MATTHEW 5: 1-16
OCTOBER 7, 2001 BRIGHTEST DAY/RALLY DAY
INTRODUCTION: Is this normal? This is a statement by Max Lucado after the event of September 11, 2001. Also read “The letter from Hell.”
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for this day speaks to us of being different. It calls us to be God’s People in this present world! It calls us to stick out, to make a statement, to live with reckless abandon. It calls us to rebuke the status quo, to be abnormal and to define our lives, not be the standard of the culture in which we are immersed, but to hold to a Higher Standard, that which will please our Father in Heaven. Jesus says we are people that must Radiate his light in a dark word.
THESIS SENTENCE: Jesus calls us to be visible in a world of darkness.
HOW IS IT THAT WE RADIATE?
I. IN JESUS WE SEE THE LIGHT REVEALED
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world (John 3:19),”
A. God created light!
“In the beginning... And God said, ‘let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1: 1-3).”
1. “God called the light ‘day (Genesis 1:5),’” and light entered creation.
2. God then is the creator of light!
3. But in creating light, He was not done.
B. Jesus created Light and was the LIGHT!
1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world (John 1:1-9).”
2. John goes on to tell us that God loved us so much that He sent HIS Son, and His Son is the light that has shown into the darkness.
3. “This is the verdict: light has come into the world (John 3:19)!”
4. Jesus will later testify, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).”
5. The Apostle Paul combines the two understanding of the origination of light and Jesus being the light. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).”
6. LIGHT HAS COME INTO THE WORLD AND IT IS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS THE LORD THAT WE SEE THE LIGHT REVEALED!
II. IN MANKIND WE HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT REJECTED
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness in stead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19)”
A. Mankind/WE love(s) darkness.
1. Though the verdict is that light has come into the world, we continue to read, “But men loved darkness in stead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).”
2. Jesus states, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed (Verse 20).”
3. Back in chapter 1 of the Gospel of John we read, “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him (Verse 11).”
4. We would rather live in the dark than in the brightness of day. We have a hunger for the dark and the dark things of life and at its root is the sin nature.
B. God does not associate with darkness!
“God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5).”
1. We have a problem here. God cannot tolerate darkness, nor is there any darkness in Him, and yet we love darkness.
2. Paul tells Timothy, this is the way it is, “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen (I Timothy 6: 15-16).”
3. Paul tells the church at Corinth, “What fellowship can light have with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)?
4. John clarifies the message, “If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth (I John 1: 6).”
5. The Key term here is fellowship and it is focused on God.
6. Back to the verdict, we find it easy to reject God because we love darkness, but there is another way, a way that leads to life and cleansing and Power!
ILLUSTRATION: G. Campbell Morgan, the famous former minister of Westminster Chapel in London, in his book, “HOW TO LIVE,” told about a conversation he had after he finished preaching on evening. A man approached Morgan to tell him he had invited a fellow employee, one with whom he had worked for 5 years, to attend the service. He then said, “My suggestion came as quite a surprise to my friend. He responded to my invitation by saying, ‘Are you a Christian?’ and when I answered, ‘Yes I am,’ he replied, ‘Well, I am too!’ Here we had worked beside each other for years, and we never knew that we were both believers in Christ. Wasn’t that funny?” To the man’s surprise, Morgan retorted, “Funny? No, it isn’t funny at all! You both need to be born again.” It was inconceivable to Morgan that two men could be truly saved and work side by side for 5 years and not be aware of their kinship as brothers in Christ.
GEORGE BARNA’S RESEARCH has shown that the average Christian in the average evangelical church is almost indistinguishable from the rest of society. He is not talking about being different in some artificial and outward way that you might see in some legalistic churches. Rather, he is talking about the fundamental moral and ethical difference that Christ can make in how we live.
IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT...
III. IN CHRIST WE CAN BE THE LIGHT REFLECTED
“You are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14a).
A. Followers of Christ bear His light!
1. It is a fact, if you follow Jesus, YOU WILL BE LIGHT!
2. FACT #2, You cannot hide His light if it is within you!
3. The example is that of a city on a hill, It “cannot be hidden.”
4. This begs the question, what if I don’t bear light? The net answer is that you are not following HIM!
ILLUSTRATION: A young boy about nine years old went with his parents to Europe one summer. Part of their tour was visiting the great Cathedrals of the past. AS he would visit Cathedral after cathedral, he saw the massive stained glass portraits of the disciples and of other saints. He was so impressed as he stood in these great empty halls looking through the beautiful stained glass windows. Upon their return, he as asked by his Sunday school teacher what about the great churches of Europe he liked the most. He thought for a moment and said, “I loved the sense of awesomeness and the hugeness of who God must be.” His Sunday school teacher then asked what was his definition of a saint. As he mind went back to those massive beautiful stained glass windows, he said, “A saint is a person the light shines through.”
IS THE LIGHT OF CHRIST SHINING THROUGH YOU?
B. Followers of Christ are forbidden to HIDE their light!
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your list shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5: 15-16).”
1. Jesus says it doesn’t make sense to light a lamp and then cover it! If you want to light a room in the darkness, you light a lamp and put it in a prominent position to light the whole room.
2. The out come of us being light is so that people will see us and say, “Wow, what a wonderful person you are, not to mention intelligent and a real looker to BOOT!”
3. NOT! When we shine for Jesus, when we serve Him, it is for the benefit of others, when we do good deeds, IT IS TO BRING GLORY TO GOD!
4. THE GOAL IS THAT OTHERS WILL COME TO CHRIST THROUGH OUR WITNESS.
5. There is even more good news, John teaches us, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (I John 1: 7).”
6. Being in the Light IS NOT ONLY THE ANSWER FOR THE WORLD. It is the answer for the individual. Being in the light has the net effect of blessing others/ being in fellowship with others, and of being purified “FROM ALL SIN!” DO YOU WANT TO BE CLEANSED OF ALL SIN?
ILLUSTRATION: I heard of a preacher who had just moved into the parsonage of the church. He decided to put up a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he was pounding away, he noticed that a little boy was watching him. The youngster didn’t say a word, so the preacher kept on working, thinking the boy would leave. But he didn’t. Pleased at the thought that his work was being admired, the pastor finally said, “Well, son, trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?” “No,” he replied. “I’m just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer.”
Guess what? People are waiting to see what you will say and what you will do. They want to see if your life backs up your profession of faith. Win or lose, people are watching us?
CONCLUSION: Today is brightest day. My desire is to be bright. I wanted to be physically bright for this Sunday! I want to be intellectually Bright for every Sunday and for every day. BUT, more than all of this, I want to radiate for Jesus and be LIGHT for others. If this is your desire, As we sing, “THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE,” will you please stand to your feet as an offering to God?