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April 20, 2020 2:07 pm
Wally Matthews chapters 5, six and seven, Jesus is teaching his followers how to live in the kingdom of heaven, and will be learning over the weeks. What that means.
For example, to be a follower of Jesus Christ, according to Matthew chapter 5 in the first 12 verses we are to be poor in spirit. We are to mourn for our sins. We are to be meek with the hunger and thirst for righteousness were to be merciful with you. Be pure in heart. We are to be peacemakers.
We are to be persecuted for righteousness sake. So Jesus first set site. The character and the values of those who are following him, of those who are part of the kingdom of heaven, but in our passage this morning. Matthew five verses 13 through 16 Jesus now sets out how we are to relate to the unbelieving world. We are part of the kingdom of heaven, but how are we to relate to those who are outside of the kingdom of heaven. So were going to I'm going to read on the ask you at home to join me as we read Matthew five verses 13 through 16 so there you are at home. Can you read this with me. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how Charlotte saltiness be restored.
It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world as city sent on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but understand, and it gives light to all in the house in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. This is part of the sermon on the Mount, the manifesto of life in the kingdom now.
As we look at these verses as we think of the sermon on the minds. It is clear that followers of Jesus out in the kingdom of heaven, but were also in the world were part of the kingdom, but would also living in the world.
Jesus aside. For example, in verse three of Matthew five Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is present tense the kingdom of heaven. And again in verse 10.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Paul in Philippians 3 of verse 20 writes this, but our citizenship is in heaven. I was writing to people are living in Philippi who are citizens of Rome, but he saying your citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, so as we think of the sermon on the Mount, and as we think of what it means to be salt and light we need to understand that we who are followers of Jesus are not to be all over the world, but Christ sends us into the world listen to his teaching in John chapter 15 for this is made very, very clear that we are in the world but were not of the world were not to be characterized by the things of the world.
Although we are in the world. John 15 then verse 18 Jesus is speaking to his disciples, if the world hates you, know that it is hated me before it hated you. If you where all of the world, the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Very clear that Jesus is saying to his followers that they're not all, of the world that part of the kingdom and so the characteristics of the unbelieving world are not to be part of those who are following Jesus and then in John chapter 17 John 17 verse 14 is praying to his father. What we call the high priestly prayer of Jesus. I have given them his disciples. You weren't in the world has hated them because they are not of the world. Just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
They are not all of the world.
Just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth.
I noticed verse 18 of John 17 very very important. As you sent me into the world so I have sent them into the world, God the father sends his son into the world and now Jesus is saying just as my father sent me into the world so I your Savior, King Jesus, I'm sending you my disciples into the world.
So this means that this followers of Jesus we are in the world.
We are sent into the world but were not of the world were not to be all the world because the world as opposed to the kingdom of heaven are two kingdoms the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light and we who have been saved by the grace of God who have experienced the God who is light through faith in Jesus Christ. We are living in the world but we are not to be part of the kingdom of darkness. That is, our values, our ambitions, our desires, our priorities are not to be of this world. We were singing in that song all for Jesus, that true freedom is being in the will of God is doing what Jesus tells us King Jesus, rather than following our own ideas, our own ambitions, our own desires out on priorities. Paul reminds us that the devil himself is the God of this world. So James writes do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. The apostle John writes in first John two do not love the world or the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. The desires of the flesh of the desires of the eyes and the pride of life there from the world, says John, but not from the father. So these are the things which characterize the world.
Now this does present a problem to us so followers of Jesus out into the world's will in the kingdom of light, but we are sent into the kingdom of darkness. And these two kingdoms are diametrically opposed. I'm not to be of the world are not the love the world are not to be characterized by the things of the world on part of the kingdom of heaven. But, as I follow Jesus Christ. He is now sending me into the world to be and make authentic followers of Jesus as the father sends the son into the world so the sun sends us into the world and in fact very last words of Matthew's gospel in Matthew chapter 28 before our Lord Jesus ascends and returns to his father. He commissions his disciples what does he say to them, go, that is go into the world and make disciples of all the nations not of the world, but living in the world and in fact being sent into the world by our master Lord Jesus Christ to be and make authentic followers of Jesus Christ. That being in the world but not of the world creates tensions and temptations for us, doesn't it, and how then should we live well.
I think there are three approaches to living in the two world. First of all, that is the approach of being isolated from the world of isolating from the world.
So some Christians say we are not to be on the world were not to love the world and effort we isolate ourselves from the world. All of us know living in a sense, isolation. Why are we being isolated because there is evil like there is a evil virus, which is the potential to kill us to kill millions of Americans, millions right world.
So what do we do we do all we can to keep away from the evil virus.
We isolate ourselves we don't have physical contact with others. We keep away from them as far as we kind because of evil. And some Christians adopt this in terms of the world they say. Well, Jesus, James commands us to keep oneself unstained from the world. So some followers of Jesus say well the world is evil.
People are sinful and therefore were going to isolate ourselves. The world is going to hell. It's in darkness. I want nothing to do with it.
My focus is on Jesus, my family, my church, my Christian friends in here and I'm just waiting for Jesus to return. But this leads to a problem. This leads to Christians living in a sense in Christian ghettos living in a very safe spiritual cocoon living we might say in a spiritual level it's very safe and very comfortable.
You're with your family or with friends who think the same as you do. You have great Christian fellowship but people raised in such an environment, they may find it difficult to interact with unbelievers, so the isolationist Christian has her impact on the world is minimal. They survive in their own families and in some cases may even farm their own little churches in their homes on some people don't want to send the other children under in their teens to us Sunday school or youth ministry because there can be unbelievers, that in the might be contaminated by these people look at things differently. The world is bad they want nothing to do with it. See the extreme and the Amish, we isolate themselves, but are people who are not Amish, who still have this mentality of isolation and their other Christians who don't set out to live isolated lines from unbelievers, but are so busy with her church life. The church friends the church ministry that in effect there isolated from the unbelieving culture. So again, the impact on the world. The impact on the culture is minimal. I think we will agree. I hope you do, but isolation from the non-Christian culture is not what Jesus is teaching in the verses that we read from Matthew 513 through 16. So that's one approach isolating from the world.
The other approach, which is the opposite is assimilating with the world. This is much more common today. Some of investing followers of Jesus got on very very well with unbelievers, other work in the community school the culture generally. And the reason they get on so well with them is another just like the unbelieving culture have compromised the faith they have to use the metaphor that Jesus uses here, they have hidden the light or they may be sent to believers in Jesus Christ, but they are in effect secrets disciples.
They may in fact of the truth be known, to be ashamed to be followers of Jesus, so they don't want people to know that they're following Jesus Christ. They assimilate yes when there was believers, they they know the clichés, they can go through the farm.
They can sing the hymns. They can courtly relevant versus but when they go to their job to their employment when they go to the bank to the hospital to the school to the business.
They just blend in with the unbelieving world is no difference between them and the unbelievers. We see this in some contemporary churches. They just matter the culture. Instead of being countercultural with Jesus is teaching Shirley in the sermon on the Mount in Matthew five, six and seven instead of being a light on the hill.
They are like the world they attract people by being like the world by copping the world by mimicking the world by reflecting the world that the response of assimilation.
The response of isolation surely not what Jesus is teaching the response of assimilation where we live just like the unbelievers and we copy the world and we tried to be so cruel and so weathered and so like the world that we have lost our witness for Christ. But neither of these approaches is the right one were going to see the teaching of Jesus is not isolation. It's not assimilation, but is impacting the world saying to you this morning if you're a follower of Jesus Christ to make a difference in your world for Jesus neither assimilation light under the basket nor assimilation salt losing its saltiness. These are not options. And this is not what Jesus is commanding. It's true, we are not to be of the world. However, Jesus commands us to go into the world. Ever wonder is I've done why once you are saved. Jesus did immediately take you to heaven would not be wonderful. We have in this place of perfection. No problems there.
No sin, no worries, no difficulties, no temptations saved on that immediately gone to heaven. Ask yourself why has Jesus left me here after I'm saved the answer is a simple one is an obvious one. We are saved for a purpose to be make authentic followers of Jesus. Remember when Jesus called the disciples he says follow me and I will make you fishers of men.
We are saved for a purpose to follow Jesus to be a disciple but also to take this glorious message of the gospel to all of the nations to be salt in the world to be lights in the world. If you notice carefully as we read these verses this morning, Jesus does not say that you should be the salt of the rather he says that 16 you are the salt of the earth.
Verse 14 you are the light of the world. First word is you is affecting you saying to you today you you profess to be following you follower of Jesus, you profess to be saved by the grace of God, don't you Jesus saying to you, you, wherever you are. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world is wonderful what is Jesus doing is reminding us about identity is reminding us about purpose.
Yes, we first receive the blessings of the Beatitudes. It is essential that will write internally as we thought.
As we look for the opening verses of Matthew five yes that we have the values in the characteristics and the attitudes of being a follower of Jesus that is absolutely fundamental but now you receive these blessings, not whether you did you are the salt of the earth.
You are the lights of the world.
Those who are following Jesus.
Those who acknowledge that Jesus is caring those who are experiencing the blessings of the Beatitudes are the salt of the arts are the light of the world.
And so my dear brothers and sisters. This is not an option for us. We must impact our world for Jesus. Jesus sends us into the world and do not be careful to not allow the world not to be like the world world as opposed to the kingdom of God. The king, the kingdom of light is a kingdom of darkness. But you are to go and be salt and light is a very powerful method for Sunday salt on line delete.
We understand that this is not a difficult passage to understand fundamentally and as Jesus talks about salt and as he talks about lights that is the recognition there is the presupposition that our son grinding culture is polluted, it's corrupted need salt. There's also the assumption that the culture is in darkness, only the light of everything is lights you only need a light when there is darkness. That's the point Jesus is commanding us. You are the salt of the earth salt permeating the corruption permeating the decay impacting the darkness impacting the evil because you are the salt of the you are the light of the world the lights illuminating the darkness, the evil, what are we doing just not with this crisis. The best scientists in doctors and medical experts all over the world are trying to cure trying to get a vaccine to stem the evil so that we could be vaccinated against the evil world is characterized by spiritual and moral darkness. What's the answer to curse the darkness.
No, the answer is that Jesus you are the light of the world.
This is wonderful, isn't it so neither isolationism or assimilation are viable options was the point of having salts if it never comes into contact with the foods what's the point of having a lights if it never shines in the darkness we start of this is a little boy, here's a student is a middle-aged man is an old woman living very different lives but are all followers of Jesus, that little body that older woman is salts and is lights wherever God and his sovereign purposes has placed them here the word of God this morning you are the salt of the earth. You are the lights of the world not to think a little closer. Of these, metaphors, salt and light impacting the world.
Let's think first of all, of salt. Verse 13 again using the context is giving us the Beatitudes in verses one through 12 of Matthew five and then Jesus says that he saying to his disciples, we saw that – while he sat down, his disciples came to him. This is for followers of Jesus, so he saying to us. We want to take this very personal this morning you are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored. It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. I'm to be salt permeating the corruption not salt is a preservative in the first century a preservative to prevent the care you got to understand when Jesus writing there is no refrigeration here so many, many foods were salted.
My grandparents never had a French Collins in the warmest country so the number of the fridge and they used my grandfather and my grandmother put a lot of salt on the food. I remember when my grandmother was about 90 living with my mother visiting my mother's and there's my grandmother and my mother put the food on the table in my grandmother. She usually did typically salt sellout and started putting a lot of salt on her food and is about to say grandmother isn't good for you, and I thought you know she is 19 years old. Michelle probably will not live that long.
My I could tell my grandmother not to put a lot of salt on her food from why did they do that because there was no refrigeration. There were use to its use to salt salt was is a preservative salt impacts the food keeps it fresh. When I was a single man, a friend of mine, a fisherman gave me one day a bucket of fresh having who you are like having and he assaulted them with them in this huge bucket will insult in these fresh having no grandfather was for sure of having all of his life and so I was brought up whenever visit my grandparents to eat. Having gotten the word called the silver darlings that is not beautiful. As a feast for us. I absolutely love Harry and some of you horse looking at that and seeing that looks awful fishy was amused. You go out to eat in the restaurant and someone orders fish and they turned to the waiter and say, is it fishy and thinking it's fish.
I hope it's fishy and you are done. Harmon say excuse me, is that, hammy. Is that a game is that salt salted with something about fish music. Is it fishy wanted to fishy wanted to things like what I want my fish to taste like fish that ever thought why everyone loves chicken knowing everyone loves chicken skin, the taste is seasoning on either sauce on it chicken by itself is not much taste fish on the other hand, has a taste. It tastes like fish back to my story right.
I get this wonderful ticket of having fresh cherry and then insulted and headed for weeks. I'm single little apartment.
As every so often I would take out a having and it was Fresh. It was in the salt garage and my friend giving me the bucket of fresh having and then he gives me salt and I put the salt on the shelf I got in T within a week, certainly within two weeks. That fish is absolutely rock but the salt on not having that beautiful having kept it fresh and so I could when I wanted a heading go to that bucket and ticket and in fact I had it good and he was married and for some reason, they insisted that the salted having being thrown out the sacrifices we make when we got married at incredible, but that it is not think of salt picture salt doesn't look impressive because it is not spectacular. Jesus doesn't say to us you are the gold of the earth will unbolt you are in the diamonds of the art know he doesn't say that he says you are the salt of the earth. You look at salt with insignificant but salt has a tremendous impact as a preservative. Jesus is saying you are the salt of the earth and use it while I am to go into the world and we come I'm not particularly gifted them a very insignificant person exactly yes you the kind of person that Jesus chooses both houses chooses the week doesn't used to many the high and mighty know he chooses the week he chooses ordinary people there.
He calls for fishermen ordinary fishermen by the Sea of Galilee, Peter and Andrew and James and John, ordinary man calls and says to them, as he says to you as essays to meet you are the salt of the think of the impact. Think of the impact of all followers of Jesus Christ were going into this corrupt world as a witness for Jesus Christ as a young man he grows up at Calvary church graduates from high school because of the UNC Chapel Hill is a follower of Jesus Christ and he thinks what can I do and that children of our Saturday with all of the parties with all the things going on, young man.
You are the salt of the think of the impact of one young man, Lorenzo notice he doesn't swear doesn't get drunk doesn't go to these parties is the restraining influence in a corrupt culture is the salt of the earth as a salesman member Calvary church and she's working something some particular product.
She is the salt of the art know she doesn't like her customers. It is never dirty mouth.
Just know tomorrow. She is the salt of the impact we would have in our society if we took this seriously is if we isolate ourselves we have no impact on our culture if we assimilate with a culture. What do we do we absorb the impurities of the world and become like the world and so lose our impact is not what Jesus is saying here you are the salt of the ark. But if the salt has lost its taste, how shall it saltiness be restored to salt loses its case by being impacted by impurities absolutely useless. Then Jesus says is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. Very dramatic website is utterly useless if I in the world. I'm just like the world if I become like everyone else that I'm ashamed to be a Christian. I never speak for Christ of lost my effectiveness is not what Jesus is saying don't lose your saltiness listen to Paul as he speaks similarly to the Colossians in Colossians chapter 4 verse six Colossians 4 verse six verse five says walk in wisdom toward outsiders. But is this assumption is the living, and impacting outsiders.
That is, people in the world do this with wisdom, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Isn't it someone who is wise someone who's not speaking too much. Someone who's not angry or overbearing or bombastic. No gracious exhibiting the qualities of the Beatitudes someone who is merciful someone who is a peacemaker, someone who is meek and they are the very salt of the fundamentally Jesus is teaching this that his followers are to be different from unbelievers. I asked her what difference is there between you and an unbeliever is it like I come to church and my friend plays golf and send it well okay it's good that you come to church. I like people coming to church, but is that is that it were about your life, what about your work. What about your free time was right in your relationships or if you got your Christianity in one little compartment from the church you maybe do some ministry. But you live is very similar to the unbeliever by salt also creates a thirst. It makes people it makes food tasty and it creates a thirst.
How wonderful it is. As we live our lives out authentic lives as followers of Jesus Christ that we create a thirst and people around us, people get to know as we develop relationships with us in our neighborhoods and their school and our work.
We we love people were known, this kind is helpful.
We care for them and they seek something of Jesus in our lives.
If you're married, the look of your management.
They say it's a different kind of night to come into your home. They they realize that the way your home is organize the way you speak to each other you priorities of your home are very different from theirs. When we hunger and thirst after righteousness. Verse five.
Others may develop spiritual thirst for Jesus.
Did anyone say to you, what do you have or don't have your mind if you did anyone say to you is about your managers different going through some particularly difficult time even even the situation that impact all of us that people say you handling things differently. You seem to be as anxious Janessa angry you that there's just something about shooing the situation which is different. You are the salt of the other one is lights verse 14 you are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but understand, and it gives light to all in the house in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Salt permeating the corruption lights illuminating the darkness and you agree that we live in a world of increasing darkness. Jesus comes as the light of the world John eight verse 12 on the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life. He is the light of the world. But now he's saying to his followers. You are the lights of the world is going to commissioners to go to all of the nations send here in Charlotte. We are so privileged to people from all over the world come here and we are able to send missionaries strike the world. Even this live streaming become your lights to the world is it will.
Jesus is the light of the world. Yes, the closer you are to Jesus, the more you like like Jesus, you reflect Jesus is the light and you bring light to a dark dark Paul writes in Philippians 2 verses 15 and 16. He said in the midst when in the midst of talking to believers at Philippi when in the middle of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life first century was a difficult corrupt generation like ours.
What is Paul saying to them, he said what Jesus says you are to shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, not compromising truth but your to shine as alike the NIV says I like this. It says in which you shine like stars.
I love stars. All of the stars and now those saved by the grace of God and being sent as lights, stars in the dark and credible God can use you can use me as a light in the world. Many cities and towns are built on on hills and Jesus help helps us to understand and save the city set on a hill cannot be headed that it is a city on a hill shining brightly that people can see that's what we are. We are the light of the world like a city on a hill shining for Jesus Christ. The contrast is was the point of lighting a lamp and hiding it under a basket. He says people don't like a lamp and put it under a basket. Know the printed understand so that it gives light to all in the house in your highest when the darkness comes if you got a light you make sure it's on you and be unthinkable in the darkness to put the light under a basket or to put it even dying on the floor. Don't you put it where it can lights, the whole house that's the point you are the light, not just the light of the light of the world.
The whole point of the light is to be used in the darkness.
Jesus says in verse 16 in the same way, let your light shine before others, I love that. That means we are to live openly and visibly as followers of Jesus shining before others people are to see the light. Yes, even in a hostile dark world never ever be afraid to shine for Jesus Christ.
Never be ashamed of being a follower of Jesus Christ our lives is difficult.
You're in that office you're in that situation and there's a lot of darkness around the way people live and it's very easy. Isn't that just to be quite, just to say nothing, just to fit in. Don't do that do with wisdom, do it with grace, but shine for Jesus Christ.
Christ has put you in that situation in the environment to shine for him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer overwrites a community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him. Let me read that again a community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him out. You don't have that option to put your light under the basket.
You don't have the option to to be is a well in a little corner trying to avoid the unbelieving world. Don't put your light under a basket. Don't hide your light I'm saying to you, Jesus is saying to you shine for Jesus Christ of the light of the world. I love it when I'm flying on a dark night could be up 36,000 feet and you look down and there seemingly in the middle of nowhere. There's a little like there's a thought a farm in the middle of nowhere is going outside light on this is that insignificant little lights all around, from 36,000 feet you can see that little lights that little lights in the great darkness can be seen from a great difference distance never feel overwhelmed by the culture.
Jesus calls to be the light, we used to sing this little light of mine I'm gonna let it shine this little item mine. I'm going to let it shine let it shine let it shine let it shine land as a little boy, my song is what Jesus is saying you've got a light shine before others, why are you ashamed.
Why do you not stand up for the cause of Jesus Christ. Why are you not telling people about Jesus. Why are you hiding this magnificent light light of the gospel. Why are you putting it under a basket weave you little light shining for Jesus. That little lights making a huge difference in the darkest of nights. Little piece of salt making assurance difference to the taste of food.
How do we do this, Jesus tells us in the verse 16 so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven it comes to the kind of people we present it with a follower of Jesus does good things make merciful, pure in heart, being loving and kind and helpful to those who do not believe being so being lights when people say that says Jesus googled give glory to your father who is in heaven. There was a generation or two ago in England. My uncle Randall chart was a very eminent surgeon and you his nephew's nephews, a friend of mine and Randall chart was a brilliant surgeon. He was also a very, very committed Christian follower of Christ, and was known for his brilliance in the medical field is also known as a man who walked with God.
Stories told in the busy hospital sold woman came in homeless problem with her feet. She was dirty, she was smelly and her feet looked absolutely awful with sores and cuts and all kinds of horrible things in the people basically ignored the woman who's going to deal with with this and then Randall Sharpton's famous surgeon. He saw the deer woman got diving and he treated her knees and when his colleagues had divided the they saw what he did there. They asked the question well what what was shot during what what what what was he doing there, and the answer was perhaps cynically, but truthfully, all he treated the old hag is a princess that it treating people as Jesus would miss people around us, particularly in this time of crisis wasn't a people he needs people that we can help to have the spirit of Jesus that those who are pure in heart. Those who are merciful, those who are poor in spirit. Those who are kind, those are being transformed by the gospel that we do good things that we serve people and we do it in such a way that people know is done in the spirit of Jesus and to give glory to our father in heaven there is Jesus speaking to us today doesn't call us to curse the darkness that's easy to do what terrible world. I want nothing to do with it. I'm just waiting for Jesus to come. Yes, you are to wait for Jesus to come but as you wait you are to serve him when the time comes. He will return. He will call you into his presence, but meantime you are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. He calls us to go into the world with his truth with his love, not removing ourselves from the culture not over identifying with the culture, but impacting the culture we have is one of our themes at Calvary this year.
Share your faith.
Share your faith and if you're going right into the life groups when I finish, perhaps in the life group. You just take a moment to think of this to discuss ways in which you can be solved ways in which you can be light and ask yourself is our heavenly father being glorified in heaven because they see our good works.
What does salt unlike look like in your life in your neighborhood, your work in your school and your hospital that you will accept responsibility when God has placed you in this crisis. This corona virus crisis. We have many opportunities yes in our isolation to share our faith because Jesus still says you are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world and the darkness, however strong it is will never ever distinguish that light. Keep shining for Jesus. Keep living for Jesus displaying and proclaiming our Lord Jesus Christ, you are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world, eternal God, we thank you for this passage of Scripture it's convicting to us, but we thank you for the privilege of being ambassadors for Jesus Christ. Help us know father. Each one of us to be our Savior and to be salt and light in his precious name we pray