Summary: The simple formula Jesus has given us for impacting our world is that we are salt and light.
A. I wanted to start today’s sermon with a funny story of a science chemistry experiment gone wrong.
1. So I went on line and searched for quite a while, thinking surely there must be some great stories out there.
a. I stumbled on one that didn’t have a lot of details, which would have made it funnier, but I guess during one demonstration, the teacher accidentally made Nitrous oxide, N2O, also known as laughing gas.
b. Imagine the scene as the gas began to take effect on the teacher, and then as it spread to the entire class. It must have been a very funny scene.
2. Other than stories of the guy who was carrying a beaker full of acid and somebody asked him for the time...all the other stories were very serious ones.
3. There were countless stories of serious explosions and students being badly burned.
4. So I guess the subject of high school chemistry experiments gone bad is not a funny subject.
B. And when I think about it, neither is it funny to use the wrong formula for impacting our world.
1. That is certainly a formula we want to get right. Am I right about that?
2. In our present sermon series we are talking about embracing our mission.
3. We’ve been talking about how much lost souls matter to God.
4. Last week we talked about the fact that trying to reach out to people will be costly. It will require time, effort, preparation and the potential for rejection, or even persecution.
5. But in the face of these costs we determined that the benefits far outweigh the costs.
6. Those benefits will be realized by we who embrace God’s mission, by those who are the recipients of our efforts and by God himself as He glories in our efforts and the results.
C. Today, we want to turn our attention to a formula for embracing our mission.
1. God has not only given us a goal, he has also given us a methodology for reaching that goal.
2. The methodology is not given to us in great detail, rather it is given to us in the form of two illustrations.
3. Look again with me at Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13-16,
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
4. Here’s how Peterson paraphrases these verses:
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (The Message, by Eugene Peterson)
D. In the most simplest of terms, Jesus tells us that we, his followers, are salt and light.
1. To put that in terms of a formula, it would look like this: SALT + LIGHT = IMPACT
2. Why would Jesus choose those two metaphors to describe our mission?
3. First of all, they are so common and universal that everyone would understand.
4. And second, they are perfect and lasting illustrations.
I. The Sermon from SALT.
A. So what can we learn from salt? What does salt do that is so important?
B. First of all, Salt spices things up, right? It is a seasoning.
1. I know that we feel a little bit guilty every time we reach for the salt shaker, because too much salt can effect our blood pressure in a negative way.
2. But who wants to eat corn on the cob without some salt? Anybody?
3. How about unsalted peanuts or unsalted crackers? Yuk!
4. Salt is a wonderful seasoning that enhances the flavor of all kinds of foods.