Evening Service for 5/31/2009
Matthew 5:14- You are the Light of the World
B. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton hadn’t won a game in 8 weeks. The press was suggesting that he be dropped from the starting lineup. The future looked bleak, and Sutton felt terrible. Then, before a game, Dodgers manager Walter Alston tapped him on the shoulder. “I’d like to speak with you, Don,” he said. Sutton prepared for the worst. “Don,” said Alston, “I know how the past couple of months have been for you. Everyone’s wondering whether we can make it to the play offs. You know there’s a lot of pressure. I’ve had to make a decision.” Sutton had visions of being taken off the mound. Alston continued, “If the Dodgers are going to win this year,” he said, looking Sutton in the eye, “they’re going to win with Don Sutton pitching. Come what may, you’re staying in the starting lineup. That’s all I wanted to say.”
C. Sutton’s losing streak lasted 2 more weeks, but because of his manager’s encouragement he felt different. Something in him was turning around. He found himself pitching the best ball of his career. In the National League pennant drive, he won 13 games out of 14.
D. There are all kinds of theories about how to motivate people. We can do it through guilt, fear or shame. But overall these were not Jesus’ methods. Jesus motivated through positive messages of hope and encouragement.
E. Jesus told those at the Sermon on the Mount. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. What kind of people did he say this to? Farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, housewives, all in a tiny remote village in an obscure part of the world. Talk about a statement of faith. It must have sounded absurd at the time even to them.
F. But so are we. Who are we? We might see ourselves that way but this is how God sees us. (Phil 2:15 NIV) children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
Thesis: You and I are the light of the world. What does it mean?
1. We have a responsibility for the world.
A. What does light do?
1. Light is used to signal.
2. Light is used to guide. (Psa 119:105 NIV) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
3. Light is used to penetrate the darkness and expose evil and error. (John 3:19 NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:20 NIV) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.(John 3:21 NIV) But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
4. Light is used to prevent sin (security lights in dark areas)
5. Light is used to produce growth (plants).
6. Light does not exist for its own glory but to brighten up the world.
B. There was a time when the pulpits of this nation sounded with the call for young men and women to go out as missionaries to be lights to a world of darkness. We don’t sounds that trumpet as we once did. Shaun and Mary Ann Cooper.