God is Light
The God of the Bible reveals himself as pure Light (1 John 1:5). As Creator, he is the giver of all Life! Because all have sinned, we are separated from God and live in darkness, which represents death. God alone is our light and salvation (Ps. 27:1). Lost people love darkness rather than light because their works are evil (John 3:20). But God so loved the world that he graciously engaged in the process of bringing us back to him.
Jesus, Light of the World
God sent Jesus as “the light of the world” so all who come to trust Him don’t have to live in darkness, but can experience the light of Life (John 8:12). Satan, “the god of this world,” has blinded the eyes of those who do not believe this Good News (2 Cor. 4:4-6). He knows the power of this glorious Gospel can open eyes to believe and receive the truth about Jesus, who gives life everlasting!
Let Your Light So Shine!
Jesus calls and enables believers to be his lights to take the Gospel to those who are in darkness. He commands us to let our light so shine among them that they can see our good works, come to know Christ and glorify God (Matt. 5:16). Christian missions engages in “sending” the Gospel light to the nations (Acts 13:47). These are people groups who do not know about God’s salvation in Christ, and so are still in darkness facing eternal death.
Lights in a Dark World
Paul, writing to the Philippians, considers himself a servant of Jesus, imprisoned for the advancement of the Gospel (Phil. 1:1, 12). He is keen that amidst persecution these saints stand strong, strive side-by-side together, suffer with him, and at all costs shine for the faith of the Gospel (1:27-30).
Paul reminds them that they are to shine as lights and describes this present world as a dark place, full of crooks and perverts! He then encouraged them to carefully let their light shine and engage with people by…
1. Working Out:
We are to exercise or prove our genuine faith by our obedience to God’s Word. We can’t work for our salvation, but with Christ in us, we work out, or grow in being his faithful witnesses with godly fear. This is only because God is working in us to make us willing and able to do his good pleasure.
When we are under pressure and show a positive attitude, responding to trials with joy and confidence, we shine as Jesus’ lights! Paul teaches that this confirms the Gospel of grace works in changing people!
2. Holding Forth
Paul knew that he was not in prison by accident, but for a purpose. It was to boldly proclaim the Gospel. He recognized that whatever happened to him actually served to advance the Gospel.
The darkness around can’t hide or hinder the progress of the Gospel. By Paul’s words and lifestyle, many even in Caesar’s family (4:22) had become Jesus’ followers, now shining for his glory! The light of the Gospel penetrates the darkness and is unstoppable!
3. Offering Up
“Shining” the Gospel means to engage with darkness and face spiritual conflict and opposition. This goes beyond just sharing Christ, to suffering for his sake (Acts 9:15-16). It entails self-sacrifice and tireless service for others, like the drink offering that was poured out as a sacrifice at the temple.
Challenge: The Philippians engaged with Paul in getting the Gospel light out to those in darkness in 3 ways:
- Support financially
- Suffering with him
How does God want you to shine or engage in missions today? Ask God, then commit!