by Ronald H. Matthews

Reverence and R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Rev. Ronald H. Matthews
Matthew 5:13-20
February 7, 1999

Jesus said we were like salt and light. He is really just stating the obvious. Salt and light are everywhere. Just as salt adds flavor and preservation to our foods; just as light illuminates our darkness; so Jesus calls His followers to be like salt and light wherever they may be. It is a possible task for everyone! Be what you are where you are with whatever God has blessed you--no excuses! "You are like a city built on a hill. Be what you are! Live in openness to your surroundings and to the glory of God.

But, it is so hard for us to believe we can do this, because we are often too focused on our failures. I don't need to remind anyone of their failure to keep the law. Guilt is a universal experience and especially among those who seek to be disciples of Christ. We all know the pain that Paul expressed in this paraphrase of his heartfelt lament, "I am not the person I ought to be. The good I know I should do is not what I do and the evil I know I should not do is too often the very thing I do. Oh wretch that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, Jesus Christ is able!"

Friends, not one of us, by our own strength or goodness, have the right to call ourselves Christian! We cannot trust in our own righteousness. BUT, the Good News tells us that salvation begins when we understand we have no righteousness, except that which God gives us by virtue of His grace and love. At that moment of realization, we begin our true journey of faith and grow to become more and more LIKE salt and light in your ability to influence this world.

Remember those who have been "salt and light" before you. PETER, the bold and impetuous disciple who claimed so much and then denied his Lord. MATTHEW, a despised tax collector. The WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY, who found mercy rather than condemnation and was offered a new life. THOMAS, the doubter, who struggled with ...

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