Friday, June 12, 2015

Spreading Light (Jesus)

1 Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. . . . 4 Eternal life is in Him, and this life gives light to all mankind. 5 His life is the light that shines through the darkness — and the darkness can never extinguish it. 6-7 God sent John the Baptist as a witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the true Light. . . . 14 And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth. And some of us have seen His glory — the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father! John 1:1, 4-7, 14 (TLB)

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and the radiance of God’s glory (John 1:4-7; John 9:5; John 12:46; Hebrews 1:3 see also Isaiah 9:2; Malachi 4:2; Luke 1:78-79; Luke 2:32; Revelation 21:23). God is Light and the source of all light (1 Timothy 6:16; James 1:17; 1 John 1:5; Revelation 22:5). He clothes Himself with light (Psalm 104:2). During the exodus from Egyptian slavery, God was the pillar of fire that lighted the way for the Israelites (Exodus 13:21; Exodus 14:19; Nehemiah 9:12). God’s light was displayed to Israel as His Shekinah glory in cloud and fire (Exodus 16:10; Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 1:33; see also 2 Chronicles 7:1). As God incarnate (human flesh), Jesus became the “Light of the world” (John 8:12; see also Matthew 17:2). Jesus is the Holy One of God, God in human flesh, and Lord of all (John 1:1; John 6:69; John 20:28; Acts 10:36). The Apostle Paul encountered the Light on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:3, 5). As the Light of God, Jesus lights the way for life (John 1:4-7). Jesus is the wisdom of God that bring spiritual illumination (Matthew 13:54; Mark 6:2; 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). He exemplifies all the treasures of the divine wisdom and the collective “thought” of God (Colossians 2:2-3).  

21 Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.” Mark 4:21 (NLT)

Jesus calls His followers (disciples) to reflect and spread Jesus’ Light as they too are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; John 8:12; John 12:35-36; 1 Peter 2:9) and members of God’s family (John 1:12-13; John 3:3-7). Sincere followers of Jesus are “children of light” (John 12:35-36; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5). John the Baptist was a lamp that burned and gave light (John 5:35; see also Daniel 12:3; 2 Peter 1:19). At the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expected His followers as members of God’s family and Kingdom to shine their light in the world with good deed so the world will praise God in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16; see also Proverbs 4:18). Our good deeds are not to be done in a public way for one’s own honor and own praise (Matthew 6:1) but for God’s glory alone (1 Corinthians 10:31). This light is to be characterized by moral purity, patience, truth, holiness, and peacefulness (Ephesians 5:3-7), so that we will “shine like stars” in a dark and depraved world (Philippians 2:15).

14 “You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)

We are saved and receive eternal life through our faith, acceptance, and belief in God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ – the King of Israel (John 1:12-13, 49; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Through our faith in Jesus as God’s Son, Jesus brings new life (John 1:4-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17); spiritual re-birth through the Holy Spirit (John 1:33-34; John 3:3-7); a clean heart (Acts 15:9); and heart peace within (Romans 5:1). God graciously brings new life and spiritual rebirth so we can shine the Light of Jesus in the world with good deeds and good work (Ephesians 2:10). God does not save Jesus’ followers by good work but He definitely brings them new birth and His Holy Spirit to do good works and good deeds in the world (Matthew 5:14-16). To “work out” our “salvation” (Philippians 2:12) does not mean to work for our salvation because we are saved “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, Jesus’ followers are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10) and to shine Jesus’ good Light in the world (Matthew 5:14-16). Our salvation involves the double work of redeeming us from guilt and judgment (Mark 10:45; Romans 3:24) and of producing moral purity and helpful service to others (Titus 2:14). God is concerned about the life-styles of His people and He looks for obedience and active doing of good (Titus 3:1, 8, 14; 1 Peter 2:12-15). God accepts EVERYONE who loves Him and does what is right (Acts 10:35).

As Jesus followers, we are to reflect Jesus’ command of loving one another (John 13:34-35; John 15:12; see also Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). We are to be patient, fair, always hopeful, truthful, faithful and kind to others and not jealous, boastful, vengeful, selfish, proud, irritable or rude (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Our goodness is “love in action” (Galatians 5:6, 14). Even more, our love for others shine “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16) and is the distinguishing mark of Jesus’ followers (John 13:35; see also 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:7-8, 11-12, 19-21).

23 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” 24 Then He added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given — and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” Mark 4:23-25 (NLT)

In order to receive Jesus’ Light, Jesus’ followers must also receive and obey His teaching (Mark 4:24-25). Jesus is the Word of God and God’s last Word to humanity because Jesus is the climax of God’s divine revelation (John 1:1-5, 14, 18; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 19:13). The more we hear and obey the Word of God, the better we are able to spread Jesus’ Light to others (Luke 8:16-18). As we hear and obey God’s Word, we will sharpen our vision and increase our understanding and truth (James 1:22-25). Those who respond God’s Word as truth receive more truth (Mark 4:25).

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s Light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the Light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the Light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:18-21 (NLT)

Many people do not want their dark lives exposed to God's Light because they are afraid of what will be revealed. However, there is no sense trying to hide anything from God because God will one day reveal all things (Jeremiah 16:17, Jeremiah 23:24; Hebrews 4:13). All things that are now hidden will someday come to light (Mark 4:22).  As the Source of light, God exposes evil and reveals all hypocrisy (Luke 8:17; see also Matthew 10:26; Luke 12:2; Romans 2:16; Hebrews 4:13). “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light” (Mark 4:22, NLT). The light reveals the truth and exposes the true character of things. This explains why some people stay clear of the church and the Bible. God's light reveals everyone’s true character.

16 “No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. 17 For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. 18 So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” Luke 8:16-18 (NLT)

Followers of Jesus are to be a beacon of light to the world (Luke 8:16). Although Jesus couched much of His teaching in parables (Matthew 13:34-35), He intended His followers (disciples) to make His truths known as widely as possible (Acts 1:8). When the good light of Jesus illuminates us, Jesus’ followers are to spread the light with good deeds and to help others (Titus 2:14). Jesus’ teaching is a light that must be allowed to shine so that others may be helped and saved. Our task is not to please ourselves, but to proclaim God's message (Matthew 28:18-20). A believer’s life will have influence, whether good or bad. Jesus commanded His disciples to be like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16). The good Light of Jesus should shine forth like the light of a lamp on a stand in such a way that God will get the glory for the good deeds in our lives.

Apostle Paul:  8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. Ephesians 5:8-14 (NIV)

Followers of Jesus are the light (Ephesians 5:7-14). The Apostle Paul warns his readers to “walk as children of light” and flee darkness (Ephesians 5:8; see also 2 Corinthians 6:14-17). Our good light must also produce or grow fruit of all goodness, love, truth, patience, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, righteousness and truth in our daily lives (Ephesians 5:9; see also John 3:20-21; Galatians 5:22-23). By our good character and conduct, we bring God’s light into a dark world (Romans 13:12-14). It is not enough simply to expose sin but Jesus’ followers must also bear good fruit and good light (Ephesians 5:8). As children of light, our actions should reflect our faith, morality, truth and goodness to others (Matthew 5:15-16; Colossians 1:12-14). Followers of Jesus are to wear armor of light, not the deeds of darkness (Romans 13:12). We are to flee the darkness of orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, quarreling and jealousy (Romans 13:13) and ACT LIKE JESUS (Romans 13:14)!   

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the Light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)

Disciple's Study Bible ((Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1988).
Life Application Study Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005).
Life Essentials Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2011).
Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1995).
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Second Edition (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House Company, 2001).
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary (Victor Books, 1989).

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