Summary: What Lazarus is at the gate of our house? How do we move from pride to compassion?
At The Gate, Luke 16:19-31
Isn’t light self-revealing? Do we need to stand out in the street and shout to those who pass by, "That’s the sun," as we point to it in all its brightness? The sun is self-revealing in the same sense that Jesus Christ was and is the Light of the world. The fact that John the Baptist came to give his witness about the Light did not in any way steal from it the power to reveal itself. The necessity for the human testimony of the Baptist is a clear indication of the complete depravity of man, his inability to comprehend that which is spiritual. His mind and heart have been so darkened by sin that, seeing the Light, he does not recognize it as the Light. We must also remember what men and women actually saw down here on earth was a human Jesus. Their darkened vision could not see anything superhuman in Him. It was necessary for someone like John the Baptist to tell them that this One who walked with them and who ate with them was the Light.
The Congregational Preacher, D. L. Moody, wrote, “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 cannon to call attention to their shining – they just shine.”
This morning, we will talk about what it means, what the Scriptures say, with regard to allowing the light of the love of Christ to shine in our lives. Why would I use the word “allowing” with regard to the activity of God? I do so for this reason: Though God is sovereign over His creation, though God is active in the lives of believers, for His activity to be complete, we must be participants in it.
These are His hands and these are His feet. If we are desirous of telling others about our faith, we desire a good thing. In Acts 1:8 the words of Jesus are recorded: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (ESV)
A witness, who testifies in a courtroom, testifies to what he has seen. A witness for Christ likewise shines forth the light which has flooded his soul!
As children of God we necessarily shine, so long as we do not smother that shining light. So important, in fact, is this teaching that it is recorded in the Gospels of Mathew and Luke, where it is recorded twice as Jesus expresses in two different but similar ways: (Matthew 5:15 ESV) “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Luke 8:16 ESV) “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 11:33 ESV) "No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.”
The idea of allowing our light to shine in this world; that is, the notion of our allowing the light of Christ in us to shine forth into the darkness of this world, constitutes a major New Testament theme. This is not merely the stuff of children’s songs; “This Little Light O’ Mine.”
This is a core aspect to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. This is the central motif of a biblical New Testament oriented Christian life. Christianity is not the sum total of its doctrines, its creeds, or its rules and regulations. Christianity is the life-long experience and process of following after Jesus, participating in the beauty of the grace which radiates from Him and not only basking in that reality, but passing it on, sharing it with others.
Love only becomes genuine when it has an object of adoration. In other words, love is not really love, as they say, until it is shared or given away. If I have the love of Christ within me, if I have come to faith in Jesus Christ and been transformed into something new, as the Scriptures teach, then that newness, that new life, to be proven valid, must express itself.
A word in any language is meaningless unless it is spoken to another to convey meaning. A person can fluent in 50 or more languages of men but if they are mute, if they never open their mouth to speak, that knowledge, that possession of communication ability is as useless as it is meaningless.