Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Light Always Reveals - Luke 8:16-18

Coming on the heels of the parable of the soils, Jesus begins teaching the people the application of what he has just said. The point of the parable was that only the good soil (the heart that accepts the seed) produces fruit. The other soils cannot produce fruit because of the rocks, thorns, etc.

Luke 7:16-18 shows an immediate application of this parable. What is conveyed is that the heart that God regenerates cannot hide its new nature. The person who has received the supernatural work of salvation in his heart will produce fruit. God Himself working in the believer is what produces this fruit.

Verse 16 says, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” This would seem very obvious. Light, by its very nature, shines. That is what it is intended to do.  The purpose of having a light is so that it will illuminate the darkness and allow people to see.

Think of yourself in a first century setting with no electricity. When the sun sets, that’s it. Without a candle, lamp, or fire, there is no light whatsoever. So it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a person to light a lamp in the dark and then hide the lamp so that people coming into the house at night can’t see it.

The sole purpose of light is to shine so that people can see it. When a person lights a lamp in the dark, he naturally displays the lamp so that the light will shine and people will be able to see by it.

Jesus uses this illustration to show that God’s Word (the seed of the gospel) also shines by its very nature. When the gospel takes root in the good soil of a person’s heart, it shines by its very nature. It can do nothing but shine. God changes the person’s heart so that it desires to shine. Just like a lamp that shines in the dark house, revealing everything which is inside, the gospel shines in dark hearts and reveals what kind of soil is there. The gospel itself reveals whether man’s heart is made of the good soil, the thorny ground, or the stony ground.

The next verse says, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (v. 17).  The same whay the light is displayed in the house, the gospel is displayed revealing what is in man’s heart. There is nothing that will not be made known. If a person professes Christ, yet does not possess salvation – it will be revealed by the heart that he possesses. It will be revealed by the gospel and how it affects his life. The fruit will be the proof.
Also, there will come a day when what is in man’s heart will be revealed to all of creation and he will either be judged for his sin, or his sin will be judged at the cross. There is absolutely nothing that will not come to light. It is very easy to go about our days, week after week, when everything is fine and we have our whole lives ahead of us. It is easy to put that coming day way out into the future and focus our minds on other things…the bills, cutting the grass, going to get groceries, finishing school, getting a better job…etc.

Yet, none of the things we occupy ourselves with will change the fact that the day fast approaches when we will stand before the creator and give an account. The only way that we can have assurance that our account has been settled is by the fruit of the new heart that Christ gives when he saves a person. It is not a matter of how good or bad you a doing as a Christian. In reality, we all should do better than we are. The question is, “Is God doing what He said He would do in the heart of the people He saves?” It is examining the evidence of His work, not our own. Our own work will always fail the test.

Finally, Jesus warns us about the parable of the soils. He says, “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” (v. 18).

Be careful how you hear… How do we do that? I run into people everyday that believe what they believe about God, Christ, and the gospel simply because it is what they have always heard. “Grandma taught it, and I bought it.”
Passages of Scripture which challenge us in our faith, or give evidence of the regenerated heart are often filtered through what we think is true. When we read verses like 1 John 2:4 (“Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,”) – and we say, “If this verse means what it says then I am not a Christian – I know I am a Christian – Therefore, this verse cannot actually mean what it says.”

We will do all kinds of interpretive gymnastics to get around what the Bible says. So, Jesus warns, “take care how you hear…” To the one who has (the good soil) more will be given. But to the one who does not have (good soil) “even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (v. 18).

To “have” is to possess the good soil that the word of God takes root in. The one who has this soil will produce much fruit throughout his life. Yet, the one who does not have the heart of good soil will have everything taken from him, in this life and the next.

The fruit it produces reveals the hidden heart, regardless of what we try to convince ourselves. The secret things come to light through the word of God in the man’s life. Just like the light that can’t be hidden, the word of God can’t be hidden in the good soil of the true believer’s heart. 

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