Summary: Letting your light shine.
A. Matthew 5:16 tells us that we, as Christians, are to let our lights shine before men.
B. Mankind is under condemnation. They would rather remain in darkness than come into the light of Christ, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19).
D. But how do you let your light shine? Text.
I. "If thou take away the midst of thee the yoke..."
A. The "yoke" is a reference to sin. Sin is darkness! (A definate light dimmer.)
B. We need to take off the yoke of the world, and put on Christ’s (Matthew 11:30).
II. "...the putting forth of the finger..."
A. This is a reference to accusation.
B. A short time ago in a Bible study, I heard someone say that the world sees Christians as "people who shoot their wounded."
1. We often act as accusor, even before those who have truly repented.
2. The Bible says to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1).
C. There is only ONE accusor, Satan (Revelation 12:10).
D. We should never accuse one another or enter into situations that cause strife and division in the Body. Do you know that many in the world see the church as "a bunch of people who fight?" No wonder they do not see Christ’s light in us! If a Baptist and a Pentecostal are joined together in fellowship, Christ is with them! We belong to the same Army!
E. And if you have a problem with Joe Johnson, tell Joe, without telling Jim! If the Body would do these things, there’d almost be no such thing as strife.
F. Fighting amongst ourselves does not promote being a light unto the world! In fact, "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16).
1. For those having marriage problems, this verse also applies to your marriages!
2. The fact that the divorce rate in the church rivals that of the world is not a very good beacon of light.
III. "...and speaking vanity;..."
A. Vanity = worthlessness.
B. "Life and death is in the power of the tongue."
1. Instead of complaining about bad things, praise God for good things.
2. Matthew 12:34 -- "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
a. Our words reflect our attitudes and perceptions.
b. What you truly believe will come out.
c. If you truly believe in Jesus and have Him in your heart, vain words should never exit your mouth!!!
3. People in the world will discern what you truly believe by the words that exit your mouth!
4. James 1:26 -- "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain."
5. James 3:11 -- "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?"
IV. "...And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry..."
A. Charity is unconditional divine love, which must be expressed. It is even greater than faith and hope according to I Corinthians 13:13.
B. It is the very nature of God.
1. I John 4:8 -- "God is love."
2. Notice, how God expressed His love (Himself) -- John 3:16 -- "God so loved the world that he gave..."
3. The very nature of love is that it must be expressed, and so if God commends His love toward us when we were spiritually ugly with sin, so should we commend our love toward others by helping those in need.
4. Because we are in Christ, our souls, that is our minds, wills, and emotions, should be in the constant walking in love, which means that when times of charity shall appear, we should "draw our souls out" to those in need.
5. If the motive is false, it is not true charity -- I Corinthians 13:3 -- "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
C. People can see hypocrisy. Charity should never be out of a spirit of religiousity, but from a spirit of love.
D. To not show charity, or worse to act in religiousity with charitable works, is not letting one’s light shine forth.
V. "...and satisfy the afflicted soul..."
A. Charity is not limited to the physical.
B. The soul is comprised of mind, will, and emotions, and many times, one or more of these are hurting with worries, pain, and sin.
C. Christians should show kindness to such. God’s love must be shown to these people, to both brethren and non-Christians. God’s love through Christ is the healing for the afflicted soul.