Monday, January 08, 2007

HIDING IN PLAIN VIEW



We have all seen pictures of camouflaged insects or other animals that make them nearly impossible to distinguish from their surroundings. Camouflage is the "art of concealment". It involves disguising an object, in plain sight, in order to hide it from something or someone. Many animals depend on camouflage for their survival or hunts to succeed. I once saw a picture of a lion hiding in the tall grasslands of Africa, much like the one accompanying this article. The photo I saw was on the front cover of a popular magazine. The lion was nearly invisible to the eye. When I saw that magazine cover I was amazed how perfectly that lion blended in with his environment. He was literally, “hiding in plain view”. Now that sounds like a contradiction, but I think you get what I mean. The lion was in a wide-open area, but hardly detectable. He was waiting for an opportunistic moment to capture his meal for the day. Turning to the Scriptures I would like to make a comparison to the main idea thus far presented. The best-known discourse that Jesus delivered was on a small hill in Northern Israel near Capernaum. We know it as the “Sermon on the Mount”. In ancient times that hill was called Mount Eremos. A portion of the sermon focused on the metaphors of salt and light. Beginning in verse 14 Jesus told his disciples “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a 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) . Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones believed that verse 14 was one of the most astounding and extraordinary statements about the Christian that was ever made. The contrast of light and darkness is used repeatedly in the Bible. In Genesis 1:4 we learn that "God divided the light from the darkness” . The prophet Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (5:20) ! Darkness in the Bible is a picture of man’s spiritual condition. John 12:46 reveals the blessed truth concerning the person of Christ, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness”. Jesus was the light of the world, but he told his followers that they also are the light of the world. Oh Christian, the purpose of light is to illuminate the darkness. We alone are the light of the world. We alone have the Word of God, which reveals the true condition of man’s evil heart. Mankind abides in darkness (John 3:19) . We alone have the “glorious light of the gospel” (2 Cor. 4:4) that can penetrate that darkness and set men free from Satan’s tyranny. This is our mission. This is the purpose for which the church exists. “A city set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 4:14) . I believe that many of the saints of God have learned the art of concealment all too well. It is time to think again about the nature of our calling as “light bearers”. If the unsaved people we encounter fail to come to Christ to have their sins forgiven they are doomed to eternal darkness. They will never experience the light of salvation unless from you and me and the gospel we believe, proclaim, and live. May the love of Christ compel us (2 Cor. 5:14) . It is time for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop “hiding in plain view”. We must become that city on a hill. The candle must be taken out from underneath the basket so that it can give light unto all (Matthew 5:15) . The camouflage must be stripped off. The voices that are silent must speak the good news so that many will be “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Colossians 1:13) . May Almighty God empower and equip us for this task.

For His glory,

Pastor Tom

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