Shining Our Lights With a View Toward Eternity

See full series: 2019-sermons
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019

Shining Our Lights With a View Toward Eternity

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr


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Lights In a Dark World (40)
SHINING OUR LIGHTS WITH A VIEW TOWARD ETERNITY

 

With this lesson we bring our theme for 2019 to a conclusion.   In this lesson we will briefly review what we have addressed throughout this year, and conclude our study with the ultimate reason behind it – where this light will ultimately lead.

Our theme – shining as lights in this dark world

  1. This entire year has been about being a proper example.     We have noted how the Bible gives several illustrations of being an example – we are the salt of the earth, seasoning it (Matthew 5:13),
    we are an aroma – diffusing the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16);
    we are like leaven – a little bit that can influence “the whole lump”, our small ways can have a big impact
    We are an epistle (2 Corinthians 3:2-3) – a letter known and read by men. Many will not read the Bible, but learn by observing your application of it.
    We are a pattern – the pattern of God’s word applied.   A pattern of good works (Titus 2:7)
  2. And, of course there is the example of light – we are to be reflecting the light of Jesus (who is the “light of the world” (John 8:12) – the idea being we make known the truth of God’s word by letting our light so shine before men (Matthew 5:14-16).
  3. We then began looking at various examples in scripture that we seek to imitate.   Of course, the ultimate example is Jesus Himself – 1   Peter 2:21 – in suffering, one of many qualities where we learn from Him how to live. 1 John 2:6 tells us that we ought to walk just as He walked.
    But the Bible is also filled with other examples worthy of study and imitation – Joseph in prison, Daniel, Paul himself, Barnabas, the Thessalonians who were examples throughout that region, Lois and Eunice who raised Timothy, and many others.
    Jesus took note of the examples that others set – He commended the widow who with two mites (a couple of pennies) gave more than all others because she gave all that she had; He commended the faith of the Syrophoenician woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:22-28); Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus with costly oil.   Of her, Jesus noted her example would be recorded for all time; and many others.
  4. We then considered what different looks like.   We noted several examples including Jesus, Enoch, Noah, Joshua and Caleb, John the Baptist, and even Paul.     They were different and it was noticed. When we are different it will be seen in the way we talk, our integrity, how we dress, where we go, and our overall manner.
  5. We also addressed who our enemy is and numerous bad examples that we should notice and avoid.   We dealt with the worldliness around us – worldly wisdom, the works of this world, ecumenism and ungodly tolerance.
  6. NEXT, we devoted a number of lessons to how we are to be examples in every area of our lives. We devoted a month to asking what it is like to put God first.   We talked about the dangers of apathy, and the need for righteousness. We talked about the importance of the church as a way to influence our community and to help us let our lights shine.
  7. Then we began noticing numerous areas of our life that we just need to examine – how to I manage my money, am I taking care of my physical body so that I will not be hindered in my service to God, how is my mental health?
  8. We devoted some time to addressing social media – how we can harm our influence and how we can use social media for good. It is important to remember that what you share on social media is there forever.
  9. We then observed how every compartment of our lives needs to be governed by the light of our Lord – whether it be the workplace, associating with our neighbors, our responsibilities to our government, and a brief study of godly families – realizing the family is the foundational unit of society.   As the family goes, so goes society, government and the church.
  10. Finally, we have devoted the last few lessons to a study of some things we can do to help us let our lights shine. We have addressed the importance of pursuing holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16, we are holy, as He is holy); being servants and the opportunities that affords us.
    We have also addressed a handful of attitudes that turn people off (such as arrogance and pride, prejudice, selfishness, constant criticism and negativity, being hateful, as well as hypocrisy and being superficial. Such attitudes will diminish if not completely destroy our opportunities to share the light of the gospel with them.
    Conversely, in our last lesson we noted some attitudes that WIN souls or present us with opportunities – such as caring, kindness, self-control, humility, patience, integrity and an optimistic attitude that gives the benefit of the doubt. We summarized with Matthew 7:12, the “golden rule”.
  11. It is truly amazing how much the Bible has to say about being an example, both directly and indirectly. And there is much more that we could add to this study – including moral issues that affect our conduct and influence (we are going to study some of these next year), sacrificing for the good of others, benevolence, courage, as well as the way we treat those who are engaged in sinful lifestyles.   But we have examined enough to see just how important it is that we let our lights so shine in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.

Why are we living this way?

  1. One of the observations we have made throughout this year, and often, is how serving God is not easy. It often involves sacrifices, dealing with unpleasant tasks and maybe even persecutions and trials of all sorts. It’s a difficult life that requires determination, dedication and a willingness to be different. The world will think it is strange that you do not walk like them, even mocking you at times – 1 Peter 4:2-4.   But is it worth it?
  2. Consider that this is really the only way to make this world a better place.
    We need to consider this when we look at the foundation behind our conduct as Christians. We love God and we love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39).   That means that we CARE!   We need MORE godly men and women who will boldly and firmly stand for truth.
    People today may mock the true Christian’s lifestyle (and this includes professed Christians who compromise the truth), but if truth be known, it is the best way. Consider the condition of the world that rejects God.   They may preach a good standard, but they have no real way of instilling that in a generation. If you teach man that he is nothing more than an animal, that is likely how he will act.   Surely, one cannot think that ungodliness and wickedness are a good lifestyle.
    Remember: If this sinful world is to change, it will being at the community level and works its way up (and of course that takes us back to the family unit).
  3. We desire a home in heaven.
    1. There is a reward associated with godly living.   It is a way that gives our lives real and lasting meaning.
    2. Paul realized this.   It was his goal – Philippians 3:12-14.   2 Timothy 4:6-8, as he is about to depart this life, he is ready to receive that crown of righteousness.
      1 Corinthians 9:27 – earlier, he had expressed concerns, “lest I be disqualified”.
    3. Isn’t that our ultimate goal? Consider 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1.   Romans 8:18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
    4. As one preacher said many years ago, “If you miss heaven, you miss all there is”.  Jesus said it this way, For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
  4. Heaven – the realm of light
    1. Remember that such is where we find Jesus – some 3 times in John, Jesus describes Himself as light (the light of the world) – John 8:12, 9:5, and 12:35-36.   John introduced Him as the light that was the life of men (John 1:4, 9; 3:19-21 which describes why men hate the light).
      Clearly, that light that He revealed originated in heaven.
    2. The glory of God – 1 John 1:5 tells us that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. Early in the year we addressed the glory of God. One of the characteristics of His glory was the presence of great light.   Whether it be Mt. Sinai at the giving of the Law (Exodus 24:16-17), at the dedication of the tabernacle and temple, and at the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:2).
      2 Corinthians 4:6, For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.   Of course, God is in heaven!
    3. Light in heaven – Revelation 21:22-27, 22:3-5 – describing the “new Jerusalem”, we find the glory of God and the Lamb are the light.   No need for the sun, etc. Revelation 21:9-11 – the bride, the Lamb’s wife – having the glory of God.   Her light was a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
    4. The light we are shining originated in heaven and will continue to shine brightly when we get there.
  5. Heaven – a place that is different from this world
    1. A place of rest – we work busily serving our Lord while on this earth, and struggle to keep our light shining. Sometimes it is hard work. In heaven we will enjoy rest.   2 Thessalonians 1:7 speaks of those who are troubled for serving Him will be given rest when the Lord is revealed. Revelation 14:13, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on,…that they may rest from their labors…
    2. A place where there will be no persecutions, sorrows or sickness – one of the wonderful descriptions of heaven is how nothing evil or vile will be there.   Revelation 21:4, God will wipe away every tear, no more death, sorrow or crying.
      Revelation 21:27, there will by no means enter in anything that defiles, causes an abomination or lie.
      1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. In heaven you won’t have to worry about identity theft, or ugliness among neighbors, corrupt leaders, etc.
    3. A place of reward for faithfully serving Him.
      All the sacrifices we make, troubles we face and endure, will be nothing when we are in His presence.   Paul said we would see such as “our light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
      In describing our life as a race, Paul told us to run to receive our crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
      And again consider 2 Timothy 4:7-8 – the crown of righteousness awaits us.
    4. AND we should desire to take as many with us as possible.   Paul warned that we must all appear before the judgment seat of God (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). Shining our light in this dark world prepares us for that home, and hopefully will influence others so that they can spend eternity in that heavenly home as well.

May God help us to realize the importance of being lights, and may we determine that we are going to do better should that be our need in the near future. How brightly is He shining in you? Think about it!