Summary: A few truths about This Little Light of Mine (Outline and material adapted from Alan Carr at: http://www.sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/Matthew%205_14-16.htm)
An evangelist once said, “When you live in darkness, you not only have no ray of light, you don’t even know where home is. That is the way it is for the majority in the world. Some folks are born, raised, and die in cultures that have never seen their first flashlight of hope. Imagine it! When the truth of that hits me, I find myself a little impatient with Christians who do nothing but shine lights for themselves. They even have what we might call flashlight parties where they just shine the light on each other. Lots of light! Too much light to be hoarded! Jesus says to shine for the world. Shine your light into the darkness; that’s where it is really needed. Spend less time in your own little well-lighted all Christian world and more time there in the darkness!”
Last week we talked about salt and how as Christians we are to preserve this world from rotting away. Salt preserves meat and Christians are to preserve society from decay and deceit.
This morning we are talking about light. Scientifically, chemically, salt is NaCl and called sodium chloride. Light is more difficult to define scientifically. Webster’s Dictionary defines light this way: An electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range including infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and X rays and traveling in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second; more specifically the part of this range that is visible to the human eye.
Anyway, salt and light can alter their world. So does the Christian! This is probably why Jesus used these common, everyday images to describe His people and the influence we are to have in the world.
Talked last time about salt, this morning going to focus in on light. God has something to say about when, where and how we are to let our light shine for Him.
Thesis: A few truths about This Little Light of Mine
The Power of light (Matthew 5:14a)
Light is an amazing thing. Light lacks physical properties but it affects physical objects. Light is a wave of energy that can be seen by the human eye. Let’s look at a few ways light affects our world.
A. Light conquers darkness
If we have the least bit of light, darkness is forced to flee. We can be in the darkest place imaginable and just a tiny match, when lit, has the power to drive away darkness.
The same is true in the spiritual world. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4, 5, RSV.
B. Light changes deadness
The ancient Greeks, in their mythology, told of a goddess who visited earth unseen but whose presence was always known by the blessings she left behind in her pathway. Trees burned by forest fires sprouted new leaves, and flowers sprang up in her footprints. As she passed a stagnant pool its water became fresh, and parched fields turned green as she walked through them. Hills and valleys blossomed with new life and beauty wherever she went. Mostly this myth is explaining the beauty of spring time after the deadness of winter. We know that spring breaks forth because God designed it to do so.
In the same way the light of the gospel of grace brought life into our dead souls. “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”” Matthew 4:16, NIV.
As we let our lights shine in our dead world we can see similar things happen. God uses the light of our witness and testimony to illuminate the dead sinner’s heart and to draw them to Jesus for salvation. Our light, which is Jesus’ light being reflected by us, is a means of bringing the life of Heaven to the dead ones on earth.
C. Light conditions dreariness
How many times have we seen the days of gloomy, dreary weather suddenly be replaced with the gleaming light of the sun? (Happened this week) We have seen dreary days transformed by the appearance of light.
Jesus Christ can brighten any dreary day. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you... ” Psalms 42:5, 6, NIV.
Also the light coming from the people of God can brighten me. There may be a chill in my soul, but a few minutes around a brother of sister who is shining with the light of Jesus, can cause the chill to thaw, and can help me to be a little warmer!