Thesis:Disciples of Jesus must be aware of how important their actions are.
Introduction:We have taken pains to consider the meaning of Jesus' parable of the soils so that we might participate in the benefit He planned for His disciples. We have seen that the large point of the parable of the sower is that those who sow should understand what will happen when they sow. Under that larger point, however, is the explanation of why "what happens", happens. And under that explanation is the implied insistence that the "disciples" avoid all of those "whys" that keep the seed from accomplishing its intent.
The largest "point" that we have tried to make is that there are only two matters that affect the fruitfulness of a disciple. The first is whether the disciple provides sufficient moisture for the plant that sprouts from the seed. This is explained by the general biblical issue of maintaining a sufficiently close relationship with God to allow His "water of life" to flow to us, into us, and out of us to others. Without this "moisture" there can be no fruit.
Then there is the second matter: whether the disciple provides sufficient nutrition to the plant so that it can produce a harvest. This is explained by the necessity of keeping the "worries", the "riches", and the "pleasures" at bay (the unbelieving positions of the soul, the spirit, and the body must be met by faith).
Now, this morning we are moving into the second of Jesus' "parables". It is given in 8:16 and developed in 8:17-18. It consists of three parts: a declaration of something no one does/everyone does; a declaration of a most fundamental reality of God's function in this world; and a warning about methods and consequences. So, we will approach this parable according to its parts.
I. The First Part: A Declaration of Something No One Does/Everyone Does.
A. No one ignites a light-producer and covers it or puts it under a bed.
1. Besides the obvious problem of the fire igniting the vessel or bed, there is the problem that is more to the point: frustrating the entire objective of the method.
2. There is no one who does not intuitively understand the issue of cause/effect.
a. Though there are innumerable levels of "understanding" of anything, even the tiniest baby acts on an understanding of cause/effect.
b. According to Paul, there is absolutely no one who will stand before God with a valid excuse for the way we have treated Him because of this built-in grasp of His principle of cause/effect.
3. There is no one who deliberately sets out to "cause" so that the desired "effect" is deliberately frustrated.
a. There are tons of people who do frustrate their objectives by employing causes that are ineffectual and, even, self-defeating, but this is always caused by ignorant delusion.
b. It is impossible to find anyone who deliberately sets out to frustrate his/her own ends.
4. This "no one" is, first and foremost, a "T"heological truth.
a. Our participation in this principle of "no deliberate self-frustration" is nothing more or less than the image of God in us.
1) Everywhere in the Scriptures we are told in the plainest forms possible that God has established a final objective that He is going to fulfill.
2) That God is like this -- committed to both objectives and means that work -- is fundamental "T"heology.
3) That divine Self-revelation is filled with the insistence that we acquire the knowledge of its content has to mean that God considers, as an essential element of His own nature, that the knowledge of what is valuable and what "works" in the pursuit of it are "bottom line" issues that spring out of His own omniscience and omni-wisdom.
b. Our less than capable practice of the truest form of this principle is the direct result of our alienation from the God whose image is yet in us.
1) Everywhere in Scripture we are told that we are incapable of the practice of the truest form of this principle because of our alienation from God.
2) And multiple times in the Scripture we are told that God adds to our incapacities His own deliberate opposition if we attempt a false goal or try to use a false method.
5. The "general principle" is, in this context, applied to one specific issue: the ignition of a "light source" (a method) for a purpose (an objective).
a. According to Jesus' parable, no one lights a candle/lamp for any reason other than to use the ensuing light.
b. His point, therefore, is applicable across the board.
1) God does not and did not provide "light givers" for any purpose than to "give light".
a) This means that He created the universe according to His cause/effect principle so that people would be able to understand (Psalm 19).
b) This means that He imparted dependable, language-based, Self-revelation so that people would be able to deepen their understanding (Psalm 19 and 1).
c) This means that He sent Jesus into this world as "an ignited light" (Luke4:43) so that He claimed to be "The Light of the World" and so that people could move even deeper into their understanding.
d) And this means that He sent Jesus into this world to "ignite lights" so that people could move into the deepest level of their understanding.
e) Summary: every element of this four-step process is called "light".
1) In the physical creation, the first step in resolving the "darkness" issue in Genesis 1:3-4 was the creation, and use, of light and the first step in resolving the "void" issue of Genesis 1:2 was the creation of physical lights.
2) The words of God are deliberately called "a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
3) Jesus, the Word of God, called Himself "The Light of the World" that would keep those who walk with Him from stumbling (John 8:12).
4) Jesus called His disciples "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14).
2) Following God's example, every created person is "between" the Original and the subsequent.
a) What this means is that Jesus' training of His disciples follows the pattern exactly...
1) Creating in order to reveal...
2) Speaking/Writing in order to explain...
3) Demonstrating by action in order to drive the truths deeper...
4) Insisting that others begin their own practice of the process...
b) Thus, both Jesus and every other created person, stands "between" God and others who need help with the process.
B. Everyone puts the light-producer upon a stand.
1. God did.
a. When He created the sun, moon, and stars, He set them on high.
b. When He gave His inspired word, He commanded it to be taught "unto the uttermost parts of the earth".
c. When He sent His Son, He said that when He "was lifted up" He would draw all men to Himself (John 12:32).
d. When He sent His apostles, He made them a "spectacle to the worlds" of both angels and men (1 Corinthians 4:9).
2. Men are commanded to.
a. Matthew 5:16 commands the people of God to let their light shine.
b. Matthew 28:19 records Jesus' instruction to the disciples to make disciples.
c. In Paul's instruction to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, he insisted that Timothy do this.