#27 Candles

15 February 1999

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"-Matthew 5:14-16 In His sermon on the mount, Jesus used one little word to describe what His disciples were to be. Simple were His words, yet profound was their meaning, so profound we could spend a lifetime meditating upon them. They were to be Candles. All his listeners knew what a candle was. It was a common household article in that day, a source of light in every home. When they descended the mount, they saw themselves in a totally different light. They saw themselves as "Candles" in a dark world. Left to itself, a candle is a passive thing. Until it is chosen by the divine hand and set on fire by His Spirit, all it can do is occupy space. But once it has been lit, it has a purpose suitable to its composition: to chase away the darkness and shed its light. Christ is the light of every candle, He is "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"-John 1:9. It is He that burns ablaze in the hearts of His people. Just the mention of His name is like the glow of the candle: silent, yet majestic. As the candle sends forth its radiant beams, chasing away the darkness and warming the heart, so does the name of Jesus in a believer's ear. One candle can set a million others ablaze. That was why he lit them. To diffuse the gospel; to reveal Christ in others; to shed forth the beams of His doctrine; to oppose the forces of darkness; to lead others to the "Father of lights." As they went forth from the flame of Christ, they would carry Him ablaze in their hearts. From candle to candle they would set others aglow with the testimony of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for their sins. Therefore, every candle is an evangelist. Their purpose was for glow and not show. A burning candle does not make a lot of noise, but its constant rays are powerful; penetrating; effective. By His divine hand of providence, God places His candles. Since every candle is different, consisting of various graces and gifts, He places them in the location they are most useful. In the early days of the church, the candles were moved from city to city by the winds of persecution. Rather than extinguishing the fire, those forces of darkness only fanned the flame as the message of the risen Lord traversed lands and seas. From the home to the work place, in the community and in the church, every candle has its own particular sphere of influence. Oh, how we need these candles to shine today in the dark world in which we live! There are also found in His words a negative, a solemn warning to every candle. Don't put your light under a bushel. A bushel basket was just as common as the candle. It too, was found in every home. Certainly, they would not think of placing their candles under a bushel. But is it not the common, every day affairs of life that snuff out the radiant beams of Christ in our hearts? There is the bushel of indifference; the bushel of malice; the bushel of strife; the bushel of anger; the bushel of scorn; the bushel of hatred; the bushel of pride; the bushel of jealousy; the bushel of lust; the bushel of the work place; the bushel of the gossiping tongue and the bushel of contentions. We must all search our own hearts for these bushels, for, in reality, every thing that we say and do is the light that projects from our hearts. Is He honored in it? Is His house respected for it? Of course, the place for every candle is the candlestick, His church. Oh, how brightly His testimony shines forth when all of His candles come together in one place and shine in one accord. The removal of just one flame diminishes His light by a degree. Do you see how important your light is? We can be certain that the Devil hates the light. Dark deeds are done in dark places. Streetlamps are placed to hinder evildoers, so God places His lights in this world. If Christ has been revealed in your heart you are a "Candle". You now represent Him. You have been chosen, lit and placed to shine forth the radiant beams of Christ in your sphere of influence. "Let your light so shine before men." Come to worship with us at HARMONY PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH, at Donaldson, where God is sovereign and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning. Phone 501-337-1115. by His Grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor.