Take Your Candle and Light the World
Matt 5:13-16

14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. NAS

Introduction
I am not that big on birthday celebrations for me. I do like some special things to be done like a special pie or lunch or dinner at a different place. Recently I had a birthday and Christa was in Quincy helping Tami and John get packed for the movers to come in and load. I got up and had a bowl of cereal all by my self. I went home to a bowl of warmed up chili all by my self. I checked the answering machine and heard my daughter Teri and her family sing happy birthday to me and that was nice. I had a phone call from Christa and Tami. Christa was to leave Tami's house around 1:30 PM.

I waited for supper thinking Christa and I could meet somewhere for supper but finally went to the Community Thanksgiving Service. When I left there I drove by the house and it was dark. I came in to see if there was a message on the answering machine. No message so I called Christa on the cell phone and found out she would be here around 9:00 PM. I told her I was going to Blimpys for a sandwich.

What an uneventful day. I understood Tami's need but I felt like my birthday was absolutely not a special day. I was disappointed on my birthday. Have you ever though Christ is disappointed with the day we call His birthday?

Recently I read this story. "Daddy, come quick," shouted my four-year-old daughter. "Someone stole the presents from under the Christmas tree." At first I thought that the children were playing a joke on me. But I could see quickly that they were visibly upset. Apparently someone had come into our house while we slept, picked out some choice presents, removed the blanket that covers my favorite chair, and used it to haul away about a dozen or so gifts that were to be given to the children and to friends and family on
Christmas morning.

To say that the children were angry would be an understatement. After my 11-year-old son, Jonathan, realized that among the gifts stolen were his brand new Nike sneakers, he stormed out of the house in tears.

I sat silent on my cover less chair, stunned and fuming. I had seen the children's Christmas special "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" dozens of times since childhood. But I never believed such a tale could come true. How do you forgive a person like this? How do I teach my children to practice forgiveness?

Because it is unnatural, we have to practice forgiveness, like any other discipline. According to Dr. King, "Forgiveness is not just an occasional act: it is a permanent attitude."

Later that day I put the question to my son. "How should we as Christians respond to the person who tried to steal our Christmas?"

"Yeah, yeah, I know, Dad," he said. "Even though he doesn't deserve it, we're supposed to give him grace."

Sure, I knew that the words that came out of his mouth were almost the complete opposite of what he was feeling in his heart (I knew because I felt the same way). But I also knew we had to start somewhere. And if, one step at a time, our discipleship as Christians could include giving each other grace, if our children could learn and practice forgiveness as well as they practice praise and worship, if we could literally create a counter-culture of grace, then just maybe, as we all mature in our faith, our hearts could finally line up with our words. And the world would have to take notice. Spencer Perkins, Reconcilers.

I think the day set aside for Jesus birth into this world should be a special day that no one steals. We have the opportunity to magnify the Lord through a gift to missions through our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for World Missions. We should take our candle and light the world. Look at the text closely with me.
 
 

1.    Because We Have the . . Means. v 14 


            "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."

A.    We Have the Light. v 14 a

        1.    I have these candles here to demonstrate what we all know about light.

B    We Have the Illumination. v 14 b

        1.    Set the Candles where all can see.

C.    We Have the . . Wealth.

        1. WE ARE WEALTHY WITH. . CAPITOL.
            A weekly unemployment check in the United States is larger than a months earning in many
            countries.

        2.    WE ARE WEALTHY WITH . . CAPABILITIES.
                a.    Share Knowledge of Agriculture etc.

ILLUSTRATION:
What if the Worlds population were reduced to 100 people?

100 people..................6 U.S. Citizens

100 Autos.................. 80 U.S. Citizens would own.

100 Phones ............. 90 U.S. Citizens would own.

100 Dollars.............. 56 U.S. Citizens would own.
 

APPLICATION:

We are Wealthy. We can give! We can serve. We will give in proportion to our concern.
 
 

2.    Because We Have the . . Method. v 14 b-16 a


    "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, . . . "

A.    We are Not to . . Dampen Our God Given Light. v 15 a

B.    We are to Be . . Deliberate with Our God Given Light. v 15 b

C.    We are to be. . Directional with Our God Given Light. v 15 c

Illustration
Go around town and count the number of homes that decorate with a Christian emphasis.
Let me ask you will there be any thing different about your decorations than an atheist would do?
What about the Christmas cards you send

Illustration MAKING A DIFFERENCE
In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison. No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes. But when he was asked about the transformation, here's what he said: "I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls."

Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine! When the first prison basketball game was held, she went walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids and she sat in the stands with the inmates.

Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me! I don't have to worry!"

She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records. She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit. Holding his hand in hers she said, "Do you read Braille?" "What's Braille?" he asked. Then she taught him how to read. Years later he would weep in love for her.

Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. She went to school to learn how to use sign language. Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.

Then, she was killed in a car accident. The next morning Lewis Lawes didn't come to work, so the acting warden took his place. It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong.

The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison. As the acting warden took his early morning walk he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate. He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness. He knew how much they loved Catherine. He turned and faced the men, "All right, men, you can go. Just be sure and check in tonight!" Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes, a woman who made a difference. And every one of them checked back in. Every one! Stories For The Heart     Alice Gray, Multnomah, pp. 54-55.

Application

What about our Influence at Christmas? Are we allowing our light to shine?
 
 

3.    Because We Have the . . Motivation. v 16 b


                    ". . . and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

A.    Our Motivation is not . . Humanly. v 16 b

B.    Our Motivation is . . Heavenly. v 16 c
 

Illustration
A Lady gave beggar a precious stone, Next day he gave it back and said I would rather you gave
me your most precious gift. And that is what is inside of you that motivated you give me the stone. Can you tell me how to have that kind of motivation?

Application

Does what is inside us cause anyone to take notice? Do they note the fact of Christ making us different?

14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. NAS
 

Take Your Candle and Light the World.