Sermon: Light of the World
Scripture: Matthew 5:14-16
In this week’s lessons we learn that as Jesus is the light of the world, so he calls us to be lights as well.
Theme: Walk in the Light
Moreover, when you act as the light of the world, as Jesus said we are, you will also find that the light of Christ will lead you on in love, grace, and righteousness and will keep you from falling as you move along the dark and treacherous paths of this world. Bishop Westcott, who I quoted earlier in this study, has a series of comments on this point that are so relevant to today’s world that they deserve repetition. He writes:
We lose the light if we do not follow Christ, and move as he moves. We cannot hold him back. It is the glory of our faith that it advances with the accumulated progress of all life. And it is our blessing that we are not left to grope sadly and restlessly for our way. That way is a track of light which grows dim only if we loiter or hang back. A Christian cannot rest in anything which has been already gained. New acquisitions of knowledge, new modes of thought, new forms of society, are always calling for interpretation, for recognition, for adjustment. . . .There are the trials of wealth burdened by an inheritance of luxury, which checks the growth of fellow-feeling and enfeebles the energy of Christian love. There are the trials of poverty worn by the struggle for bare existence, which exhausts the forces properly destined to minister to the healthy development of the fullness of life. There is the separation of class from class which seems to become wider with increasing rapidity through the circumstances of modern labour and commerce….There is the impatient questioning of old beliefs which gives an unreal value to the appeal to authority and casts suspicion upon sympathetic efforts to meet doubt.
But to meet all these dark problems our light—the Light of Life—is unexhausted and inexhaustible. The temple lamps blazed through the early night, but then at last they died out and darkness settled again over the city which lay below. Each borrowed and preparatory light gleamed for a time and afterwards faded away: such lights are consumed in burning. But the Light, which lightens because it lives… burns on with changeless splendour. And this only is required of us if we would know its quickening, cheering, warming energies, that we should follow it.1
Do we follow it? Do you? Oh, Christian, let us walk in the light, for then we walk with God. We do not escape the perils, foes, and dangers. But we do see them, and we see our proper path. In his light we see light. We reveal his light. And we do not overlook the goal.
1Brooke Foss Westcott, The Revelation of the Father, 55-57.
What are some stumbling blocks that keep us from shining for Christ in the world as we ought?
Are there areas of belief or practice in which the church as a whole could shine brighter than she is today?
Reflection: What does an increased possession of love, grace, and righteousness look like?