morality brings change to our world … brings change to God’s world.
(3) Serving Jesus as Light means to be evangelistic in the world. We know that God chose souls before the creation of the world to be His people for eternity. Because we are born with a sinful disposition that rebels against God, we are totally hopeless and unable to do anything to change our environment. But God in grace and mercy comes to our planet as God incarnate … as the Godman … and He deals with our sin at Calvary. Through faith in His blood sacrifice, a believer will confess sin for pardon and turn in repentance and follow Jesus as Lord. This is how one becomes Christian, but what about those who are elect and have not heard the Gospel? We never force the Gospel down people’s throats. We need to create a platform of trust. People need to know that we are credible and people of integrity. We are not interested in what we can get from them … our only interest is what we can offer them. Trust is earned through Gospel behavior. When people see our genuineness they will permit us to share our message. Not all will receive the Gospel, but the elect will. It might take time for the Gospel to work through their system … but they will believe and be saved.
(4) Serving Jesus as Light means to be bring glory and pleasure to God in the world. Evangelism will not save all mankind but it will save all the elect of God. This brings glory to God because the Rescue Mission to planet earth was successful and this success brings such delight to our Lord that He is pleasured in the most holy and righteous way possible. The very heavens rejoice! Could you try to imagine the reality of
Lu 15:10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Their rejoicing is declaring to God that His rescue mission was and remains successful. When lost souls are save, they too also start to praise God … and praise your Father in heaven.The ultimate objective of salvation is that souls praise and worship God. This is the reason for the creation of the soul. God’s glory and pleasure is the most important purpose for the save soul. Read all the songs in the Book of Revelation … they are all about praising and adoring God. He deserves praise because He is worthy.
Thank You Lord for entrusting Your people with the glorious Gospel of Salvation that enables us to shine Your Gospel light into a world of darkness to reveal the way of salvation through Jesus’ substitutionary blood sacrifice for us. Amen.