The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #8
This series, The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom, is to challenge our thinking regarding our lifestyle. It is intended to reveal a lifestyle of kingdom living that is so radically different that it will draw others. Because it is based on a changed belief and value system, which reflects the King, the results are changed actions. It is a true manifestation of discipleship and a relationship with Jesus; the behavior is not legalistic or fake. It is a genuine incarnational demonstration. The results ~ a lifestyle so radically different from the world’s values that it attracts the spiritually hungry!
In this note we want to talk about how bright we are! Jesus stated: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” (Matt 5:14).
Much like salt, this illustration is very graphic and conveys the healthy Kingdom lifestyle, one making an impact on those around us. Again, we see that Jesus was making a statement – not at question. “Ye are the light of the world.” He was not conveying an option, nor asking if we want to be the light. So, we could ask ourselves the question: “How bright are we?”
WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?
When He said ye are the light of the world, I believe Jesus was implying at least three things. First as disciples and Kingdom citizens, we are to continue His mission of restoration. Second, we are to be examples that are attractive and invite others to follow. Thirdly, we are to bring order the arenas of life we find ourselves in.
Just as he spoke into the darkness of creation, Jesus came to bring light to darkness. John records Jesus saying: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn 8:12). Quoting an Old Testament prophet, Matthew states: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matt 4:16). Mankind is in darkness. One of ignorance, sin and death and Jesus came as the “life” that “was the light of men” (Jn 1:4). He came to forever change their world! In Mathew He informs us we are the light, thus to continue what he started. We are to radiate the same life giving light to a world that is lost in darkness!
When he said ye are the light of the world he was speaking of us being an example for others to follow and bringing order to our environments.
Being an example for others to follow
Being the light of the world – brings clarification to our ministry: we are to radiate His light so brightly, that others want to follow us.
Jesus tells us that those that follow him, will not walk in darkness (Jn 8:12). If we follow the light, it leads us out of the darkness of ignorance and sin. It is a process of transformation into His image. If we continue His ministry, walking as He walked, we will demonstrate His reality and life changing power. It will become attractive to others and they will want to follow.
Paul understood this idea when he wrote to the Corinthian church: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). He also wrote to the church at Thessalonica: “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you” “…but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us” (2 Thess 3:7,8). Paul was speaking to them about his conduct, he was saying: “I follow Jesus: he is the light of the world. Through his light in me, I am becoming what he is. Therefore watch me and see him!” Paul was striving to be an example of Christ that they could follow.
How Bright Am I?
I am a marked person! When I declare I am a Christian – I am saying I am Christ like! I am implying that what He was – I am striving to be! As he acted – I am acting. Calling myself a Christian is not just a title of association: it is declaring what I am, how I believe, what I value, HOW I ACT! As the light of the world, I am to shine in a way that attracts others to follow me
Bringing order and beauty to the world
One means of attracting others to follow, is by revealing the order and beauty of the Kingdom life. In our text, the word “world” is “kosmos“ and means: “orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]).” It seems the Greek idea of beauty was order. The creation process reveals to us that God is of order and beauty. Unfortunately, man’s sin ruined it. It has been said, God made cosmos, man made chaos! So true!
As the light, it means there is order and beauty in my life and I am to bring that to a dark world. My life should be an example of how Jesus restores what was lost through sin. Light brings order and beauty by enlightenment and exposure.
According to Merriam Webster, Enlighten means: “to furnish knowledge or to give spiritual insight to.” In a natural sense, when light shines into darkness, it enlightens: it makes visible what is has been hidden and gives us knowledge. For instance we use flashlights to shin into dark areas to reveal what is there and we use that knowledge to make decisive actions.
In a spiritual sense, we are to enlighten our micro-cultures. We are to shine spiritual truths into the darkened lives around us, revealing to them what is hidden by the darkness. Many only comprehend the depth of darkness they are living in when Light brings knowledge of their current situations. As light, we should be able to show those in darkness a better way to live. The active Kingdom lifestyle reveals a contrast to darkness and demonstrates in a tangible way the benefits and blessings of a relationship with God.
In practical application, when we act like Jesus in the midst of our trials, marriages, parenting, handling our finances and every other aspect of life, we are being light. We are shining into the dysfunctional darkness of the world, giving knowledge that there is something better.
Similar to enlightenment, light also exposes. Paul tells us in Eph 5:13: “But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light”
Light is great at exposing. On one mission trip, when I turned on the bathroom light and opened the medicine cabinet, there was this 3+ inch long roach staring at me! Obviously, if there had not been light, he would not have been exposed!
When the light of God is shown into person’s life it will reveal their sin and errors of life: much like the abrasiveness of salt. As the light of the world we should bring an exposure of the darkness in a person’s life. Now this is not done by condemning or by continually preaching AT them. But if the spirit of God shines through me by my kingdom conduct, it touches the areas of their lives that are out of sync with His. It will produce a conviction of the Spirit.
SHINING OUR LIGHT
So, we are to be the light that enlightens, exposes, continuing His mission, prompting others to follow us: how is this done? Jesus answers this: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16 ESV). This text gives us practical instructions on how to be the light of the world. The Light shines when we actively demonstrate Jesus by our works.
Breaking this text down, we see two key principles to letting our light shine: location and action.
We are to let our light shine “before others.” To me, this implies that we are to be INVOLVED in the lives of others who are in darkness!
You do not need a flashlight in the light of day, only in the darkness of night. We are to shine our lights where it is desperately needed! To me, this is not shining our lights on Sundays and Wednesdays: It is shining daily in the lives of those around us!
Jesus stated: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Matt 9:1). Those who are enlightened do not need light. But those who we come into contact with outside of our churches, those whose lives are messed up need the light. The alcoholic, drug addict, divorced parent, children, dysfunctional marriages, insecure, lonely: Those who are lost in darkness of sin need the light! So we must be before men for our light to shine.
Further, Jesus clearly states the vehicle for our light to shine: our “good works.” Our light is not some mystical glow, aura or spiritual force emanating from us as we walk into the world. Nor is it some particular manner of dress or appearance. Jesus is very specific about what our light is: it is our good works! It is the good works I do in the world of darkness.
In the Greek, “Good” is “kalós” and means: “attractively good; good that inspires (motivates) others to embrace what is lovely (beautiful, praiseworthy); i.e. well done so as to be winsome (appealing).” It has associated with it the idea of something that is excellent in it’s nature or characteristics. Our good works are not just some social program, but they are to emanate from a heart and mind that has been transformed by the nature of Jesus himself. In short, we do what Jesus did!
To be the light of the world, I must get involved in the lives of those in darkness by doing good works for them! For light to shine into darkness, it must go to the darkness. When I am bus in the lives of others is when my light is shining.
Everywhere Jesus went he did good works. He healed, touched the untouchable, ministered and encouraged those considered sinners by the religious world. If we are His representatives, we should continue his ministry by doing the same. The more I do this, the brighter my light will shine!
Other posts in the Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom Series
- Are You Attractive? – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #1
- The Kingdom Is His Plan – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #2
- Discovering The Kingdom Culture – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #3
- Finding Happiness – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #4
- Blessed: The Fruit Of Character ~ The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #5
- Hunting For Peace ~ The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #6
- Are We Worth Our Salt? ~ The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #7
Dr Martin lives in St Louis MO, with his wife Ava and their dog Zoe. His ministry is to assist church leadership in developing membership ministry involvement and growth. The focus is on teaching and empowering the body of Christ to demonstrate the power of His kingdom in tangible daily life. The results: increased faith and the potential for greater revival and harvest. He is available to speak to your local assembly, organization or ministry. For more information, check us out here
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