Spreading Light Throughout Your World

Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12). He also said of His followers—which includes modern believers—“You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). Both statements are true because Christians act as lanterns for Christ. While we ourselves are not the Light, we are holders of light.

People who are stumbling in the darkness of sin and despair can look at believers and see hope. From within us glows the truth of Jesus Christ—the message of salvation through forgiveness of sins. We allow Him to shine forth not only when we speak about biblical truth but also when we model His ways. Righteous behavior gets attention because it’s so different from the selfish, unsatisfying lifestyle typical of the world. Many who see our light will want Jesus for themselves.

Reflecting Him to the world is the believer’s God-given job, so we must keep our flame bright. That means protecting our relationship with God by spending time praying and reading His Word. Otherwise, we will make unwise decisions, our fervor for the Lord will begin to lessen, and unbelievers won’t be able to see contentment or joy in us. We must also keep our lantern spotless by resisting temptation. Sin soils the believer’s testimony. However, when we do sin, our slate is wiped clean through confession and repentance.

It’s a great honor to reflect Jesus to the world. Don’t allow negligence or wrongdoing to dim your flame. Someone in your sphere of influence needs your “lantern” to guide him or her toward the true Light of the world.

How John Newton Came to Know Amazing Grace

amazing-grace newton

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

These were the words of John Newton, a former slave ship captain, who died December 21, 1807.

At age 11, his mother died and he went to sea with his father.

Young John Newton fell in love with Mary Catlett while on shore leave, but overstaying his visit, he missed his ship’s departure.

He was caught and “pressed” by a gang onto the ship HMS Harwich.

Newton tried to desert but was caught, stripped to the waist and flogged with 8 dozen lashes.

John Newton later wrote in a letter:

Like an unwary sailor who quits his port just before a rising storm, I renounced the hopes and comforts of the Gospel at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail me.

His reckless behavior caused him to be traded to a slave ship.

Being a continual problem, he was intentionally left on a West African plantation.

There the African slave dealer, Amos Clowe, made Newton one of the slaves of his wife, Princess Peye, an African duchess, where he suffered abuse and mistreatment.

John Newton was finally rescued, but continued his immoral life, deriding Christians with blasphemy that shocked even sailors.

John Newton wrote in 1778:

How industrious is Satan served. I was formerly one of his active undertemptors and had my influence been equal to my wishes I would have carried all the human race with me. A common drunkard or profligate is a petty sinner to what I was.

Caught in a storm that nearly sank their ship, he first prayed.

John Newton read Thomas a Kempis‘ ‘Imitation of Christ‘ and the Bible.

He eventually left the slave trade and studied to become a minister.

Ordained in 1764, he was assigned to the village of Olney, Buckinghamshire.

John Newton preached the rest of his life against slavery.

He encouraged William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British Parliament.

Engraved on his tomb and on a church plaque is,

John Newton, Clerk,
once an infidel and libertine,
a servant of slaves in Africa,
was, by the rich mercy
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
preserved, restored, pardoned,
and appointed to preach the faith
he had long labored to destroy.

“Amazing Grace” was published in the Olney Hymns, 1779:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

by WILLIAM J. FEDERER

The Books of God

“A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:10)

This great vision of the coming Day of Judgment is apparently the same as that later seen by John: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: . . . and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12).

These books of judgment are evidently books of records of the “works” of men. They must include also the books of the Bible, for the words of men must be evaluated in terms of the words of God. As Jesus said: “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). The fearful truth, however, is that all who are judged according to their works are lost, for “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified” (Romans 3:20).

There is another book of God at the judgment: “And another book was opened, which is the book of life: . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12, 15). In this book are the names of all who are trusting in Christ alone for salvation.

There is still one more book which God is keeping: “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:16-17). All whose names are in “the Lamb’s book of life” will never be judged by their works. Instead, all service for their Lord will be “remembered” in His special book of heavenly jewels. HMM

The upright shall dwell in Thy presence

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.—Psalm 91:1.
The upright shall dwell in Thy presence.—Psalm 140:13.

MY soul and all its powers
Thine, wholly Thine shall be,
All, all my happy hours
I consecrate to Thee.
Me to Thine image now restore,
And I shall praise Thee evermore.
CHARLES WESLEY.

IF the wish is wakened in our soul to be ever in His presence, let us go to Him this moment, and ask Him what to do, and how to feel, believing that He is more ready to hear than we to pray. He will give us realization of His Jove, and convictions of duty. Let us follow those convictions implicitly; let us ask Him every day to teach us more, and help us more, and we shall soon say, with Paul, “Thanks be, unto God, for His unspeakable gift!” WILLIAM R. HUNTINGTON.

The all-important thing is not to live apart from God, but as far as possible to be consciously with Him. It must needs be that those who look much into His face will become like Him. CHARLES H. BRENT.

Where is the promise of his coming?

Where is the promise of his coming? 2 Peter 3:4

Enoch … the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all. — Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.

The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Jude 14,15. Revelation 1:7. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. Titus 2:11-13.

Your work of faith.

Your work of faith. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. — Faith worketh by love. — He that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. — We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. — Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power. —It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

John 6:29. James 2:17. Galatians 5:6. Galatians 6:8. Ephesians 2:10. Titus 2:14. 2 Thessalonians 1:3,11. Philippians 2:13.