You are the light of the world


A sermon by Davon Huss

Matthew 5:14-5:15

Evening Service for 5/31/2009

There are all kinds of theories about how to motivate people. We can do it through guilt, fear or shame. But overall these were not Jesus’ methods. Jesus motivated through positive messages of hope and encouragement.

Jesus told those at the Sermon on the Mount. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. What kind of people did he say this to? Farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, housewives, all in a tiny remote village in an obscure part of the world. Talk about a statement of faith. It must have sounded absurd at the time even to them.

But so are we. Who are we? We might see ourselves that way but this is how God sees us. (Phil 2:15 NIV) children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

Thesis: You and I are the light of the world. What does it mean?

For instances:
1. We have a responsibility for the world.
A. What does light do?
1. Light is used to signal.
2. Light is used to guide. (Psa 119:105 NIV) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
3. Light is used to penetrate the darkness and expose evil and error. (John 3:19 NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:20 NIV) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.(John 3:21 NIV) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
4. Light is used to prevent sin (security lights in dark areas)
5. Light is used to produce growth (plants).
6. Light does not exist for its own glory but to brighten up the world.
B. There was a time when the pulpits of this nation sounded with the call for young men and women to go out as missionaries to be lights to a world of darkness. We don’t sounds that trumpet as we once did. Shaun and Mary Ann Cooper.
C. We don’t call people to really sacrifice all they have and all they are for the good of souls and the Gospel.

2. We have something that the world desperately needs.
A. Mother Teresa was speaking to persons who had come to meet her from all over the world. Among the groups to which she spoke was one of the sisters from many North American orders. After her talk she asked if there were any questions. “Yes, I have one,” a woman sitting near the front said. “As you know, most of the orders represented here have been losing members. It seems that more and more women are leaving all the time. And yet your order is attracting thousands upon thousands. What do you do?” Mother Teresa said, “I give them Jesus.” “Yes, I know,” said the woman, “but take habits, for example. Do your women object to wearing habits? And the rules of the order, how do you do it?” “I give them Jesus,” Mother Teresa replied. “Yes, I know Mother,” said the woman, “but can you be more specific?” “I give them Jesus,” Mother Teresa repeated again. “Mother,” said the woman, “we are all of us aware of your fine work. I want to know about something else.” Mother Teresa said sternly, “I give them Jesus. There is nothing else.”
B. Many times that is all that we have. Our faith like many others has rules and commandments that are to benefit society. Our faith like many others has role models to look up to. Today we are reminded that we live in a pluralistic world. Many religions here in US. Many people who do good for this cause or in that name. What do we have to offer? Give them Jesus. The greatest heresy current today is that all religions are the same. Jesus had no peer. There never has been nor ever be anyone like Jesus.

3. We are not the source of light; we are reflectors of a much greater source.
A. In John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”
B. What does he mean when he says, “We are the light of the world.” We are like the moon. The moon gives off no light of its own. It just reflects the sun’s light.
C. There is One who has touched our lives and given us the power and authority to touch others.
D. Eric Butterworth once told about a college professor who had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. The students were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote, “He hasn’t got a chance.” 25 years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to these boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen. The professor was astounded about the results. The earlier study was so inaccurate. What had happened to change the futures of these young boys? Fortunately, all the men were in the area and he was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came back, “There was this teacher…” That teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the elderly but still alert woman what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement. The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a smile. “It’s really very simple,” she said. “I loved those boys.”
E. This teacher saw possibilities in them that no one else saw. Tell someone long enough they begin to believe.
F. The love they received from Jesus they passed on to others. Today there is no place in this world that the light people have received from Jesus does not shine.

Conclusion and invitation:
A. To convince the people of Philadelphia of the advantage of street lighting, Benjamin Franklin decided to show his neighbors be placing one in front of his house. He purchased an attractive lantern, polished the glass, and placed it on an extended pole in front of his house. Each evening, he would light the wick and hang out the lantern. Before long all of his neighbors noticed the light and even those far up the street noticed the warm glow around his house. The people passing by his house were delighted because it made walking in the dark so much easier. Soon, other placed lanterns in front of their homes and eventually the city recognized the need for having well lighted streets.
B. This is what Jesus is talking about later in vs. 14- a CITY on a hill. From an airplane the first light is supported by all the others.
C. People in this world are lost in darkness and they’re looking for light to lead them to spiritual, emotional and mental safety. This next song is talking about vs. 15
D. There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
And hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame
So Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
And hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
We are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

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