Last week I read an interesting question on a Christian website : « If tomorrow your church were removed from your city, town or neighbourhood, would anyone notice ? »
I know we would notice, but how about others ?
Let’s be more personal : « if I were removed from my neighbourhood, my community, would anyone feel my absence ?”
For a few minutes I’d like you to meditate on these questions and I’ll tell you why I posed them.
The text for today’s sermon will be Matthew 5 :14-16.
This afternoon I want to talk about Jesus 2nd illustration used in the sermon on the mount.
You are the light, Jesus said. There’s so much to get out of this passage.
Maybe the first thing to treat is to talk about why our nature is light. Next we can meditate on the function of light and finally on the dangers for light.
Simple – because God is light and has put his nature us.
1 John 1 : 5
Does this literally mean God shines in darkness ? Maybe but I think mostly it’s symbolic. According to the Bible, God is entirely just, without sin, without any dark side to his personality. Nothing stains his purity. From a moral point of view, the holiness of God is light. From an intellectual point of view, his knowledge is light. From a physical point of view, it means the glory of his presence is manifested by light.
John 1 :1-10 since God is light Jesus is light. V. 9 tells us what light is.
The implication is that we must not be mistaken about our nature. We’re not real light, we’re just reflectors. Me with my great mind and talents, I’m not the real source of light for all around me, I can only reflect God’s light.
We’re like solar-cell lights in a garden, that after the sun goes down light up the paths using what they’ve received. We’re like the moon, that is really a dead planet covered with a layer of black dust, but manages to shine, to look lively and white like snow, because the sun floods it with light. Ephesians 2: 4-5.
We’re only a substitutem but what a substitute ! By the radiance of Christ today we have an extraordinary beauty. He put in us the fruit of his Spirit: peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
In the eyes of the world, we’re different! Oh I know all my faults, each bit of black dust covering my life, but those around me can still see a difference, an uncommon light. They think “hey, where does that come from?”
This brings me to my second point.
As light, what should I serve ?
Not to attract attention to oneself, but to illuminate something, (Ps. 119 :105) whether a shore or a path.
We should be guides for people to find Christ, in whom is life.
If we don’t understand this we risk doing bad around us. It’s like moths who fly into lights and burn. That’s what happens when someone comes to me because I shine and I forget to direct them to Christ. Sooner or later I disappoint and hurt the one who rubs against me.
We should assume our role as lights guiding others to Jesus. When someone says “you’re different, I like it!” I should say “let me tell you about Jesus.”
Comparison : in the US, in New Mexico and Texas we had a problem with cockroaches. There were huge ones. I hate them, they’re gross and germy and cause digestive problems because they leave little poops on the plates. They make me want to throw up. They are so disgusting I almost can’t talk about it. If you ever put a rubber cockroach in my food and I thought it was real, I would really freak out and have a huge reaction. It might be kind of funny. The infiltrate everywhere and it’s hard to get rid of them once they show up.
Happily, there’s a cheap way to know if they’re around your house: get up at night without making noise and turn on the kitchen light. We did that once in a while.
Jesus says here that we are the people who can show weak parts of peoples’ characters. Sometimes I don’t realize my lack of patience until I’m with someone more patient. I don’t realize my priorities are wrong until I see someone who has them right. Parents, have you ever visited a Christian friend and seen him spending time in the evenings to do a devotional with his family? How did you react? The shame we sometimes feel. In the same way, we are there to clear up the world.
We need to understand the world doesn’t know it’s in darkness until we show them. Then they say “wow, I had no idea, I didn’t realize how much I needed what you’ve brought me!”
We need to ask ourselves : « does my life let people see more clearly ?”
Light is to guide as well as to reveal what is hidden.
What does the world fear today ? many things. Elderly fear getting attacked, parents being without resources, the young not to find happiness. We all fear something. Marilena is afraid of dark when she goes to sleep. So she has a nightlight to reassure her.
In calling me to be a light, Jesus calls me to get rid of fears of those around me. How? Just like what I do for me: remind myself of God’s promises for those who follow him. Heb. 13:5, Matthew 6…
How do we help each other calm our fears today? How do we protect and reassure?
Light chases away darkness.
We’ve just seen 3 roles of light. Let’s look at the brightness of our light.
One day a man left his family. To live in the other side of the country. Before leaving, the preacher told him to be careful to who his friends would be. A few months later, the youth comes back. He crossed the preacher and told him he’d remained faithful, despite living among anti-Christian people. “They didn’t persecute you for being a believer?” he asked. “No” the youth replied “actually they never guessed.”
DO the people around you know you as a Christian ? Does our light shine before them?
We can’t believe that Jesus could tolerate the contrary – that we leave our beliefs at home when we go out in public.
A Christian who is convinced to see things this way hasn’t understood any of Jesus words that call us to draw people every hour, every day.
We aren’t supposed to be lights that go out.
Contamination of our lives by worldly thoughts and practices. Romans 12:2.
Like for headights, we can’t let dust darken their luminosity.
Today is there something that keeps your light from shining ?
My exhortation is to clean it up.
If it’s lying that tarnishes your lamp, get rid of it!
If fornication, addiction to alcohol or another substance, idolatry, jealousy, envy, get rid of them ! Our light should shine with force.
Along with this idea, other side of the coin, we need to be careful when we try to protect our family and church from the world. If we go too far, we separate ourselves to the point of having no influence over the shadows. Who else could make the difference? If we go off to monasteries or stay in our houses, what good are we? Isn’t our light covered by a large bowl that just puts it out?
I like what a Christian said: “either the bushel puts out our light or our light is strong enough to reduce it to bits.”
Direct our mirrors to God in meditation on his word and in prayer. Remember how Moses made himself shine brighter Exodus 34:29-35.
Et puis Jésus a aussi répondu à cette question en Matthieu 5, au verset 14. Après avoir dit, vous êtes la lumière du monde, il ajoute : « Une ville sur une montagne ne peut pas être cachée. »
Je vous demande ce que ces paroles signifient ? Je ne suis pas une ville, je suis juste une seule personne. Je suis juste une lumière, une bougie. C’est vrai, mais je n’ai jamais été conçu pour briller tout seul.
Mes frères et mes sœurs ensemble avec moi, nous formons une ville. Nous pouvons nous aider mutuellement à rester purs. Nous pouvons nous encourager les uns les autres et veiller les uns sur les autres. Gloire à Dieu pour l’église locale !
En d’autres termes, n’essayez jamais de briller seul. En communion, vous brillerez beaucoup plus fort, vous illuminerez beaucoup plus loin et vous tiendrez beaucoup plus longtemps.
Alors quel genre de lumière êtes-vous aujourd’hui ? Une ville sur une colline, un phare entaché, une lampe clignotante, une guirlande de Noël (qui ne brille qu’une fois l’an, pour une occasion spéciale, pour le show plus que pour autre chose ?) ? Etes-vous un catadioptre, un spot (cad un chrétien qui se concentre sur un domaine et le fait très bien, mais qui ne peut faire plus d’une chose), une diode ou un énorme feu ? Permettons-nous à la nature qu’il a mis en nous de briller ?
Et j’en reviens à ma question de départ, si aujourd’hui, vous étiez retiré de votre communauté, votre lumière viendrait-elle à manquer ?
En terminant, je voudrais que vous graviez dans vos cœurs aujourd’hui que vous êtes la première bible que des gens vont lire. Vous serez le tout premier sermon qu’il entendront, un sermon dans des chaussures… vous avec vos actions, vos paroles et vos attitudes. »
En un sens, nous écrivons chaque jour un évangile, un chapitre à la fois, par les actions que nous faisons, par les mos que nous disons. Les hommes lisent ce que nous écrivons, que nous soyons fidèles ou non. Eh, quel est l’évangile que nous leur présentons ?
Il y a de grosses chances que la seule façon par laquelle ils parviendront à connaître Jésus, la vraie lumière, c’est en voyant cette lumière que nous réfléchissons. Jean 8 :12
Philippiens 2 :14-16 « … »