People Are Watching
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Intro: A few days ago, our school volleyball team was playing another Christian school in the area. A pastor that is about an hour away was talking to our school administrator. He made a statement that has been playing over and over in my head since I heard about it. He said, “The eyes of the world are on Calvary Baptist Church. What is going on up there?”
What a statement! That statement was both a blessing and frightening all at the same time!
One thing is for sure – people are watching. Sometimes that can be a good thing; sometimes that can be a bad thing. The Bible is filled with references to this fact, and how you and I are supposed to respond to it.
You and I cannot stop people watching us.
What we can control is what they see WHILE they are watching us.
It is important to note that when Jesus was here, they watched Him.
There were several different reasons why they watched Him, but they did.
Some did it out of curiosity.
- Luke 4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Some did it out of a scheming, conniving heart of hatred.
Three times specifically in the Gospel of Luke we find them watching Jesus in order to try and trap Him.
- Luke 6:7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
- Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
- Luke 20:20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
Notice this occasion where they watched Jesus:
- 34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
- 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
- 36 And sitting down they watched him there;
If they watched Jesus, you can believe that they will watch you and they will watch me.
Jesus anticipated that.
He prepared His disciples to accept that reality and to use it for the furtherance of the work of God.
I. The Obligation – “Let your light so shine…”
The context of these verses are clear – we are to be influencers.
Salt and light are influential elements; agents of change.
Salt is a natural resource. It will make a difference anywhere it is introduced.
Light is also an agent of change.
Jesus admonished them to LET their light shine.
It was a natural action; not pretense; not a show; not trying to impress people.
There are clear truths taught in the scripture about this matter of unbiblical motivation of knowing people watching.
The Pharisees were condemned for this.
- Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Our almsgiving is not to be done because people are watching.
- Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Our praying is not to be done because people are watching.
- 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
- 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
- 5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
- 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
- 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
- Luke 14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
II. The Onlookers – “…before men…”
The simple truth is – people are watching.
The audience of onlookers consists of a wide variety of people.
1. The World
Notice our text: Matthew 5
- 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
- 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.
Jesus distinctly told the disciples NOT to hide; but to let their light shine.
They were the light of the world.
We were clearly told not to hide or conceal our light, but to let it SO shine.
A word comes to mind when I think about that. “a spectacle.”
Paul used that very word.
- 1 Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
The Apostle Paul accepted that is a fact of life.
1 Peter 2
- 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
- 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
2. The Church
- 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
- James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
3. The Family
The unsaved husband is watching the believing wife.
1 Peter 3
- 1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
- 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
The children are watching the parents.
- Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
III. The Outcome– “…that they may see your good works and glorify your Father…”
We are not to live our life before others that they may glorify us.
That is the wrong motivation. That is completely contrary to Scripture.
But the truth cannot be denied; when people see our good works, they will glorify our Father!
Our lives can either be a stumbling block or a steppingstone.
We will either help people or hurt people.
They are watching. The early church was advanced greatly by the open testimony of the church.
The book of Acts is filled with multiple examples of the fact that people are watching us.
- Acts 2:6, 7, 12 was the first major demonstration of the Holy Spirit, and the people were amazed.
- Acts 3:3 “Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.”
- Acts 3:4 “And Peter said to the lame man…Look on us. And he gave heed unto them…”
- Acts 3:9 “And all the people saw him walking and praising God…”
- Acts 3:11 “And all the people ran together unto them in the porch…greatly wondering…”
- Acts 3:13 “…why look ye so earnestly on us…”
- Acts 4:13 “…now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John…they marvelled…”
- Acts 4:14 “And beholding the man which was healed…they could say nothing against it.”
- Acts 6:15 “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him…”
When Jesus healed the man with the palsy, notice the outcome:
- Mark 2:12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
Conclusion: We could go on and on. The church of the living God is a spectacle.
People are watching. They are watching this church. They ware watching me. They are watching you.
That’s a fact. The question this morning is this. What are they seeing?