Thomas Kinkade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Friday April 6, 2012 – Good Friday, one of America’s most celebrated artists went home to celebrate Easter in the presence of our Lord; Thomas Kinkade died at the age of 54. Kinkade, famously known as the self-titled “Painter of Light” has left a legacy of art depicting tranquil scenes of cottages with lush landscapes, churches in dewy morning light, country gardens and villages, which are typically pared with Bible passages. His works are said to be in an estimated 10 million homes in America, I have a Kinkade print hanging in my own living room.
One publisher of Kinkade’s art books stated this in his by-line: Thomas Kinkade makes his home in the coastal foothills of northern California with his wife, Nanette, and daughters Merritt, Chandler, and Winsor. Underlying his art is Kinkade’s deep Christian faith. As he puts it, "I desire to create paintings that bring hope and joy to others, and light is my tool for doing that. I see light as a symbol for the joy in my own heart. Perhaps my work will in some small way communicate that joy."
As Christian men and women, isn’t this the very thing that we are called in obedience to do, to communicate in some small way the source of our own joy to those around us? That our lives are centered on Christ, and not the things of the world, is the evidence of our relationship with Christ and the most significant thing we can reveal about our self. Easter is certainly one of the most important celebrations on our calendar as Christian’s; it marks the point in history when the God of all creation took upon Himself the curse of sin and the punishment for my sin and yours. It is essentially the climax of Jesus ministry on earth as God and man; however, it is also the beginning of our ministry as His disciples. In chapter 2 of the book of Acts we find the account of the disciples concerning that time when Jesus fulfilled His promise on the day of Pentecost, by sending the comforter, the Holy Spirit to empower them to do His work. This promise is found in Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
What is the role of the Holy Spirit, how does He empower us? Let’s look at some verses to answer these questions.
Read John 14:15-18 If you love Me, keep[a] My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? Comforter, Spirit of Truth – provides discernment.
Read John 14:25-27 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? Teacher, helper.
Read John 15:26-27 But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? Testifies of Jesus in us – It is important because it confirms that our faith is in a living God – He reveals Himself in us and gives us evidence by the fruit of His Holy Spirit, which is love, peace, and joy!
Read John 16:5-15 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? He convicts the world of sin and disbelief, counselor, reveal and declare truth and Christ in us.
Read Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? He reveals spiritual truth and discernment, helping us differentiate spiritual [eternal] and physical [temporal] principles, He seals us until the day of redemption.
The practical result of our faith in Christ
Our practical experience with the Holy Spirit is that we obtain perfection through the work of Christ in us, and our works are made acceptable through His Holy Spirit.
Read Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now zthe God of peace, athat bbrought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great cshepherd of the sheep, through dthe blood of the everlasting ||ecovenant, 21 fMake you perfect gin every good work hto do his will, ||working in you ithat which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; kto whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Based upon all of the scriptures concerning the Holy Spirit, who is the agent Jesus uses to perfect us in every good work? The Holy Spirit.
Read John 10:11-18 I am kthe good shepherd: the good shepherd lgiveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an mhireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth nthe wolf coming, and oleaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and pscattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and qcareth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and rknow my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 sAs the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and tI lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And uother sheep I have, which are not of this wfold: ythem also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; yand there shall be one zfold, and aone shepherd. 17 bTherefore doth my Father love me, cbecause tI lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but tdI lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and eI have power to take it again. This fcommandment have I received of my Father.
Did Jesus go to the cross merely out of a sense of obligation to what God the Father commanded Him to do?
Out of His unconditional love, He willingly laid down His life, and became the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the earth.
How does Jesus describe His relationship with us? He loves us and is willing to lay down His life for us.
In verse 18 we have an assurance of salvation through Jesus resurrection on the authority of God the Father, but what is our responsibility in light of our liberty?
Read Romans 6:15-18 What then? fshall we sin, zbecause we are not under the law, but under grace? gGod forbid. 16 Know ye not, that hto whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, ithat ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart kthat form of doctrine †which was delivered you. 18 Being then lmade free from sin, mye became the servants of righteousness. 
So what then is our responsibility? To serve the Lord and righteousness, not sin.
It is with this same recognition of who Jesus is and the truth that out of love He took my place and your place on the cross, so that our response should also be to willingly serve out of our sense of love, for it was God who loved us first. And because we are free from the bondage of sin, free to experience the gift of the fruit of His labor, which is love, peace, and joy, through His indwelling Spirit that we desire to share this joy with those who are lost in the darkness of this world, so they can also know Jesus light of our salvation.
Matthew 5, this chapter and the two that follow it are a famous sermon, the “Sermon on the Mount”, verses 1-12 are also known as “The Beatitudes.” Chapters 5-7 are the longest continuous discourse we have from our Savior. Here Jesus gives us a practical guide as our Lord, His moral teaching to be adopted by all who submit to Him. We don’t have time to properly study all of this today, so I’m only going to touch on the highlights.
Read Matthew 5:13-20 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
These issues explored by Jesus deal with the basic values which human beings adopt and live by. Jesus’ point is that the values of this world do not lead to blessing. Instead blessing comes through living by values which the world despises, but which God holds dear.
Both Old and New Testaments speak of the “blessed.” In the Old Testament, and especially the Psalms, the “blessed are” statements describe qualities in a person which bring him or her God’s blessing. Here in Matthew the Greek word is makarios, which means “happy.” Is there a difference? Yes. The Old Testament describes blessings that will come to the godly person, and emphasizes material goods. Jesus focused on the present state of persons who adopt values and attitudes which permit them to know, now, the inner touch of God in their present lives.
What is that inner touch? I believe it is the love, peace and joy we experience through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. But let’s break these verses down and look at them in context; I’m including a Bible commentary on these verses
The following commentary on Matthew chapter 5 is from “Thru the Bible” By J. Vernon McGee
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid [Matt. 5:13–14].
God’s people in any age and under any condition are both salt and light in the world. The Scots translate “savour” by the more expressive word tang. I like their word much better. “If the salt has lost its tang.” The problem today is that most church members have not only lost their tang as salt, but as pepper they have lost their pep also. We have very few salt and pepper Christians in our day. Now salt doesn’t keep fermentation and that type of thing from taking place, but it will arrest it. You and I ought to be the salt in the earth and have an influence for good in the world.
Christians are also the light of the world. Certainly in the kingdom the believers are going to be the light of the world. This is a tremendous principle for us. We need to be a light in our neighborhood and wherever we go. We have no light within ourselves, but the Word of God is light. Being a light means giving out the Word of God in one way or another. This doesn’t mean that you should be quoting Scripture all the time, but it does mean that you are to share the light that God has given you. It is very easy to cultivate some person, then quietly and graciously introduce them to a Bible-teaching church or radio program. There are many ways in which you can be light in the world.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven [Matt. 5:16].
There are those of the liberal persuasion that feel the Sermon on the Mount is anthropocentric, or man-centered, rather than theo-centric, or God-centered. (Those are their terms.) But, obviously, the Sermon on the Mount is not anthropocentric, man-centered. It is theo-centric. Does this verse say, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify you and pat you on the back, and give you a gold medal and a loving cup?” No! This verse says that you and I are to let our light so shine in this world that we may glorify our Father which is in heaven. The Sermon on the Mount is God-centered. During the Millennium, during the kingdom here on earth, everything which is done and said will be God-centered. And in the present age, in this lost world in which you and I live today, our prime motivation should be to bring glory to God. This is something that every Christian should consider very seriously. The aim and purpose of our lives should be to glorify our God.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [Matt. 5:17].
Remember that part of the Mosaic Law was the ceremonial law. Christ was the sacrifice for the sins of the world, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. Christ came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law. He fulfilled it in that He kept it during His earthly life. And the standard which was set before man He was able to attain, and now He is able to make over to you and me (and every believer) His own righteousness. God’s standards have not changed, but you and I cannot attain them in our own strength. We need help; we need a Savior. We do need mercy, and we obtain mercy when we come to Christ.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled [Matt. 5:18].
I hope you don’t misinterpret what I am saying in this section which we call the Sermon on the Mount. I am not saying that we are free to break the Mosaic Law. The fact of the matter is that the Law is still a standard. It reveals to me that I cannot measure up to God’s standard. This drives me to the cross of Christ. The only way I can fulfill the Law is by accepting the only One who could fulfill it—Jesus Christ.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven [Matt. 5:19].
You cannot break the commandments and get by with it. But you cannot keep them in your own strength. The only way you can keep them is to come to Jesus Christ for salvation, power, and strength. The commandments are not a way of salvation but a means to show you the way to salvation through the acceptance of the work of Jesus Christ.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven [Matt. 5:20].
It is very important to see His point right here. The Pharisees had a high degree of righteousness according to the Law, but that was not acceptable. How can you and I surpass their righteousness? It is impossible in our own efforts. We need Christ to do it for us.
End of commentary
Read John 8:12 and John 9:5
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Just a moment ago we read in Matthew 5:14, Jesus told us that “we are the light of the world.” What did He mean here? (Discussion) One writer put it this way saying that as disciples our role is providing illumination for a lost and dying world, by reflecting the character of Christ in the world.
Read: Galatians 5:16-26 (In my Bible the subtitle to this text is Keep in Step with the Spirit and talks about the fruit if the spirit)
16 But I say, vwalk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify wthe desires of the flesh. 17 For xthe desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, yto keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are zled by the Spirit, ayou are not under the law. 19 Now bthe works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, cdivisions, 21 envy,4 drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that dthose who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But hthe fruit of the Spirit is ilove, joy, peace, jklongsuffering, jkgentleness, lgoodness, mfaith, 23 kMeekness, ntemperance: oagainst such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s phave crucified the flesh with the ||affections and lusts. 25 qIf we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 rLet us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 
From his book “Secret Power” D. L. Moody wrote on the subject of the fruit of the Spirit: “Notice that the fruit of the Spirit begins with love. There are nine graces spoken of in the fifth chapter, and of these nine graces Paul puts love at the top of the list. Someone put it this way, that all of the other eight can be put in the word “love.” Joy is love exulting; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love on trial; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love at school; and temperance is love in training.”
Paul said in verse 23, “Against such there is no law.” I can’t think of anything more encouraging as a believer than to know that if I am living surrendered to Christ by walking in His Spirit I will always do what is pleasing to Him. Jesus told His disciples in John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, pMy meat is qto do the will of him that sent me, and rto finish his work. 
And in due course of time, Jesus having fulfilled all that He was sent to do; He has given us the charge of continuing His work in the form of the Great Commission. How do we find our place in the vast scheme of things? Where do we fit into God’s plans? How many times have we heard pastor preaching from the pulpit, encouraging us to “Get plugged into a ministry” in our church? And he’s absolutely right we do need to find our place, and in order to find that place we need to understand our calling. Let me encourage you in this, if you’ve never taken a spiritual gift’s assessment, most pastors would be pleased to provide you with these materials, find a bible teaching church that proclaims the gospel of Jesus, and begin your journey of discovering the depths of God’s character - learn what His plans are for you!
Our prayers are with the Kinkade family as they lay our brother in Christ Thomas to rest. Yet we rejoice with them at his home going to the Lord because our hope is in Him, and we know that as He left behind an empty tomb on the third day, we too are resurrected with Him in eternity - we will see him again!
Let me leave you with Paul’s benediction that concludes the doctrinal section of the epistle to the Romans:
Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” 
c See John 10. 11, 16. So Zech. 13. 7.
|| Or, testament. See Gal. 3. 15.
f 1 Pet. 5. 10. See Luke 6. 40.
g 2 Thess. 2. 17. So 2 Tim. 3. 17. See Col. 1. 10.
i So ch. 12. 28. See Rom. 14. 18.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Heb 13:20–21). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
k Isai. 40. 11. Ezek. 34. 12. Heb. 13. 20. 1 Pet. 2. 25. & 5. 4. So Jer. 3. 15. & 23. 4.
r ver. 27. 2 Tim. 2. 19. So Nah. 1. 7.
t ver. 11 (Gk.). ch. 15. 13.
y So ch. 11. 52 Eph. 2. 14–17.
y So ch. 11. 52 Eph. 2. 14–17.
z Gk. as 1 Cor. 9. 7, not as ver. 1, 16.
a Ezek. 34. 23. & 37. 22, 24. So 1 Pet. 2. 25. Comp. ch. 17. 11, 21, 22.
c So Isai. 53. 7, 8, 12. Heb. 2. 9.
t ver. 11 (Gk.). ch. 15. 13.
t ver. 11 (Gk.). ch. 15. 13.
d Comp. ch. 19. 30. 1 Pet. 2. 23.
e ch. 2. 19. So Luke 23. 46. But see Acts 2. 24.
f ch. 12. 49. & 15. 10. So ch. 6. 38. & 14. 31.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Jn 10:11–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
f ver. 1. Comp. 1 Cor. 9. 21.
h See John 8. 34. So ver. 20. Comp. Matt. 6. 24.
i For the construction comp. Matt. 11. 25. Luke 10. 21.
k So 2 Tim. 1. 13. See ch. 2. 20.
† Gr. whereto ye were delivered. Comp. Luke 1. 4.
l See John 8. 32. So ver. 22.
m So 1 Cor. 7. 22. 1 Pet. 2. 16.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Ro 6:15–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
 Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher's commentary (538). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
 McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.) (Mt 5:13–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.) (Mt 5:14–16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed.) (Mt 5:17–20). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
v ver. 24, 25; Rom. 8:4; See Rom. 13:14
b 1 Cor. 3:3; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; James 3:14, 15; [Matt. 15:18–20]
4 Some manuscripts add murder
d [Col. 3:6]; See 1 Cor. 6:9
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ga 5:16–21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
h Eph. 5. 9. So Rom. 7. 4. & 8. 5.
i So ver. 14. Wisd. 1. 6. Comp. James 3. 17.
j 2 Cor. 6. 6. 2 Tim. 4. 2. So 1 Cor. 13. 4. 1 Thess. 5. 14 in the Gk.
k Eph. 4. 2. Col. 3. 12 (Gk.).
j 2 Cor. 6. 6. 2 Tim. 4. 2. So 1 Cor. 13. 4. 1 Thess. 5. 14 in the Gk.
k Eph. 4. 2. Col. 3. 12 (Gk.).
k Eph. 4. 2. Col. 3. 12 (Gk.).
p See Rom. 6. 6. Comp. ver. 16. 1 Pet. 2. 11.
|| Or, passions. Rom. 7. 5.
q See ver. 16. So Col. 3. 5.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Ga 5:22–26). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
r ch. 5. 36. & 17. 4. So ch. 19. 30.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Jn 4:34). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version.) (Ro 15:13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.