Acts America

Articles, eBooks & Printed Messages

Study to show thyself approved.

A Witness of Light and Life

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15,16A)

A Witness of Jesus Christ

I believe it is the privilege and responsibility of every born again child of God to be a witness of Jesus Christ. Paul said we should be as lights holding the word of life. We should be a light in the darkness that has His life in the midst of sin and death.

As I was preparing this message, I was reminded of two examples I had read of saints who had walked in this light and life as a witness for Christ:

“During the times of persecution in Britain, when people were being executed and burned at the stake, the number of disciples increased.. The composure and joy in the countenances of the martyrs convinced the standers-by of the reality of their faith. When one man was being transported in an open carriage to the place of execution, the villagers turned out to watch the procession, but the face of the doomed prisoner was so alight with heaven in anticipation of coming glory, that they had to cover the glowing face lest converts be made en route. In Scotland so many onlookers were convinced of the truth possessed by the so-called heretics, that the seed of the Gospel was widely sown through these public burnings at the stake. The decision to perform them privately was taken lest the truth spread through the very wrath of man. The light of the Gospel was widely diffused through their martyrdoms.”

“The New Creation,” Harvey & Woodhouse

Do you hear this in shame and have to repent as I do? These were blameless and harmless with light and life in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation.

A Product of the New Birth

God wants to stir your heart to be a witness of this light and life. Light and life are not something the child of God has to work up or work out. These are synonymous to the born again experience. They are a product of the new birth. The new birth is a transformation from darkness to light, and a transformation from death to life. All through the New Testament light and life are reflected in the born again experience. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.”(Colossians 1:13) “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”(1 Thessalonians 5:5) Jesus said in John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.” He also said in verse 35, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” Listen to John as he tells us where this light and life come from. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11,12) “In Him, was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”(John 1:4,5,9) This is the light and life that comes with the born again experience. There is a supernatural transformation of light and life when a person becomes born again. We become children of the light, receiving the life that is in the Son of God.

Awake O Sleeper

How are we to respond to this light and life? How are we to walk that it might be evident in our lives? Listen to Paul writing to the church at Ephesus. “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of the Light (lead the lives of those native-born to the Light). For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit (consists) in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. And try to learn (in your experience) what is pleasing to the Lord (let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him). Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead (let your lives be so in contrast as to) expose and reprove and convict them. For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that such (people) practice in secret. But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. Therefore He says, Awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people). Making the very most of the time (buying up each opportunity), because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the (Holy) Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:8-16 Amplified) Listen to what Jesus said, “Ye 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 (the beauty of your lives), and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Do you hear that? Let them see light, and let them see life. And where does this light and life come from? “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) The life and light are in Jesus. Jesus is in every true believer. Jesus declares He is the light of the world, and life is in the light. And we are supposed to walk in this light as ones native-born to it. Our lives are to be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him. We are to take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness. Rather, we are to live our lives to be so in contrast as to expose and reprove and convict them. We are to awake and arise that Christ may shine and give light. Jesus is offering light and life to those that will awake and arise. But we must purpose to look carefully how we walk.

You must choose to live purposefully, worthily and accurately. You must make the very best of every opportunity. You cannot be vague and thoughtless, but rather, firmly grasp the will of the Lord and walk in it. There is a call for you to awake that Christ may shine upon you and give you light.

Total Dependence Upon Him

But listen; to have this witness of light and life, He must be at the center. He must be the source. It cannot be the old man made better. It will not come from behind walls of religion and pride. These are all man-centered. This witness must be Christ-centered.

It must come from a personal attachment to a person, Jesus Christ. There must be a personal affection for Him. Light and life will not come from an attachment to religious things, such as church, choir, works, preaching, ministry. All these within themselves are good, but they will not produce this witness. These can be turned on and off. To have this witness of light and life, we must be brought to a place of total dependence on His light and His life. “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

God has chosen to put this light and life in earthen vessels. He will continually work in your heart to bring death to any and all man-centered light and life. He desires His Son to be seen and glorified in and through you. Those who are lost do not need to see us, but Christ in us, the hope of glory. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:10,11)

Satan will do everything in his power to hide this life of Christ. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”(2 Corinthians 4:3-4) That is why it is so important to allow God to do this work in your heart that they might see Him. They need His light and His life to set them free from the power of sin and darkness.

There is a world out there that needs living waters to quench their thirst. Men and women whose hearts are dead in sin need His light of life to open their prison doors. Religion and riches and human reasoning are blinding their eye to this glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Their darkness can only be penetrated by His light. They can only be resurrected out of death by His life.

Rivers of Living Water

Jesus Christ understood very well the needs of mankind. He did not come to this world only to die for the sins of man, but to live “that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) He came that men might be filled with this witness of light and life. In His earthly ministry, Jesus would come to the place that He would boldly proclaim His ability and desire to fill men with this life. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the spirit, which they that believe on Him shall receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given: because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

As we look at this scripture we find Jesus teaching in the temple the last day of the feast of tabernacles. But, there is something unusual here. It was always the custom of the teacher to sit while he taught, and Jesus knew that. But here, we find Jesus standing. Also, we find that Jesus did not just stand and say something, but “Jesus stood and cried.” The word “cried” here denotes an outburst of great emotions. In this emotional cry of Jesus there was an invitation. “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and

drink.”(John 7:37B) So we see Jesus the last day of the feast standing and crying out, inviting men to come unto Him.

Jesus knew exactly what He was doing here. There was a divine reason He was crying and a reason He waited until the last day. Jesus desired to give men living waters, that witness of life. The only requirement was to thirst. (“If any man thirst.”) Why the last day of the feast? For seven days during the observance of the feast, water was carried in golden vessels from the Pool of Siloam, and poured out in the presence of the worshippers in the temple. It was symbolism relating to the fact that God had supplied their physical need with water in the wilderness, and that God had made promises as in Joel that there should come a day when rivers of spiritual water would revive the desert lands. On the last day there would be no procession back and forth of men carrying the golden vessels of water. This last day of the feast would be the eighth day. It was on that day, the Sabbath, when men were no longer carrying the water that Jesus stood up and cried saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me.”

There was no other source on this day in which to quench the thirst. Jesus was boldly proclaiming that He could quench this thirst of man. Jesus stood and cried that not only could He quench this thirst, but that any man who would drink of this water He offered would have “rivers of living water flowing out of his belly. (But this spake He of the spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.)” (John 7:39a) Jesus was looking to the day when He would send back the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would fill the hearts of men with rivers of living water, rivers of life. This life would so overflow their hearts that it would spill over on those around them that were lost and in darkness. This is exactly what we see happen in the Book of Acts, and what happened to those who saw the joy in the countenances of the martyrs as they were transported to their execution. This witness of life, these living waters, were spilling out.

Praise God! You and I can accept this invitation from Jesus and come and drink. We can have this witness of running waters. These waters are a continual flow of His life, and not mine. We can by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit be filled with this life of Christ. We, too, can have this super-natural joy on our countenance as a witness that He lives in me today. We will be able to say, with Paul, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20b)

The Light of the World

Thank God for this witness of life. But Jesus had not finished. He would leave the temple and go unto the Mount of Olives. The next morning we find Him coming back to the temple again. “And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them.” (John 8:2) He once again sits down and teaches.

It was at this time, the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Him the woman taken in adultery. We won’t take the time here to discuss what happened with this woman, except to say that Jesus spoiled the plans of the Scribes and Pharisees while offering this woman freedom from her sin.

It is what Jesus said immediately after this that we want to look at. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”(John 8:12) Jesus is now boldly proclaiming something else. This time He says, He is the light of the world.” But more than even that, Jesus says he that followed Him would have the light of life. Jesus is offering man that witness of light which produces life.

Why did Jesus say this now? Was there any spiritual significance in Him saying it here? Well, let’s look at where He said this. “These words spoke Jesus in the treasury, as He taught in the temple.”(John 8:20A) The treasury was the area of the court where stood the golden chests. Later, this is where Jesus would be when He saw the widow casting in her mite. But what about now? Why did He say this in the treasury?

Some Jewish interpreters say that during the feast, the golden chests were illuminated. But now the feast was over, and the lights were out. Did you hear that? Man’s lights were out. Jesus at that moment in the midst of the darkness proclaimed, “I am the light of the world.” This same Jesus who stood up and said, “Come unto me and drink” when there was no water, now says in the midst of darkness I am the light.” But He had not finished. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12B) Hallelujah! Not only can we walk in light, but this witness of light can proceed from me. Light can shine forth from us as we choose by the grace of God to follow Jesus.

Jesus has boldly proclaimed here in the temple that He is our source of light and life. No matter how thirsty and dry it may seem, we can come and drink until we overflow with His life. No matter how dark it may get, we can look to Him to illuminate our path until we are full of His light. Light and life were only to be found in Jesus. But Jesus made it plain, that any man that would believe and follow Him could have these rivers of living water and this light of life.

You may never be transported to a place of execution as a martyr, but the world that is around you needs to see Jesus. Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damacus when he saw a light from heaven. That light was Jesus. Paul was filled with that light and drank his fill of that life. That light from heaven can fill your soul, too. You can have this witness of light and life that will bring joy to your countenance, and the hope of Jesus to those around you. Run to Jesus in the midst of your thirst and darkness until Christ shines on you and gives you this witness of light and life!