Summary: Jesus has called us to be the light of the world, and as such, we are to shine brightly for all to see.
The Nature of a Disciple: Light
Text: Matt. 5:14-16
1. Read Matt. 5:14-16
2. Illustration: Making decisions in the dark can lead to some regrettable consequences. Back in the days before electricity, a tightfisted old farmer was taking his hired man to task for carrying a lighted lantern when he went to call on his best girl. "Why," he exclaimed, "when I went a-courtin’ I never carried one of them things. I always went in the dark." "Yes," the hired man said wryly," and look what you got!"
3. As salt makes a difference in people’s food, so light makes a difference in their surroundings.
a. What an enormous compliment! God is light, Christ is light, and the believer is said to be "the light of the world."
b. The believer is what God and Christ are: light. No greater compliment could be paid the believer.
5. But note: to be identified with God is an enormous responsibility as well as a compliment. Whatever light is and does, the believer is to be and do.
Proposition: Jesus has called us to be the light of the world, and as such, we are to shine brightly for all to see.
Transition: First, Jesus talks about...
I. Our Nature: Light (14a)
A. You Are the Light of the World
1. Jesus told his disciples "Ye are the light of the world."
2. Light is a universal religious symbol. In the OT as in the NT, it most frequently symbolizes purity as opposed to filth, truth or knowledge as opposed to error or ignorance, and divine revelation and presence as opposed to reprobation and abandonment by God. Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM
3. The disciple is to undergo a radical transformation: he is to become like Christ more and more and to reflect the light of Christ.
4. Eph. 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
5. Light does several things. First of all, it chases away the darkness.
a. Illustration: Have you ever turned on a light in the middle of the night? If you have, you know that two things happen: 1) it blinds you temporarily, and 2) it eliminates the darkness in the room.
b. You can now see what you couldn’t see before.
c. You can now see all obstacles in your way.
d. You can find what you’re looking for.
6. Second, light reveals. It opens up the truth of an area, a whole new world, and it clears up the way to the truth and the life.
7. Third, light guides. It directs the way to go, leads along the right path.
B. Being the Light
1. Believers are now the light of the world.
2. Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5).
3. Jesus is no longer in the world, not bodily. His light is now in the lives of believers. Believers are reflections of Him.
4. Unless we are the light of the world, the world will always be in darkness.
5. Unless we reflect Jesus to the world, it will always stumble around in the darkness.
6. Unless we reflect the light of Jesus, the world will never know the truth.
7. Unless we reflect the light of Jesus, the world will never be able to find its way.
Transition: Next, Jesus talks about...
II. Our Job: Shine (14b-15)
A. City On a Hill
1. Jesus said "A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid."
2. The reference to the "city on a hill" is at one level fairly obvious.
a. Often built of white limestone, ancient towns gleamed in the sun and could not easily be hidden.
b. At night the inhabitants’ oil lamps would shed some glow over the surrounding area (cf. Bonnard).
3. If you are truly a disciple of Jesus everyone will know.
a. They will look at you and see Jesus.
b. They will see it in your eyes, your smile, and your life.
c. It will be unmistakable. Like the city on a hill, you won’t be able to hid it.
4. Jesus also said "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."
a. People place lights on stands for them to spread their warm glow.
b. Illustration: At our last campout, Doug had a lantern, and at first it just kind of sat on the ground. However, there all it did was illuminate his feet. Then he took it and hung from a nail on a big tree. Then it lit up our whole campsite.