Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Church = The Light of the World

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

The Church = The Light of the World

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus calls those that followed Him up the side of a mountain, “the light of the world”. The people He was speaking to were the first followers of Jesus. They could be called the first Christians. The earliest church, even before the church in Acts. Some of these very people on they the side of the mountain in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 were no doubt present in the Acts 2 prayer meeting. Jesus is also called “the Light of the world in John 1:9, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46. In John 8:12 Jesus is found forgiving the sins of a woman caught in adultery. In John 9:5 Jesus is healing a blind mans eyes. In Isaiah 42:6 God is speaking of Jesus, the Messiah and refers to Him as “A Light to the gentiles”. The word gentiles is interchangeable with the word, nations. It could also be said in Isaiah 42:6 that Jesus was called the light of the world or a light to the nations. Even in this very context, the function of the “the Light of the World” is opening blind eyes and bringing out of the prison house and establishing justice and righteousness.

Bill Johnson says in one of His books that “Jesus is the most normal Christian in the bible”. As followers of Jesus, we are also imitators of Him. As He is, so are we in the world. We are to accurately re-present Him to a hurting and broken world. This is our primary role as His church. We are the very answer to the darkness in our cities and nations. When light is present, there is no fight with darkness. When you turn the light on in your house, there is no struggle, there is no warfare. When the sun rises in the morning, the darkness is immediately dispelled. Shadows exist only when there is something in the way of the light shining. When we put our light under a basket. When we, for whatever reason refuse to let our light shine, darkness prevails. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

God is glorified in us by us doing what we have been told to do. People will celebrate our God when we do good works in His name.

If darkness is prevailing in a city or region, it's because the church isn't letter her light shine. Once the light starts shining, the war is over. If the church is doing what it is called to do, the city will reflect that accordingly. Therefore the level of darkness in a city is a direct witness to the level of negligence of the church to walk in it's calling as light. That isn't to say that a city with an obedient church won't have lost people in it but it is to say that prevalent darkness is a sign of negligence.

The word of God is true. It says in 2nd Chronicles 7:12-14 that if the heavens are shut ,darkness is prevalent and famine and pestilence run rampant, it is the people of God who need to repent and turn from their wickedness. Not the unsaved people that don't know Him. If His name isn't made great, it is because we haven't been making it great by obeying His word and relating to the world as the word of God clearly teaches us to. It is in the context of the people of God returning to Him and committing to obey what He has told them to do that God heals the land that once was plagued by His judgements.

It is impossible to impart darkness. You can hinder light from entering but once the decision is made to let your light shine, the fight is decided. Light always wins and there is no argument. As the church of Jesus Christ, we are condemned to victory. If we would just get in the ring, we would be victorious and darkness would no longer reign unchallenged in our cities. All warfare from the enemy is only to serve to distract us from our place of unstoppable victory. The enemy many times keeps the church distracted by chasing little pip-squeek demons around. This keeps us from walking in our true identity which is victorious over darkness by default. how then should we live knowing that we have been ordained by God to be an unstoppable force for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. We have been commissioned by Him to go forth in this calling while we have breath in our lungs. Woe to us if we neglect this calling for any reason. There is no good excuse for being timid in this age, knowing that God is for us. May the Lamb receive the reward of His sufferings!!!!

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon what?

After Jesus was in the wilderness fasting in the desert, He arose from that place and went straight to the synagogue (Luke 4). He was handed the scroll and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. He declared that He was the fulfillment of this scripture. If we go back and read the whole chapter of Isaiah 61, we will get a very full description of Jesus’ ministry while He was on the earth and, knowing that we as the church and as followers of Jesus, are called to imitate Jesus in every way, this our job description as well. We are the light of the World. The Spirit of the The Lord God is upon us and it is for a very practical reasons.

When we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit so that we can accurately re-present Jesus to those around us. We are given the grace to walk as Jesus walked (1st John 2:6) and being that we are given grace we are also now expected to live in light of the grace that was given to us. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us so that we would have the power to bring everyone we come in contact with into an encounter with God.

In Isaiah 61:1-3 there are 5 reasons that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us to:





and comfort.

Out of any given situation we find ourselves in where there are broken, lost or hurting people in front of us, we are to be operating in one of these 5 expressions in the name of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, this is to be our response to suffering and all of it’s manifestations. We aren’t called to be mean to lost, broken and hurting people, or to judge lost, broken and hurting people. We are called to comfort, heal, deliver, give to them and to preach the good news to them.

So much of the contemporary churches response to the poor and the lost is inspired by satan and not by God at all. When we take into consideration that satan is the accuser of the brethren and that Jesus is the one that has not dealt with us according to our sins (see psalm 103) but removed them from us, we can see that in most cases, the modern western church looks more like the devil then God and this ought not be so. We are all called to prophets of hope to everyone around us. We need to stop putting our fingers in the faces of the ones who need what’s in us and start doing what we can to display the goodness of God to them instead. (Read Romans chapter 2. Paul is talking to the church and not lost people.)

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance”? Romans 2:4

When we live lives that are a walking testimony of the character of God to the broken and lost people, God is glorified. It’s by what we do that brings glory to God. As ones that name the name of Jesus, we will either cause God to be celebrated in our cities as a result of people seeing God’s goodness displayed through us or the name of our God will be blasphemed because of us using His name and walking as judges and accusers. If we live and walk like Jesus did, people will turn to Him and God will be celebrated in our cities, if we name the name of God and act like the devil, the name of God will be blasphemed in our cities. The choice is totally ours and we will give an account to God for what we did or didn’t do in His name. (See Romans 2:24)

It's a fixed fight and we are condemned to nothing but victory. We are commissioned to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature." We are commissioned to make disciples of the nations. This is not a suggestion but if we call Jesus "Lord", this is our full time job description in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our work places and in our cities and nations. There is not one Christian that is exempt from this commission.

God is for you! Who then can be against you?!? Go forth now and take your city for God!!!

Never give up.


Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi (Mother Teresa's version)

Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread
and by our understanding love give peace and joy.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

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