Let Your Light So Shine Before Men, Luke 8:16-18
Matthew 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Now one of our greatest needs is light.
We are given eyes to see but without light the gift of sight is useless.
God has filled our world with light for without light life cannot exist.
This statement concerns the physical but it also concerns the spiritual for without light in the spiritual we cannot exist.
God is the author of light, both the physical and the spiritual.
God said let there be light and he provided light by the Sun which rises and sets each day, but more importantly He provided light by His Son, Jesus Christ who told us that He is the light of the world.
And because God is conforming his children to the image of His Son He gives them the responsibility and the wherewithal to also be the light of the world.
His children compose the body of Christ and therefore are to broadcast the light given by God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philip Bliss in 1871 captured this truth when he wrote:
Brightly beams our Fatherís mercy from
His lighthouse evermore,
And He gives us this mission by the instruction of Luke 8:16-18 which says,
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. 17For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
In verse 10, previous to this passage, Jesus has told His disciples that He intended to hide the truth of the kingdom from the people, while revealing it to His followers.
Luke 8:10, And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
He thus spoke in parables, explaining their meaning only to his followers.
Now, in verses 16-18, Jesus makes it clear that this ďhidingĒ of the truth is not to be done by his disciples who hear the truth.
The truth, Jesus taught, was like a light, and light was not intended to be hidden, but to be brought into the open, where men in the darkness of sin could benefit from it.
Jesus is, of course, the candle for he is the light of the world and he now tells his disciples that they will make that light known to others.
In verse 17, the Lord Jesus said that nothing which was presently hidden was to stay hidden for long, but would be brought out into the open.
As the fruit of the tree is hidden in green until it is ripe and full of color, the gospel was hidden by Christ until it was ready to be broadcast by his disciples.
Jesus was not revealing His secrets to His disciples so that they could keep these things to themselves.
He did not come as the light of the world to be hidden from the world but to shine forth to the world.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was therefore revealing His secrets to His disciples so that very soon they could broadcast them to the world.
The disciples were urged to listen well, for as they carried the light which the Lord had entrusted to them they would be given even more light.
Jesus said: Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
In this statement Jesus warned them to listen well, for to miss these truths would result in the loss of spiritual truths they already seem to have.
Listening to the word well will result in the word doing its work and not listening to the word well will result in no work being done in the heart.
Taking heed how you hear the word will expose the secrets of your heart, and the word will therefore bring conformance to the image of Christ.
Taking heed to the word is allowing the word to do its work of sculpting so that you will be approved of God, a workman that needs not be ashamed.
Not heeding how you hear, casually hearing the word without any desire to let the word work will result in a loss of any truth a man seems to have.
This principle can be summarized by saying: Either grow in the light or any light that you may have will be taken from you.
We could say it this way: Use the light or lose the light.
The Amplified Bible records verse 18 this way: Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has spiritual knowledge will more be given: and from him who does not have spiritual knowledge, even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away.
Jesus explained the same principle when he told the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.
The man who was given 5 talents brought the Master 5 more, the man who was given 2 talents brought the Master 2 more, but the man who was given 1 talent only brought the Master back the one talent that he was given.
What was the Masterís response?
He praised the servants who brought profits of 2 and 5 talents to him.
But the servant who brought no profit was told how wicked and slothful he was and then that one talent was taken away and given to the one with the 10 talents.
The message is clear, either be profitable to the Lord or lose the ability to be profitable.
You are to grow in spiritual knowledge or you will go backwards in spiritual knowledge.
If you do not grow you will shrink.
What happens to the body when growth stops? Shrinkage begins.
The body does not stand still in this matter.
It either grows or it shrinks.
You measure your height all your life and plot it on a graph.
If you live long it will be a rising line and then it will be a falling line as you age.
And likewise there is no standing still in Godís economy.
We sing this song to impress this truth into our heart:
Iím pressing on
the upward way,
This teaches, you cannot hit a plateau in spiritual growth.
You either grow or go backwards.
You either grow or you shrink.
This truth is active in our country today, a country that has had much light, but because of its rejection of that light any light that we seem to still have is being taken away.
We say that the country is degenerating faster and faster but that is why it is so fast.
Light is being taken away in order for the ripening of unbelief to proceed toward its natural outcome.
But Jesus is saying to his disciples, take heed.
Be careful how you listen to my word for you will be called upon to carry the light you are being given and if you do it faithfully more light will be given.
By withholding the light of truth from the people by teaching in parables Jesus Christ was demonstrating this principle.
Israel was continuing in a spirit of unbelief, a rejection of light, and Jesus Christ was not going to give them more light but less light.
Jesus Christ was continuing to prepare the soil of unbelief by withholding the truth from Israel.
The nation Israel had not received Jesus Christ as her Messiah in spite of the fact that he had presented himself to them as the Messiah completely, in accordance with the scriptures.
But in spite of the scriptures their leaders have rejected Him and have determined to put Him to death.
The people demand miracles and signs, the people demand a show because the people have rejected the light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This was not a nation about to believe and receive light but a nation on a track of unbelief and on a willing slide toward darkness.
So Jesus began to veil His teaching, focusing more on His disciples and revealing more and more to them about His upcoming rejection and sacrificial death.
Jesusí concealing of these mysteries of the kingdom gave momentum to this unbelieving nation to increase its efforts to purge itself of this kind of Messiah for this Messiah did not fit into their beliefs.
The grapes of unbelief were not yet ready to harvest so further truth was withheld from them so that the grapes of unbelief would continue to ripen.
Jesus explained the principle upon which he was operating.
For he says in verse 18:
Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
Jesus Christ knew the spirit of unbelief was in the land and he operated by this principle.
Do not feed unbelief with truth but even take away any truth that they have in order for unbelief to come in full flower so that its natural result will occur.
This will be seen in its full flower when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn with the calling of the saints in the rapture.
Light will be taken.
Remember that God is the husbandman and a part of his harvest will be a harvest resulting in his wrath.
Remember there are grapes to be harvested that are called the grapes of wrath in the book of Revelation.
So by Jesusí actions he encourages the ripening of the fruit of unbelief in Israel.
And the natural result of unbelief will lead to the cross.
The ďinner circleĒ of our Lordís followers not only heard our Lordís teaching, they took it to heart, leaving everything behind them to follow Him.
Those who did not possess the truth only heard it, but did not apply it.
They did not heed how they heard.
Jesus is teaching that the one who possesses His teaching is the one who acts on it, who makes it his (or her) own, and who thus perseveres, grows to maturity, and bears fruit.
They are doers of the word and not hearers only.
To those who use the truth, more is given.
To those who keep hearing the truth rightly, they grow richer and richer.
God can give to them, and thus God does give because giving and enriching them and us for eternity is Godís pleasure.
But they who hear amiss prevent God from giving light to them so that the more they continue hearing amiss, the worse their state becomes.
Those who only hear it and do not act upon truth, even what they appear to possess is taken away ó it has done them no good at all.
What an ominous or threatening condition to be in.
Within this truth I can understand why those who saw light and left that light are in a present state of darkness that is getting darker.
People who do not heed how they hear are standing on the precipice over hell.
Being in the education business in this ministry we see many lives that left the truth and we may not understand how a person can leave truth.
But we see here that that which they were given is taken away from them and they are the worse off for having light but leaving that light.
Better to have not heard the truth than to hear the truth and reject it for the darkness is greater for that one who rejects it.
For those who have heard the word of God, who have heard the Gospel and yet have not responded, there is a clear word of warning here.
To disregard the Gospel is more dangerous than any thing on this earth, for Satan will not allow the seed to remain for long and the seed may never be sown in those hearts again.
If you have heard the message of the Gospel, knowing that you are a sinner in need of Godís grace, in need of the forgiveness found only in Christ, and yet have not acted so as to receive it, you are presuming on the grace of God.
You are expecting another opportunity which may never come your way again.
Paul reminded the Corinthians of this when he referred to a time accepted and the day of salvation.
II Cor 6:2, For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Opportunity comes and opportunity goes.
The sun rises and brings day but the sun also sets and brings night.
To play around with Godís grace and to presume on Godís grace is a very dangerous and perilous practice.
For the light that you think you have will be taken away if not acted upon.
And to presume on Godís grace is to act the fool.