It is easy to trust God when the bush is burning, the waters are parting and the mountains are shaking – it’s those silent years that are discouraging. But blessed is the person who does not interpret the silence of God as the indifference of God! It’s in the desert and not in the palace that God finds out the depths of our yieldedness. It’s when He’s silent, not when He speaks, that our faith is precious in His sight.
It’s taken from Matthew 5:16. The whole verse goes like this, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Let’s observe 3 things in this theme.
I. It’s a command.
A. A command is meant to be obeyed implicitly, explicitly and immediately.
B. A command is generally disliked by us. We have more taste for promises than commands. We are like children who go for jam and cream, and leave the bread slice uneaten.
II. It’s a command to let our light shine.
A. But the light can shine only if there is light.
1. We are the light of the world if have repented from our sins genuinely and believed on Lord Jesus Christ wholeheartedly.
2. We are the light of the world if we are truly born again and thoroughly saved.
3. In that case we are the children of light, not of darkness. As such, we are expected to live as children of light, and not participate in the deeds of darkness but expose them (Ephesians 5:8,10,11). We are expected to manifest the excellencies of the One who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light (1Peter 2:9).
4. But if we aren’t saved then we aren’t light but darkness. In that case there no light. There is no question of letting our light shine when it’s not there.
B. We can let our light shine through good works. V. 16
1. When we love God with all of our heart, mind and strength, we are letting our light shine before others (Deuteronomy 6:5).
2. When we love our neighbours, we are letting our light shine before others (Leviticus 19:18).
3. When we love our enemies, forgive them, bless them and pray for them, we are letting our light shine before others (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).
4. When we are living an exemplary life in the light of God’s word, we are letting our light shine for the glory of God.
5. When we share the gospel of salvation with those who are sitting in the darkness and the shadow of death, we are letting our light shine on them. It says in Matthew 4:15, 16, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
III. It’s a command, easily discarded.
A. We can hinder our light shining before others (Cf. Keeping our light under the basket).
1. Through hypocrisy.
3. Dishonesty in finances.
4. False accounts.
5. False reports.
5. Sexual immorality, having illicit love affairs.
7. Works of our sinful flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).
Are we letting our light shine before others through our good works? Or, are we hindering it through our deeds of darkness?
Are people glorifying God because of us? Or, are we a hindrance in their coming to faith?
Is God’s name blessed or blasphemed because of us? Is our light shining?
By Richard Masih, New Delhi
“That He (God) might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
John Newton the famous composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace” was once the captain of a slave ship carrying Africans as slaves to England in the eighteenth century. On March 10, 1748, his ship was caught in a terrible storm, and when nothing could be done, he was led to read ‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas Kempis.
The Holy Spirit began working in his heart and he accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. Realizing the depravation of the slave trade, he left the ship. The Lord guided him to do His work and encouraged by the eminent evangelist George Whitefield, he plunged into the ministry and became the pastor of a church near Cambridge.
In 1785, when he was the distinguished Pastor of St. Mary Woolnoth in London, he came into contact with William Wilberforce, a young brilliant politician of only 26 years, but already a member of the Parliament. Since he had recently experienced religious awakening, the born-again Wilberforce sought the 64 year old Rev, Newton for council. He wanted to know whether he should resign from Parliament and enter the ministry. Newton advised him not to resign but told him, “God can make you a blessing as a Christian and as a Statesman”.
Young Wilberforce took up the cause of slavery, which Rev. Newton preached against. He addressed the Privy Council which included Prime Minister William Pitt and said, “The slaves lie in two rows, one above the other, on each side of the ship like books upon the shelf. The poor creatures are in irons on both hands and feet. Every morning more instances than one are found of the living and the dead fastened together”. In March 1807, Parliament passed the Wilberforce Bill abolishing slavery. In December that year John Newton passed on to glory in his 82nd year with his last words, “l am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour”.
Amazing Grace, which brought people deliverance from human slavery in England is always abounding to bring deliverance from slavery under the devil and sin through the Saviour Jesus Christ.
Are you still a slave under sin? There is deliverance only in Christ Jesus.
“By Grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God… For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph, 2:8,10).
Taken from the book ‘Truths for the soul” by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj. Published by GLS Publishing.
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’ (Jeremiah 45:2-3 NLT)
Baruch was the young scribe that wrote and read to the people Jeremiah’s prophecies. Like Jeremiah, he got a lot of persecution for the prophet’s words. The Lord responded to the scribe’s pain with truth and loving kindness. Baruch found out there is always a cost in following God.
Young disciples often become discouraged when they find out that serving God is not all fun and games. Discipleship, often involves God crossing our will with his. The Lord’s response to Baruch came in the form of correction and encouragement. “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (V.5) If we have our eyes focused on the things of this world, be it fame or fortune, we become impatient when difficulties arise. We can develop a spiritualized entitlement mentality. When trouble comes, we lose heart and our passion wanes. When desire diminishes, we can never fulfill our calling.
Attitude is a big part of dealing with adversity. It appears that Baruch had come to the point of blaming God for his predicament (“And now the Lord has added more! V.3). Our response when God crosses our will with his determines when discipleship starts and ends. Discipleship has a cost but also a prize. “I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go” (v.5).
By Ken Barnes
This Revelation of Jesus Christ has to do with His relationship to the Father, to the human race and to the church. It has to do with His relationship to Israel, to the nations, to our enemy the devil and to the coming judgment. Ministers faithful to the Word of God have always said that Christ can be found on every page of
the Bible. In the Revelation, we see Him dominating the eternal future. The message of the book is the almost overwhelming portrayal of Christ’s victory, bringing about thefinall destruction of Satan and all of his works.
Part of our Christian restfulness comes from the fact that we are in the hands of a loving God who
has already existed throughout all of the tomorrows. Because all time is in God, the flow of time never concerns God. He never has to run in an effort to catch up with the movement of time. The end of time is seen by God just as easily as the beginning of time.
That is why the Bible tells us that God knows the end from the beginning. That is why a godly man like John, caught up in the Spirit of God, could be shown the outline of future events. They were future to him, and they are future to us. That is because we are in the stream of time. They are not future to God because He is not in the stream of time.
Taken from the book ‘Jesus is Victor’ by AW Tozer. Published by Gospel Literature Service.