Matt 5:13-16
We Are the Light

Message was largely copied from "The Sermon Notebook."

Jesus said that we are the light of the world.  We understand
that we are not the source of the light.  That is Jesus.  Rather, we
reflect the light.  We are to the Jesus what the moon is to the sun.
On a clear summer night, the moon seems to generate enough light to
do yard work. Certainly enough light to walk safely about. Yet the
moon is not the source of the light. It merely reflects the light of
the sun. So Christians are lights to this world. They reflect the
light of the SON.

However, I see a problem with this verse. The world is getting darker
rather than lighter. Sin is abounding more not less; yet light is
supposed to disintegrate the darkness. What is the problem?

It is not in the Son.  The Son is the glorious One.
    1. He is the Creator and Sustainer.
    2. He is the Lamb that takes away sin of the world.
    3. He is ruling Monarch.
    4. He is the soon-coming Prince of Peace.
    5. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
    6. He is the Intercessor for our sins, the Great High Priest of
        our soul.
    7. He is the Rose of Sharon.
    8. He is the Dayspring on High.
    9. He is the Son of the Living God.
   10. He is the Anointed One, which means the Christ.
   11. He is the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Water
        which forever satisfies.
   12. He is the Corner-stone of Godís redemption plan and the Hinge
        pin upon which all of history revolves.
   13. He is the Branch, the Morning Star, the True Vine.
   14. He is the Lord, the Savior, the Master.
   15. He is Emmanuel, the Living Word, the Beloved Son.
   16. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
   17. His is the name at which every knee will bow and every tongue
        will confess!
   18. No.  The problem is definitely not in the SON.

May I suggest that the problem is us. Instead of being reflectors,
Christians have largely become shades to the Light!
    1. Some have carried their old nature into their new life and
        that residue has dimmed the Savior to the world.
    2. Perhaps others have just deliberately turned down the power
        and effect of Jesus in the lives, not wanting to be noticed
        or not willing to serve Him as they should.

A young man was saved at a church meeting and soon thereafter, headed
off for a summer of work at a lumber camp.  The pastor and church
prayed for the young men, knowing how tough it can be to be a
Christian in that kind of enviroment.  When the young man returned,
the pastor asked him how things went and if they lumberjacks treated
him roughly.  The young man said they did not.  "In fact," said he,
"they never even found out that he was a Christian."

Regardless of why our lights have dimmed, the effect is that the
power that God gave though us to help the lost world has been
largely lost.  For a few moments, letís consider our role as the
light.

    I. Consider the power of light.
        A. Light is one of Godís marvelous miracles.
            1. To be honest, scientists donít really know how to
                define light to this day.
            2. The last I read, they were calling it a wave of
                energy that can be seen with the naked eye.
            3. Not being able to define light does not stop them from
                describing it.  (For example, we know light travels
                at the speed of 186,000 miles per second.)
        B. As light as an effect on us so we ought to have an effect
            on the world.
            1. Light Conquers Darkness
                a. That is light drives darkness away.
                b. A small light can keep you from making some big
                    mistakes.
                c. So the Light of Godís Word protects us.

Psalm 119:130  The entrance of thy words giveth
light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

Psalm 119:105  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.

                d. And we as Christians are the protection to the
                    lost world.
                    (1) Unfortunately, most of the world does not
                         want our protection.
                    (2) That might be partly our fault.
                    (3) Some Christians have been pretty commanding
                         to the lost world.
                    (4) We need to remember that the light does not
                         coerce, it illuminates.
            2. Light Colors the Drab
                a. Light exposes colors to us.
                b. Black and white makes for an interesting picture
                    every so often, but color adds warmth, light,
                    happiness.
                c. We are supposed to be the light that brings color.
                d. God, help us not to be the gloomy Guses!
            3. Light Changes the Dreariness.
                a. Light effects people.
                b. How many times have you been down, depressed,
                    gloomy, and then the sun came out?
                c. Did you know that businesses control the
                    brightness and color of light to effect your
                    mood?
                d. A study found out that:
                    (1) People will follow the brightness light.
                    (2) That brightness grabs and holds attention.
                    (3) That lighting can even control your body
                         positioning.
http://www.informedesign.org/_news/feb_v02-p.pdf

                e. When people are underground, in space, or in
                    places where they cannot see the 24 hour light
                    cycle, the powers that be arterially change
                    the lighting to give the impression of shifting
                    daylight.  It is better for the people, plants,
                    and animals in that kind of environment.

   II. Consider lightís purpose.
        A. The purpose of light is to shine.
            1. That is one of the main things light is good for.
            2. A hidden light, in its natural state, is absolutely
                worthless.
            3. Jesus called us, Christians, the light of the world
                indicating that our purpose is the same as that of
                light.
        B. \\#15-16\\ Jesus spoke of the single light, a candle.
            1. That is each Christiansí individual calling.
            2. We are to shine!
                a. That is our mandate and our mission.
                b. If we are not shining we are hiding.
                c. Jesusí express the way an individual might hid
                    his light is by putting it under a bushel basket.
                    (1) Again, some might hide their candle under
                         the basket of fear.
                    (2) Others might hide their candle under the
                         basket of carnality.
                d. Both are wrong and are going to lead to a bad
                    outcome.
                    (1) Either the basket is going to extinguish the
                         candle.
                    (2) Or the candle is going to set fire to the
                         basket.
        C. \\#14\\ There is the collective lights, a city.
            1. I am told that people in the days of Jesus built their
                homes out of limestone.
            2. Limestone is a highly reflective surface, especially
                when it is polished.
            3. One of the original Seven Wonders of the World, as
                designated by the ancient Greeks before Christ was
                born, was the Pyramid of Giza.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonders_of_the_World

            4. The pyramid is believed to have been built around
                2560 BC and is largely intact.  (That would be about
                1200 years BEFORE Moses.)
            5. In its day, the people polished its limestone
                exterior.
            6. Scientists say that in its original condition, it
                reflective light would have been visible from the
                moon!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza
http://www.gizapyramid.com/general.htm

                a. In others, it was very reflective.
                b. Imagine how brightly a city built out of limestone
                    would have shone on a hill that mountainous
                    country side as the bight sun beamed down on it.
            7. Yet, even in the dark, it would have been visible for
                as far as the eye could see.
                a. How?
                    (1) From all of the lights of the residents,
                         fires burning, candles and lantern burning.
                    (2) The city would have stuck out light a
                         lighting bug on a black summer evening!
                    (3) Whether in the daylight or darkness, you
                         could not hide this kind of city!
                b. The city Jesus mentions is a picture of the
                    church.
                c. We are collection of individual lights.
        D. Notice that Jesus points out that while an individual
            might choose to hide his light (singular) a candle
           (a church) cannot hide its light.
            1. Why canít it?  We have all heard of churches that
                seemed to hide their light.
            2. Because when a church (a city) ceases to shine for
                Jesus, it ceases to be a church.
            3. I donít know what it becomes but it is no longer
                a church!!

  III. Ask, "How can we be a better light for Jesus?"
        A. A candle that is not shining it like salt with no savour
            \\#13\\.  It is good for nothing.
        B. As both individuals and churches, we were made a light
            by the Lord.
            1. As individuals, our salvation made us lights.
            2. As a city or collection of lights, our combined lights
                make us the city on the hill.
            3. The light which was given to us needs no improvement.
        C. However, since the problem is not the Light but our
            shading the Light, then there are still some things that
            we can do to make the Light more visible.
            1. We can get the sin and the shame out.
            2. We can position ourselves in more visible places.

Woodrow Wilson told the story of being in a barbershop one time.

ďI was sitting in a barber chair when I became aware that a powerful
personality had entered the room. A man had come quietly in upon the
same errand as myself to have his hair cut and sat in the chair next
to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least
didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him.
And before I got through with what was being done to me I was aware I
had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. D. L. Moody was in
that chair. I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and
noted the singular affect that his visit had brought upon the barber
shop. They talked in undertones. They did not know his name, but they
knew something had elevated their thoughts, and I felt that I left
that place as I should have left a place of worship.Ē

God make us that kind of light!
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