Summary: Let's talk about being salt and light (Material adapted from Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp's book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, chapter 15, pg. 167- 177)
Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread- D.T. NILES
3 disciples are important for us to remain faithful disciples of Jesus. These are in Luke 6.
This outlines for us an important night and day in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Jesus spent the night praying to God (Vs. 12)
In the morning, Jesus chose 12 of his disciples to be apostles (Vs. 13-16)
In the afternoon, Jesus healed the sick and preached the Word. (Vs. 17-49)
Notice the order- from solitude to community to ministry. The night is for solitude, the morning is for community, the afternoon is for ministry. Must start with prayer, move into community and then go out to minister in community, at least two by two.
Let me tell a story: Ben and Erin met when they were teenagers. Their friendship quickly became romantic and they had a love like no other. Within a few months Erin was pregnant, and they faced the first of many difficult decisions. The embarrassment of the pregnancy led them to get married secretly, but they had little understanding of how to live together, and they didn’t have a clue about how to love each other. Ben was a boy in a man’s body. He seemed more interested in the latest video game than the responsibilities of a husband and father. He was a latchkey kid who had never been accountable to others. Erin’s parents were divorced. They tried to make up for it by giving her gifts and indulging her every whim. She had been pampered in all the wrong ways and expected this kind of treatment as an expression of love. Ben did not have the desire or the resources to meet these kinds of expectations. Although he mad made efforts to win her affection while they were dating, this changed when they were married. Erin’s disappointment and Ben’s feelings of failure, coupled with their inability to resolve conflict, turned the marriage into a war zone. Erin complained that Ben did not really love her. Ben complained that Erin was too demanding. One evening their conflict spilled out into the stairwell of their apartment complex. Another couple overheard the argument and asked if they could help. As a result of this act of kindness, Erin began to meet with the wife and Ben started a friendship with the husband. They also spent time together as couples. Ben and Erin’s new friends were part of a local church that encouraged welcoming struggling people. Ben and Erin immediately found other couples who would honestly share about their struggles, which were surprisingly similar to their own. As people shared, what caught Ben and Erin’s attention was the honesty that was tied to a strong hope for change. Significant changes began to take place in Ben and Erin as they came to trust in Christ. The benefits of the gospel began to transform their marriage. They still had plenty of difficulty, but they began to deal with it differently. They were also surrounded by Christians who were committed to reach out to them and persevere with them through the messy process of change. What began as a story about Ben and Erin is really a story about an unnamed couple and the community of faith to which they belong. Oh how wonderful it would be if this story was more than just fiction!
What this couple did can be summarized by one word from the Bible: kingdom. The Kingdom of God is not noisy and explosive. However, it is a revolution carried out by humble servants who often go unnoticed. Just consider the king of this kingdom. How did Jesus enter our world? He came as a baby born into poverty amidst an oppressed people. He preached a message of love put on permanent display by his suffering, death, and resurrection. Wherever this King is present, these same things will be present. These were the things that won Ben and Erin’s hearts.
“Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”” Luke 17:20, 21, NIV.
The Pharisees were looking for an earthly, political kingdom. From what Jesus says here many conclude that the kingdom is invisible and this is true. “The kingdom of God is within you” . However, there is another aspect to the kingdom. The Holman Christian Standard Version says here, “the kingdom of God is among you”, NASB “the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
In other words, the kingdom of God has an invisible state but also a visible state. Jesus is telling the Pharisees that the kingdom can be seen. What are these things that can be seen? Jesus’ presence in our lives expresses itself in observable changes in individuals and their relationships. This leaves a trail of humility, compassion, sacrifice, joy and patience.