Shining as Lights in a Dark World February 21, 2020
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (John’s Gospel 8:12). What caused Him to say this? He is the one and only way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the exact revelation and truth of God. He is the solution to all the sin and darkness in the world. He is the Light from heaven. Jesus turned on the spiritual “light” two very special men.
Jesus saw the 1st century of nations overcome by corruption from poor to rich. All were crooked and perverse. In Philippians 2:15 the apostle Paul described the new Christians as sons of God. He urged them to strive harder against the spiritual darkness all around them: “Be blameless” and innocent. “Shine as lights in the world.”
Paul’s light was restricted by being under Roman house arrest for his faith in our risen Lord. He needed two God-fearing men: Timothy was raised as a child on the Word of God from his mother and grandmother. He became Paul’s dear friend and even called him his “son.” Timothy learned a lot as a partner in missions and from the example of Paul’s life.
How was his spiritual life shining? Paul wrote to him, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, my manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, and perseverance. .... and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation which is in Christ Jesus.” (2nd Timothy 3:10, 15). Timothy was a shining light reflecting Jesus and the Gospel. How can we become “shining lights” for Jesus? Just like Timothy—by repentance, by faith in Christ crucified, and resurrected.
Epaphroditus was from Philippi, a Roman city many miles north of Greece. He may have been led to Christ by Paul’s preaching. Many were converted. He became another “shining light” (2:15) in a very different way. Paul lived off love offerings donated to him and by making tents as a part-time job (4:18). Well, Epaphroditus’ congregation chose him to make that long, difficult journey to Rome. Either on that journey or when he reached Rome, he fell sick and nearly died. Could have been a deadly fever. (Philippians 2:25-30). God was merciful and healed him. Paul loved the Christians at Philippi. He became worried that something bad might happen to them (2:25). It was critical that someone go help the congregation. As soon as Epaphroditus regained his strength, Paul sent him back to be the good shepherd to the flock of believers. How can we become “shining lights” for Jesus? This pastor had the gracious “mind of Christ”: he comforted, loved, had affection and mercy for others, esteeming others in need before himself and let his mind be like Christ Jesus.” (2:1-5). We can go and do likewise as did Timothy and Epaphroditus, part-Jew and non-Jew, but one in Christ.
May we choose to be “shining lights” to clear away sin and immorality where we live and work. We can become “shining lights” by seeking to evangelize sinners and help them “shine” for the Lord Jesus our Savior. He is the light of God in a very dark world.
Pastor Ed Anderson