Living As Lights in the World

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Living As Lights in the World

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Paul tells us, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 Philippians 2:14-16 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.
American King James Version×
). God expects us to be examples to the people of the world.

What else did Christ say about our example to others?

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16 Matthew 5:14-16 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
).

We have a responsibility to display the fruit of God’s Spirit and His love toward others through our behavior and example.

Should our desire to be a good example affect the way we dress?

“I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Timothy 2:8-10 1 Timothy 2:8-10 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with modesty and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works.
American King James Version×
).

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4 1 Peter 3:3-4 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
American King James Version×
).

Dressing and grooming ourselves modestly in styles that show we have a genuine sense of propriety and moderation are important to God. We should avoid extremes that draw undue attention to ourselves or that label us as strange.

Equally important is our attitude—the way we think about ourselves and how sensitive we are to the sensitivities of others. When our thinking is moral and considerate of others—when it reflects the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×
)—it will normally be mirrored in the choices we make in our grooming and behavior. These choices generally tell much about our character.

We need to reach a balance. We need to dress and groom ourselves suitably, appropriate for the occasion, without going to the extreme of drawing excessive attention to ourselves. The main point is that our attire and demeanor should always be honorable and respectable.

What should most distinguish us from the rest of this world?

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4 Luke 4:4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
American King James Version×
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“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 John 13:35By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
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“And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit [that] He has given us” (1 John 3:24 1 John 3:24And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he stays in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.
American King James Version×
).

Our lives should be examples of obedience to all of God’s Word in a loving manner that reflects the Spirit of God dwelling in us.

How does Jesus expect His Church to relate to the rest of the world?

“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:18 John 17:18As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
American King James Version×
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“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you …” (Matthew 28:19-20 Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×
).

Besides setting the example of how God wants people to live, the Church must be actively teaching and explaining God’s ways to those who are willing to listen. The public spreading of the gospel is usually the responsibility of individuals ordained and specially trained to effectively communicate Christ’s message to public audiences.

Paul, for example, asked members of the church in Ephesus to request God’s assistance “with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit … that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20 Ephesians 6:18-20 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
American King James Version×
). Paul had a very visible public ministry, but he also treasured and solicited the Church brethren’s prayers and support. In this way they worked together to accomplish the mission God has given His Church.

Today the members of God’s Church are no different. Those who have God’s Spirit working in them are eager to be examples of God’s way of life and to do their part in helping send the true gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples.

Does God take special notice of His servants who take the time to communicate and work together?

“Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the LORD and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him” (Malachi 3:16-18 Malachi 3:16-18 16 Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name. 17 And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. 18 Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not.
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

Meeting with others of like mind is important. The United Church of God, an International Association, has hundreds of congregations throughout the world that are dedicated to serving God and doing His work. If you would like the address or phone number of one of our ministers, please contact us.

At the time we receive God’s Spirit, through the ceremony of baptism, we become Christ’s. From that time forward God has high expectations of us as His children. He expects us to sincerely and enthusiastically follow His way of life as lights in the world.