Brothers, as Christians our words are not reserved for other Christians. We have not been called only to speak familiar words to familiar people. We do, of course, do that in accordance with 1 Thessalonians 5:11, encouraging one another in the truth. However, our calling in Christ is to be the light of the world, letting our light (God’s Word) shine before others to give glory to God (Matt. 5:13-16).
This week’s sign is in keeping with our Christian calling as we aim to be of service to our neighbors. In our confused and corrupted world, our service includes warning the community around us of the temptations to sin. God has called us to proclaim His Word to those in and around Ferndale. This is our Nineveh. Like Jonah, at times, we may wish to run from our calling, but when faced with that temptation we repent and learn from the prophet’s error. We will speak the truth out of love for our Ninevite neighbors. May Ferndale follow suit and repent of her sins.
As I was prayerfully considering the wording of this week’s sign I recalled the riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41). Paul’s Christian evangelism dealt a death blow to the demonic worship of Artemis in Ephesus. Residents of the city were losing money because the economy was built on idolatry. This prompted the silversmiths to riot. Certainly, St. Paul did not wish to be the impetus of a riot. He was a preacher of truth and as he told the Roman Christians to do, he aimed to live peaceably with all as much as it depended on him (Rom. 12:18). As life teaches us all, we can’t control the actions of others. Fear of backlash cannot determine our words of love and truth. We must warn our neighbors of the dangers of evil. And, without doubt, we are to do it publicly.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house,” (Matt. 5:14-15).
Before Paul preached the truth in Ephesus Apollos powerfully refuted the unbelievers, and in keeping with our Christian calling, he did it in public (Acts 18:28).
As we learn from Sunday’s Epistle, in Christ we are “a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isaiah 42:6-8.)
May this week’s sign serve our neighbors. May the light of God’s Word dispel the darkness in their lives so that they would not be led into sin, especially the children, who are the most vulnerable.