8/13/2000 6:00 PM
God would have his church be visible for all to see. There are some things that must exist for this to be so. We are to be the light of the world. A city set up on a hill can't be hid. God didn't intend his church to be on the level with the world, but to be on a higher plain. Much of religion lives on the level of the world. Preaching that you have to sin will never get the church up on the hill. The church has to live on the higher plain. The best light is given off by placing the light on the ceiling of a room, or up high. Letting our light shine is not extending the doctrine, but through the life we live, the good works we do. Doctrine IS important, but the world is in need of good, living examples. Good works won't save you, but without good works you won't save the world. The light to shine is a life lived before others. Nicodemus was convinced by the works of Jesus first. When Jesus preached it got down to where people lived, and helped them with the needs they had. People's lives are changed by salvation. God gives grace for every day challenges. People are turning to many things because their religion is failing them. People are turning to psychologists rather than going to their minister for help. This is because these ministers have failed to tell of the word of God and how it makes a difference in the life. We need to be a light to shine to others. They need to see a difference. If men would recognize God's presence, we need to live it in their midst.
If our life would have the impact intended it will have to be God working in us. Without him we can't produce the fruits of the Spirit. The good works require the Holy Spirit in the inner man. "Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless..." We can be BLAMELESS - nothing there to blame. If God is able to direct the life it should be BOTH blameless and harmless. People shouldn't have to fear you. You shouldn't want to cause people any difficulty or bring any harm to them. We should be without the need of rebuke. We will know when to take care of the problem. We shouldn't have to be "cattle prodded" to move up. God intends that we be a light to others.
He is describing Christ, our example. This is the one we are endeavoring to follow. This is a picture of being on higher ground. "Separate from sinners" - different from sinners. We shouldn't be living in the same muddy pit. People know that the presence of Christ in the heart should make a difference in the life. We don't want people to feel good in their failures, but to recognize that God has something better that we can move up to. Christ associated with sinners, interacted with them on a daily basis, but he was different from them. God wants us to go as a living testimony to what God can do.
We were in darkness and filled with wrong deeds, but now are in the light. Walk like you are in the light. God expects us to bear fruit. Usually when people think of bearing spiritual fruit they think of bringing others to salvation. God does not hold us accountable for the choices of others. He wants us to produce the fruits of the Spirit. We cannot put on the fruits of the Spirit in our own strength; we need God's Spirit within to do this. We need the fruit in our life. For our message to be effective, these fruits must be proven in our life. The best argument for holiness of heart and life is a living example of a sinless life. Like in the case of Daniel, people should have to hunt to try to find something wrong in our life. Establish what is acceptable in God's sight by the holy life you live. Don't expect to reprove the works if darkness if you are doing similar bad things, if you aren't living a pure, unreproachable life. "Judgment must first begin at the house of God." Let God search your heart and life. Christ didn't intend that we worry about all these strange notions, but that our life be holy, clean and pure. We need the work of God in our hearts to enable us to do this.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
By our life we can influence how others live. There is a lack of conscience today. God can complete the work so you can "commend yourself to every man's conscience." The city must be seen by the world, else we are not on the hill. The lost need to be able to see the life of Christ in us. If they cannot, how can you possibly think that you are on the hill? Can the world see Jesus in you? Can they see a difference in how you live? They are blinded to what God can do. If they can't see a difference in you, how will they see it is something that they want? You can't show the world the glory of salvation by singing the blues. The church will shine (in our life) because there is a difference. Sooner or later, the world will discover that you are a child of God. We don't want to be covering up the lights. Live as God would have you to.