2007-09-12 / Religion

The Gospel Truth

Embrace the light of a Christian life
Dr. Charles F. DeVane Jr. First Baptist Church

God's kingdom is made up of values and valuable people. You know you are one of these valuable people when you embrace and distribute the quality of light. No phrase cuts to the heart of true Christianity any better than these words of the Jesus in Matthew 5:14- 16.

A Christian is a person

who has the light.

We would never see the moon if it were not for the sun. There is no radiant quality inside the moon, no electricity around the moon, and no man on the moon with a giant flashlight. The moon is a just a dead, dark rock, until the sun shines on it.

We human beings are like that. Physically we are kicking, morally we are free to choose right from wrong, but spiritually we are nothing more than dead, dark creatures, until the son shines on us.

Becoming a Christian is literally like having the light turned on in your life. What your blind eyes could not see, you now know. What your deaf ears could not hear, you now understand. What your lifeless body could not do, your resurrected body now practices - worship, Bible study, witnessing and ministering to others. You are an entirely new, transformed creature.

This transformation of grace takes place when the light of the world makes you the light of the world. When Jesus, who is the gospel, enables you to embrace the gospel, then his light becomes your light, and your light reflects his light. In other words, a Christian is a valuable person who reflects the same character and values as the Lord Jesus Christ.

These values are not popularity, success, and wealth. Jesus was not popular, especially with the religious crowd. He was considered a failure by the contemporary world in which he lived. When he died he was so poor that he had to ask a friend to take care of his mother. The deceitful light of popularity, success and wealth fades fast.

The values of Christ are many, but perhaps they could be summarized in three words: faith, hope and love. Faith is true belief that truly behaves. Hope is an attitude that attracts other people to Christ. Love is a gift that keeps on giving all the time, talents and treasure it can muster for the kingdom of God. That's how Jesus shined. If you are his, that is what you will show.

A Christian is a person

who shines the light.

Our world wants Christians to keep our faith to ourselves, to make it merely a private matter. This is not possible, according to the light. A genuine Christian - whether a preacher or a parishioner, a teacher or a student, a worker or a retiree - cannot check their light at the door. It shines all the time.

Christians don't force Christianity down other people's throat. They simply let Christ shine. Jesus shines in our commitment to the absolute truth of the gospel and the word of God. Jesus shines in our commitment to moral purity lived out in accordance with biblical standards. Jesus shines in our commitment to pointing people in the exclusive direction of the only source of light that will shed God's grace on thee. When we repent and believe the gospel, publicly profess our faith through baptism and responsible church membership, and live and share our faith, Jesus shines.

Some will not see the light because they are blinded by unbelief. Some will run away from the light because they love the darkness. Some will even try to dampen or douse your light. But it is a scientific and spiritual fact that darkness cannot overshadow light, light always illumines the darkness.

A genuine Christian is no coward.

A courageous Christian is a contagious Christian. Your light cannot be hidden. Let it shine, and some people will see it and follow. Yet there is an even greater reason to be transformed by and transmit Jesus' light.

A Christian is a person

who knows what the

light is for.

Jesus had an ultimate purpose in coming to earth to shine his light. It may not be what you think. Most people would say, "he came to save us." They would not be wrong to say that, they would only be wrong if they said that was Christ's ultimate purpose, his number one priority.

There is a reason we are the light of the world. A quick response might be "to help people," or even "to evangelize the world." Again, those are good answers. However, they are not the ultimate answer.

The cross is made up of two beams. One is vertical, one is horizontal, and one is bigger than the other.

The horizontal represents our love and responsibility for our fellow man. For him we do good works. We evangelize, we feed and clothe, we encourage, and we should. But why, and for what primary purpose?

The vertical represents our love and responsibility towards God. Without the vertical, we have nothing on which to hang the horizontal. The vertical is our priority, our ultimate responsibility, the reason why we are to do everything that we do.

Our light is to shine primarily and ultimately for the glory of God.

In worship, it is not about what we like or what might attract a crowd, it is about what glorifies God. In evangelism, it is not about easy belief and numerical growth, it is about what glorifies God. In church policy, it is not about my rights or your rights, it about God's right to be obeyed, honored, and glorified.

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