Jesus said we are not to light a candle and put it under a bushel. What does this mean? We are to position our lives to give the most light.
NEW YEARS SERMON
By Pastor Delbert Young
NEW YEAR – Light A Candle
Light A Candle New Year
Sciptures: Matthew 6:31-34, Malachi 3:10, Luke 6:38, Matthew 5:13-16
Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. Amazingly, another year has come and gone. How do you feel about that? Do you feel somewhat numb about it? Oh well, another year came and went. Maybe, if you really evaluated your year, you would say you did not accomplish much if anything. Maybe you would say, “I am still in debt. I continue to have the same problems I had the year before. My children and home are still a mess. I am still sick. Those people I prayed would come into the kingdom are still lost. It may sound strange when I say it, but what I want to tell you today is that you had a great year and you need to celebrate! Yes, you may still be in debt. You may not have gotten your debt paid off, but I am sure you paid on it. You may be battling the same problems, but you are still here. You have your sanity and I am sure you got some closer to a solution. Your children and your home may still be a mess, but you have children and a home. Be thankful for that. You may still be sick, but you are alive! And, those people you prayed about coming into the kingdom are closer now than ever because of you and your prayers. They will come in. Do not be depressed about the things that you didn’t get done. You need to be positive about what you did see happen. Don’t get anxious and depressed because last year was not as great as you had hoped.
One day Jesus was teaching and told people not to be anxious about anything. He said people get all caught up in survival – what they will eat, drink, wear, house, etc. He said life is way more important than that (Mat 6:25). He said look around at nature. For example, birds do not worry that another year came and went (my paraphrase), but God took care of them. Are you not more important than a bird he asked. He said people get anxious about silly things like clothes. Look at the flowers, he said. Even Solomon with all his wealth could not dress like one of them. Then he said this.
Matthew 6:31-34 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. BUT SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU AS WELL. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus said if we could get this one thing right, every day, week, month, and year would always increase. If we would seek the kingdom of God first and live it right, things would daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly find us and add themselves to our lives. We would not have to find them. They would find us.
Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. TEST ME IN THIS,” says the LORD Almighty, “and SEE IF I WILL NOT THROW OPEN THE FLOODGATES OF HEAVEN AND POUR OUT SO MUCH BLESSING THAT YOU WILL NOT HAVE ROOM ENOUGH FOR IT.
How many could use heaven’s floodgates thrown open for you? You begin tomorrow. He said TEST ME. “It’s a promise that I will give you,” the Lord said. Test him and see if he will not correct your finances. Test him! You see if he will fix your home and children, heal your body, correct your problems, and bring those people into the kingdom for which you pray. Test him!
Luke 6:38 Give, and IT will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, WILL BE POURED INTO YOUR LAP. For with the measure you use, IT will be measured to you.”
Give IT to the kingdom of God and watch God move. Give some time to the kingdom, give your prayers, and give ministry. Find something to give first to the kingdom and you will have a LAP full of blessings. What do you need this year? Give IT and IT will be given to you! YOU HAD A GREAT YEAR last year, BUT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A GREATER YEAR. Put the kingdom first and God will chase you down with blessings.
Let’s talk about the people you want to see come into the kingdom.
Matthew 5:13-16 YE ARE the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. YE ARE the light of the world. A city that is set on an 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.
Jesus likened our lives to two things: (1) SALT and (2) LIGHT. In the time Jesus spoke this and until modern times, salt played a far more important role than today. It was more than a condiment. There was no refrigeration, so the way they preserved meat was by rubbing salt into the meat. The meat absorbed the salt and the salt became a part of the meat. I have here a large piece of meat and some salt. This process preserved the meat and prevented flies and insects from ruining the meat and the meat went through a process called “brine curing.” As they rubbed salt INTO the meat, immediately the meat began changing. Over a process of time, it changed totally because of the salt’s affects. Here is a seeming silly, but important point. The meat had no option concerning the process. It could only receive the salt.
Jesus said, YE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. The word earth is the Greek word ge and actually means region. The Lord placed people in your region/earth – life. They have no option but to be there and you have affected their lives. Jesus rubbed you (as it were) into them. YOU ARE the salt. You preserve their lives from ruin. You keep the flies and insects away from them. They absorb you daily or weekly. You are a part of them. You do not go and find someone to rub salt on. They are already there and Jesus does the rubbing. Over a period of time, they are cured. This is exactly what the Lord did with the twelve disciples. He was around them constantly. He got into their flesh. However, it took Jesus 3 ½ years to get them cured, so don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t happen for you over night.
I recall working at Dundee Mills as a supervisor after I came into the kingdom of God before I began my ministry. My shift consisted of 15 people. I saw those people at least five days a week for eight years. However, over the course of those eight years, I brought 13 of them to church and several received Jesus for the very first time. I had a tremendous effect on their lives. I salted them. I “cured” them. My point is there are people in your life right now the Lord is rubbing you into. You are causing them to change. Your job is to be salty! Light a candle.
I will give one more illustration. Jesus said, YE ARE the light of the world. He said people do not light a candle (lamp) and put it under a bushel. Here is an oil lamp. I will light it. Here is a bushel. Here is what the Lord literally said as I put the bushel over the lamp, but here is what he meant as I put the bushel over my head and talk. The teaching Jesus gave is we bring light to darkness. You bring enlightenment or illumination to people helplessly groping around in life. The Greek word used here for world is kosmos and means arrangement. Jesus arranged your world for you to bring light, enlightenment, and illumination to people. You do not need to go looking for people to enlighten. Jesus already arranged them in your life. All you need to do is remove the basket. Light a candle.
What I am asking you to do this year is to make a commitment to the Lord to seek first the kingdom, to be as salty as you can, and to get the basket off your light. You know so much. YOU ARE salt and YOUR ARE light to your world/arrangement and earth/region. I have given you two identical cards. On the back it reads, “My Commitment To.” There are five lines and the first is already filled in with “The kingdom of God.” I ask you to write the name(s) of a person/people to whom you feel YOU ARE SALT and light. Fill both cards out identically. Keep one for your personal reminder. Bring the other one, put it into this silver container, and LIGHT A CANDLE symbolizing that you commit this year to salt and light him/her, or them. Then, when you want and feel ready, go to one of the four stations and receive communion. Break a piece of bread and take a cup. You can remain at the altars or come back to your seat. Thank God for last year and pray for the next. Pray for yourself, your family, Life Gate, those people on your card, and for the kingdom of God. There will be no more days of this year, but you have a full year ahead beginning tomorrow. Let’s pray and bless the communion elements.
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