Summary: This message centers on three ways we can let our light shine in a world cast in darkness.
You Are the Light in a Dark World – Matthew 5:13-16 (Sermon on the Mount)
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.
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither 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. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Every moment of our life belongs to God. Each minute is working toward a greater purpose – a Godly purpose. Most of us miss that. We go about our daily lives not realizing the incredible opportunity God gives us to be a light to those that walk in darkness, or flavor to those who have no seasoning in their own life. We tend to compartmentalize our life. The few hours a week that we spend on “religious” things belong to God and the rest we tend to keep to ourselves missing the fact that God has something special planned for that time too.
The 40 or so hours you spend on the job, or the casual time spent talking to your neighbor across the fence, or the time you spend at the hair dresser’s salon or at the garage getting an oil change are God moments. Times that God has put in your day to give him glory. I think we underestimate God’s interest in our secular pursuits and overestimate his interest in our religious pursuits.
The fact of the matter is that God is probably more interested in our secular pursuits than our religious ones. Why? Because it is in our secular pursuits that secular people are watching our lives. The grocery store, the club, the salon are the environments where people are desperately in need of a connection with the creator.
Every relationship and responsibility in your present plays an eternal part in the divine script of God. Your neighbor is more impacted by your daily walk with him as you discuss the latest drama of his life than the daily devotions you have in the secret of your bible study group.
Tonight I want to look at three ways that your light can shine to those living in darkness or lost in the fog.
a. Everyone is looking for peace
1. Chemically, self-help, support groups, entertainment
b. Authentic peace stands out
1. “I don’t know how you can just let them say that?”
2. “Aren’t you worried about what could happen?”
3. “I can’t believe you can forgive them for that!”
4. “If I were you, I’d sue the pants off of them!”
c. Carol Anderson story – hung out with me just because my life made her feel good.
d. What if your peace and happiness was not merely for your benefit? Have you ever wondered about that? What if God is using it to bring others to him? When real peace shines on the lives of those who lack it, it illuminates their emptiness.
II. Healthy Relationships
a. We live in a world where practically everyone comes from a dysfunctional family.
1. We squeeze our relationships for all the love and emotion we can and still come away asking for more.
b. A healthy marriage and family causes people to look at it and wonder:
Why them and not me?
How do they make it work?
How come I’m not that lucky?
They seem to have their act together.
c. They know God is involved in the relationship.
d. Don’t sacrifice the relationships in your life for career or ministry. God doesn’t get glory from that. (Personal story)
1. Jack Welch story
e. How are the key relationships in your life? Your marriage? Your children? Do you see those relationships as a way for God to demonstrate his power and grace to those who are watching?
a. Character involves to the right thing – the God thing. It is such a rare thing that it immediately draws peoples curiosity. When someone demonstrates Godly character most people immediately assume that there is a hidden agenda. Amen? It goes against the grain of an “it’s all about me society”.
b. Sometimes we compromise our character with a seemingly innocent and advantageous shortcut. “I’ll just fudge the information on this report to get it through faster.” “If I flirt with the new boss maybe she’ll give me that promotion I’ve been wanting.” “If I claim this as a business expense it will help me on April 15th. Everyone does it.”