Time to Shine (Part 3)
The following is Part 3 in a continuing series of posts sharing the message I preached tying in the need for missions with the patriotic themes that go along with celebrating the 4th of July. Look for more posts to round out this series in manageable bite sizes.
Based on the text found in Matthew 5:14-16, the question I have posed is this: how can we as believers in the 21st Century get back to that missionary mindset that is so central to our new life in Jesus? How can we shine the light of Christ to the masses all around us and be that brilliant city upon a hill? This is the main point I want us to learn:
As sold-out believers, we can radiate the light of the Gospel by recognizing the fundamental properties of light that should govern our lives.
Today we will continue with the second fundamental property of light:
2. Light is always dominant over the dark.
I grew up with a love for swimming. My grandpa lived a block away from me and he had a large swimming pool in his backyard. I spent so much of my summer days there in the water that I could have given Michael Phelps a run for his money. Well, maybe that is a slight exaggeration. You get my point though. Yet when it came to swimming at my grandpa’s pool at night, in the dark, I was scared stiff. Why, you might ask? Because I had watched part of the movie Jaws. You know what I’m talking about, the part where the shark attacks the swimmers at night. Needless to say, it freaked me out. And so as a result, I was terrified of swimming in water that I could not see into. Anything could be lurking under the surface for all I knew. Sure, I comprehended that I was just being ridiculous, that there was no possible way for a 12-foot great white shark to find its way into a swimming pool in the middle of landlocked Kansas, let alone for it to survive outside of salt water. Yet still I could not conquer that fear that the darkness brought with it.
As children, how many of you were afraid of the dark? Now be honest. It is a common fear for most kids. It is natural for us to fear the unknown, the hidden, what we can’t see, even when it is irrational to do so. The darkness just makes the ordinary look intimidating as our imaginations run wild. But as we mature into adults, those fears slowly subside. I no longer worry about giant man-eating sharks when I swim at night at my grandpa’s pool. I’ve grown up and set aside those childish fears.
It is the same for us in our spiritual lives. Too often we as Christians are afraid of the dark, and this is always a sign of spiritual immaturity. But when we begin to grow up in our faith, we come to understand that where light and darkness coexist, light always overpowers the darkness. That’s what light does: it naturally penetrates and dispels darkness. There is nothing to be afraid of! The Bible says this about following the light:
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (KJV)
That is pretty straight-forward. Simply put, the light of Jesus Christ releases us from the prison of our own fears of the dark. The only problem is we doubt the power of Christ far too often. We fear how our coworker will react to us inviting him to church, or we worry about losing a friendship we hold dear because we shared about our faith. We doubt the God’s ability to change their hearts. We are afraid of the dark, of the power of sin and Satan in the lives of those around us. Yet Jesus commanded us to radiate the Light of the Gospel for a reason: we have nothing to fear with His power lighting our way. The Holy Spirit is capable of piercing through the most hardened of hearts and bringing repentance to the most resistant of sinners. Paul understood this and had a bold witness as a result. In Acts 26:18, Paul shares his mission statement, given to him by the Lord. It was:
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faiththat is in me. (KJV)
God’s power always trumps Satan. We need to shine bright because the darkness does not stand a chance when faced with the brilliance of Christ, which leads me to my final point about the third fundamental property of light, to be continued tomorrow.