There’s a lot about a person in a name.
My dad used to say “at the end of the day, the only thing someone can’t take away from you, is your name. Sometimes it’s all you’ve got.”
You can lose your pride, but not pride in your name. You can lose your money, but you can’t sell your name. You can lose your health, but the name goes with you forever. When you lie, your name means liar. When you work hard, your name means hard worker. When you are honest, your name means honesty. Your name ca reflect you, and sometimes the other way around.
If I were to say “New York Yankees.” That name would mean something to you. If I were to say Detroit Tigers, that might mean something else to you. When I think of the Chicago Cubs, I certainly think about more than just the baseball club. I think of going to Wrigley with my dad as a kid. I think of WGN and Harry Carey. I think of the bleacher bums and Johnny Woo. I think of hot afternoons in the sun with Kristen, and I think of almost getting to the World Series in 84 and 03.
Have you ever heard a couple debate names for their baby? Each name means something and carries a negative or positive connotation.
So this summer, we’re starting off by talking about our name. We’ll be spending the whole summer looking at who we are and where we are going. Tonight we are taking a close look at our name, Light Force means something and it helps us see what we want to be doing as a group in now and in the future. As we look at it deeper I hope that you will not just see that name as a clever logo but as something that you will want to be a part of.
Pretty early on in Jesus’ ministry, sometime in the first year after Jesus turned water into wine; Jesus had finished calling his group of closest disciples and was starting to attract quite a following.
He had healed some people along the way in Galilee. He had driven out some demons and cured some diseases. With that, all kinds of people had a strong desire to be near him when he did this. Either they were bringing people to be healed or exorcized or they wanted to simply watch.
Along with that type of person, there was a large group of men and women who just followed him wherever he went. This was somewhere between 50-75 people who are his disciples. These aren’t The Twelve, but they are a group who is closely following him and learning from him regularly.
Anyway, Jesus goes up on a hill, and we can imagine that there would have been several hundred people… maybe more. And he begins to teach them.
We read about it in Matthew 5. He starts speaking to them, and we’ll pick it up in verse 14.
– You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
o We are at a complete disadvantage with this analogy here.
o We live in a very technological time where we are surrounded by safety and electricity. Whenever we want light, it is there. There is nothing to fear in a dark night or even in a dark room.
o So, we can only imagine what it means to contrast dark and light… like when we go camping.
o When Jesus says “a city on a hill” we are also without comparison. [See picture] Where we live is very flat.
o We can imagine that we are in a city, and the city on the hill provides us with something to look at.
? It sticks out at night.
? It’s noticeable; you don’t have to think about it… it’s just there.
? It’s a reference point in navigation
? If you’re a shepherd, you look up the hill at it and daydream
? If you’re a foreigner approaching it, you wonder about it.
o Darkness isn’t just sin… it’s a world of fear and danger. If you’re in the dark, sometimes you find your way and things are as they seem, but sometimes they aren’t.
o If you are in darkness, you are lost and desperate and in danger.
o Some people say they like to be in the dark… but you can only enjoy the darkness when you know you have power to be in the light.
o When camping, you are drawn to the light… people are magnets for other people in the light or if they don’t have a flashlight, they want to be by and be near the person with the flashlight.
o Humans have very poor night vision, it leaves us completely vulnerable.
o But Jesus says we are light! He says we are light in the darkness.
? We are the reference point.
? We are noticeable
? We are safety
? We are not in danger… we are light.
o When Jesus calls us light
? The light he refers to is our relationship with Jesus.
? This “light” is the measure by which the world measures is “right and wrong.”
? Outsiders look towards us naturally, they don’t know what it is but they are sensing the Holy Spirit in us.
? They can’t help but ask “What is it about you?”
o “It” is the light.
o “It” is what Jesus says we should “let shine.”
o We can hide it, we can pretend we aren’t lights…. Like a flashlight we can just chose to not be light
o But Jesus tells us, Let it shine! IN THE DARKNESS of LIFE, LET IT SHINE!
So the first part of our name is directly from Jesus. We are light.
The second part is pretty simple.
We are a force to be reckoned with.
Let’s look at all the definitions for this word “force” and I’ll let you figure out which one applies to us.
1. The capacity to do work or cause damage.
2. The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain.
3. Intellectual power or vigor, especially as conveyed in writing or speech.
4. A body of persons or other resources organized or available for a certain purpose.
5. Military strength.
– While there is a military sound to our name, Light Force, our name implies that we have strength and power and resolve and purpose.
– So, therefore we are a body of people organized under God and this church for a certain purpose….
– What’s the purpose?
o Light Force desires to Love God and Love Others by intentionally modeling a life devoted to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.
– This is why we exist. This is who we are. This is the reason we are a force… we are united towards that vision.
– And in the coming weeks we’ll be taking a closer look at that statement, taking it apart and putting it back together to see further how we [you!] can be a part of this Light Force.
– This shedding of light in the darkness
– And being a force here in Romeo.