Matthew 5:14a

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14

When Jesus came in the flesh to this world, it was to help the people here, both Jews and Gentiles, to understand the grace of God through His sacrifice in paying the penalty for all our sins. And by understanding this truth we can then accept this sacrifice that covers our sins if we believe Him and the one who sent Him. The first chapter of John lays this out beautifully. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1-3. He starts by declaring Jesus to have been since the beginning and existed when everything was created. In fact all that came into existence was through Him. And then we come to verse 4. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. What He is saying here is that because He came, we have access to eternal truth. When we walk into a dark room, we have no idea what is there because all we see is blackness, for there is no light. However, when we turn on the light, we then see clearly what is there. It is essentially the same idea we see in verse four above. Jesus came here to reveal the truth to all people, especially since the Jewish leadership were not.

Now there are several clues that ‘shine a light’ on who this light is. We read again in John the following. “There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came that he might bear witness of the light.” John 1:6-8. This could be none other than John the Baptist who came to declare that Jesus was the promised Messiah; to be a witness that Christ is this promised light. He was not the light but was a witness to the light. And this light was intended for all people. “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” John 1:9. This light that reveals truth was not intended only for the Jews, but all who are in the world. But unfortunately many, including God’s people the Jews, would not know Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:10-11. But those who believe would receive a great honor. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13. This incredible honor was the right to be adopted as sons and daughters of God.

Jesus tells them later that He will not always be the light. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5. While He is here on the earth, He is the one who shines the light of truth in this world. But who is it that will do it after His ascension?  This is seen in our focus verse. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14. The disciples became the light in this world after Jesus’ ascension. Jesus, knowing that His Spirit and righteousness are found in them, declares they are the light of the world, shining the light of Jesus who is the true light of the world. And since they did not live forever, this blessing has fallen on all true Christians to this day and going forward till His return. This light is the same light that shined forth from Christ. But now we are to be a reflection of this light. People when they see us must see the truth of the gospel being lived out in us. And when they see us living it out, they will be able to see their need for Jesus to provide salvation to them. For just as the moon has no light of its own, reflecting the light of the sun, so are we, true believers, to reflect the Light of Christ so that all can see this light in us. This light is proven to others by the good deeds we do in faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The focus here is Christians are to maintain an obvious and credible witness to the world that shows we are true believers, faithful and true to God in all ways. And this evidence must be sincere and trustworthy regarding everything about us. “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16. We are to have such a love for unbelievers that we will do all we can to show the truth of the gospel by reflecting the light of Christ to all people. This is our calling. So let us go out and make it happen.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Exodus 20:16

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Exodus 20:16 

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:16

We are now on the ninth commandment which we see above in our focus verse. 

This commandment forbids any type of lying or deception which can or will be at the detriment of our neighbor.  And by our neighbor is meant any person.   This can be lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbor.  This can take the form of either lying to the person or lying about them.  This idea of bearing false witness is mentioned many times in the bible, and pretty much exclusively as a negative idea.  In the book of proverbs it says, “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:” Proverbs 6:16.  In these seven things God hates, you will find at least two that are intended in this ninth commandment.  “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” Proverbs 6:17-19.  God himself considers these as an abomination to Him.

Now this does not include playing jokes on someone, such as telling them their favorite football team, like the Seattle Seahawks lost when they actually won, you forgot to pick up their shirt at the cleaners when it is sitting in your car, or that you like a certain food that you really do not.  These are harmless words that have no real negative impact.  The types of deception intended here is what can cause problems to them. 

The idea of bearing a false witness is one who stands up and swears before others that something untrue is true, especially with the intention of hurting someone else or ruining his or her reputation.  David experienced this and he prays that his adversaries do not get their desired objective.  “Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.” Psalm 27:12. and the Jewish leadership searched for false witnesses against Jesus but were not successful.  “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death.  They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.”  Matthew 26:61. 

Another example of bearing a false witness is to tell a person to perform an action that will benefit them which actually has a negative outcome.  I remember being invited to a presentation where several men were offering income to people who would give them 100 leads, they could pursue for selling a service, and after all these leads were used up, then they could begin earning money themselves.  After asking a few questions, I realized this was a scam and the intention was to exhaust their benefit entirely from their family and friends.  Once they determined I had figured this out, several men asked me to follow them, and they proceeded to make me leave.  One of the clues that led me to question it was they locked the door with a key from the inside.

The lies told by a false witness come from the sinful human heart.  “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Matthew 15:19-20.  Their only intention is to benefit in some way from another’s demise.  This shows no love for anyone else but themselves, working solely for their own benefit.   This is not what God has called us to.  We are to do good to everyone over and above our own self.  “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:9-10.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.