The essence of Christianity is the Gospel message. Encapsulated into the Gospel message is the meaning of hope and of the highest form of love. This love, known as the Agape love, is multi-directional. It pours out from God out of His very nature as Love unto mankind, and it empowers Christians to love their neighbours in the same way.
In John 13:34, Jesus said that those who are disciples of Christ must love others in the same way we have received love from Him. Matthew 5:13-16 tells us that as children of God, we are the light of the world, and that we have a mission and a purpose.
A town on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and hide it under a bowl. Instead, the light is put upon a stand and it gives light to the whole room. In this way, our Father in Heaven will be glorified. Last Sunday, Pr Chris Kam gave a simple message in DUMC that brings us home to this very foundation.
In the simple injunction “You are the Light of the World”, there is contained much about what our identity as Christians really is all about. Firstly, the word “You” was directed specifically to each one of us who are in Christ.
Many times we may feel inadequate. But the Bible also contains many testimonies of people who were exactly like us. Before Moses delivered the Israelites from slavery or parted the Red Sea, he was a man in hiding, fearful of not being even good enough to speak. Before Gideon led 300 to win a battle against thousands of enemy soldiers, he was a timid man who had to test God repeatedly.
In the New Testament, we read of how Christ purposefully picked simple men like Peter and Andrew to be His disciples. Many of them were uneducated fishermen, and one of them was a tax collector, among the most hated in the Israelite community.
In James 1:7, we are reminded that the prophet Elijah who prayed so earnestly that fire fell from heaven, was a man much like we are. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul wrote that God had said that His glory is manifested in our weaknesses, and that His grace is sufficient for us. Therefore, we will boast all the more of our dependence upon God and of the glory of the Lord that lends us strength.
Furthermore, we are called by God as Lights unto darkness. Because Jesus is the Light, when we receive Jesus into our lives, we receive the light in us and this light is on permanently (John 8:12). What is the purpose of a light? It is to dispel darkness and to expose deeds of darkness. It is also to exalt God.
Have you ever noticed when you go into a dark room and switch on the light, the darkness immediately goes away? If the light is bright enough, it does not just light a corner of the room but fills up the entire space.
This is the kind of weapon against spiritual darkness that God has created us to be. Wherever we are placed, we are today to expel darkness and speak boldly against it. People who are in darkness will inevitably hate us but that is because such people are fearful that their evil deeds will be exposed.
The problem is while the light of Christ is in us, many of us are like the light that is hidden under a bowl. Conversely, in our roles as light of the world, we must also not bring glory upon ourselves.
All glory belongs to God and God has given us the responsibility and a part to play in shaping the spiritual atmosphere of our land. John Stott once said, when a land falls into darkness, we ought to ask ourselves; “Where is the Church? Are we exercising our role as the salt and light of our community?”
But Christ has also said that we are not just lights, we are meant to be lights unto the world. While not all are called to go out into the world, every Christian is called to be lights unto their own “world”. What is our world? It is our families, our circle of friends, the workplace and school we go to every day. How many people do we meet each day? Do these people see the light of Christ in us?
There is a challenge for each of us in having a mission-minded and a Gospel-centric worldview. Pr Chris imparted that if every one of us can do little things and random acts of kindness with no strings attached, we can certainly see the change of the atmosphere of Klang Valley. There are many things that we can do but most importantly is to listen to the Holy Spirit.
The greatest mission field is our 9-5 window because we all go to work every day. Ask the Holy Spirit if there is someone that we can do something for. God will lead us to places that we will be surprised. We are encouraged as Christians to step up to be the Light. Start SMALL with little acts of kindness, think BIG to see the community we are in being transformed.
NOTE: This expression of the Christian’s identity was adapted to a great extent from a message shared by Pr Chris Kam at DUMC on the 23rd and 24th of January 2016. It has not been vetted by Pr Chris or DUMC.
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