Summary: Lesson 11
God has a purpose for this world that involves US. It was His purpose to save us, and He did, and it is also His purpose to use us and He will. Just as we are called to be salt in a decaying world, we are also called to be light in a darkened world.
I. A REALITY THAT IS INESCAPABLE "Ye are the light of the world."
A. Becoming Light
Paul said to the Ephesians, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord..." (Ephesians 5:8). How did this transformation take place? How do those who are born children of darkness and who live as children of darkness, become children of light?
1. By Following the Light - John 8:12
2. By Believing the Light - John 12:35-36, 46
3. By Seeing the Light - 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
B. Being Light
1. A Statement of Fact
a. When Jesus said "Ye are the light of the world", He was being emphatic. He was not listing our options or making recommendations, He was making a statement of fact.
b. As Christians, we ARE the light of the world. There is no other source available, we are the only light that the world has.
2. A Show of Force
a. To the degree that we are willing to function as light, it is to that same degree that the world will be illuminated.
b. Notice the use of the words "ye" which is plural, and "light" which is singular. God’s people are to function as one light. While each believer is a light themselves, it is when they all shine together that the force of the light is truly felt.
c. The candle on the candlestick represents the believer letting his or her light shine through the ministry of the local church (Revelation 1:20). When all the saved members of a local church are letting their lights shine as they should, that church will be a force to reckon with and will have a great impact upon their community. But when any number of those saved members fail to let their light be seen, the impact of the church as a whole is greatly diminished.
3. Shining with Fervor
a. The illustration of a city on a hill and a candle on a candlestick has to do with our testimony. The issue is not whether we have a testimony, but rather what kind we have. Our testimony is either one that is visible, vibrant, and valuable, or it is one that is invisible, insensible, and invaluable.
b. It is said of John the Baptist that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
II. A REQUIREMENT THAT IS IMPERATIVE "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works..."
A. The Purpose
As lights in the world, Christians serve many purposes. We are to be a:
1. Guiding Light
d. As lights in the world, we are to lead others to the Light.
2. Reproving Light
a. John 3:19-21
c. The light of Christ’s life made it uncomfortable for those around Him because it exposed the sinfulness of their deeds. By the same token, our lives ought to have the same affect upon those around us who choose to live in sin. Our righteous deeds ought to be a rebuke to the unrighteousness of others.
3. Reflecting Light
b. Our lives as "children of light" ought to be a reflection of the holiness and righteousness of Christ.
B. The Plan
Christ spells out quite clearly and unequivocally His plan for us in terms of letting our light shine. We are to shine through good works (Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8).
1. Although we are not saved by good works, we are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
2. The world pays very little attention to our words, but when it comes to our works they are very much aware of what we do. We can "talk the talk" all day long, but if we do not "walk the walk", our talk is nothing more than sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.
III. A RESULT THAT IS ILLUSTRIOUS "...and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The result of our light shining is two-fold:
A. The Evangelization of men
1. We cannot be effective in reaching the lost if our light is not shining so they can see it.
2. Other lights do not need the light. It is the people in darkness (Acts 26:18) who need the light. As believers we are not to be secluded within the confines of the church moving only among other lights. We are to be shining "in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation" (Philippians 2:15). We are to "walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8) among those who are living in the darkness of sin and unbelief.