"Bright is the Light"
Scripture: Micah 6:6-8, Mark 4:21-25
Pastor Tom Millner
February 28, 2010
In the words of Plato; "We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
We have a revival meeting coming up in a little over two weeks. We're bringing a seasoned teaching preacher who is nationally known to this pulpit. We will have a Dove Award winning singer and songwriter in our midst to bless the Lord and us in this place. We're stepping out in faith to pay for advertising for this event, believing that God will inspire those at whose hearts He is tugging to cover these costs. Never in the history of this South Florida community, fraught with feelings of disdain of religion that feeds exclusionism and blatant discrimination, has there ever been such an outpouring of effort for revival and renewal. God has planted us here, squarely in the midst of the harvest. God has given us His very presence through His Holy Spirit. He is calling this community to revival like never seen before. He is calling us; who is hearing?
Igniting the world for Christ, one life at a time is our mission. The world about which this speaks is not some foreign and distant place – it is right here in Wilton Manors, in the midst of what has been named Equality Park. That one life at a time is the one closest to you, listening to your words, hearing your tone, your heart. What are they hearing? We need not look any further than our mouths that spit forth the condition of our hearts.
In today's reading from Mark's Gospel we hear Jesus explaining to the disciples the importance of the Kingdom of God in the light of the Gospel. He had already clarified to them the meaning of the seeds falling on various soils with emphasis that they (and subsequently we) become fertile soil from which the Gospel may grow. Christ is depicted numerous occasions in scripture as "light" that has come into the world. Often, the Kingdom of God is referenced as "light." Jesus is saying to them that just as you would not bring a lighted lamp into a darkened room and hide it under a bowl where it would eventually be extinguished or under a bed where the light is obscured, so then we are not to obscure or hide the light of Christ that is to shine in us, but rather bring it out in the open. When was the last time the light of Christ shown from you? This sermon is not intended to be a guilt trip. It's intended to be a wakeup call! It's time for many of us to get past the baby food and get to the adult substance. It's time we stopped dilly dallying around with gossip and complaints about the perpetual injustice done to us by those who aren't doing things MY WAY and get to what's really going on – self-seeking, self-indulgent, self-serving sin in our own lives that we're too much baby to own up to! If my light is not shining with the love of Christ, it's not anyone else who has hidden it or caused it to dim…it's my sin – the holy trinity of me, myself, and I. If you're hearing this still as a guilt trip, it's only proof of your own self-worship! You, I, or the greatest Saint – will never measure up – accept it, give up the trying - accept the mercy that has already been given by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and live in the grace that He affords. In the words of another preacher I've heard – "repent from trying and all the mess it causes, accept His forgiveness and let His light shine in you." And if you don't – don't worry, you'll continue to get what you've always gotten because that's what you've always been so consumed by. In the economics of God's kingdom, less is more! Less self gives room for more of Him.
We seek to have our own way – manifest our own destiny – pull all our own strings and wonder why we feel angry, alienated, frustrated, and alone. If it is to be, it is up to me! Want to know by what measure you'll be judged on the next side of eternity? The measure you're using on this side is the one by which you'll be measured. The prophet Micah wrote: "With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." To act justly – to love mercy – and walk with God as His humble creation. Then His light can shine; then Christ can be seen as you stroll the aisles of the supermarket, sip a latte with friends at the bucks, do the next bench press or deep knee bend at the gym; then Christ can be seen as you peruse the Drive, commit the commute, or tweet with your peeps.
Revival, folks is not an event, a meeting, a service, a glory hallelujah –praise the Lord. Revival is a person - Jesus Christ allowed either for the first time or again as central to your life. Revival doesn't happen out there someplace – He happens right here in our heart. It is we who have been called to be His Body – a shining light, a beacon in this stormy sea –right here in the Island City. So I'm saying today; stop the bellyaching, backbiting, bickering about what's not important and start letting Him take first place in your life. If you can't, you're looking for love in all the wrong places here. If you're not supporting His church with all you can give, you're fooling yourself into believing it's everyone else's responsibility. Get real, get serious about the Man – Jesus who is here to take way the self-centeredness of the world and teach us from within; "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Got light? Let him shine!