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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#996. Light your lamp and keep it burning (22/2/24)

This week, in our devotionals in Luke, we are using this parable of the lamp to inspire us. If you find these helpful, please do share them. Today we will see how Jesus wants us to remain bright rather than allow our lamps to dim or go out. 

‘“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Therefore consider carefully how you listen…”’ (Luke 8: 16-18a) 

Lesson: Keep your lamp burning by feeding it on the oil of God’s resources. 


To listen to this devotional, go to:



In our days of electric lights, the need to tend a lamp has gone. Most of us find it hard enough to change a lightbulb let alone to tend a lamp that’s fuelled by oil! Jesus tells this parable as a compliment and reiteration of what He said previously in The Parable of the Soils. Both parables are about how we ‘hear’ God’s word, put it into practice and share it with others. He begins by using a bit of humour in order to show us how ridiculous it would be to put our lamp under the bed! Rather like our putting on lights in rooms that we are not using, so lighting the underside of one’s bed is clearly a humorous way of teaching us how nonsensical it would be to hear God’s Word only to ignore it or be ashamed of it. This reminds us of another parable about lamps that Jesus used in order to teach us - The parable to the Ten Virgins. It begins:

‘“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.”’ (Matthew 25:1-5) 

Jesus wants us to learn from these the virgins about wisdom and foolishness; the wise, take extra oil whilst waiting for the bridegroom, which, is another way of saying that Christians are to remain faithful to Christ in the long wait for His return. The Parable continues:

‘“…At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.’ (Matthew 25:6-13) 

Simply put, faithfulness is required of us. A Christian will be faithful whilst waiting for Christ to return and this is symbolised as keeping our lamp burning. We will all be tempted to hide our light or to let it go out due to the many trials and temptations that come our way. As there are many things such as the devil, trials, worries, riches and pleasures that make us bad soil and kill our growth, so, likewise, there are many reasons to hide or neglect our light! 


Response

Keep your lamp burning by feeding it on the oil of God’s resources. This parable makes it clear that God wants us to be a bright light and so He will help us to be just that! He provides His Word, His Spirit, His church community, to feed our lamps in this dark and challenging world. In terms of the wise and foolish virgins, whilst you wait for Christ to return or if you are in a time of discouragement, how are you getting the oil that you need to remain bright and faithful? 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News or the 'Teaching' button on the website. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? (Again, as with last week, this parable of the lamp on a stand, that we are looking at today, is very much linked with knowing and doing God’s Word).


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

This week, in our devotionals in Luke, we are using this parable of the lamp (Luke 18:16-18) to inspire us. 

In our days of electric lights, the need to tend a lamp has gone. Most of us find it hard enough to change a lightbulb let alone to tend a lamp that’s fuelled by oil! Jesus tells this parable as a compliment and reiteration of what He said previously in The Parable of the Soils. Both parables are about how we ‘hear’ God’s word, put it into practice and share it with others. 


Please read Luke :8:16-18

  1. What were you particularly struck by in Sunday’s message from Luke 8:16-18? 

  2. What would you say is the central teaching of this parable on putting the lamp on a stand? 

  3. What does it mean to hide our light and put our lamp on a stand?

  4. How can we seek to put our light on a stand?

  5. In verse 16, we read, ‘For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.’ How is this reference to final judgement to affect how we live? 

  6. SIV - How, specifically, are we to let our light shine on our community that’s outside of faith? 

  7. SIV - Why might we be tempted to hide our light from our non-believing friends, family and colleagues? 

  8. SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  9. Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word.

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