I hope my readers will forgive me for so often borrowing so many words from others. You may have figured out by now that I really enjoy reading Charles Spurgeon. One thing that is so fascinating to me is that the Bible, and by extension, godly commentaries on it, remains applicable for today. Follow now as I copy Charles’ thoughts on Philippians 2:15 and then add my own meager application of those thoughts to current events. Remember that Charles wrote his thoughts well over 100 years ago.
“In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions. Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Savior, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness. Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a lighthouse is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false light shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world. Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kinds words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.
Is that not a wonderfully well-rounded exposition of how our Christian lights should shine?
1. Make manifest, or evangelize. According to Spurgeon, a person should not be able to be in our presence more that a week before they would learn whose we are. Most of the world doesn’t mind if we say that we are Christian just as long as we don’t make too big a deal of it. That’s like hiding our light under a bushel isn’t it? That’s not what we are called to do!
2. For guidance, or discipleship and teaching. One of the great joys I’ve experienced over the years is seeing the practical application of scripture to everyday life and learning. There is nothing to which the Bible does not apply! The world would have us keep our religious opinions to ourselves but that’s not what God would have us do. Savory salt – that is what we are to be!
3. For warning, or speaking out against sin. This seems to be the world’s greatest objection to Christianity. We always want to say what’s wrong with things! We have the gall to categorize certain behaviors as sin! How ridiculous we seem to them. But that is one of the things light does. Under normal applications, like our lighthouse example, the captain of the ship is so glad it is there to point out the danger. In our world today however, those who sound the alarm of great danger are harassed and accused of being negative and narrow. None-the-less, our calling to be light does not excuse us from sounding a warning, taking a stand and being honest and real about the sinfulness of sin.
4. Cheering influence, or wrapping our messages up in joy. Sometimes this may be the most difficult aspect to intertwine with the others. Those who are always upbeat and positive but who fail to take a godly stand, which would take the teeth out of the judgment of God, surround us. We know that we don’t want to be like that. But we must take care that we don’t overreact to their bad example. Years ago, Jack Hyles joked, “You don’t have to hate everybody to be a good fundamentalist!” How often are we exhorted to rejoice! We have the truth! We have been given the glorious privilege of sharing the truth. Let us be glad at the opportunity and be well rounded in our approach to spreading the light and to life!
Chas and his wife have been ministering at Liberty since 1990. He enjoys dining with family and friends as well as all types of music, sports, and outdoor activities. His greatest joy comes from connecting with others and sharing the love of Christ which is central to everything else.