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Old and New Testament.
"Sermon on the Mount" (Bloch)
September 10, 2014
YOU ARE THE
LIGHT OF THE WORLD: Humeis este (2PPAI) to phos tou kosmou (Pr
4:18; John 5:35; 12:36; Ro 2:19,20; 2Cor 6:14; Ep 5:8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
13, 14; Philippians 2:15; 1Th 5:5; Revelation 1:20; 2:1)
THE SERMON ON THE
An Simple Outline
You are the light of the world
- "Jesus gives the Christian both a great compliment and a great
responsibility when He says that we are the light of the world, because
He claimed that title for Himself as He walked this earth (John 8:12 and
John 9:5)." (Guzik)
(humeis) is emphatic (first in the Greek sentence) which conveys
the sense of "you yourselves". Note that you is
plural and in the context of the rest of the NT would be applicable to
the Church. Therefore this verse could be paraphrased
"As for you, you are the light of the world." (Wuest)
Phil Newton - The "you" is emphatic in the Greek
text, so that we might translate it "You, and you alone are the light of
the world." We know that Jesus uses the same language of Himself in John
8:12, "I am the Light of the world." That passage speaks of light in an
originative sense. He is the origin of such light so that He can add,
"He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the
Light of life." Christians are light in a derivative sense in that the
light we have comes as a result of relationship to Jesus Christ. We do
not produce the light, but like the moon that reflects the light of the
sun, we too reflect the light of His indwelling life. (Gospel
YOU ARE LIKE A WINDOW
LETTING IN THE LIGHT
Ray Pritchard tells this
story "A little boy was sitting in
church with his mom one day. As he looked up at the beautiful stained
glass windows, he saw faces in the glass. “Mom, who are those people in
the window?” he asked. “Those are the saints,” she answered. The little
boy thought for awhile and then said, “Oh, I know who the saints are.
They’re the ones that let the light in.”
I spoke earlier of the moral decay going on all around us. Let no one
despair. The darker the night, the brighter the light shines. (The
Salt and Light Brigade)
Observe that the verb are is in the
signifying that citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are continually
lights ("mobile lighthouses" if you will) in this
spiritually dark world. Are is
which is the mood of reality. In other words, believers really are the
light of the world! And don't forget to observe the
to help accurately interpret the
meaning of Jesus'
metaphor of "light". In other words, from the
preceding context, what does the "light" look like for those who
are in Christ (and He in them cp Col 1:27-note,
Ro 8:9, Jn 8:12)? Does not the "light" which is to shine forth the character traits of the "be attitudes"
Jesus has just described in Mt 5:3-12?
And if Jesus is the ultimate "light of the world" (Jn 8:12), and He is
in us by His indwelling Spirit (Ro 8:9-note),
should not our daily desire be that Jesus be increasing in us, and that
we be decreasing, so that they see daily see more of Him and less of us? (Jn 3:30-note,
2Cor 2:14,15,16!). Note that we don't have to MAKE ourselves light (or salt)! Paul
explains that while we were "formerly darkness (not just in
darkness, but actual darkness!), but now (we) are light
in the Lord" and this great truth (and privilege)
should motivate us to desire to obey the command to "walk
= command to continually behave this way - only possible as we surrender
to the Spirit's enabling desire and power - Php 2:13NLT-note)
as children of light." (Eph 5:8-note,
cp Ps 27:1-note)
YOU ARE LIKE A
A watermark is "a faint
design made in some paper during manufacture that is visible when held
against the light and typically identifies the maker." (Concise
Oxford English Dictionary 11th ed.) Beloved disciple of Jesus, His
"mark" is in us, and becomes visible through us! We are no longer our
own but have been bought with a price and belong to Him. We as His
disciples are to stand ready to lovingly obey His command to let our
life be seen in such a way that they might see His "Watermark," that
they might see Him, not us, that they might believe His Gospel and be
saved eternally. Play the soul stirring song below by the group
Watermark and prayerfully ponder the "Bibliocentric" lyrics which are
guaranteed to make you want to stop and praise Him...
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Giver of creation
Bringer of salvation
Word of God, Eternal Life
Praise the Son of God
Promised One of Heaven
To bring us to your kingdom
Rescued us from darkness
Praise the Son of God.
Jesus, light of the world
Shine on us, Shine on us
Word of Life, spoken for love
Breathe on us. Breathe on us.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus is saying that those who possess "spiritual light" are to be light
transmitters! As believers, we are to let our actions speak louder than our words.
"Gospel" life should open doors of opportunity for our lips to speak the
Gospel (cp 1Pe 3:15-note).
We must "speak" the Gospel with our lives so that it will validate the
Gospel we speak with our lips! What is the "Gospel" your life is
proclaiming to all you encounter?
YOU ARE LIKE A
MOON WHO REFLECTS THE SON
Think of the believer's light this
way - When Jesus walked the earth, He was the light of the world (Jn
8:12, 9:5, 12:35, 36, 1:4, 9). He was like the sun. He was the Source of
all spiritual light. But just as the sun goes down and is followed by
the rising moon which reflects the light of the sun, so too believers
are now to be "moons" who reflect the light of the Son! His light shines
on us and in us and we shine forth His light to a spiritually dark world
(Php 2:15-note). Jesus left, but He did not leave us alone. He sent His
Spirit to "energize" His light in and through us. Believers should be
like the veritable "energizer
bunnies" as portrayed in the classic Eveready battery
W A Criswell explained it this
way - "A small problem confronts the
interpreter who discovers that Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew
5:14, “Ye are the light of the world.” Yet in John 8:12, Jesus said, “I
am the light of the world.” What appears to be a contradiction is not
one at all. The moon provides light for the earth just as the sun does.
Yet, the actual source of light for both the sun and the moon is the
sun. The moon only reflects the light of the sun. By the same token,
Jesus, the God-man, is the source of all light. His disciples become
reflectors in a darkened world, transmitting through their lives the
true light of the eternal Son of God. (LIGHT
OF THE WORLD)
Believers now have the light for as
Paul wrote it was "God, Who said, "Light shall
shine out of darkness," is the One Who has shone in our hearts to give
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Let Solomon's proverb encourage you to
walk as a child of light...
- don't "miss" these opportunities to observe and meditate on the
passage! You can always ask at least one question!) the path of the
righteous is like () the light of dawn, That shines brighter and
brighter until the full day. (Pr 4:18-William
Arnot's comments on Proverbs 4:18, 19 = The Path of the Just
Light of the world
- C H Spurgeon makes the point that...
THIS title had been given by the
Jews to certain of their eminent Rabbis. With great pomposity they spoke
of Rabbi Judah, or Rabbi Jochanan, as the lamps of the universe, the
lights of the world. It must have sounded strangely in the ears of
the Scribes and Pharisees to hear that same title, in all soberness,
applied to a few bronzed-faced and horny-handed peasants and fishermen,
who had become disciples of Jesus. Jesus, in effect, said, — not the
Rabbis, not the Scribes, not the assembled Sanhedrim, but ye, my humble
followers, ye are the light of the world.
He gave them this title, not
after he had educated them for three years, but at almost the outset of
his ministry; and from this I gather that the title was given them, not
so much on account of what they knew, as on account of what they were.
Not their knowledge, but their character made them the light of the
world. They were not yet fully trained in his spiritual school, and yet
he saith to them, “Ye are the light of the world;” the fact being,
that wherever there is faith in Christ there is light, for our Lord has
said “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me
should not walk in darkness.” “The entrance of thy word giveth
Genuine faith in Christ turns a
man from darkness to marvellous light, and transforms him into “light
in the Lord”; his aims and objects, his desires, his speech, his
actions, become full of divine light, which illuminates all the chambers
of his soul, and then pours forth from the windows so as to be seen of
The believer is appointed to be
a lighthouse to others, a cheering lamp, a guiding star. It is true that
his light will be increased as he learns more of Christ, he will be able
to impart more instruction to others when he has received more, but even
while he is yet a beginner, his faith in Jesus is in itself a light; men
see his good worlds even before they discover his knowledge.
The man of faith who aims at
holiness is a light of the world, even though his knowledge may be very
limited, and his experience that of a babe.
I mention this at the outset in
order that every Christian may see the application of the text to
himself. It is not spoken to the apostles, or to ministers exclusively,
but to the entire body of the faithful — “Ye are the light of the
world.” Ye humble men and women whose usefulness will be confined to
your cottages, or to your work-shops, ye whose voices will never be
heard in the streets, whose speech will only be eloquent in the ears of
those who gather by your firesides, you, even you, noiseless and
unobserved as your lives will be, — ye are the true light of the world.
Not alone the men whose learned volumes load our shelves, not alone the
men whose thundering tones startle the nations, or who with busy care
for God’s glory compass sea and land to find subjects for the kingdom of
Jesus, but you, each one of you, who are humbly resting upon the Savior,
and lovingly carrying out your high vocation as the children of God, and
followers of his dear Son.
Let us never forget that
light must first be imparted to us, or it can never go forth from
us. We are not lights of the world by nature; at best we are but lamps
unlit until the Spirit of God comes. Enquire, therefore, my hearer, of
thyself whether God has ever kindled thee by the flame of his Spirit.
Hast thou been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into
light? Has the flame immortal of the divine life touched thee? If so,
thou hast light in thyself, and light towards others, and thy light will
work effectually in many ways. It will reveal the darkness of those who
are round about thee. Thy light will show the darkness how dark it is.
Even as Christ’s life judged
upon the men of his age, so does the faith of Christians expose the
evils of unbelief, and the holiness of believers reveals the wickedness
Our light also reproves the
deeds of darkness, and condemns them. Even though we were never to use a
severe word, a godly life would be a stern rebuke of sin.
Hence it comes to pass that we
must expect to be opposed, for “he that doeth evil hearth the light.”
The world does not understand us, “for the light shineth in darkness,
and the darkness understandeth it not”; and, therefore, it
misrepresents us, and rages against us. In a certain sense the saints
are day by day the judges of mankind; they avoid all censoriousness, for
they know who has said, “judge not, that ye be not judged,” but
unconsciously to themselves their godly, holy, and devout lives accuse
and condemn the wicked, and the Spirit of God through them full often
convinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment....
Why doth God make men to be
lights to other men? There are three answers; first, it averts from the
light-givers themselves many evils; secondly, it bestows upon them many
benefits; and, thirdly, it has an encouraging aspect towards the light
receivers — those who are meanwhile sitting in darkness and needing the
light. (See Spurgeon's entire sermon for amplification of each of these
The Light of the World)
Charles Simeon writes...
IF we had not been authorized by God
Himself, we should never have presumed to designate the saints by such
honorable appellations as are unreservedly given to them in the
Scriptures. Of all the objects in the visible creation, the sun is the
most glorious; nor is there any thing, either in this terraqueous
(consisting of land and water) globe or in the firmament of heaven,
which does not partake of its benign influence: yet even to that are the
saints compared; “Ye are the light of the world.” That all the parts of
our text may come easily and profitably under our view, we shall
I. The office to which God has
destined His people— Strictly speaking, neither Prophets nor
Apostles could arrogate to themselves the honour which is here in a
subordinate sense conferred on all the saints: it belongs exclusively to
the Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the Sun of Righteousness;” (Malachi
4:2) and who says of himself, “I am the light of the world.” (Jn 8:12)
St. John, speaking of the Baptist, (who was greater than all the
prophets,) expressly declares, that “he was not that Light; but that
Christ was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the
world.” (Jn 1:8, 9) In this view, the name of stars would rather befit
us, because we shine only with a borrowed lustre; reflecting merely the
rays which we have received from the Lord Jesus: but, as exhibiting to
the world all the true light that is in it, God has been pleased to
dignify us with that higher name, “The light of the world.” He has sent
his people to fulfil that office in the moral, which the sun performs in
the natural world. (Read the entire sermon -
Matthew 5:14-16 Christians the Light of the World)
You are the light - Not
"a" light, but "the" light. God has left each of us here,
to shine for Him, to shine His Gospel for His Kingdom and for His glory.
Dear disciple of Jesus,
underestimate your value in the eyes of your Heavenly Father or of your
value and integral role in His Kingdom Work! Is this Scriptural? The
apostle Paul would answer that "we are His
("masterpieces," "works of art," "poems" - Greek =
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand,
that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10-note)
Alexander Maclaren emphasizes
the "power" for a disciple's light noting that...
We shall be ‘light’ if we
are ‘in the Lord.’ It is by union with Jesus Christ that we partake of
His illumination. A sunbeam has no more power to shine if it be severed
from the sun than a man has to give light in this dark world if He be
parted from Jesus Christ. Cut the current and the electric light dies;
slacken the engine and the electric arc becomes dim, quicken it and it
burns bright. So the condition of my being light is my keeping unbroken
my communication with Jesus Christ; and every variation in the extent to
which I receive into my heart the influx of His power and of His love is
correctly measured and represented by the greater or the lesser
brilliancy of the light with which I reflect His radiance. Ye were some
time darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.’ Keep near to Him, and
a firm hold of His hand, and then you will be light. (Matthew)
Comment: While I thoroughly
agree with Maclaren, one needs to ask in the New Covenant age, the
Church Age, what provision has Jesus made for His disciples to be
"energized?" I would submit that it is via His indwelling Spirit, the
Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7). Not only did
the church have to wait for the "power" to be turned on so to speak
(Acts 1:8, 2:1-4), but throughout Acts we see the repetitive theme of
the power of the Spirit of Christ. For example see the Spirit and His
association with power (dunamis) - Acts 1:8, Acts 4:7-8, 33, Acts 6:5,
8, Acts 10:38, Eph 3:16, Luke 1:35 Ro 15:13, Ro 15:19, 1Cor 2:4-5 (cp
Description of the "Kingdom of God" in 1Cor 4:20 with Ro 14:17). See
also the references to filled with the Spirit - Acts 2:4. Acts 2:14,
Acts 4:8, 31, Acts 9:17, Acts 13:9, 52, (compare "abundant grace" = Acts
4:33), Stephen - Acts 6:5, 8, 10, Acts 7:55, 56, 57, 58
from pháo = to shine) speaks of luminousness which
may be a literal light but more often as in this verse is figurative.
Light is that which enables you to
see or which makes vision possible. Light goes with sight. Light
illuminates, exposes, guides, and directs. Light gives life (to
vegetable and animal).
The opposite of light is dark or
darkness which speaks of obscurity, delusion, confusion, camouflage,
gloom, murkiness, shadows, nightfall and death.
Dwight Pentecost reminds us
that "The nature of light is to shine.
There is no such thing as light that does not communicate itself. There
is no such thing as self contained light. Light may originate in a
distant star and travel a span of light-years, but it does not get tired
of shining and cease to shine. Its nature is to shine. Christ says He
has made us lights in the world, and we are not self-contained. It is
the nature of the child of God who has been made light to communicate
the light given to him. (Pentecost,
J. D. Design for living: Lessons in Holiness from the Sermon on the
Mount. Kregel Publications)
Jesus while in Jerusalem and having
just cried out that He alone could quench their spiritual thirst (John
4:1, 14, 15, John
7:37-39), then declares to the Jewish audience that He is the Light of
the World - "Again therefore Jesus spoke to them,
saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk
in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)
John had earlier recorded of Jesus
that " In Him was life, and the
life was the light of men (cf 1John 1:5 "God is light" thus Jesus is
God). And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not
comprehend it (katalambano = take eagerly; possess, attain, seize with
hostile intent. Thus translated variously with ideas of extinguish it,
overcome it, put it out, understand or perceive it). There came a man,
sent from God, whose name was John (John 5:35). He came for a witness,
that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through
him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the
light. There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens
every man. (John 1:4-9)
Jesus called John the Baptist a
declaring that "He was the lamp that was burning and
was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
Now He turns to His audience and
tells them "You and you alone are the Light of the world." These words
must have come as quite a shock for "THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN
DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND TO THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND
AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED. (Mt 4:16, from
And yet now that His Light had dawned
on them, He was declaring that they themselves were "the light".
could they be the light? In the last week of His life in John
12:35-36 Jesus explains how one can themselves become light declaring "Jesus therefore said to them,
"For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have
the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the
darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe
in the light, in order that you may become sons of light." These things
Jesus spoke, and He departed and hid Himself from them." (John 12:35-36)
Luke adds that Jesus charge to Paul
was to go to be a minister and a witness (especially through
the proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles) "to open their eyes so that they
may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of
Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (Acts
What Jesus has just presented in the eight beatitudes
(Mt 5:3-12) is the
character of men and women who belong to the Kingdom of Heaven, and are the ones who
are to be the light of the world "those who were poor in spirit,
mourned over sin, were meek not mean spirited, hungered and thirsted for
a truly righteous life instead of self-righteousness, were merciful (and
willing to forgive as they had been forgiven), were pure in heart with a
single minded focus on God, were peacemakers and as a result of being
all the above, were persecuted for the sake of God's righteousness lived
out in their everyday lives.
As true citizens of the Kingdom of
Heaven these men and women would be the lights who would shine into the
darkness of the kingdom of this world (Luke 4:5-6, 1Jn 5:19).
Believers who are surrendering to the
power of the
Spirit (Eph 5:18-note,
Gal 5:16-note) are
thereby (and only thereby!) enabled to live out the reality of the "be attitudes"
and in do doing shine
forth like the light of a city on a hill or a lamp on a stand. We must
not try to hide from the world but let our lives count for Christ in
such a way that God will get the glory for the good (God) deeds (Spirit
initiated and enabled deeds, "John 15:5 deeds" if you will) in our
Notice that it is the
distinctiveness of our Christian character, conduct, and conversation
which inevitably and naturally points men to Christ. It is not our
winsome programs but our regenerate, Spirit empowered, holy lives that
expose the moral morass of our culture.
Are you a
living light where Christ has placed you as His ambassador that you
might have an opportunity to speak forth the word of reconciliation
In Ephesians Paul exhorts
- always pause and ponder with some
questions!) (See Eph 5:1-2-note.
Eph 5:7-note) do
not be partakers with them (the sons of disobedience, Eph 5:6); for you
were (past tense - "were" is emphatic - you really were! is the
idea) formerly darkness, but now you are light (not a lamp but
light itself) in the Lord; walk
(command to make this
our lifestyle =
as children of light (for the
fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and
truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not
participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even
expose them (this is the purpose of citizens of the Kingdom of
Heaven - expose the deeds of darkness, but don't expect the darkness to
thank you, cf Mt 5:10-12); for it is disgraceful even to speak of
the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become
visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything
that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper,
and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Therefore be
careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of
your time, because the days are evil. So then
do not be foolish,
imperative) what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with
wine, for that is dissipation, but
with the Spirit" (see
When Paul says "awake
imperative) sleeper and
arise from the dead" one interpretation is that it represents an
invitation to those in darkness to enter the light of Christ. The light
of the life of a Christian should always be preaching a sermon, always
exposing the surrounding darkness. Some will become hostile (cp Jn 3:19,
20, 21), but some
will see the light of Christ in us the hope of glory (Col 1:27-note). The other
interpretation, which is also reasonable, is that Paul is instructing
"sleepy" believers to "Wake up! Quit fixing your mind on the
things of this earth! Quit allowing the world to "pour you into it's
mold! Quit living like citizens of earth rather than heaven!, etc" (Col
Phillips translation, Php 3:18, 19-note,
Php 3:20, 21-note,
cp Ro 13:11-note,
Warren Wiersbe reminds us that "Christians are not sleeping in
sin and death. We have been raised from the dead through faith in Him.
The darkness of the graveyard is past, and we are now walking in the
light of salvation. Salvation is the beginning of a new day, and we
ought to live as those who belong to the light, not to the darkness.
W: Bible Exposition Commentary)
Note that in describing who we were
before Christ in Ephesians 5:8, Paul does not say you were "in darkness" or
"of darkness" but that you "were darkness" itself!
Our total existence, including our being and our behavior, was totally
characterized by darkness. Their was no other aspect to our spiritual
life other than that of darkness. As "sons of disobedience" we
were children of darkness. Note also that we were not simply "innocent"
victims of the Evil One, Satan the Prince of darkness, but we were
actually contributors to the darkness. Our very nature was characterized
by darkness and sin which is the rotten fruit of darkness. Thus the
striking contrast in this verse and the incredible proclamation by Jesus
that those who once were literally the essence of darkness now have the
glorious privilege to be light in the Lord.
In Ephesians 5:8, Paul is teaching an incredible truth
- believers are not simply enlightened ones (which we are) but even more
that we are now actually light! Somehow our incorporation into Christ allows us
to some extent to be light, however imperfect. Our light is still
derived from Him, and not a ray of it comes from ourselves, but this
light is more than simply reflected light (see illustration below
from Dr Barnhouse). Peter teaches that we
are actually "partakers of the divine nature" (2Pe 1:4
[note] - note
that this truth does not make us "little Christs" as some have falsely
taught!). This is indeed a glorious, albeit mysterious truth that is
difficult to fully comprehend (cf 1Cor 13:12, cf 2Cor 3:18).
Somehow believers shine with the light of Christ, that radiates forth
with life-changing effect. Jesus is the Light of the world, a
world which is dead in darkness and His life in and through us as
believers somehow transforms us into the lights of the world in His
stead and for His Father's glory! If you are a citizen of the Kingdom of
Heaven you will shine somehow, some way. Don't try to hide what you are
by nature. Now your conduct is to continually conform to your essential
Peter echoes the truth that we
are to let our light shine and "Keep (present
= continually = only possible as we yield to the enabling power of the
indwelling Spirit of Christ!) your behavior excellent
among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as
evildoers, they may on account of your good (Spirit enabled) deeds, as they observe them,
glorify (give a proper opinion of) God in the day of visitation. (see note
1 Peter 2:12)
Hugh Latimer was an English martyr, a
light to the world,
who said to his fellow martyr to be, Nicholas Ridley, as the the fire
was lit to burn them at the stake "Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and
play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in
England as shall never be put out. (click
for more detail)
Kent Hughes explains how
believers are lights noting that "Dr. Barnhouse, the master of
illustration, used to explain it this way. He said that when Christ was
in the world, he was like the shining sun that is here in the day and
gone at night. When the sun sets, the moon comes up. The moon, the
church, shines, but not with its own light. It shines with reflected
light. When Jesus was in the world he said, "I am the light of the
world." But as he contemplated leaving this world, he said, "You are the
light of the world." At times the church has been at full moon, dazzling
the world with an almost daytime light. These have been times of great
enlightenment, times such as those of Paul and Luther and Wesley. And at
other times the church has been only a thumbnail moon, with very little
light shining upon the earth. Whether the church is a full moon or a new
thumbnail moon, waxing or waning, it reflects the light of the sun.
(Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
The implication of
the need for light in the
world is that there is darkness. Phil Newton gives a nice discussion of
darkness explaining that "Darkness impairs vision. In a
spiritual sense, the kind of darkness that the Bible speaks of impairs a
person morally. He cannot see. He does not understand the effects of sin
or even the root of it in the depravity of the human heart. His entire
way of thinking is warped by the darkness. His understanding has been
switched off when it comes to grasping moral issues related to his own
life. And so he joins organizations that go to great lengths to protect
snail darters or
endangered fish or certain species of animals but then supports the
abortion of an unborn child. In his mind a snail or a mouse or a whale
has as much value as a human being that has been made in the image of
God. His thinking is warped by the darkness. He shakes his head in
disgust over the gunning down of eight innocent people then plugs in his
music that advocates killing, immorality, and drugs or sits down to
three hours of non-stop violence in front of the television. Darkness
has blinded his ability to see his own hypocrisy. A politician having an
affair with an intern or a serial rapist being released from prison
appalls him, but then he sits down in front of a screen and indulges his
mind in pornography on the Internet. Darkness has twisted his thinking
so that he has no objective standard of morality or a sense of
approaching judgment. (The
Power of Christians as Light)
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical
Theology - Light
Torrey's Topical Textbook - Light
Holman Bible Dictionary - Light, Light of the
World by W A Criswell'
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Light
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Light
(kosmos) means orderly arrangement (thus our English word
"cosmetics"!) and in this context refers to the human race in general
(which is interesting for as we look at our "world" it looks to be in
moral and spiritual chaos!). It should also
be noted that kosmos refers to world in a spiritual sense of the
man-centered, Satan-directed system (1Jn 5:19,Jn 12:31) of this present
age, which is alienated from and hostile toward God and God’s people (cf
Mt 5:10, 11, 12).
It is intriguing that in Matthew, the
most "Jewish" of all the Gospels, Jesus enlarges His audience's sphere
of intended influence to the entire "world" and not just the community
of Jews in Israel. This truth is paralleled in Jesus' Great Commission
And Jesus came up and spoke to
them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on
earth. "Go therefore (term
= Ask "Why are we to go?" or "What is the basis for His
= the only command in the commission) of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you (Notice
that real believers, genuine disciples, really obey, validating with
their lives the profession of their lips!); and lo, I am
with you always (How will He be with them always? His indwelling Spirit,
the Spirit of Jesus, Acts 16:7, Lk 24:49, Acts 1:8-note), even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
Comment: Don't miss what Jesus
is saying - we can only "go"
in the power of the "lo"
(the provision of His presence and power through His Spirit!)
often is used in the NT to describe the self-centered, godless value system
and mores of fallen mankind. The goal of the "world" is humanistic,
exaltation of man, self-glory, self-fulfillment, self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, and
every other form of self-serving (cp Paul's description of the last days
- 2Ti 3:1-4 notes
2 Ti 3:1-2;
John explains that...
We know that we are of God, and
the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1John 5:19)
In Revelation we read about
the eventual fate of this present darkness...
And the seventh angel sounded;
and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world
has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign
forever and ever." (See note
God's lamps we are,
To shine where He shall say:
And lamps are not for sunny rooms,
Nor for the light of day;
But for the dark places of the earth,
Where shame and wrong and crime have birth,
Or for the murky twilight grey,
Where wandering sheep have gone astray,
Or where the Lamp of Faith grows dim,
And souls are groping after Him.
And as sometimes a flame we find,
Clear-shining through the night,
So dark we do not see the lamp
But only see the Light,
So may we shine, God's love the flame,
That men may glorify His Name
--Annie Johnson Flint
A CITY SET ON
A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN: ou dunatai (3SPMI) polis krubenai (APN) epano
horous keimene (PPPNSF) (Genesis
11:4, 5, 6, 7, 8; Revelation 21:14-27)
(polis) in Scripture usually referred to a city enclosed with a
Citizens of the Kingdom of Christ now
reside as aliens and strangers (see notes
1 Peter 1:1,
1 Peter 2:11) in the "Kingdom of
this World" (See
Revelation 11:15) but our King instructs us
"You do not live in some spiritual
ghetto! No, No! You illuminate the darkness of the Kingdom of this World
wherever you reside!"
What a privilege we have beloved.
Does the Church really grasp what the King is proclaiming is true about
There is no such thing as
an invisible believer!
It is difficult for modern readers to
understand the importance of Jesus' statement, for we have lights
everywhere at night. Not so in ancient Palestine. And if one was
traveling at night, he did not have freeway lamps, but was dependent on
the glow of the lamp lights in the windows of houses in the cities to
help direct him on his journey.
Dwight Pentecost writes
"One who travels the Holy Land
is impressed with the fact that multitudes of villages were built on the
tops of the hills...When night came, the light in the houses on the hill
could not be hidden. From a great distance, one knew the location of the
next village because of the light from that hilltop.” (Pentecost,
J. D. Design for living: Lessons in Holiness from the Sermon on the
Mount. Kregel Publications)
(keimai) means to be in a place frequently in sense of `being
contained in' or `resting on' as in the present context of a city set on
(oros) describes a relatively high elevation of land and
contrasts with the Greek word bounos which also means `hill'
albeit somewhat lower. Jesus' point is that this is not a city down in
the deepest valley but is clearly visible, in view of all to see.
Cannot is the combination of not (3756)
(ou = absolutely not) + can (1410)
(dunamai) see in depth study of related word
which means to be able or to have power by virtue of inherent ability.
(krupto gives us our English “crypt,” “cryptic,” etc, cp
to cover, to conceal, or to keep secret (either protectively or for
And neither can a genuine believer
hide the fact that they have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This
begs the very pithy, very personal question for all of us (2Cor 13:5-note)...
Am I really walking with Jesus?
Is my relationship genuine?
Or my profession just that?
(cp Jesus' words- Mt 7:21-note,
Alexander Maclaren emphasizes
The nature and property of
light is to radiate. It cannot choose but shine; and in like manner the
little village perched upon a hill there, glittering and twinkling in
the sunlight, cannot choose but be seen. So, says Christ, ‘If you have
Christian character in you, if you have Me in you, such is the nature of
the Christian life that it will certainly manifest itself.’ Let us dwell
upon that for a moment or two. Take two thoughts: All earnest Christian
conviction will demand expression; and all deep experience of the
purifying power of Christ upon character will show itself in conduct....
all deep experience of the
purifying power of Christ upon character will show itself in conduct. It
is all very well for people to profess that they have received the
forgiveness of sins and the inner sanctification of God’s Spirit. If you
have, let us see it, and let us see it in the commonest, pettiest
affairs of daily life. The communication between the inmost experience
and the outermost conduct is such as that if there be any real
revolution deep down, it will manifest itself in the daily life. I make
all allowance for the loss of power in transmission, for the loss of
power in friction. I am glad to believe that you and I, and all our
imperfect brethren, are a great deal better in heart than we ever manage
to show ourselves to be in life. Thank God for the consolation that may
come out of that thought—but notwithstanding I press on you my point
that, making all such allowance, and setting up no impossible standard
of absolute identity between duty and conduct in this present life, yet,
on the whole, if we are Christian people with any deep central
experience of the cleansing power and influence of Christ and His grace,
we shall show it in life and in conduct. Or, to put it into the graphic
and plain image of my text, If we are light we shall shine....
there is yet a solemn
possibility that men—even good men—may stifle and smother and shroud
their light. You can do, and I am afraid a very large number of you do
do, this; by two ways. You can bury the light of a holy character under
a whole mountain of inconsistencies. If one were to be fanciful, one
might say that the bushel or meal-chest meant material well-being, and
the bed, indolence and love of ease. I wonder how many of us Christian
men and women have buried their light under the flour-bin and the bed,
so interpreted? How many of us have drowned our consecration and
devotion in foul waters of worldly lusts, and have let the love of
earth’s goods, of wealth and pleasure and creature love, come like a
poisonous atmosphere round the lamp of our Christian character, making
it burn dim and blue?
And we can bury the light of the Word under cowardly and sheepish and
indifferent silence. I wonder how many of us have done that? Like
blue-ribbon men that button their great-coats over their blue ribbons
when they go into company where they are afraid to show them, there are
many Christian people that are devout Christians at the Communion Table,
but would be ashamed to say they were so in the miscellaneous company of
a railway carriage or a table d’hote. There are professing Christians
who have gone through life in their relationships to their fathers,
sisters, wives, children, friends, kindred, their servants and
dependants, and have never spoken a loving word for their Master. That
is a sinful hiding of your light under the bushel and the bed. (Matthew)
IVP Commentary -
Until my conversion in 1975 I
professed to be an atheist in part because I looked at the roughly 85
percent of my fellow U.S. citizens who claimed to be Christians and
could not see that their faith genuinely affected their lives. I
reasoned that if even Christians did not believe in Jesus' teachings,
why should I? My excuse for unbelief-and the excuse of many other
secularists I knew-continued until God's Spirit confronted me with the
reality that the truth of Christ does not rise or fall on the claims of
his professed followers, but on Jesus himself. The faith of nominal
Christians may appeal to non-Christians who can use it to justify their
own unbelief, but such "Christians" will have no part in God's kingdom.
Instead they will be thrown out and trampled (Mt 5:13).
The purpose of light is to
illuminate and expose what is there. Therefore light must be exposed
before it is of any use - if it is hidden under a basket, it is no
longer useful. Cannot be hidden: Just like a city that is set on a hill,
it goes against the very nature and purpose of light for it to be
hidden. When a Christian hides his light, he fights himself and the Holy
Spirit by never letting his light so shine before men.
A key thought in both the
pictures of salt and light is distinction. Salt is needed because the
world is rotting and decaying and if our Christianity is also rotting
and decaying, it won't be any good. Light is needed because the world is
in darkness, and if our Christianity imitates the darkness, we have
nothing to show the world.
To be effective we must seek and display the Christian distinctive. We
can never affect the world for Jesus by becoming like the world.
The figures of salt and light also remind us that the life marked by the
beatitudes is not to be lived in isolation. We often assume that those
inner qualities can only be developed or displayed in isolation from the
world, but Jesus wants us to live them out before the world.
Jesus points to a breadth in the impact of disciples that must have
seemed almost ridiculous at the time. How could these humble Galileans
salt the earth, or light the world? But they did.
Jesus never challenges us to become salt or light. He simply says that
we are - and we are either fulfilling or failing that responsibility. (Matthew
Illustration of the Power of a
Spirit Filled "Light" - Have you ever looked out of a
plane flying on a cloudless night? You can see pinpoints of light miles
and miles away. This explains why
it was necessary to have
blackouts during the war to prevent enemy pilots from seeing the
smallest evidence of light and thus find their targets.
John describes the New Jerusalem
which has a Light which will never "be hidden" writing that "And the city has no need of the
sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined
it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Rev 21:23-note)
nor does anyone
basket, but on the
lampstand, and it
all who are in the
Amplified: Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a
lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
NLT: Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand
and let it shine for all. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket.
They put it on a lamp-stand and it gives light for everybody in the
Testament in Modern English)
Neither do they light a lamp and place it under the bushel but upon
the lamp stand, and it gives light to all those who are in the house. (Wuest:
Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: nor do they light a lamp, and put it under the measure, but on the
lamp-stand, and it shineth to all those in the house;
NOR DO MEN
LIGHT A LAMP, AND PUT IT UNDER THE PECK-MEASURE BUT ON THE LAMPSTAND:
oude kaiousin (3PPAI) luchnon kai titheasin (3PPAI) auton hupo ton
modion all' epi ten luchnian
(Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; 11:33)
Nor do men light a lamp and put it
under the peck-measure but on the lampstand - Now think about this statement for a
moment. Jesus is explaining the metaphor of a believer as a light
(thus we do not have to imagine His intended meaning by picturing us as
lights - this is always one of the dangers of figurative language
- to let our imagination run wild! Context should always be our guide!) Is it not ridiculous? No would would ever even think about
lighting a lamp and then hiding the light it produced. That makes no
sense whatsoever. The lamp would utterly fail at fulfilling its intended
function. By analogy, a believer who is light in the Lord and yet who
chooses to put himself or herself under a basket so to speak is absurd.
And yet is this not the problem with many believers today. How often I
have heard someone say that they worked with "so and so" for years and
years and just today discovered they were a believer. What's wrong with
this picture? If another member of the same family cannot recognize a
brother or sister in Christ in the real world, how can those in darkness
recognize that person? As many Christian leaders would attest, we are
failing miserably at letting our lights shine. And yet the tragedy is
that we are the only lights most of the world will every see.
Stated another way, believers are the only "Bible" most folks will ever
from leukos = brilliant, shining white)
refers to a portable lamp fed with oil, not a candle
Basket (Peck-measure) (3426)
(módios) refers to a Roman measuring basket of various sizes to
measure dry material and was large enough to cover a light, perhaps
about a fourth of an American bushel or up to 2 gallons. Jesus uses the
peck-measure (or grain-measure) to indicate a familiar object
which is found in every house.
Guzik -Even as lamps are placed higher
so their light can be more effective, we should look for ways to let our
light shine in greater and broader ways.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones has warned
"If we find in ourselves a
tendency to put the light under a bushel, we must begin to examine
ourselves and make sure that it really is 'light.'" (Ouch!)
= portable lamp fed w oil) is the
stand in a house where the light was placed.
The KJV translates it as candlestick
but in all the other NT uses it refers more accurately to a lampstand.
This was a part of the furniture of every house and in Jesus' day
usually there was only one in each house.
Ray Pritchard has pithy
The year was 1970, the tail end
of the wild period of modern American history. Dr. E. Stanley Jones, the
famous Methodist missionary/author/evangelist, was asked to name the
number one problem of the church. He replied quickly that the number one
problem was irrelevance. He went on to say that 3/4ths of the opposition
to the church stems from disappointment. We promise to make men
different, but the promise goes largely unfulfilled.
Dr. Jones went on to tell the story of a multimillionaire who said, “If
brother Stanley cannot convert me, I will sue him.” He said it half in
jest and half in truth. Dr. Jones said that this is in truth what the
world is saying to us, “If you Christians cannot convert us, we will sue
you for breach of promise. You promised this, now fulfill it. Show us
that you can and will convert us. There is no hope from any other
Twenty-five years have passed and I am sure that what Dr. Jones said is
more true today than it was when he first said it. The number one
problem of the church is irrelevance. Take a look around Oak Park this
morning. Add up the attendance of all 55 churches in the village.
Roughly 80% of the village won’t be in any church today. On a very good
day—like Christmas or Easter—all the churches together will reach
perhaps 25% of the village. On a normal day—like today—it will be closer
Put simply, the church has lost its influence in the community. There
are many reasons why this is so, but one reason stands out above the
rest. The church has lost its influence because Christians have
neglected their responsibility to be salt and light in the world. As we
have neglected to be what God has called us to be, the world has decided
to ignore us. And the flip side of that is also true. When Christians
decide to be salt and light, the world pays close attention to what we
say and do. Let me say it simply: When we are salt and light, the world
listens to us. When we aren’t, they don’t. (The
Salt and Light Brigade)
AND IT GIVES
LIGHT TO ALL WHO ARE IN THE HOUSE: kai lampei (3SPAI) pasin tois en te
25:37; Numbers 8:2)
Gives light (2989)
(lampo) means to radiate brilliancy, beam or shine.
The logic is clear and direct - just
as the function of a household lamp is to give light in the house, so
too believers are to provide illumination to all they encounter in this
spiritually dark world. How? By witnessing with the evangelistic methods
they've been taught in church? Yes, sometimes. But even more
foundational than having evangelistic methods is the knowledge that we
are in fact witnesses for the Light in every place we are. The point is
that witnessing is not so much what you do but what you are. If the
beatitudes are truly being your attitudes, beloved, you are light in the
Lord. You are a living epistle, a walking testimony of the New Life that
lives in you and shines forth in the darkness. You are illuminating the
truth of the gospel by your life and lips because your light is so
dramatically different from the darkness of this world. The lost see the
gospel at work in your character and conduct and some (not all) will
want to know what makes you different (1Pe 3:15-note). They are like one of the men in a
class I led who had come to Christ only 6 weeks earlier. He stated that
the reason he hadn't become a Christian earlier was because he was
looking for and waiting to meet someone who was a genuine Christian! One
day he did meet one who was letting his light shine, and not long after
this encounter, the man gave his life to Christ. Are you convicted. I
was, especially when he ask the entire class, "Where were the rest of you
guys all that time?" Maybe our lights were under bushel baskets! Or
maybe our lights were dim, dingy and dirty because of sin in our lives
or because of compromises we had made with the darkness of this world
(which will quench the fire of the power of the Spirit!).
It is not more or better evangelistic programs that the body of Christ
needs. The greatest need is for believers to live like genuine citizens
of the kingdom to which they belong, the Kingdom of Heaven!. How are you
doing dear citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven?
(cp description of us as aliens, strangers - 1Pe 1:1-note,
et al) Jesus has given us His
"program" for lighting the world.
How does the light function?
John alludes to this writing...
"And this is the judgment, that
the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness
rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone
who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light,
lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes
to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been
wrought in God." (John 3:19-21)
What does light do? John says
it exposes one's deeds, either evil in those who hate the light or as
deeds wrought by God in those who practice the truth. Have you ever been
in an unfamiliar place in the dark, and after fumbling around you
discovered the light switch only to discover the room was far different
than you had imagined it in the darkness? Light also gives life and
health. Take a person out of sunlight (and away from vitamin fortified
products) and their supplies of active Vitamin D would wilt away with
potentially serious consequences for the integrity of their skeletal
system (rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults - see interesting
Light awakens us and allows us to see where we are going.
We could go on, but what Jesus is
talking about is spiritual light. As John explains above, the Light of
Christ (when He was here physically) and now His light in and through
us, brings light to spiritual darkness making possible a clearer
distinction between evil and good. (cf Isa 5:20) So what are we to do? Simply shine
forth from whatever "lampstand" God has strategically placed you.
Phil Newton has the following
R. L. Dabney told a story of a
very worldly-minded attorney in the 19th century that had nothing for
Christianity. After years of ungodly living and scorning of Christians,
as he grew old he went to live with his sister who happened to be a
Christian. Her son was a pastor, and he had opportunity to engage the
old man in conversation about Christ and even recommend some books to
him. Some time later, ill in health, the old attorney asked to confess
his faith in Christ publicly. The nephew was eager to get the full story
and wondered if his conversation had been the instrument of turning the
callused man’s heart to Christ. But as the story unfolded he discovered
that it was not the pastor’s words or even the books that he recommended
that the man read, but it was the godly life of the pastor’s sister,
still living at home and around the old man. He saw her godliness and
radiance as a Christian in every situation, and it caused him to seek
the Lord to know that same relationship to Jesus Christ. Dabney adds,
“The light of
a holy example is the gospel’s main argument”
[Discussions of Robert Lewis
Dabney, vol. I, 114]. Is your life a good argument for the gospel?
Power of Christians as Light)
The Light of Boris Kornfeld
One is reminded of the Russian Jewish
doctor, Boris Kornfeld, who one night in prison in Siberia sat up with a
man who was desperately ill and told him the story of his conversion to
Christ, shining forth the light and love of Jesus. That listening man's
name? The future Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who later
came to saving faith in Christ. In his modern classic
The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn recalls the Dr Kornfeld's light and how it
paradoxically shown forth in an almost completely dark room ...
Fervently he tells me the long
story of his conversion from Judaism to Christianity. I am astonished at
the conviction of the new convert, at the ardor of his words.
We know each other very slightly, and he was not the one responsible for
my treatment, but there was simply no one here with whom he could share
his feelings. He was a gentle and well-mannered person. I could see
nothing bad in him, nor did I know anything bad about him. However, I
was on guard because Kornfeld had now been living for two months inside
the hospital barracks, without going outside. He had shut himself up in
here, at his place of work, and avoided moving around camp at all.
This meant that he was afraid of having his throat cut. In our camp it
had recently become fashionable to cut the throats of stool pigeons.
This has an effect. But who could guarantee that only stoolies were
getting their throats cut? One prisoner had had his throat cut in a
clear case of settling a sordid grudge. Therefore the self-imprisonment
of Kornfeld in the hospital did not necessarily prove that he was a
It is already late. The whole hospital is asleep. Kornfeld is finishing
"And on the whole, do you know, I have become convinced that there is no
punishment that comes to us in this life on earth which is undeserved.
Superficially it can have nothing to do with what we are guilty of in
actual fact, but if you go over your life with a fine-tooth comb and
ponder it deeply, you will always be able to hunt down that
transgression of yours for which you have now received this blow."
I cannot see his face. Through the window come only the scattered
reflections of the lights of the perimeter outside. The door from the
corridor gleams in a yellow electrical glow. But there is such mystical
knowledge in his voice that I shudder.
Those were the last words of Boris Kornfeld. Noiselessly he went into
one of the nearby wards and there lay down to sleep. Everyone slept.
There was no one with whom he could speak. I went off to sleep myself.
I was wakened in the morning by running about and tramping in the
corridor; the orderlies were carrying Kornfeld's body to the operating
room. He had been dealt eight blows on the skull with a plasterer's
mallet while he slept. He died on the operating table, without regaining
That very night Kornfeld had shone so
brightly the light of Christ, he was clubbed to death. We must shine
wherever and whenever the Lord gives us a venue, redeeming the precious
moments for the days are evil (cf notes
Beloved, have you ever had someone
who saw the light of Christ in you later turn to the Lord? It is a
wonderful, glorious, mysterious gift of grace to experience. Dr Kornfeld
knows this today in glory in a way that we cannot even imagine.
Peter addresses believers explaining
you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal
PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that
you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of
darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE,
but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now
you have RECEIVED MERCY. (see notes
1 Peter 2:9;
In a parallel passage (the context is
the Great Tribulation), Daniel explains that "shining now" will have
impact on "shining in heaven" writing that...
"those who have insight will shine
brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those
who lead the many to righteousness (like Dr Boris Kornfeld), like the
stars forever and ever." (Daniel 12:3)
John MacArthur explains
Daniel 12:3 this way...
To shine in glory is a privilege
of all the saved (cf. the principle in
1Thessalonians 2:12 [note];
1 Peter 5:10 [note]). Any
who influence others for righteousness shine like stars in varying
capacities of light as their reward (as in 1 Cor. 3:8). The faithfulness
of the believer’s witness will determine one’s eternal capacity to
reflect God’s glory. (The MacArthur Study Bible)
McGee adds that Daniel 12:3 teaches that...
God’s servants in the dark days of
the Great Tribulation will shine as lights. Believers are to do the
same thing today, by the way. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Paul explains also alludes to the
believer's call to be the light of the world in his
letter to the saints at Philippi writing...
Do all things without grumbling or
disputing that you may prove yourselves to be
blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a
crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the
world holding fast to the Word of life (see notes
Note carefully that neither
Jesus nor Paul tell us to be searchlights or spotlights
but like lights in lighthouses in the dark spiritual night of this world
and that by so doing we might prevent tragic shipwreck and eternal
loss of some who have eyes to see the light of Christ! How is the light
in your lighthouse shining? Remember that we are not here to get used to
the dark but to shine as lights.
The eye is a fascinating organ and when
exposed to a dark room will gradually adjust so that it sees more in the
darkness. That is good physiology but it makes for bad
spirituality. Dear believer, watch what you watch in this world, lest
you get more comfortable with the darkness.
One question you might be asking
is this - I understand Christians are light in the Lord and that we
are not to hide our light from the world, but is there any way we can
assure that we stay bright, clear beacons of light? Kent Hughes tells
the following story that illustrates how this is possible writing
A man returning from a journey
brought his wife a matchbox that would glow in the dark. After he gave
it to her, she turned out the light, but it could not be seen. Both
thought they had been cheated. Then the wife noticed some French words
on the box and asked a friend to translate them. The inscription said:
"If you want me to shine in the
night, keep me in the light."
So it is with us! We must expose
ourselves to Jesus, delight in his Word, and spend time in prayer
soaking up His rays. (Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
Paul gives us the perfect
"formula" in his second epistle to the Corinthians writing that...
we all, with unveiled face
(the day we believed and received the Spirit Who opened the eyes of our
heart to spiritual truth) beholding (continually, making it the
habit of our life -
as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (best seen in His pure Word, see Ja
1:23-25), are being (passive
= the Holy Spirit's power)
transformed (continually -
(metamorphoo = transfigured, being changed on the outside, this change
proceeding from and being truly representative of our inward character
and nature, i.e., Christ in us the hope of glory, see note
Colossians 1:27) into the
same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
When we as "lights in the Lord"
constantly behold the glory of the Lord as we read His Word, this act of
beholding results in God' Spirit changing us from one degree of glory to
another...until one day
"when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as
He is." (1John 3:2)
Lights in the World - It’s
easy to see that we live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse
generation” (Phil 2:15). We are continually reminded that we live in a
fallen world by our own sinful tendencies, by newspaper headlines that
report horrifying crimes, and by a society that is growing accustomed to
Against this backdrop of darkness, followers of Jesus are told to be
“lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). Yet our conduct often reflects a dim
and distorted image of Him. That’s why Paul warned us against
“complaining and disputing” (Php 2:14) and urged us to put our salvation
to work with reverence for God (Php 2:12-13).
We may wonder why the apostle didn’t mention something more scandalous
than complaining. But relatively few of us are guilty of “headline”
sins, while all of us have been guilty of the smugness, pride, and
self-centeredness that erupts in murmuring and quarreling. And these
“lesser” sins can be just as destructive.
Paul knew that we need to be spiritually alert to evil and nip it in the
bud. By heeding these exhortations we will “become blameless and
harmless, children of God without fault” (v.15). Then we will be sure to
shine as lights in this dark world.
Darkness seems so overpowering
In our world today;
Help us, Lord, to keep on shining
Till the break of day.
It's the life behind our words
that makes our testimony ring true
way that they may
Father who is in
Amplified: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral
excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize
and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
NLT: In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so
that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: "Let your light shine like that in the sight of men. Let
them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven."
Testament in Modern English)
In the same manner let your light shine before men in order that they
may see your good works and in order that they may glorify your Father
who is in heaven. (Wuest:
Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and may glorify your Father who is in the heavens.
BEFORE MEN: houtos lampsatoo (3SAAM) to phos humon emprosthen ton
(Pr 4:18; Is 58:8; 60:1, 2, 3; Ro 13:11, 12, 13, 14; Ep 5:8; Php
2:15,16; 1Th 2:12; 5:6, 7, 8; 1Pe 2:9; 1Jn 1:5, 6, 7)
Your light - If you are a
believer you are a supernatural "light". And you are responsible for
letting your light shine forth. Stop complaining about how
others are not letting their light shine! Focus on your
light. You are unique and reborn by the Spirit to with the express
calling to glorify God.
put it this way...
I would not give much for your
religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.
Let...shine - Jesus does not
make a suggestion but as discussed below issues a command "Since you are
light, then shine!" Shining is not optional for believers who are to
light the way so that others might see the highway that leads to the
Kingdom of Heaven and its King. When a light bulb is switched on it
fulfills its purpose. When a Christian is filled with (controlled by -
Col 1:9, 10, 11, 12-notes
the "electricity" of the Spirit (Ep 3:16-note),
he or she is enabled to fulfill their purpose.
Are you fulfilling the purpose for
which God has "re-created" you?
As John Piper remarked that "This is not an admonition to do God a
favor. It is a command to align our lives with His eternal goal. He
created us for His glory. God’s great aim in creating and governing the
world is that He be glorified. “I created you for My glory. I formed
you, I made you.” (Read his full message
God Created Us For His Glory on
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE OUT
O let your light, tho’ little, shine out,
Our Lord’s command fulfilling,
To live for Him wherever we go,
And seek His will to do.
Shine on, little light, shine on,
Shine on so bright and clear;
Shine on, little light, and bring
A smile for ev’ry tear.
O let your light shine steadily on,
That all the world, beholding,
May glorify your Father above,
And praise His boundless love.
O let your light shine cheerfully on,
When cloud and storm are breaking,
Its beams may lead some sorrow-oppressed
To yonder Ark of Rest.
O let your light shine peacefully on
Till earthly cares are ended,
And night and gloom shall vanish away
In joy’s eternal day.
New English Bible phrases it
"And you , like the lamp, must shed
light among your fellows".
This sentence literally reads begins
"so let your light shine before men". The idea is "in this
way", "in this manner", "in like manner", referring to what Jesus had just said. Marvin
Vincent explains that this is "Often misconceived, as if the meaning
were, “Let your light shine in such a way that men may see,” etc.
Standing at the beginning of the sentence, it points back to the
illustration just used. “So, ” even as that lamp just
mentioned, let your light shine. Wycliffe has apparently caught this
correct sense: So shine your light before men." (Vincent, M. R. Word
Studies in the New Testament Vol. 1, Page 3-39)
The Handbook on the Gospel of
Matthew agrees noting that "So means “in such
a way.” Here it refers back to the lamp on the
lampstand in verse 15. TEV makes this clear with “In the same way.”
Translators can also say “Similarly,” “Just so,” or “The light you
produce should also be like that. Let it shine before people ....” (UBS handbook
series - United Bible Societies)
BE A RAY OF SUNSHINE
Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you
Shining for the Savior with a steady glow;
Bringing smiles to sad ones, wiping tears away,
Make yourself a blessing every passing day.
Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go,
Shining for the Savior with a steady glow;
Be a ray of sunshine filled with Heaven’s light,
Sending forth a message beautiful and bright.
Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go;
Comfort bring to others, stoop to raise the low;
Kind words cost but little, smiles bring pleasures, too;
They may lift a burden; let them not be few.
Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go;
Cheerfulness is needed, this you can bestow;
Help to chase the shadows from this world away,
Bringing joy and gladness like a shining ray.
Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go;
Stars will shine the brighter in your crown, I know;
Sunshine brought to others will reflect on you,
Heav’n will be the sweeter—keep the end in view.
from pháo =to shine) speaks of luminousness which
may be a literal light but more often as in this verse is figurative.
Your light may be “the
light you produce,” “the light that shines from you,” or “the
light you are.”
Jesus is the light of the world
and we are called and empowered to be little reflections of Him to both
unbelievers and believers.
(lampo) means to radiate brilliantly or beam forth. Jesus
gives His loyal subjects an command to do this right now and do it
- can even convey the idea of
urgency). This is a permissive imperative which means to permit your
light to shine. Don’t do anything that will cover it, hide it or snuff
it out. To shine is not optional! If we fail to obey our Lord's command
we will fail to fulfill His purpose for us in His glorious plan.
Ray Pritchard notes "The dictionary defines light as
“a source of illumination.” That provides the key to our definition. To
be the light of the world means illuminating the darkness so that others
may see reality. (The
Salt and Light Brigade)
Pritchard quotes the following
I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day.
I’d rather one would walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear.
Fine counsel is confusing
but example’s always clear.
The best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds.
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it,
if you’ll let me see it done.
I can watch your hands in action,
your tongue too fast may run.
The lectures you deliver
may be very wise and true.
But I’d rather get my lessons
by observing what you do.
For I might misunderstand you
And the high advice you give.
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
As Alistair Begg once
quipped "If you can't shine, at least
Note that Jesus is not saying here
for us to go out and "witness" (we may have that opportunity but that is
not His primary focus). What Jesus intends is for believers to live out
the Christ life which is in them (Col 1:27-note,
etc), a way and quality of life that is so different from that of the
world (including the religious world, cf the reaction of the Pharisees
to Jesus!) and so distinctive that it shines light into the darkness.
Let the character of Jesus, the character of His beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12),
Darkness is the absence of
light; and darkness alone cannot dispel the light, but the smallest
light can dispel the greatest darkness. One match in a dark football
coliseum can easily be seen from the opposite side of the building.
Dr. Oswald J. Smith used
to say “The light that shines the
farthest will shine the
brightest at home.”
G. Campbell Morgan said
that the church did the most for the world when the church was the least
like the world. Today, many churches have the idea they must imitate the
world in order to reach the world. A nation will not decay and collapse
because of the people who peddle pornography or illicit drugs, but
because of Christians who are no longer as salt and light. Sinners will
act like sinners. When saints begin acting like sinners, their
compromise hurts not only themselves and their families and churches,
but also contributes to the decay of the entire nation. Are you
(emprosthen from en = in + prósthen = in front of,
before) means in front of, in the presence of, in the sight and speaks
primarily of place or position. Jesus is clearly not advocating
isolationism (like some so called "Christian sects" do) or a monastic
lifestyle. We are to be like cream which separates from milk and yet is
still in contact with it.
Before men echoes “by
men” of Mt 5:13.
When others see evidences in a
believer's life which only be explained by the supernatural work of
God's Spirit, these "divine reflections" will cause some (not all) in
the world to give glory to our Father in heaven.
As John Piper says "When the people of God are set free
from the compulsion of self-exaltation and self-justification and
self-preservation, so that we live for the eternal good of other people,
then we become the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and
people notice in us the
reality of God and give Him glory (Matthew 5:14, 15, 16). (Read his full
Those Whom He Predestined He Also
Called, Part 1)
As Augustine declared "What I live by, I impart."
The renowned American evangelist,
D. L. Moody, once said "A Christian is the world's Bible —
and some of them need revising....It is a great deal better to live a
holy life than to talk about it. We are told to let our light shine, and
if it does we won't need
to tell anybody it does. The light will be its own witness. Lighthouses
don't ring bells and fire cannons to call attention to their
shining--they just shine.
In a similar vein Spurgeon
once said "The sermons most needed today are
sermons in shoes."
SEND OUT A LIGHT
Send out a light as you go your way,
A beacon of hope when shadows are gray;
Send out a light that for Jesus will shine,
Proving to others God’s mercy divine.
Send out a light, a radiant light,
That will pierce thro’ the gloom
Of someone’s dark night,
Send out a light, a bright beaming light,
Send out a light for Jesus.
Send out a light when your burdens press,
And show to the world that Jesus will bless;
Thro’ darkest sorrows and bitterest pain,
Send out a light—it will not shine in vain.
Send out a light unto those who stray,
All heedless along destruction’s highway;
Point them to pathways of purer delight,
And let your life daily send out a light.
Letting the light of God shine
through - One Sunday on their way home from church, a little girl
turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, the preacher's sermon this
morning confused me." The mother said, "Oh? Why is that?" The little
girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are.
Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that's true honey." "And he
also said that God lives in us? Is that true, Mommy?" Again the mother
replied, "Yes." "Well," said the little girl, "if God is bigger than us
and He lives in us, wouldn't He show through?" (Amen! or Oh
Dr Paul Chappell reminds us
of two important principles in regard to a believer letting God's
light shining through, first reminding us that...
God should show through our life,
but sadly sometimes our life's bulbs can be dirty, dimming His light.
Think about these two factors that can dim God's light:
Unconfessed Sin. Just as dirt accumulates on a light bulb, so
the dirtiness of sin can accumulate in your life. If you are not
careful to keep your heart clean through daily confession and
repentance, unconfessed sin can keep your life from shining God's
Have you ever known a Christian who you wondered about their heart's
condition? They showed no signs of spiritual fruit and lived in open
sin. While we cannot know a person's heart, we can see his light.
Allowing sin to go unconfessed can dim God's light and hinder the
effectiveness of a life's testimony.
Fear of Men. How often have Christians hidden their lights
because of a fear of the opinions of others? We all want to be
accepted and appreciated by our peers, yet our world tells us that
talking about Christ and faith is taboo. We are told that religion is
for Sunday, and Monday through Saturday is a different life. But God
desires that you would allow His light to shine through you every day
of the week. As the children's song goes,
"Hide it under a bushel?
No! I'm going to let it shine."
to the Kingston Trio's "This little light of mine")
How clean is your life's bulb
Has unconfessed sin dimmed the light of Christ?
Or are you purposefully hiding your light for fear of what others
Christian, would you fear man's opinion so much that you would allow
someone to die not ever knowing Christ?
Take time today to inspect your
life. Ask God to reveal any dimming sin or actions that are keeping
your life from brightly showing God's light. Also ask God to give you
strength to shine for Him even when others would hide their lights out
of fear. (Daily
in the Word the daily devotion and radio ministry of Dr. Paul Chappell)
IN SUCH A WAY
THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS:
hopos idosin (3PAAS) humon ta kala erga
(Mt 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5,16; 23:5; Acts 9:36; Ep 2:10; 1Ti 2:10; 5:10,25;
6:18; Titus 2:7,14; 3:4,7,8,14; He 10:24; 1Pe 2:12; 3:1,16)
In such a way - Don't miss
this divinely inspired caveat. It is vitally important, for as someone
has said "We are not Christ's lawyers;
we are his witnesses!"
Rieu phrases it "see the
beauty of your life".
John Piper writes that "We are saved for the sake of
God-exalting good works. This is the aim of our justification—not the
ground, but the aim and the fruit. (Read his full message
Bethlehem Break Forth Like the Dawn)
The Puritan writer Thomas Brooks
wrote that "A Christian's life should be
nothing but a visible representation of Christ."
(horao > eido which is the verb derived from horao)
refers not merely the act of seeing, but also the actual perception of
object with the mind and the senses. It can convey the idea of taking
special notice of something, with the implication of concerning oneself
with the object seen. For example, when John uses it of seeing God (cf
Jo 6:46, 14:7, 9), he emphasizes the figurative meaning of to know Him
or to be acquainted with Him.
Citizens of the Kingdom of
Heaven must conduct themselves in a such a way that their life and
influence is visible and obvious, not secret or hidden. As H W Cragg put
The Christian is the visual aid
which God brings on to the stage when he begins to speak at an
Believers are not to live
incognito or in "spiritual disguise", camouflaging their devotion to
Christ, but living out His life as those poor in spirit and dependent on
His power to allow the true colors of the King and His Kingdom to be
Someone has well said that...
The real mark of a saint is that
he makes it easier for others to believe in God.
John Piper adds that
Matthew 5:16 "doesn’t only refer to believers
testifying by their lives to unbelievers. It also refers to that
spiritual transaction between two believers, one of whom reflects like a
mirror the light of God’s love in his life so that the other believer
sees it and leaps for joy. Great experiences of joy come immediately
from seeing the beauty of God’s forgiveness, power, wisdom, and
trustworthiness reflected in His children. (Read his full message
To See You Fills Me With Joy)
(kalos) means lovely, beautiful, helpful, honest, useful, and
well adapted to its purpose or end. Kalos does not so much
emphasize quality (though that is important) as it does attractiveness,
beautiful appearance. Originally, it referred to beauty of form.
It was used of a beautiful woman, of a safe harbor, of good fruit, or
good seed. Kalos stresses the outward appearance and the
usefulness of something to fulfill its purpose. There is another word the NT uses for
good which is the Greek word agathos. Agathos is
that which is practically and morally good; but kalos is not only
practically and morally good, but also aesthetically good, lovely,
winsome, and pleasing to the eye.
Good works - Good works are
God works, and thus are beautiful and attractive works.
(ergon) refers to a task, employment, a deed, actions or acts or
that which is wrought or made. Works then can refer to our work,
employment, our craft, etc. Regardless of the specific application, the
point is that our works are to be done in such a way that they,
in a winsome manner, attract and point men to God the Father.
Piper writes that "doing good deeds before an onlooking
world is a necessary part of declaring God's marvelous works and making
Him a Name on the earth (see his full message
Good Deeds and the Glory of God)
Good works are works that show
the beauty the Lord has worked in us. How do we do good works? Part of
the answer (a vitally important part) is through the intake of the Word
of God as we see in the following passages "All Scripture is inspired
by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work. (see notes
2 Timothy 3:16;
So how are God's men and women
prepared to perform good works? Clearly it is by the intake of God's
profitable Word. Do you maintain the discipline of a steady, daily
intake of God's Word? If you do not, then you short circuit God's mode
of making you adequate for every good work. The corollary is that you
may be doing many "good works" but they are really your works and not
His works through you.
Good works then are really God's
works through His "instruments" (believers). Genuine good works must be
done with such integrity that all who see them have no choice but to credit
our Father in heaven.
Jesus commands us to let our light shine through beautiful and attractive works! Herein lies the danger. Jesus is not
saying we are to produce fleshly works of our own making but works
wrought by His indwelling Spirit as we abide in the Vine by letting the
Word of Christ richly dwell within us. The works then come forth like
fruit on the Vine, as Christ's
lives His life through such surrendered saints. The works are performed
in His power, not
ours. To see good works by us is to see Christ in us (Col 1:27-note).
Good works are not something we create or make up, but something we
allow the Lord to do through us. It is His light but it is our
responsibility and choice
to let it shine.
John Piper - According to Jesus the good deeds of
His disciples are the window in this world through which people come to
see and adore the glory of God. (Read the full message
The Local Church: Minimum vs Maximum)
As Barnhouse once said
(alluding to our good works before a lost world) "Men may not read the gospel in
seal-skin, or the gospel in morocco, or the gospel in cloth covers; but
they can't get away from the gospel in shoe leather...Every believer is
a witness whether he wants to be or not.
The early church father Tertullian
wrote of the light shone by early Christians “But it is mainly the deeds of a love
so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. ‘See,’ they say, ‘how
they (believers) love one another,’ for they themselves (non-believers)
are animated by mutual hatred; ‘see how they are ready even to die for
one another,’ for they themselves will rather put to death”
Jesus presents us the opposite of
good works warning us to "Beware
be continually on the look out for
this slipping into your life) of practicing your
righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no
reward with your Father
who is in heaven." (see note
His warning is against righteousness
which glorifies self not God.
Newman comments on "good
works" noting that "The focus now shifts from the
character of the disciples to their good works which result
from this character. What the disciples are must be
evident to all, but in such a way that it reveals the true origin of
the good works
that they do (cf John 15:5, see study of
These works may be characterized as deeds of mercy (cf Mt 5:7-note)
and of reconciliation, (cf Mt 5:9-note) a conclusion supported both by
the Gospel itself (see notes Mt 5:38, 39, 40ff-notes; 25.31-46) and by the Jewish concept
of good works. The phrase good works is found only one
other time in Matthew’s Gospel; it appears in Mt 26.10 in the singular
“good work.” More frequently the expression “good fruit” is used (Mt
3.10; Mt 7:17, 18, 19-see notes
Mt 12.33). Your good works may be translated “your good
actions” or “your good deeds.” Barclay has translated the lovely things
you do. (Ibid)
YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN:
kai doxasosin (3PAAS) ton patera humon ton en tois ouranois.
(Isaiah 61:3; Jn 15:8; 1Co 14:25; 2Co 9:13; Ga 1:24; 2Th 1:10, 11, 12;
1Pe 2:12; 4:11,14) (Mt 5:45; 6:9; 23:9; Lk 11:2)
The final purpose of Jesus' charge is
succinctly expressed in the Latin phrase...
All glory to God!
This is our supreme purpose in
this present as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. To bring glory to God
and to Him Alone.
My heart is full of Christ, and
longs Its glorious matter to declare!
Of him I make my loftier songs, I cannot from his praise forbear;
My ready tongue makes haste to sing
The glories of my heavenly King.
= glory) means to give a proper opinion
of. For example in 1Cor 6:20 Paul reminds the saints at Corinth
that they are not their own but have been bought with a price and
therefore now are to glorify God in their bodies. In other words,
believer now are to walk in this dark world which is devolving not
evolving and are to let others see God in and through us. Believers now
live with the high and holy purpose of rendering glory to God so that He
is honored, exalted and recognized for Who and What He is. It means we
are to render conspicuous and glorious the divine character and
attributes of our Father in heaven. They should see Him, not us.
Am I truly living a life different
from unbelievers? Is there anything about my life which one might
recognize as supernatural? Am I giving a proper opinion of my Father by
the way I live? As John Stott explains...
Nothing shuts the mouth, seals
the lips, ties the tongue, like the poverty of our own spiritual
experience. We do not bear witness for the simple reason that we have no
witness to bear.
John Piper in a sermon on
Isaiah 43:7 says that...
The glory of God is the beauty
and excellence of His manifold perfections. It is an attempt to put into
words what God is like in His magnificence and purity. It refers to His
infinite and overflowing fullness of all that is good. The term might
focus on His different attributes from time to time—like His power and
wisdom and mercy and justice—because each one is indeed awesome and
beautiful in its magnitude and quality. But in general God’s glory is
the perfect harmony of all His attributes into one infinitely beautiful
and personal being.
Now when God says that He
created us for His glory, it cannot mean that He created us so that He
would become more glorious, that His beauty and perfection would be
somehow increased by us. It is unthinkable that God should become more
perfectly God by making something that is not God. It is a staggering
but necessary thought that God has always existed, that He never came
into being, and that everything which exists which is not God is from
His fullness and can never add anything to Him which did not come from
Him. That is what it means to be God; and it should humble us, O, how it
should humble us, when we ponder his reality!
But this means that when God
says He made us for his glory, He does not mean he made us so that he
could become more glorious in himself. Instead what Isaiah 43:7 means is
that He created us to display His glory, that is, that His glory might
be known and praised. (Read full message
God Created Us For His Glory on
(pater) is spoken generally of men and in a special sense of God
as in this context. It is used to mean the one by whom one is begotten.
Pater is the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic word
Aramaic was the language which the Jews spoke in Palestine in the first
Stuart Weber observes
that "This is the first time Matthew
calls God Father. It is a wonderful, new emphasis on personal
intimacy for the believer. Matthew used this word forty-five times. And
while the fatherhood of God was not unknown in the Old Testament, here
it is endowed with a very personal sense (Mark 14:36; Ro 8:15
4:6). The king wants His people to know that His kingdom involves a
deeply personal relationship with God. It is so much more than a
religious or organizational connection.
Stuart, Max Anders, Ed: Holman New Testament Commentary: Matthew
Broadman & Holman)
The psalmist parallels Jesus' thought
Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to Thy name give glory because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth. (Psalm 115:1)
= Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory. The
people undoubtedly wished for relief from the contemptuous insults of
idolaters, but their main desire was that Jehovah himself should no
longer be the object of heathen insults. The saddest part of all their
trouble was that their God was no longer feared and dreaded by their
adversaries. When Israel marched into Canaan, a terror was upon all the
people round about, because of Jehovah, the mighty God; but this dread
the nations had shaken off since there had been of late no remarkable
display of miraculous power. Therefore Israel cried unto her God that he
would again make bare his arm as in the day when he cut Rahab and
wounded the dragon. The prayer is evidently tinctured with a
consciousness of unworthiness; because of their past unfaithfulness they
hardly dared to appeal to the covenant, and to ask blessings for
themselves, but they fell back upon the honour of the Lord their God --
an old style of argument which their great lawgiver, Moses, had used
with such effect when he pleaded, "Wherefore should the Egyptians speak,
and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the
mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy
fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people." Joshua also
used the like argument when he said, "What wilt thou do unto thy great
name?" In such manner also let us pray when no other plea is available
because of our sense of sin; for the Lord is always jealous of his
honour, and will work for his name's sake when no other motive will move
The repetition of the words, Not unto us, would seem to indicate a very
serious desire to renounce any glory which they might at any time have
proudly appropriated to themselves, and it also sets forth the vehemence
of their wish that God would at any cost to them magnify his own name.
They loathed the idea of seeking their own glory, and rejected the
thought with the utmost detestation; again and again disclaiming any
self glorifying motive in their supplication.)
UBS Handbook adds that
"If there is not a good way of
saying give glory to or “praise” in a language, it may be
necessary to say “so that men will say good things about (or, will
honor) your Father in heaven.” (UBS
John MacArthur gives us a note of warning writing that "When what we do
causes people to be
attracted to us rather than to God, to see our human character rather
than His divine character, we can be sure that what they see is not His
light. (MacArthur, J:
Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament
Commentary Chicago: Moody Press)
John Piper - Obedience is the
irrepressible public relations project of those who have tasted and seen
that the Lord is good (Matthew 5:16).
MacArthur goes on to give two illustrations of men who let
their light shine in a way that glorified their Father in heaven...
It is said of Robert Murray
McCheyne, a godly Scottish minister of the last century, that his face
carried such a hallowed expression that people were known to fall on
their knees and accept Jesus Christ as Savior when they looked at him.
Others were so attracted by the self-giving beauty and holiness of his
life that they found his Master irresistible.
It was also said of the
French pietist Francois Fenelon that his communion with God was such
that his face shined with divine radiance. A religious skeptic who was
compelled to spend the night in an inn with Fenelon, hurried away the
next morning, saying, “If I spend another night with that man I’ll be a
Christian in spite of myself.” (Ibid)
><> ><> ><>
The story is told of
the time when the great
missionary to Burma,
here) was home on furlough,
and happened to pass through the city of
Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy playing about the wharves at the time of
Judson’s arrival was struck by the man’s appearance. Never before
had he seen such a light on any human face. He ran up the street to a minister
to ask if he knew who the stranger was. The minister hurried back with him, but
became so absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the
impatient youngster standing near him. Many years afterward that boy—who could
never get away from the influence of that wonderful face—became the famous
preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of memoirs Trumbull penned a chapter
"What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson"
countenance had changed his life. Even as flowers thrive when they bend to the
light, so shining, radiant faces come to those who constantly turn toward
YE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Ye are the light of the world,
Driving the darkness away,
Shedding your beams on the lost,
Changing their night into day.
Then let your light ever shine,
Showing the right way to go;
Gladly the lost ones will see—
God’s boundless love they will know.
Ye are the light of the world,
Causing the clouds to depart,
Throwing the sunshine of peace
Down on the poor burdened heart.
Then let your light ever shine;
Loved ones are panting for rest;
Sunshine (Son-shine**) their souls will revive,
Lifting them up to the blest.
Ye are the light of the world;
Thro’ you the true light must shine,
Calling the lost sons of men
Home to the Father divine.
Then let your light ever shine,
Hallow the Name that is love;
You will each shine as a star,
Fixed in the orbit above.
---R. J. Craig
** Editorial Addition
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"Preview of Coming Attractions" - IN THE movies, there are
previews of coming attractions. This is where the hot clips of the
upcoming movies are shown. The cuts of the movies are always of the most
exciting scenes: the fight scenes, the love scenes, or the chase scenes.
The moviemakers show you the best clips because they want you to tune in
to the whole show. Now, the movie itself may actually be terrible, but
you'll never know it by the clips! One day there is a big show coming to
town. God is the Producer, the Holy Spirit is the Director, and Jesus is
the Superstar. It will be a worldwide production. In the meantime, God
has left you and me here as previews of the coming attractions.
As disciples of Christ, we're supposed to be the hot clips of the
upcoming show, so that when people see our clips, they conclude the show
must be hot. From watching our previews, people should raise the
question, "Where can I buy a ticket to the show?" It is then that we can
tell them, "You don't have to buy a ticket; the price has already been
paid." (Tony Evans' Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and
><> ><> ><>
Seeing the Gospel -
once asked a new acquaintance in a remote area of the world, "Have you
ever heard the Gospel?" "No," the other replied, "I have never heard it,
but I have seen it." "What do you mean by that?" the Christian
responded. "Simply this," he said, "there is a man in our village whose
life has been greatly influenced by a missionary who passed this way.
Never have I seen such a change in a person! Before he met the man of
God, alcohol ruled his life. He was lazy, neglected his family, and
showed no interest in anyone else. Since then, however, his manner of
living is completely different. He is no longer a slave to liquor. He
works hard and is a good husband and father. I would be proud to have
him as my neighbor. Yes, I have seen the Gospel and like it so well I
would now like to hear it!" Because the Gospel had been lived
eloquently, it could be told effectively.
To be faithful in our witness for Christ, it is essential that the
message of His saving grace and transforming power be shown as well as
told. If our deeds contradict our words, we might better remain silent.
May the example of our lives be so consistent with the testimony of our
lips that no one could ever say to us, "Your actions speak so loud that
I can't hear what. you say."
The walk of the believer should be a living sermon. The world is
watching us with a critical eye. Let us be careful, then, making sure
that others are "seeing the Gospel" at its very best!
Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light, Like a little candle
burning in the night, In this world of darkness we must shine, You in
your small corner, and I in mine.
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Jesus bids us
shine, first of all for Him;
Well He sees and knows it if our light is dim;
He looks down from Heaven, sees us shine,
You in your small corner; and I in mine! —Warner
The only sermon that never wearies
us is that of an eloquent life!
><> ><> ><>
J C Philpot (1802-1869) has a thought
provoking devotional on Mt 5:16 noting that...
To glorify God is the
highest ambition of angels. The brightest seraph before the throne
has no higher aim, no greater happiness, than to bring glory to his
name. And yet a poor sinner on earth may glorify God as much, and in
some way more, than the brightest angel in the courts of eternal bliss.
What different views the eyes of God and the eyes of men take of events
passing on the earth. What glory is brought to God by all the victories
gained by one country over another? I have thought sometimes that a poor
old man, or feeble, decrepit woman, lying on a workhouse pallet,
fighting with sin, self and Satan, yet enabled amid all to look to the
Lord Jesus, and by a word from His lips overcoming death and hell,
though when dead thrust into an cheap coffin, to rot in a pauper's
grave, brings more glory to God than all the exploits of Nelson or
Wellington, and that such victories are more glorious than those of
Waterloo or Trafalgar.
It is true that the parish
officers will not proclaim such a victory; nor will bells ring or
cannons roar at such exploits; but the God of heaven and earth may get
more glory from such a despised creature, than from all the generals and
admirals who have ever drawn up armies in battle, or sunk hostile fleets
beneath the wave. Truly does the Lord say, "My thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways."
It is indeed astonishing
that glory should be brought to His great name by what His people do and
suffer upon earth; that their feeble attempts to believe, to love, and
to hope in Him; to speak well of His name; and to adorn His doctrine in
their life and conversation, should redound to His honor and praise.
Wondrous indeed is it that a poor, insignificant worm, whom perhaps his
fellow-mortal will scarcely deign to look at, or passes by with a shrug
of contempt, should add glory to the great God that inhabits eternity,
before Whom the highest angels and brightest seraphs bow with holy
Well may we say,
What are all the
glorious exploits that men are so proud of, compared with the tribute of
glory rendered to God by his suffering saints?
You may feel yourself one
of the poorest, vilest, neediest worms of earth; and yet if you believe
in the Lord Jesus Christ with a living faith, hope in His mercy, love
His dear name, and in your vocation adorn His doctrine by a godly,
consistent life, you are privileged above princes and nobles, yes, even
above crowned heads, and all the glory of man, because you are bringing
glory to God.
It matters not what may
be your station in life. You may be a servant, master, wife,
husband, child; your rank and station may be high or low; but whatever
it be, still in it you may bring glory to God. If a servant, by
obedience, cleanliness, industry, and attention to the directions of
your master or mistress. If a master or mistress, by kindness and
liberality to your dependents, and doing all that you can to render the
yoke of servitude light. There is not a single Christian who may not
glorify God, though in worldly circumstances he be, or seem to be,
totally insignificant. Glory is brought to God by those who live and
walk in his fear, and more sometimes by the poor than by the rich. Only
adorn the doctrine of God in all things, and you will bring glory to God
in all things. (J. C. Philpot. Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers)
In his pithy,
penetrating devotional Daily Walking with God, Octavius
Winslow (1808-1878) has the following thoughts on Matthew 5:16 and
how frail creatures such as we can possibly reflect the glory of the
LET your life be a clear
reflection of the glory of the Redeemer. The saints of God are the only
witnesses to this glory—the only reflectors the Lord has in this dark
and Christ-denying world.
Holiness, springing from
the fount of the Spirit's indwelling grace, cherished and matured by
close views of the Cross, and imparting a character of sanctity of
beauty to every act of your life, will be the highest testimony you can
bear to the Redeemer's glory.
That glory is entrusted to
your hands. It is committed to your guardianship. Seeing, then, that it
is so, "what manner of people ought you to be, in all holy conversation
How exact in principles,
and upright in conduct—how watchful over temper, and how vigilant where
most assailed—how broad awake to the wiles of the devil, and how
sleepless against the encroachments of sin—how strict in all
transactions with the world, and how tender, charitable, meek, and
forgiving, in all our conduct with the saints!
Alas! we are at best but
dim reflectors of this great glory of our Lord. We are unworthy and
unfaithful depositories of so rich a treasure! How much of clinging
infirmity, on unmortified sin, of carelessness of spirit, of
unsanctified temper, of tampering with temptation, of a lack of strict
integrity of uprightness, dims our light, neutralizes our testimony for
God, and weakens, if not entirely destroys, our moral influence!
not more eminently useful,
because we are not more eminently holy.
so little glory to Christ,
because we seek so much our own.
We reflect so faint and
flickering a beam, because our posture is so seldom that of the
apocalyptic angel. "standing in the sun."
We realize so imperfectly
our oneness with, and standing in, Christ; and this will ever foster a
feeble, fruitless, and drooping profession of Christianity.
"As the branch cannot bear
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except
you abide in me."
Oh, to know more of this
abiding in Christ! See how Jesus invites His saints to it.
Are they fallen? He bids
them take hold of His strength.
Are they burdened? He bids
them cast that burden on His arm.
Are they wearied? He bids
them recline on Him for rest.
Does the world persecute
them—do the "daughters of Jerusalem" smite them—does the watchman treat
them unkindly? He bids them take refuge within the hallowed sanctuary of
His own pierced and loving heart.
Do they need grace? He bids
them sink their empty vessel beneath the depths of His ocean fullness,
and draw freely "more grace."
distress them, whatever temptations assail them, whatever adversity
grieves them, whatever cloud darkens them, whatever necessity presses
upon them, as a watchful Shepherd, as a tender Brother, as a faithful
Friend, as a great High Priest, He bids His saints draw near, and repose
in His love.
Oh, He has a capacious
bosom; there is room, there is a chamber in that heart for you, my
Christian reader. Do not think your lot is desolate, lonely, and
friendless. Do not think that all have forsaken you, and that in sadness
and in solitude you are treading your way through an intricate desert.
There is One that loves
you, that thinks of you, that has His eye upon you, and is at this
moment guiding, upholding, and caring for you; that one is—Jesus!
Oh that you could but look
into His heart, and see how He loves you; oh that you could but hear Him
say so gently, so earnestly, "Abide in my love."
Cheer up! you are in
Christ's heart, and Christ is in your heart.
You are not alone; your God
and your Father is with you.
Your Shepherd guides you;
the Comforter spreads around you His wings, and heaven is bright before
you. Soon you will be there.
The pilgrim will repose his
weary limbs; the voyager will be moored in his harbor of rest; the
warrior will put off his armor, and shout his song of triumph.
Then look up! Christ is
yours. God is yours. Heaven is yours. If God is for you, who can be
against you? And if you find disappointment in created good, it will but
endear Jesus; if you know more of the inward plague, it will but drive
you to the atoning blood; if you have storms and tempests, they will but
shorten the voyage, and waft you the quicker to glory. (Octavius
Winslow. Daily Walking with God)
Kent Hughes offers all citizens of the Kingdom of
Heaven this charge...
in eternity we will be part
of the shining light ourselves... I believe that with all my heart. I do
not understand it, but I believe that for us as Christians there is a
glory awaiting us that involves, in some way, an even greater shining
forth. I do not know if we will be 100 watts or 200, 300, or 1,000! We
might be like fireflies or we might be like supernovas. But somehow we
are going to enter into the fame and approval of God, and we will be
glorious beings, far beyond all imagination.
But at the same time we are light right now. Jesus says, "You [you
alone] are the light of the world."
Let us covenant with all
our being to shine as brightly as possible in this dark world.
Let us covenant to expose
ourselves to the face of Jesus in prayer.
Let us covenant to be
visible for Him.
Let us covenant to shine
wherever He places us. Let us covenant to do beautiful works.
Let us covenant to remind
ourselves that we always will be light - and to live in that reality.
(Hughes, R. K.
Sermon on the Mount: The Message of
the Kingdom. Crossway Books)
F. B. Meyer in his book The Directory of the
LIGHTED TO SHINE
NOT that Light. No, not even John the Baptist was that; there
is only one true Light, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the
world," even He who is the Life of men. We are lights; He is "that
Light." We are stars that have no original glory, and if one differs
from another in the radiance which he sheds forth, it is only in so far
as he reflects more fully the lustre of that uncreated Sun. Centuries
ago that Sun shone in this world, without a dimming cloud between His
glory and the world of men, save the veil of His flesh; but so far as
the world was concerned there was sunset, while it was yet noon, on
Calvary, and we have been summoned to take up His mission and shine as
stars in the midnight sky, or as candles in the darkened home, until the
first beams of the eternal morning break on the Alpine summits of time,
white with the snows of millenniums.
It is interesting to apply the analogy between the Disciples of
Christ and candles or lamps. "The spirit of man is the candle of the
Lord" (Pr 20:27). By nature we are like so many unlighted candies. As
the candle is adapted to catch the light, but stands dark and cold until
the wick is ignited, so have our natures been made to burn and shine
with the nature of God, but they are unable to produce light of
themselves, and remain cold and dark until kindled from the eternal
Nature of Him who is Light, and in" whom is no darkness at all." It
matters little what the nature of the candlestick may be. In your case
it may be of gold, silver, or china. It may be exquisitely chased, or of
the commonest possible manufacture. The most ornate is incapable of
producing the Light, and will be set aside in favour of the commonest
dip stuck on the end of a piece of wood if only that has caught the
precious Light of which the other is destitute. The Pharisees and
Scribes of our Lord's time were like handsome candelabra, which gave no
ray of light to the thick darkness of their age; whilst His disciples,
humble fishermen, shone with a light which has irradiated all succeeding
"Men light a Candle." They place the wick against some burning
point of light, or they strike a match, or in our days turn a switch,
and immediately there is a glow of light which abashes darkness, and
enables the housewife to find her lost piece of silver. O soul of man,
have you been lighted? Have you come in contact with Christ, or with one
of His servants in whom His nature has shown, or with His Word, which
may be compared to a box of Lucifer matches, because all the
potentiality of fire and light slumbers until called into requisition?
If not, stand expectant and eager; cry to Him, "Light me, O Light of
Life, and let my nature henceforth have no other purpose than to shine
on earth as Thou shinest in the Eternal Glory, emitting a radiance of
the same nature and yielding the same prism as Thine own."
"The Life was Light" (John 1:4). Notice those words. Christ
was the Light of men, not primarily because He wrought miracles and
spoke wonderful words, but because He lived! He was the Light of
Nazareth, because He lived within the circumference of its hills for
thirty silent years. Galilee of the Gentiles "the people which sat in
darkness" saw a great Light, because "He came and dwelt in Capernaum,
which is by the sea." The country of the Jews was illumined because "He
went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed." The silent
influence of that Life which unfolded itself in the loveliness of
perfect deeds has stolen over the world like dawn over the sky; and if
the Lord had never spoken a word, the testimony of His life for God and
Truth and Love would have been the most remarkable episode in human
annals. It must be so with us; we shine by what we are. We shine as
there is less of the wick of our own nature, and more of the flame of
His. We shine when we are unselfish, when we "do all things without
murmurings and disputings "; when we are "blameless and harmless
children of God without blemish" (Phil. 2:14, 15, R.V.). Though you were
never to speak a word you might still fulfil the greatest mission and
ministry of your life, if only you would live as Christ lived.
"He was a burning and a shining light" (John 5:35). The
Baptist shone because he burnt. His light cost him life. On one occasion
he said, "I must decrease"; probably his ministry lasted but a few
months. The light he gave was so brilliant that it exhausted him
prematurely. There can be no true shining without burning. The light
that cost you nothing is hardly worth the giving. You ought to be
burning down to the socket, as you spend and are spent for others. Your
zeal for God's house should burn you up.
Burning also stands for heat. John was fervent, intense, passionate,
in his devotion. His was an ardent nature, that loved as few men love.
The love that others give to wife and child and friend, in his case was
expended on his Lord. Mary did not more certainly break an alabaster box
on the head and feet of Jesus, than he the rich perfume of his lovely
See that there is fervour, ardour, passion, the fire of a burning
heart, behind your testimony for the Saviour. Socrates gave light; he
shone, but did not burn. Wesley gave light, but he burnt; and it is
hardly possible to read a page of his sermons without being warmed at
the fire of his intense nature. What shall we say of the Great Apostle
whose nature was ignited on the road to Damascus, and who said that
whether he seemed beside himself or sober, he was mastered by one
passion, and constrained by the love of Christ?
It would be absurd to take the trouble to light a lamp, and then
obscure its rays by placing it beneath the corn-measure. The purpose of
ignition would be counteracted and frustrated if any inmate of the house
were to cover the light. How many of God's children have placed bushels
on the light of their daily testimony for God? The bushel of
uncharitable speech! The bushel of peevish and murmuring complaint! The
bushel of an unforgiving spirit! The bushel of some conspicuous failing!
Any of these is sufficient to counteract the entire effect of our
testimony. On one occasion, when a mother was remonstrating with her
grown-up son for his not having become a Christian, he replied, "Mother,
you have always seemed so afraid of God. Whenever anything has gone
wrong in your life, you have been so put out, so fearful about the
future, that you have made us think that we can get on as well without
religion as with it." Is not this a specimen case of the bushels which
cover our light? Whenever you hear men say, "He is a very good man, but;
She is a very good woman, only," you may be sure that there is some
bushel in the life which is forbidding the outshining of the Life.
Notice what the Master says. "Let your light shine." It is not for
you to ignite the flame, to supply the oil, or trim the wick; your
simple duty is to guard against anything that may obstruct the
outshining of the Life of God from your soul. If only you see to it that
everything that might hinder the effect of your testimony and mar your
influence is put away, Christ will see to it that your light shall
effect the full measure of His purpose. Let those words ring in your
heart, "Let your light shine." Allow it to shine; guard against
everything which would prevent it shining.
In contrast with the bushel is the stand or candlestick, not under
the bushel, but on the stand. What is your stand? Is it not your station
in society, your position in the home, the sphere of your influence,
your position in that business-house, factory, or workshop?
With infinite care and forethought, God has chosen the very place in
which you can do your best work for the world. You may be lonely, but
you have no more right to complain than the lamp has, which has been
placed in a niche to illumine a dark landing or a flight of dangerous
stone steps. The Master of the house may have put you in a very small
corner, and on a very humble stand; but it is enough if it is His
blessed will. Some day He will pass by, and you shall light His steps as
He goes forth to seek and save that which is lost; or you shall illumine
some great light that shall shine like a beacon over the storm-swept
ocean. Thus the obscure Andrew was the means of igniting his brother
Peter when he brought him to Jesus.
What a good thing it is when a man takes his bushel off his light and
turns it upside down, and places the light above it! Suppose, for
instance, a man's bushel has been the love of strong drink. Let him
conquer it, and put it under his feet; let him became an apostle of
total abstinence; let him win other drink-cursed lives. Then that which
had threatened to extinguish his influence will be the means of
extending it, for others who have been cursed as he has been will
naturally turn to him for help. It is a blessed thing when the fire of
Divine Love kindles the bushels themselves, destroying them and making a
conflagration which compels men to turn from the power of darkness
towards its attractive glow.
Never forget that the one object in Holy Living is not to convince
men, but to "glorify your Father which is in Heaven." If you live with
your thoughts directed towards men, even though your motive be one of
pure beneficence on their behalf, you will have less influence upon them
than you will exert if your life be altogether Godward, and your one aim
be that He may be glorified.
The glory of the Father was the one motive that occupied the mind of
our Lord from the hour when He said, "I must be about My Father's
business," to that other when He stood under the shadow of His Cross,
and said: "Father, glorify Thy name. I have glorified Thee on earth"
(see also Jn 14:13; 15:8). So live, speak, and love, that God may be
glorified, and count your life a failure unless men turn from you to
Him. It is not enough for your light to shine; it must so shine. Any
shining which does not make men glorify God is deficient. Good it may
be, but it is not the best. Your light must be so managed that men may
not talk about you, but about Him who has made you what you are.
Whether therefore ye eat,
or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1Co
God will supply the lamp with oil. After all, we are but wicks, to
the edge of which, as upon a ladder, the oil climbs from the cistern.
Who could see to read or work by the burning of a wick? No; it is the
oil that burns on the wick, whilst the wick slowly chars, as it yields
itself to mediate between the fire on the one hand and the oil on the
other. Keep on burning, O Christian soul! God will never fail thee,
however long life may be, and however dark the night! God will supply
thee with the oil that flows from the two olive-trees that set forth
Christ's dual work as Priest and King (Lev 24:1, 2, 3, 4; Zech. 4:1, 2, 3).
It is the constant fear of some Christian workers that they will
never hold out. But that should not be their care. Christ ever lives,
Christ ever loves, Christ is ever and all sufficient. Draw upon Him; let
all your fresh springs be in Him; let Him be what God meant Him to be, "
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
God will certainly have to trim your light. He will leave this sacred
business to no other hand than His own; and He reserves for it "snuffers
of gold" (1Kings 7:50).
Very often the soul dreads the application of His providences that
seems to threaten it with extinguishment. It turns out, however, that
the love of God was only cutting away something which was hindering our
uprightness, that the true flame might break out more completely. There
may be limitation on the area of illumination, but there will be marked
increase in the intensity of the radiance. The limitation of Paul's
imprisonment meant the lasting power of his Epistles. The snuffers of
Bedford Gaol produced "Pilgrim's Progress."
Ask for a radiant life, and trust God to take the best means possible
in accomplishing an abundant answer to your request.
In Our Daily Walk, F B Meyer has the following
THE WISE USE OF INFLUENCE
"Ye are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is
in heaven."--Matt. 5:14-16.
INFLUENCE MAY be defined as the flowing in of our soul to enthuse and
help, or to debase others. The law of action and recreation, of
attraction and repulsion is always at work, in virtue of which it may be
truly said that no one liveth or dieth to himself. The position of each
atom of sand upon the seashore affects the position of all others, and
the quality of our personal character is more pervasive than a good or
ill odor. What we are affects others much more deeply than what we say.
Probably waves of spiritual influence are continually going forth from
our inmost nature, and it is the impact of these upon those around us
which makes it easier or harder for them to realize their highest
The first circle which we can touch and influence is that of our
friends. Our counsel may be sweetness or bitterness, but whatever we do
or say, we must see that we are absolutely true and faithful (Prov.
27:6-9). Sincerity means to be without the wax which the cabinet-maker
may put into the cracks of the wood to make it appear sound. It is the
true and pure soul that most readily and forcibly helps another. Do not
be selfish in your friendship, but always give out as much and more than
you expect to receive. Love is a tender plant, and needs culture. We
must not suppose that it is able to thrive without light and truth.
The second circle of influence is that of our associates. The great
world of men may not appreciate our reproduction of the Beatitudes of
the Kingdom, but still reproach, persecute, and say all manner of evil
falsely; nevertheless, we must continue to bless the world by the silent
and gracious influence of holy living. Reviled, we must bless;
persecuted, we must endure; defamed, we must entreat. We must be as salt
to our persecutors and as light to our defamers. It is wonderful how
love, and consistent, patient, prayerful influence finally prevail.
We are to be as salt; i.e. our consistent holy living will act as
antiseptic to arrest evil. We are to be the light of the world.
Inconsistency and cowardice are like bushels which are put over the
lamp. Let us put all these hindrances away, that the light which is
within us may shine out on the dark world.
PRAYER - Grant, we beseech Thee, O God, that our behaviour may be as
becometh the Gospel of Christ. May the savour of Christ be in our
influence, His light in our face, His love in our hearts. AMEN.
Putting Love Into Practice - Mt 5:11-16 - In his book
Christians in the Marketplace, Bill Hybels says that people outside the
faith often say, "Show me" before they say, "Tell me."
I knew a young man in Germany named Wolfgang who modeled Hybels'
principle at a building site where he worked. As an enthusiastic
believer, Wolfgang always read his Bible during lunch. Though his fellow
workers jeered, he didn't stop his daily reading. He simply prayed for a
way to demonstrate Christ's love to them.
When the workers went home at night, they always left their muddy boots
behind. Wolfgang began staying late after work to clean their boots. The
men were puzzled at first but then realized that Wolfgang was the only
one among them who would perform this humble service. Not only did they
come to respect him, but sometimes they even asked him to read the Bible
to them. Only eternity will reveal the full effect of Wolfgang's shining
life. But this we know: When his co-workers saw his good works, they
started listening to his God.
Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may . . .
glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). If you long to lead the
people around you to Jesus, radiate His love by doing practical deeds
for God's glory alone.— Joanie Yoder
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
My life was dark until the Light shone in,
That Light was Christ, who saved me from my sin;
His light that I've received I long to share
In loving deeds for people everywhere. —Hess
A Christian's life is a window through which others can see Jesus.
AMAZING LIGHT - ... now are ye light in the Lord; walk as
children of light. Ephesians 5:8
Light can do startling things! One single burst from a laser beam can
drill a hole through a diamond. Such a ray of concentrated and amplified
power can melt steel plate in a fraction of a second. A laser beam aimed
at the retro-reflector placed on the moon by the astronauts has given
the scientists greater ac-curacy in measuring the distance between the
earth and the lunar surface. Medical science too is broadening its field
in the use of light. A tiny laser aimed at cells diseased by cancer will
in a split second destroy a great number of them. What amazing energy! I
remember seeing (or was it hearing?) music transmitted on a ray of light
in one of the "Sermons from Science" conducted by Keith Hargett of the
Moody Institute of Science. That was an interesting demonstration — an
uninterrupted flow of sharply focused electrons carrying a beautiful
And divine Light—who can tell its great effect? Every child of God is
not only the possessor but the reflector of it. Jesus said, "Ye are the
light of the world."
Light must be concentrated and directed, however, to be most effective.
Lives controlled by God's Spirit will shine with a glowing witness,
bringing spiritual health and blessing to others. Indeed, heavenly
harmonies will be transmitted when the Lord Jesus shines in and through
us. As the hymnwriter reminds us:
Out in the highways and byways of life, many are weary
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife, making the sorrowing glad.
Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may . . .
glorify your Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).
Is your life a shining witness
With a testimony true?
Could the world be won to Jesus
Just by what they see in you?
The light that shines farthest shines brightest at home.
LIVING WINSOMELY Matthew 5:16 -The early followers of Jesus
were charged with breaking up homes, dishonoring their parents, lacking
patriotism, practicing cannibalism, and engaging in gross immorality. It
was true that Christians rejected the religious rituals of their pagan
parents, that some family units were broken when young people chose to
be driven from home rather than renounce their faith. Believers also
refused to offer a pinch of incense to the Roman emperor and did not
purchase images. But it was not accurate to say that they ate human
flesh and drank blood at their communion service, or that they were
What were these Christians to do? Should they issue vehement denials?
No! Peter, in our Scripture reading for today, exhorted them instead to
look upon themselves as strangers unable to accept the standards of this
world. They were to make their conduct among the unsaved so attractive
and winsome that their lives would answer every charge made by their
enemies. Do you know what happened? The behavior of the early believers
was so pure and good that thousands of pagans were saved. Even those who
hated the Gospel couldn't help but admire the way Christians lived. And
when a period of intense persecution came almost two centuries later,
Christians were accused of ignorance, superstition, and a lack of
patriotism, but they were no longer denounced as immoral, cruel, or
dishonest. If we who know Christ today would be lovely and winsome in
our behavior, we too could make a greater impact upon the world about
us. Let's try, and watch the Lord work!
Would you shine for Jesus 'mid the careless throng?
Imitate His graces as you pass along?
Make no weak surrender to the coarse and vile;
Keep yourselves from evil and your tongue from guile.
In regard to Christian living—one example is worth a thousand
SINNERS MADE INTO SAINTS - Roddy Roderique had served seventeen years
of a life-sentence and was appealing for an early release before the
high court in Montreal. His pastor, Charles Seidenspinner, was
testifying on his behalf.
"Why should this man be released?" asked the Crown Attorney.
"Because God has come into his life, and changed him, and will hold him
steady" replied the pastor.
"What do you mean `God has come into his life?"' asked the judge. He
listened thoughtfully as the pastor shared in detail how Christ
transforms a life. The judge then asked a loaded question: "Suppose this
man is released. Would you want him for a neighbor?"
"Your Honor," said the pastor, "that would be wonderful! Some of my
neighbors need to hear the same message that changed his life." Roddy
was released, and today he's living for the Lord and is active in his
church. —D. J. De Haan
The world judges your faithfulness not so much by
what you PROFESS,
as by what you PRACTICE!