Sermon:  Make the Most of Your Example


Summary:  In a twisted world, we are called to be as salt and light, which means we need to be fully present in the lives of people with godly influence and be visible through good works, and be invisible by directing the glory and attention to God so that people would turn their focus on God rather than us.


Text:  Mt 5:13-16


Scripture Reading:  2 Cor 5:16-20



1.  ILL:  Sermon made me think of being at a track Meet for William

a.     Stacey, myself, and Jeremy all standing together

b.     One of Williams friends thought Jeremy was the Father, I was the son

c.     Figured out why - He had dark sunglasses, serious looking, while I was smiling and laughing

d.     Our behavior made him think I was the son and Jer was the Dad

2.  This morning's text is all about our behavior and actions . . .

3.  (Mt 5:13-16) There is a certain way Christians behave, act, and speak

a.     Context - Sermon on Mount - About the Kingdom

b.     We belong to a different kingdom - not of this world

c.     Jesus describes us as salt and light

4.  How are we to be salt and light?


I. (v.13) You are Salt when you are Fully Present

A. Salt is not good if it is not salty AND present

1. I am reminded of a book title:  "Out of the Salt Shaker"

2. Salt is no good if it remains in the salt shaker

3. But what does it mean to be out of the salt shaker???

B. Think about salt as an object lesson. 

1. Used as a purifying agent

a. Ex 30:34-35 - Incense at tabernacle to be mixed with salt - so it will be "pure and holy"

i Gets rid of impurities, so that it would not spoil

b.  2 Kg 2:19-22 - Don't drink water in Jericho -- bad

i Elisha threw salt into the spring, purified it

ii Obviously a miracle - but clearly see the symbol of salt as a purifying agent

c. ILL:  We use – Canned soup, beef jerky, salted pork

i Halmoony used salt to brush her teeth –healthy teeth

ii Look up online – used as cleaner for many things – sweat stains fabric, soap scum, garbage disposal

iii Get rid of ice on the drive too

d. We are salt - We are like a purifying agent

i In a corrupt world, we are a purifying influence

ii But, cannot happen if we are not present in the world

2. Salt is also used as a seasoning

a. Food Becomes pleasing, makes you want more

b. In the right amount, brings out the best

c. We bring out the best in people

d. Focus on what is excellent, pure, lovely

3. We are not a tasteless people

a. Because we are in fellowship with Lord of life

b. We know how to savor life to its fullest

c. Because Christ has purified us, we become a purifying agent and bring out the best - through Christ in us

C. ILL:  Reminds me of Gailyn, from a Campaign we did

1. Several years ago, she became a Christian

2. Has 3 adult granddaughters - was very concerned about them

a. Living in immorality, involved in drugs

b. Nearly lost one to drugs

c. Needless to say, they had never been Christians

3. Grandma never turned her back on them - and it paid off

a. Tried as much as she could to stay in their lives

b. Tried to be good example, offer guidance

c. They started to come around

d. Finally made decision to become a Christian

i All three had been living with boyfriends

ii All three got married that week

4. Would not recognize those girls from what they were

a. All 3 are married, beautiful, radiant Christians

b. Lexi, one of the daughters went on my team for campaign

c. She got out of the salt shaker and connected with others

D. This is what it means to be salt - Get out of salt shaker, be present

1. There is not other way to be godly, purifying influence

2. Jesus makes a similar point with another object lesson - -


II. (v.14-16a) You are Light When You are Visible in Good Works

A. This goes beyond just being an influence on someone

1. Talking about doing good things

2. Influence only goes so far

B. Jesus point - Light is visible

1. City Set on a Hill / Light on Lampsstand - It is visible by nature

2. Point - Christians visibly do good in a world full of bad

a. You are the light of the - - WORLD, not of the church

b. Our light usually shines very well in the church

i Bible study, worship, sing, encourage

ii Take care of each other's needs

c. But those driving by see what?  A BUILDING

d. Did not say your building is the light of the world - you are

3. Christian service happens everywhere, not just church blg

a. Jn 13:15 - Jesus washed his disciples feet as an example

b. Mt 20:28 - Jesus not come to be served, but to serve

c. Jn 8:12 - Jesus is light of the world through teaching and through his good works

d. Now he says YOU are the light of the world

4. (1 Tim 6:18) Not fix hope on uncertainty of riches, but be rich in good works

a. "Rich in good works" - What does that say to you?

b. Good works - a defining characteristic of Christians

c. Good works are how we are the light of the world

C. ILL:  This is how the church stands out in the world

1. Historically, the early church was known for good works

a. Show compassion by providing burial for the poor

b. Helped to feed the poor

c. Helped with care of the sick, putting selves at risk

2. Risk - Guy On the rails going to California from Boston

a. Wasn't sure what he wanted - Offered money, not want it

b. Wanted to continue trip - Didn't know what to tell him

c. He walked away - Remember parable of Good Samaritan

i Why Jesus tell story?  Who is my neighbor to love?

ii My neighbor is walking up the hill

d. Got him, offer ride.  Explain that I do this because Jesus says I am to help my neighbor

i Prayed, she shed a tear

ii Why did I nearly pass him by like the priest?

3. Song:  This Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let in Shine

a. How do you let in shine?  Good works

b. Even when it is a risk, or inconvenient

D. Be rich in good works - Many ways to do this

1. Have to get out of the salt shaker and into people's lives

2. Do good to people in the name of Christ . . .


III.  (v.16) God's Light Shines in You When you are Visibly Invisible

A. What people need to see is not just you, but Christ in you

B. Notice the text - What should be the results of the good works?

1. So that they will glorify our Father in Heaven

a. It is not to make us feel good, though it does do that

b. It is not just because it is a nice thing to do

c. It is to glorify God

2. God has blessed us richly and wants us to share the blessing

a. Food, clothing, love, support

b. Redemption, reconciliation, transformation

c. The Gospel

d. We share all these blessings and let his light shine

3. It is a definite problems if I

a. Do good works, but don't share the Gospel

b. I share the Gospel, but don't do good works

c. Do neither one

4. Jesus did BOTH

a. Ministers to the sick, fed the hungry

b. Blessed people with the bread of life - Word of God

C. ILL:  Back when we were students - Very little money - from preaching

1. Clint flew down with Christmas presents for the kids in his plane

2. We so grateful, said thank you

3. His response - God has blessed us, and we wanted to share

4. Gave the glory to God

D. Being visibly invisible in doing good works means giving glory to God

1. We need to magnify God, not ourselves

2. The response we should want is not "How great you are" but "How great God is"



1.  (2 Cor 5:17-20) Reminds us that this is part of our purpose here

a.     We are ambassadors for Christ - We represent him, not us

b.     We have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation

c.     We do so by being salt and light, drawing attention to God

2.  First step is to obey the Gospel (inv)

3.  Would like to suggest something - All of us do good works individually

a.     But there is something about doing good works together

b.     One light in a dark room is significant

c.     But a bunch of lights together can make a huge impact

d.     Also, it is encouraging to work together in meaningful ministry

4.  Have handouts connected to last sermon series

a.     Talked about our purpose - To love God and others through growing in serving, sharing, and encouraging

b.     Like to talk about what we can possibly do as a group

c.     Take these, read over them prayerfully, detach the one half and return them

d.     Hopefully encourage us to find ways to get out of the salt shaker





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Article based on




I remember a couple of winters ago a Twin Cities company actually chartered a jet and filled it with employees and all they did was fly above the gray clouds for a couple of hours so they could see the sun. As wacky as the idea was, I was told that the stunt really boosted morale and performance within the company. It emphasizes how much we need light to live and light to grow.