The mystery from a lamp to the light
Matthew 5:14-16, Mark 4:21-22; Luke 8:16-17; 11:33-36
1/3/2021; BCBC/IOUC; Rev. Wang
The first sermon this year will be about our anticipation for this whole year, which is “the mystery from a lamp to the light.” This is one of Jesus’ parables, and the first parable I will be preaching this year. Let’s see the first point.
Walk out of the darkness under the bushel
What is the darkness under the bushel? A bushel is a vessel for food. One bowl contains 6.25 kg of food.
1.1 How can light be covered under the bushel
Have you seen a bushel? It is a squared wooden box, if you placed it upside down, it could completely cover the lamp inside of it. What is Jesus talking about? A lamp is not huge and could be covered by the bushel, however, their relationship is not suitable. Lamp is showing the essence of light, but the wood is powerless in front of the light. The essence of our believer’s life is to witness our Lord. God does not prefer any obstructions, because the essence of everything is decided by the Lord. Once we understood the will of God, we should walk out of the darkness under the bowl and be the light of the Lord, praising His glory!
1.2 Only the stand can show the light
Lamp should be on the stand. When Hitler was killing the Jews, what are German churches doing? If people were doing evil, how can God’s children be silent? God’s house, God’s children are being persecuted. How can the church be silent? There is a Canadian church “Xin You Church”, praying for Chinese persecuted churches for more than 10 years. They become our model. Many Hongkonger escaped from the political pressure, but many missionaries also went to Hong Kong. They comfort wounded Christians there and establish churches, raising people of God. A believer, entering the church, should look for his or her service position, lighting up the light of life. In other words, after a believer left the stand of church, he or she could not light up the light of God. Arrogant people could never show the righteousness of God outside of churches.
1.3 Glory to God in front of people
Here we are talking about the relationship between motives and effects. Jesus wants us to light up the light of God in front of people through our actions. What should we do facing the Lord’s command? First we have to face the old self; second we have to complete his order. Old self makes us act for our own glory in front of people, robbing the glory of God. When people praise your appearance, answering “thank you”does not give the glory to God. Even when you didn’t say anything, you wanted to be praised by people. This motive would become emotions that break out as vicious rivers. The only way to adjust our motives is to enter the mission, letting the great mission to be our motive. We could bear the glory fruits as the specific adjustment. The specific way is to escape from the glory and try to give the glory to God. Let’s see the second point.
Stand at the light of the city
The first point is about individuals. The second point is about the group and church and our witness. Have you ever wondered why Jerusalem is high up on the mountain? How about building it in the land of food Bethlehem? This place has food! Or Galilee, which has mountains, rivers and fishes. No, because these places are not high enough. People could hardly see it. Do you understand God’s mind?
2.1 Let the people at the low place to see
A follower of Jesus is someone walking with God, also someone walking on spiritual high places. From a spiritual angle, people view our life from a low place. This is the design of gospel, which lets our life be like a drama to be seen by people. Joshua leading the chosen people into the promised land, people from Canaan opened their eyes wide, seeing how Israel people were the Lord’s witness. Today people around the world are the same. They are observing us who claimed as the children of God and our witness, whether we are glorifying the Lord. Since we now know we are on the high place, we could not hide. We should stand up and testify for God.
2.2 Let the people at a distance to see
If you have been to Jerusalem, you would see the golden city. You drive towards Jerusalem at 9 am and you will see a golden city, right? Then you would never forget Jerusalem. This is the process of hearing to see. Before we went to Jerusalem, we have heard many stories about it, especially in the New Testament where Jesus left many beautiful footprints. There are a total 14433 steps from Oliver Mountain to the Cenacle on Zion Mountain, which is also what I’ve walked. When I stepped into Jerusalem, my greatest feeling is words in the Bible all stand out to me. They are speaking to us, testifying the energy of this ancient city.
2.3 let God’s people build themselves up
Do you remember Nehemiah’s testimony? He let the citizens from the Holy City build the wall in front of their houses, like Jude the disciple from the NT. He said “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, (Jude 1:20)” This is also God’s calling for today’s world, “build the spiritual wall!” Repentance is necessary, but the calling for repentance has been too long, right? If do not repent, then he still does not repent! God is calling those who are willing to repent. By building the spiritual wall, every church should build 1. wall of prayer, 2. wall of gospel, 3. wall of missionary, 4. wall of life, 5. wall of study, 6. wall of caring, 7. wall of discipleship. Let’s see the third point.
Testify the glorious God
God is the light. He has no darkness. So we could only testify to Him in the light.
3.1 Out of the darkness, enter into the light
Paul once said, “sacrifice the body as a living sacrifice and live for the Lord”, which purpose of to let us come out of the darkness, enter into the light, experiencing God’s good will. Adam’s offspring live in the darkness, but Christians live in the light. Therefore Paul encouraged us not to follow the world but always renew our minds. We like to hide in the darkness and say nothing to others, right? Then we like to judge others in the darkness. Then when we are criticized, we deny our responsibilities and fall into the greater darkness. So, we better always live in the light. Would you like to do so?
3.2 When the eye is single, hearts are clearer
When talking about eyes being opened, we would think about the story of Eden. Luke stated: “The light of the body is the eye; therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness (Luke 11:34)” In Hebrew, eye is “οφθαλμος (ophthalmos)”, which could be translated as flesh eyes, or seeing. This explained the confusion in Genesis. The eyes created by the Lord have 2 purpose: 1. the clearness in flesh eyes and 2. the spiritual seeing. The word “single” is very unique. It means when we only look upon God. God wants us to only look upon Him and not turn around and fall into temptations.
3.3 Examine frequently and be shined
After we have the spiritual seeing, we need to examine ourselves frequently or we will still be blind. God gave our ancestors opened eyes, but they want to seek other lights in Satan. If our hearts work with the Spiritual, He would shine the darkness in our hearts. God is looking forward to us: “Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” (Luke 11:36)” The spiritual light and our self-examine are united in Jesus Christ.
The mystery from a lamp to the light is to walk out of the darkness under a bowl, will you?
Standing at the light of the city is the testimony of God’s children, are you doing so?
Testifying glorious God is God’s calling to you, are you prepared for it?