June 26, 2015
OK. We've spent the last three weeks on what it means to be the salt of the earth. Now it’s time to get on with what it means to be the light of the world. Once again, here’s how it reads in the KJV:
Matthew 5:13-16: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Since we’ve pretty much covered the first part of this statement, let’s move on to the amplified and re-translated portion of this passage:
[When I said, “Light be,” that was the light that brought this world into being. I AM that light.] (Because you are in me, and I AM in you, you are — likewise — the light of this world. That is a light one cannot hide.
[As representatives of the New Jerusalem] you are like that City which is elevated on a high hill or mountain and cannot be hidden from view. (You have been made and destined to be visible to this world.) (Matthew 5:14, RAC Translation & Amplification)
No one lights a candle, and then hides it under some kind of covering or utensil. Rather, they put the candle on some kind of lampstand or decorative piece in order to elevate it so as to give light to the whole room.
Let that light (My light) which is in you, therefore, radiate brilliantly in front of all men and women so that the value of your relationship with and in Me — manifested in the works, the signs and wonders — is demonstrated. That, in turn, will cause Father in Heaven to receive glory and honor and praise!(Matthew 5:15-16, RAC Translation and Amplification)
Consider, now, how John described Jesus and how His appearance impacted society:
John 1:5, KJV: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
But look at how the Greek text really puts it:
And the light appeared in the midst of the darkness, exposing everything previously obscured to view; and the darkness was incapable of seizing, possessing and overwhelming it. (The darkness couldn’t even understand the nature, character or makeup of that light). (John 1:5, RAC Translation and Amplification)
Consider for a moment, the inability of physical darkness to deal with even the slightest amount of light. Step into a closet, close the door, and unless the top, sides and bottom of the door have rubber seals to absolutely block out any incoming light, even a slight crack at the bottom or sides will allow you to see even dimly in the closet. In order to illustrate what we are talking about with light and darkness, let me share a story with you. This is a bit long, and it gets into a lot of areas, but it highlights precisely where we are going with this discussion on the significance of our being the light of the world, and the inability of the natural world to understand and comprehend the dimension in which we live.
"Let me explain the problem science has with religion." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'
'Yes sir,' the student says.
'So you believe in God?'
'Is God good?'
'Sure! God's good.'
'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'
'Are you good or evil?'
'The Bible says I'm evil.'
The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment. 'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'
'Yes sir, I would.'
'So you're good...!'
'I wouldn't say that.'
'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does He? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?'
The student remains silent. 'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'
'Er..yes,' the student says.
'Is Satan good?'
The student doesn't hesitate on this one.. 'No.'
'Then where does Satan come from?'
The student falters. 'From God.'
'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?'
'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'
'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.
Again, the student has no answer.
'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'
The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'
'So who created them ?'
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. 'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
'Tell me,' he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'
The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'
The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'
'No sir. I've never seen Him.'
'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'
'No, sir, I have not.'
'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?'
'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'
'Yet you still believe in him?'
'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'
'Nothing,' the student replies. 'I only have my faith.'
'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat? '
'And is there such a thing as cold?'
'Yes, son, there's cold too.'
'No sir, there isn't.'
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet.
The student begins to explain.
'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can get down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'
'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it isn't darkness?'
'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester.
I know you're looking at me cross-eyed, wondering where this is going, but bear with me. We'll finish the story and wrap this up next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Once again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long.
Blessings on you!
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