“BE THE LIGHT” By Pastor YAU
Text: Ephesians 5:8-14 January 16, 2011.
1) You be the light: A Christian journalist has the opportunity each winter to attend the Super Bowl. His job is to garner interviews with athletes and the NFL personnel for a Christian radio program. When he first started covering the big games a few years back, he grew disillusioned with the self-serving, pleasure seeking atmosphere during the Super Bowl week. He told his friend, “I found it to be a very dark place.” This former NFL Christian player looked at his eyes and said, “Brother, you can be the light in that dark place.”
2) You are the light: A Christian evangelist wrote to a group of early Christians in the city of ancient Ephesus on being the light in a dark world. Apostle Paul reminded them of their former spiritual condition who had also lived in a world of darkness. But now God has brought them to live in the light so they need to live as the light to those who continued to live in darkness. Then he listed a few examples of life style for the Christians to follow. Jesus was born to save those who live in darkness. (John 1:9) It is also His desire that Christians be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16)
LIFE IN THE DARKNESS:
1) Darkness in spiritual matters: “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, having been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, also that men are without excuse. For although they know God, they neither glorified Him as God nor give thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:20-21) In presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in the capital city of the Roman Empire, Paul pointed out the reason why people of this world did not see the light, the true God of salvation. It is because of the darkness in their heart that blinded them from seeing spiritual matters so they might come to know God, to believe in God and be saved. We see the same phenomenon in today’s world. Paul also says, “The God of this world also blinded the mind of the unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) They can’t see God because they live in darkness.
2) Darkness in moral matters: “Because of this, God gave them up to shameful lusts. Furthermore since they did not think it worth- while to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:26, 28)The fact that people who have no God and have no interest of knowing God leads them into a immoral life style. The only thing they know how to conduct their life is to follow their depraved sinful nature. Today, we see people without God indulge in all kinds of perverted life style and call it personal freedom. Anyone speaks against it is labeled as intolerant of ignorant and may be ridiculed or persecuted.
3) Darkness in personal matters: “In those days, Israel had no king everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 17:6) Kings represent civil authority who will issue laws and regulation governing behavior of the citizens. When there is not king, there is no authority to govern the behavior of the people. God is the highest authority of all, including kings. When people do not fear God, there is no authority over their conscience and moral values. There is no one to direct the everyday life of the people. There is no one to direct their decisions, choices and future. We see many people who do not have God are lost in their goals and purpose of life. They just survive each day without meaning or purpose.
4) Darkness in religious matters: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypercritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2) Paul was talking about false prophets and their false teachings at his time. These liars still spreading false gospel to cheat millions in believing their evil doctrines. This includes all false religions and all deviations of Christian faith. Without God’s wisdom, people are misled to believe in false religions that lead only to eternal loss. This is a very serious blindness and millions live in this darkness.
LIFE IN THE LIGHT: (Ephesians 5:8-14)
1) We have a mandate: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (5:8) Here Paul didn’t give us an option to be the light. He said that we “are” the light and so we “need” to live as children of light to be worthy of our new status. Too often, we see living as the light is an option but it is a mandate, an order, all children of light should live. When we do not live as the light, we either forfeit our status or bring shame to the light.
2) We must bear fruits: “For the fruits of the light consist in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord.” (5:9-10)It takes more than a concept or some nice talks. It is about real acts true light will bring in front of the world. The 3 items listed here are just some samples we need to do. A more complete list on the fruits of the spirit is found in Galatians 5:22-23. When we live like lights, we are not doing it for our selfish glory or to please others. We do this to please the Lord because He asked that we be the light of the world. (Mt. 5:14)
3) We must be different: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deed of darkness but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (5:11-12)Being the light of the world, we must be different from the darkness of the world, cut off all ties with the disobedient and their filthy deeds. Paul warned the early Christians “do not share in the sins of others.” (1 Timothy 5:22) We must be different from the world.
4) We must be vigilant: “For it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: Wake up, O sleepers, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (5:14)To live as light in the dark-ness of this world is never easy. We must be vigilant of all kind of temptations and the weakness of our own flesh. There is no time for slumbering or cutting corners. We need to keep a close walk with the Lord to receive His true light so we may continue to shine as lights for Him.
MORE ON BEING THE LIGHT: (Matthew 5:14-16)
1) We all are the lights. “Now when He (Jesus) saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him and he began to teach them, saying: You are the light of the world.” (5:1-2, 14) Jesus was talking both to his disciples and to the crowds on their being the light of the world. In case some may think that only pastors, missionaries, church leaders, Sunday School teachers are the light, Jesus said “you” (plural) are the light, there is NO exception. Each and every Christian should be the light in our own world, the circle we live, work, study and interact with and witness to others.
2) We can’t hide the light: “A city on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and put it under a bowl.” (5:14-15)For many reasons, some of us just cannot or don’t want to shine our light in our world and so render our light either ineffective or useless. Jesus wants all of us to know: We cannot and should not hide our light. Don’t put anything or do anything that may shade our light from shining for Christ.
3) We need to shine bight: “Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (5:15b) First, we need to place the light in a proper position so it can shine. We need to place our duty of shining for Christ in a high priority, a high position in our life so we may shine for the Lord. Then we are to shine in our house, the circle of people God places us in, and let them see the light. If your light is not shining properly or ineffective, you may need to check where you place that light, if it is high on your priority list, high in your life so others can see.
4) We shine for His glory: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (5:16) If you can’t go to other places, to the far away country of the world to shine the light, you can live your life to shine God’s light so people around you can see and praise your Father in heaven. God has different plans for different people. Some may be called to send the light to other side of the world. Others may be called to shine in his little world, the circle of people God places them in. Whatever the place God places us, we are to shine His light so He will receive all the glory and people will be drawn to know Him.
1) This is the reason: When Jesus gave His followers mandates to “be my witnesses” in Acts 1:8, He has a good reason: we are to shine His light into the darkness of this world so the lost may see Him and be saved. This is the way the extension of the plan of salvation of the world, God put into place. Without believers be faithful in carrying the light to all corners of the world, all little “worlds” where we live and work, the world will remain lost. So, this is a mandate we have to obey.
2) Where is your lamp stand: In every house, God has prepared a lamp stand where His light will shine so people in darkness may find their way back to Him. You may be that lamp stand God has placed where you are: your home, your school or class, your office or workplace, your neighborhood. Your being where you are is in the plan of God. Do not forfeit that privilege to be the light of God in your world. Live, act, speak, respond that show your light brightly so others may see the beauty of God’s grace.
3) Have you seen the light? If you haven’t found the love of God and salvation in Jesus Christ, God is showing you His light today. He wants you to come to Him, give Him a chance to forgive your sins by confessing to Him, and accept His love by asking Jesus to come into your heart. You don’t have to live in darkness any longer. You may have the light of your life today. Don’t waste another day to secure your salvation now.