The Light of the World
I suppose you can hear those words and not start singing.
I can’t, for the light of the world is Jesus.
And that light shines in and through us as Jesus takes possession of us and we become more and more his.
Last week we were the salt of the earth and this week we are the light of the world.
We may not be making much of a difference in our world but we are supposed to.
And if you are not making a difference then you will hear about it on that day.
When you are asked for an accounting of your talents.
Saying that we hid our talent in the ground that it might be saved will not be a good answer.
But today we are light.
Do you like the darkness?
I used to like moving about in the darkness because no one could see me.
Then the light of the world came to live in me and I became a person of the light.
I love seeing the light of a new day dawn.
I like it best when daylight comes at 6 AM.
That is the time I like to rise and start my day.
It now gets light at about 5:30.
The birds start singing in anticipation of the new day.
How do you anticipate the new day.
By rejoicing in the Lord for another day to praise His name and do His work?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Can you hide the light of Jesus that shines out from you?
I hope not!
Our very countenance should declare that we belong to Jesus.
It had better or we are in trouble when we go to be with Jesus.
It is said that the greatest compliment that Jesus gave to Christian’s is that we are the light of the world.
We, then are like him when he declared, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5
When Jesus asks us, as his followers, to be the light of the world, he is asking us to be nothing less than what he is.
We have great importance to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus uses ordinary people like you and me to be His light to the world.
He is saying to us, “You are important; you are the light of the world.”
In this passage we find an exclamation, an illustration and an application.
How did Jesus state the fact that we are the light of the world?
It is stated that he said it emphatically as he exclaimed, “You are the light of the world!”
The Jesus who knows us, claimed that we should be light to the world.
He did not say that we can be but that we are light to the world.
The light is in us since we became his.
If it is not showing then we are hiding it.
Hide it under a bushel, NO!
Christian let your light shine!
What is the most influential thing that a Christian does?
It is not what we say, or even how we proclaim to belong to Jesus.
It is how we live and in what we invest our resources.
You must know that for you have been hearing it for over 20 years now.
Our greatest preaching is in the lives we live and what is most important to us.
Remember Jesus did not say you are becoming light to the world.
Or, you might someday be light to the world.
But he said, you are light to the world.
Our light shows by the people we are.
How we use the existence that God has invested in us.
When young Robert Louis Stevenson watched the lamp lighter work his way down the street he claimed that the man was making holes in the darkness.
As the light of the world Jesus wants us to make holes in the darkness of the world.
The fact of being light is the exclamation now for the illustration.
It is found in verse 15 where Jesus says that one does not put a candle under a basket but on a candlestick, so that it can give light to all in the house.
Jesus said three things about the light the Christian’s life is to radiate.
It is a light to be seen.
Houses in the time of Jesus were mostly dark with only one window.
A lamp was used to light the house enough to find your way around it.
If the lamp went out it was difficult to relight for there were no matches then.
So the little lamp would be left burning hour after hour.
When the family left the house they would place the lamp under a bushel basket to keep it safe until their return.
When they returned they would put it back on the stand, since the primary purpose of the lamp was to be seen, not hidden.
Jesus is saying that our Christianity is to be seen.
It is to be visible to all.
No one should have to ask us if we are a Christina.
The very life we live is a light to be seen.
We are also a light to guide.
Airplanes follow a light path to the runway of an airport.
So the Christian’s life must make a clear path to right living.
We are to be an example for others to follow to life in Christ.
Also a light can be a warning.
Such as a railroad crossing light flashing a warning to drivers.
Sometimes it is our Christian duty to warn others of impending danger.
Those warnings must be given in love, not condemnation, to be effective.
Jesus has a disturbing habit of making perfectly clear what he expects us to do in regards to his teachings.
Such is the case here, where he made a pointed application of this lesson.
Now for the application.
It is found in verse 16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”.
With this statement Jesus shifts our attention from the character of Christians to their conduct.
He first makes a plea: “Let your light so shine before men.”
This is an earnest plea that we live our lives so that others will be attracted to Christ.
Here are four suggestions as to how we can shine.
First: let us shine naturally. It is to flow out of us.
Second: we are to shine sacrificially.
Light is always costly.
It takes energy for a light to shine.
To be light to the world you must see yourself as expendable.
Being willing to sacrifice a bit of ourselves each day we live.
Third: we are to shine openly.
If we are to shine before others, we must shine openly, never being ashamed of our relationship with Jesus.
Fourth: we are to shine right where we are.
If we cannot shine right where we are we will not shine at all.
Wherever you are you must shine in that place.
You are not there by accident but by divine appointment.
You are to be light to your world.
After the plea comes the pattern.
We are to shine that others might see our good works.
How do we shine?
By our good works.
Good here not only means virtuous. but also beautiful and attractive.
Ours is to be the goodness that attracts others.
There is a charm in Christian goodness that makes it an appealing thing to all who see it.
So we have a plea, a pattern and a purpose.
Our purpose for shining is to glorify our Father in heaven.
It is never to draw attention to ourselves.
All we are and all we do it to draw people closer to God.
We end with a story of one who did all of this in the hardest of conditions.
A Christina doctor in China had built an efficient hospital over many years of hard work.
When the communist wing of the national army swept through they looted and destroyed the hospital.
The doctor was faced with forgiveness and the continuing of his work.
He followed the army and attended to the sick.
When General Chiang Kai-shek saw this, he asked “What makes this doctor tend to the sick and wounded when these very men destroyed his hospital?”
His wife, who was herself a Christian replied, “It is his Christianity.”
General Chiang Kai-shed said, “Then I must become a Christian too.”
The doctor was a major influence that led the general to become a Christian even when a strong anti-Christian movement was sweeping his nation.
The Christian doctor lived as “the light of the world.”
And so can each of us.
God never asks us to be what he will not equip us to be.
We can be His light to the world.
Each one of us in our own place and time.
And that brings the Kingdom of God here as it is there!