February 14, 2016 – The New Religion

Sermon on the Mount 1

Memorize: Matthew 5:16–In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Read: Matthew 5-7

 


 

Monday—Matthew 5:13 and 14 talk to Christians about being salt and light. These are powerful metaphors. Salt is a preservative that works only when it penetrates into food, and becomes useless when contaminated by other chemical substances. It must remain pure to do its job. Jesus says that Christians, likewise, must penetrate society while keeping themselves from being influenced by sin in the world. Similarly, light penetrates darkness. To know the truth and fail to stand for it, Jesus says, is as senseless as lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket.

 

Tuesday— We don’t just live out our faith inside the walls of our churches and of our homes, but we carry our faith out into the world. We’re not to be of the world, but we’re to be in the world. We’re citizens of an earthly kingdom as well as a heavenly one. Citizens participate in the culture, everything from what children are taught in school to what appears on TV screens. What are some things affecting the saltiness and light that your family provides to the world?

 

Wednesday—When it comes to how Christians should be active in culture, people of good will may disagree. Some will argue to limit involvement to what is sometimes referred to as the “social gospel” found in Matthew 25 when Jesus instructs His followers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the sick. And certainly Christians are, and should be, engaged in such activities. But is that enough? Take, for example, the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: Ministering to someone who is naked, beaten and half-dead on the side of the road is an appropriate Christian response. Taking precautions to prevent travelers from being robbed and beaten in the first place — such as supporting government protection for life, liberty and property — is equally important.

 

Thursday—Christians also have a responsibility to be proactive in society and address issues, whenever possible, before harm takes place. That means supporting and promoting institutions that are good both for individuals and for society, like the family. That’s the kind of broad view we must take to live out a Christian response in our culture.

 

Friday— “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) When we seek this righteousness (as if we were hungering and thirsting for it), we are salt and light to the world. We are different from the world and we stand out. We point to Jesus and show a lost world who He is. What do you need to do this week to be salt and light to those around you?