As we come to Matthew Chapter 5 and verse 14, Jesus continues to teach – you are not only salt – you are the light of the world.
The fruitful life is like a lamp.
That seed which germinates and grows transforms that man into a lamp.
The main purpose of a lamp is to shine - to illumine - to enlighten.
The true disciple of Jesus Christ is like a lighthouse. He gives light to guide other travellers - but he also warns of the dangers. Not everybody appreciates the second aspect of the lighthouse.
To hide the light which God gives us is SIN. To cover the light which we have received is wrong. To refuse to share the light which Jesus has given us, can lead to all kinds of dangers for us - as well as for people around us.
One task we have in this nation just now is to let people know that GOD IS GOD.
What does God think of Child Abuse - abortion – drug addiction – persecution – injustice – the church compromising His Holy Word? These - and many more areas - are areas of darkness - where He calls disciples to shine - to be lights - to speak up - to speak out - writing - challenging - confronting authority at times - entering into areas of confusion and darkness, with the clarity and light of Jesus Christ.
The lamp is only useful when it is shining. A torch must have a battery.
These old lamps were oil filled – their fuel was oil – olive oil – regularly checked and fuelled and filled to keep shining.
That is why we need the oil of the Holy Spirit, and to be filled.
If the lamp is going to continue to shine it must have a constant and regular supply of oil. If we do not take in we cannot give out. We will flicker - fade - wither - and soon go out. That can happen quite easily. It can happen without our realising it until it may be too late, and it has been so sad and tragic to witness this happening over these past years, in various lives.
We are here to make a difference to the whole world, and you only need a little.
It is the ministry of the lighthouse – guiding people into the safety and security of the harbour – or warning them of the dangerous rocks on which they could be shattered and splintered and sunk.
We must never hide our light. We are given light to enlighten the world. To have this influence we must never withdraw from the world. Just as Jesus came and became involved in society, we too are commanded as His followers to be involved in society.
We must not blame the meat of society for going rotten if the preserving salt has been withdrawn – or the world for getting darker, if the light is not shining.
This applies to every area of life. It has been said that if the world is in the soup, then that is where the salt should be – dealing with the injustices – the hunger and homelessness – the persecuted Church – and so many other areas.
And yet, we should not permit all this to make any of us to feel daunted, or overwhelmed, by the scale of the problems or the enormity of the task and calling, because it has been so since Jesus Christ came and began His ministry, and since Jesus Christ birthed the Church.
There is another point here – while not withdrawing from the secular world in any way – if we are to be effective in our Christian influence we must remain distinctive from it. The salt is different from the meat. The light is different from the darkness.
Verse 16 – The aim – the goal is – that men may glorify God. We are to display and demonstrate the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – for such there is no law.
We are taught to do our praying and fasting and giving in private – but our good works – our social involvement – we do before men, that men may come to God, or at least know there is a God.
Jesus says, “You are”. We have no choice. Yes, we have to be able to get alongside others, and influence people for Christ, but one of our main tasks is to be light in the darkness.
You may be saying to yourself, “We know all of that!” Then why is there still so much darkness, and why does the spiritual and moral darkness appear to be increasing?
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