Light and Opportunity
- By “Light and Opportunity,” we mean that everyone born is given “light and opportunity” by God in the era and area they are raised.
- Light means the wisdom and knowledge a person has of right and wrong.
- Jesus said in Matthew 5:14…Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Your actions “right or wrong,” your knowledge of right or wrong can influence the world.
- 15) 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. When someone has a good testimony and a knowledge that others need to know, then you want to give it to them to benefit their lives and others to see them glorify the Father and see them blessed (happy).
- 16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works (good actions), and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- Now look into Luke 1:78…Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high (Jesus Christ) hath visited us, 79) To give light (the wisdom to know right from wrong) to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
- Opportunity means the opportunity or chance to learn what God has to say about what is right and wrong. An opportunity they have to know Christ in the area and age they live in.
- Stop and think about it for a minute. The wisdom and understanding of God and all things on earth has continually risen improved over the past 6 or 7,000 years. The ingenuity of making a car was not available when Moses crossed the red sea. Their perception of God was more limited then, than it is now.
- In Luke 2:29… we can see where Jesus was brought to the temple and to Simeon who was promised by the LORD that he would not die until he saw “the Christ,” Now Simeon says in verse 29…Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30) For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31) Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32) A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
- Did you get that? “A light” to lighten the Gentiles! Praise the Lord for that light! This light is the light of wisdom and the opportunity to become a child of God and understand His ways, His thoughts and His laws. Praise God for that light, Praise God for the opportunity!
- What we will be judged for is… what we do with the “light and opportunity” after we receive it.
C) The Lost Judged by God
- The lost person will be judged at the Great White Throne of God to answer for what he/she did with the “light and opportunity” he had while on the earth.
Example; A person living in the big city, with many churches, and ministers have a bigger light and opportunity to know God than a person who lives in the country or the barren desert of New Mexico.
- This will determine the degrees of punishment in hell for what he/she did with that light and opportunity he had.
– If a person refuses the knowledge of God and His Son, then we will be sent to the more serious degrees of Hell.
D) The Saved Judged by Christ
- The saved person will be judged (dealt with) on the earth according to what he/she has done with the light and opportunity they have or had.
- It is vitally important to realize that God does not judge someone today based on what Noah lived liked or was convicted of. When the Bible said that Abraham was “perfect in his generations”, it doesn’t mean that he was “perfect” in everything because then you would be calling him Christ’s equal. God forbid! Abraham was the most perfect of anyone in his generation.
EXAMPLE; a person living in Africa will have a different light and opportunity than those living in the United States. Why? Because there are fewer churches and ministers in Africa for them to receive the “light” therefore making less opportunity for them to learn about God.
- Their rewards in heaven will be based upon the light and opportunity they had while on the earth.
- The lack of “light and opportunity” should cause the Christian to be more determined to go on visitation, to be a witness for Christ, to win the lost and help them to know God, His Son, and feel the power of the Holy Spirit.
- This is why Christ had rebuked the churches in the Bible times for their lack of soul winning, their lack of repentance, their lack of leadership, their complacency, their apathy, and etc.
I. The Reason We Must Preach The Word
A) To give people light and opportunity to repent
- Now let us look at our text in Matthew 11:
- Note verse 20…Then began he to upbraid(rebuke) the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
- Many of us say that we wished we could have lived in the times of Jesus Christ on the earth. I am glad God allowed me to be born in 1958 and live until now.
- Do you realize the light and opportunity that was available to the people of Christ’s time? God walked among the people, and they rejected Him! Would you have done the same?
- Look at Peter who was very sincere about following Jesus and yet he denied Him 3 times. You don’t really know what you would have done.
- Now check out what Jesus said…21) Woe (warning) unto thee, Chorazin! Woe (warning) unto thee, Bethsaida!
- His warning was to these people who lived in the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. (Both these cities were near Capernaum where Jesus spent much time)
- What was Jesus warning them about? The fact that they kept on sinning, rejecting God’s commandments and never repenting, or never changing.
- This is the reason we preach the word of God! To get people to change, to repent! God does not accept mediocrity, slothfulness, rebellion, or failure.
- God wants us to be successful, hardworking, on fire for God, and submissive.
- Now look at verse 21b)… for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22) But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
- Now in the above verses (20-22), Jesus makes it clear that the people who lived in Chorazin and Bethsaida had more light and opportunity for salvation than the people of Tyre and Sidon.
- Therefore the people of Tyre and Sidon will have less punishment in Hell than those of Chorazin and Bethsaida.
- Now let us look at verses 23) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24) But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
- Jesus Himself (who knows the very heart of men) says in these verses… As wicked as the people of Sodom were they would have repented if they had known the light and opportunity for salvation that Capernaum had.
- The people in Capernaum will suffer more in Hell than those of Sodom.” Why? Because the people in Capernaum had the knowledge and rejected it.
- Now look at what Jesus said in Matthew 12:41…The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is
- What Jesus is saying here is…the people of Nineveh who listened to Jonah’s preaching and repenting of their sins, will rise to their feet in the bleachers at the Great White Throne Judgment pointing condemning fingers to those who were lost spiritually listening to Jesus preach and refused to repent.
- The people of Jesus day when He walked on this earth had more “light and opportunity” for salvation than those in Nineveh.
- Meaning that Hell will be more hot for those who rejected Christ after receiving the light and opportunity.
- The greater the light and opportunity for salvation, the greater the responsibility is for those who receive it.
- The people who lived in America 200 years ago will have a much cooler place in Hell than those of today. Why? Because the LIGHT is so much brighter today(meaning that the wisdom of God’s word is more understood today than 200 years ago because of the OPPORTUNITY given in the U.S. now is everywhere. God’s Word is now being interpreted and explained on the internet, in colleges, many commentaries, magazines, newspapers, churches of every faith on almost every corner, books and etc.)
- The people 200 years ago did not have near the opportunity that we have today.
- What about those who never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ? Will they go to Hell? Yes, but their punishment will be less.
- People are sent to Hell not only because they rejected Christ, but also because they refused to repent of their sins (Romans 6:23).
- James 1:15 says… Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
- THIS IS WHY…it is very important for us to try and get as many people as we can to receive the truth of the gospel so that they may “repent” (change their ways) before it is too late.