Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

 The Call to Shine: Why We Must Not Be Secret Christians 

In today's world, where the pressure to conform to societal norms is intense, the temptation to be a "secret Christian" or even a secret believer can be strong. We might fear judgment, ridicule, or even persecution if we openly declared ourselves to be believers in the Messiah. However, the call of Christ is clear: we are to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). 

Let's explore why being a secret Christian is not an option and how openly living out our faith can transform our lives and the lives of those around us. 

The Biblical Mandate 

Jesus Himself spoke about the importance of openly professing our faith. 

Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) 

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. LET your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." 

This is a powerful reminder that our faith is meant to be visible. Just as a city on a hill cannot be hidden, our lives as Christians should not be hidden either. So, is our believing light shining clearly – or do we hide our faith and life? We should let the light of Christ, the Light of the world, shine naturally through us, drawing others to Him. 

The Impact of Bold Faith 

When we live our faith openly, we do more than just fulfill a commandment. We have the potential to inspire and encourage others. Consider the early Christians who, despite severe persecution, boldly proclaimed the Gospel. Their unwavering faith and courage led to the rapid spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. 

Notice how the early church brethren prayed after the twelve apostles had been threatened before being released (Acts 4:18-24). Here’s part of their prayer: 

Acts 4:29-31 (NKJV): "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your 

holy Servant Jesus." And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." 

After Stephen was martyred, persecution was so strong against the early believers that they fled Jerusalem, except the apostles. What we’re about to read was written about the regular church brethren who were the ones scattered: 

Acts 8:1-2, 4 

“Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time, a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 

4 Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” 

Similarly, our open declaration of faith can have a ripple effect. When we share our testimonies, show love and kindness, and live with integrity, we become living examples of God's transformative power. People around us, seeing the difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives, may be drawn to seek Him themselves. 

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV): "LET your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." 

1 Peter 2:12 (NKJV): "Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation." 

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (NKJV): "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." 

Living out our faith boldly and visibly not only strengthens our own relationship with God but also serves as a powerful testimony to those around us. As we embody the teachings of Christ, we demonstrate the reality of His presence and power in our lives, compelling others to explore and embrace the faith that guides us. 

Overcoming Fear and Opposition 

Fear of rejection or opposition can be a huge barrier to living our faith openly. Yet, the Bible offers numerous examples of individuals who faced these fears and stood firm. The Apostle Paul, for instance, endured imprisonment, beatings, and ridicule, yet he remained steadfast in his mission to preach Christ. 

In 2 Timothy 1:7-8 (NKJV), Paul encourages Timothy and all believers: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God." 

This should remind us that God equips us with the words, strength, and courage we need to face opposition. Our testimony, even in the face of adversity, is a powerful witness to God's sustaining grace. 

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV): "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 

Joshua 1:9 (NKJV): "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." 

Romans 8:31 (NKJV): "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" 

1 Peter 4:14 (NKJV): "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part, He is glorified." 

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV): "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." 

These scriptures also remind us that God's presence and power are greater than any opposition we might face. They encourage us to stand firm in our faith, knowing that God will uphold us and that our steadfastness can inspire others to trust in Him as well. 

Practical Ways to Shine Your Light 

  1. Let others know – in various ways - you are a Believer. You believe in Jesus. Share how you went to watch a baptism lately for example. Or when a friend or neighbor tells you of a trial they’re going through or recent medical issue they have, tell them you will pray for them. Those are easy ways to let others know who you are and that you are a Believer without being pushy. Also see point #6. 
  1. Share Your Testimony: One of the most personal and impactful ways to share your faith is through your own story. Talk about how our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ have worked in your life and the difference they have made. 
  1. Live with Integrity: Your actions often speak louder than words. Strive to live in a way that reflects Christ's love and teachings. Be honest, kind, and compassionate in all your dealings. 
  1. Engage in Service: Show the love of Jesus Christ through acts of service. Volunteer in your community, support charitable causes, and help those in need. Consider also helping Light on the Rock by participating in our outreach programs or contributing your time and resources to our initiatives. Your involvement can make a significant impact in spreading the Gospel and introducing people to our Great God. 
  1. Invite others to come visit your church meeting. Tell them they can sit next to you. 
  1. Utilize Social Media: In today's digital age, social media is a powerful tool for sharing your faith. Post encouraging scriptures, share inspirational articles, and talk about your faith journey. Remember to share our website, www.lightontherock.org. It is easy to share our blogs and sermons with others, helping to spread the message far and wide. 
  1. Be Prepared to Answer Questions: People may be curious about your faith. Be ready to explain what you believe and why, always with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV): "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.") If you’re not comfortable answering questions, ask if they mind if you ask a friend to help with the Bible answers. 

Being a secret Christian and hiding in the closet is not an option for those who truly follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus. We must come out of the believer’s closet! Our faith is meant to be a light that shines brightly in a world often filled with darkness. 

By living openly and authentically as Christians, we not only fulfill our calling but also are given a great responsibility to lead others to the hope and salvation found 

in Jesus. Embrace God’s call to shine. Let your life be a testament to the transformative power of Jesus Christ living his life in us. 

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The Urgency of Daily Bible Study

By Randy Freeze, host of website “Hope of Israel Worldwide”.

In a world filled with distractions and competing voices, it's easy to lose sight of the timeless truths found in God's Word. Yet, now more than ever, we need to prioritize daily Bible study so we can navigate the complexities of modern life and heed the warnings God has given us. Let's explore why daily Bible study is essential for Christians today, drawing wisdom and guidance from Scripture itself.

Perhaps this could help too: Think of prayer as us talking to God. And think of the Bible -  called the Word of God – as God and Messiah talking to us when we do Bible study! Bible study is one of the ways God speaks to us. When we want to do more Bible study, it shows God we are eager to listen to him speak to us. Before even beginning your Bible study, invite God to speak to you.

Understanding God's Warnings:

Scripture is filled with warnings from God, urging us to turn from sin and follow His ways. In Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NKJV), God speaks to Ezekiel, saying:

"So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul."

We normally think those called to be Watchmen would be prophets, pastors, and speakers, but certainly we all have been called to be God’s lights in the world, letting the light of Christ shine through us. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12), and when he comes into us, HIS light shines through us. Let His light in you be strong. Studying his Word helps that connection be strong.

As Believers, we are called to be God’s lights in a darkened world (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:8, 14), diligently studying God's Word and sharing His Way, his teachings and even his warnings with others. Daily Bible study enables us to discern God's voice amidst the noise of the world and respond faithfully to His call.

 

Strengthening Our Faith:

In addition to warning us of the consequences of sin, Scripture also serves to strengthen our faith and equip us for the challenges we face.  Read carefully what Paul writes us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV):

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

By immersing ourselves in God's Word daily, we are equipped with the knowledge and wisdom needed to live lives that honor and glorify Him. Through Scripture, we gain insight into His character, His promises, and His will for our lives, empowering us to walk in obedience and trust.

Think of the Bible as God’s bread from heaven, Jesus Christ in print.  And we are to live by every word of God. We know God gave Israel manna in the desert. When were they to gather manna? First thing in the day, every day except Sabbath, before the day got hot and melted the manna. We too should apply the command to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” – and then all the things that occupy us will be taken care of (Matthew 6:33).

So we gather our “manna” – our Bible study – every day, first thing and early in the day as much as possible. That may mean making some changes in our schedule so we can get up early enough to do it. Let’s make Bible study and prayer our top priorities. We make time for whatever we feel is truly important.

Navigating the Modern World:

In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, daily Bible study provides us with a firm foundation amidst the shifting sands of culture and opinion. God’s word – the Bible -- should be lighting up our path in life.  Psalm 119:105 (NKJV), the psalmist declares:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

As we study God's Word each day, we are guided by His truth and wisdom, enabling us to discern right from wrong and make decisions that align with His will. In a world where moral relativism abounds, the Bible serves as our unchanging compass, directing our steps and illuminating the path ahead.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the urgency of daily Bible study cannot be overstated. In God's Word, we find His warnings, encouragement, and guidance we need to navigate the complexities of modern life and live faithfully as His followers. Let us commit ourselves afresh – without delay or procrastination -- to the discipline of daily Bible study, drawing near to God and allowing His Word to transform our hearts and minds. As we heed His warnings and follow His ways, may we shine as lights in the darkness, pointing others to the hope found in Christ alone.

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