November 3, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
It is a familiar passage from The Sermon On The Mount – Matthew 5: 14 through 16:
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and
it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.
“Let your light…shine…” is often heard in one way or another, especially it seems, by Christians who are shy and/or hesitant to speak the gospel to others. So they say, “I let my life shine for my testimony.” The life we live is certainly part of our testimony. James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” And Paul prayed for his readers in Colossians 1:10, “…that you may have a walk [a life] worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God….” But are your good works testimony enough?
What happens if you do something good for someone else? Say you bring a dinner in for a family who is experiencing some medical crisis. What will be the result if that good work stands alone? The family might say, “What a wonderful person he or she is to do such a nice thing! ” But what if the same good deed is done, but words are added to the affect, “I am a Christian. The Lord Jesus loves you, and I love you, and I want to show His love by this gift of a meal for your family.” Now, what might that receiving family say? “Wow! That must be some Lord they serve to make them want to be such a help to us! ”
Do you see the difference? Who gets the glory in the first instance? You! But who gets the glory if words are added to the deed? God gets the glory! It may not be your intention to receive the praise, but can you begin to see how important it is to direct attention to God so He gets credit and not you?
Back to our scripture: Jesus said, “You are the light of the world….Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.” Your light is not your good works! Your light is what you add to your good works to direct the recipient’s attention to God! Add voice to your works and your light will brightly shine!
Now what you say does not have to be a great theological treatise. You might simply add to your good deed by saying, “This is because God loves you,” or “Jesus would do the same for you,” or “God has blessed me, and I am sharing His blessing with you.” There are a lot of ways words can be added to give light to your good works! But your words of light are to focus the minds of others on God, not you!
Why is it so important to be “…the light of the world…”? Because the devil is called “…the power of darkness…” (Luke 22:53), and he has in place “…the rulers of darkness of this world…” among others of his host of demons (Ephesians 6:12). If he, and they, do their proper jobs they will keep the world in darkness, people will be blind to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (see II Corinthians 4:4). The result will be what is written in Proverbs 4:19, “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Stumbling through life, sinners will stumble right into eternal hell!
Why is it so important to be “…the light of the world…”? Because Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” He keeps people from stumbling in this life, and falling into hell in the next! And Jesus Christ is the only One who can do that! (See John 14:6).
In John 9:4 the Lord also stated, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” He is no longer in the world! But we are in the world! And as Christians we are His Body (see I Corinthians 12:12 through 27; Colossians 1:18). We are the only body Jesus Christ now has on this earth! So “As long as…[we are] in the world…[we are] the light of the world.” Paul said it very plainly in Philippians 2:14 and 15:
Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blame-
less and harmless, children of God, without fault in the midst of a crooked and
perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world….
No wonder Jesus told His followers, “You are the light of the world.”
Now go, and add light to your good deeds so “…they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”