For any good thing that comes out of my life, because I know that it’s not me, I can only thank the Lord for his incredible mercy that he would allow me to be an instrument, that I would somehow serve to encourage someone, to be an example to someone, to be a source of teaching or illumination to anyone, because God has deigned to use me.
I think that one of the things that God does, if he wants to use us mightily, first of all he shows us how unworthy we are of being used of him. I think that if God wants to use any man, any woman in a powerful sort of way, he first slaps us a couple of times and says, you know, ‘you’re not worthy of my using you’.
Why? Because I think that the natural inclination of human beings is to sort of take an ego trip, when God uses us somehow to shed some light in the world, we can become a little bit proud. And somehow God wants to stamp us first with a zeal of humility, and says, ‘yes, you are the light of the world, but only because I am the light of the world, only because I let you shine in the way that I shine. Only because I am within you and what people see is like in a lamp, a light is usually enclosed within some sort of glass enclosure and you’re looking through the enclosure at the light that is inside, really what’s emitting the light. We’re like the outside, the bulb that is enclosing the source of life. People look at us and see that luminosity within us and so we say, ‘hey, don’t look at me, I am unworthy, look at the light that is inside.
So, it leads to understand, it takes the burden away. I don’t have to be carrying this burden of being good, of being an example, of doing good things. You know, Jesus is the one that does that in me and then I also recognize that I am nobody really, I do not have a right. And I think that that is so important, so that kind of humility is so important, because I think it is really what shuts down the capacity of the world to ultimately accuse us of pride or anything like that. I think, when we live a holy life, when we try the best that we can to live a holy life, and we are doing things that are worthy of God, we are so aware of our brokenness, we’re so aware that there’s nothing in me that commands the admiration of the world. And I think that when the world sees that brokenness in us, when the world sees that transparency within us, when the world sees, ‘hey, I know that I am a sinner. I know that there’s nothing good in me, and that doesn’t mean that I’m throwing dirt on myself and going around with a low self esteem. There’s a difference between a low self esteem which comes from an inferiority complex, some sort of neurosis and a true understanding of who we are, that then allows God to work through us and shows to the world the face of brokenness, of holiness lived in brokenness, let’s put it that way, and how winsome is holiness lived in brokenness, how neutralizing of the world’s accusation. Because we say, ‘hey, I am not proclaiming to be better than anybody else, I am simply saying that God has shown me, I cannot do it by myself, but his light in me manifests itself and I give him all the glory.
Talking a little bit about that idea of God breaking us before using us, like the Apostle Paul for example. The Apostle Paul was led up to the heavens, in Second Corinthians chapter 12 he says that he saw things that he could not even speak about, it was exalted, so sublime, and it says that in order that the exalted nature of the revelations would not lead me into pride, the Lord sent to me a messenger of Satan, a thorn in my flesh that would buffed me and in a sense of slap me around in order that I might not be exalted in any kind of unmerited form, about which 3 I have asked him, ‘free me from this, and 3 times he said, let my grace suffice in you’.
So, here again, you see that whole thing of God making the Apostle Paul aware. You know, I have blessed you with great revelation. I have blessed you with great understanding of my mysteries, I have allowed you to be so enlighten that you write 2/3 of the New Testament as he did, to establish the theological foundations of my church, but I want you to know, first of all, preventively, that you’re not worth really emitting so much light. And you know, that’s going to keep you humble. Sometimes God will… I think what is leading me to wrestle with him this moment, I didn’t anticipate to go in that direction of my message, but you know, it is this interaction, as you know, here he’s going to speak, in this text for a moment, he’s going to speak about let your good deeds shine before all men, so that they might give glory to God.
You know, but there’s a tension there. there’s a tension between good deeds and grace, there’s a tension there between holiness and brokenness, there’s a tension there about who is the true source of light and what is the particular that we plan. And I think we need to see the complexity, we need to keep all these different things in tension in order to understand that deep complexity of scripture. Because I think when sometimes we try to do, is we try to tear these things and then we turn this call to produce good deeds, into a source of sterility, of burden, of struggle and of agony and we lose the fact that God has provided for all that in his scripture. I mean, for our brokenness, for our sinfulness and yet for that call to holiness as well.
And I think, when we learn that, when we learn to keep these forces in tension I think, interestingly enough, instead of making us more anxious, I think it releases us, to live holy lives without have to be neurotically, compulsively forced to lead that good life that God calls us to. It’s only when we understand that God’s call to holiness is penetrated by also a call to acknowledge our sinfulness and our unworthiness, that we can truly find relief.
I told some of you that I’ve been reading the biography of Martin Luther, the great reformer of the 16th century, and what a fascinating case study, precisely of that. Martin Luther lives his entire life as a monk under a religion of good works and of penance, and of a God who demanded that he did good things, and he could not do it, he couldn’t give of the kind oif life that God wanted. He knew that there were all kinds of things that were contrary and his religion could only provide either, you buy all kinds of indulgences and pay money for your peace of mind, either you go to the priest and you confess every sin that you have and make sure that you haven’t missed one in order that I can be given absolution, either you give alms to the poor or you go to Rome and carry out some sort of pilgrimage, or you buy an indulgence to forgive a thousand years from purgatory or you kiss a certain relic and a particular city, and so on, and you know Luther couldn’t find peace in any of these things, be he couldn’t…. nobody can find peace by doing things externally, by trying to produce light on their own.
So he had to, finally, God led him through the study of the word, through that idea of grace. And when he found grace, then interestingly enough he was released to give light and what a light he gave. He took the darkness of the Middle Ages and of dead religion, he confronted it and in his desire to announce grace, the grace of God, the release of God he changed the course of human history and certainly of Christianity.
Because that’s what happens, you know, when we are freed from the need to give light off by ourselves, and when we realize that it’s not us who can give the light but Jesus Christ, then we can give that light.
There’s another passage that comes to my mind as well, it’s when Jesus says, ‘you know, when you have done everything that I have asked of you, you are still unworthy servants’. When we have given off all the light that we can, we still have not done all that we could do.
So I think that’s an important thing to remember as we get into this idea of giving light. We give the light of Jesus. It is he who gives it. Also, I think, we do not attract attention to ourselves, we always point to the Lord. We do good works out of our brokenness and we acknowledge of the world that there is no good in us and that we are simply moving on borrowed energy, borrowed power from the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, when we can be the light even as he himself, as Jesus himself, is being the light. I think that another thing that this passage tells me is that Jesus says, ‘you are the light of the world’. You know, that’s again, an important claim. Jesus always spoke in absolute terms. He could have said, you are a light in the world, or you are light in the world. He didn’t say that, he said, you are the light, just as he said, ‘I am the truth, the way and the life’.
It’s an absolute, definitive article. And I think it’s important as believers. In a pluralistic world that we live in, where there are so many different religions in the religious market, Christian make this bold claim that we are the only source of true light, or the only true source of light. And I think we have been lead many times in our culture kind of abandon that idea. Certainly I don’t think we need to go around flaunting it in people’s faces and throwing it around. You know, ‘did you know that Christianity is the only true religion?’ as you speak to a Muslim or a Buddhist, or a Hindu. We don’t need to do that, but I think we need to walk in that certainty and I don’t think we can be apologetic. We’re driven to a corner, or not even driven to a corner, but I think we need to find sensitive, winsome, humble ways of saying to people, ‘you know, we have received something that is unique,’ and Jesus is the one who has been sent to bring the truth of God’s word to the world, and we should not be apologetic about that.
Again, you hear that sort of one of the pet peeves that I have in my life, that I see so much of Christianity in this modern culture that we live in. I think that in two thirds world, that’s not so much, I think we’re more used to conflict and honesty, and being in your face, I mean, that’s more of a cultural face. So, we don’t … but I think in the westernized, pluralistic, intellectual world that we inhabit in America, in other westernized countries, there is this thing that we’re afraid to make those kinds of absolute claims, and so Christians have been driven into a position of timidity many times. We’ve run away from that idea.
And I think the world needs to know that we have something unique, something powerful, something that nobody else can bring. And I say, we can say it nicely and humbly but we need to say it. And you know, interestingly enough in the beginning people may be put off, they may be resisted, but in the end there’s something very powerful and mysterious, spiritual about saying that Jesus is the truth, the way and the life. There’s almost like an element of spiritual warfare, when you exalt the name of Jesus, when you declare it that way, you know, powers are broken.
And this is why many times people react that way, often it’s not them who are reacting that way, I have to say it, it is the demonic many times, I wouldn’t be saying it necessarily in a different kind of context, but many times the demonic elements that contaminate this culture react negatively, there’s a clash of the spirits when people announce the uniqueness of Jesus and of the gospel.
We have to understand that that spiritual dimension so that when we have to announce it, we know that we are announcing it in the spirit and there’s a spiritual transaction taking place and that we have to say ‘yes, Christianity is the light of the world. We are the light of the world, and we are the hope of the world’.-
When Jesus says, you are the light of the world he is saying, the world lives in darkness and time and time again you see that in scripture. Christianity is the light because Jesus is the light and Jesus is in Christianity and the world that is not in Christ have their eyes, it’s put in terms of hidden, the gospel says that if the gospel is hidden among those who are blind, those who have been blinded by the spirit of this world, so that the light of Jesus would not shine upon them.
The church is the hope of the world. I think that the church of this time needs to have its self esteem built up a lot. I think we’ve been so battered by the events of the last decades that we have lost that sense of the high self esteem that we need to hold ourselves in. We have something that is unique and we should wear it proudly.
And Jesus says, ‘you know, if you have that then you cannot hide that’. I think the essence of what he’s saying is that. That the declaration that you are the light of the world was simply a preface to something that he wants to drive to us. What are we going to do with that knowledge? If we accept that we are the light of the world, the hope of the world, the source of truth of the world, how then shall we live?, somebody has asked. What behavioral consequence of that have? And he puts in the form of a couple of affirmations.
He says, a city on a hill cannot be hidden. I mean, when you see a city that’s high, a group of buildings and you’re driving at night, for example, and you see the lights of that city, it’s impossible to ignore it. I was sharing with the Latino congregation the other day about a trip that I took many, many years ago as a student to Mexico with a bunch of guys, and we were going to Acapulco and we got lost somewhere. It was really late at night, and we were driving through the mountains and we couldn’t see anything and we should have been in Acapulco hours before. But finally we got it together and surely enough in the distance there we saw the lights of Acapulco. And what a welcome sight that was. You know, we knew that we were safe, that we were going to get there, we were going to get to a hotel and we were going to be able to sleep that night and it was going to be all right.
The other memory that I have in that sense is a Jerusalem and I think maybe Jesus was thinking of Jerusalem when he said a city on a hill. Jerusalem is high on a hill and when you’re coming from the airport into Jerusalem you can see it from far away. As you’re driving into Jerusalem you can see the houses of the city all over and it’s a very beautiful sight. The stones of the…. The particular building materials of the city of Jerusalem, very beautiful.
The Bible speaks of the sound of ascent that the pilgrims coming from all parts of the world to Jerusalem to worship during the High Holidays, would sing as they saw beautiful Jerusalem afar and they were walking towards and they would start singing and reciting psalms and prayers and the joy that finally they were going to come to the holy city again and be able to be there.
So Jesus is saying, when something as large as city is placed on a hill, you cannot hide it. And this idea of things that are placed high not to be hidden, is a dominant element in Jesus’ mentality.
He told Nicademus, he says, just as the serpent of bronze was lifted in order that the Israelites upon seeing it would be healed. Do you remember the story of the serpents of fire that bit Israelites because of their sinfulness in the desert? And they were dieing all over the place and the Lord told Moses, ‘Build a bronze serpent and place it where everybody can see it, so that anybody who looks at the serpent will immediately be healed’. That was God’s crazy solution to the serpent problem, and surely enough people looked at the serpent and they were healed.
And so Jesus remembered that to Nicademus to whom he was showing that he was the Son of God and interestingly enough, by the way, Nicademus comes to Jesus and says, ‘you know, you have to be a prophet of God because nobody does the things that you do without being a prophet of God’. And Jesus stops him right there and then begins to lead him into this idea, ‘I am, not just one prophet, that’s the definitive article here, Jesus is not too tolerant of the idea that he is one of, or one more prophet.
But anyway, he says, as the bronze serpent was raised up, so that those who would see it would be healed, in that same way, must the Son of man be raised up so that all who see him, all who look to him, all who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life.
So, this idea that Jesus must be lifted up because there’s a quality in Jesus, in his personality and who he is, just because of who he is, when you look at Jesus, when you look at his actions, when you look at his personality, when you look at his power, when you look at his divinity, his integrity, his peerless record, something happens. That’s why we need to point people to Jesus and say, ‘we’re not the light’, just like John in that passage that I read, says:
“… he says I am not the light, I’m simply a witness to the light…”
When we point to Jesus, when we lift Jesus up before people and we say, ‘hey, look at him. Take a look at him..’ so that when people look at Jesus as he is displayed in the words of scripture through the values of the Kingdom of God, through the gospels, through the theology that he unleashed, there’s something that happens, when people honestly take a look at Jesus, and we simply show him and take out all the paraphernalia. I think the church has a lot of stuff that we place around Jesus that is totally secondary and tertiary and I think much of what the church needs to do is take away all that stuff and let the Jesus shine, let the power, let the personality of Jesus come through, let’s lift him up, because once he is lifted up, he does what he has to do.
But this idea of lifting up a city on a hill cannot be hidden. He’s talking about a logical impossibility. He’s setting us up for something there. He says, number one, a city on a hill, a city that is displayed on high cannot be hidden. So, he’s making the connection here already, when the gospel is placed on high, everybody is forced to look at it.
And then he also makes another comparison, he says, and you don’t take a light, he says, and hide it under a bowl. Another silly thing to do. Where is the light in this place? Above our heads. Why? Because it needs to be high enough to shed life. And that’s the nature of light, it has to be placed high. If you hide a light it’s a logical contradiction. You use light to shine upon something, so if you turn on a light it’s because you expect to throw away darkness, so you don’t hide it, you display it, and it’s the same idea that the gospel is not made to be hidden, the very nature of the gospel is to be displayed, to be exhibited, to be shown, to be flaunted, be witnessed, to be announced. It is in the very nature of the gospel. It is good news and the idea of news means that it has to be in shared. I mean, it cannot be news if there’s no one to hear it. Is that correct? I mean, is that a logical thing right there.
So, the gospel is to be announced. So he’s using two ideas, a city on a hill, it’s very nature is to be seen, light it’s very nature is to be placed where it is seen. So, he’s setting us up here for something and so what is the conclusion, what’s the punch line here?
In the same way, there it is, in the same way, let your light shine before men. As a community, what do we exist for here in the ciudad de Boston? Do we exist just to come in here like this and to be in a nice comfortable place, safe, where we can raise our hands, and I can speak really boldly and nobody is going to bother me because we all believe the same thing. this is simply a prelude to something, or this is simply the sequel to something.
But whether it is before or after, in the middle there is something that takes place which is the announcement, the proclaiming of the gospel. When we leave these doors and before we come in, there’s something that is supposed to be taking place through our lives. We’re supposed to be displaying the light, we’re supposed to be showing the light of Jesus. We’re supposed to be lifting the Son of God that people can see him and he can shed his light upon the world. You know, that is our reason for being.
If we are light then we have to put ourselves in positions where we can shed light. If you think about it that’s a revolutionary idea. We live for that. I mean, there’s a whole lot of things that as believers we can do, we can study the Bible, we can have fellowship times, we can have cell groups, we can do all kinds of things, but do you know that what you are, the essence of what you are is to be an evangelist, to be a bearer of good news, to be a source of light to the world, to bring people to the illuminating knowledge of Jesus Christ.
You know, how easy it is to put that aside and to do all kinds of other things, but somehow Jesus says, your primary, your absolutely first call is to announce the gospel to proclaim Jesus. I may have shared this with you before, but many times I become aware of how many believers there are in the ciudad de Boston, in the state of Massachusetts, how many people say that they’re Christians.
In America all kinds of polls, you know, it’s an amazing number of people and sometimes we kind of feel a bit encouraged or proud of the fact that fifty, sixty percent of people claim to believe in God and to believe in Christ in America. But, you know, the number of people who really shed light is very few. If Christianity is understood, if in each church we made that bold assertion and we kind of pushed that issue a little bit more, we need to make ourselves uncomfortable about that fact. The very nature of who we are demands that we be active believers, that we be active announcers of Jesus Christ.
I think if more people would internalize that identity that we have, all of a sudden in the marketplace, in academia, in the arts, in government, in high schools, in the medical facilities, in the social service agencies. I mean, do you know how many Christian teachers there are in the ciudad de Boston? Our Latino church has a number, a good number of teachers and social workers, for example.
I was speaking to a lady who works in a key place here in … not too far, in Villa Victoria, which has a lot of Latinos and this woman is like right in the center of the things that are happening in that part of the community and she’s a committed Christian, subversively fighting in the trenches, trying to use her influence to advance the kingdom and protesting about all the things that she’s struggling with inside there, aware of the deep darkness that is in that part of the community there, and she called me into her office because she wanted to say how can the church, Lion of Judah, cooperate with us. Her boss, the top honcho in that very influential organization is a committed Catholic as well, a committed Catholic woman, who has the same sentiment, they want to see something happening, and they’re doing all kinds of covert things because unfortunately there’s a stronghold that doesn’t want the gospel to shine.
So, for the time being we have to be subtle at times and sensitive, but I admire the fact that this woman is not content with simply living the status quo and being muscled by the prevailing culture into acquiescence and into submission. She’s doing things, so she’s calling her pastor in and sort of making me accountable and putting the fire on me. You know, I left out of there sweating and saying, ‘man, I have to deliver for this woman’. I got to make sure that she knows that I am listening to her. And she says, and I don’t want just a service here, I mean, I just don’t want a service in the park and then we go back to church and that’s it, we raise a lot of dust and we rebuke a couple a little devils and we think that we’ve done everything. No, she says, you have to attack this systemically.
And I admire that, this woman is struggling with the fact, ‘how can I be light in the darkness? How can I bring in my knowledge …. Because, for example, one of the things she does, she runs a little school right here in that part of the city, and she’s got 80 children and she was telling me about some of the struggles of parents, and all kinds of crazy stuff that happen in dysfunctional families, and also how the system, the secular system is militating against, even while they proclaim they are seeking to defend and they would supposedly die for the good of those children, they are hampering the light from shining through, because of their beliefs, they’re bound in darkness. They do not know a thing about human nature, they don’t know a thing about the demonic, they do not know a thing about the spirit realm. Everything they know is sociology, anthropology, economics, politics, but they don’t know very much about the spirit realm and what they know is twisted, is the opposite, it’s demonically inspired, and I say that with love and respect, by the way, but it’s the truth.
She’s there saying, how can I make a change? So she’s trying to bring in teachers who are believers and using every opportunity and saying, I want to come to the church and I want to let them know of some positions that are available pretty soon for teachers and I’d lover for them to be filled by Christian teachers, and there’s a position opening up soon to train kids in leadership and cultural stuff and so on, and I’d love to have a young person who’s a believer to take that position.
In other words, there she is, she’s a light in the darkness and she’s trying to let her light shine. She’s not allowing it to remain hidden and I pray for the day and I think if that woman finds others…. I mean, how can we, in our various spheres, do similar things? There’s all kinds of way in which we can do this. You don’t have to all of a sudden, in the lunch hour, stand up on a table and with a bunch of tracks in your hands and say, ‘accept Jesus or go to hell’, I mean, there’s all kinds of ways, powerful ways that you could do that, much more perfective, systemic, long terms, persistent, penetrating ways, that we can do that. But if we take that seriously in the factory, in the classroom, in the neighborhood, in the building where we live, in places where we occupy positions of authority, and we say, ‘Lord, find me a way, show a way that I can let my light, the light that I have of you, the knowledge that I have of the truth shine through me’, and you know, when we pray for that, all kinds of marvelous things begin to happen, all kinds of opportunities.
I think, the problem many times is that we don’t agonize enough, we do not pray enough, we do not understand enough that that is the call, that is the reason for being. I can do all kinds of other things but I have been rescued from the darkness in order that I might announce the merits of he who called me from the darkness into his wonderful light. I’m quoting him, translating from the Spanish, by the way. I’ll get to it sooner or later I’ll be able to do it right through English.
We are a nation of priests, priestesses and kings and of people who have been…. That’s what we’ve been commissioned for, and that’s what we need to live. We need to have that agony, we need to have that drivers. And again, don’t turn it, you know, even as I say agony, I say that advisedly because we should not turn it, again, into a compulsive thing, into a reason for condemnation. I think we should struggle to be used of God but in a sense out of a certain peace as well, because it’s not me who’s going to do it. If I want to do it, if I want the Lord to prevail, he will. If I offer myself to the Lord as an instrument and I know that that’s why I exist for, then somehow I need to relax in order to give fruit.
You know how that happens? Women supposedly sometimes when they get tense, they want to have a baby and they get so tense many times that they cannot have a baby and sometimes when women adopt, you know what happens many times? Then they give birth, I’ve seen that a couple of times actually. That women who could not give fruit, they get so tense they cannot… and then they adopt because they think I can never have a child and then right after they have a baby. Why? Because, apparently doctors think that’s just a tension that they have doesn’t allow them to give birth.
So, do not turn this call to giving fruit into a source of condemnation, but do seek to be a light and do seek to give off that light.
Just one more thing and I finish with this idea. It says here, “……let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven….”
There’s something here also about…. As we live the Christian life and as people see the way we live and the quality of our life and the beauty of our life, the winsomeness of our life, they are then led to glorify God. Many times it’s not the proclamations, we need people with spiritual laws standing in the middle of the subway station with a guitar and a microphone preaching the gospel. I think the most powerful way that we preach the gospel is simply by being the church, by living the life of believers, and by showing the excellence of the gospel and the power of the gospel and that’s intriguing and that is amazingly provoking and it leads people many times to the gospel.
Last night we had an activity, we had a dinner for couples at Lombardo’s and I always tell people, ‘this is a great opportunity for you to invite couples that don’t know the Lord so that they might see the church in a very natural light’. So, you know, a bunch of couples get together and they put on some nice clothes and we have a great dinner, and we have fun, we laugh and we have music and all kinds of stuff and we do not get religious on anyone, but we simply are the church, we live… we do something that is natural and normal. We’re having good time, but having it in a Christian sort of way and invariably at the end of last night, for example, a couple, as I thanked them for being there, said, ‘we got so much more out of this than we ever expected, we’ll see you at church this Sunday’.
And we’ve seen that so many times and I did not give an altar call, I did not preach an evangelistic sermon. People just saw the church being the church, having fun, being normal, but at the same time saw the joy of the Lord, we didn’t need a lot of alcohol to drug us and make us fun to be with and conversational, I mean, just the joy of friends being together. I mean, the spontaneity of the gospel showing itself, it calls people into the kingdom.
That’s exactly what happened in the Book of Acts when people saw the Kingdom of God manifesting itself, chapter 4, verse 32, Acts:
“… all the believers were one in heart and mind, no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the Apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them for from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the Apostle’s feet and it was distributed to anyone as he had need….”
In another passage it says: “…. They devoted themselves to the Apostle’s teaching and the fellowship of the breaking of bread into prayer, everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the Apostles. All the believers were together, had everything in common, etc., praising God, enjoying the favor of all the people and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being save….”
You know, that, as the church lived its life, a life of the power of the Holy Spirit being manifested, they saw healings, they saw harmony, they saw generosity, they saw passionate study of the word of God, prayer was taking place and so the spirit was being released, the gifts of the spirit were being shared, the goods were flowing back and forth, there was no one needy among them. What happened? People were watching this and they said, ‘This has to be God, because normal people don’t live that way, and so there’s got to be something special’. And people were at it. I really believe that that’s the way the best church growth takes place, by believers living a winsome life and enjoying the power of the life that is in Jesus Christ. As we live, as we let him shine, as we live out the call of the gospel people are touched.
So, again, I summarize everything by saying, you are the light of the world. I am the light of the world, our very nature commands us to live in such a way that we do not hide the gospel. We have to be the light, we have to act like the light. We have to let the light of God so beautiful, so winsome manifest itself through us and people will come.
I know that this church, this community here will be filled as we show the balance of the Kingdom of God, as we temper the call to holiness with the call to mercy, as we live out broken lives, but also lives that are empowered by the Holy Spirit, as we mix laughter with repentance, as we mix tolerance with a call to come into the fold of God. That’s an unbeatable combination, that light is hard to hide. People will see it from afar and they will be lead to come into the Kingdom of God.
So, let us be light, let us do the good deeds of the kingdom, so that those who see it will glorify God and be lead to Jesus. Why don’t we stand for a moment?
Let us receive that call tonight, let us acknowledge that. I want you to understand the primary call, this one single call tonight for each of us, be light. How can I be light in my neighborhood? How can I be light in my place of work?
Father, we do not shirk, we do not run away from what you have said and yet we also embrace it, Father, with joy. We know that you have committed yourself to empowering us. We do not do this alone, we do it in your grace and if we fail you lift up us again and you say, ‘Come and continue. I will be living through you and you will grow as a result and you will be an even better, more powerful, more influential bearer of my good news.’
So, Father, we do not accept this with fear. We accept it joyfully, reverently and we commit ourselves tonight, Lord, to being your church, to being sources of light in the world, to announcing the uniqueness of Jesus Christ to proudly wear the label of believers, of Christians, that belong to a redeemed humanity.
Father, make us powerful, make us contagious, make us effective, make us joyful, make us more and more like Jesus and we will give him always the honor and the glory. In his name we pray, amen and amen.