Summary: This sermon is an overview of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew.
Change Your Heart, Change the World
13 " You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
This morning we are going to do something a little bit different. Most weeks we take a short passage of Scripture and attempt to suck it dry, extract its meaning, and then make practical application to our lives today. This morning, however, we are going to look over a broader portion of Scripture and get the gist of what is being said categorically. We have spent the last three weeks on 6 verses of Scripture from the beatitudes at the beginning of the sermon on the mount, so it stands to reason that we could spend the rest of this year, and probably next year, extracting from this important sermon practical advice for living.
In doing that type of detailed study, however, we would miss some of the larger strokes of what Jesus is trying to say to us. As we said before, this sermon is His first recorded and everything else He teaches is really just a working out of this sermon. So this morning we are going to take a few steps back and attempt to get a look at the whole. This might be frustrating for some of you, because we will undoubtedly mention in one or two lines issues that you would like to hear an entire message about or that you feel others need to hear an entire message about. Sometimes, however, it is good to get the big picture in order to see how all the components fit together.
The first component in Jesus description of a life lived in pursuit of Him is found in the beatitudes and we have covered it over the last three weeks. This is about our hearts before God. The first steps in our relationship with Him are to realize the poverty of our spirit with out Him, mourn our condition of being lost in sin, meekly submit our strengths to Him – remembering that meekness is not weakness, but instead it is strength in submission, to make doing right a priority in our life on the same level with eating and drinking – hunger and thirst for righteousness, being merciful to others in response to the realize of the great mercy that has been extended to us, submitting the core of who we are, our heart, to the Holy Spirit so that it can be made pure, and setting ourselves toward being active agents of peace in this world even in the face of persecution.
All of these things are challenging, and they are the first step in our becoming who God desires for us to be. It is key to remember that God is passionately concerned about you. He is far more concerned with your happiness and well being than He is with your outward actions. We think God really wants to get something out of us, but the truth is God doesn’t need us to accomplish anything that He desires to accomplish. Our involvement in the work of God is a privilege. The first thing on God’s agenda is to transform your heart so that you won’t be miserable in the core of who you are.
We all know these kind of people who have everything together on the outside, but inside they are a train wreck. God’s concern is that you be whole, before anything else is accomplished, He wants to make sure that you are on the road to wholeness and healing. He is your Father and He love you.
As we are on the road to being made whole as children of God, Jesus is quick to point out that being a child of the king has responsibilities. He says that we are supposed to be the salt and the light of this world and that our righteousness should exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.
Salt has two primary roles: purification and adding flavor. We purify the world through living moral lives. Everything is contagious and if we will hold ourselves to a higher standard, then those around us will see the deficiency in their approach to life – not because we preached at them, but because they know truth and goodness when they see it lived out.