The Light Of The World

Matthew 5:14—16

There was once a nomad, traveling across the desert in the Middle East. He woke up in the middle of the night hungry. Remembering that he had some dried figs, he lit a lamp and grabbed a fig. After taking a bite, and to his disgust, he noticed a worm in it. Without hesitation, he threw it outside his tent and reached for another fig and took a bite. Shocked and disgusted he saw another worm after biting into it. This fig, too, quickly found its way out of the tent. Now realizing that at his rate, he would soon be out of figs and still be hungry, he did what most of us would do in that situation, he extinguished the lamp and continued to eat the figs.

Now on to our text.

Matthew 5
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 “Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Now I don’t know about you, but when someone calls me something I usually like to know what it means. When Jesus calls me something in relation to the world, I definitely want to know what it means. The Greek word used here for light if phos. Phos is the light of the sun or of the day as opposed to the light of the moon or other luminaries of the night. (footnote) Phos is never kindled and, therefore, can never be quenched. This contrasts another word for light, luchnos, which is kindled by the hand of another.

The light we are to be is not our own. This light is not something that we can create, whether by our actions, our abilities, or our appearance.

2 Corinthians
6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves;

Because we did not create it, we can not quench it. The light that is in us is unquenchable. However, we can put it under a basket. Notice that putting it under a basket would conceal the light, but not extinguish it. We can, however, cover and dim that light by either our actions or our own timidity.

Remember what happened when Gideon’s army of three hundred men broke their pitchers and let their light shine? The whole Midianite army fled. Some were so distressed that they killed each other. Imagine what God would do through a group of believers who are not afraid nor ashamed to let their let shine before men. All those who stand against God would flee. Unfortunately, we have grown content to stay inside the four walls of the church. We have been intimidated by the world and have been told a lie that our faith should be a private matter, and, shamefully we have believed it.

Sometimes we justify keeping our faith, our light, hidden be claiming that we are undercover. There is no place for undercover or secret agent Christianity. We are to be as prominent as a city on a hill, as a candle on a lampstand, as a watchman on a wall. And, we are to share the light with all those around us. As the world grows darker, our light should be even more evident.

I attended a Christian School from pre-kindergarten through to the eighth grade. I sat in classes with my peers for ten years. We were all in Bible classes together. We were all went to chapel together on Wednesdays. We all participated in the Christmas and Easter programs together. We all prayed together. With few exceptions, I cannot say absolutely, positively for sure how many were or are saved. I am sure there were many. But I do not know for sure who and how many. You see there was a lot of ambient light around in that Christian School. First, there were a lot of Christians, and second there was a Christian environment. It was difficult to distinguish between those who were truly saved and those who were going through the motions.

That changed when I went to a public high school. Certain people seemed different from others. That high school was a darker place, and those who were lights could be seen more clearly amongst the darkness. I distinctly remember students, teachers, deans and principals who were Christians.

Now when I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Christians were like halogen headlights on a car traveling on a cross-country highway in the middle of a moonless night.

Christians will stand out when they are in God’s will. Their countenance will be different. Their priorities will be different.

The world is asking, “What’s so different about Christians?” Now allow me to ask you a question. Are they asking about the cause and reason for the difference or are they asking, “Is there even a difference?” Have you given anybody a reason to ask what is different about you? Have you given anyone a reason to glorify your Father in heaven?

O.K. we’re light. Now, as light, what are we supposed to do? What does light do?

Light Exposes Sin and Brings Conviction

Ephesians 5
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

John 3
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Conviction should result not solely from preaching, but from practicing what we preach. We need to live out the standard that Christ established. It is convicting to be around someone who lives a life set apart for God, especially if you are ensnared in sin. Have you ever noticed how you’re not always invited to the same social events as everybody else? Not that they don’t like you, but your being there would convict them. They know your convictions. People often sin socially. They want people around them who are going to conform to their ways and do the same things they do. There is a fallacy of (S)afety (I)n (N)umbers.

Why do you think that there are so many people who are trying to get rid of all traces of Christianity in public life? Whether it is “In God We Trust” on a coin, the Ten Commandments in a courtroom, prayer in public schools, a cross in a cemetery, or a nativity scene on public property. These things remind them of God, and ultimately of their own sin.

Convicting the world of sin doesn’t always mean going around and pointing your finger, hitting them over the head with your Bible and yelling “You’re going to hell you low-down, good-for-nothing, heathen sinner. By the way, God loves you!” But it does mean calling sin, “sin”, and not bowing to political correctness and social pressures. It does mean proclaiming the message of repentance and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ harshest words were for the scribes and Pharisees and their self-righteous attitudes. Others who met Christ knew they were sinners by simply being in His presence.

After a miraculous catch of fish, Simon Peter was well aware of his condition. In fact, so aware of it that he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).

Later on in Luke, chapter 7, a sinful woman came to the house where Jesus was dining with a Pharisee. Jesus didn’t rebuke her or call out all her sins. She knew she was a sinner. She knew it so well that she brought an expensive vial of perfume, anointed His feet with it and then used hair own hair to wipe His feet as she kissed them. Jesus pointed out that it was the Pharisee whose attitude was wrong, not hers. How often have we been that Pharisee? Remember 1 Peter 5:5, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. The more we are in His presence, the more we become acutely aware of just how much we need His grace. May we never be proud or haughty as we share with others what has been so graciously given to us.

There were also those who acknowledged their sinfulness and their neediness by hearing the gospel.

Acts 2
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 10
13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” 14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!” 16 However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

There’s not a person here who, if all their deeds were exposed, wouldn’t run down these aisles and repent of their sins before God and cry out for forgiveness through the atoning death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Conviction does not only apply to the unsaved but also to Christians as well.

Light Explains/Exemplifies the Truth (Christ) and Brings Clarity

John 1
9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

Luke 2 (Simeon in the Temple)
27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant depart in peace, according to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Acts 8
26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 And he arose and went; and behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship. 28 And he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH. 33 “IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO SHALL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.” 34 And the eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or of someone else?” 35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

Light Exalts God and Brings Commendation (Praise)

All that we do shall cause those around to glorify God.

Matthew 5:16
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Luke 2:32
A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

2 Corinthians 4:4
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

How can we possibly be light?

This is a tall order. Jesus was identified as the Light of the world. And in Matthew 5:14, Jesus states that we are to be the light. 1 John 2:6 ?the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

John 20
21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 16
7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. [Exposes and Convicts of sin] 8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. [Explains and Clarifies the truth] 12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. [Exalts Christ, or Commends, glorifies Christ] 14 “He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. 15 “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.

The Holy Spirit now convicts concerning righteousness because Christ, the Righteous One has gone to the Father. In the O.T. the Law was the standard of righteousness and brought conviction of sin. When Christ was on earth, He himself was the standard, having fulfilled the Law. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”

Remember the nomad in the tent. Notice that he didn’t run down to the supermarket and get a new bag of figs, he didn’t even try to wash the ones he had. He simply got rid of the light and continued to eat the figs, paying no attention at all to reality. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? Unfortunately, there are many who live their lives avoiding the light. Ignoring the problem of sin. Ignoring the truth of God’s word. They simply would rather not see sin and it’s consequences.

In 1 John, chapter one, the disciple whom Jesus loved warns us against lying about sin.

1 John 1
5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; [lie to others, hypocrisy, no light] 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [lie to self, duplicity, no truth] 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. [lie to God, apostasy, no word]

The Model Prayer

Main Scripture: Matthew 6:9–13
All Scripture is from the NASB unless otherwise indicated

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.?

~Matthew 6:9?13

I refer to this as the “Model” Prayer because this was Jesus’ response when one of His disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” (Luke 11:1). The Lord’s Prayer is actually found in it’s most complete form in John 17, when Jesus prayed just before going to the garden where He was arrested. In His prayer, He emphasized the Father’s glory and unity for all believers.

The Lord’s Model Prayer contains six basic petitions, divided into two major themes. The first three petitions focus on God, our Father, and His honor and praise through adoration and acknowledgment of who He is and His sovereignty. The last three petitions are an appeal for our needs, both physical and spiritual. Both of these themes imply action to be taken on our part.

Let’s take a look at this model prayer by petition.

I. Adoration & Acknowledgment

The Address: Our Father who art in heaven

Jesus and the apostles use the word Father 268 times in the New Testament referring to God. The term “Father” enables us to relate God in love, discipline, authority, honor, prayer, etc. Unfortunately, Satan has done much to distort and destroy the image of this relationship by distorting and destroying the relationships people have with their earthly fathers. If we can’t relate well to our earthly father, who is visible before us, how can we relate to our heavenly Father, whom we cannot see?

Notice He is our Father, not my Father, not your Father. This eliminates the self-centeredness we often have in relationships. It also stresses the point of praying together with other believers. In fact, this entire prayer is first-person plural. Pray together with your family and your friends.

Matthew 18:18?20
“Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”

By contrast, the Jews considered it blasphemous to call God Father. The Jews would not even says God?s name for fear of using it in vain, thereby breaking the third commandment. In fact, when Masoretic (traditional) scribes (500?900 AD), developed vowel points for Hebrew, they did not develop a set of vowel points for YHWH, which was not supposed to be spoken aloud. Later, the vowel points for Adonai were combined with YHWH, and from that we get “Jehovah.” It was Jesus calling God His Father that outraged them the most as seen in the following verses:

John 5:17?18
But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 10:32?33
Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

The phrase “Who art in heaven,” makes no mistakes regarding whom we are to pray. Many of the Old Testament prophets would use “God in heaven,” “God of heaven,” “the living God,” “God Almighty” and other such descriptions, especially when Israel was worshipping other gods, when they were in exile or when they were addressing pagan nations. There is only one God in heaven. There is only one God who is ever-present, which is in contrast to many other religions in which their gods reside in nature or idols and the like.

I believe it is also a subtle reminder to us that God is still on the throne. No matter how bad things appear. No matter what we see. No one can ever overthrow Him—He is the eternal God of Heaven.

First Petition: Hallowed be Thy name

Hallowed means to sanctify, set apart, or make holy. God’s name is holy, and we must treat it as such. The third commandment in Exodus 20:7, stresses the importance of keeping His name holy:

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

This sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? And yet, how often is our Lord’s name taken in vain in our society. There are those in our nation who want to remove God’s name from virtually everything from our mottos to our currency. I am afraid that the biggest challenge that they will face will be to remove it from the lips of those who use it in vain.

The name of the Lord includes everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is roused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name of God. It is His reputation.

Second Petition: Thy kingdom come

Focus on His kingdom, not ours, and not this world. Are we working for His kingdom or our own? We must always remember that it is His kingdom, His church, His ministry, etc. When we set our sights on His kingdom and not ours, we lose the competitiveness and strife often found between denominations, between churches, and sometimes between those in the same Sunday school class.

Matthew 6:33
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

Third Petition: Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven

Praying for God’s will put us in submission to His will. It lines up our will with His, not His will with ours. Jesus gave us this example not only in the model prayer but in His own prayers, including this one when He was in the garden of Gethsemane.

Luke 22:41?42
And He withdrew from them about a stone?s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.”

At this point, I believe it is beneficial for us to notice that these first three petitions are Thy, Thy, and Thy—not my, my and my.

If you could listen to your prayers over the years, would you hear yourself saying Thy or my more often? Often our own concerns—while still valid—overshadow the concerns of God. Our focus is all too often on ourselves. Remember to put God first. Seek His kingdom and will in your life.

II. Appeal

Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily bread

Notice that we are asking God to give us something. It is a gift, we don’t earn it, deserve it, borrow it, etc. Instead, He gives it. How could we ever earn the blessings of God apart from Him?

God wants us to depend on Him daily. Give us this day—not this week, this month or this year. Never too little so that we are in need, but never so much that no longer depend on God.

Matthew 6:31?34
“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Fifth Petition: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

This is the only part of the prayer that Jesus reemphasizes right after the prayer in the following verses. It is also the only conditional part of the prayer.

Matthew 6:14?15
“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

This clearly draws attention to the importance of forgiveness. When we pray this, we are asking for the same forgiveness or lack thereof, that we extend to others. Honestly, look into our own heart. Do you really want God to forgive you the same way you forgave that person that cut you off on the highway?

Matthew 7:1?2
“Do not judge lest you be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

Unforgiveness stems from pride and leads to bitterness. Unforgiveness hinders all other aspects of our lives, including praise, worship and sacrifice.

Matthew 5:22?24
“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ?Raca,? shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ?You fool,? shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Sixth Petition: And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil

We certainly do not need to be led into temptation. We seem to find our own way pretty well!

God sometimes allows us to go through temptations to make us stronger by leading us to rely on His strength and His sufficiency. When God leads us, He will never abandon us, He is with us, and He will deliver us.

Psalm 23 (A Psalm of David)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name?s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Closing: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

It ends, as it began, with adoration and acknowledgment. While scholars debate whether or not this closing was in the original manuscripts, it is clearly a Biblical concept as seen in:

1 Chronicles 29:10?11
So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed art Thou, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.

Amen literally means so it is, so be it, or may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which came from the synagogues to the Christian churches, that whenever someone who read or discoursed, had offered up a solemn prayer to God, the others responded “amen,” making the substance of what was spoken their own.

III. Action

A. Come to Him as Father. The only way to the Father is through that holy, that hallowed, name which is above every name. That name of Jesus, at which every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Without that relationship to Him as Father, all else is in vain.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

B. Put His kingdom first.

C. Submit your will to His will.

D. Trust Him for all your needs.

E. Ask for forgiveness, and forgive others.