October 28, 2007
INTRODUCTION – Last week as we finished up our series on the Beatitudes – at one point I tried to sum up in a sentence or two each – what they all meant, and how they fit together. I wonder if any of you listening to that felt a little bit overwhelmed at trying to develop all of those kingdom characteristics?? For sure, all of those characteristics are characteristics that we have to pursue and strive to grow in. They do not just naturally develop.
Well in one sense that is not true of our next paragraph = vs. 13-16. Let’s read it together, and then I will explain what I mean.
In vs. 3-12 Jesus raises a standard of kingdom character that all of His disciples will spend the rest of their earthly lives aspiring to and striving after. Characteristics like poverty of spirit or humility, meekness, mourning over sin, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, purity of heart, rejoicing in persecution, etc.
In vs. 13-16 – He tells us what is already true about us if we are born again, and the Holy Spirit has begun to dwell in us.
You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.
The question is as it regards salt: on a scale of 1-10 1 being very tasty & 10 being tasteless and worthless – where would you land? Just how salty are you?
The question as it regards light: on a scale of 1-10 1 being very bright & 10 being hardly detectable/almost snuffed out – where would you land? Just how bright are you? (and I’m not talking about intellect)
And perhaps the bigger question is how can we develop a lifestyle where we are ever inching towards that 1 rating of effectiveness?
I. The Function or purpose of Salt & Light. Well before we can answer that question we need to make sure we are all on the same page with Jesus as to what He means when He says – we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. A. Let’s talk about salt first. Salt has two basic purposes or functions. First it acts as a preservative. If you want food to last – you better make sure it has salt in it.
Second it acts as a seasoning. For many people food is rather bland without salt. Salt makes it sizzle – gives it taste – it puts life in what could be a fairly lifeless dish.
B. Now think with me about light. Light has one main purpose and that is to illuminate. Light makes something evident that before light was shone on it, remained invisible or unseen or unknown. Light pierces the darkness and exposes what has been lying in the darkness. Now there are two main things that light illuminates.
1. things that were hidden in the darkness that need to be seen or known. Often these are negative or bad or perhaps evil things.
2. paths – Often before I go to bed at night I go through a little routine that includes a walk down stairs to see if both garage doors are closed and the door into the garage from the house is locked. If I know one of the doors is open, and it is a moonless night, and I do not turn the light in the garage on, I am bound to end up with a sore knee, possibly a stubbed toe, and might even fall because of the obstacles between the door into the garage from the house and the garage doors. I would be foolish to try to close our garage doors without turning that light on first.-
Implications of Being Salt and Light: 1. While our ultimate objective with people is to see them saved and growing as disciples of Jesus Christ; this passage tells us it is a legitimate use of our time and resources to be salt and light in our society.
2. God in His amazing goodness and mercy pours rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.(Matt. 5:43-45) He really seems to want things to go well for people and for life to be as good as it can on this earth – knowing that for some – that is all they have – for a horrible eternity awaits them after they die. Romans 2:4 says “the kindness of God leads us to repentance.” Psalms 145:8,9 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.”
3. We must strive for excellence in our school work, sports efforts, job performance, etc., so that we can have a platform to speak from. “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” Joseph, Daniel, Tyler Perry “Why did I get Married” top rated movie in U.S.
4. You can only be salt where there is a need for it; you can only be light where there is darkness. So can you fulfill your role in being salt and light when you come to our worship service on Sunday morning, our Healing Rooms ministry on Monday nights, men’s or ladies discipleship groups on Tuesday, Youth group on Tuesdays, the Lemburgs Bible study on Wednesday nights, or prayer meeting on Thursday night? So why go to those or other small group meetings we hold? Because those are designed to help you become more salty and more bright!
You see the problem with Monasticism is they think they can please God by leaving the world and just giving their lives to prayer and meditation up on a mountain somewhere. But Jesus says – every born again believer is the salt of the earth & the light of the world. You can only fulfill that calling if you are in the world.
CONCLUSION – SMALL GROUP PRAYER WITH “LOCF AS SALT AND LIGHT”