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Express Your Christian Faith Pastor Turriff 2-9-2020

Epiphany 5

Matthew 5:13-20

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. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

How is your Christian life going? Is it what you expected? Do you find it difficult? Is it hard for you to express your love for Jesus and his Word? Do people even know you’re a Christian? If they do, how do they view you? Do you find yourself completely open and dedicated to the call of God? Are you willing to be at his disposal, and be happy to be his instrument . . . his servant . . . his messenger?

You are instruments, servants and messengers for the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what he says in the text for today. So, my friends, EXPRESS YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH! One way to do that is to preserve and season the earth. As a Christian, you are described as the salt of the earth. The way you will do this is to serve as the qualities of salt – strengthening, purifying, flavoring, and most importantly preserving society.

Back in Jesus’ day, salt was used in a couple of ways. It was used for preserving and purifying, as well as for seasoning. Salt was used to counteract decay. Christians are to care so much for non-Christians that they would be willing to convict the non-Christians of sin by means of the Law. This will certainly “sting” and will not necessarily be appreciated. If Christians do not do so, then it will not be possible to “season” them with the Gospel of salvation – telling them that they have a Savior from that sin. Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to help you carry out this ministry.

God preserves this earth because of Christians. Think back to Abraham’s request. God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if there had been as few as 10 believers living there. In the same way, God spares the earth so that you and I may serve him by sharing the truth of God’s Word – by doing that preserving and seasoning of the world – by convicting them of their sin, which separates every sinner from the true God, and then sharing with them the saving message of the Gospel in order that lost souls will be rescued from eternal damnation.

Another way to EXPRESS YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH is to light up the world. Jesus describes you as the light of the world. The purpose of light is to shine so that one might be able to see. It would be silly to think that we might turn on a flashlight and then immediately cover it up with a basket. Just like a city on a hill, whose lights will be seen for miles, Christians will be noticed by the world. If you hide your light, that will be noticed too. You have the privilege to reflect the light of Christ to all people. By shining brightly, the Lord is glorified.

My friends, EXPRESS YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH by understanding the Law and the meaning of righteousness.

When Jesus talks about the Law or the Law and the Prophets, or Moses and the Prophets, he is talking about the whole Word of God that the Jews knew – from Genesis to Malachi. Jesus is saying here that he didn’t come to change it, throw it out, or write something totally new. Jesus came to fulfill everything the Law and the Prophets stated. Jesus kept every single word of God perfectly and Jesus kept every saving promise perfectly. The perfect and sinless Son of God lived perfectly for us, and he suffered and died for us in order to fulfill the promise of forgiveness and salvation through his sacrifice on the cross.

Through all that, Jesus gave us his righteousness. Every religion except Christianity teaches that people must find a way to make themselves righteous in God’s eyes. The only way to do that is to be perfect. We can’t do that. God demands that we be perfect like himself and not just “perfect” in the eyes of the world. The Pharisees tried that and failed. The righteousness that God gives is the perfect righteousness of Christ himself. He gives it to us by his grace through faith in him alone.

Dear friends, EXPRESS YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH! Be happy that Jesus has called you to be salt and light in this world. Jesus wants you to live your faith in the presence of the unbeliever. In fact, you cannot cease to be salt and light and remain a Christian. If the unbeliever ridicules your Gospel message or makes fun of your godly life, don’t be surprised. But just because they may do that, you keep on expressing your faith in Christ, right up to the end. Proclaim the Gospel in good times and bad. It alone can save a lost and condemned soul. Let your light shine. Live like a believer. You may be the only Bible someone reads. What do they read on the pages of your life?

And even if unbelievers do not care for your words or praise your Father in heaven by your actions, they will. Peter reminds us of that with these words: Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (1 Peter 2:12). The Judgment Day is coming. Jesus will return. All will see him and bow down to him. Then all unbelievers will understand and give glory to God.

So, be completely open and dedicated to the call of God. Be willing and faithful to do what God desires, anytime and anywhere. Be happy to be called to be God’s servant . . . his instrument . . . his messenger. Rejoice that Christ has called you to be “salt” and “light” in this world. EXPRESS YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH and give God the glory! Amen

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