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Summary: We make Christ known by being present and active in the world... by makine a difference.

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Title: Making a Difference

Text: Matthew 5:13-20

Thesis: We make Christ known by being present and active in the world… by making a difference.

Epiphany Series: Encountering Christ in Epiphany

The First Sunday of Epiphany we encountered Christ at his baptism.

• The First Sunday after Epiphany we encountered Christ at his baptism where God reveals to Jesus and to us who He (Jesus) is. “This is my Son, whom I love, and with whom I am very pleased.” Matthew 3:17

On the Second Sunday after Epiphany, we encountered Christ at a wedding.

• The Second Sunday after Epiphany we encounter Christ at a wedding where he performed the first of many miracles that would follow. “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him.” John 2:13

On the Third Sunday after Epiphany we encounter Christ walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

• On the Third Sunday after Epiphany we encountered Christ walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee where he saw fishermen going about their business of fishing. So, he called out to them. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:12-23

On the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany we encounter Christ on a mountainside.

• On the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany we encounter Christ seated on a mountainside with his teaching disciples. “Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying…”

On the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany we hear Jesus instructing his followers to live in such a way as to glorify God and bless others.

• The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany Christ instructs his followers to make him known to the world. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Introduction

Good Housekeeping Magazine cites the five most common things people notice when they visit someone’s home. If you were to unexpectedly drop by our home the first thing you would notice is that I wouldn’t let you in. Bonnie and I are not comfortable with your seeing examples of our five most common things. But here’s the list of the five most common things people will notice if they visit your home. (“Five Things People Notice,” Good Housekeeping, November 2006, P. 42)

1. Guests in your home will notice if there is mail laying around. We live in a townhome and when you enter our home you are in the living room which adjoins the dining area which is adjacent to the kitchen. An island divides the dining area from the kitchen area. I place the mail on the corner of that island so a stack of mail would pretty much be the first thing you would see.

2. Guests in your home will notice dust bunnies and cobwebs. I guess the implication is that typical guests sneak off to peak under beds and peer into the corners and recesses of your home in search of dust bunnies and cobwebs.

3. Guests in your home will notice a messy bathroom. There is nothing quite like looking into a toothpaste spattered mirror or washing your hands in a gunky sink.

4. Guests will notice dirty dishes in the sink. That’s why you are supposed to put them in the oven.

5. Guests will notice full to over flowing trash cans. We keep a trash can that works well with a plastic grocery bag so when it is full you just pull the bag and insert a new one and we’re good for a couple of days. But occasionally we overestimate how much a grocery bag can hold and the result isn’t always pretty. Don’t look under our sink because you might not be favorably impressed.

So we know that even if people are not deliberately checking out our homes they will see stuff if they visit. So I think it is safe to assume that the people we encounter will check us out and see the stuff of our lives as well. So what do we want people to see when they see us?

The very first thing Jesus teaches his followers is that we are to make a positive impression on those who observe our lives.

This morning we see that Jesus gives his followers and identity.

I. The Follower’s of Christ are given an Identity.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13 and 14

Jesus, using the literary device that we call a metaphor, identifies us as salt and light. He said, “You are the salt of the earth.” And he said, “You are the light of the world.”

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