Christianity 201

September 23, 2012

Keep Your Good Works Hidden, But Shine Your Light

“You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him. Any man who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because he will not believe in the character of God’s only Son. This is the judgment—that light has entered the world and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds are evil. Anybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed. But anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God.”  John 3: 17-21; J. B. Phillips translation.

The Bible makes a strong case that we’re not to “trumpet” our good works in order to get credit, or draw attention to ourselves. Nor, we are instructed, should we make a spectacle out of prayer, or giving. We are to approach God, and do acts of service with a humble spirit. We’re to take the back seat, though we might be asked to come forward.

But this verse, following on the heels of the popular John 3:16 text, tells us that we won’t stay hidden in the darkness such as those who do wrong (evil), but rather we will come into the light, because we are naturally drawn to be people of the light.

  • NASB: But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
  • NCV: But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God
  • The Message: But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.

One verse that comes to my mind in this context is in Acts 26 where Paul is speaking before Agrippa and Festus:

26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

I deliberate chose the KJV for this one because I love the phrasing, “this thing was not done in a corner.”  But most of the translations — even the modern ones — keep this phrasing, with The Message rendering, “You must realize that this wasn’t done behind the scenes.” Just as ‘cream rises to the surface,’ so will the works of God be evident, even in an unbelieving world.

Here’s how the NLT and Amplified Bible render Matthew 5:15-16

NLT 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

AMP16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Therefore:

  • We dwell in the light, not darkness
  • We reflect (or you could say, carry) The Light of God
  • We shine like light and are the light of the world

~PW

July 31, 2012

Upon This Rock

Today we feature the writing of Greg Laurie, author, crusade evangelist and pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. Greg has daily devotionals online, where this appeared under the title The Foundation of the Church.

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The first one ever to use the word “church” was not the apostle Paul; it was Jesus himself.

In Matthew 16, we read that when Jesus arrived in Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (verse 13).

Caesarea Philippi was a place of paganism and false belief. In fact, Caesarea Philippi was named after the Greek god, Pan. So in a place of false worship, Jesus asked His disciples to make a stand.

The disciples told Jesus that some people thought he was John the Baptist, others thought He was Elijah, and still others thought He was Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

So Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” (verse 15).

Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 16).

Jesus told him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (verses 17–18).

The word “church” has its origins in the Greek word ecclesia, which consists of two terms: “out from” and “called.” Put them together, and the meaning of ecclesia, or church, is “called out from.” Called out from what? Called out from this world, from this culture. Jesus was saying, “My followers should be separate from this culture.”

Also, Jesus was not saying that He would build His church on Peter. Rather, He was saying the church would be built on what Peter said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The foundation of the church is Christ himself.


I had no way of knowing when I scheduled this that Greg Laurie would be the subject of an article published yesterday at The Christian Post on the topic of whether or not our loved ones who have passed from this life are somehow aware of what is happening here on earth. Greg says they are, and if you want to read that article, click here.