What’s in a name? For us, a lot.
Naming our church may have taken longer than naming our children. We really wanted the church to be called “The place where people’s needs are met by the Word of God,” but it would cost too much to put all that on a sign! 😉
The Lord began to inspire us with concepts like shine and light, which took us to Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5, Jesus compares his followers to a city on a hill and candle on a candlestick. The city could not be hid because of its position and the candle must shine so all in the house can see. We are left in this world with the responsibility to shine our light/life brightly so that lost humanity can see a clear representation of Christ.
Here’s how we strive to live up to our name:
- Reflect Christ’s light.
Christ is the “Light of the world” (John 9:5) and we are here to be a light in the world. We do not produce the light, but our light comes as a result of our relationship with Jesus Christ. For example, the moon is not an originating source of light, but simply reflects the sun’s light. In like manner, we reflect the Light, Jesus Christ. We must accept our responsibility to reflect Christ in a dark world.
- Be connected to Christ.
Since we are not the origination of the light, but merely a reflection of it, we must spend time close to the light source in order to be a bright light in this dark world. Perhaps, like a glow-in-the-dark object that must be put close to the light so that it will shine bright for a while. As the object’s shine begins to fade, it must return to the light in order to be “re-energized.” This is why it is so important for believers to be diligent in prayer, Bible reading, and placing themselves under the preaching of God’s word, so that they can “re-energize” their light. We strive to be a community of believers that are continually connected to the Light Source.
- Share the gospel.
Dwight Pentecost said, “By nature light shines. Light always communicates itself. Even the light from a distant star travels from light years away but never gets tired of shining.” It’s the believer’s responsibility to shine continually for Christ—not just in testimony, but also in teaching. We must actually communicate the Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10). We strive to actively and aggressively share the gospel not only through conduct but also speak the gospel by communicating it with their mouths into the lost.
- Shine for those who may need light.
The phrase “a city set on a hill cannot be hid” is positional. Because of city’s position on the hill, it cannot be hid. It cannot help but be seen in the darkness of night. Alexander MacLaren commented on this passage. He said, “I have two thoughts: All earnest Christian conviction will demand expression, and all deep experience of the purifying power of Christ upon character will show itself in conduct.” The moment you claim Christ, the world will place you on a “hill”. They will watch your every move in order to test your sincerity and your shine. You can’t hide, so why not shine? We must realize the world is watching for authenticity and direction. Our conduct will authenticate the gospel to the lost.
- Don’t camouflage our light.
The normal use of a light is to give light. No one would ever put it under of bushel, would they? Unfortunately, many believers camouflage their Christianity. They attempt to blend in with the world, hiding their light. Tragically, it’s not their loss, since they already found the Light. The loss is of those who are walking in spiritual darkness. Paul told the Corinthians, “Some have not the knowledge of God, I speak this to your shame.” We should shine our light to those around us (at home, work, church, community) and continue around the world, according to Matthew 28. We encourage our members to continual witnessing and expect their Christian conduct.
- Give credit to Christ.
In Matthew 5:16, we read, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” God calls us to good works so that people will take notice and come to the Light. Our church exists to glorify God. We desire for God to receive all the credit.