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Glowing and Showing Christ?
The Gospel of Mark 4:21-25 Shining the light of the gospel to a dark world
She said this, “At first I thought, ‘It’s okay. Nothing bad is going to happen.’ A few seconds later the wave hit the road, and I thought, ‘Now I die!’”
Tiina Seppanen was on vacation in December 2004 on Phuket Island in Thailand with her sister, when she noticed that the tide had gone way out. A vast, shiny expanse of sand had opened up, with fish flopping about. “People were saying it was something to do with the full moon.” Like children at a treasure hunt, they started shoving the fish into gunnysacks. Then she saw the horizon rise, and a wall of water approach.
“At first I thought, ‘It’s okay. Nothing bad is going to happen. A few seconds later, the wave hit the road and I thought, ‘Now I die.’”
The tsunami moved faster than anyone’s legs could carry them. But it wasn’t just the incoming first wave that was the danger. It was followed by the great sucking of the water back off the land–a rhythmic reversal that claimed thousands of lives. One survivor said, “I will never forget the screaming of those being washed out to sea.”
There were warnings, but they went unheeded. There was a massive earthquake at 7:58 a.m. off the Indonesia coast. After the quake, Stuart Weinstein, the geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center dispatched a bulletin to countries around the Pacific, including Thailand, saying, “There is the possibility of a tsunami near the epicenter.” The “official in charge” of Indonesia’s new tsunami warning system affirmed that his office did indeed receive an email warning that morning, but failed to see the message until the following day–naturally, it was too late.
As a result, the police closed off that particular beach to the public for almost a week while they cleared out thousands of bodies. No one will forget the image of dazed fathers, grieving mothers, brothers and sisters, family and friends, wandering the rubble-strewn landscape, searching for any sign of a missing loved one. The greatest regret of the entire crisis was this one truth–everyone was warned in advance . . . everyone. The warning systems were good, and they’re even better now, but they did warn them of impending coming danger.
And what could be equally sad is, we’ve been warned as well. In Mark 4, Jesus is now informing his disciples that there is a possibility of great disaster. It’s the Lord’s early warning system. In that powerful parable of the sower, Jesus told us, those whose hearts are hardened–beware! And don’t ignore this. You’ll hardly have a moment to consider the truth of the Gospel before it seems like that very truth is sucked away like a riptide.
Those who are not deeply rooted in God—watch out! You’re going to wash away when the wave of difficulty hits you. Those who pursue Christ merely for comfort and security—take heed! Your souls will be drowned in the debris of weedy idols. But those who receive the message of Jesus, who own the seed of the Gospel will not only sprout and grow, but also bear fruit.
Don’t miss that most of the parable is a warning to the proud, an alarm to the complacent, and an alert to the worldly who think, “It’s all okay, nothing bad is going to happen.” But Jesus says, “If you don’t hear this parable warning, you are in trouble.” And because the danger is so real, and its truth is so important, the Lord is going to flash more parable warnings today in the following verses–are you ready to hear?
Read verses 21 to 25 with me. “And He was saying to them, ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? 22 For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ 24 And He was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. 25 ‘For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.’”
Jesus says He wants you to be glowing and showing. And the Lord warns you, if you’re not glowin and showin, that means . . . Christian dads, ask the Lord, “Help me to share with the guys at work, and let them see Christ in how you work, and in what I say.” Believing moms, pray, “Lord, let others see me, even as I care for my children, and help me to share your Gospel to the lost I meet.” Born again students, ask the Lord to make certain your friends see Jesus by what you say, and the things you do–growing in boldness to share the Gospel with anyone.
The key to understanding these parables is that they all relate in a strategic way to the Kingdom of God–God’s rule in your heart by how you live and what you say. All those who understand the Gospel enough to embrace it also know enough of the Gospel to show it and share it. In Mark 1:14 and 15, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of God and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Then in Mark 4:26, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil.” And in Mark 4:30, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it.”
In chapter 4, Christ has been calling those around Him to listen, to hear the Gospel, to respond to the Word of God–to submit to Christ through the parable of the sower. Now He calls His followers to share that same Gospel of good news with everyone–to shine, and don’t hold anything back. In fact, you are to be . . .
#1 Glowing–the Gospel was designed to shine
Read verse 21, “And He was saying to them, ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?’” Jesus says glow with the Gospel. Part of Christ’s rule is seen as His followers shine as lights to the dark world. Jesus uses this next parable to describe the spread of Christianity. Lamps don’t belong under baskets or beds. What does the lamp illustrate in the New Testament? God tells us a lamp is . . .
#1 The Word of God
Just like with the sower and his seed
Psalm 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.”
2 Peter 1:23, “The Word is a lamp shining in a dark place.”
#2 The Lamp is also the Lord Jesus Christ–He is the Light
After all, in Isaiah 9:2, “He is the Great Light.” This certainly is true, but . . .
#3 Believers are also a lamp
Matthew 5:14 to 16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” In Mark 4, it seems the lamp is the Word, Christ, and His Gospel message shining through the lips and life of His redeemed.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus just emphasized the necessity of fruit-bearing when the seed of God’s Word falls on good soil, which was illustrating the Word of God entering sovereignly prepared hearts. So now in verse 21, fertile, responsive hearts are just like shining lamps. Jesus is stressing the same basic truth–namely, our lives should be fruitful. They should shine in order to benefit others for God’s glory.
Our Lord is describing one of the purposes of our salvation–God’s true children are meant to shine like a lamp. The lamp of the New Testament era was a very small clay bowl, pinched on one end to form a spout to hold a wick–but the bowl itself contained a few ounces of oil that served as fuel. A lampstand in common homes was simply a shelf protruding from the wall. In wealthier homes, the lamp stand might be an ornate stand made of metal, which could stand alone and be movable.
A lamp would offer light from a one-inch flame–not much light. But, when you have no light, then a lamp can dispel the darkness. If you’ve ever been in complete darkness, you know how wonderful a little light can be. The Pharisees were hiding the light of the truth under elaborate loads of human traditions and hypocritical actions, and as a result, the people of Israel were suffering in spiritual darkness. The leaders gave no spiritual light in word or deed at all. So Jesus tells His men that they must not hide the light. God’s Word, God’s Son, and God’s Gospel must shine forth again in all its light, in order to be a blessing to a people lost in the dark.
Now don’t be confused. Even though the parables were intended as a mystery, and hid truth from the hardhearted–all those who loved Christ were not to hide the Word or Christ. Our Lord never intended the message of the Gospel to be for just a few. What Jesus explained to them privately, they were to proclaim publically. Every genuine Christian here is to glow and to show. Jesus makes that clear in verse 21, “And He was saying to them, [#1] ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? [#2] Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?’”
What is the purpose of a lamp? Jesus utilizes two truths everyone knows about a lamp–you know this. A light is to be (1) visible and (2) radiant–to show and glow! A light is no good unless it helps you see.
First Visible: A light is to be seen
Verse 21, “And He was saying to them, [#1] ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed?’” Yes or no? Hide it under a bushel? No! A lamp is always used to make things visible, so you can see clearly. Luke 11:33, “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Lights are designed for illumination. Just as a city can’t be hidden, neither can a believer be hidden. We are to be visible and to shine. This is why our Lord presses home a second illustration on the purpose of light. Light is visible, obvious and understood. If you received the seed, you will also sow it, and secondly . . .
Second Radiant: A light is to shine in the darkness
Verse 21, #2 “’Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?’” How absurd is it to light a lamp, but then put it under a bowl? Who turns on a light, only to cover it up and hide it? Ridiculous! How can I be a light that is visible and radiant? Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Lamps are meant to spread light. Jesus states His purpose here. As a lamp, yours is to shine, spread, be radiant. That is more than just being nice and sharing a smile. And Jesus defined light in Matthew 5:16 as “good works”. We shine our light not merely by what we say, but also by doing deeds, sacrifices, actions that are like Christ—good. How do we do that? Write these down—they’re not in your notes. One of these is you!
1 There is the CONFRONTATIONAL style. This is the method of Jonah, who said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown.” This is the method of Peter, who said in Acts 2, “Repent and be baptized, save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Some people will only come to Christ if they are knocked over the head with the truth. And some of you love to knock heads, but others of you may have . . .
2 The INTELLECTUAL style. Paul often used the intellectual approach to evangelism. In Acts 17, Paul reasoned with Jews and God-fearing Greeks. He debated with the philosophers on Mars Hill. By nature Paul was very intellectual, and loved to reason. He knew some people needed to grapple with tough questions before they could come to faith in Christ. Maybe you love to work through issues with people, or you’re . . .
3 The TESTIMONIAL style. In the 9th chapter of John, Jesus heals the blind beggar. When asking him what he thought of his healer, the blind man finally said, “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” This style loves to tell the story of the amazing work of Jesus in their life, that He can change your life. But maybe you’re . . .
4 The RELATIONAL style. In Mark 5, the man tormented by an unclean spirit was healed by Jesus. He asked Jesus if he could go with Him, but Jesus refused and said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.” He told him to be a relational evangelist, one who shares his faith with those he is closest to. Go home and tell your friends what I did for you. Some people have difficulty talking about Jesus with strangers. They dislike it so much, they miss out on opportunities within their existing relationships. But if not this style, then . . .
5 The INVITATIONAL style. This was the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. After a lengthy conversation with Jesus, she became convinced He was the Son of God. So she begged the people of the city to come to the well and hear Jesus for themselves. They did, and as a result many believed in Christ. Many Christians condemn themselves for not being confrontational, intellectual, having a radical testimony, or not being relational. Perhaps God wants you to do what she did–invite people to come and hear. But if not those styles, then . . .
6 The SERVING style. Many Christians are like Dorcus was in Acts 9. She impacted her city by doing deeds of kindness. She made garments for the poor, and distributed them in the name of Christ. She never preached a sermon, never knocked on a door–but through her acts of service, she pointed people to Christ, who could transform them and forgive them. If you enjoy giving, serving and making things, then perform those acts of love in the name of Jesus Christ, making certain they know you give and serve because of Christ.
These are the good deeds Jesus is talking about–which style is most like you, most fits you? Then do it. This is how you are light to the watching world. There is no excuse–you can share Christ a hundred different ways, and all true Christians show and glow the light of the Gospel.
The tragedy of many today is, those who proclaim the Gospel with words often deny the Gospel by their deeds. They honor the Gospel with their lips, but they dishonor the Gospel with their life. But our deeds and normal everyday lifestyle is to shine–Christ is to be seen through how we behave in everyday actions. Not for our glory, but as refractors back to God–to glorify, to actually show God as attractive, and to magnify God.
First Peter 2:12 puts it this way—“Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Philippians 2:15 adds, “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, whom you appear as lights in the world.”
Why do people use lamps? To radiate light. Does it make any sense to put a lamp underneath a mattress? No! Does it seem safe to put a burning candle underneath a straw basket? Light is designed to be diffused, to spread, and to be shared. You always put a light in a place where it can illuminate the greatest area. Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Why do so many Christians hide the Gospel–the light? Especially since believers have been given the light to share it? Why do some Christians take the Word of God and stuff it into their pocket when they go to work, or sit in class with students? Why do some believers hide Christ and the Gospel from the lost? The message of the Gospel was made to shine! What are some of the baskets believers hide the Gospel under?
1) False modesty—“I am just not eloquent enough”
2) Cowardice—timidity, holds their tongue from speaking of Christ
3) Ignorance—“I don’t think I know enough about the Bible”
4) Selfishness—“Hey, they’re the ones that are lost, not me”
5) Technique—“I’m not a street preacher, so why should I share?”
There are many baskets Christians use to hide the Gospel, but God says in Psalm 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” Christian, God says you are to be a light to the lost world–glow and show, care and share. So here’s a question the Lord asks–you can’t show Christ unless you know Christ. You can’t give a gift to others unless you have the gift yourself. So let me ask each of you a question. Do you have the light of Christ in you? Have you been born again? Do you know how to become a Christian? It is not making a decision, praying a prayer, walking an aisle, attending a church, being nice, helping others or liking Jesus.
First, you have to recognize your life as being dark without Christ–dark with sin, dark as wretched and very dirty before God. You could never stand in God’s presence as you are. Second, you must see Christ as the only light, the only answer. God lived here, died on a cross for your sinful darkness, and rose to give light to His chosen ones. Third, you have to exchange your darkness for His light, and now live in His risen light, love His light and share His light with others. You hate your sin, and depend on Christ alone to rescue you from your sin.
Now you know this life is about Christ the light and sharing His light. You realize fixing the government is not the answer, since better government doesn’t make better people, but better people make better government, and only the light of the Gospel makes better people. The issue is one of priority. You realize now saving the whales and recycling your trash are not eternal actions, since this planet is going to be destroyed, but people are eternal and people need the light of the good news.
You realize pursuing the pleasures of this planet, gaining the possessions of this world, pursuing the latest experience here are nothing compared to what we will enjoy in heaven. Plus this planet is one day going to be burned like trash at the garbage dump. None of it is going to last. But people are eternal–only people matter, and only those who know Christ will enjoy eternal light and life forever in heaven. And sadly, all those who don’t submit to Christ will experience eternal darkness and eternal torment forever in hell.
As a Christian on this planet, you now know you are love. You understand this life is not everything, but Christ is everything. You are now awake not asleep, alive not dead, in the light not in the darkness–so you want to show the light and share the light with all, so they can know the light of Christ. Jesus says you are to tell everyone at school, everyone in your home, all the people you know, all the guys at work and everyone in your entire family–tell them, really?
Verse 22 says the truth of Christ is to be heard and seen, not concealed, “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; demonstrated nor has anything been [became] secret, [hidden off] but that it would come to light [evident].” Stare at the sun and know today, our God is brighter. When God said, “Let there be light”, there was light!
1 John 1:5 God is light
James 1:17 God is the Father of lights
1 Timothy 6:16 God dwells in unapproachable light
Psalms 104:2 God is covered with light
In Acts 26:18 as Paul was giving his testimony before Agrippa he said, “Open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God.” God is light–He will expose darkness. This world, your school, your workplace is in spiritual darkness. Right now picture your unsaved friends, family, neighbors, fellow workers and fellow students who don’t know Christ.
Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness.”
2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Romans 1:21, “Though they know God, they did not honor Him as God, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.”
John 3:19, “This is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light.”
So what hope is there? Answer, the hope is only in Christ the light.
John 1:4 to 5, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.”
John 12:35 to 36, and 46, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you… While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
1 Thessalonians 5:5, “For you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.” And Christian . . .
Ephesians 5:8, “You were formerly in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”
God is light, and as His family, we are children of light. While we’re here on earth, we are the light of the world–but it is not us, it’s not me, it is not you, it is Christ through you. You are not the main light, Jesus is. You are not the sun, you are the moon. The moon has no light of its own, it reflects the sun. “What are you saying, Chris?” I’m saying this, you are full of craters, but you get to reflect the Son, Jesus Christ. We never shine perfectly, but regardless, we can reflect Christ.
Verse 22, “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.” Non-Christians are the ones who try to cover things up. They think they will get away with their sin. They think they can make it to heaven in spite of their sin, but they can’t, because God brings everything out into the open. One day, whatever is now concealed will be revealed. This means demonstrated, and the passive voice means God does it–God reveals all, and will make it known. All the lies, all the false ideas, all the sins of the lost will one day be exposed by God–no one is going to escape judgment. Therefore tell them the truth, the only way to escape.
Jesus’ teaching was never intended to be just for an inner circle. It would be the responsibility of the disciples to communicate the Gospel to the world at large. This is why we’re given the Great Commission. Matthew 28:19 and 20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Earlier in Mark 4:11 to 12, Jesus told us He spoke in parables to hide the truth from the lost, and reveal the truth to His disciples. Now, Jesus plainly states He wants everyone to know the truth. He wants the Word revealed. He wants the Gospel light to shine. The Gospel message is not for the elite few–it’s for the masses. The Gospel is to be exposed, and openly announced, heralded. God’s intention is for the message to be shouted from the housetops.
A silent Christian is a contradiction in terms. You are to make some noise with your faith. Lost people need for “the found” to show them the way, and explain to them the person of Christ and the Gospel of God. At some point, you have to tell them, not just show them. No one is going to be saved by the example of your good deeds. People are going to be saved when they hear the truth about the person of Jesus, and see it credibly lived out in your lives.
Let me ask the same question another way. How do you smell? What does your life broadcast? We didn’t know it, but we had a rat that briefly lived under our Jacuzzi. It quickly died from poison. Then it began to smell–Jean could smell it. Cali, our dog, loved the smell. For a season, the dead rat gave off a pungent aroma–I couldn’t get to it. Eventually it dried out, and then it no longer smelled–and after I drained the Jacuzzi, I vacuumed up the flat carcass with my shop vac. But for a season, it gave off the smell of decay and death. We all smell—all of us have an aroma. I am not talking about body order, but we smell with the stink of selfishness, sin and pride, or we give off the sweet aroma of Christ. What is the aroma of your life?
When we live like the world, we wreak like the world. When we live like Christ, we smell of His character and blessing. What kind of spiritual aroma do you give off–a light perfume, or the smell of a favorite meal that makes you drool for Christ? Second Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”
So in Mark, Jesus is asking–what kind of light are you, the little LED light? The 60-watt light bulb? Or the blinding shoplight for Christ? Can you say with Psalm 40:10, “I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart. I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation.” Jesus asks, “Are you hearing me?” Verse 23, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” As Christ’s follower, you have a responsibility and duty to listen in an attentive manner to what Jesus is telling you. This is not optional–hearing is a command, an order to sow the seed and share the message. Take the responsibility to glow seriously, because we also are to be . . .
#2 Showing–the Gospel was designed for broadcast
God expects us to speak of God becoming a man, dying for our sins and rising from the dead, and in that, to show.
First Caution as to what you hear
Read verse 24, “And He was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to.’” Be careful, or be on your guard. When any of you continually listen to what you should not be hearing, you are in danger. Hear this warning. Listen to truth, embrace the truth–not ideas about the truth, not topics about truth, but the Word of God as written in context.
Jesus says in verse 24, do not let your guard down. Stop listening to or reading error, and make certain you’re continually listening to the truth. We are so discriminating over our sense of taste smell and touch. But why are we not concerned over our hearing? Some people are offended by volume, but Jesus isn’t talking about sensitivity to loudness–He’s talking about sensitivity to rightness.
We would never willingly eat spoiled food or rotten leftovers–but we open our ears to spoiling half-truths, doctrinal heresy, Scripture abused out of context, lightweight junk food topics, a distorted Gospel, or a warped view of God. Jesus says, “Guard what you listen to. Do not embrace the error of the Pharisees. Do not accept the false gospel of easy believism. Teach the truth of who Christ is, and what Christ did on the cross, that He died for sin, rose from the dead, and provides salvation, which was all promised in the Old Testament and all fulfilled in the New Testament.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:3 and 4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” If you are going to broadcast the true Gospel, you have to listen to the true Gospel and not listen to error. As you broadcast this incredible news, it’s best done with a . . .
Second Commitment as to how you serve
By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. Truth received and carefully applied enlarges one’s capacity to receive even more truth. The measure here refers to the various ways people hear and respond to the light of God’s Word. If you hear and heed the Word, the spiritual result is fruit, but the size of the harvest is based on the amount of effort you put forth. Disciples will reap what they sow. Sow nothing, then reap nothing–no fruit.
So Jesus says, “The one who has learned spiritual truth and applied it diligently will receive even more truth to faithfully apply.” Jesus says be faithful to learn and live the truth so your capacity to own more truth will increase. Be faithful to serve, then God will give you more to do. Being faithful in little means God will give you more to be faithful with. Be faithful with a little ministry, dependent upon the Spirit for God’s glory, and God will eventually give you a bigger job.
All true Christians move slowly, a bib to an apron. All genuine believers seek to have their lives count for Christ by serving Christ in the church, and sharing Christ in the world. Living for Christ means living to serve, which always leads to fruitfulness, more ministry and eternal reward. Verse 24, “By your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” If you disseminate His Gospel, you will reap a Gospel harvest–if you serve others by His Spirit, there’ll be fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:8, “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”
Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on….they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
This truth even works with giving–the more you give, the more you have to give. It’s not health/wealth here–you give not to get, but to give more. It works with kindness–the more you show kindness, the more you will be given kindness to show. And with the Gospel, the more you share, the more you will see people come to Christ. The opposite is true as well–the less you give, the more problems you will have with money. The more you’re unkind, the more unkindness will find you. And the less you share, the less you will see God work in others’ lives and your own life.
Whatever it be, the measure you give will be the measure you get. If you give generously, you will receive even more generously. Give, and God will give you more to give more. The more you seek the Word, the more you will gain from it. The more you invest in the Word, the more Christ will be glorified. Verse 24 is God’s “use it or lose it” challenge! Spiritual understanding diminishes when it is not cultivated. But spiritual understanding grows the more you invest it into others. So what do we do?
Third Clarification as to what you steward
Verse 25, “For whoever has, to him more shall be given.” God’s gifts are always the most generous. He is forever adding gift to gift, and blessing to blessing. He gives not only “of” his riches, like a billionaire might do when he gives a dollar to charity–but Jesus gives “according to” His riches, super abundantly. When He loves, He loves the world–and when He gives, He gives his only begotten Son.
God in Christ not only pardons the sinner, like a president might grant a pardon–but in addition, He adopts him and grants him peace, holiness, joy, assurance, freedom of access, super-invincibility, and more. God loves His children, and loves to give generously to them. So be a steward of all that generosity–give away the blessings of Christ. Give away the seed–share the light of the Gospel.
Verse 25, “Whoever has”–that’s those who believe. Jesus says to him shall more be given–more will come to the light, more will gain more light, more will obey the Lord. But on the other hand, verse 25, “and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” “Whoever does not have” is the unbeliever–even what he has shall be taken away, literally snatched or suffocated.
Jesus says whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that semblance of knowledge, that superficial acquaintance with matters spiritual which he once had. Vines says: “Jesus comes and gives people the truth, but if they won’t see it, the time comes when they cannot see. If people won’t hear it, the time comes when they cannot hear. As they refuse to know the truth, they lose their capacity to know the truth.”
This is so true in life. A person who has learned enough music to play a few simple melodies, but not really enough to be able to say, “I have mastered this instrument”–later, if they stop practicing altogether, they will soon discover the little skill which they had at one time has vanished. Remember Matthew 25, the man who refuses to make proper use of his one talent loses even that one talent (Matthew 25:24 to 30). Keep turning your light off, and you may not be able to turn it on.
Here is the danger warning–the early warning alert. A minimalist approach to Christianity is painful and dangerous. If you don’t steward what God has given you, you shouldn’t expect Him to give you more. Plus, unfaithfulness to use what you think you have may mean you never had his gifts in the first place. Hiebert says, “Disuse of spiritual ability leads to spiritual atrophy. The disciples must use their knowledge of the mystery of the kingdom or their grip on it will diminish until they lose even that which they now possess.” Show and glow.
A In your relationship with Christ, standing still is impossible–a person either gains or loses. He either advances or declines. You run the race, walk the talk, or you atrophy then die. Hear what Jesus is saying, and do not waste your life. Start by serving your gift in the church family and, sharing the Gospel in the world with someone with your style.
Right now, write down some names, pray, choose to give a gift or say a kind word, and then get ready to share about Christ.
B Work hard at hearing. We have so much stuff flying at us today, we forget that the Bible is not stuff. The Bible is not more info, amid all the other info. This is God’s Word; your Creator and Redeemer is speaking to you. Work hard at listening and living, hearing and heeding His Word. Greek culture listening is—“I know it, therefore I got it.” But Hebrew culture listening is—“I live it, therefore I got it.”
We will take time each service to make certain you consider what God has said, and how you should respond to His Word, but you need to work hard at hearing Jesus Christ–do not ignore Him.
C The lost are in the dark, and you are in the light. Show the lost the light. Tell them what Christ did. Tell them God became a man, died on the cross for their sins, and He alone can justify them, make them right with God now and forever. Christianity is unique–all religion is people trying to get right with God, but our faith is the good news of how God can make people right with Himself.
So today, will you heed the warning of God’s Word? There is a tsunami of judgment coming for all who are not in Christ. Your own heart is evidence of sin, self, pride, selfishness that proves you desperately need Christ. Turn to Him today—submit, turn from sin, put your life in Him.