INTRO: In the text I have read there are four great spiritual principles ... and a word of admonition. As you read these verses, however, you have the distinct impression that you have read them before ... but in a context that is much larger. The truth is that each of these principles is found scattered throughout the other synoptic gospels. But they are scattered. They are not found as they are here ... one after another. And we might wonder why? Although I have no inspired insight into the revelation of God, I do have a reasonable suggestion. A teacher who speaks prolifically and to various audiences may well repeat powerful points used with other audiences. Perhaps, then, on this occasion Jesus chose to use the briefly stated principles without the other material included in Matthew or Luke.
I. THE "LIGHT" IS TO BE SEEN - 4:21
A. Jno 8:12 - "I am the light of the world"
1. how easy it would have been for Jesus to hide from opposition
2. certainly, the opposition was growing ... and would result in His death
3. but Jesus did not come to hide - He came to be seen, and in being seen to provide light to those who would follow Him
4. note at Jno 1:14 - "...and we beheld his glory..."
B. Mt 5:14-16 - "Ye are the light of the world"
1. few verses speak more profoundly of Christian responsibility
2. obviously, we reflect the light of Jesus - as the moon does the sun
3. and a manifestation of that "light" is "good works" - so, Eph 2:10
4. are our lives filled with good works (both in obedience, in morality, in benevolence) such that glory is brought to the Father? Or, are we hiding our "light" by living worldly lives?
II. THE TRUTH CANNOT BE HIDDEN - 4:22
A. Jno 14:6 - "I am the way, the truth, and the life..."
1. remember Eph 3:3-6 - once the truth had been a mystery
2. 1 Pet 1:10,11 - even the prophets had not known the mystery fully
3. Gal 4:4,5 - Jesus, the embodiment of truth, was sent to be known!
4. He could not, cannot, and will not be hidden from a lost world
B. Jno 17:17 - "Thy word is truth"
1. 2 Tim 1:9,10 - "...brought life and immortality to light..."
2. God's truth has been "brought to light"
3. and that truth is only of benefit if it is announced, known
4. so, Mk 16:15 - the intention of God is that is must not be hidden!
C. Num 32:23 - "Be sure your sin will find you out"
1. here is another aspect of v. 22 - what we do in secret has a way of being revealed in time
2. Eccl 10:20 - we may wonder how a secret thing is made known
3. yet, the truth of the matter ultimately is revealed - and we must then decide what to do ... own up to it? put a "spin" on it? deny it?
4. Eccl 12:14 - our secrets will be made known finally
III. WHAT YOU GET DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU GIVE - 4:24
A. Lk 6:36-38 - "Give, and it shall be given unto you..."
1. here is a statement of this principle in a fuller context
2. "you get out of something just about what you put into it"
3. it is true in our jobs, in our studies, in our relationships
B. 2 Cor 9:6 - "And he which soweth bountifully..."
1. Prov 19:17 - had you ever thought about lending to the Lord?
2. there is a marvelous promise here - the question is, do we trust in it?
3. I suggest that this is one of the most practical of principles ... and it works in virtually every aspect of life!
IV. IF YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU'LL LOSE IT - 4:25
A. Mt 25:24-28 - "Take therefore the talent away from him..."
1. this metaphoric story illustrates the point perfectly
2. two men used their abilities to grow the master's investment - one man did nothing
3. two men gained more than at the beginning - one man lost everything
B. Jno 15:2 - "Every branch that beareth not fruit he taketh away..."
1. discipleship has always presupposed service, activity for Christ
2. it is, I believe, axiomatic that one who does not involve himself in the body of Christ in practical, practicable ways will become "dead which he lives"
3. I also believe it is axiomatic that the person who does serve actively in the body will become spiritually stronger for his having done so
CLOSE: Then, there is v. 23. We are challenged to be careful how we hear the word of the Lord. This admonition about the way we hear is one which the Lord used from time to time. A dear preacher friend of mine often said in his sermons, "Are you listening?" Are we really listening to our Lord.?
Cecil A. Hutson
07 January 2007
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)