I. You are the light of the world
Besides the salt-forming (the becoming of salt by the hand of the Lord [Matthew 5:13], viz. the forming of the new person), we must also become the light of the world. Both these works are done by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, on the basis of our faith and our submission. The salt-forming is the introductory work in order to prepare us according to the will of God. We were born sinners, but by the Holy Spirit we are redeemed from our sinful “I”-life, and we are transformed until we will have the wonderful Jesus-life within us.
But besides this the anointing is also meant to make us witnesses for our fellowmen that we might bring others into the circle of God’s grace by the power of the Holy Ghost. Many only witness in the Church, but we should not only do that, but the more so in the world outside. So that is the most important place, our most important (work)field. We must try to draw people out of the world until they learn to live for Jesus, until they are open to the grace of Jesus Christ. This then is the spreading of light. And this, too, is a work of the Holy Spirit. For without the power of the Lord no witness is possible. For the world is evil, is in the grip of satan. When we try to witness in our own power, people will laugh at us. They will proclaim us to be simple or some such thing, as the wisdom of God is folly to the world. When we do not witness in Jesus’ power, the testimony will have no value at all.
Let us first read the verses 14-16 from Matthew 5:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Again: the spreading of light in this world is an impossible task in the power of man. In man there is no possibility to spread light. For Jesus says: “I am the Light of the world”, and it is Jesus, Who by the work of the Holy Spirit in us, will make this light to shine through us. Therefore, without Jesus’ work through the anointing, through His Holy Spirit, no light is possible. Neither is this possible through good works that we might do.
There is a beautiful song in a Dutch hymnbook, which reads: “Everything that is done out of love for Jesus, will remain.” This is a lie, for this could just be man’s will. One might want to do a whole lot of things for Jesus, but when done in one’s own power these things will have no value at all. They must be done because of the work of the Holy Spirit within us. They must not be our own works, but works of the Holy Spirit through us. He must inspire us. He must lead us. He must urge us. So, this goes for both works: the spreading of the light as well as the works on behalf of the people around us. In both cases it is a matter of the anointing, God’s Spirit working in and through us.
The light should be on a mountain. A mountain is in this case the type for the power of the Holy Spirit. This goes also for the candleholder. The candleholder and the mountain are both types for the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be driven by God’s Spirit. In order to prove this, let us go to the text in Acts 1 verse 8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
This witness only comes after that strengthening by the Holy Spirit. First the power of the Holy Ghost will come upon us, and then comes the witnessing.
In general one thinks too lightly of the “waiting in the upper room” of our spirit for this strength, this anointing. Let us therefore continue to prayerfully ask for these wondrous powers of the Lord, until He come in; let Him do His work in and through us, then we could witness of the Lord. We are all called to witness. To tell the world that He is risen, that He is a living Savior, and that He is a Helper in all circumstances of life. He will solve all problems if we put them in His hands. Satan’s powers will then be overcome by our faith in Jesus Christ, and by our yielding to Him.
The Holy Spirit is therefore essential, it is the only way we could witness and spread light. We then would not only be able to speak about the Lord, for the Gospel does not only consist of words, but especially of power. We can read this in 1 Corinthians 2 verses 4 and 5. The preaching, and teaching must be instigated by God’s Spirit if they are to have eternal value.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
That is what it is all about: the power of God, which is the anointing. This anointing must work, and that anointing works when the Word is spoken in the power and authority of the Holy Ghost. So it is not the word itself: a beautiful speech; This will have no value whatsoever, no effect, for it is the living Word (i.e. Jezus) Who must do His work. He must change us; He must bring us to repentance, to conviction of sins and to confession of guilt and to submission. Then the Lord can heal us. It is the power of Jesus, which must achieve this on the basis of the spoken word; otherwise it is all in vain. Therefore, we might have given lots of messages without them having any eternal value if they were brought in our own human strength, without the Holy Spirit’s urging, blessing and anointing. We are to ask for this enormous anointing at all times, His power alone is able to work this, could be a light to people.
There is a connection between the salt-forming and the spreading of the light: the more we have the new nature within us, the more we can carry this with us, the greater light we spread by the Spirit’s power, the greater power the Lord could develop through us. There are different kinds of power, and there is a power to the spreading of light. John 1 verse 12 also speaks of a power
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
Scripture speaks here also about power and strength, but this is not a power and strength to witness, but to become a witness. This has to do with the salt-making, and not with the spreading of the light. These powers and strengths of the Holy Ghost are introductory powers and strengths that will transfer us into children of God, sons of God. The other powers and strengths I spoke of before, are to do with spreading of the light, with witnessing, and testifying to others; passing the Word of Truth to others. Any man must first be formed by the Lord. We should not mix these up.
As we read: the lit candle, this strengthening to witnessing, should not be hidden. We read in Matthew 5 verses 14-16, that the light should not be hidden under a bushel, but should be placed on a candlestick. A bushel is the type for the daily cares of life. The light should not be hindered by the daily cares. The daily worries and burdens should not become dominant. Our ministry should be uppermost, should be free, above all daily cares. We should be willing to serve Him, without cares. We should not worry, for the Lord wants to provide in all our needs, and we are to put all this in His hands, focus on Him and not on the circumstances. We should continue to walk and witness with that focus on the Lord. We should therefore not be influenced by daily cares, but hand these over to the Lord.
Let us go to Luke 8 verse 16:
“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.”
A vessel refers to food and drink, and “a bed” could refer to sexuality or laziness, not wanting to work for the Lord because of these things. All these human things: a bushel, a vessel, and a bed refer to daily human life. Man’s daily life should not wrongly influence the witness-life; prevent us from being witnesses. We should at all times be prepared to be witnesses for the Lord as God’s Spirit speaks through us: that we might be capable to witness. We must always have the preparation of the Gospel of peace. As it says in Ephesians 6 verse 15: “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” We must have a willing heart to testify of Jesus if God’s Spirit urges us to do this. And this should not be hindered by “vessel” or “bed” or “bushel”. Therefore, the human everyday things should not have the emphasis, but as children of the Lord we should first and foremost be wanting to do this: Proclaim the Gospel to others that they too might share in the grace of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 25 verses 18 and 24 are about the man that hides his talent:
“But he that had received one (talent) went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.”
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed.”
This servant of the Lord had received power (talents have nothing to do with earthly things, these talents refer to divine things), powers and strengths of the Holy Ghost to witness. (The one receives this and the other that. One will receive more power to witness, the other less.) But this man buried his power in the earth; a different text says: “hidden in his sweatcloth”. A “sweatcloth” refers to labor on earth, and earth to earthly things. So, the earthly things took preference with him; he buried his talent under them. Instead of using his talent it was buried under earthly needs. Things of the earth were more important to him.
Moreover, he accused the Lord, that He was so strict. Instead of admitting his laziness, he said: “You are strict, You mow where You did not sow, You make us work.” He accused the Lord of having to work. People which have received power from the Lord, will eventually be rejected because of this laziness, and their part is with the cursed, because they would not work while the Lord gave them power for it. It is wonderful to receive something from the Lord, but we must invest; use this. We must make the most of it; we must work with it. Let us not follow this man’s example, and deem the earthly things greater, and bury our talent under earthly cares, earthly pleasures like food and drink or under a “bed” (all thoughts in relation to “bed”).
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By E. van den Worm