PLEASING GOD WELL AS LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD – PART TWO
I bring you greetings again, friends, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to continue from where we stopped last time, discussing, “Pleasing God as Light in a Dark World.
Father, we thank You for another day; thank You for another opportunity to hear Your Word. I bring to You now, my friends in radioland, asking that Your Word would find place in their hearts, and in the hearts of all who would hear this message…in the Name of Jesus.
Pleasing God as Light in a Dark World
Last time, we tried to explain what we mean by pleasing God. Pleasing God is living in such a way as to bring satisfaction to God; living in such a way that brings pleasure to God. And we also said, there are high and low Pleasures.
Low pleasure is when we sin and gratify ourselves with the things that God hates; but high pleasure is the one we are talking about – when we do those things that God delights in.
So to have the ambition to please God is the highest of all ambitions. And in this discussion, Jesus uses a metaphor. A metaphor is a figure of speech where the characteristics of something is applied to another, even though both of them are not the same. But, there is a kind of correspondence in their characteristics. So Jesus uses light as a metaphor; and He applies the characteristics of light to His disciples, when He says in Matthew 5:14
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
What are the characteristics of light which the metaphor transfers to the character of the Christian? That is where we were last time. And some of the characteristics of light, we have already mentioned:
- Light makes things – objects visible. Light makes objects visible. And in this sense then, applying it to the Christian, we said that, the Christian is supposed to help the world that is in darkness to see God – to see Christ – to see what God looks like. Jesus says He is the Light of the world.
And as the Light of the world, Jesus also says, he who has seen Me has seen My Father also. So, He was a revelation of the Father. He threw light, as it were, on what the Father looks like.
So, a Christian is supposed to help the world see the nature of God.
Light also, in revealing objects, will also reveal the beauty or the ugliness of the object. And in this sense then, Christians are supposed to help the world see the beauty of Jesus Christ. No wonder that child of God in that song says:
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All His wondrous love
Compassion and purity
O Spirit Divine
All my nature refined
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
The Christian is supposed to bring out the beauty of Jesus Christ; the Christian is also supposed to show the world the ugliness of sin, because sin is indeed ugly, and the deformity that sin has brought into the world.
- We said, secondly, that light shines noiselessly. Light shines noiselessly. And a number of Christians today want to shine noisily. They are so noisy that the world around them cannot hear what they are saying.
- And then we go to the third point: and that is that light shines out of an intense burning. Light shines out of an intense burning.
The light from the sun is produced out of an intense burning that takes place in its hearth or in its core. The burning is in the order of a nuclear reaction. An electric bulb, also, for example, produces its light out of intense burning of the filaments within it. Jesus says of John the Baptizer, in John 5:35, Jesus said, concerning John: He was the burning and shinning lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
The light that John the Baptizer gave to the people of Israel was produced out of an intense burning. There is no shining without burning. Some Christians produce heat, but a little or no light. It pleases God well when the light that people see in us is produced by the fire of the Holy Spirit that burns within our hearts; the fire of the Holy Spirit that burns in the core of our beings. And no wonder when Jesus went back to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit. And the day He came, in Acts 2. Remember there were cloven tongues of fire sitting on the heads of these disciples, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Fire! Burning fire!
Then, if your life is a shining light, how bright is the light? If my life is a shining light, how bright is this light from my life? Light shines with varying intensities or brightness. The same way, the light of Christians shines with varying intensities of brightness, depending on position – and depending on participation.
Position or placement
The brightness of our light depends on where we position ourselves. Jesus says, in our text in Matthew 5, the first part of verse 15: 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
The brightness of our light is determined by where we are positioned; and this is more a factor of our availability to God, our availability to Christ, than what we possess or do not possess.
Are you an under-the-basket Christian or on-a-lampstand Christian? The former are part-time Christians. They are Christians for three hours, once a week: Christians only on Sundays. And even within the three hours they are in church, they create so much problem that will take almost a lifetime to fix. Such Christians are not available to God, they are not available to Christ, they are not available to the church. But, on-the-lampstand Christians are available, and they please God well. They put Christ on positive display. They stand out as bright light wherever they are. They are not blinding darkness.
Thomas Wolsey, who was not available to serve God in the Church of England, but fought King Henry the Eight, the butcher…When Henry the Eight came for him, when he was in his eighties, came to arrest him and he knew what that meant, he said, “if I had served my God as diligently as I did my king, He would not have given me over in my gray hairs.
Friend, what are you doing with your life? Are you serving God as light? The intensity, or the brightness of light, is determined not only by its position, but also by the number of rays that shine in concert , that shine together, that shine in participation. Christians are supposed to shine together, not as individual rays here and there. And today, Christians do their own things. There is no unity.
Let me conclude. If your life is a shining light, how long will it shine? How long? How long your light will shine; how long my life will shine, will be determined by how long you want to follow Christ. That is subjectively. But objectively, it’s God Almighty who determines ultimately how long our light will shine. But what is important is that we seize every opportunity that we have now to shine as light. Be a bright light in a dark place. Do not blend with the darkness. Blending with the darkness does not please God.
Alexander Pope – one Alexander Pope, (1688 – 1744), in appreciation of the light that Sir Isaac Newton’s life was to the world of science, wrote this epitaph, on Newton’s tomb:
“Nature and nature’s law lay hid in night. God said, let Newton be, and all was light.” God said, (put your name there). Can we then say and all was light.
May your life not be an eclipse of Jesus or blinding darkness in Jesus’ Name. May you burn to shine…and brightly too to please God…in Jesus Name. Amen!
Thank You, Father, for this short time we have spent together in Your Word. I’m praying, o God, that as many as have heard me today will give their lives to Christ; and if they have already done so, that You would impress upon them, to desire to shine for Him, wherever they are, that you may be glorified, they and the world around them, blessed…in Jesus Name. Amen