MATTHEW 5:13–16 – “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
THEME OF THE DAY. OUR CULTURAL RESPONSIBILITY. No culture-observing Christian, both secular and in church, would deny we are clearly in a post-Christian culture. It is estimated one hundred million people in the United States have no contact with church. Al Mohler, pastor, theologian, and president of Southern Seminary, says, “Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of society.” In their excellent book, Every Day Church: Gospel Communities on Mission, authors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis write, “The number of adults in the United States who do not attend church has nearly doubled since 1991. Over 3,500 United States churches close their doors every year, and attendance of more than 80 percent of those remaining has plateaued or is declining.” But let’s drive this closer to where we live; like in our churches and in our lives.
First, in our churches. Two things should be expected in our churches; conversions of sinners and fervent prayer among God’s people for sinners (or getting the Gospel out). It appears most church growth comes from transfer or simply God’s sheep going to other churches, and sadly, most of the time it is over “bad” things, like disagreements (non-theological), preferences, or simply just the desire for something different. What is lost in this movement is the sense of family. It is easy to leave a church when no deep spiritual relationships exist. Family members don’t leave family members. The other sign of a healthy church is the place prayer has in its people and body life. God’s people pray and they pray together. So, we must ask of our churches; are we experiencing real church growth through people being genuinely converted? And are we committed to praying fervently together for God to do this work of true growth through our commitment to get the Gospel out? This is one of the underlying reasons why we live in a post-Christian culture. The church has lost her commitment to mission; a mission of prayer and the Gospel. We, as individual Christians, must own and confess this failure.
Next, let’s look in our lives and evaluate the presence of or lack of our influencing our culture for Christ and His gospel. In today’s scripture, Jesus proclaims we are two things in the world – salt and light. Both define our privilege and responsibility to the culture. We are to “season” our world with the “salt” of righteousness, holiness, and truth. God expects us to not isolate ourselves from the world, but to separate from the world. This call to separation is not physical but spiritual. So, we must ask ourselves, “How much salt am I sprinkling in my spheres of influence?” Moving on, Jesus said we are “The light of the world.” And this means we shine in the dark culture the glorious beauty of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. Are we? Are we regularly sharing Christ by lifestyle and words? That is what light does. It illuminates and through Christ in us, lives from us. How bright are we shining the glory of God in the face of His Son to the people in our lives?
Yes, friends, we live in post-Christian culture and desperately need revival. It is our only hope; a revived church and God’s people on mission – a mission of influencing the world for Christ by holy lives, salt and light lives, and proclaiming the message of Him who makes such lives.
PRAYER: “Father, burden me, even with the right type of anxiety, over the state of Your Son’s church.”
QUOTE: “Jesus wept over sinners. Jesus intercedes with pleading for His people. These are burdens for us to share.”