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Sermon on the Mount Light of the World

Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a
lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone
in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good
deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (14-16)
Jesus tells the disciples they are the light of the world we remember that Jesus Himself is
the source of that light: In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. . . the
true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (John 1:4-9)
Also in Johns gospel, Jesus said, I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will
never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (8:12)
Because Jesus is the true light that gives light (John 1:19), His followers have the light of
life (John 8:12); and as they become conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29),
the Christian becomes both the salt of the earth (5:13) and the light of the world (5:14)
Martin Lloyd Jones: The light that is Christ Himself, the light that is ultimately God, is the
light that is the Christian. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. I am the light of
the world. Ye are the light of the world. (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, page 142)
By its very nature, light reveals what is hidden in the dark Jones referred to 1John 1:5:
God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all what follows is the mandate that the
disciples of Christ live in a manner consistent with the source and expression of Gods light
If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not
live out the truth; but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with
one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin (I John 1:6-7)
Jesus uses two examples of light: a city on a hill and a lamp the city on the hill is
elevated and its light shines without restriction; a lamp is designed to be elevated on a stand,
not covered by a bowl, and so it gives light to everyone in the house
There is an absurdity about a lamp placed under a bowl, for the lamps purpose is to be
exposed and illuminate In the same way, let your light shine before men
Jesus speaks specifically of good deeds which bless others and give credibility to our words
Rather than glorifying ourselves, these actions bring praise to your Father in Heaven
This selfless behavior results from loving God with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm
51:17) this disciple displays the beautiful attitudes of being poor in spirit, meek,
and hungry and thirsty for righteousness (5:3-6)
We can make a helpful distinction as we compare this passage in which Jesus teaches us to
allow our good works to be seen by others (5:16), and the warning He gives in the next
chapter about performing acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them (6:1)
When you give to the needy (6:2), when you pray (6:5), and when you fast (6:16), do
not perform in such an overt manner as to be seen by men if the reward of man is what
you want, that is what you will receive and you are paid in full (6:2,5,16)
But in this passage Jesus encourages us to let you light shine before men not to please men
but to please God, and the result of such pure-hearted behavior is that observers will praise
your Father in Heaven they will appreciate you but will glorify and praise God