Summary: The image of being "the light of the world" is quite important to the Christian life
A CANDLE IN THE DARKNESS
OPENING ILLUSTRATION… “Take off the Sticker” (p)
My wife and I were traveling to Greeneville the other day and I became frustrated. We were in our car, which really has no markings that we are Christians other than the “Pastor” sticker I have placed in the front windshield. There was an older junker in front of us that was moving very slow. We were the fourth car back and there were 7 or 8 cars behind us. I feel that a person should at least go the speed limit and if not, you should pull to the side and allow the line of cars behind you to pass. I became so frustrated that I honked the horn and said something like, “the gas is on the right.” My wife then looked at me and said, take that “Pastor” sticker off if you are going to act like that!
READ MATTHEW 5:14-16
Whether you accept it or not, as a Christian, you are the ambassador of Christ to the people around you. Jesus chose to describe it as “you are the light of the world.” Today we are going to discuss what it means to be a “light” in this world.
I. IT IS VERY REAL
Scripture again and again uses this image of light to refer to Jesus and His teachings and to those who follow after Him. In John 1 Jesus is even described as the light itself. We should accept it that we are the “light of the world.” When Jesus spoke these words, he was trying to explain that this is who we are as children of God... we are the only light this dark world has.
I also notice as I read this passage that Jesus did not say, “you are the light of the world” or “ye are the lights of the world.” Christians together form one light that communicates the message of Jesus. Even though we are individuals, we all are part of the same light. The Apostle Paul would agree with this, I think, in that he said we are individual parts of one body.
Jesus gives us a picture of a city on a hill not being hidden and the candle in the house filling that house with light. The candle on the candlestick represents the believer letting his or her light shine through their lives. When we tell someone about our path of faith, our struggles and how God helped us through, we are shining. When we tell someone why we believe, we are shining some more.
II. THE RESULTS OF THAT REALITY
The result of our light shining is two-fold: First there will be individuals who will be drawn to the light as moths are to a flame. People will see the light that you have, they will hear your testimony, and they will want to investigate this Jesus you have been talking about. They will come to faith because of the seeds of light you have placed in their lives. Second, our light glorifies God. When we are true lights, the people will not see us, but God in us. That’s really what glory means-- “to see the true nature.” When you glorify God, you are praising Him about His nature. When our light shines, people see God and praise Him!
III. THE DANGERS OF THIS REALITY
What happens if you do not shine?
What happens if you are lit one day and not the next?