August 30, 2002

"The Power of Demonstration"

     A pleasant day to you.  It's good to be with you today.  We are delighted to have this opportunity to visit with you.  We hope that all is well with you and that the day will be a good one. 

    Matthew 5, in the sermon on the mount, our Lord said in verse 13, "Ye are the salt of the earth.  But if the salt hath lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted.  It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of man.  Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel" but he said it's put up where all men can see it, on a candle stand.  "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works

and glorify your father which is in heaven."  That passage suggests this thought.  There is tremendous power in demonstration.  And in our Lord's infinite wisdom, it was his intention that the acceptance of his way of life would cause the people who accepted it to become a great demonstration to others.  "Let your light so shine before men."  It's not that they were supposed to show off, or put their goodness on parade.  But the very fact that they had accepted the teachings of Christ and practiced them in their lives, Jesus said, this is what happens.  You are like a light.  A city that is set on a hill.  And you shine before others so they can see me and glorify me.  So, power and demonstration. 

    Manufacturers know sometimes that the most effective way to sell their product is to demonstrate it.  I had a gentleman one time show me a fire extinguisher.  It would just put out all kinds of fire.  He would ignite fires and then put them out with his little fire extinguisher.  And I needed one of these in the kitchen and I needed one of them in my car, and I needed one of them in my shop, and at other places as well.  Just a handheld extinguisher.  And it would put the fire out.  It was a very impressive demonstration.  And I think I bought one if I remember correctly.  The power of demonstration.  Manufacturers of paper towels like to tell you how much more their towels will absorb and they show you that.  There is a

demonstration of it.  This towel will absorb more.  Those who manufacture washing power, demonstrate how clean a garment can be made that has been soiled.  They want you to see that demonstration.  It has an effect on me.  If I can see it at work.  And of course, the taste test.  People who manufacture food and beverage want us to try it, they want us to taste it.  And they conduct these tests where people actually use the product and then comment on how tasty it is and how good it tastes to them.  Power in demonstration.  Manufacturers of automobiles know that if they can get you behind the steering wheel of one of their automobiles, and drive it down the street a way, you will be so impressed that you will want one of them for your own.  And all of us, in varying degrees, are impressed by a good demonstration. 

    It reminds me of a man in the New Testament named Philip.  In the first chapter of John, beginning at verse 43, the Bible says, "The day following Jesus would go forth to Galilee, and findeth Philip and saith unto him, follow me.  Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathaniel and saith unto him, we have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.  Nathaniel said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?  Philip saith unto him, Come and see."  Philip said, I would like for you to have a demonstration.  You come with me and I will show you where he is, and he will convince you, he will demonstrate for you that he is the son of God.  God gave a demonstration.  It sometimes is referred to as the divine demonstration when he sent his son to this earth.  And Philip was convinced because he saw, and he said, the secret here is to come and see.  There is a demonstration you will be impressed with.  That's the same Philip in the 14th chapter of John, at verse, well earlier in the chapter, Jesus told his apostles, I'm going to leave you.  I've got to go away.  And Thomas responded to that by saying, "Lord, we know not whether thou goest, and how can we know the way?  And Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man cometh to the father but by me."  So Philip was one of the 12 and Philip said, "Lord, show us the father, and it suffices us."  Philip said, I want a demonstration.  I want you to show me.  Here is the nature of this man.  He wanted a demonstration.  And when he was given a demonstration that was sufficient for him. 

    We all like demonstrations.  A salesman who cannot demonstrate his product, doesn't know enough about it to demonstrate it, and who will not use it himself, is not going to sell many products.  And so that brings us to this idea of the power of a demonstration.  "Ye are the light of the world." "Let your light to shine before men."  In religion, in faith and practice, Christians are to be a demonstration of what is taught by our savior.  1 Timothy 4:12, Paul told that young man, Timothy, "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."  Timothy, you are to be a demonstration.  You are to be an example.  So others can see what

Christianity, what the gospel can to in a person's life.  You be an example of that.  1 Peter 2:12 says, "We are to have our conversation honest before the Gentiles.  That whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."  Why, here are some people out here in the world who talk about Christians, and they say these Christians are evil doers.  And Peter said, when they observe your good life, that will be the way you convince them.  They may not ever hear a preacher.  They may not ever read a book or a text until they have seen a good demonstration.  And Peter said, That's what you do.  You have your manner of life before them, honest.  Honorable. 

    2 Peter 2:1, Peter said, "There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in their damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them."  And then he said this, "Many shall follow their pernicious ways by reason of whom the way of truth is evil spoken off."  Well, there is a demonstration.  And it's not the best kind of demonstration.  They are going to follow those false teachers because of their demonstration.  A man who lives his faith, a man who puts to practice what he believes and does that on a consistent basis is invaluable in the work of our Lord.  No preacher is as effective as is the one who has his message demonstrated, both by himself and by others in that community.  And if there is no demonstration of the truth that he preaches, there is hardly a likelihood that it will find entrance into the hearts of people there.  A demonstration.  The power of a demonstration.  The Lord arranged his plans so that his will would be made attractive when it is demonstrated in the lives of people like you and me. 

    And so, there is a good demonstration, and we must be aware of the fact that there is also a destructive demonstration, when people who call themselves Christians, and maybe who attend services on a regular basis, but who drink alcohol and who gamble, and who use language that is not becoming of Christians, and who dress immodestly, and who are enslaved to tobacco and other habits, who go to the dances, and all the more, all of that is destructive. That is not letting your light so shine before men in the good sense.  Instead it is tearing down.  It is keeping people from listening to the truth and being impressed by it.  Unfaithful Christians who do not show up for worship and for work on a regular basis, and who are stingy and tight with their money, they are demonstrating something also, but it is not good. People who are grouchy, or people who gossip all the time, or people who are unkind in their speech, all of this is a demonstration of something.  And if the person who is giving that demonstration claims to be a Christian, you know what kind of impression that makes on our boys and girls, and what kind of impression that makes on thinking people.  They are turned off.  That has a terrible effect on the faithful Christian.  It serves to discourage them.  It serves to embarrass them that here I am trying to live a faithful Christian life, and there are others who claim to be Christians around me that I must apologize for or explain their behavior.   It causes us to be sorrowful and sometimes we can become discouraged over it.  People who are going to wear the name of Christ should not pretend.  Should not claim to be something and then not back that up by a demonstration of it.  The power of demonstration.  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God.