Disciples and the World | Matthew 5:13-16 | Dan Dumas
Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
I have hand selected a mission sized and mission emphasis text this morning and so I've selected Matthew 5:13-16 for our consideration here this morning. Matthew 5:13-16 for our consideration this morning. As you make your way to Matthew 5, I believe this is Jesus' finest sermon, 111 verses, 50 imperatives, 250 verbs. I think this is his finest moment and this small paragraph here is tucked into the beginning for emphasis and for import and impact and so I want us to consider it this morning together and to study it together.
I begin with a question this morning: what is sodium chloride and electromagentic radiation have to do with the Gospel? Sodium chloride, salt. Electromagnetic radiation, light. They are the two metaphors that Jesus chose to define what our mission is as a church. They are the two illustrations, the two pictures that define what we are called to. These two metaphors remind us that it is the expectation that we push back darkness and we engage in regular retarding of decay that affects this fallen world all around us. You were left here to live on mission. You're not just here to come to Christ, although that is of first importance and first priority that you would be redeemed for his glory, but if that was your only purpose, he would give you roughly two weeks and you think, "Why two weeks?" That's because what you have to give your employer, two weeks' notice, so he would give you two weeks' notice and you would say goodbye to your family, you would exit stage right and you would find yourself in glory or heaven. That's not the case. He saves you out of the world. He places you right back in the world to live on mission, to also proclaim Christ, to reveal Christ, to push back darkness and to stop the corruption that's in a fallen world. He calls us to live on mission.
Jesus said in Luke 19:10, "I come to seek and to save that which is lost." That's Jesus' mission, it's also our mission because when he calls a group of disciples like here this morning, he says, "I'll make you fishers of men." All the way back in the Old Testament, Proverbs 11:30 states that, "he that wins souls is wise." We are called to live on mission. We are called to proclaim Christ to everyone and anyone who doesn't know the King and the kingdom we enjoy.
So as we approach this text, I want to kind of give you an overview of it and then we'll dig in together. First, I want you to notice here and we're going to read it in a second, there are two facts: you are salt and you are light. Then Jesus makes two observations: if salt looses its saltiness, it's useless; if light in a house is put under a basket, that's craziness. Two observations. And then one final imperative. He sticks the landing in verse 16: we are called to be a salty well-lit people. We are called to be a salty well-lit church.
Let's look at this fine sermon taught by Jesus Christ and let's let it define our mission. This is why you're here, to be saved and to proclaim Christ. He ordained the message and the means. You are the means. You are the only salt and only light that some people will ever see. How is your saltiness this morning? How brilliant are you shining the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Listen to Jesus' words.
13 You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill surely cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone in their right mind light a lamp and put it under a basket, but rather on the lampstand in the center of the room and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and in turn then glorify your Father who is in heaven.
This is a mission defining text. It is of utmost importance that we wrestle with this particular passage.
I know you sit under a fine Bible teacher every week and you would appreciate and know that context is king, and by context we mean what's around this verse; what gives us interpretation capacity; how do we understand its placement; what was Jesus thinking. It wasn't just disjointed, there was a sequence to what he was teaching that particular morning. He was walking them through a path of thinking. He was trying to transform their lives. He was trying to define the mission for them.
So notice what comes before. What is prior to these four verses in the Sermon on the Mount is the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are life-defining. If verses 13 to 16 define our mission, verses 3 through 12 define our lives. What does a true, authentic, well-lit Christian look like? As a matter of fact, you will never live out 13 to 16 until you come to grips with 3 through 12. Three through 12 precede 13 through 16. They are absolutely tied together. It's impossible to be salty and well-lit if you lack character so your life and your lips have to sync. Your lips and your life have to sync. Your life is the calling card by which you proclaim these good deeds. It affects everything and so you have to sync up 3 to 12 with 13 through 16.
One way you do that, just take a look at verse 3 of chapter 5, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." You are called to be poor in spirit. You'll never outgrow your need to be poor in spirit. How does that affect us proclaiming and being salt and proclaiming the light of the Gospel? It affects it like this: we don't look down on sinners. We don't look down on our community. It is like one beggar showing another beggar where the food is. It's that kind of mindset. It's that kind of posture. We're not looking down and deriding their lack of character. No, we're salt and we're light. We're trying to make a huge impact on them and so we don't condescend to them, we proclaim the clear Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So 13 to 16 are what verses 3 through 12 look like in street clothes. If you want to put 3 to 12, a salty believer or an authentic Christian and what it looks like in the marketplace and what it looks like at your job and what it looks like at your school, that's what it looks like. But you won't get one without the other. If you don't have the character of 3 through 12, you will never have the impact and the expectation of 13 to 16.
Also, footnote: this living out as salt and light is not to be done in isolation. We're not to cloister up and hide out in the church. We are to go to the world. The darker it gets, the brighter the light shines. It's never to be done in isolation. We're to be in the thick of it. Yes, we're not of the world but we're certainly placed in the world and there is no Plan B in reaching the world. You are Plan B. You are the only salt and the only light that some people will ever see.
If you wanted to put one word over this whole paragraph, 13 to 16, put the word "influence, Gospel influence." It is crystal clear as Jesus defines here in 13 to 16, the mission of the church is to be a salty well-lit people to a dark and rotten world. And it's not just, as you notice in the text, it's not just Palestine, it's the whole world, every square inch, the whole earth. It's a magnanimous calling. It's a calling that only the believer can fulfill. We are to go to the nations. It is our responsibility. It is our calling.
So in this text, Jesus defines every Christian's twofold mission in a decaying and dark world. Our twofold mission to a decaying and dark world. The first of our mission if you're going to live on mission is this: you must learn to retard corruption. It's found there in verse 13, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under the foot by men."
Let me make a couple of preliminary comments and then we'll unpack this verse. First, this is not for the professionals. This is not just for the elders. This is not for the elite in Christian evangelical circles. This is for all of us. You are, every single one of you are the target audience. This isn't for super Christians, this is for all of us. We are called to be fishers of men. Just look at how Jesus selected his 12 whom he said will change the world. They were fishermen. They were uneducated. They were from hick towns and he upset the whole world with a group of men who understood their responsibility, who knew what it meant to live on mission. This is always God's plan, to take ordinary people like us and do extraordinary things through them in the context of their community.
The second thing as you approach this particular point is keep in mind it's in the indicative. This is not up for discussion. This is fact. You are if you are a Christian and you claim to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, you are salt and you are to be light. This is our expectation. This is our calling, to be salty believers that have an unearthly and savory effect, a heavenly effect, on everyone that is around us. You are called to be a transformational agent and we know that the world is rotten. We live in a fallen world. Darkness and decay, it began in the very beginning and will continue to get darker and darker. 2 Timothy 3:13, "Evil men and imposters will produce for themselves bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." In other words, it's not going to get better, it's only going to get worse. And since Genesis 3, we have been in a constant state of decomposition. Everything is trending towards decomposition. Sin festers. It putrefies and wreaks havoc in the world. The world apart from Christ will continue to rot and continue to be foul and offensive to a holy God like we see reflected in Genesis 6 in the days of Noah. Only one retardant, only one preservative that Jesus offers and it's in this room. It's you. It's me. It's us. You are the retardant. You are the preservative. You are the world's salt. It's in the emphatic position. You alone are called to push back darkness and slow the decomposition.
Now here's the deal, here's the challenge with this metaphor and illustration. It kind of doesn't make sense to us. I kind of threw you off a little bit, tried to with the sodium chloride. It's a metaphor that we struggle with because why? We have refrigeration. They did not have refrigeration. Primarily salt is a preservative. It fights deterioration. It prevents decay. When you don't have freezers and refrigerators like they didn't in the first century, this issue of salt in their minds, it became very valuable. Very valuable. So in a world with no refrigeration, it made perfect sense. When Jesus spoke this, they got it. For us we go, "What's the big deal with salt?" I mean, you're thinking, "I put salt on fries. It's a condiment. I'm the world's condiment. You're the condiment of the world." You see, it just kind of loses its stiffness, right? It's designed to be a throat chop but, you know, it just kind of falls on deaf ears here. Salt was incredibly valuable. Incredibly valuable in the first century. As a matter of fact, it was found in Roman writing a priority list. First on the list was the sun, second was salt. That's how they valued this.
So, again, when we think of salt, we think of condiments. We put it on McDonald's fries. I know they put a lot on McDonald's fries but you always want to put more, right? And that's the best fry. If we're doing fast food, let's just be up front here, and this is just a commercial. I'm sponsored by McDonald's so this is the best fries. If we go to Wendy's or Arby's where they've got the meats, then what we do is we go to McDonald's and get the fries, right? Can I get a witness? Okay. Now we've got that out of the way.
Now let's focus back on the text. When you think of salt, you're thinking french fries. That's not what Jesus had in mind. This was game-changing. This was life-altering for them. This was ministry-shaping. Now, there are a number of interpretations out there that you might stumble on when you look at this particular passage. For example, some say that this means that we're to enhance flavor; because of the taste there or the tasteless this, they'll say we're to be the world's seasoning. And yes, the church should be a tasteful spice to an unbelieving world and we should draw people tastily to Jesus Christ, but I don't think that's what Jesus totally had in mind. A second interpretation you'll run into is that salt creates thirst, right? You'll get thirsty and so salt creates thirst. We should live in such a way, 3 to 12, that we create thirst in the world and they want what we have and they encounter Jesus Christ.
Now, these are possible explanations but I think context is king and I think the understanding of how they would view salt gives us clearly the definition of what Jesus was trying to say. Salt's primary function was to stop decomposition and to preserve the meat. Humanity without Christ is decomposing. The presence of salty disciples or authentic disciples rubbed into the secular flesh halts the decomposition. Salty believers act as a retardant to a morally decaying society. We are called to slow the decomposition. We are called to influence those around us. We are called to inform their conscience. We are like the world's living conscience and this has always been true in church history. It's always been true that faithful believers have promoted truth telling. Faithful believers in society have prized integrity. Faithful believers have encouraged hard work or a Protestant work ethic. Faithful believers have always promoted punishment for crimes. They know that true believers will call sin sin. They'll point out what is wrong in the world's thinking.
So Jesus is saying as a part of our influence package, as a part of our mission, we are to quicken the world's conscience. Not by condemning them but pointing out truth from error, truth from lies. We are the world's living conscience, a preservative slowing the deterioration that is in the world. This is a part of our responsibility. We are to be transformational agents. We are to be influencers in this world, however, if we don't live like 3 through 12, if we don't live like salty believers, then the salt loses its essential property, right? It loses its saltiness. This is a huge problem. Why? Because its saltiness is its raison d'etre, it's reason for being. This is why you're here. You're here to slow the decomposition in a fallen world. If you refuse to get out of the saltshaker or you refuse to be salty, you become useless.
Now, salt itself is an extremely stable chemical compound. It can only get ruined when it's diluted, when other contaminants or gypsum or whatever gets mixed in with the salt, it then loses its efficacy. It loses its saltiness. It becomes ineffective and tasteless as the text says. It's not a reference to the flavor, he's just saying it's a reference to its raison d'etre, its purpose for existing. You no longer are doing what God has called you to do, what Jesus has called you to do. You're undistinguishable from the world. You're no longer salty and you become ineffective.
There is loss of mission. There is loss of influence where we are called to be influential in how we live. We use this phrase, certainly in the military we use this phrase, right? A soldier who is ineffective isn't worth his what? Salt, right. This is exactly the terminology we use. Jesus takes that and says, "Listen, that's true of the church too." It's true of this church. It's true of Calvary Bible Church. If we lose our saltiness, then we become useless, salt-less. We lose our value.
Then what does he say? "It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under the foot by men." To be thrown out on the dusty streets of Palestine. You'd never throw that salt in the grass, you'd kill it. He says out in the streets where men walk to and from the market. Just to be trampled. You're just like dirt. If you don't get your mission and you don't get your calling and, listen folks, this is Jesus here defining this. This isn't me defining it for us. This isn't your pastor and elders defining it for you. This is Jesus saying, "Listen, you're called to make a huge dent in the universe. You're called as a people, as a church, to be influential, to be effective to the community and to the people that you have contact with. You're the only salt some people will ever see. You. You alone. And we can't lose our distinct property. We can't lose our personal holiness, our poor in spirit, our ability to mourn, our ability to be gentle. Everything the Beatitudes describe, that's what he's talking about. You stop living like that, you won't be salty. If you don't live like that, you won't be salty. That's just the matter of fact.
It is our responsibility to slow this world's continual corruption by acting like Jesus and boldly proclaiming the Gospel and being an influential Christian. Can I ask you: are you influencing those people around you with the Gospel by living out the Beatitudes and then by calling out where you need to call out people, quickening their conscience? Are you a salty community of believers? When people come to this church do they go, "Man, they're just different. They have influence. They're salty. It's clear they care about their influence in the world."
So Jesus says first of our twofold mission, if you're going to live on mission and you should want to live on mission whether you're a young person or an older person. You should want to live on mission. That means you are called to retard corruption by your influence and by how you live your life as an authentic salty disciple. But he goes on, there is a second part of the mission. If you're going to live on mission, then you must brilliantly reveal Christ.
Look at verse 14, the second metaphor, "You are the light of the world." Fact. Emphatic. You alone are the light of the world. There is no Plan B in Nashville. This church alone. You alone are called to be a well-lit people to illumine the darkness. And I love the darker it gets, and it will continue to get darker and darker, in our worldview it will get darker and darker. Listen, the darker it gets, we don't hide, the darker it gets, the brighter we shine. If we're going to plant a church from this church, you need to plant it at the gates of hell not in some safe little community in isolation. You're designed to live in the world. You're not to be of it but you're to live in this world to brilliantly shine.
This is part of the mission. We are called, Jesus says, to be the light of the world. We're called to reveal Christ. Both metaphors, salt and light, have the same purpose: influence, Gospel influence that transforms people's lives. Salt works from within, light works from out. Our world is shrouded in thick, black, spiritual darkness and you know John 3:19, they love it, "Men love darkness rather than light." They're not even opposing it. They are embracing it and going deeper into the darkness. That's horror of all horrors, they love it.
Again, this metaphor, this illustration, is hard to get our minds around, right? Because we can't imagine a world without watts. We can't imagine a world without light but light was also a valuable commodity. It served a vital role in the community, so much so that Jesus said, "Let me give you two illustrations of what I mean by defining your mission as revealing Christ as a brilliant, well-lit Christian. What does that look like?" Let me give you and this is awesome because he just gets down to illustration. It's illustrative and helps us get our mind around it. This is what it means, he says, "First, you're like a city on a hill." Well, that was very important and impactful. When he said that, they got it. Why? We don't build our homes and our cities on hills anymore. You built a city on a hill to be a protectant to that city. It protected you from the elements, floods, things that could happen to a city. It also protected from enemies. You wanted to have a city on a hill so that you could see encroaching enemies as they approached the hill and they could protect their city. They were made to be visible for miles away. If you were lost at night, you could see for miles a city on a hill because it was well-lit. Both in daytime and nighttime, people could find their way to a city on a hill.
John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." So Jesus is glowing and brilliant, the light of life. Now Matthew through Jesus' own words applies that to us. He has ordained the message of the Gospel and the means. We are emphatically called to be a city on a hill. We're called to be a brilliant light. We're called to be a beacon so when people are lost and can't find their way, they can go to you, sir, and you, ma'am. That's what this is about. This is what Jesus is doing with these disciples that are sitting around on the side of the hill and he says, "This is how you define mission."
Dr. Barnhouse, the late Dr. Barnhouse said this, "Jesus is the brilliant noonday sun that when the sun sets, the moon comes up. But the moon has no source of light itself but rather reflects the sun's light." Our light as reflected in Matthew 5 here is a reflected light or a derived light. We reflect the light of Jesus Christ. We live on mission because he lived on mission. He came to seek and to save that which was lost and he says, "Doggone it, I'm going to make you fishers of men." That's why you're here. Not to have a nice house and a white fence and a dog. That's not why you're here. You're here to live on mission. You are redeemed and saved and strategically placed in this community to which I will never have the opportunity to share with the unbelieving community around here. You do. You're the only light that people will ever see.
A virtuous life gives light to all around it. This is why it's in juxtaposition to 3 to 12. You shine brightly when you live like 3 through 12. It will be obvious to everyone that you're not of this world. Oh, you're in it but you're in exile here. You're sojourning here. You're just here for a little while. Your heart is in heaven and you start reflecting the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, we don't build cities on hills anymore so it's kind of hard for us to get our mind around it so he gives a second illustration. "Nor does anyone," verse 15, "light a lamp and put it under a basket but instead on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house." Now, we don't appreciate this because I don't know about you but when you walk in my house, the lights are primarily for mood. I mean, I have an Echo, right? So I'm talking to Alexa. How many people have an Echo? Do you know what I'm talking about? Oh, come on, talk to me. One, that's it? Two, yes, thank you, sir. Witness. Thank you, family. Alright, so if you're hi-tech in Nashville, you're going to have an Echo. They're $39. Stop being so cheap. So you go in...I'm also sponsored by Amazon so...I'm just kidding. So I walk in and I say, "Alex, turn the lights on," and my lights come on. It's just a little...it's the size of a hockey puck, right? My lights come on. I mean, I don't have any appreciation for a lamp and oil and making sure the lamp doesn't run out of oil. I mean, you walk into your house and you flip the switch on and you expect and if it doesn't, you lose your mind. Like, "What happened to the lights?" Like it's some right in living in the West, you're living in Nashville, right?
So he says, "Listen." In the first century they would probably have only one lamp and it would be insane if you had this one lamp and you had to put oil in it and then you strategically put it in the center of the room and then you put a basket over it. He goes, "That's crazy." Well, that's what it looks like, it's crazy for you to say you are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ yet you tell no one about it. High school students, you tell no one about it but you say that you're devoted. You talk a good game. Jesus said, "Not only do you need to live a good game, you need to talk a good game. You need to tell people." You are the only light of the Gospel. You are to brilliantly reveal Christ. This is your calling.
This is not something we dismiss. This is a mission intensive text. This isn't just a mood lamp. Light was critical. Nobody would light an expensive oil lamp and the truth is, most people didn't even have an oil lamp. They would go to bed when the sun went down. And for sure, they would put it in a high visibility place and would never put a basket over it. How do we know stuff like that? Well, your Bible. Proverbs 31:18, do you remember the Proverbs 31 woman? We roll this text out every May, right, Mother's Day. She was industrious and one of the ways they describe this awesome woman was what? "She does not," verse 18, Proverbs 31, "She does not allow the lamps to go out at night." Light was valuable. A lamp was valuable. It was to shine so that everybody in its vicinity would see.
So you have the city on the hill which can be seen far away, and then in close proximity and visibility to all in the house you had these lampstands, and nobody in their right mind would put it under a basket. We are to live in such a way that the light of Christ is revealed. That's what it means to live on mission. Someone says, "What are you doing here? What's your purpose here?" It's to live on mission. "What is that mission?" To retard corruption and to brilliantly shine the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's far more than you getting redeemed and we're so grateful for that, but we've got to pick up our game. And I'm going to tell you: we can do better. I can do better. We can do better.
That's what Jesus is saying. This is a mission defining text. We're to act like Jesus, verses 3 to 12, and we're to be attractive as bright lights. Why? Look at verse 16, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." You act in such a godly respectable way. Not perfect, you'll never be perfect. But there is a respectable force of character in your home and in your life, then people will say, "What's different about this guy? What's different about this gal?" And it goes way beyond those kalos deeds, the good deeds, and it points them right to Christ. You're like a sign in the road saying, "This way to follow Christ." Visible deeds. Personal holiness. We reveal Christ when we live like Jesus in character and we act like him in proclamation and in compassion in trying to reach our community. This gives us credibility. Five to 12 gives us the credibility. It's our calling card. Again, the darker it gets, the brighter your light will shine. We are to be brilliantly shining the light in prevailing darkness. It's only going to get darker.
Footnote: there are no invisible believers. There are no secret Christians in the New Testament. You are salty and you are brilliantly lit but if you won't get out of the saltshaker or you put a basket over your light, it's crazy, it's concerning. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said this, "If we find ourselves a tendency to put the light under a basket, we must begin to examine ourselves and make sure that it really is light." In other words, you have every reason to be suspicious if you're not influencing and not seeking to transform your community and don't care about people going to hell and aren't brilliantly shining your light at high school and middle school. You have every reason to be deeply concerned about where you are with Christ. Are you an authentic disciple, a salty, well-lit Christian as manifest in 5:3-12?
We're to be obvious believers. We're to be effectual Christians. We're to have compassion. We can't live in comfort while people sink in hell. That should keep you up at night. That should disturb you. That should bother you. This is what it looks like to live on mission. We are strategically placed like lamps on lampstands in the very community that you're in. Do you think you picked that house that live in on that street all on your own? Heck, no. The sovereignty of God has placed you, sir, strategically as a family right in the middle of that neighborhood to reach them and until you wake up and go, "Wow, this is why I'm here. Oh, this is why I'm at this job, to be a witness, to be a light and to be salty." We're to shine the light of Jesus Christ in a dark world and we are to push back and retard the darkness.
Are you a salty and bright follower of Jesus Christ? My proposition: we can do better. We need to do better. I can do better. Two facts in review: you are salt and you are light. Two observations: if salt loses its saltiness, it's worthless; if light gets hidden, it's craziness. So what's the point? So "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Indicatives, imperatives piled up in there.
How do we do this? I'll give you a couple suggestions that have helped me because this text, I'm preaching this because I'm living it. I typically do that. I preach on things I'm convicted about so I'm with you here. The first thing I would encourage you to do: get a 3x5 card, write 3 to 5 of your neighbors down or friends that you have not shared the Gospel with and begin to pray for them regularly. I promise you, as I did this God began to give me a heart for my neighbors. He began to give me a heart for the people I needed to share the Gospel with. He gave me a newfound boldness in proclaiming him, having them over for dinner, seeking ways to talk to them and to share the Gospel. So just get a simple 3x5 card, a sticky note in your car, start praying for them and guess what? When they walk out the door and you walk out the door, your heart will be full of prayer for them and it will embolden you to share the Gospel.
And listen to me: I don't ask people if I can share the Gospel with them. I just sit down and start talking. I say, "Do you want me to tell you a story about a really bad guy?" Who doesn't want to hear a story about a bad guy, right? "It's me." And I go through the whole thing. I did it on the plane to Austin two weeks ago. A guy sits down and he's a politician in Austin, Texas and I said, "Hey, man, do you want to hear a story about a bad guy?" He said, "Yeah, I need a good story." He was getting Jesus. For 2 ½ hours he was like, "I wish I didn't say I was available for that." I'm not asking permission, I'm just telling. You see, you're trying to figure out some Christian voodoo to get in their minds. Just start talking. Tell them about a really bad woman. You. You are a really evil person. That's why you're here. The church is not a hotel for saints, it's a hospital for sinners. So just start telling everybody in the community.
Second, get around unbelievers. So I live in an insulated world. I'm in a seminary. It's kind of West Point for training pastors and missionaries, so I'm around believers so I have to force myself to get out. Do you know what I do? I don't go to a Christian coffee shop, I don't go to a Christian gym, I don't go to a Christian bowling alley, I don't go to any bowling alley. I don't think they have them anymore. I don't go Christian rollerskating like Dave does and Aaron. We don't do that, right? I go to the same barista, I go to the same cleaners. I was there yesterday. I go to the same person. Why? Because I'm trying to build a relationship with them and share the Gospel with them. I go to the same place. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And go to them. That's what Matthew 28 says. It didn't say, "Hey, invite your neighbors to come to Calvary." It didn't say that at all. It says, "Go." Right? That's the first letters of Matthew 28, the great commission, "Go to them." You don't invite them to come here, you go to them. That's why you're there in the neighborhood. That's why you're there. Start frequently going to the same stops and shops. Wherever you go, just repeat. Repeated.
Now, the problem is this can get conflicting at times because I tried a new haircut place about four months ago and I shared the Gospel with her and we're deep into conversation, it was the longest haircut in history for my hair. I mean, I got a helmet. You know, it's not that hard maybe to cut this. Yours, a little more complicated where it sticks up weird like that. So what happens is I get home and my hair was like a Gap shirt, it was all crooked. You know? That's what a Gap shirt is, you ever wear a Gap shirt? You can only wear it once. You wash it, it's like you might as well throw them out. The whole time, you're fighting with them the whole...anyway. I can't go back to her because the haircut was so bad so I'm now having to sacrifice a bad haircut and then I have my hairdresser clean it up. You know, it's like a clean up job and she says, "Who did that?" I'm like, "Aw, it's a long story. I'm trying to share the Gospel with this girl." Anyway, get in the game. That's all I'm saying. Get in the game. The same gas station. The same neighbors. Talk to them.
Lastly, remember there is so much joy in sharing the Gospel with people. You will get such a high, such an adrenaline rush when you begin to tell people and I think that's what was behind Proverbs 11:30, "He who wins souls is wise." It's a privilege and I know there are some tough characters out there. I was one of them. I'm an adult convert. I was the most unlikely person on the planet to ever give his life to Jesus Christ. So it's 1986 and I'm in the Navy, playing volleyball on the beach. Top Gun came out. I had the motorcycle, the flight suit, the whole get-up, right? It was awesome. Two girls walk down the beach. I thought, "Those are nice gals. Let's go meet them." They were believers. I stand before you today because of two faithful girls walking down the beach in 1986 who had the boldness and audacity to say, "No to this but, yes, you need Jesus," and shared the Gospel with me and I'm here today as a testimony of that. So the harder they are, you'll think, "Oh, they'll never come to Christ," I'm one of those nuts. I'm one of the crazies, right?
But God does that for his glory. He uses ordinary people like us to be salty, well-lit, brilliantly lit believers, placed strategically in this community in Nashville, TN for this time and this hour for his glory and for his honor, not just to be saved. That's awesome. I'm glad. Welcome to the kingdom. But it's far more than that. You're left here to start living on mission with purpose and zeal. That's what it looks like.
So Jesus gives his best sermon, his finest sermon, and he says, "You ought to live like this and you ought to share like that." That's my challenge to us this morning. We can do better.
Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for our time in the word this morning. Lord, this text weighs heavy on my heart because I know I can do better. I pray that you would give us the boldness. I pray that you would make us salty in how we live and that you would make us shine brightly in how we proclaim the Gospel, that we reveal Christ to people. I pray that you would transform and continue to transform this church into a powerhouse, a beacon of light, a bold witness. Well, you only can do that. I beg you to do it. I beg you to do it in my life and I beg you to do it in all of our lives this morning. We ask this in the name of King Jesus. Amen.