Steve Entwistle, Missionary Testimony
Introduce: SLIDE #1 Family, Connection to (church), Ministry history BRIEFLY, Current ministry,
Read Text: Mt. 5:14-16 SLIDE #2
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
- Background of Sermon on the Mount: Somewhere near the northwest side of the Sea of Galilea, Jesus seated, a crowd representing disciples and very interested listeners is before him…inaugural address as the King, explaining what he expects of the members of his kingdom.
- Beatitudes have just been proclaimed—showing the inner character of true followers of God…..last beatitude is a WARNING of coming persecution for those who model the virtues of the beatitudes:
- “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you…..”
- human instinct at a time of suffering, loss, persecution is to hide, retreat, regather.
- BUT Jesus continues on in his sermon by declaring that we are to do quite the opposite! We are to be OUT THERE in the world, being salt and light.
- SLIDE #3 , You ARE the Light of the World: The word “ARE” is a DECLARATION
- Anyone who fits the descriptors of the Beatitudes
- Anyone whose heart is aligned to know God and obey Him.
- Anyone who is a sincere follower of Jesus, depending on His grace alone for salvation, based on His sacrifice alone for the forgiveness of sins.
THESE are the ones who Jesus declares to be “the salt of the earth…light of the world.”
NOT: You will become LIGHT if you get a seminary degree or get trained in evangelism.
You ALREADY ARE the LIGHT if you are a Christ-follower!
- You ARE the Light of the World:
- Observations about Light: Without it….scary, bumble around, bump into things, can be dangerous (bugs in Africa), frustrating….me as a kid thought a shark was under my bed.
- The illustrations Jesus uses with Light metaphor: Light is a GOOD Thing!
- “A city on a hill cannot be hidden”
For travelers by night, seeing the glow of a distant town gave orientation and hope…it was a very welcome sight!
Ancient town located nearby to the possible location of the Sermon on the Mount: Hippos Sussita SLIDE #4 We can imagine Jesus’ gesture to the crowd as he spoke….
- Lamp: Herodian clay lamps Used in the house, placed on a stand. Provided warmth, visibility, safety. There wasn’t electricity, so the main form of light was to use, fill them with Olive oil, and use a small wick, set them on a stand in the middle of the room. Enough of these lighten lamps in a town, and at night there would be a slight glow.
These metaphors re-emphasize that Light is a GOOD thing!
- The Light Metaphor had strong meaning to Jesus’ original audience….
- To a Jew during Jesus time, Light was symbolic of knowledge, truth, revelation, and love.
- They would know that LIGHT was used extensively in Isaiah describing the mission of God to the nations” SLIDE #5
Is 51:4 “My justice will become a light to the nations.”
Is 60:3 “Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (God’s heart for missions!)
Matthew himself quotes Is 9:1-2 when he says, SLIDE #6 “The people living in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Mt. 4:16
- With the Light Metaphor, the world is seen as spiritually dark, desperately needing the Light of Christ.
- Sharon has a story about the realities of spiritual darkness and the Light of Jesus SLIDE #7
- Mzee Alide was a blind beggar who was stuck in both physical and spiritual blindness……story SLIDE #8 Interesting that Muslim dreams often involve LIGHT.
- Very interestingly, SLIDE #9 Jesus equates HIMSELF to be the Light of the world in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- But in our passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares that WE are the Light of the world! How can this be?
In and of myself, I don’t have a ton of light to offer…….in and of myself, I’m not going to be a bright beam of hope to humanity….I don’t forsee myself inventing the miracle drug to end cancer or figure out a way to being peace to countries at war…..
The answer is clearly that we are the Light of the World as we reflect to the outside world, the True Light of Christ, WHO IS WITHIN US.
I may not have a lot of natural light to offer humanity, in and of myself, but INASMUCH as I reflect the light of Jesus in me, I truly do have the powerful LIGHT OF THE WORLD to offer humanity!
2 Cor 13:5 says, “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you..”
- Notice how Jesus says “LET your light shine”
NOT: Muster up your Light and get out there.
Generate some Light and go make a difference
Wait until you feel “light-like”.
Shocking confession to make here as your church missionary: Sometimes I don’t feel very full of light. It has been a tough season for me, losing a lot: Dad, sports, front-line ministry…. I’ve felt lost at times. Not very “light-like!”
Maybe some of you can identify with not feeling much like “LIGHT.”
The good news is that it isn’t our job to generate the light, but rather trust that Jesus is the one who shines through us…. Maybe EVEN MORE BRIGHTLY because of the pain and loss and tears. Maybe that is exactly what he is going to use to draw another sufferer to himself.
So don’t disqualify yourself just because you don’t always “feel it.”
NO, the light is ALREADY in us, our job is to LET Jesus’ light shine out to others.
How do we do that? SLIDE #10 “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.”……acts of kindness, compassion, generosity, love, both in actions and in words.
- Application: What does this mean for us today?
Being the Light of the World means we are to be missional, intentional agents of redemption in a lost and dying world.
- Place ourselves in strategic positions where we can shine brightly—go to the darkness….UNCOMFORTABLE! Neighbor, inner-city ministry, mission field, co-worker who is lost, a family member who doesn’t know Jesus? GO TO THEM!
- Jesus’ example of reaching out to the demoniac., Samaritan woman, Zaccheus.
- Learn what you can about them so that you can be relevant—learn some of their culture, hobbies, favorite TV shows, what makes them “tick”
it is the SAME PRINCIPLES that apply whether you are on the mission field in Africa or in the _( )___ of _( )_!
LOVE PEOPLE STRATEGICALLY, AND LAVISHLY!
- Trust that Jesus is the one shining through us—We ARE the light of the world, and Jesus WILL make a difference shining through us!
–Don’t assume the PRESSURE of needing to be the one who blasts out the darkness, who brings about spiritual revival to the Lost.
–Ultimately, the LIGHT is Jesus, and our role is to LET Jesus shine through us.
(church), go out into the world and be the light that you were created to be!