Monday, September 16, 2013

Influential Illumination

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good 
works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:13-16

In the scripture above Jesus asks us to be salt and light.  The first three days this week we are going to look at just what He meant.  

A Peanuts cartoon, showed Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown. She said, "Guess what, Chuck. The first day of school and I got sent to the principal's office. It was your fault, Chuck." He said, "My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?" She said, "You're my friend, aren't you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me."

While Peppermint Patty was seeking to pass the buck, she was in a very real sense right. We should be a good influence on our friends. We certainly do have an influence, for good or for bad.

People are watching you! What they see has an influence on them. And it should. You see, Jesus told us that we would have an influence in this world.

George Barna's research has shown that the average Christian in the average evangelical church is almost indistinguishable from the rest of society. He is not talking about being different in some artificial and outward way that you might see in some legalistic churches. Rather, he is talking about the fundamental moral and ethical difference that Christ can make in how we live. When our teens, supposedly saved, get pregnant and do drugs at the same rate as the general teenage population - when our marriages end in divorce at the same rate as the rest of society - when we cheat in business, or lie, steal, and cheat on our spouses at the same statistical level as those who say they are not Christians - something is wrong.

Maybe the world does not suffer so much from the bad ways of bad people as it does from the good people who have very bad ways of doing good. 

Following the graphic picture of the disciple as "salt of the earth," Jesus continues to share the impact of the Kingdom Man utilizing the example of "light."

·      While many analogies could be drawn, there is usually only one direct message in every illustration.  The concept of "light" is one that all can grasp and apply.

·      How clear this illustration is of the life and ministry of the one who follows and displays the life of Christ who is the true "light of the world." (John 8:12)

Salt and Light
Perhaps that is the reason why our influence has not been felt in a way that points people to Jesus. Think of it, over 25% of the population of America claims to be born again. Based on the impact they are having, that cannot be true. But what if there were over 50 million true Christians in America. In reality, you wouldn't even need that many. Just what would happen if the ones we have would really start living like they were saved!  Does your life make a difference? What kind of difference do you make? Jesus is clear that we are to make a difference.  That is what He was talking about when He said salt and light.  They both make a huge difference when they are used.  Be the salt and light in your world. 

Scripture to Claim:
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  John 1:4-5

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