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Light & Life

Dr. Stephen Phinney


"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house." (Matt. 5:14-15)


Are you ashamed of Jesus Christ & the Gospel?


As we review the original story and the setting Jesus spoke these words, we see Peter, John, and James, who were fishermen. They didn't have much of an impressive background. And Jesus is sitting there in Galilee, which is a great distance from metropolitan Rome. And all of the powers of Rome and the lively Grecian culture were shinning forth from the hillside above the Sea of Galilee, upon this nieve motley crew Jesus selected. Then Jesus says to them, Gentlemen, you are the Light of the world. Sounds simple right? In Jesus's reality, He was telling them, You're the only Light; you're the only hope. Keep in mind; they were not authentically filled with the Light (Jesus) until the day of Pentecost, which was much later in their journey in "following" the man who IS the Light of the World. Thus, His statement must have sounded puzzling.


Much later, when Paul described his commission before Agrippa and talked about his indwelling transformation in Christ on the road to Damascus, he declares that the Lord called him to free the Gentiles from the power of darkness and bring them into the Kingdom of Light. Making it known that his constant mission is to formulate the Church, the Body of Christ Jesus. His immediate goal? To open their eyes, turn them from darkness to the Light, who is Jesus, through delivering them from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive the forgiveness of their sins and the ramifications of being born into an Adamic sinful nature. Since Paul was well familiar with Jesus's words, he tells these men, "You are the light of the world."


Were these men born-again? No, not yet. Paul does exactly what Jesus did, and he introduced a profound Truth to these men who had not yet received the indwelling Light & Life of Jesus, which ultimately led them TO the Light & Life of Christ.


Who turns on a lamp and puts it under the table?


Only a fool or a confused man turns on a lamp and hides it under a table. When we say, Let your light shine, we are actually saying, Let Jesus shine through you. Light is a Person, and Light is not letting your good behavior shine forth, and it is not replicating the deeds Jesus performed. However, it is releasing the Life of Christ in word and deed by allowing Him to use the vessel He possessed.


There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (John 1:9)

Fact. The Light of Christ was sent to us by His Father. As the Scriptures tell us, The Word of God never returns void, so is the case with Jesus being the Light. Whether you are speaking to an indwelt Christian, a confused soul, or a rebel who hates Jesus, when you share Jesus, it affects and sometimes infects every human. True, not all are led to the Light’s source, but it WILL enlighten them. I liken it to shining a flashlight onto someone standing in front of you in a dark ally. While the light is external, it still reveals who this person is and frequently reveals the "why" they are hanging out in the darkness. The reality is, just because you are shining the light on them externally does not mean the Light is within them. What it does do, the Light will probably draw them to the source of the Light. Such should be the mission of all authentically indwelt believers.


"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

Can you imagine loving darkness?