Kingdom WitnessJanuary 21, 2024 | Brandon Cooper
In this sermon, the Brandon Cooper discusses Jesus calling his disciples the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” in Matthew 5:13-16. He explains that as salt preserves and light illuminates, Christians are called to preserve society from corruption and reveal the gospel’s truth through their lives. However, the sermon warns that believers can become diluted like salt or cover their light by not living distinctly for Christ. The overall message urges Christians to boldly live as remade children of light so that outsiders will inquire about the hope found in knowing Jesus.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Good morning want to go ahead grab your bibles you can open up to Matthew chapter five will be in verses 13 to 16. This morning and Matthew 5, 13 to 16, as you’re turning there, imagine you are at the doctor’s office, perhaps you’ve, you know, I’ve been having some pain for some time or somebody or getting an item like cortisone shot or something like that. And so the doctor has got two words for you basically, look, on the one hand, this is going to hurt. And the other hand is going to be worth it, I promise. Now, what’s your response to those two statements? I’m guessing we could fall into two different camps, right? So most are gonna hear the first statement, primarily, this is going to hurt, some of us are going to lean towards the hope of the second statement is going to get better. And so you know, you got that option, we’re gonna we’re gonna be either flinching or fearless in our response. Well, I mentioned this, because last week, this is where Jesus ended. And Jesus just said that to us, it’s gonna be hard, it’s gonna hurt, it’s gonna be worth it. He said, You’re gonna be persecuted, but great, we’ll be your reward. And so both responses flinching and fearless, are possible in our witness to the kingdom. I mean, think of what this could look like in evangelism. You know, somebody’s there before you go in jail. You can’t possibly believe this nonsense. You have to be an idiot to be a Christian and we shrink inside a little bit. I don’t want to get into this conversation. I don’t want to deal with the anger. What if I lose the argument? You know, there goes any hope of salvation, that kind of stuff. Or on the flip side, you get somebody who, you know, says, If you keep preaching the gospel, we will arrest you. We will ransack your home, we will interrogate your family and the response, there is one of fearlessness. Keep preaching. Those are real situations. Of course, that’s what’s going on in China. Even this week. It’s been an uptick in persecution. flinching or fearless. Want to bring this? Where are we in the Sermon on the Mount at this point. So we just finished the Beatitudes. Really, the introduction to the Sermon on the Mountain, this is kind of the conclusion to the Beatitudes, the conclusion to the introduction. So the Beatitudes are this description of Kingdom people. This is a life characterized by shalom, that fullness, that wholeness that Jesus brings that results from kingdom life. And it’s so interesting, of course, because it ends with the flourishing and the blessedness of the persecuted specifically. But that’s for a reason because Kingdom living is impossible in private. It’s necessarily public. Visible, it will draw attention in other words, positive and negative attention. This is why Jesus shifts to the second person we caught that at the end of the Beatitudes last week, I’m sure you know, bless it, our V persecuted this is just an abstract category, bless it, are you when people persecute you, of course, Jesus keeps that that second person idea going in our passage this morning. But you know, the second person that’s that’s the Jesus saying, like things just got real, you know that I’m talking about you, I’m talking about your life. But then Jesus invites His disciples He invites us to consider the effect will have on the world. If we are kingdom, people will see that in this short passage this morning, too tightly connected metaphors, which is why our outlines a little wonky today. But you know, it’s how our kingdom living leads to Kingdom witness the reality of it, the danger that attaches to it, and then ultimately, the purpose will pull these threads together at the end then and, and kind of get our main idea when we read the passage for us now, Matthew 513 to 16. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how could it be made salty again, it’s no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world, a town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Now that you people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Alright, so let’s start by looking at these metaphors and drawing out the the reality behind them. So what does Jesus say first, you are the salt of the earth. This is a tough phrase for us, in part because it’s kind of entered our culture’s lexicon, but it means something else right salt of the earth is like good country people or something that’s not what Jesus is talking about here. Also can lose its intended meaning because salt serves a very different purpose today than it did back then for us. Salt is primarily a seasoning. So you’re here you’re the salt of the world and you think great, we must spy See this world up or something like that? I don’t think that’s what’s being talked about all that may be true for the ancients, salt was primarily a preservative. There’s no refrigeration back then not until quite recently, in fact, and so this was the only way to keep meat especially like I forget this because refrigeration is so normal to us. Now I just read a book about pioneers to Central for Florida, just this past week. In fact, and this is one of the things that struck me in it is they keep like, they’ve got this hunt, you know, and then they have a roast that first night and then the rest of it gets smoked and salted. And it’s basically beef jerky at that point. Salt is a preservative. And that’s how the church how Kingdom people should function in this world. We are a preservative delaying the corrupting influence of sin. We’re keeping the world from spoiling how often the church is standing athwart culture yelling stop, you know, this way lies, danger. Let’s go a different direction. You keep heading down this you’re going to destroy the the shalom, the wholeness, the peace, the fullness that God intends for you. As an obvious example, you know, the church in the past 60 years has been sharply critical of the sexual revolution. Not because we’re prudes, but because we know that God’s design is better. And what’s so interesting, of course, is that the culture is actually beginning to see this in part because we’ve been unrelenting and preaching the truth there’s more and more evidence Okay, consent is not enough of an ethic and that actually there’s much greater happiness to be found in monogamy and all the rest you are the salt of the earth. Jesus says that you are the light of the world also gives us this other picture to where like a city set on a hill that gives light to the surrounding countryside which was so important back then again, lost on us because of light pollution today, but maybe you’ve been you know, camping or something like that in the far north woods on a cloudy night. That’s what darkness looks like. You know, like you put your hand on your face, you can’t even see it kind of thing. The total darkness that results when you’re not you know, within a stone’s throw of Chicago is always light here it’s only ever gets darker. It never really gets dark. I think we missed this image as well because for US cities are are dangerous. Like this is where crime ramps up because it provides anonymity of course the big city back then cities were you’d go for safety because you weren’t all by yourself and could just be attacked by anybody but there was strength in numbers plus the lights are on and there’s no greater anonymity than total darkness of course. So you see the the light from the city makes the darkness bearable. For you know, shepherds in the countryside or something like that. It offers hope, protection, salvation even this is why Jesus speaks of light dawning right we saw this in the end of Matthew chapter four, when Jesus arrives on the scene and he kind of says the people walking in darkness, I’ve seen a great light, those living in the land of the shadow of death on them a light has dawned. Because Jesus is here that hope that salvation is coming. But it is especially interesting that Jesus calls us the light of the world. If you were here last summer, you know, we did a series on the seven I am statements in John’s gospel, and one of them is Jesus says I am the light of the world. He’s there in the in the city of Jerusalem, which of course is itself a city set on a hill. And during the festival of boots, they light these two gigantic torches, which would have given light to I mean, miles and miles and miles around. And Jesus stands in front of those two torches and says actually, I’m the light of the world. So it’s a little bit interestingly, and maybe we got kind of a Sun Moon vibe going on here, right? The moon really does offer light in the nighttime, it’s just reflected light, the light of the sun probably captures a lot of our experiences too, because you think the moon does not offer the same light all the time does it? And some of us are like yeah, I’m kind of a crescent moon would like to be moving towards a full moon a little more light in my life. Are we waxing or awakening? But Jesus doesn’t say we reflect the light. Jesus doesn’t say just that we have the light. He says we are the light of the world. Which is so interesting, but of course we are why because the Spirit of Christ is within us. So if Christ is within us, then that means there’s light in us it’s a little bit like the Christmas Eve service right? But we all get our candles lit it’s like Jesus is the flame and we all bring that flame into our own lives. We shine with him is light.
Now that’s not what Jesus’s audience here would have been thinking about. We all went to John’s Gospel and the light of the world. But Jesus actually hasn’t said this yet that comes a little bit later in his life. So why do I bring it up? Because it points us in the right direction of how the audience would have heard these statements. Because it reminds us that this is not about us, you know, you’re the salt of the earth. You’re the light of the world, we start patting ourselves on the back. I am pretty awesome. Thank you for noticing. It’s not about our awesomeness, though, but about his awesomeness. Because the images of light and salt point to who Jesus is Jesus, who is the Light, who is the preserver of this world, we see this in the connection between the two images and they are connected. These images are set in parallel Hebrew. Writers love a parallelism. And oftentimes, you say the same thing, just kind of in different words, you see the parallelism here, because it says, You are the blank of the Earth, blank of the world Earth world, pretty much synonyms, right? So we’re, we’re saying the same thing in two different ways. It’s one idea, not two. So what is the connection between these two images? We don’t want to guess by the way when you’re going, I wonder what the connection here is, don’t you know, track with your imagination, First, check the Old Testament, always see if you can find the images there. And we certainly will be able to, because this salt in particular shows up in one place over and over again, in the Old Testament. And that’s with the idea of covenants. Probably because of what salt is. Salt, preservative. And salt doesn’t lose its saltiness, it remains salt. We’ll have to come back to that in a moment, of course, but you know, it remains salt. So it gets at the everlasting Enos of the Covenant itself, the commitment that’s being made. So we read, here’s just a representative verse numbers 18, verse 19. The Lord says, it is an everlasting covenant of salt, but a weird phrase, right? It’s an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring. So they referred to covenants as salty covenants, because they persist. And this explains also why salt was used with the offerings with the sacrifices that were made to the Lord, again, representative, Leviticus 213, do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings, add salt to all your offerings. So it’s called a covenant of salt. And we’re supposed to put salt in all of our offerings as a sign of our commitment. You see, salt, it’s part of us enacting living out the covenant of God. Okay, that’s easy. But what about light? No light is tricky, because light is a rich metaphor, and open to many interpretations and probably has a couple of things going on at once. You know, light, it stresses, purity, for example, or Revelation. Yes, absolutely. We already seen it us kind of in that way. And Matthew, forget that quote from Isaiah nine and people walking in darkness, and seen a great light, something new has come, something’s Dawn, there’s new revelation. And with Jesus’s arrival, you remember that section in Matthew four, it’s a light not just for Israel, but for all nations. So again, there’s the newness piece. Well, those ideas all come together in Isaiah 42, verse six. Now Matthew is drawing on Isaiah, throughout his gospel, showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of all these prophecies of Isaiah, the whole thought of Isaiah, but Listen to Isaiah 42, verse six, I, the Lord have called you in righteousness, I will take hold of your hand, I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles. There’s the two ideas coming together of covenant and light. And God says, I will make you a covenant for them. Now he’s speaking of the suffering servant, which we know is Jesus, the one who’s pierced for our transgressions, wounded for our iniquities that that same suffering servant, and God says, I’m gonna make you a covenant, even a light for the Gentiles. So in Jesus, the New Covenant dawns, this this new way of God relating to the world, Dawn, you pull all this together, what do we get? In saying that we’re salt and light? Jesus is saying that we are heralds of the new and lasting covenant that Jesus establishes. We’re announcing, proclaiming even embodying the hope of gospel peace. You can be reconciled with God. That’s what Jesus means when he says you are salt and light Note, Let’s not miss this. Jesus doesn’t say you should be salt and light. That’s probably how a lot of us hear this right? Try harder to be salt and light. Your witnesses knee, okay, we need a little more effort. No, Jesus says You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world. This is a present reality. If you belong to Christ, by faith in Him and are in the kingdom, this isn’t about our performance. If we work really hard, maybe we’ll get to the point where we can be the light of the world. No, we are recreated. When we trust in Christ. What Paul says anyone is in Christ, he’s a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come. This is some of the newness. We become what we weren’t before, when we come to God, and the poverty of spirit that we talked about last week, and are remade. But we will truly be remade. This is the inevitable result of a heart that’s been shaped by the gospel of Christ, like you will change Absolutely, it’s a slower process than we would like but you will be change, you will be the sort of person who loves even your enemies. Why? Because you remember that God loved you at the cost of his son. When you were his enemy. You’d be the kind of person who is patient in trials, long suffering, why because you know the good that God can bring from suffering and even great evil. Because you remember what happened, the cross of Christ, the greatest evil the world’s ever seen, and the empty tomb that follows it. You’ll be a humble person. Because pride just wilts in a gospel atmosphere, it’s really hard to be impressed with yourself. When you remember that you were so bad. God had to send his son to do what you were supposed to do, and then die to take the punishment that you deserved. Your life will be marked by selfless service, because the king of the universe, got down on his knees and washed your feet. And you’ll do likewise for others you see in Christ. When you have faith in Christ, you are made new You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That is a present reality. I love the way Eugene Peterson says it he says this isn’t something we live up to. But it’s something we live into. Right? It’s a true story that we live into what it looks like to be Kingdom people. If you’re in Christ, you can’t help but be salt and light. Any more than then light could stop itself from shining. But of course, that does take us to the second point, the danger with these metaphors. So let’s talk about that. Now the danger what is what does Jesus say you’re the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again, it’s no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under foot. No quick chemistry lesson here, salt can’t actually lose its saltiness. That’s not how it works. Sodium chloride does not stop being sodium chloride at any point, it’s actually a fairly stable compound. But what can happen to salt practically speaking is that it gets diluted. This was a common problem in Palestine at that time, because the sodium chloride deposits there had a lot of other minerals mixed in things like gypsum and whatnot. And salt was one of the more soluble compounds and whatnot. So good rain, the salt leeches out and you’re left with bland white powder. That’s good for nothing does not cease in your food and not going to help it, you know, stick around either. So at that point, it’s got no use whatsoever, no flavor, no preservation, so you just throw it into the street where it get trampled underfoot. Why are you throwing it in the street, by the way, that’s your garbage can. That’s why everything was organic back then you didn’t have to worry about the plastics or anything like that. So it’s just garbage. Of course, that’s what it would be for us today, too. So it’s gonna look a little different for us. But maybe something like this has happened to you before where you know, you got company coming over for dinner, everything’s all ready, they’re gonna be here any minute you look and you realize the salt shaker on your table is empty, just a little bit left in or whatnot. And so in your haste, you know, you grab the salt, you fill it up real quick, put it back on, and then as you go to put the salt away, you realize it was baking powder. What you’re going to do, you’re not going to go through and pick out the baking powder or you you’re just dumping it in the trash. That’s what Jesus is saying here. There’s nothing more useless than an unchanged Christian.
It’s good for nothing whatsoever. Then he says there’s the same idea with light. Light always shines, right? You can’t turn the darkness on in a room where the lamp is on. All you can do is turn the light off. Oh, or put something over it to cover it hide the light. And that’s what Jesus says Right? Like who would do this who would light a lamp and then put a bushel over it so that you can’t see it anymore, especially back then were fairly well to do in this part of the world. But you know, everyone back then subsistence farmers and stuff, you’re not wasting money. So you get precious oil, that you’re set on fire, you know, you got the wick and all that stuff, the lamp is burning, and then you cover it, I would say that that’s like setting your money on fire, except that if you set your money on fire, at least, then you get the light in the heat. So this is even worse than setting your money on fire. This is just a waste. It’s so foolish. No one would even be able to imagine this happening. That’s the power of the image. This is like, you know, buying designer shoes that you can’t wear, because they hurt your feet instead of protecting them. You’re gonna what’s the point of that? Why would you spend money on shoes that you can’t even wear because they hurt your food, the whole point of shoes is that they protect your feet. That’s the image. According to Jesus. That’s what we do. That level of Folly is what we do when we hide the light of our new life in Christ. Jesus is getting at the scandal of an invisible Christian. Now, how would we do that? Exactly? How would we make ourselves invisible? Christians? Are there two ways and I think both are on view here. First way, is simply to keep silent. Because we’re supposed to speak we talked about this. Last week we quoted Isaiah again, everything’s in Isaiah right now as if 52 Right when Jesus is not going up. I love it. You guys always look over there. Anytime I say a verse that was not going up. We talked about this land last week. You gotta remember how beautiful on the mountains or the feet of those who bring good news who proclaim peace, who proclaim like what do you do with good news? You don’t do good news. You say good news. We’re supposed to speak. The message we Herald brings peace, hope, preservation, salvation, all these things that we’re talking about, how could we not share it be like discovering the cure for cancer and not getting around to publishing it in a medical journal? Like what would you be doing? Or like someone you know, you’re hiking in the dark woods and they dropped their wedding ring in the darkness and you won’t turn your flashlight on? It was just cruel at that point. Especially because we’ve been remade, I think of Paul in Ephesians five verse eight. He says, For You were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. More proof by the way, rest of New Testaments, just commentary on the sermon on the mount right? Here it is, you are light in the Lord live as children of light, shine, in other words, shine. But Paul goes on just a couple verses later to say, okay, live his children in light have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds done in darkness. And that’s really the second way that we can hide our light, which is by living unchanged lives. Which should of course make us ask them questions about ourselves and our faith. We talked a lot about that last week, right? Like there’s this chain that just happens inevitably, our humbleness and poverty of spirit should lead to holiness. Absolutely. But we can dilute the saltiness of our lives by sprinkling in godlessness, and wickedness into the mix. So that we become the sorts of people who both preserve and spoil the people we’re around simultaneously. That’s not very helpful. But imagine how this could look because the temptation is there. Man, Jesus has just told us we will be persecuted because of our holiness. Because our lives are are different from others may get made fun of for being a goody two shoes or something like that. And so there’s always that temptation to dim the light. So maybe you got a group of kids in your class who are making crass and dehumanizing jokes. And you just laugh along with them. Just laugh along with them. Why? Because you don’t want to be ostracized. You don’t want to be the weirdo who’s no fun or something like that, or Team Leader proposes a solution to some problem at work. And it’s just, it’s an unethical solution. And you know what, but But you just go along without objection, because you don’t want to be that guy. And you worry that, you know, might actually hinder your ability to get a promotion later on. Or maybe it’s got nothing to do with persecution. Maybe it’s just pleasure that’s driving this, you know, you got an attractive person making eyes at you in the hotel lobby when you’re gone on a work trip. You just let the flirtation unfold. You see what’s happening in each case. It’s hiding not heralding right, hiding our light instead of heralding the New Covenant so that the people who see you have no idea that you’re a Christian that you’re a new creation in Christ or worse. They know you’re a Christian. And now they think there’s no difference between Christians And the world. Christianity is just a set of lifeless doctrines you assent to and means you can’t play golf on Sunday mornings. Unless the weather’s nice. Jesus points us in a very different direction. Right The reality is that we are salt in light. We don’t dilute the salt or dim the light. But what there’s a there’s a purpose to us having been remade there’s an invitation. So let’s talk about that. Now the purpose she gets out especially in verse 16. In the same way, let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Since your salt be savory since your light let your light shine so that people see your good deeds light will attract people in darkness will head toward light no also persecute you for you know but we got that right that the love hate relationship the world has with Jesus but people will see the light for sure. And we’ll respond. It’s like you know ever tried to sleep in and then the sun comes in through the blinds and it’s in your You can’t help it right? Like you just see light. When there is light, you can’t avoid it. And that’s what we’re to be right. It’s the light of Kingdom living living the Beatitudes, people are going to see our humility and meekness, our mercy, our purity of heart, the peace we bring, even if we don’t know why, even if they don’t know why we’re like that people will notice. And remember, it was a short while ago, we got a text from someone we’ve been reaching out to for some time and just trying to love it well, and we’d done something the sorts of things that Christians would do to help someone in a in a rough time. And he texted back he just said, You guys are the kindest people I know. That’s, that’s the light shining, because that’s not me. Like Amy is the kind of person I know I am not kind in my flesh. That’s not how but so if there’s kindness here, like that is the Lord’s work. That’s the light shining, and you just want to go you know why? Right? You know why we’re like that? Is it, Amy? Now, we can acknowledge, by the ways we talked about this, that we are not pure in heart, we talked about what that means last week, right? pure in heart means there’s nothing mixed in. We’re pretty mixed people still and will be until glory hopefully being refined day by day. But we’re still mixing the church has a very mixed record, historically, doesn’t it? And we can own the evil, our complicity in things like slavery, or the Crusades, the sex abuse scandals that keep rocking the church, Catholic Church, even now, the Southern Baptist Church like we can own the evil but don’t miss the light. At the same time. I watched a interview recently on it was on a major news station in Sydney, Australia with John Dixon. He’s now a professor at Wheaton College, but he’s Australian. And he’d done this documentary called for the love of God, subtitle something like the the better and worse of the of the church. And so he’s kind of going through and showing all the places where the church has fallen short, but at the same time, all the things that the church has done well, and so he was owning the evil, he was talking about things like the Crusades, or the the wars between the Catholic and Protestant churches in Europe and stuff and his opponent, like the guy who was not a Christian, and kind of sees the mixed record of the church interrupted him to be like, hang on now. Like what’s give you guys some credit here. Let’s talk about some of the things that church has brought about you guys like human rights, don’t you? You know where that comes from? It only comes from Christianity, you don’t find that anywhere else in the world of Christianity hasn’t touched, he says, especially when you consider the context of the Roman empire where the idea of human rights develops. In the Roman Empire, you know, who had rights. Rich dudes, that’s it. No one else. Women aren’t people. Kids aren’t people. Certainly slaves aren’t people in that context, the whole idea that we think what we just talked about, like everybody should be treated equally that comes from Christianity.
They said, What about hospitals? Do you notice a lot of hospitals have names like Good Samaritan, Redeemer, Lutheran general, like I wonder where these are coming from? But of course, it’s not even that the whole idea of hospitals comes from, you guessed it, the church. A Roman noble woman named Fabiola who came to Christ after a really bad domestic violence situation because women aren’t people so you can just hit them in a Roman context comes to Christ gives away all her wealth to found the world’s first hospital. been doing it ever since then schools are the same idea of course, because what’s the idea is we should take care of all people, not just the people who can help us back? Let me see this with lots of organizations as well. Anyone wonder why it’s called the Red Cross? It’s not there today. I know that but we know where the founding was like the fact that a red cross on a white background makes us all think of first aid is fascinating, isn’t it? The end of slavery was the church complicit where the southern church is complicit? Absolutely. And the church also brought about the end of the slave trade under guys like William Wilberforce, the whole doctrine of or the ethic of consent, when it comes to sex and marriage. That’s the Catholic Church who finally put an end to forced marriages, and said, you know, you got to make sure the woman actually wants to get married, because she is a person. And so, you know, they recognize the worth and dignity of women and kids. And so the opponent again, this is the opponent talking still. You’re like, no, no, no, no, that was Brandon. No, that was the opponent talking still. So that was the point we got to he’s like, look, wars and bloodshed exist in every culture. They’re endemic to the human heart, as because of original sin, by the way. So wars and bloodshed if we can make sense of those, these things only exist in Christian cultures. And now culture is influenced by Christian cultures. That’s assault. That’s light. That’s Jesus’s new kingdom breaking in, and people, even opponents, noticing, and frankly, praising our Father in heaven. And that’s the hope that’s the purpose of course, they will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Such sweet Grace there, by the way, like, let’s not blow past that point that glorify your Father in heaven. He’s not just God, He’s father, he’s adopted us, the invitation to be adopted is always there for all people. What’s going to happen is people are going to see the light in us and seek its ultimate source. Especially if we’re redirecting the gaze, you know, the guys they score the touchdown, and then they immediately go like this. And you’re like, you’re really mean like this was because of God right here. But that’s what our lives should do. Of course, like yes, that was in fact, because of God. These good deeds that you’re seeing actually love it too. Though the word there isn’t really good. It certainly means that the word that’s used there is beautiful. Like we get our word calligraphy from it, because Calligraphy is beautiful writing. So beautiful deeds, in other words, deeds that attract this is an invitation to live lives that draw others so that they use Peters language. Ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have within you. Now how is it that you’re so patient are so kind are so loving? Love the way Martyn Lloyd Jones says it he says the glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though she may hate it at first. It’s exactly the balance we have in this passage, right? Well, the answer to that question, How are you so patient? How are you so loving? How are you so kind? Like, what’s different about you? The answer to that question is also the key to us being different like that. And that’s that we stay in the light, or we abide in Christ. That’s a little bit like, maybe when you were a kid, you had the glow in the dark stars that you put above your bed. And if you leave your lights off all day, and it’s a cloudy day, you know what doesn’t happen? The stars don’t shine, so disappointing. But if they’re in the light, then they become light in the darkness. That’s what we mean by staying in. The light will be like glow in the dark stickers. Now, I know some of you are hearing all of this and you’re going Yeah, but doesn’t Jesus also say and by the way, he says it in just a little bit, chapter six verse one, like we’ll get there in this series. Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Hmm, that’s interesting. They knew it Bible’s full of contradictions. This is why I’m an agnostic. No, no contradiction at all. Because the difference is the purpose. Here Jesus is saying they’re gonna see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. That’s also a result that just it just happens automatically. Whereas there you’re doing it to be seen. It is the difference between your Father’s glory and your own glory. want people to look like the Pharisees that Jesus will describe in the next chapter go wow, he prays a lot. Oh, man, I know that guy gives a lot to charity know how I know he told me. It doesn’t have like we know the difference intuitively right between those Two hearts. The person who’s got all the humble brags, and they’re posting pictures on social media all the time at the soup kitchen, they’re doing that to be seen, versus those who just happen to be seen while they’re doing what they would have been doing. Anyway, it is a question of heart, right? That one is done in a spirit of poverty. The other is done in a spirit of performance. The one the gospel motivates and the other ego motivates us. But you will be seen, when you do these things, I’ll just give you some examples of your host family with save families, which I know a number of you are in this church, periodically, you’re going to have extra kids, like in your Facebook pictures, or when you run into people in the grocery store. And you’re not gonna be like, Oh, yes, I took him in out of the goodness of my heart. It costs me a lot of money, actually. But we’re willing to bear this burden, because you know, we’re just patting ourselves. I know, but they’re still gonna go. And who’s this little one, you’re going to be seen, or they’re gonna say, you know, you got any plans? You’re going anywhere this summer. And you’re like, Yeah, I’m going to Mexico. And I really, where are you going? We’re going to Mexico to we’re like, I’m going to Tijuana Tijuana. Why would you go to Tijuana, you should go to Cancun or something like well, we’re building a home for a family in need through Homes of Hope. And you know, this whole thing with our church, you almost embarrassed to be sharing it because you’re like, I don’t want to draw attention to myself, but this is just who I am. And this is what I do. Or it’s much smaller. And it’s just the text that you send people in you know, they’re having a bad day or the questions you ask you will be seen. But it’s a different kind of scene. I actually love the way Dietrich Bonhoeffer says it he says people are not to see the disciples, but their good works. Isn’t that a nice distinction? People are not to see the disciples, but their good works as Jesus. And these works are none other than those which the Lord Jesus Himself has created in them. By calling them to be the light of the world, under the shadow of the cross. Result is inevitable, right? People are going to look past you above you really to the one who changed you. Of course they should because what are we We’re just Harold’s announcing his new kingdom. We just finished the crown. And you know, when the Herald comes in, and he says, you know, my lords and ladies, the queen. You know what people don’t look at the Herald. They want to see the Queen, they want to see the King. This is kind of our main idea that if I can pull all these pieces together what we want to take away today, main idea is this be what you’ve become, for the sake of the kingdom, like be what you are in Christ. For the sake of the kingdom, you have a kingdom purpose, right? You are light, you used to be darkness. Now your light, live as children of light live into your new story. Like you’re a new character now, which means you got new lines and a new role to play. Live into your new stories, you invite others into the story to have unquote Martyn Lloyd Jones again, he says, you know that this is the best means of evangelism, really, the world is looking for and desperately needs true Christians. What the church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns to attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women will be crowding into our buildings, they would say, What is the secret of this?
So what do we do as we go from here, because we certainly want to be doers, the word of not just hearers of it. We want to let our light shine, may speak to a few different groups of people. Now, first of all, to us as individuals, as individual Christians, if you are in Christ, you have been remade for a kingdom purpose, to be a kingdom witness. So be what you are be Harold’s announcing the good news announcing the kingdom. This is why we have such a focus on our on our oil costs list here, if you’re newer to Cityview, maybe haven’t heard that word before. Oil costs is not a yogurt. It’s a Greek word that kind of gets at your sphere of influence. No point is God has placed us in a sphere of influence to reach the people around us. So we open our eyes we identified and we noticed them right? And then we intercede for them, we pray for them, and then we invest in their lives. And ultimately we invite them to spend time with us to come to church, especially to invite them into the kingdom of God. Here’s the thing, though, your good works should be the atmosphere in which you preach the gospel. That’s what this passage is saying. No one should be surprised when they hear you proclaim the gospel. They should go Oh, yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense of everything that I’ve seen that makes sense of your life. That’s the individual second though, what’s speak to us as a group here as the church. That’s the idea of the city on a hill right? Because what’s a city it’s a whole bunch of lights. Brought together and it shines much brighter as result for what are we known as Cityview? What do we want to be known for? Right doctrine? Yes, absolutely no doubt about it. Our political views? Probably not probably confused about what kingdom we’re proclaiming here. We would want to be known for preaching a regressive morality No, certainly not, wouldn’t want that. We want to be known for the abundance of our good works. That leads people to ask questions about who we are, and maybe learn about the doctrine we proclaim. That is we want to preach and live the gospel corporately, to know and show the beauty of the gospel. That’s what Jesus is teaching us to do here. In all the ways that Kyle talked about in his Welcome this morning, you know, this is this is clothes closet, right? This is the this is the cap debt Center, where it’s like we’re doing something we’re helping people out of debt. We’re also proclaiming the gospel as we do. In fact, if you talk to the cap people, they’ll be like, we’re evangelists who just happen to do world class debt counseling, like that’s what we want to be exactly say families, even caring network. You know, they’ll talk all the time about the fact that trying to save two lives, the life of the unborn baby with the life of the mom as well, that doesn’t really fit in our culture. God calls your wants you to choose between the two and the church goes, no, absolutely not. Absolutely not. That’s a good deal. That’s our letting our light shine. Another group parents are just very briefly here. Of course, you want to be salt and light for your kids. That’s a really important. If they don’t see it lived in your life, they will almost certainly reject it. We will have no meaning to them. They’ll have no power. So we teach Jesus we also show them Jesus. There’s one other thing I want to say too, because I hear it from parents a lot where we send our kids out into the world and are like you go be salt and light. That only works if they’re Christians. Sometimes we do this with our elementary students. This is not a comment on schooling, by the way, don’t get like we know we homeschool. It’s I’m not getting into that right now. Okay. But you know, like sentiment, the public school system was a second grader be like be salt and light, like, do know that they know Christ. And even then, are they mature enough in Christ to be salt and light in a hostile environment? Not necessarily, right? So we got to tweak how we approach this in some ways. You’re the light, you’re the salt to them, to their friends, and then by all means to their friends, families and stuff. So we’ll just be careful as parents and then finally, last group, just a word to those who are here today about questioning Christianity, like you are not at all sold on all this. First of all, we’re so glad you were here. But here’s my word to you. Look at our lives. Watch us. Every Christian in here just squirmed a little bit like are you sure about that? Maybe watch his life instead? No, watch us. We are not perfect. Not by any means. We are still living mixed lives. It’s true. But are we different? But are we different? And if so what makes us different? I hope you see in us the sacrificial love the generosity, the humility and you go why what would make them like that? And then you’re gonna do like to borrow CS Lewis’s image, just follow the Sunbeam up to the sun. Right? Don’t be looking at us. But look at the sun Christian, you are salt in light, not because of what you’ve done, but because of what he did and how he remade you. So be what you are, be what you become for the sake of the kingdom. Announce and embody kingdom life. Not flinching but fearless. Because it might hurt was gonna be worth it. Let’s pray.