Making a Difference

Matthew 5:13-16 – Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Saved people want to make a difference in the world.  They want to affect their friends and neighbors for good.  They do not want their friends and neighbors to think they are fanatics, or crazy when it comes to religious duties, worship and service.


1)      My question here is: are we at IBC (or any other church or individual) so far removed from this world that we do not understand there is so much cheating taking place?  Are we able to relate to our children and the world they live in?  Do we really understand what is going on in the world?  I know some would say we should not be so fanatical about our religion, that we should not be separated, but live closer to the world so we can win the world to Christ.  That is called “compromise”. 

2)      The Bible states that we should be separated from this world and be lights in the world.  Because we are so separated and not mixed in with the world, we are doing what God commands us to do and be. 

3)      II Corinthians 6:17,18 - Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 

4)      Matthew 5:13-16 – Never be ashamed when the world sees your good works.  I know they should see Christ, but they cannot see Christ, all they can see is your good works.  It is by seeing your good works they are able to see Christ. 

5)      We must understand there are two different ways to live in this world, and these two ways must never mix.  When they mix, the pure way is always polluted, just like when poison and water is mixed together, they cannot be separated again.  The poison always changes the water, the water never changes the poison.


Matthew 5:1-12 – The first thing Jesus does is encourage those that want to follow him.  These people need encouragement from God, because they cannot get encouragement from the world, or themselves.


There is nothing in the entire sermon on the mount about doctrines, church membership, the scriptural requirements for baptism, or how to be saved.  Jesus is speaking to his disciples, and they need to be encouraged to understand they are making a difference in their private lives by the way they live.  Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the way people in the world perceive them.


Note that the law is referred to in verse 17, which is called the commandment of God in verse 19, which translates into righteousness in verse 20.  It is good to bad when we let people intimidate us into not following the commandments of God.  Sometimes the reason people try to intimidate us is because we are making a difference to them.  We are showing them, by cheerfully obeying the commandments of God, that they are not obeying God.  The light we reflect from the law of God reveals their sinfulness to them, therefore they attempt to intimidate us into not following what we know. 


There is no place for haughtiness in our service to God, but a total complete reliance on God.  We should not wear our righteousness for all to see, but our righteousness should be humbleness of heart and life.  We have no need to be ashamed before God, who sees us every day, every place, and in every way.


In the sermon on the mount, Jesus stresses the importance of inner spiritual health, not just the outward fulfilling of human righteousness.  Matthew 23:27 states, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men‘s bones, and of all uncleanness. 


Luke 3:2-9 – John came preaching the baptism of repentance, which is baptism only after true repentance is seen in the lives of the believers.  John refused to baptize people who did not reflect evidence of a changed life.  In Luke 3:10-14 the people hearing what John said to the unbelieving multitude asked him what they should do.  In other words, they asked him to define the fruits of true repentance.  John told them three things.

1.      Verse 11 – (help those who cannot help themselves) give to those that do not have.

2.      Verse 12-13 – (do a good job before all) He told the publicans to not charge people more than they owed.

3.      Verse 14 – (remember God’s authority and coming judgment over you) John told the soldiers to not abuse their authority, and be content with their wages.

These are all common everyday things all believers should be doing.  There is nothing spectacular, or out of the ordinary.  These are things every person should be doing.


True repentance is not different things for different people, but repentance is fulfilling the greatest commandment of the law, which according to Matthew 22:36 is to love God first, then love your neighbor as yourself.  In other words – obey the law of God.  People who despise the law do not like God to tell them what to do.  The church at Ephesus was guilty of not loving God as they should, therefore they were in danger of losing their candlestick – ceasing to be a church.


Matthew 5:21-26 – The world sees hypocrites all the time, who make a pretence of worship, but inwardly hide ill feelings, while going on with their worship of God.  Jesus wants those listening to the Sermon on the Mount to understand the depth of bitterness, and how their worship to God cannot be accepted until they get bitterness out of their heart.  Do you have bitterness in your heart that you are hiding?  God knows all about it.  And God does not and will not accept your worship of him until you get rid of all that bitterness.


Matthew 5:27-30 – Jesus here defines what adultery truly is.  It is not just physical adultery that stands in judgment of God, it is the thought and intend of the heart.  Genesis 6:5 – God saw the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man was only evil continually.  God also sees our imaginations, and the thoughts of our heart, just as he saw the people in the days of Noah.  We shall not escape his righteous judgment anymore than the people in that day. 


Matthew 5:31-32 – Jesus expressed the hardness of the people in putting away their wives for every cause.  Matthew 19:3-9.  So it is today, people are getting divorced because they are not happy.  They need to get happy, therefore they will not want a divorce. 


Matthew 5:33-37 – Jesus expresses what the world sees when disciples of Christ try to control things they have no control over.  Authority is a big issue in this world, not just in the religious world, but also in the secular world.  Catholics covered up much sexual abuse because of power, or authority, or the desire to control what they could not control.  The problem with our government is authority, the problem in many churches is authority – who has it – and who wants it – and what they want to do with it.  The expression: “complete authority completely corrupts”, is absolutely true.


Matthew 5:45 tells us what we should do if we are to reflect the fact that we are the children of God.  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.