Light of the World
Many of us who have grown up in church might think back to the little songs we sang that taught us wonderful scriptural principles. I think of songs like “Deep & Wide,” “I’m In the Lord’s Army,” or my personal favorite, “This Little Light of Mine .”As I reflect on Matthew 5:14-16, I wonder what Jesus meant by telling us that we are the “light of the world” and what it truly means to let our light shine. For most biblical questions, we should start at the beginning of our Bible and trace the theme all the way through. So, let’s flip to the first page.
The first chapter of Genesis is one of the most explosive chapters in our Bible. We learn that the Earth was covered entirely in water, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface. Then, God shatters the silence and thunders out of the darkness, “Let there be light,” and there was light! It is so incredible that it wasn’t until the fourth day of creation that God created the sun, moon, and stars. So, we find ourselves asking, “Where did the light come from”? The light was none other than the manifestation of the glory of God, Himself! He is the Light!
In the second book of our Bible, Exodus, we are introduced to Moses, who is a type of the Messiah to come. While Moses didn’t always do everything right, he is portrayed as the righteous intercessor who intercedes for the people as Jesus intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). He also stands on a mountain and gives the people of God the law as Jesus will stand on a mountain and give the law (Matthew 5). And Moses performs many miracles foreshadowing the miraculous ministry of Jesus. Exodus 34 tells a compelling story of Moses climbing Mt. Sinai to receive the commandments from God, but when he comes back down to the people, his face is shining like a light! After being in the manifestation of the glory of God, Moses cannot help but beam with radiance to the people around him! Daniel 12:3 (ESV) allows us to understand a bit further by saying, “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Since Moses is a type of Christ, and we know the Biblical writers love to carry out themes, we now will most likely find Jesus shining too. The transfiguration of Jesus is a fascinating story found in Matthew 17. Matthew tells us that Jesus climbed a mountain, like Moses, and was wholly transformed before His disciple’s eyes! His clothes became bright like light, and His face shone like the sun! In this moment of transfiguration, Jesus is seen glowing and talking to two figures, one of which is Moses. Suddenly, we hear God’s voice thunder from Heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). Jesus tells us in John 5:9 that as long as He is in the world, He is the light of the world. Jesus then goes on to say in John 8:12 that if we follow Him, we won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
These ideas bring us back to our start of Matthew 5:14-16, where Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world and a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we are filled with His light shining through us into this dark world. And as we travel our journey up to Zion’s Holy Mountain, we become a beacon of hope for the world to see, bringing the light of His glory to the nations. Oh, friend, it is marvelous to know that we aren’t doomed to a life of darkness, but we can walk in the light as He is in the light, have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sins (1 John 1:7)! Join us Sundays at Regeneration Nashville online or in-person as we celebrate the Light of the World, Jesus Christ! Until then, may God bless you, keep you, and make His face shine upon you. Be Regenerated!
Your friend in Christ,
When we read the Old Testament, we find a powerful foreshadowing of things to come in the New Testament. The Bible specializes in patterns and culminates in beautifully rich, full-circle moments where types and shadows are realized. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 that He came to fulfill the law, referring to much of the first five books of the Bible (the Torah or Law Books).
One of the major themes we see in the Old Testament is the sacrifice of animals to atone (or make amends) for man's sin. Because Yahweh God is holy, He cannot be with those unholy, so to have fellowship with God, there must be payment for our sins. Each year, the high priest in Israel would go into the Temple on the Day of Atonement to shed the blood of an animal and place that blood on the mercy seat, located on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant between two angelic figures. This act would not pay for Israel's sins but would push their sins forward until the following year. In Exodus 25:9, Yahweh tells Moses to model the Tabernacle precisely like the one in Heaven that Yahweh will show him. By this, we know that the high priest's sacrifices must foreshadow an event to come where the blood of a pure sacrifice will be placed on the mercy seat in Heaven.
In the New Testament, the Gospels tell the glorious redemptive story of Jesus's death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. John 1 begins by showing us that "The Word" was in the beginning, was with God, and was God. Then the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. This same Word is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, Emmanuel- God with us. Jesus is sinless and the only one who could make a pure and final sacrifice to atone for our sins and give us fellowship again with the Father. John believes that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice because he paints a beautiful portrait at the end of his Gospel where Mary is looking for Jesus but only sees where He was laid. Jesus' grave clothes are in the center, with angelic figures on each side, just like the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant (John 20)! In that same chapter, Mary finds Jesus, and Jesus responds by saying, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father." Yet, later that evening, we find Jesus meeting with His disciples and telling them, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see" (Luke 24:39). So, what occurred between that morning and that evening that allowed Jesus to be handled by his followers?
In Luke 16:19-31, we find the captivating story of the rich man and Lazarus. This passage shows that, before Christ's resurrection, Hades was divided into two realms: a place of comfort where Lazarus was held (Abraham's bosom) and a place of torment where the rich man was held (hell or "Gehenna" in the Greek in Mark 9:45). Lazarus's place of comfort is called "paradise" (Luke 23:43). Between paradise and hell (the two districts of Hades/Sheol), there was "a great chasm" (Luke 16:26). Ephesians 4:8-9 goes on to tell us that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the Earth to lead captivity captive, or in other words, to bring resurrection to the saints held in Abraham's bosom. In Matthew 27:52-53, we see these resurrected saints walking the streets of Jerusalem after Jesus was resurrected. Meanwhile, Ephesians 4:8-9 then says that Jesus ascended far above the heavens to fulfill all things. Paul, in Hebrews 9:11-12, sums up the event perfectly by saying, "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect Tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption."
It is truly a life-changing revelation to know that Jesus paid the price for our sins, once and for all! When our accuser comes to remind us of our failures and past sins, we can claim the blood of Jesus shed for us at Calvary and placed on Heaven's mercy seat! Then our Father will look at Jesus' sacrifice and declare us, "Not guilty!" Oh, friend, we are free from our guilt and shame! We are a new creation in Christ Jesus! Join us on Sundays at 3 pm, in person or online, as we celebrate the Son who has set us free indeed! May the Lord bless you, keep you, and make His face shine upon you. Be Regenerated!
Your friend in Christ,
In Matthew 16:18, we read Jesus' famous words that He boldly declared to His disciples, "On this rock, I will build My church." When we break down these five words, we find each word has a Divine purpose; "I": The Divine Builder; "Will": The Divine Decree; "Build": The Divine Method; "My": The Divine Title Deed; and "Church": The Divine Structure. Let's look together at a few of these powerful words and what Jesus was announcing as His Kingdom.
"I": The Divine Builder
The church that Jesus proposes is built on His deity, emphasizing the word "I." Moses asked who he should say sent him and Yahweh replied, "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:14). In John 6:35, Jesus says, "I AM the Bread of Life," and in John 8:58, Jesus says, "Before Abraham was, I AM." In Revelation 1:8, Jesus says, "I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End." Does He have credentials to build a church? He is the same I AM who turned 70 souls into 3.5 million people called Israel, turned a rock into a river, turned a sea into a highway, and conquered death, hell, and the grave by the Easter tomb! Can He build a church in 2022? The church in the wilderness, the church in the upper room, the church in the dark ages, and the church today answers with a thundering, "YES, HE CAN!"
"I Will": The Divine Decree
Jesus decrees with His message from the beginning: I will lay down my glory and robe Myself in ordinary flesh. I will enter the world through the womb of a young virgin, and I will grow into a man. I will lay down My life, and I will let My blood be shed for My people. I will ascend to My Father, and I will put My blood on the mercy seat. I will fill my church with My nature and empower them, excite them, and defend them. I will activate them with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and turn them loose on the Earth. I will say preach the Gospel of the great I AM!
"I Will Build": The Divine Method
Jesus knew the time would come when men would not be able to endure sound doctrine, but the command to preach the Gospel was never rescinded. Before Jesus can come back for the church, He says the Gospel must be preached in all the world, and then the end shall be (Matthew 24:14). Nothing will ever replace the preaching of the Gospel, for it is like a hammer that breaks rocks into little pieces (Jeremiah 23:29) and pulls down the stone walls of the prisons. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, "It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." The preaching of the Gospel can do what man can never do and is the Divine Method God has chosen in these last days. PREACH THE WORD!
His Church: The Divine Materials
When one builds a home, one chooses the best materials one can afford. But Jesus chose us as lively stones to use for His materials. Instead of perfection, He has chosen the twisted, the rotten, the broken, and the bruised. He has rescued us from the ashes. He's buried us in baptism and changed our nature. Then He declares, "This is my glorious church that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against." In our cesspool of sin, in our unusable condition, the Master Carpenter saw His purpose for us, washed us in His blood, and made us whole, beautiful, delivered, and radiating the glory of God!
In 1 Corinthians 1:27, we learn that God has chosen the foolish things to put to shame the wise. The way God brings about His plan will never be the world's way, and the people He chooses will never be the people the world would choose. But oh friend, aren't we grateful that God has chosen US! We are the people of God! We are His Glorious Church! Join us on Sundays online or in person at Regeneration Nashville as we gather as part of the global church to worship our Savior, Jesus Christ. May God bless you, keep you, and make His face shine upon you until next week. Be Regenerated!
Your friend in Christ,
Inheritance is a word that fills our imagination with possibilities. Scammers love to tell us that a distant relative or a wealthy benefactor has left us a fortune to which we are legally entitled if we only give them our personal information to make the exchange. Receiving something extraordinary just because of who we are and not because of what we’ve done seems too good to be true but remember, “With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)”.
In Numbers 13, we read that Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land God had promised to give to Israel as an inheritance. While there were giants in Canaan, Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies who brought back a faith-filled report to Moses declaring that God would surely give Israel their inheritance. Forty years later, in Joshua 14, Caleb is now 85 years old and is still believing for the inheritance God promised him. He asked Joshua for Hebron, which means fellowship, and the Bible says it was given to Caleb “Because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel (v.14)”. When we wholly follow the Lord, one of the benefits we will receive is fellowship with God our Father, and in our secret place with Him, He will sustain us with strength, truth, and joy.
When the twelve spies went secretly to see the Promise Land, Israel saw that their enemy had already possessed what God had given them. Our enemy will always want to live in our inheritance, but “You and I have an inheritance that the enemy cannot touch.” Just as God drove out Israel’s adversary and gave them the land, God will also go before us and drive out obstacles and circumstances that seem impossible. Don’t give up your inheritance for temporary peace! “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Throughout the Scriptures, we find that God the Father has given all things to His son, Jesus (Luke 10:22, John 3:35, Matthew 28:18). Jesus has all power and authority, and everything is in submission to Him. Romans 8:29 goes on to say that Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers. Since we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and all things have been given to Him, then friend, all things have been given to us! We have authority and power over our enemy and have obtained an inheritance in Christ Jesus!
So, what is our inheritance? First and foremost, God gives us Eternal Life (John 10:28). When we confess Jesus with our mouths and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, then we are saved, and sin no longer has power over us (Romans 10:9). God also gives us Divine Authority over the enemy (Luke 10:19) and tells us that “No weapon formed against us shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). Divine Healing is the right of every believer, and Mark 16:18 tells us that we will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. While there are many aspects to the inheritance God has promised us, we must never forget that God has given us the nations (Psalm 2:8). More than ever, it is imperative that we tell others about Jesus. We must tell our neighbors, our friends, and those that God puts in our path that there is hope, peace, and life in Jesus!
I want to invite you to join Regeneration Nashville, in person or online, as we worship our Savior together and share His Good News around the world! Come be a part of what God is doing and be Renewed, Restored, Revived! Be Regenerated!
Your friend in Christ,