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Salt and Light

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The Way of Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16

Theme: Jesus leads us to multifacetedly engage the world.

Introduction: Engaged  (PP1)

A.       Are you Engaged?

           1.        If you are, please raise your hand

2.        Most of you put one meaning to that question and did not raise your hand

3.        Two year ago Dordt College started its Freshmen Orientation with the phrase “Get engaged”

a.        Of course there was a joke behind this—referring to Dordt as a place to meet a spouse from the colony

           b.        My wife’s cousin’s son, Justin Stuit, took it one way

                      1)        He met a girl that first weekend

                      2)        About three months ago they married

           c.        But what else could it mean?

4.        What are other places where you might use the word “engage”? (PP2)

a.        Engage means to become connected with, even entangled

           b.        It is to make a commitment, a pledge

c.        Our word “wage” is even related to “engage,”  it is the payment of the pledge

B.       Now I hope you might answer differently (PP3)

           1.        Are you engaged?

           2.        What are you engaged with?

           3.        I joked a little of the “colony”

a.        A colony was a way one country engaged a new world or new land

b.        The danger is that a colony builds up walls

c.        A danger in our tradition is to isolate ourselves

           4.        We need to be challenged to engagement

                      a.        First God’s engagement with us

                      b.        Then ours with the world

C.       Prayer and ScriptureMatthew 5:1-16


I.      The Gospel: Initiation

A.    Are—How?

1.              These words of instruction start with Gospel

2.              It is contained in two simple words, “You are” (PP4)

a.    It is not “You must be”

b.    It is not “You must do”

c.    It is “You are”

3.              This is the Reformation of Martin Luther

a.    It is contained in these two words, “You are”

b.    Luther struggled with what he had to be and do until he read that we are justified by faith

4.              Bill Hybels, the pastor of the Chicago megachurch Willowcreek, summarizes the Gospel as the difference between “do” and “done”

a.    Bill came out of the same community I did.  He was a classmate of my older brother

i.              We were third generation Dutch immigrants of parents who grew up in the Depression

ii.             We were taught hard work

iii.           We were driven to do

iv.           We translated this over to our religion

v.            We became earners of salvation through hard work, obedient service

b.    It takes awhile for such people to finally hear the Gospel

i.              We do not do it

ii.             We cannot do it

iii.           It has already been done

iv.           God has brought salvation in Jesus Christ

5.              If I leave you with nothing else, I hope you hear this

a.    God has done it

b.    God has saved us in Jesus Christ

c.    Salvation is a gift of God.  It is first and foremost His action

B.    You—Who? (PP5)

1.              Make sure to hear the first word, “You”

2.              Jesus was speak primarily to his disciples, but it still addresses you

3.              God still blesses you

a.    When you are in need

b.    When you are longing for the purposes of God

c.    When you are working as children of God

d.    You are blessed

i.              God is with you

ii.             God is empowering you

iii.           God is at work in an through you

4.              All you need to do is believe

a.    Trust the blessing, love, and power of God

b.    God acts, but you must receive

5.              Now we turn to the purpose of our justification

a.    Here is the heart of Calvin’s contribution to the Reformation

b.    We are saved to serve, to engage the world with and for Christ


II.    The Guides: The Way of Salt

A.    Salt’s Nature (PP6)

1.              You are the salt of the earth

2.              What does it mean to be the salt of the earth? 

a.    The phrase can refer to a kind and helpful person

b.    For what is salt usedAsk Seasoning, Ice melting, Preservative

c.    Salt is used in greater quantities and for more applications than any other mineral

3.              In the ancient world Roman soldiers received a salt allotment as part of their pay

i.              The English “salary” comes from the Latin word for salt

ii.             Be careful when you ask for a salary increase

4.              Salt as seasoning  (PP7)

a.    Salt adds favor

b.    You are to add flavor to the world, to bring life, joy, vitality

5.              Salt as preservative

a.    Salt also stop decay and preserves good

b.    You are a preservative in the world

c.    We are to challenge decay and promote good

6.              Salt as removing danger—ice melting

7.              Where do you use salt most often?  At dinner—one of the two Dutch spices

a.    Salt as fellowship

b.    Because of the importance of salt it became a symbol for human relationships

c.    Salt was used in making peace treaties

d.    To eat salt with someone was a phrase for being at peace with them and in fellowship with them

8.              You are the salt of the world

a.    You are important, essential, to life, to this world, bringing flavor

b.    You have a preserving function

c.    You stimulate growth and slow decay

d.    You facilitate peace and fellowship among people and between people and God

e.    You are God’s contribution, his salary, to the world

B.    Salt’s Nurture (PP8)

1.              If you are this important in the world, don’t be moronic

a.    The word used for salt losing its taste is the word from which we get the word “moron”

b.    It is to be foolish, corrupted

c.    Don’t waste what you are, what you have been given, by letting it get corrupted

2.              I think of the things high school and college students do with restaurant salt shakers—Of what do you think?

a.    You unscrew the top so all the salt pours out

b.    Too much salt too quickly destroys just like too much religion too quickly to a non-Christian

c.    You put sugar in the salt shaker

i.              It looks the same

ii.             But it is a counterfeit

iii.           Fake religion many look sweet, but it destroys

d.    You put something disgusting in the shaker

i.              Do not put disgusting things like drugs, sexual distortions, anger and violence in your life

ii.             These things will not destroy who you are in Christ, but they will destroy your effectiveness in the world

3.              Block the holes—For salt to work it needs to get out of the shaker

a.    I remember an evangelism book by Rebecca Pippert, “Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World”

b.    At the heart of the way of Jesus is to engage the world

i.              Jesus came to us

ii.             Jesus sends us to others

4.              The world needs meaning, purpose, help, peace

a.    The world needs your salt

b.    The world needs you as the salt of the earth

III.   The Guides: The Way of Light

      A.  Light’s Nature (PP9)

1.              You are the light of the world

2.              Light we understand more readily than salt

a.    We all know and feel the importance of light

b.    We sense it when the sun shines

c.    Light has been and still is a universal symbol for creation, goodness, hope, knowledge, and most fundamentally, life

3.              Think of different ways to picture light.  Think of different associations you have for light

a.    Light is Life

i.              The beginning of creation

ii.             Sun at the beginning of the day

iii.           Growth and glory

b.    Light is Inspiration (PP10)

i.              The presence and Spirit of God

ii.             New vision conquering blindness

c.    Light is Guidance (PP11)

i.              A beacon for the lost

ii.             A way for the wondering

d.    Light is Hope (PP12)

i.              A candle in the darkness

ii.             Celebration over sorrow

e.    Light is Trust (PP13)

i.              Faith over fear

ii.             Love over loneliness

4.              Matthew 4:16—“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (PP 14)

5.              John 1:4-5: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (PP15)

    


 B.  Light’s Nurture (PP16)

1.         God has made you and saved you to be light in this world

a.  As much as the sun is important to life, you are important

b.  You can bring light to the darkness

i.              That may be the darkness of a friend’s depression

ii.             That may be the darkness of a classmate’s sin

iii.           That may be the darkness of a medical disease, a biological or ecological problem, a technological limitation, a philosophical conundrum

2.         So let your light shine before people, that they may see you good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven

a.    The goal is to change the world

b.    The goal is for the world to see God

c.    The goal is for the world to meet God with praise

 

Conclusion: Making a Difference

A.       When Mother Teresa was asked how she was able to do so much to help the poor people in Calcutta, she said, "One at a time."

B.       Engage the world

           1.        One day at a time, but every day

           2.        One person at a time, but every person

           3.        One thing at a time, but in every thing

C.       You are salt and light

           1.        An agent of God engaging is world

           2.        A witness testifying to the light

           3.        So that all may believe

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