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Summary: Our example is extrememly important for us to fulfill Jesus’ commands to be salt and light to a lost and dying world.

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(based on Southeast Christian Church’s “Living a Life of Integrity”)

SERIES: “WORDS OF WISDOM FOR KINGDOM LIVING”

TEXT: MATTHEW 5:7-16

TITLE: “WATCH YOUR EXAMPLE”

INTRODUCTION: A. Letter to Diognetus, mid-to late-2nd century under the heading “The Manners of the

Christians”:

For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language,

nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor

employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any

singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any

speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim

themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as

well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and

following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their

ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method

of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they

share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign

land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of

strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy

their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the

flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are

citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the

laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown

and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make

many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured,

and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are

justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with

honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as

if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted

by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their

hatred.

--Prov. 22:1 – “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is

better than silver or gold.”

B. What is your reputation?

1. Do people see you as someone who has set a good example to follow?

2. Do they see a correlation between what you profess and how you live?

3. Is your home, your place of employment, and your community influenced by how

you live your life?

C. Listen to what Jesus said about how our relationship with Him should impact those

that live around us

1. Mt. 5:13 – “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”

a. Salt has a number of uses. It adds taste to food, melts ice, creates thirst. But in

the first century salt was used primarily as a preservative. Jesus’ audience didn’t

have refrigeration—when they butchered meat or caught fish they packed the

meat in salt to preserve it. You can still buy country hams that are salt-cured.

b. When Jesus said that you are the salt of the earth, He acknowledged that decay is

inevitable in a fallen world. Left alone, culture will always deteriorate, without

Christ the world will rot. Jesus was saying that your job is to preserve truth and

conserve Godly values in society. You permeate the world and help maintain a

wholesomeness in the culture.

c. Jesus said that if salt loses its saltiness it’s no longer good for anything but to be

thrown out and tromped on like sand in a path. Technically, Sodium Chloride

cannot lose its saltiness, but the salt mined from the Dead Sea was so polluted

with other minerals that it lost its preserving abilities.

d. If a Christian becomes polluted by the sin and philosophy of the world we lose

our preserving ability.

e. Rebecca Manley Pippert wrote a book that became a best-seller, Out of the

Saltshaker. Her premise is that Christians aren’t to remain comfortably in

church and associate only with each other. If we do then we’re of no value to

the world. Salt permeates the meat to preserve it. Salt works quietly, often

unnoticed. But it serves its primary purpose when it’s out of the container. The

church is most needed in the world, not in the church building.

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