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SALT AND LIGHT LEADERSHIP JESUS WAY (PART 3)

BELIEVERS MUST BE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

In the last two lessons, we have learn the value of salt in our lives and the need for us to be used as that salt, to stir up our gifts, and preserve the best qualities of our lives.  God has equipped us in order that we may have a positive effect on others as the salt of the earth.

The Bible speaks of light as the symbol of God’s presence and righteous activity.  Light has been associated with the presence, truth, and redemptive activity of God since creation.  Before human beings were created, light was brought into being by the Creator: “Then God said, Let there be light; and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good’ (Gen. 1:3-4). Through-out the Bible, light represents truth, goodness, and God’s redemptive work.  Darkness, on the other hand, symbolizes error, evil, and the works of Satan.

Now listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, “14You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” As salt makes a difference in people’s food, so light makes a difference in their surroundings.  Jesus told them that He was the light of the world, and if you follow me you will not stumble through darkness, but instead you will have the light of life.  He further said, “You as my disciples must live for Christ, shining like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.  They are like light in a dark world, showing clearly, what Christ is like.  Because Jesus is the light of the world, his followers must reflect his light.

When Jesus was on earth, his divine life illuminated the inner lives of his followers.  Everywhere he was present he gave light.  This light penetrated people, exposing their sin and revealing divine truth.  No one could encounter Jesus without being enlightened.

Know in your heart that Jesus is light, and as light enables people to do their work, it produces growth in crops; it reveals beauty and provides safety.  Light represents what is good, pure, true, holy, and reliable.  Light reveals; light shines.  God is so completely “light” that there is no darkness in him at all.  “Darkness” represents what is sinful and evil.  God is untainted by any evil or sin.  Thus, “God is light,” means that God is perfectly holy and true and that he alone can guide people out of the darkness of sin.

Those of us who claim to follow Jesus must be living in the light of God’s presence.  They must be illumined by the truth of God’s character.  To “live in the light” requires constant contact with God and no tolerance for dishonesty, hypocrisy, or sin.  Living in the light comes from continuous effort to take on Christ’s qualities.  This involves complete transformation from within.

Living in the light leads to fellowship with each other.  This fellowship among believer’s results from each believer is having fellowship with God.  True spirituality manifests itself in community fellowship.  One cannot say that he or she communes with God and then refuse to commune with God’s people.  Such was the case with some of the false teachers of John’s day, and this situation exists among false cults today.  Often their followers and leaders claim to have special relationships with God, but they do not affiliate with other believers.  They stay isolated and withdraw from everyone else.  John’s point is that the natural result of living in the light (in fellowship with God) should be joyful relationships with other Christians.

1 John 1:5 (Amplified Bible) 5And this is the message [the message of [a]promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [[b]no, not in any way].

 

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SALT AND LIGHT LEADERSHIP JESUS WAY (PART 1)

WE MUST BE DIFFERENT IF WE WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Our lives must be a living example of what Christ presented to us to become.  Jesus did not
just talk about making a difference, He lead the way in truly setting the example in how we should do it.  Let us look at how Jesus did it.   When He was preparing for the direction in
which His ministry was going to go in, He took His leadership team to the top of the mountain for a few days and essentially gave them a top-line preview of the next two or three years, as well as a behavioral blueprint that we can use to this day.

Now listen to how Jesus taught His disciples.  He said, “13You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.”

14You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

16Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [g]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [h]recognize and honor and praise and glorify
your Father Who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-14, 16) AMP

In these three powerful verses, Jesus took two household commodities essential to the livelihood of the poorest of the poor and the wealthiest of the wealthy and painted a word
picture.  Everyone in that culture understood the concept of salt and the concept of light as does everyone in today’s culture.

Jesus was talking about influence.  He commanded his followers to have a full and intentional positive influence in their culture.  Do all followers of Christ carry out this command?  Absolutely not.  Their salt becomes tasteless, their light covered or doused.  Observation bears
this out.

Clearly, Jesus calls his disciples to be “transformers of culture.”  Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, put it this way: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  (Phil. 1:27). No greater opportunity exists in which to live out this command in the modern world than in the marketplace.  It is the soup.  It is the darkened alley.

For the most part, followers of Christ have a handle on Sunday.  There is room for improvement, to be sure.  Church growth is slack among many traditional denominations, but more and more churches have identified innovative ways to be culturally relevant and biblically sound.  In addition, their members know the part they are called to play on the first day of each week.  However, many believers never connect the Sunday message to their lives on Monday through Friday in the workplace.

Moreover, it is at work, of course, that we spend most of our waking hours.  It is at work that most of us are in contact with nonbelievers.  It is at work, that salt will be most noticeable and that light will shine the brightest.

Being different means making a difference in the lives of those you employ to work with you are for you.  Never just, take people for granted.  Use your influence over them to make their lives better just as Jesus did when He took His disciples into the mountains and taught them the role of leadership.  The choice is yours; will you make the right
one?

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 2.

 

KNOWING GOD LEADS TO SELF CONTROL

KNOWING GOD LEADS TO SELF CONTROL; as one of the fruits of the Spirit, self-control refers to mastery over sinful human desires in every aspect of life.  The Greeks considered this a highly prized virtue. Their focus, of course, was entirely on self-effort, but the problem was that self-effort always fails in the long run because it may control the body but does not affect inward desires.  We know from Romans 8:13 and Galatians 5:22-23 that Christians have the Holy Spirit’s help to gain self-control.

The quality of self-control must then lead to patient endurance, the ability to steadfastly endure suffering or evil without giving up one’s faith.  Endurance is not a stoic indifference to whatever fate allows; rather, it springs from faith in God’s goodness and control over all that happens in believers lives.

Such endurance leads to godliness,  this is another word that is unusual to the New Testament, but common to Greek ethics lists of that day, we see that Paul emphasized godliness in the Pastoral Epistles as being the virtue that should characterize the life and conduct of the believers.  Godliness was the primary word for “religion” and referred to a person’s correct attitudes toward God and people, usually referring to performing obligatory duties.  Here we discover in 1st Peter the word describes an awareness of God in all of life – a lifestyle that exemplifies Christ and is empowered by him (the same word is used in (1st Peter 1:3).  Christians must have a right relationship with God and right relationships with fellow believers.  The false teachers claimed such “godliness,” but were sadly lacking in reverence toward God and in good attitudes toward others.

 

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