I continued our study of the Sermon on the Mount this past Sunday with a message on Matthew 5:14-16, where Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world.” This description of Christ-followers, along with Matthew 5:3 where Jesus declares, “You are the salt of the earth,” teach us what it means to maximize our influence for the kingdom of God. They are challenges passages, in which the Lord exhorts us to be different that the world around us. But they are also comforting passages, as Jesus reminds us that God is willing and able to use ordinary people like us to change the world.
Here is the sermon skeleton from Sunday’s message:
Title: “Turning on the Lights”
Text: Matthew 5:14-16
Theme: Maximizing kingdom influence
This world is in the dark. In a real sense, there is darkness within us. And, definitely, there is darkness all around us. But there is someone who is able who is able to turn on the lights for those who are engulfed in the darkness of sin. Light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. But you may be surprised about where Jesus says this light is found. Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world.”
I. Jesus describes his followers as the light of the world (5:14a).
A. The bad news: The world is dark.
1. It’s intense darkness (Gen. 19:11).
2. It’s intentional darkness (John 3:19).
B. The good news: The church is the light of the world.
1. It’s reflected light (John 8:12; 9:5).
2. It’s inherent light (Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:8; 1 P. 2:9).
II. Jesus explains the the significance of being the light of the world (5:14b-15).
A. Light cannot be hidden: “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (5:14b)
B. Light should not be hidden: “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (5:15)
III. Jesus commands his followers to shine as lights in the world (5:16)
A. The divine command: “In the same way, let your light shine before others”
B. The specific reason: “so that they may see your good works”
C. The ultimate purpose: “and give glory to your Father who is in heaven“
The Most Important Commandment
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. – Mark 12:28-34 Armies win…