I. Becoming a Lamp on a Stand (Matt 5:13-16)

Blake Hicks kicked everything off with Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount. As kingdom people, Christians are salt and light, and play a valuable role in bringing saving and healing advantages to a world in need of Jesus. As salt we bring preservation where there is decay and flavor to what is tasteless. If we become bland oursleves (i.e. no longer salty), however, then there is no other use for us except to be trampled under foot by men. As light we shine forth the glory of Christ to others and, at the same time, expose the darkness which the lost love. Without doubt, when both of these things occur, people will insult us and persecute us; however, according to Jesus, this should be a cause for rejoicing (Matt 5:11-12).

Blake then explained that Christian’s who fail to let their light shine in a dark world are not fulfilling God’s purpose for them on earth. For us to claim to be Christians and then live lives which do not allow our light to shine is absurd. Indeed, who lights a lamp and then proceeds to put that lamp under a basket (5:15)? Instead, the light of Christ must shine forth from us daily, so that all who are in the house will see it.

In applying this point, Blake then pointed our attention to two passages in 1 Corinthians, the second of which absolutely floored me. The first, 1Cor 5:9-10, says, “I wrote you in my previous letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; I did not at all mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.” Here Paul assumes that as Christians they will continue to be in the context of this kind of people, in order that they might be salt and light to them. The second, 1Cor 10:27, states, “If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions, for conscience’ sake.” Clearly, Paul assumes that unbelievers are going to ask Christians to eat with them. This was very convicting to me, because I have placed myself in a context so that I have not been asked by an unbeliever to go to dinner in about three and a half years. Paul assumes that the Christians will be engaging the culture.

Lastly, Blake clarified that Christians shining their light in a dark world so that others might see their good deeds is penultimate. The glory of God is ultimate. Since this is the case, our mission as light ought to be driven by our desire to see our Father praised amongst people who are now foreigners to the gospel of Christ. Thus, we must be light in such a manner that causes others to glorify God and not ourselves.

One of the songs we sang was very fitting for Blake’s message. It is titled, “Out from Under”:

You are the salt, and you are at fault
When you are afraid like a small mouse
For you are not bland, you’re a lamp on a stand
And you could give light to the whole house

So come out, come out from under
Don’t run for cover
When you could shine, shine, shine
Oh, shine the Light for the whole world

We are the salt, and we are at fault
When we don’t engage, but we bail out
For we are not bland, we’re the lamp on a stand
And we could give light to the whole house

We come out, we come out from under
We won’t run for cover
Instead we will shine, shine, shine
Oh, shine the Light for the whole world

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