Choosing the Light

By Pastor Wayne Jenkins

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” (Luke 8:16-18)

Hooray for light! There is so much light around us. I guess it’s more noticeable right now because by the Spirit of Christ we’re courageously overcoming significant darkness to victoriously expose His Light.

FBCA's light has shown in many ways in recent months - the Youth Mission Trip broadcasted the Light of Christ in Myrtle Beach. VBS was a brilliant display of the Light of Christ with Spark Studios. Children’s Music Camp ignited us with the Light of Christ though Praystation, learning the Lord's Prayer. Because of the Light of Christ, our partners from the Baptist Church in Linz, Austria spent ten days here serving alongside us in VBS, Casa Chirilagua, and For the Nations DC. Their visit connects the mission partnership circle and as far as I know, this is the first time that an international mission partner brought a team here to work with us at FBCA!

One-night last week, Reed and I drove back from Richmond where we attended a BGAV event. When we arrived in the FBCA parking lot about 10:00 pm, our attention was drawn to the light in the FBCA steeple. We commented on it, but as I thought about that light, I considered how it is a symbol of Luke 8:16-18. The light in the steeple isn’t the important element, but it is a reminder of Jesus’ teaching.
Light in the New Testament represents influence, hope, direction, presence, knowledge, understanding, unity, grace, redemption, oneness, and even Jesus Himself. “When Jesus spoke again, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Since we interpret light to be such qualities as those listed above, the lack of light (or darkness) are the opposite: fear, absence, deceit, weakness, lostness, ignorance, hatred, brokenness, division, evil, alienation, confusion, and even death.
FBCA does have a light in its steeple, but Jesus is the Light in us. It is impossible for an institution or organization to show the light of Jesus unless its members do. This responsibility of Jesus’ Light is individual first and together becomes corporate. Or not.

There are two ways that we can fail to broadcast the light of Jesus: 1) we cannot represent Him at all or 2) we can misrepresent Him. Both fall short of the Light. Both beam something other than the Light of Christ. Both are tragic.

If we opt to not represent Jesus at all, we go silent. We abstain. We avoid. We become benign. We withdraw.  If we decide to be the opposite, we distort the light and we send an errant signal. Instead of being a unifier, we become a divider; instead of being a peacemaker, we generate or encourage conflict; instead of speaking truth, we gossip; instead of encouraging others, we discourage; instead of being redemptive, we condemn; instead of being hopeful, we spread doubt; instead of lifting up, we put down; instead of persevering, we give up; instead of thanking God, we complain; instead of being loyal, we betray.  We become the  darkness.  

One of my favorite TV shows is Grantchester on PBS. Currently, the Vicar and other characters on the series are undergoing some trials that in real life can cause Christ-followers to question, stumble, or fall away. But what I love about Grantchester is that the indisputable Light of Christ comes through to reclaim, restore, and renew. In the story line, it is enchanting to trace the underlying illumination of Christ and to applaud when the Light fully emerges.  In real life, however, it is not so charming as portrayed in popular entertainment. It can be agonizing to be engaged in the battle between Light and darkness or between Light and compromised light.

Biblically, in the disruptive period of the Prophets, the Light came into the chaos to foreshadow His kingdom of Light that was to come. It is declared in Micah 4 and affirmed in Joel 2:28-32 closing with the same words that are later fulfilled in Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, and 2 Timothy 2:19—“And everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” In Acts 22:6, the Apostle Paul described his encounter with Jesus, “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me.” The great Light is Jesus Himself.
The same is true today. The great Light is Jesus Himself. We are His disciples, His vessels of Light. Only if we constantly submit and surrender to Him will His Light accurately shine to cast out and transform the darkness.

“Now get up and go into the city, and you will learn what you must do.”
Acts 9:6





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