Aug 11, 2019 | Lee Becknell

Where do you put a lamp?

Mark 4:21-25

Mark 4:21-25.

* When I was a young boy I had the opportunity to see the Strongest Man in the World Paul Anderson. Some of you may remember Paul Anderson from the 1970s. At the time, Paul Anderson was the strongest man in the world. In 1956, Paul had won the Olympic gold medal for weight lifting. He only stood 5'9" tall, but Paul weighed 375 pounds! His massive body allowed him to lift weights his competitors couldn't even imagine. One of Paul's feats was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was his back lift of over 6,000 pounds!

*Paul Anderson was a very devoted Christian who put on shows to support the boys' homes he ran in Georgia. He did things like lift a table holding 20 of the biggest people from the audience. Paul also drove nails through two boards with only a handkerchief protecting his palm.

*Then he would proclaim: "If I, the strongest man in the world, can't get through one day without Jesus Christ? What about you?"

*God doesn't ask us to lift tables holding 20 people. And God doesn't ask us to drive nails through boards with our bare hands. But He does ask us to shine for Jesus Christ!

Title: “Where do you put a lamp?”

Theme: “God’s truth isn’t hidden. It’s a lamp that is shining for everyone. Jesus says that where we place the lamp is important if we want to discover the things of God. The secret things are meant to be found and used.”

* This is our third sermon concerning questions asked by Jesus.  Jesus begins the chapter by telling a parable and the disciples struggled with the meaning.

* Beloved, look with me at verse 13, “And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?  How then will you understand all the parables?”

* Jesus then gives them the correct method to understand all the parables!

* I would like to share with you the following lessons.

  1. Where you put your lamp determines what you will see. Lynn wanted to know if I got that from a fortune cookie?

Mark 4:21, “21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?”

* We must remember that in Jesus day they did not flip a switch and turn on a light. They had to light a candle.

* Jesus Himself tells us that the function of a lamp is not to be hidden under a bed but put up on a stand that the light shines and gets the most coverage.

*For us, candles are usually decorative treats. For them, candles were an essential source of light in the dark of night.

* Jesus Christ is the essential source of spiritual light in our dark world. In fact, Jesus is the only source of true spiritual light.

John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

* John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

* Jesus light is also truth!  Jesus Truth must be expressed and seen!

* God’s truth cannot be concealed- it is not meant to be hidden under the bed of our lives.

* In the Bible, light and truth are two sides of the same coin. They always go together.

Psalm 43:3, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!”

Acts 10:1-5; 25-29; 44-45, “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter.”

25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.” 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.

  1. Life is about understanding the hidden and secret things of God.

Mark 4:22-23, “For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

* Jesus continues to teach about how important it is to really hear God’s Word. This particular passage can be confusing because it sounds similar to something Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “You don’t put a lamp under a bowl, you put it on a stand so everyone can see it.” Then He said, “Let your light shine before men.” In this passage He will use a parable of a lamp, but He isn’t talking about our testimony. He is referring to how the light of His truth can’t be hidden.

* Jesus want His truth to be found.

* We need to be careful about what we hear. We have a responsibility to tune out ungodly things, and tune in to the good things of God.

* God wants us to listen with a good attitude. Jesus said truth must be displayed; it can’t be hidden. You can’t hide anything from God and He isn’t hiding anything from you.

* That’s why Jesus said it is very important to consider how you listen to God’s Word. If you listen skeptically, saying, “Well, I don’t really know if I believe that or not,” you are placing God’s light under the bed or in a clay jar.

*If we are listening with a bad attitude, we can completely miss what God is trying to say to us. I read about two men who went to church one Sunday: Jim Smith and Sam Jones. At his church, Jim noticed a typo in the bulletin and thought about how sloppy they were in the church office. Then Jim was offended when a visitor had the nerve to sit in his regular seat. The pianist missed four notes during the offertory. And Jim felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate. That made him boil. Then the preacher mispronounced three words in his message. Jim was keeping count. *Over at Sam's church, Sam was blessed by the good report he heard on Vacation Bible School. Then he worshiped the Lord through the beautiful music he heard. Jim was grateful that the preacher was preaching the Word of God. And the sermon answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. But the best blessing of all was when the new family joined the church, and their 10-year-old son got saved!

*The amazing thing is: Both of those men were in the same church at the same time. But their hearts were in very different places.

  1. Pay attention and use what you learn, or you will lose what little you have.

Mark 4:24-25, “And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

* Verse 25 sounds like a riddle. “Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

* What is Jesus talking about? On the surface it doesn’t sound fair.  Why would God give more to some and less and even take what little from another? 

* Jesus is not talking about food, money, or possessions.  He is talking about TRUTH!

* He was talking about God’s truth. If you have it and act on it, you get more. But if you have a little and ignore it, you lose it. You can’t just take God’s truth, put it in your pocket, and save it for a rainy day; you must act on it immediately. God’s truth is like an ice cube on a summer day. If you don’t take advantage of it, it will soon be gone.

* The Bible describes what happens to the people who turn from the light of God’s truth.

Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

* As you live your life each day why don’t you look for God’s TRUTH?

This incident took place in Tanzania, Africa in 1992. Rob Moore, one of our Southern Baptist missionaries, was driving out in the bush in his 4-wheel-drive vehicle along with a native African pastor. They were miles away from home base, and were on a dusty road. A truck in front of them was kicking up so much dust they couldn’t see more than a few yards ahead. Suddenly a car came out of the dust and collided head-on with Rob’s truck. They were wearing seatbelts and weren’t seriously injured, but the five Africans in the other vehicle were injured. Rob and the African pastor began to use a first aid kit to help the injured Africans. They send someone to find transportation to a hospital. The soon realized none of the injuries were life-threatening, so Rob and the pastor because to sing songs of praise and give thanks to God. Meanwhile, unknown to Rob, three African men walked out of the jungle and began speaking in Swahili to the African pastor. They explained that several months earlier they became convinced that there was only one good Spirit, so they denounced their idolatry and shamanism. They started out on a journey to find the truth. They had a dream that a white man would tell them the truth about this good Spirit. So Rob Moore and the African pastor began to share Jesus with these three leaders. It took 48 hours for a tow truck to arrive to haul away Rob’s totaled truck. Meanwhile, fifteen other African men from that tribe had placed their faith in Jesus. They formed a church whose name in Swahili means, “Accident Baptist Church.” That was no accident that day, it was a Divine rendezvous for God to show the truth to some people who were walking toward the light.


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