Amanda Morad, Regent University
At Regent University’s weekly chapel service on Wednesday, Nov. 20, Hispanic evangelical leader Rev. Samuel Rodriquez spoke about what it means to be “light” in a dark world. Rodriquez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), the nation’s largest Hispanic Christian organization.
“Life requires light—and faith requires light,” Rodriguez said, citing Genesis 1:3 in which God commands of the dark unformed world, “Let there be light.”
He then outlined what it means for Christians today to be that light. For this, Rodriguez turned to Matthew 5:14 in which Jesus gives His followers the directive to be “the light of the world.”
“Be light by who you are,” he said, emphasizing the importance of character. “Who are we? We are the light of the world. It’s our identity in Christ.”
Secondly, “be light by removing obstacles to light,” he said, referring to the part of the verse that calls Christians “a city on a hill,” unable to be hidden.
These obstacles, he explained, come through complacency and fear. But Rodriguez encouraged the audience with 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This, he said, equips Christians to be light.
To illustrate, Rodriguez told the story of a speaking engagement in which he preached Christ to Muslim leaders. In his role with NHCLC and as senior pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, Calif., Rodriguez spends much of his time traveling and preaching around the world, encountering people of all faiths along the way.
But at a conference in Pakistan, he was faced with the choice to deliver a safe and inoffensive message or to deliver the Gospel before thousands of Muslims, including clerics and their guards. On the first night, Rodriguez took the safe route and preached on the God of love. But by the second night, he was challenged to deliver something different.
“We’re not going to surrender truth on the altar of expediency,” he said. “Silence is not an option.”
So he preached on Jesus’ power to save and to heal, and an 80-year-old Muslim man’s blind eyes were opened as Rodriguez spoke. This was a testimony to Acts 26:18, Rodriguez explained, in which Paul was sent to the Gentiles “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light.”
On a related point, Rodriguez said, “be light by where you stand.”
“Where do we stand? On the truth that Christ is the hope of glory,” he explained. “Truth transcends culture, time and space. There is only one way, and that way is Jesus Christ.”
Finally, Rodriguez said, “be light by what you do.” He quoted Matthew 5:16, saying, “Let your light so shine before men.”
“Jesus changed the world by His character, His rhetoric and by His actions,” he concluded. “To be light is to love without condition, to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and to change the world.”
READ MORE: http://www.regent.edu/news_events/?article_id=1711&view=full_article