Summary: When people look at a Christ follower what and who do they see?

Matthew 5:13-16

February 2, 2014

When someone looks at you, other than looking at your extraordinary good looks, what do they see? If we could really cut to the chase, it’s not about those good looks, it’s about who you are in Jesus! For some people it’s their last memory of you.

Many of us were glued to our televisions over the past few weeks watching the Olympics. We saw some high points and some low points. Our quick memories may be pretty negative, since the U.S. didn’t do very well in some sports they were expected to do well in.

We had a lot of controversy regarding the speed skating team, their skating suits were blamed for losing race after race. Figure skater Ashley Wagner said the judging isn’t fair. She’s probably right, especially when one judge was banned for taking bribes and another was married to the head of the Russian skating federation. Even comments about the expense for Russia in hosting the games, and the fact that some athletes didn’t have toilet paper.

We lost when we were supposed to win, yet, there were also the joys of victory.

I think you get the picture. So what does it mean for the world to look at us as a follower of Jesus Christ? Will they see a follower, a disciple of Jesus or will they see something very different.

So, what does a “real” Christian look like? How can you recognize the real thing?

Can you spot a real Christian by knowing their political affiliation?

Can you identify a Christian based on how they vote on political and social issues?

What if they have a fish decal on their car? That should work, right?

Someone once told me that if the fish points to the right this person is a conservative Christian and if it points to the left they are a liberal. I don't know about that, but does the presence of this decal say anything about the driver’s level of spiritual maturity?

How about denominational affiliation? Does it matter if they affiliate with the ~~

SBC, NBC, PMBC, GARBC, the CBF or the ABC or the UMC or the RCC or the AME or the PCA? Or whatever flavor you choose?

☺ Do cross pendants around people’s necks show they are committed to Christ?

☺ Or what about taste in worship music?

☺ If someone prefers to clap their hands and sing praise choruses, is that an

indication of the depth of their love of Jesus?

☺ Or are people who sing from a hymnal more likely to be truly devoted to the kingdom of God?

It can be very difficult to determine what a real Christian looks or acts like.

Jesus gives us a very real call for our lives . . . we are to be the salt and light of the world. It’s as if God is saying “Plan A is for you, my followers to go into the world, to be salt and light to the world. Attract people with your faithfulness, with your goodness, with your radical commitment to me. Follow me and I will make you attractive to people. If you don’t do that, oh, there is a Plan B, and it’s not good.”

We’ve been entrusted by God to go into the world, to take the message of Jesus Christ into our homes, our communities, our workplace, to stores, wherever we go, and we are to help others know who Jesus is. There’s nothing more exciting or joyful than to know you’re being used by God to bring His message of hope, power, forgiveness and eternal life to someone who needs to experience Christ’s love.

Salt and light may not sound like a great strategy for reaching the world but we have to understand how Jesus was using salt and light as metaphors. One thing that salt and light have in common is they have a radical influence on whatever it is they come into contact with. That’s the important thing.

Notice that when Jesus said we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, He was not stating that as a suggestion. He didn’t say, if you get the chance, would you do this if it’s not too inconvenient. Jesus said, “YOU are the salt of the earth and YOU are the light of the world.” No ‘ifs, ands, or buts about it.’

Jesus doesn’t say you are like salt or that we will be light at some time in the future. He said WE are these things. This is a major part of our calling. It’s our purpose as His disciples. It’s who we are and why we live in this world. Once we accept Jesus into our lives, we are automatically tasked with functioning as the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

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