Summary: This sermon challenges the audience to be a shining light in the midst of a dark world.
Text: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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 light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Message: Be a witness for Jesus in this world.
Response: To make a commitment to share one’s faith with the spiritually lost.
A. Several years ago my family visited one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. It’s a place called Carlsbad Caverns. It’s a huge cave system in the state of New Mexico. Thousands of bats live in the mouth of the cave. Trails have been built so that tourists can walk down into the dark depths of this cave. As we walk down, down, down into the cave the guide told us stories about the original explorers of the cave. They were extremely brave men and women who explored the cave using nothing but a tiny candlelight. When we arrived at the bottom of the cave the guide sat us down on a bench and then she walked over to the light switch and she turned out the lights. Suddenly it was dark. It was so dark I could not see my hand in front of my face. It was so dark I could not see the person sitting next to me on the bench. She left us in the dark for five minutes so that our eyes could adjust to the darkness. Then she told us that she was going to duplicate for us the conditions the original explores experienced. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a cigarette lighter. When she said she was going to light the cigarette lighter I thought to myself, “This cave is so dark that that tiny cigarette lighter is not going to make much of a difference. Perhaps we will be able to see the guide’s face or at the most a little area around her feet.” We were in a large room and when she lit the cigarette lighter suddenly we could see the entire room. We could see the stalactites and the stalagmites. We could see all the people in our group.
B. That cave was a very dark place, but all it took was one light to light up the dark cave.
C. The world is a dark place, but all it takes is one light to light up a dark world.
II. You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14a).
A. The world's population recently exceeded seven billion people for the first time and less than two billion of them claim to be Christians. There are masses of unsaved people in China, India, the Middle East, and right in your neighborhood. I believe that Jesus is coming back soon. It is vital for Christians to begin bringing crying, dying humanity into the kingdom of God. Our great commission is to "Go into all the World and preach the Gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15). The world is a dark place, and God wants His children to act as a bright and shining light to draw people into heaven.
B. We need to witness to people who need Jesus.
1. Millions of people need Jesus.
2. The harvest is ripe.
3. The labors are few.
4. We are called to be labors in the harvest fields of the world.
5. What is a laborer? A laborer is someone who lets his or her light shine.
6. Are you passionate about leading people to Jesus?
C. How did I become passionate about leading people to Jesus? Several years ago, I went on a mission trip to the country of Jamaica. Our group experienced powerful ministry at churches and evangelistic crusades. Hundreds of people were saved and many miraculous healings were reported. The days in Jamaica were extremely hot and quite humid, so as we walked through neighborhoods inviting people to church, we quickly overheated. By the time we arrived back at our hotel that evening, we were a sticky mess. Unfortunately, the showers at the hotel were broken. We fixed this problem by deciding to go for a late night swim in the pool. As we swam, I noticed there was a panel near the edge of the pool that looked like it was smoking. I was curious, so I foolishly swam over to check it out. I was treading water beside an underwater light when, zap, I was shocked. The electricity shot through my body and numbed my feet and hands. Terrified, I leapt out of the pool. Immediately, I became concerned for the safety of the other members of my team. I started screaming at them to get out of the pool as fast as they could. None of them knew what was wrong so they just looked at me. As I kept yelling at them about the danger, some began to get out, but most of the people thought I was playing a practical joke on them so they stayed in the pool. I frantically began grabbing people and pulling them out of the pool. I pointed at the smoking panel and shouted, “Get out!” I yelled repeatedly about the danger until I was hoarse. When everyone realized how serious I was, they climbed out of the pool. Several stubborn boys refused to fall for what they still thought was a practical joke. I was frustrated as I watched them swim in a dangerous situation. I began to talk to them and show them the danger they were in. Finally, my sense of urgency compelled them to climb out of the pool. I was so relieved when I had saved everyone’s life! God stopped me right then and He told me, “You need to save people from hell with the same passion that you saved those people from an electric shock.” This word from God has given me a passion to see the lost saved. By the grace of God, I had been saved from being electrocuted. After I had been spared, I began to yell and scream, and pull people out of danger. I experienced an intense urgency about it. I did not rest until everyone was saved, because I was concerned for their lives. God revealed to me that I need to be just as concerned about the lives of people who are headed for hell! I have to do whatever it takes to rescue someone from the grasp of Satan. If I have to speak loud and boldly, I will. If I have to talk them into salvation, I will. I made a commitment to myself that day that I would do whatever it takes to help save a soul from hell. You see, too many of us get saved and walk away thanking God for our salvation, but we forget that there are still thousands of people who are headed for hell.