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Summary: Living as salt and Light

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“How useful are you?”

Gladstone Baptist Church – 6/5/07 pm

1. What are the characteristics in people that we respect? Are we respected by the way we live our life?

Have you ever noticed that some people come up with some really stupid ideas. Like freezers for Eskimos, like Battery powered battery charger, Camcorder with braille-encoded buttons, Ejector seats for helicopters, Fireproof matches, Inflatable darts-board, Sundial with glow in the dark markings or Waterproof teabags

I have a collection of pictures I want to show you of some crazy inventions.

Some things that people dream up are totally impractical that they become useless. They will never work and are only fit for laughing at.

Tonight, I want to ask you the question – how useful are you?

When we think of people being useful, what sort of skills or characteristics do we think of?

It is somewhat difficult to answer that question – isn’t it – because you have to know what purpose a person is to be used for before you can decide whether they are useful or not. If I said, that a person was to be used to build a bridge – you would give me a different set of skills or characteristics to someone who was going to cut my hair.

What If I asked – what would make a person useful to God? What sort of skills or characteristics would you give me?

2. Last week we found out that the really fortunate people are those that live according to God’s standards. But there is another reason why we are to live according to God’s standards – that is to bring praise to God. (vs 16) People only praise God if they recognise his lordship.

Last week we began a series on the Sermon on the Mount and we said that this was one of the most famous speeches ever given. It has been remembered down through history because it laid out God’s standard for living. It was a guide to how to live as counterculture Christians.

See God wants us to be fortunate or blessed people and that comes about by living lives that are different to others – lives that are useful for him. Some of the attitudes and actions that he desires in us we covered last week are these … to

• Humbly rely on Jesus

• Look up for comfort

• Be gentle

• Be committed disciples

• Show merciful

• Live with integrity

• Be peacemakers and

• To Endure persecution.

And Jesus said, when we have these attitudes and actions, we are truly fortunate because we will find God and be welcomed into his family. We are fortunate when we have these characteristics – when we live according to God’s standards, but there is another reason why He desires us to live according to His standards – If you have your Bibles there, open them up with me to Matt 5. This is no doubt a passage that you have heard many times before. But I think it is worth looking again.

. 13 “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.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Jesus wants us to be useful – like salt or light. Why? See verse 16 – so that men may see our good deeds and praise God.

Have you ever felt as though you were being watched? Well you are. Maybe, you’ve been walking down a dark street and felt that someone else was there. Maybe you were in a shopping centre or a restaurant and felt someone was watching you. In most stores and banks now a days – you are being watched – there are hidden cameras everywhere – recording and watching. We’ve even got some in our church …

But it is not just cameras that are watching you – those around you are watching you. Whether we like it or not, people around us are observing how we behave and their behaviour is often based on the cues we give them. I’ll give you an example – When I went to highschool – I hung around in a group of guys – I went to an all boys school – so there were no girls around and as you can imagine, the language and the jokes often got a sordid. However, my circle of friends knew that I and another friend didn’t approve of their joking and carrying on and so they would control their language and their stories when we were within earshot. If I had laughed along, things would have been different – so our standards can have an impact on others.

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