Time to Shine (Part 5)
The following is Time to Shine Part 5, the final in a 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.
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? These were the main points I wanted 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:
1. Darkness always exists in an absence of Light.
2. Light is always dominant over the dark.
3. Light always shines due to its power source.
I want to tie it all of this back around to where we began in regards to the words of Jonathan Winthrop. To this very day, the United States continues to be a cultural, economic, and political “city upon a hill”, carrying on the legacy that Winthrop predicted for the new continent. We are a beacon for the peoples of the world to migrate to in search of the “American Dream”. I believe the Lord has allowed this to persist so that we can be a spiritual lighthouse to the world as well. By the grace of God, we have been blessed with the prosperity to carry out the Great Commission in this world, sending out men & women to the ends of the earth, but we have also been blessed with a prosperity that has brought the people of this earth to our doorstep to hear the Gospel message.
The United States has the largest population of immigrants in the world, with over 38.5 million people who are first-generation Americans. We annually welcome in people every year as new citizens more than any other country, and that has been consistently true since 1960. Many of the people coming into our borders are from communist and Muslim countries that would normally have been denied the chance to hear the Gospel. The opportunities are endless here in our nation to see world transformation take place.
This does not negate our responsibility to “GO” but it is fascinating to see how the Lord is working it out for the fulfillment of Revelation to occur right here in the U.S. when it says every tongue, tribe, people, and nation will worship God in His glory.
To end I would like to visit the words of one of the founding fathers who was equally passionate about democracy and about Jesus Christ. Patrick Henry was one of the most vocal patriots – and one of the most vocal Christians – of his day. In fact he has sometimes been called the Orator of the Revolution based upon his fiery speeches, such as his most famous one, in which he declared “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Henry had this to say about the vital importance of a Christian witness, of radiating one’s light for the sake of the Gospel, in a letter written to his daughter.
Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.
According to Henry, the greatest tragedy that he could imagine would be to neglect to live a life that pointed toward Jesus. The same is true for us. How unfortunate it is for us to fail to live up to our potential in Jesus and fail in our Christian witness. Because of the one who now lives in us, we are now light, and it is in our new nature to shine brilliantly for the world to see. So the next time you take in a firework display and watch those brilliant flashes in the sky, be reminded of the command Jesus Christ has given each and every one of us, to light up this world with a burst of Jesus Christ radiating out of us. It’s time to shine.