Summary: Influence - famous people influence lots of people. Advertising influences people. Christians are salt and light and they infuence flavor...What influence does OUR church have?
What would it matter?
SLIDE - influence
This morning we are focused on one topic….influence perhaps considered power. It is one of the many words that can easily have a double meaning. It can be used to mean and ability to influence someone or something in a good or bad way …depending on your perspective.
This morning I am limiting our thoughts on influence just a bit. I am not directly talking about physical influence or the influence of parents and teachers.
Not don’t get me wrong, the majority of areas I plan to leave out are monumentally important.
The individual’s influence on friends is incredibility powerful.
The impact of society and the general culture on the citizens in any area is dramatic.
Each of those directions and probably 20 more types of influence would offer us a year of sermons.
But let’s quickly look at some slides to start our minds going this morning. All kinds of people have the ability to influence us….
- Some people have political influence
-- Some people end up directing social influence (I should send a letter of apology to Nelson Mandela for showing him with Paris Hilton and Rosy O’Donnell.)
--- Some offer strange influence
---- Influences slide
My point is that depending on our individual perspectives we see these people as offering either good of bad influences. The pictures I used came from Time Magazine’s lost of the 100 most influential people in the world. There were a lot of people in that list I had never heard of. But, for some reason, some place in the world some people yield a lot of power and influence to people on the Time list.
While people technically make up my next set of pictures the images represent groups of people that have power and intentionally try to influence people.
- Corporations and Brands influence the culture and households.
-- Advertising Influences
The examples I just showed you this morning are very powerful.
However, I want us to put on spiritual blinders and consider just Christian influence and power.
Our scripture this morning comes from Matthew 5:13-16
SLIDE - SCRIPTURE
"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.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Theses descriptions are given right after the section of Matthew called the Beatitudes where Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven and who is blessed.
Disciples of Jesus Christ are described in two ways in our scripture today.
Salt and Light and Jesus describes the qualities of these common things.
First, He says that we ARE the salt of the earth. Not can be, or should be….we are salt.
Today our doctors tell us to stay away from salt.
But can you enjoy a baked potato or popcorn without salt?
Salt is a simple flavoring that in reality we can not survive without. Our bodies need salt to regulate fluids and organ operation. When we…women cry the tears taste salty. When we sweat on hot summer day’s, salt is in a high concentration on our skin.
An average adult has 250 Grams or 8.8 ounces of salt in the tissues and blood at any given time. The amount is regulated and extra salt is automatically removed from the body. God is a great designer….
Except for the flavor that most of us like and physical need salt is not really all that valuable to us.
But in Jesus’ day it was a bit different. Salt was very valuable. There were all kinds of uses for salt and the demand for salt made it valuable.
What made it valuable? Primarily because of the way it preserves food. Meats of all kinds can be preserved and transported for-sale to other distant places. Fish could be shipped far inland from the sea preserved by salt. A family could store foods safely for extended periods of time.
Salt was valuable enough that Roman soldiers were partly paid in salt. It is said to be from this that we get the word soldier - ’sal dare’, meaning “to give salt.”
The phrase “Not worth his salt,” comes from Roman days and it was considered to be a harsh insult.
Jesus’ description that we are salt is probably less of a complement than a pointed reminder. He explains that salt that looses it salty character or taste is basically useless.