Michael Youssef - Appropriating the Happiness That Is in You - Part 2
We saw in the last message the incalculable value of salt. And this was a big shock to the disciples, who are very coming from modest workers and fisherman to be told that they have incalculable value, just like salt was at that time. And today, we're gonna turn our attention to the splendor of light, of being the light of the world, something we forget very often. But like a lighthouse that guides those who are caught in the storms of life, like a lighthouse that rescues the perishing, like a lighthouse that guides to Christ, like a lighthouse pointing people to a safe harbor. And so, please turn with me to Matthew chapter 5, verses 14, 15, and 16, just three verses. We're continuing in this series. We began last message appropriating, appropriating the happiness that is in you.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven". I want to give you three things that those of you taking notes, you can write them down, three things that our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us about being light. First of all, he's telling us that light must be visible. It must be visible. Secondly, he's saying light has to be guide, a guide, it has to guide. Thirdly, light issues a warning, a warning. The last one is gonna be a hard one, but I'm gonna get to it in a minute.
First of all, light is visible. It has to be visible, otherwise it's useless. Our Lord is saying that his faithful disciples are to fulfill a dual role. Listen carefully, fulfill a dual role. Not one or the other, both. Salt, which is hidden, but light is visible. Salt works quietly and even secretly, but light works openly. Salt works within, light works without. Salt, which is indirectly influences, but light directly leads. Salt which works through our living of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and light which works through our direct witness for Jesus Christ. Salt, which works negatively, meaning it retard corruption as we saw in the last message. Retard corruption, but not change it, but light works positively. It reveals and replaces the wrong. And that is why a battery, a battery has to have the positive and the negative. You can't have a battery just with a positive. Repent, that's negative. Why? Positive, that you may be forgiven and restored. And I can go through the Scripture the whole morning.
Now, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, your light has to shine. It has to shine. Your light has to be visible. Your light should lead others to Christ. Your light should expose error and lead to the truth. Now, a person who says, "My faith is very private," it's a dead giveaway, dead giveaway. It is not the faith of Jesus, it is not faith in Jesus. I don't know what kind of faith they have 'cause everybody now talks about faith, faith this, faith based, faith this, have faith in your mother-in-law, have faith in, you know, faith, faith, faith. The faith of Jesus has to be visible. Question, where should your light shine? In the church? No, Jesus said you are the light of what? Not of the church. You are the light of the world.
Your light has to shine in the marketplace. Your light has to shine in the factory floor. Your light has to shine in the boardroom. Your light has to shine in your office. Your light has to shine on your college or high school campus. Your light has to shine at your work. Your light has to shine even in the golf course. Wherever you go, there goes the light, amen? Wherever you go, you are the light. Secondly, light guides, it guides. When you're lost in the darkness, any light, no matter how faint it may be, any light is a welcome sight. You would directly aim for that light, why? Because light indicates that some help is possible. Some life is possible. Some guidance is possible. Some direction is possible. I'll never forget in the 80s, I used to travel a great deal.
In fact, on an annual basis, I used to give a lecture in Switzerland near the Jura Mountains and very close to the border of France, on the French side. And we all stayed in Lausanne, and I drove up to these mountains. They have no street lights on those mountains, not one. And one night, I was traveling in the dark. Now, I have driven that road many, many, many times. I'm there every year, and I know it, but always in the daytime. This is the first time I'm driving at night, and these are very narrow street, very, we could call them street, but they're very, and it's on a cliff. Literally, the wheels are inches away from a 2,000-foot drop. And after going around and around and around in the darkness, I'm almost running out of gas. And then, all of a sudden, I see a faint light at the distance, and I gun for that light. Light guides.
Listen to me, when your walk with Christ is openly visible, people are gonna ask you questions. They will. I'm not saying all of them, but some will. Why are you so peaceful when everybody else is fearful? Why are you contented when everybody else seemed to be discontented? Why are you not fretting when everybody else is? Why are you not anxious and worried like everybody else? Why are you not cheating on your employer like everybody else? Why are you so scrupulously honest and truthful? Then you tell them, who did it? Are you surprised that Jesus was always plagued with questions? They're always asking him question, always asking him, his blazing integrity caused them to ask question. Why? Because that's what light does. Light causes questions. Jesus, the light of the world. And when you are in Jesus, you too be the light of the world.
You know, when people see you as a person who's not hateful and revengeful, but loving and forgiving, when they see you not jealous and envious and covetous, but joyful and giving. When people see you not short-tempered and angry, but peaceful, at peace with yourself and at peace with God, they're gonna ask questions. And then this is your greatest opportunity to tell them who changed you. To tell them who changed you. Do you know why? Because whether you know it or not, whether you know it or not, these folks are wondering in their mind and asking themselves, "Can I too cease from being angry and selfish and fretful? Can I, too, have the peace that doesn't make sense and contentment in life"? Jesus said, "When people see all of this, when they see you and they see your shining light, they're gonna glorify your Father in heaven".
One of the way they glorify God is that they want to know Jesus, and you're gonna help them. Now, I got to confess to you, I always come clean with you. There's some areas in my life I'm not very proud of, and cause me grief, and keep me constantly in prayer. 'Cause I want to shine in every area of my life. And I want the light of Christ to shine, but chief among those areas is my terrible driving habits. As a matter of fact, back in the 70s, when we lived in Sydney, Australia, as an Anglican clergyman, I used to wear a clerical collar. And with my driving habit, that used to be a restraint. Or I must admit, sometimes I forget, but when my dear wife is sitting next to me and I'm about to kind of do, you know, lead foot and like, thank God I'm in the process of being sanctified, but. And she would say to me, "Remember, you're wearing your clerical collar".
And it's a complete change. It's a complete change, right? But it's nothing, clerical collar is nothing in comparison of being a light of Christ, a light of the world. Being the light of the world, therefore, I must serve in every area of my life, every area of my life as a guide to guide people out of darkness into his marvelous light. I don't know about you, but this puts me on my knees constantly, constantly. My desire and my longing to be a light of Christ, light to the world, keeps me on my knees. Not just in my desire to be faithful in interpreting the Word of God and not read into it what I want to read into it, but faithfully open the Word of God, tell you what it says, not what I think of it. And not just in my witnessing power to lead people to Christ, but in every aspect of my life. Why?
Because light is visible. Light guides. Thirdly, light warns. It warns. Light often reveals to us danger ahead, danger ahead. This is probably the most difficult task for the light. This is one of the most difficult things, it really is. Why do I say this? Because human nature, the way it is, people don't like to be warned. They really don't. They don't want to be confronted with the truth. Instead, they want to do their thing. They want to do what they want to do. They want to do things their way. They want to make up their own religion. They want to create a God who agrees with them. They want to live the way they think they should live, not how the Word of God tells them to live. And yet, when Jesus was born, at the birth of Jesus, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that the people who sat in darkness saw a great light. The Apostle John goes on to expound in this in the Gospel of John. He said, "The light has come into the world, but people preferred to stay in darkness".
Only those who receive him become the children of light. In fact, that's the only division you can have in your head. It's the only division. We've been divided now in our culture, it's called identity this and identity politics. But listen, there's only one identity. Either you're a child of light or child of darkness. The whole world is divided that way. From every nation, every tribe, every tongue, and every language, the world is divided between the sons of light and the sons of darkness. And even the children of light, they can only keep their light shining and be brighter as they walk closely to the light of the world. Do not be surprised when many of those who sit in darkness feel threatened by your light.
Don't be surprised. Some will ask questions, and we must be ready to give an answer. But some will not. But some of those who are lost will be thankful for the light. And they will ask you, "How can I get there"? So, don't be surprised by those who reject your light. Rejoice with those who will see it as a guide. In John chapter 3, preachers who always want to quote one part of the verse never quote the rest of it. Here's the verse they quote in John 3. "For God send his Son not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him". And they stop, they stop there. They don't go and read the rest of it, which says, "This is the condemnation". Hey, there's condemnation, yep, there is condemnation, there's judgment coming. "This is condemnation, that the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light". Why? "Because their deeds are evil".
John is saying the reason that some people, some people do not heed the warning of the light that you and I are to be is because their deeds will be exposed and reproved, and they don't like that at all. They don't like it one bit. So, don't be surprised when some reject your light. I know and you know that light can be irritating, right? Light can be irritating to some. There was a period in my life when I lived in rebellion against God. So, those of you who are parents of prodigals, or children of prodigals, or have prodigals in your life, be encouraged.
Be encouraged. Because in that time of rebellion, I am absolutely convinced it was some people, particularly my oldest sister, on their knees praying for me. But during that time, I detested church people. I really did. I mean, I detested preachers and teachers and Sunday school teachers, I just detested them. I detested anyone who thought they're gonna have to lead me back to Christ. I just detested them. Godly people not only irritated me, I hid from them. I literally ran away when I see them coming. Maybe that's why today, I'm a little bit more sympathetic and pray for those who see me as an irritant. How many of you know that other people see me as an irritant?
Listen, I have seen them walk out of this place in anger. One of them, thank God, later on came to Christ and gave her testimony right here. Don't ever forget. The Word of God tells us in Ephesians chapter 5, verse 8, "For you once..." Can you say the word "once" with me? "For you once were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light". I was thinking about being irritated by the light, and I thought of a story I heard as a young man growing up in the Middle East, a story of a nomad who woke up in the middle of the night in his tent feeling hungry. So, he let out a candle by his mat, and reached for a bag of dates, and he started eating those dates. He took a bite from the first date, and then he put it close to the candlelight.
And there is a worm wiggling. So, he tossed it out. He got a second one, and he took a bite, puts it close to the light of the candle, here is a worm wiggling. So, he tossed it out. And he did this with the third and the fourth one, and then he stopped himself, said, "Now wait a minute. If I'm gonna have all these dates thrown out, I'm still hungry. What do I do"? Listen to his logic, he blew out the candle and ate the dates, worms and all. There are some who will see warning light as a threat, and so they run away from it. They would rather blow out the candle and eat the worms instead of facing the truth about the dreadful eternity with unquenchable fire and undying worms. So, they blow out the light because it offends them. Light does not only expose darkness, but it points away out of darkness.
Now beloved, hear me right please. Knowledge will not get you to heaven. Political action will not get you to heaven. International diplomacy will not get you to heaven. Only Jesus will get you to heaven. But having said that, as I repeat again from last message, I thank God for those who stand in the arena of all these areas. I told you in the last message that one of the biggest mistakes believers have made is that they withdrew from different arenas in society, and that's why we're in the mess we're in. We need light. As long as we know, amen, give God praise, give God praise. As long as we know that only Jesus will get you to heaven, because our world is desperately in need of light in every area of life, every arena, the shining light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in every area in our society.
Believers need to be constantly filling their lamps with the oil of the Holy Spirit so they keep on shining brighter for Christ. I can give you one more warning about the light. There are some who thinks that being light is best accomplished as being a flashlight, flashing right in people's eyes. They really do. I mean, I'm sure you know that blinds them, right? Our light must never be displayed in anger, but in love. Our light must not be displayed in volatile reactions, but in compassion. Our light must not be displayed in revenge, but in thoughtfulness. If you want to be like the light, the light of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, we must have compassion. We must have compassion.
I grieve over those people who do not surrender the life to Jesus Christ or end up in Christless eternity. We must have compassion for those who are in darkness. The Bible said, "Jesus saw them as sheep without shepherd, and he had compassion on them". There may be somebody here or somebody watching out of curiosity, who would say, "Michael, I really have resisted the light of Christ for a long time. I've resisted the light that my neighbors or my family members have been trying to lead me and guide me to Christ. I've been resisting it for years".
That is you. Today, you can come to the light of the world, and that you take heed of his loving warning and warm invitation. He's inviting you. Come to Jesus, for he has his arms wide open. Repent, turn to him. Repent of your religious dogma because your religion will never get you to heaven. Accept Christ as your only Savior and Lord. You will experience nothing but joy and peace in the midst of difficulties that this world is throwing at us when you choose Christ, and then you'll spend eternity with him in heaven.