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Summary: A Christian is like a Human Church Sign.

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Purpose Series #5

(Six Sessions on God’s Purpose for Your Life)

Here’s Your Sign

Matthew 5:14-16

SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 5:14-16

INTRODUCTION:

This fall, we’ve been studying from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose driven Life. This week we’re focused on the 4th Purpose: Sharing your life mission every day. Your life mission is to share the Good News about Jesus Christ every day in every way. That’s what Jesus meant when he said You are the light of the world.

Jesus was giving his audience a word picture that made a lot of sense to them. When Jesus said we are to shine like a city on a hill, he may have been referring to a city that all of them had seen. This city, named Tiberius, was built by Herod the Great beside the Sea of Galilee. On any given night, it was visible from the shore, lighting up the night with its multitude of lights.

When Jesus said: Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl, his audience probably burst out laughing. Everyone knew that would be ridiculous! If you lit one of their little oil lamps and put it under a bowl, it would immediately go out … so what would be the point?

Today, I want to use a different word picture that might help us see this familiar scripture in a new light (so to speak.) Not long ago, we put a new Sign in front of our church. It occurred to me that as Christians, we are like human versions of a Church Sign. Now, stay with me on this, and you’ll see what I mean. For one thing, a Church Sign is MEANT TO BE SEEN.

1. A sign is meant to be seen

To paraphrase Matthew 5, Neither do people construct a new Church Sign, and put it behind the building.

When we put up the new sign, one of our goals was to make it readable from West Avenue. The old sign was single-sided and faced the road straight on. Because of that, you’d have to travel under 20 miles per hour to actually read it. (In other words, it would have worked great in the horse-and-buggy days!) The new sign is two-sided and angled so drivers going around 35 miles per hour can easily read the message. Also, it is well lighted so it can be read at night.

This made me think about our lives as believers in Christ. Do we, --- as living and breathing Church Signs --- communicate our faith in Christ in a way that makes sense to the people around us? Is our faith out in the open, fitted for our environment, and well lit so that it shines even in the darkest place? Maybe it’s time for us to update our lives as HUMAN CHURCH SIGNS so that the love of Jesus Christ can shine through to our friends, our co-workers, and our neighbors.

In order to do this, we HUMAN CHURCH SIGNS need to CREATE POSITIVE INTEREST.

2. A sign creates positive interest

A good sign will catch your attention with a catchy saying. Let me read you a few messages found on local church signs:

· "Count your blessings. Recounts are okay too."

· "You can’t hide behind a hypocrite unless you’re smaller than he is."

· "God loves everybody, but He prefers The Fruits of the Spirit to nuts."

By the way, I want to take a moment and “brag” on Taylor Booth who creates the messages on our Church Sign. She is faithful to keep that ministry going, and often uses the help of others to change letters. The sign is often humorous, sometimes challenging, usually positive, and sometimes with a hint of rebuke or exhortation. It represents us and our ministry well. I hope that the HUMAN CHURCH SIGNS around here will also represent us and our Master well.

o If we’re going to do that then --- like the Church Sign --- we should have a distinctive message.

I read some revealing statistics in a magazine article that was published back in 2001. The article reported a study of people in the “Baby Boom” generation. It said that one-third of Baby Boomers call themselves "born again" Christians.

· But it went on to say that one-forth of these Born-again Boomers believe in the possibility of communicating with the dead;

· one-third of them believe in both reincarnation and astrology;

· and half of these “Born-again” Christians believe in psychic powers. “Leap of Faith” My Generation (March/April 2001)

None of these beliefs are Biblical. How can our light shine if we are blending in with the darkness? I’m sad to say that some of us Christians like to walk around wearing camouflage. If our light is going to shine in a dark world, our conduct must be markedly different from the world. People are watching us to see if what we believe really does make a difference in the way we live.

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