Posted by: rcottrill | January 13, 2014

Jesus Bids Us Shine

Words: Susan Bogert Warner (b. July 11, 1819; d. Mar. 17. 1885)
Music: Edwin Othello Excell (b. Dec. 13, 1851; d. June 10, 1921)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This gospel song for children was published in 1868.

There’s a great deal about darkness and light in the Word of God. Some form of the word dark is found there 196 times, and of light 269 times. We get it right at the beginning. When God called the original elements of earth into being, we read that “darkness was on the face of the deep.” But that changed dramatically by His almighty word. “ Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light” (Gen. 1:2, 3).

This, of course, has to do with light in the material world. But the Bible often uses darkness and light in a spiritual and moral sense, to describe good and evil, truth and error. In the words of the song, “Many kinds of darkness in this world abound” (CH-3). It should also be noted that, in the spiritual realm, black and white, darkness and light, are opposites. There is a clear contrast between the two.

“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (I Jn. 1:5). Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). “[He] was the true [genuine] Light” (Jn. 1:9). “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3:19).

The Lord said to Paul, “I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:17-18). As Paul was, we are commissioned to bring the light of the gospel to those in darkness.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (I Jn. 1:9). And Christians are to “shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15), and “proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9). “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them [i.e. to the light]” (Eph. 5:11).

There is another key aspect to this subject: that the devil and those who work for him are able to disguise themselves as emissaries of the light. The saints need to be discerning so that they avoid this deceitful counterfeit.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15). “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20).

The saints are to witness to the light of truth, the truth found in the inspired Word of God. This involves both evangelism and discipleship, introducing people to the Saviour (Rom. 10:14. 17), and helping them to grow in their Christian lives (II Tim. 4:2).

We should also shine with the light of the love of Christ, serving Him, doing good to others when He gives us the opportunity. “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10; cf. Tit. 3:8; Heb. 6:10; 13:16). This love is to be extended even to our enemies (Lk. 6:33). The verse that most directly provides the theme for Susan Warner’s song is:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

CH-1) Jesus bids us shine, with a clear, pure light,
Like a little candle burning in the night;
In this world of darkness we must shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.

CH-4) Jesus bids us shine, as we work for Him,
Bringing those that wander from the paths of sin;
He will ever help us, if we shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.

Questions:
1) What is there about God and His way that is well represented by light?

2) What is there about sinners and the paths of sin that are well represented by darkness?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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