Your neighbors, Young People, know your last name, and very often also know your first name. Likewise they know whether you are a young man or a young woman.
However, from a spiritual point of view, the important question is whether you are a citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven, of which Christ Jesus is the King; or whether you are a citizen of the Kingdom of Darkness, whether you are a child of God, or a child of the devil, who got man to turn away from God and unto himself. For in John 8:12 we find Christ Jesus, God’s Son and our Savior, declare that He is the Light of the world, and that those who follow Him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life and walk in that light.
You were born of believing parents, who have the light of life; but does your life reveal that our God also caused you to be born again with a new spiritual life, that manifests your love for God? Those who are born again by God’s grace find the truth which Jesus presented in His sermon on the mount. Therein we, according to Matthew 5:14 are called to be “the light of the world.” Then in verse 16 we find the awesome truth and important command: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” If you are such a born-again child of God, you will let your light shine before men in your walk of life.
The awesome truth here is that not only is it always very difficult for those who are born again to let their light shine; but we do in the Heidelberg Catechism find the truth that we all in this life have “only a small beginning of this obedience.” And today it is so extremely difficult for us to manifest ourselves as having that beginning as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It was impossible for Adam and Eve to do that after their first sin. They died spiritually that day, as God had warned them. And in John 3:3 we read, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But when God came to them, and caused them to be born again, they did begin to walk in obedience to Him. That means that they were enabled to let their light shine before men. In His grace our God enables those whom He chose in Christ to begin to fight their old man of sin, and reveal themselves to be children of light.
Consider then, Young People, that this comes to us today as we live in a world of tremendous spiritual wickedness. Adam committed one sin that caused him to die spiritually. That means that he could not now do one good thing, and that sin would develop, as it surely did. Adam and Eve after that first sin committed the next sin of trying to run away from God. They did not run to Him in sorrow for their sin. As God had told Adam, the first sin would cause him to die the day he committed it. He did live physically for many years; but he died spiritually that day. And he became incapable of bringing any child forth that was spiritually alive.
Today, therefore, every child is born spiritually dead, until God is sovereignly willing to cause that child to be born spiritually. What is more, Satan is using those not born again to make increasingly clever sins, in order to get those born again with a spiritual life, to cover their spiritual life and do what the spiritually dead do in thought, word and deed. In fact, what the true church correctly judges to be a sin, Satan often gets those born again to commit.
Satan got Adam and Eve to believe that sin would improve their lives and make them to be gods. And that Satan is doing so cleverly today. Even in our homes Satan, by means of television, uses those who are spiritually dead, and have not been born again, to get those born again to turn away from God, and live like those spiritually dead! Does the spiritually dead world entertain you, Young People? Take heed to what Christ Jesus commands us. We are called to let our light shine before men.
Likewise Satan has tempted and succeeded in getting some churches to eat, and take into their souls, false doctrines, and to bring them to those of other churches by paper, radio and television. There is that false doctrine of Arminianism, which teaches that spiritually dead men can do the spiritually good work of accepting Christ as their Savior.
Arminianism, which is so widely proclaimed and published, teaches the lie that those spiritually dead can accept an offer of salvation, which God in His concern for them brings to them with the offer to save them, if they will let Him. No, they do not teach it that way literally. But when they do teach that God offers salvation to all who hear the gospel preached, they do teach that those whom God has not yet caused to be born again are not spiritually dead. They go directly against what Christ Jesus stated, and what we read in John 3:3. There we read, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” Likewise our Savior says in verse 5, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Those who have not already had salvation begun in them, by God in His grace, cannot desire the salvation which Christ earned for us. O, yes, they want to escape the punishment of everlasting torment in hell. But God Himself, the day Adam and Eve sinned and deserved hell’s everlasting punishment, presented salvation’s basic element which God had written in Genesis 3:15, as enmity in the hearts of His elect against Satan, and thus against sin. If we only want escape from punishment, so do all those who are unbelievers. Besides, as already pointed out, how can those who are spiritually dead want spiritual life? That Arminian doctrine denies God’s word, when He told Adam that one sin would make him spiritually dead. It teaches that we earn salvation by accepting Christ. God gives it to us because of what we did. It teaches that God depends upon us. No, Young People, God commands! He does not offer salvation! God NEVER asks any creature to do something, so that He can do what He would like to do,
When Christ Jesus commands us to let our light shine before men, He does so because there are those who, although they have been born again, do not yet believe that Christ died for them, will see how those for whom He died, and caused to be born again, do live. By your walk of life teach them how God’s born-again children live and enjoy living. A little baby, on the day it is born, does not know the name of its parents, or that he owes them thanks for bringing him forth. Likewise we need to learn many truths about what God does for us as His elect children. And as that babe grows older and sees what his brothers and sisters say and do, it will learn the things which it can and will do. And Christ Jesus tells us to let our light shine before men. Then by our good works we reveal what God enabled us to do.
Your calling, Young People, here in this verse is for you, in this very dark world in which we live, to let your light shine before other young people and younger children, so that God may be glorified. Take hold of this important truth which our Savior brings to you in this verse. Strive daily, and in all things that you do, to let your light shine before men, so that you may glorify God as your God and Savior.
Let all other young people, with whom you come in contact, see the light which you let shine, because God has caused you to be born again, and for the glory of God, who freely brought you out of the darkness of unbelief, and into the blessedness of being in and by Christ on the way to being brought into heavenly glory.