Visit the “Let Your Light Shine” Theme Section

Introduction

  1. Text: Mt. 5:16.
  2. Influence is something we have far more of than we realize.
    1. In a wicked world, Christians are to have their “conduct honorable among the Gentiles” (1 Pt. 2:12).
    2. We are to “shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).
  3. What are some practical ways we can let our light shine?

I. By Being Thankful

  1. Not only is ingratitude a sin; it is at the root of most other sins — the first step that leads away from God – Rom. 1:21.
  2. What if God took back every blessing for which we are not properly thankful?
  3. Unexpressed gratitude is not much better than ingratitude, yet we often make excuses. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:18.
  4. Expressing gratitude can mean: (1) expressing our gratitude to God for His blessings, (2) expressing our gratitude to others for their kindness, and (3) expressing to others our gratitude for God’s blessings – Mk. 5:19. Cf. Psa. 105:1,2.
  5. We can set a good example even by the simple act of saying thanks before meals in the presence of others – Ac. 27:35.
  6. Like Daniel, we need to let our light shine by being openly grateful to our God for His grace – Dan. 6:10.

II. By Caring and Sharing

  1. Jesus “went about doing good” (Ac. 10:38) — we can’t be Christ-like without caring and sharing – Gal. 6:2,9,10.
  2. “Benevolence” means “good will,” but it involves more than sentiment — faith alone will not save us – Jas. 2:14-17.
  3. We are surrounded by hurting and desperate souls, many of whom don’t know that anyone cares. Cf. Psa. 142:4.
  4. Do we care for all those whom God cares about? Are we agents through whom people learn that God cares for them?
  5. All the other help we can give will be of little significance if people lose their souls (Mt. 16:26) — but often we have to earn the right to be heard by caring. (People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.)
  6. We need to experience the truth of the Lord’s saying: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Ac. 20:35).

III. By Being Honest

  1. Nowhere do we have a greater opportunity to shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15) than in practicing honesty.
  2. Our minds — and hence our characters — are to be filled with what is “true” (alethes = real, actual) and (in the KJV) “honest” (semnos = noble, honorable) – Phil. 4:8.
  3. Honesty is a potent force for good — but it must be unconditional honesty, even when “no one is looking.”
  4. We need to be “men of truth” (Exo. 18:21), people of unquestioned integrity, honor, and sincerity. Cf. 1 Pt. 2:12; 3:16.
  5. “Honest” (KJV) often translates kalos (beautiful, comely) – Mt. 5:16. Cf. Rom. 12:17; 2 Cor. 8:21.
  6. Honesty is one of the most obvious ways in which we are to “adorn the gospel” – Tit. 2:10.

IV. By Being a Peacemaker

  1. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6) — His followers would be “peacemakers” (Mt. 5:9).
    1. The greatest peace made possible by the gospel is the peace of man with God – Rom. 5:1.
    2. But the gospel also makes possible the peace of a man within himself and with others – Phil. 4:6,7; Jas. 3:13-18.
  2. We are commanded to “pursue peace” (Hb. 12:14) and to aspire to “lead a quiet and peaceable life” (1 Tim. 2:2). Cf. Prov. 16:7; Rom. 12:18.
  3. Basically, it is the wisdom imparted by godliness that tells us when to yield and enables us to live peacefully with others – Prov. 3:17; Jas. 3:17,18.
  4. When it comes to conflict among other individuals with whom we have some influence, are we peacemakers or troublemakers? Bridge-builders or bridge-destroyers?
  5. If the gospel is the source of peace, there is no peacemaking work that can take the place of personal evangelism.

V. By Overcoming Temptation

  1. Temptation continues to become an ever more powerful daily experience.
  2. None of us is exempt from temptation or immune to its power – 1 Cor. 10:12. Cf. Gal. 6:1.
  3. But we can resist temptation and overcome it – Jas. 4:7,8.
  4. Like Daniel, we must “purpose” (decide, determine, commit) not to defile ourselves – e.g. Dan. 1:8. Cf. Job 31:1.
  5. In helping us with temptation, as with all else, God is a faithful God – 1 Cor. 10:13. Cf. 1 Jn. 1:9.
  6. We owe it to those around us to demonstrate that it is possible to overcome temptation.

Conclusion

  1. There is a sense in which the Christian needs to open up and courageously “be who he is.”
  2. We must let our true identity and character shine through for all to see and be influenced by – Mt. 5:13-16.
  3. We need to guard against being ashamed of who we are and what we are – Mt. 5:15,16. Cf. 2 Tim. 1:7,8.
  4. Our influence for good can be greater than we think.
  5. May we let our light shine!

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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