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The Impact for the Kingdom

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
June 24, 2021 8:00 am

The Impact for the Kingdom

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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June 24, 2021 8:00 am

As Christians, our lives are intended to count for God's kingdom. But how do we do that without being obnoxious and annoying? Find out in this lesson as Dr. Tony Evans talks about how we can make the positive impact God intended.

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When you're the light and you don't spend all day talking about how dark stuff is, you turn it on. Dr. Tony Evans talks about why what we have on the inside ought to show on the outside. And because you know Jesus Christ, you're supposed to be illuminating something that's dark. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. As Christians, our lives are intended to count for God's kingdom.

Today, Dr. Evans will tell us how to do that without being obnoxious and annoying. Let's join him as he takes us to Matthew chapter 5 for a look at making the impact God intended. Jesus' sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, is His kingdom manifesto. It's His statements about what the kingdom is and how the kingdom works and what kingdom people ought to look like. His theme is, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, Matthew 6.33, and then you get the stuff.

All these things will be added to you. Far too many people in God's kingdom has flipped it. They want the stuff, and if they have time left over, they'll seek the kingdom. Jesus sets forth that there's a certain kind of character that makes up kingdom men and kingdom women who pursue kingdom goals, who operate under the regime of the Lord Jesus Christ. He pronounces a blessing on them. Blessed be. A blessing is enjoying, experiencing, and extending the goodness of God in your life. And so having discussed the character of kingdom people, He then moves from Matthew 1 to 12 down to verse 13 to 16 to talk about the impact of kingdom people.

What does it look like when these folk with kingdom character make a kingdom difference? Impact. And He uses two very simple analogies to make a staggering point. You are the salt of the earth, and you are the light of the world. That's His mantra, if you will. You are the salt of the earth. In the Greek text, the you is in the emphatic position. In other words, you and nobody else, you're it.

If you want things to be better, it's banking on you. He's talking about His disciples, His avid followers, not just folk in general, not even just Christians, but those who have developed this kingdom mindset, this kingdom orientation, and therefore make a kingdom impact. You are the salt of the earth. Notice, you're not the salt of the shaker. You're the salt of the earth. Salt likes to hang out with other salt, because it's comfortable in the shaker. But it does not do any good for the meat if the salt's in the shaker.

You are the salt of the earth. He pictures the earth as a decaying piece of meat that needs to be preserved by being salted down. In biblical days, one of the reasons for having salt was to act as an antibacterial agent or a bacteria or virus repellent. So they would salt down foods before the days of refrigeration, and still some folks in the country do it today.

They will salt down their food in order to preserve it from the decaying process, to limit it, hinder it, delay the process of it being decomposed. He says, you are the salt of the earth. So if the earth is decomposing around you, it could be because the salt's not located there.

It's still hanging out in the shaker called the church. He says, you are the salt of the earth. Roman soldiers would get bags of salt as they would do their work. They get their pay, but then they get bags of salt to take home for the wife to salt down the food in order to preserve it. When a Roman soldier didn't do a good week's worth of work, he would not get a full allocation of salt. That's where we get the phrase so-and-so's not worth their salt. In other words, what they're doing is not worthy of the salt they're receiving. They're not worth that salt.

Is God saying of you and me, we're not worth our salt because we're not salty? You are the salt of the earth, and you are, he says, the light of the world, verse 14, a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. Light. Light. Last time I checked, light only has one job description, and that is to shine. You are the light. You're not the light of the sanctuary.

You're the light of the world. The world, the earth, is pictured as a dark place, as a place under the rule of Satan. In fact, the Bible says that this world lies in the hands of the evil one, and it says about this world, it is the kingdom of darkness. That is because of its rejection of Jesus Christ.

I hope you heard me. It's not its rejection of God. God is not the problem. The Sermon on the Mount is about your submission to Jesus Christ, because what makes you a Christian is not your belief in God. What makes you a Christian is your commitment to Jesus Christ. See, that's what separates you. You go to work talking about your belief in God, everybody's going to agree with you on that one. You talk about Jesus Christ, now you've been very specific, and that's where the division comes. That, Jesus says in Matthew 10, is where the sword is drawn, because men will accept God, but don't get that specific, and God does what He does only through Jesus Christ.

You are the light of the world. He says you are a city set on a hill. Over in Israel, you have a lot of little hills, and you've got houses sitting on top of the hill. In the biblical days, they were made of white limestone. And so you could actually travel at night from little town to little town by looking at the hills, because you would see the white limestone lit up by candles inside the house, because they were elevated and they were illuminated.

And so because they were elevated and illuminated, you could make it in the dark, because you would see the light. He says you are a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. In other words, you're not supposed to be a private Christian. You're not supposed to be a secret agent Christian.

You're not supposed to be a CIA representative and a covert operative. All manner of language can be used on television and in movies. All manner of jokes can be made.

All manner of crud can be pushed on us and on our children, and we remain silent about Jesus Christ. He says you're supposed to be the light of the world. What good is light if it's off? What good is light if it's not illuminating anything? Let's say we turned out all the lights in this room and covered all the glass that let light into the room. That means the room would be dark.

It would be pitch black. And if the room is dark, there's going to be chaos in the room, because we're going to be bumping into each other. Folk will be making folk mad, and we're going to be bumping into chairs.

We're going to be tripping over cords. We're going to be walking in the walls. We're going to be walking in the darkness.

Why? Because we can't see. There's no illumination in the room. And the darkness will create chaos in the room because we can't see each other.

We can't see where we're walking. So darkness will rule. But if there's somebody here who knows where the light switch is, they're not going to be spending a whole inordinate amount of time talking about how dark the room is. They're going to be trying to find their way to the light, because whoever controls the light runs the show, because you have the solution. We're living in a world of chaos.

It's getting worse every day, every month, every year. And Jesus is saying, but you're the light. When you're the light, you don't spend all day talking about how dark stuff is.

You turn it on. You are the light of the world. Are you light on your job? Are you light in your community? Are you light with your friends?

Are you light where you work out? Are you light with your family? Or are you as dark as they are, talking about how dark everything else is? You are the light of the world. Why are you the light? Because Jesus is the light of the world. And because you know Jesus Christ, you're supposed to be illuminating something that's dark.

You're the light of the world. He says in verse 15, Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. He says, nobody hides a light. You don't cover a light up so that there is no illumination from it. That's contradictory to its purpose. You don't take a light and put it under a bed.

That's a contradiction. The whole point of a light is to shine. Have you ever done like me? I've done this, and I'm sure that there are folks who've done this. So have you done this, gotten up in the middle of the night to go use the restroom and not turn on the light? Because you thought you knew where things were. And your baby toe hit the edge of the bed. Has that ever happened to you? I'm talking about your pinky toe.

Your pinky toe ever, or you left something out in the floor that you forgot about like a shoe and tripped? Then maybe I'm the only one that's done that. So if this only applies to me, I understand, but all that could have been avoided if you just turned on the light. Because everybody got a nightstand light. If you had just turned on the light, you could have avoided all that. But because you chose to do it your way in the darkness, you didn't get the benefit of the light. Nobody has a light not to use a light. You have a light to utilize a light.

You are the light of the world. You are to be a visual Christian. That's why he says in verse 16, Let men see your good works, not just hear your good words. We're talking about sight and sound.

You ever look at your television and the sound worked, but the picture didn't come on? You're only getting half a blessing. You don't want sound, you want sight with sound.

You want to be able to see what they're talking about. He says, let men see your good works, not hear your good words. Now let's get something straight. He didn't say let men see your good things, because you don't have to be a Christian to do a good thing. Non-Christians do good things all the time. Non-Christians feed the poor. Non-Christians build hospitals and orphanages.

Non-Christians are philanthropists. You can do a good thing and not be a Christian. But he didn't say do good things.

Not for Christians, not for disciples. He says, let men see your good works. Well, you say, well, what's the difference between a good work and a good thing? Ephesians 2.10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He hath created beforehand that we should walk in them. A good work is a beneficial action that helps someone else for which God gets the credit. It is a beneficial action that helps someone else for which God gets the credit.

That is a good work. In other words, it's not a good work if God's not a part of it. It's a good thing. It may be beneficial, but companies do good things. Businesses do good things.

Atheists do good things. What makes it a good work is that, yes, it benefits others just like a good thing does, but it is attached to God. It's not done apart from God. And it's done for God's glory and to advance God's cause. It is not exclusive of God. In the name of His Son, the sermonizer here, Jesus Christ. He says, let men see your good works, see your deeds that benefit others. And that speaks to the quality of your service, too. I mean, if the president was coming over to your house and he wanted to spend time with you and your family, things that have never been cleaned would get cleaned. Things that have never been dusted would get dusted because of who's coming. See, when you do things for the glory of God, you don't do it sloppily.

Why? Because it's a good work, and you want God to get a good name out of your good work. That's why when you go to stores that have couture, that have designers, the designer's name is on it, and those are specialty places. They're offering you coffee and soda and, you know, cookies, because it has a name tied to it.

It has a name, and that name is big, and that name is special, and so they do special things because that name is attached to it. You go to a restaurant, there are two kind of waiters. There's one kind that you want to leave you alone. The service is bad, the attitude is bad, the way they talk to you is bad. You hope they come to you occasionally, if at all. Then there's that good waiter who's doing a good work because they're coming, they're making sure you're taken care of, and they're making sure you're served well, they're making sure the food is hot, they make sure you need anything else. They are there to go out of the way to serve you in the name of the company that they serve, and so you'll say about the bad one, I don't know if I'm going back there again. You'll say about the good work, I'm going back there again. Why?

Because the work was good, and it gave the company a good name. Dr. Evans will have more about how we can serve the world better when he continues our message in just a moment. First, though, you've only got a few more days to take advantage of our special offer on Tony's current teaching series, The Kingdom Life. It'll give you a fresh vision and change the way you think about the impact you can make and the blessings you experience when you put God's power to work in your life. For just a few more days, we're making The Kingdom Life available as our gift when you make a contribution to help support Tony's ministry here on the radio and around the world. Along with it, we'll include his popular booklet, The Grace of God, which will help you understand the Lord's greatest gift and why we literally can't live without it. Visit us today at tonyevans.org or give us a call day or night at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our resource team members help you. That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you later on after part two of today's lesson.

Here's Tony. He said, let men see your good works and glorify your father, not their father, your father, because he's not talking about Christians that you're impacting, he's talking about the non-Christian world, but he says if you do this thing right, even they will have to respect it. Even if they don't buy you, they don't buy your faith, they don't buy your religion, but they can't ignore your good works. To glorify means to advertise, go on display, highlight, make a big deal over. That's what glorify means.

It means to make a big deal of something. So let's get this straight. Jesus said, if you will confess me before men, I will confess you before my father. He said, if you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father. Here's what many Christians have missed. When you trust Jesus Christ as your sin-bearer, that takes you to heaven. But when you follow Jesus as your Lord, that brings heaven to you.

A lot of folks who are on their way to heaven will not see heaven until they get there, because they live a Christ-denying life. He says, if you are unwilling to identify with me before men, if you get all squeamish, you praise me in church, but you don't know me at work. You praise me at church, but you don't know me in the neighborhood. I am not part of the equation of your life, but then you're calling on my father, wasn't my okay? When I'm an embarrassment to you before your non-Christian friends? Since you denied me before men, I deny you before my father. I died for you, I rose for you, I gave you a free ticket to heaven, and you don't want to be associated with me?

Because you got baptized. When you got baptized, you were saying, in essence, I'm willing to go public. I'm willing for you to know me as a Christ follower. Yes, I'm going to do it kindly. Yes, I'm going to do it lovingly. Yes, I'm going to do it appropriately, but I'm going to do it clearly.

You won't have to guess. If you were accused at work of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you, or would you be found innocent of all charges? Because there's not enough clarity, either sight or sound, to declare where you stand. It ought to be clear that you follow Christ. It ought to be clear that you're committed to Him. It ought to be clear.

It ought not to be a fog. People ought not to be unclear who you're voting for. You're not to be an undecided Christian.

You're not to be a Christian independent in the sense that I'm independent from my allegiance to Jesus Christ. And it ought not to be a secret thing. You know, our gathering here, I like to call it like a huddle in a football game. 80,000 people don't pay $100 a ticket to watch 11 men bend over.

That's not why they pay their money. They don't mind you bending over for 25 seconds in a huddle, but they want to see what difference the huddle makes. They want to know, having huddled, can you now score? They want to know what you're going to do about 11 other men on the other side of the ball daring you to go public with your private conversation.

They want to see your impact, not just hear about your meeting. Folk leave church on Sunday and say, we had church yesterday. All you telling me is you had a fun huddle. Our huddle was fun. Oh boy, you should have heard how the quarterback called the play yesterday. He called some plays yesterday.

You ought to choir sang yesterday. Okay, you just told me about the huddle. I want to see what difference the huddle makes because if you losing yardage after calling the play, I'm not impressed with the play you called.

I want to see some first downs and some touchdowns because you were in the huddle. Because you are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world. We're not just be known by buildings and property and land and activities or programs. We should be known by impact. You've heard me use it before, the bola. The bola, you know, bowling is sophisticated today, bowling pants, bowling shirt, bowling gloves, bowling, you know, three fingers in the ball, cock the ball, come down the alley, twist the wrist, kick the leg. You can look good as a bola. You can have it down.

You can have the style down. But if that ball's in the gutter, you're a failure. And you're a failure because there was no impact. You didn't hit nothing.

You just look good going nowhere. If the pins are still standing, no matter how expensive the attire, no matter how fancy the ball, no matter how glorious the bag, you're a failure. The measure of our ministry and the measure of your life is not how fancy we look, not how nice we appear.

It's whether those pins are still standing or not, whether there's been impact. You are the salt of the earth individually, as families, as a church. You are the salt. We are the salt.

You are the light of the world. Stop looking for it apart from you, that is apart from disciples. Our problem is we've got Christians who are not yet disciples, visible, verbal followers of Jesus Christ who unapologetically proclaim their faith in walk and talk, coming off of the character of the Beatitudes. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about how believers are wired to make an impact for the kingdom, provided we're willing.

And he'll come back with a closing comment about that in just a moment, so be sure to stay with us. Today's message was called The Impact of the Kingdom, and it's available as a part of Tony's current six-lesson series, The Kingdom Life. Remember, if you contact us within the next few days and make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station, we'll send you The Kingdom Life audio collection on CD or digital download, along with his booklet, The Grace of God.

All is our way of saying thanks. Again, the details are online at tonyevans.org, or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222. Our resource center never closes, so there's no need to wait.

Again, dial 1-800-800-3222. Dr. Evans says God not only wants us to live an eternal life, but to live a life that's about eternity. He'll explain the difference tomorrow, and I hope you'll join us for that. Right now, though, he's back with his final illustration. In closing, a man who had recently been married, they were driving to their honeymoon. He pulled out to pass a car, not seeing another car coming around the curb—bam!

Head-on collision. He came to his senses, dazed. He looked over. His new bride was unconscious, bleeding from the head. But it just so happened that as he came to, he saw a sign, Office of Dr. Bill Smith.

Oh, how fortunate. He was hit right there at an office of a doctor. So he quickly went over to the other side of the car, picked up his new bride, drug her to the door, knocked on the door. An old man came to the door. He says, are you Dr. Bill Smith? He says, yes. He says, come on, do something.

My wife is dying. The man said, I'm sorry. I don't practice anymore. The man looked at him and said, well, if you're not going to practice, take down your sign. Don't purport to be a doctor and then not practice. Don't purport to be a follower of Jesus Christ and not practice. Don't say, I follow Jesus Christ, but there's no activity. Don't say, I love the Lord. He heard my cry. Don't say, he's a bridge over troubled waters, a rose of Sharon. Don't say, he's bombing Gilead. Don't put up a sign and then tell me you don't practice. That's a contradiction. God is looking for some men and women who go public, who put up the sign. I'm a visible, verbal follower of Jesus Christ, but then it'll make an impact and practice for the glory of God. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative that is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-27 04:04:40 / 2023-09-27 04:14:13 / 10

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