What are you willing to sacrifice to shine?
Oskar Schindler sacrificed it all, risked it all, gave it all. During WWII, he risked everything to stop the deaths of innocent Jews during the Holocaust. He saw the lives of people that needed to be saved. He risked his own life, gave up his own business, paid a huge price to help others. Books, films and countless articles have been written about Him and his passion to do right to help others regardless the cost.
It is hard to find Christians who are willing to pay full price for discipleship. In these self-absorbed, truth-resistant times, many people make decisions for Christ without ever intending to offer their entire lives for His service. Reaching the world, reaching the city, missions and evangelism all exist not for man, me or you…but rather for God.
John Piper eloquently wrote: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is the ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man…Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal in missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simple aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God.”
The reason why there is such a need for missions and evangelism, why there is a need for helping people, the reason for all the depravity that is so evident today is because of a lack of a genuine passion for God’s glory in our lives. If we have a firm commitment to reach the lost but don’t have a passion for God…our light will burnout instead of burn bright.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 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.” Matthew 5:14-16
Various attempts, countless books and a multitude of sermons have been made to explain the decline of missions here in America and beyond. While some say there is a lack of effort…I see from the Bible that it is a lighting problem. You see if there is not light, than those who do not have a personal saving relationship with Jesus Christ, they will be condemned to a life without real hope and spend eternity in hell.
That’s whats so important about mission work, evangelism and helping others. Reaching the helpless, assisting the poor, spreading the good news of the gospel. When we have passion for God’s glory, that is God lifted high, then lives are changed, and people are saved.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27
True religion, what we are supposed to be, who God demands that we be…is that City on a Hill. A light to those in darkness. After Jesus died on the cross and resurrected his last command to the church was to go and make disciples…people that are lights! That is what glorifies God!
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
So here’s the question today...do you love Jesus enough to understand that reaching the lost is central to God’s plan to glorify himself all over His world? We are on a mission to make disciples who will offer themselves to God for His service to be lights in a dark world. Since Jesus is the world’s only Savior, then obviously the whole world needs to know about Him.
How do we do this? The Bible gives 4 specific ways from our text in Matthew to being a Light, to being that City on a Hill, so that we can effectively witness, help the hurting and preach the good news of the gospel that gives real hope.
- The Lights must Shine in Serving
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:13
We are salt. Salt has a distinct taste. It has flavor. It makes a difference. Wherever you have salt…you know salt has been there. We Christians must be like salt…making a difference with every life we touch.
- The Lights must Shine in Reaching
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. “ Matthew 5:14
Light must go where it is needed, where it is the darkest. Light must go where help is not and where the lost are. We go where it is needed. That’s why this easter we throw a Hip hop celebration to reach those that are lost. That’s why we pass out flyers, that’s why we feed the hungry and help the addict. We must reach beyond ourselves and reach out. We live where more than 80% of the people are minorities. We live in a city where more than 50% are on some type of support from the state. We live where people need help. We must reach beyond ourselves.
- The Lights must Shine in Going
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” Matthew 5:15
The light is no good in the closet, or under a blanket or hidden. Rather, we must get the light to where it needs to be…this means go! Don’t stay where you are spiritually…grow! Be better today than yesterday. Learn from Jesus and don’t become stagnant.
- The Lights must Shine in Giving
“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.” Matthew 5:16
Don’t think this isn’t gonna cost you. This will cost you! You must be willing to give up your wants and your dreams to help those without help…have none. You must have a passion for Jesus to help you see that your giving here financially and out there in life helps countless lives more than you could ever imagine.
The City Church today stands at a crossroads… how will we fulfill Christ’s calling to be a “City on a Hill.” When the church does what it was called to do, it will give the world what it needs most-the life-giving message that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. So let’s go be that City on a Hill, let us leave from where we are and shine bright!