Thursday, February 02, 2012

120202 - Matthew 05 - the light and the glory

Thursday SOAP: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus carefully describes the kind of life that substantiates the claim of the new birth. If we could live this way all the time, it would ensure that persecution and slander would always be unjustified and that no one could deny that Jesus changes lives.

(Why "SOAP?" See

S: Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

O: Simple thought today: because of the way Jesus concludes this paragraph, speaking about good works, when He has just described them in the Beatitudes, it's easy to conclude that the "light" that is spoken of is good works. But that's not really "light" - or at least it's certainly not the whole story. Jesus is the light of the world. (John 8:12, 9:5) The light He brings really makes a difference - and that's where the good works come in: they show changed lives and changed purpose.

A: So the question for me is: do my deeds really back up the message I reflect? And do I faithfully proclaim that message? Both parts are necessary: if I loudly proclaim Christ, but am found to be a hypocrite by the watching world, why should they listen to me? If I am a peacemaker, if I'm poor in spirit, merciful and meek, eager for what is right, pure in heart, but I don't deny my own "goodness" and proclaim Christ as the reason my life is different, why should they think it's the gospel that makes a difference? It must be BOTH the light AND the glory.

P: Father, I pray that you give me opportunity and words, that I may open my mouth boldly, as I ought to, and that my life may never give anyone cause to deny the transforming power of Christ.


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