A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
LIVING AND LABOURING FOR GOD’S GLORY
Matthew 5:16; Romans 15:5,6; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20
Christ, in His message on the Mount, reveals the Father and His grace to us. He sees us as part of His own people who are not in the kingdom by accident. Because “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world ” (Acts 15:18). He knows the individual Christian and what He has called him to do. He has called us, Christians, to preach the gospel message to the whole world. Christ reveals that wherever we are today, we are there to fulfil His purpose of beaming the gospel light to the world in which we live.
We are favoured and privileged to receive manifold revelations from Christ. This is because He did not always open His mouth to speak when men desired Him to do so (Luke 23:8,9). The revelations and experiences we receive from Christ’s teachings (Matthew 5:1-15) bring on us a responsibility. And to every Christian Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “So” in this verse of Scripture denotes that we, Christians, must allow our light to shine to a very high degree, a great extent, an extra-ordinary level and with a higher quality of brightness. Extra-ordinary quality of virtue or superlative emphasis on a thing is also expressed in other Scripture references (John 3:16; Matthew 6:30-32; 8:10; Acts 14:1;19:20; Philippians 4:1; Hebrews 1:4; 2:3). The floodlight of believers’ life then must have a supernatural path and effect on the people. The light that shines from us must be with inexhaustible oil of grace, love and of the Holy Spirit.
LIVING FOR CHRIST BEFORE MEN FOR GOD’S GLORY
Matthew 5:16; 6:1,2; 10:32,33; Acts 19:18,19; Romans 12:17-21; 16:19; Philippians 4:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13; 5:14,15.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” As believers and light of the world, we must shine so that others can see our good works. But our purpose of heart is not to attract attention to us. They are to see by our light that God has power; that if they come to Him, His transforming power can change them for His own glory. Some misapply Christ’s teaching on almsgiving to mean that they are expected to lead a secret Christian lifestyle. But true Christians however do not lead secretive life. Jesus says believers should live a good, pure and influential life that impacts on people by way of good and sound behaviour. The Christian life must be lived before all men. “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men…” (Acts 19:18,19). We must live out our conviction of non-conformity (to sin and the world) and honesty lest we become hypocrites. We must let our light shine before men: they should know godly principles on which we stand. “Let your moderation be known unto all men” (Philippians 4:5). Then, they will give their lives to the Lord.
LABOURING IN CHRIST’S MINISTRY FOR GOD’S GLORY
Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17; Titus 2:7,8; 3:8,14.
“Let your light so shine before men….” The reason we represent and reflect Christ before men is because Christ is the Light of the world. As lights that reflect Him in the world, we do not hide, seclude and isolate ourselves. After all, light is not useful but among men. If the people of the world cannot see it shining, then our light is useless. But we beam the light of Christ and the gospel of grace that burns with the oil of the Holy Spirit in our lives so they can be attracted to Him.
Saved by grace, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. In the words of John Wesley:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
Christ has created, saved and imparted His nature in us for the purpose of showing good works before men. Thus, we labour in good works before all men. Also, God has given us the Scripture so we can be “furnished unto all good works”. It behoves us, Christians, to endeavour to always live out a cleansed Christ-like attitude, character and lifestyle that illuminates. Our lives then, as Christians, must not only be full of good works but also patterns of good works before men. We must be conscious that other people are always watching us. They evaluate our behaviour, language, action and interaction. Therefore, our lives must be full of good works. Anywhere, anytime and “in all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you ” (Titus 2:7,8). This pattern of good works is what God wants us to demonstrate. This is because God is good and promises the everlasting covenant for our good. Jesus, our perfect Model, went about doing good. The Holy Spirit is good in that He guides and directs us. The priority and commitment of our lives then must be to do good to others.
LIKENESS TO CHRIST’S MODEL OF GLORIFYING GOD
Matthew 5:16; John 17:4; 15:8; 1 Peter 2:9,12; 4:11,14; Galatians 1:21-24;1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12; Colossians 2:6,7; John 13:15-17.
The reason for doing good works is so that men may see them and give glory to God. What was the pattern of the life of Jesus in bringing glory to God? He glorified God by concentrating on what the Father had appointed Him to do. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). He could not be diverted from His purpose on earth. He rejected earthly coronation by men to be a king. Rather, He focused His attention on the purpose He came to fulfil on earth: His suffering and death for the sin of humanity. Like Christ, whatever God has called us to do, let’s do it without procrastination, but with all our strength, might and knowledge. We must assess ourselves continually to make sure we finish the work God has given us to do to avoid living a wasted life.
As Christians, we must not live a life without consequence. Understandably, we are not ordinary people. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light ” (1 Peter 2:9). We must not allow personal problems or challenges that confront us to prevent our light from shining forth. When it shines for others to see, many of them would be drawn to the Lord. They will glorify God for being transformed by the light of the gospel. So, our lives will glorify God as they also shine forth the light of God’s grace, love, holiness and power before men.
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