The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany February 9, 2020
Text: Matthew 5:13-16 3 Year Series A 20:2173
Theme: You Are Salt and Light People
When you go to the grocery store, how many of you still have them put your groceries into a brown paper sack? I haven’t done it for years. I don’t even know what those sacks look like today. But go back a few years to something that was written on some of them. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like “This bag is worth $.05.” Do you remember that? Not that they would actually give you $.05 for it, but that was its worth. That got me thinking. If a brown paper bag into which we put our groceries and afterwards used as garbage bags is worth $.05, what am I worth?
Some 30 years ago I read an article that told me I was worth about $5. The article explained that if you were able to take all the elements which are in my body out of me, like salt, sugar, iron, etc., they could be sold for a little over $5. You would go for the same price. But is that all we are worth, just a few dollars? I think not!
You are worth more than money. You are precious in the eyes of God who sacrificed His own dear Son to redeem you to Himself. In Christ He bought you back from Satan’s stranglehold on you, “not with gold or silver but with the holy precious blood of Jesus and with His innocent suffering and death. He did it so that you could be His own and live under Him in His Kingdom.” That was a steep price He paid for you – the life of His Son. See how precious you are to Him!
But there is another way that you are precious to God. It is through you, one who believes in Christ crucified for your sins, that God reflects His redeeming love into the world. As Jesus said, You God’s Salt and Light People. That makes you worth more than $.05. What’s so valuable about that?
I. Like salt, you season and preserve the world.
Let’s start with salt. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” That’s a metaphor. You are not salt literally, but He is making a comparison. He compares you to salt. So, what is salt like? What are its characteristics, its qualities, its uses?
Consider first what you do if something that you are cooking on the stove at home doesn’t tastes quite right. You try to change it. One of the first things you might do is grab the salt and add some. Little by little you shake the salt into the food until it has just the right taste. You don’t have to prepare the salt in any special way to make it work. You put it in, it dissolves, you stir it around a bit, and its taste spreads throughout the dish silently, without your seeing it. It’s the very nature of salt to act that way. It changes things.
The Lord Jesus wants to the change the world that has gone apart from Him. So, what does He do? He uses us who believe in Him like salt. He sprinkles us into the world. We come into contact with others and give them a taste of Christ Jesus. The life we derive from Him as our Savior comes out in our words and actions and has its effect on the world around us every day, even without our awareness.
Student to students, worker to workers, shopper to shoppers, neighbor to neighbors, family member to family members. Like salt you constantly season people with the goodness of the Savior. And you are preserving this world in the truth of salvation until the time that Jesus comes again.
That’s another characteristic of salt; it preserves things. It keeps meat and other foods from spoiling. At times, do you think that this world is a bad place in which to live with all its crime, hatred, bickering, fighting, and killing? Imagine how it would be if there were no Christians in it. It would sink to such a level of corruption that God in His holiness would destroy it at once. But you have a God-given value, a purpose, a calling to be a blessing to the world. You are salt people, God’s salt that seasons and preserves the world. Are you living up to it?
I think that is not too much for God to expect of us. Not at all for it’s not so much an expectation that God has of us as much as it is a gift and a privilege that our Savior has granted us. In other words, God doesn’t tell you, “Try to be salt.” He says, “You are the salt of the earth because I have already changed your life, seasoning you with my pardoning grace in Christ Jesus. And I have given you a new heart in the Holy Spirit. Now it’s your very nature as my redeemed to reflect Christ, to think like Jesus, to talk like Jesus, to act like Jesus for He lives in you.”
You see, dear friends, your forgiveness and life in the Savior is a gift. You haven’t earned it. To do that your “goodness” would have to surpass that of the Pharisees. And make no mistake about it; the Pharisees were outwardly “good” people. By human standards they were the best people around. But they lacked Christ,
and they lacked the only righteousness that counts before God.
You don’t earn God’s blessings, dear friends. They are yours by grace, through faith in Jesus. It’s a gift that changes you. God put it into you so that you are His salt, seasoning and preserving the world in Christ.
But that also comes with a warning. Jesus said, “If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
What if salt would somehow stop being salty? Is that possible? What good would it be? You couldn’t even call it salt anymore. It would be like sand. The very nature of salt is to be salty.
Now, what if you stop living your faith. What if you don’t attend church? What if you don’t remain in God’s Word? What if you lead a sinful life and lead others astray in the process? You will be thrown out and rejected by God, like sand on the road.
Living for Christ is not an option; obeying God’s will is not an option; holding to the Savior in faith is not an option; being silent about the eternal blessings a Savior means for you is not an option. It’s in the very nature of a Christian to live it because Christ, who is the real salt of the earth, is in you. And by God’s grace you are His people, salt people. It’s your God-given blessing, value, privilege, and calling to season and preserve the world.
II. As light to show it the way.
But there is more. You can’t just work silently like salt does. You know, you really don’t see salt at work in your food. But you sure can taste it. It works silently. But, as God’s people, you can’t work only silently; you have to work openly and without restraint. So, Jesus continued: “You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket. No, they put it on a stand and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
Our Savior once said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). We Christians follow Him and have His saving light. The question is, “What shall we do with it?” Here He tells us what to do by showing the proper path between two dangers.
Danger number 1 is the temptation to keep our faith a private matter. That means you don’t live it; you don’t talk about it. It’s tempting not to say anything about faith when others seem to react with disapproval or hostility. If you don’t say anything, no one will get upset, right?
But hiding it won’t work. Jesus calls you light people. He doesn’t say, “Try to be the light.” He says, “You are the light.”
If faith is real, it can’t be hidden any more than a city on a hill can. You can see its lights for miles. It wouldn’t make any sense to try and hide it either. What good does a light do if it’s hidden?
Danger number 2 is to go so public with your faith that people ooh and ah over you. That’s self-promoting, like the Pharisees. They loved to pray on the street corners where people could see them and say, “My, what good people they are!” It was done in a showy way to win applause. But that’s all they got. The purpose of the Christian life is not to win awards and people’s applause for you. It’s to shine for your heavenly Father and His glory.
How do you avoid these dangers – the danger to hide your faith and the danger to be showy about your faith? By focusing always on Christ. He’s the light; we’re the reflection. Much like the stars and the moon reflect the light of the sun, so we shine with Christ’s light. His light shines to us, in us, and then through us to show others the way to Him. He shines so brightly that we simply can’t hide it in the privacy of our hearts. And as He shines through us, the world will see something far better than self-promotion and publicity stunts. They will see the redeeming love of a Savior who has completed everything that needs to be done before God for us.
You, dear friends, Are Salt and Light People. It’s your calling by which you season and preserve the world, showing the way to the Savior. And that makes you precious in God’s sight, worth much more than $.05. As you live for Christ you are worth eternity to others. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com You can find us also on Facebook
The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany February 9, 2020
“You are the salt of the earth….You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13f
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees! I will praise You with an upright heart” (Psalm 119).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Salt and Light Christians. There is no such thing as a part-time disciple. Jesus said, “The one who is not with me is against me.” Either one is “in” or one is “out” with the Lord Jesus. There is no middle ground; there is no such thing as a part-time Christian. No more than salt can be salt once in a while or light can be light once in a while, one cannot be a disciple once in a while.
God puts us into this world to have a wholesome effect upon it. Through faith in the Savior we have been eternally blessed in countless ways. And He has given us the great task of letting that blessedness shine into this dark world, lighting the way to Him. Since there is no such thing as a part-time Christian and since He gives us such an important task, may we daily light the way to Him for others and season this world with the blessings of His redeeming love.
To that end we pray: Almighty God, You sent Your one and only Son as the Word of life for our eyes to see and our ears to hear. Help us believe what the Scriptures proclaim about Him and show to others the things that are pleasing in Your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 58:5-9
God prescribed Israel’s worship, including fasting and prayer. But such things were not to be considered godly simply by virtue of their performance. The Lord looks beyond the ritual to the heart that reaches out in love as He does. Such a life of faith is blessed and lights the way to God for others.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Paul reminds the Corinthians of his preaching and teaching among them. It was centered in Christ crucified, the Light of the world, and not on the promotion of himself. True Christian preaching is always a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, and not the wisdom or oratorical skills of man.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 5:13-20
As He begins the body of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of the disciples’ purpose in life to be salt and light Christians in the world – witnesses of the Gospel. That Gospel reveals how we become righteous before God only through faith in Christ Jesus. He is our righteousness before God, and we strive to reveal it in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
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We Serve the Lord with Gladness:
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
February’s Ushers: Jim Inniger, Matt Luetke, & Roger Lisenby
Point to Ponder: The Lord does not expect more from us than what He gives us, but He does expect us to use what He imparts. Through the power of His Gospel He saves us and equips us to make an impact on the world. It doesn’t matter whether we can foresee how we will make a difference in the world. What matters is that Jesus has made us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt and light always have an effect. But if we obscure the light of the Gospel and fail to let it have a wholesome influence in our lives, we not only keep it from ourselves but from others who need it.
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #280
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #119a, Hymnal page 109
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Hymn Response: #579
Sermon Hymn: insert #735
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:13-16 You Are Salt and Light In the World
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: pg.41
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing: Hymnal pages 43-44
WELS Connection Video
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Today, Feb.9 Epiphany 5
9:00 am Divine Worship Service
10:15 am Bible study for all ages
10 am Gardens Bible Study
6 pm Outreach
7:30 pm Church Council
Thurs. Feb.13 11 am Midweek Bible Class
Next Sun. Feb.16 Epiphany 6
9:00 am Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion
10:15 am Bible study for all ages
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
On a crystal-clear winter evening, it’s easy to believe that the full moon is producing the wonderful light that allows you to take a brisk walk through the woods without a flashlight. In reality, the moon is producing no light at all; instead, it is simply reflecting the light of the sun. When people notice Christians producing godly lives, it would be easy to pat them on the back and to give them the credit for the good things they do. In reality, God’s people are simply reflecting the good work of God’s Son, Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the World (Jn 8:12), and He is revealed through His people.
The Gospel Lesson (Matthew 5:13-20)
1. How does Jesus describe Christians in this world and why?
2. According to Jesus, why did He come into the world?
3. What warning does Jesus offer to people who believe that they lead God-pleasing lives apart from Jesus?
Prayer/Sick List Those We Remember In Our Prayers Gail Stuesser; Dea Windsor, Alyssa Cook’s mother; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Margaret Albaugh, Matt Luetke’s grandmother whom the Lord received to Himself this past week.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: ; Adult Bible Class ; Sunday School: ; The Gardens Bible Class: no class this past week; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Sunday Offering: General Fund $
Forward in Christ’s latest issue for February has arrived. There are copies for family and friends in the narthex. Also, the next edition of Meditations daily devotions, beginning in March, will be found in the narthex.
February 26/27 – Midweek Lenten Suppers/Services begin; at Peace on Wednesday evenings, at Zion on Thursdays
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 2:6-13; Matthew 5:21-37
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
4. They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world because they reflect the “salt” and “light” of Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself to the world through His people.
5. Jesus came not to abolish or overturn God’s order and will, revealed in His holy law. He came instead to fulfill it as God intended. Jesus has fulfilled His Father’s will perfectly as our substitute in order to save us from sin.
6. Holiness apart from faith in Jesus requires us to keep God’s law perfectly, which is impossible for sinners like us. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).
This week I am praying for……