Wednesday, September 14, 2016

BEARING THE LIGHT

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.
Matthew 5:14-16

Most Christians know that we are to be the light of the world. But let us consider what that really means.

In a general sense, we can bring "light" to a situation. Carrying another's load, meeting a need or simply lending a shoulder to cry on are all examples of binging light to darkness to varying degrees.

A person's burden may be shared or immediate needs met. Yet that person may remain in darkness. A drug dealer can meet the immediate need of an addict by giving him a free dose of the drug he craves. To those abiding in the dark world of drug addiction, this may even seem like an act of kindness. The dealer may appear to temporarily bring "light" to an addict. Yet, when the addict's "fix" wears off, he will awaken to find that he is still in darkness.

The drug addict may feel that his greatest need is his next dose. In reality, his greatest need is to be delivered from this vicious cycle of torment and temporary relief.

THE CHURCH
Does not the modern church, in many ways, do the same thing?

Churches are known for meeting the temporary needs of the world such as food, clothing, employment and housing.

Yet, in truth, is not the greatest need of each and every person, a genuine, supernatural relationship with Jesus Christ?

JESUS IS THE LIGHT!

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:12

If we as a church impart only the "felt needs" of the world, without imparting Jesus Christ, are we not exactly like the drug dealer? Are we not meeting temporal needs while neglecting the far greater eternal need? As a result, is not the world left in darkness?

 Jesus claimed to be the light of the world. Surely there were times before Jesus came in the flesh that physical needs were met. What light, then, did Jesus bring to the world?

It was the light of God Himself!

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 1:3-4

It is the light of Christ, then, that we are to shine to the world, not merely the light of good works. Good works may be done in Christ or apart from Christ. Atheists may do many good works. Yet they are unable to impart Christ to anyone - the greatest need of mankind!

Of course the church will always be called to meet physical and temporal needs. But we err greatly if that is the sum of what we can impart to the lost dying world.

It goes without saying that we can only impart light when it is emanating from us! Therefore, the modern church has further erred by diminishing or completely discarding the need for its members to strive for fullness of God, personally and corporately - since He is the source of all true light!

Instead, we have adapted a theology of good works above godliness!

In short, true godliness always leads to good works - but good works may certainly be done apart from godliness!


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