Summary: The believer is what God and Christ are: light, No greater compliment can be paid, than to be called the Light of the World.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
I remember listening to a sermon illustration given by the powerful proclaimer, Rev. Dr. A. W. Mays of Austin, Texas.
He told us of an incident that took place in his hometown of Austin concerning a streetlight. In Austin there was a high crime area, and the residents of the community petitioned the city of Austin to put up streetlights in this crime area. Dr. Mays stated that once the lights were up crime subsided for a while. But someone took a rock or something and knocked out the streetlights and crime in that area resumed.
This took place over and over again until the city just gave up and left that particular area unlit to the chagrin of the petitioners and other residents of that community. His illustration obviously was the fact that world hates light. Because light has the tendency of exposing what is done in the dark, once the light comes—darkness has to immediately leave the room. Jesus says here in the text, that we, those of us who love Him, are the light of the world.
This is the Lord’s description of the Christian’s life and influence upon the world. And yet another compliment to us from Jesus Christ, He said were the salt of the earth and now He says we are also the light of the world. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus speaks of the importance of light. How important is light? Very! In fact, God Himself is Light, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” –1 John 1: 5. And Jesus is Light, ““Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Now we are the light world, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” –John 9: 5, physically Jesus is no longer in the world but His Light is now in us. We are commissioned to move about in the world and then let light shine, the light have is a reflective light. The light we have through Jesus Christ is to be shone to an unclear, stumbling, falling, unseeing, and unaware world.
1.) We Are The Light Of The World Because Of Our Character
As Christians it is important that we endeavor to develop the kind of character befitting the salt of the earth, of which I spoke to you about last week. The attitude of our spirit is what our character is built upon and if it is united with Jesus Christ it will indeed reflect Him. Character reveals who you are, when you apply for a job now days you are given an “Assessment Test” they will tell that there are no wrong or right answers to this particular test.
Well, if there are no wrong or right answers to this particular test then why give it in the first place? What in the world are they looking for? They want to see what kind of character do you have. If you were an employer (and maybe you are) wouldn’t you want to know if the person you hire is trustworthy or not? Any good hiring manager will tell you that if an employee eventually does something crooked or unethical the big bosses first question would be, “Who hired him or her?” And so they have to make sure they are not hiring another Charles Mansons or Jeffrey Dahmers. Our character reveals what is in our heart. Jesus said, "...unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” –Matthew 5: 20.
The Scribes and the Pharisees had some righteousness, but they just didn’t have enough. They were strict religionists; in fact they were too strict and their character revealed their self-importance and self-righteousness. Eventhough you cannot physically hear the character of someone it is still the loudest sound in the room. The Scribes and the Pharisees always gave a good show—if you were looking for entertainment they were the ones to see. But they lacked one very important spiritual ingredient if you will, and that is loving God so much until they were willing to deny themselves and seek the righteousness that can only be found through Jesus Christ, it was their poor character that got in their way.