SER # 6W
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
SUNDAY FEBRRUARY 9TH 2020
TEXTS: MATTHEW 5: 13 – 20
This Sunday we celebrate the Boys Scout as part of Scouting Ministries of North America. Our Church sponsors the Boys Scout here and some of church members are key leaders. They usually met in Gage hall for their activities. Today we also celebrate the baptism of baby Ian Everett son of Emily and Aaron Roth. We are thankful to God for the gift of children in our congregation. We thank the parents and the guardians who bring them to church.
Jesus while doing his ministry liked to use common things of life to illustrate a point/s in his message. In our story today Jesus uses salt, light, and City to teach very important practices for Christian living.
Jesus audience understood some of the traditional values of the illustrations used. Let us try to understand what Jesus meant when he instructed his disciples to be: The Salt, the light, the light on a lamp and the city build on a hill.
- To be the Salt of the World: Danger of salt is lose the saltness. Therefore, we can argue that the challenge of this example is how to maintain the saltness. The way to do this is for one to do what is right and seek justice. When we become irrelevant and compromised, we lose our saltness. One, we are to become Purity to the world: In the ancient world salt was seen as a symbol of purity. It was as a result of sun and the sea. The heat that purify the sea water to have salt as the result. Christians are therefore called to be symbols of purity in their actions and in their talking. We have to choose our words and live a life that speaks for our faith. Purity has been understood and interpreted in different ways in different cultures but the principle remains the same. That is why we encourage Christian young men and women to live a pure life in terms of their relationship until they get married. Purity is not only in marriage but in all the aspect of Christian living. Two, Preservative to the world: Once again in the olden days where people did not have the technology that we have today salt was used to preserve meat and other things. Salt as an antiseptic that keep things from spoiling. In a similar way Christians are called to have an antiseptic influence on the life of other people. Being as preservative, we will defeat corruption and make it easier for others to be good. We protect what is good from getting bad. Three, we are the Healing balm to the world: Again, salt was used as an antibiotic if one had a small wound. You wash the wound with some salt water it would kill some germs. People will look upon us when they are facing difficult in marriage relationship, financial challenges or any other kind of challenge to offer some healing guidance. Our work is to provide some healing or at least reduce their pain as they seek for more help and we choose to listen. Four, we add the Flavor to the world: I respect the people that eat food with no salt for they it has no taste to me. But I know people have to do that for medical reasons. Those who eat salt in their food know how food tastes without salt. Our work therefore is to add that flavor to life to the people around us. If a stranger got to know you are Christian would they long to become one? We have to show excitement of being Christians, show some joy, happiness and some positivity of life to the people coming in contact with us. This might lead them to want to know more about the secret in you that makes you act so nicely. It is Christians who lend flavor to the world. Christians must be diffusers of joy and sparkles of life.
- To be the Light of the World: Make sure it never turn off. Jesus is the source of light, ours is to reflect that light from the source for our light is borrowed from Jesus. One, Light is to be seen: There is nothing like secret discipleship. Our Christian faith has to be visible in our everyday life. Our life and our faith go together because we are the same person. The purpose of any light whether a lamp or torch is to provide visibility. When people hide their light, you will notice the following: a) They will not speak when they are supposed to. b) They will go along with the crowd or whatever the majority will say. c) They will ignore the needs of others as long as their needs are being met. d) They will even deny their light if their life or position is threatened. e) People will deem their light depending with circumstances. We are called to shine even if this means we might get in trouble. Two, to guide: The light makes shine and show the right way to go. We guide others by being a good example. The world we live in need a guide whose source is Jesus Christ. We need guidance in our homes, our churches, Cities, counties, State, Country, and even the world. Three, it is a To warning sign. Many know what the blinking umber light means. It might mean there is a school nearby or maybe the light ahead is about to turn red. Sometimes it reminds us there is icy bridge or road ahead. Now the warning light just gives warning but it is the responsibility of the one seeing to light to obey or not to obey. Couples need to notice when there is a blinking light coming from your spouse and make decision before it is too late. When it comes to family, warnings should be offered in love not in anger, irritation, criticism, condemnation or with desire to hurt. We need to produce the light that can be seen, warn, and guide people. People have to see our good deeds (Kalos) captivating, beautiful, attractive, charming in Christian goodness. Our goodness should point to Jesus not us.
- To be like a City Built on the Hill: Can’t be hidden. In Jesus time it was not an usual to see cities or homes build on a hill or curved on a hillside. It made sense in many ways at that time. A city on a hill illustrates a number of things. One, it builds on a solid base that would allow it to stand the winds that blow against it. Two, it also wound withstands the mad slides that comes after a heavy rain. Three, it is a display for the people to see. It becomes a land mark that people can point at. A point of reference. Four, it was a security feature. The city built on a high up they had advantage over their enemies who might try to reach them (there were no airplanes that would attack from the air everything was ground). You can easily control who comes. You can easily control what is down there. Maybe that what the Psalmist was trying to illustrate in Psalm 121: 1 -2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” It is in this ancient writing that up on the hill is where God resides and sends his help down. We read of God who acted from Mt. Sinai, Mt. Olive, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Hermon, Mt. Moreh, Mt. Tabor, Mt. Nebo, Mt of Olives and the list can go on.
- To be a Lamp on the Lamp Stand: Never put under the table. This light affects its environment. Those in close contact. This contact might represent families, friends, and other close associates that might need your light when decisions are being made. Decision that affect others at the work place, at your home or with close associate. In accordance in making one light shine, people have turned down offers if they feel that it is not justly awarded. We are called to shine at our corners of life. No matter how little the light might seem it has enough power to remove the darkness around. God has placed us in different places as lamps the choice is whether we want to be under the table or be on the lamp stand so that the light of Jesus in you might shine to those people around you. Let us not deem our light when the dark world needs it. Let is live like people who possess the light of Jesus wherever we are.
The challenge that we have is to be Jesus followers who are willing to live according to the guidelines that he has put down for us. In this passage we are reminded of the importance of the scripture. We are to be true to the word of God because Jesus came to fulfill what was already spoken by God’s people that came before him. The passage reminds us that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He came to reach us what it means to love God and to love our neighbor.