Why do we not live as salt and light? Why do we put the lamp under a bowl and not shine?
The most obvious reason is that we have not been spending quality time with Jesus. He is the light of the world. Stay close to Jesus and your light will be rekindled. Abide in him and the promise is, you will bear much fruit. If you are not salty and your light is out, start here. Spend quality, unhurried time with Jesus.
I think there are many practical reasons why we don’t open our mouths and share, even if our heart is in the right place and we want to.
What if we speak and someone actually expresses interest? You can’t just give them a tract and then say, good luck. If you meet someone at Costco and she is interested in talking about Christianity, potentially, the rest of your day is shot. You have to meet over coffee and answer questions the following week over dinner and explain the gospel. And you might be signing up to do this on a weekly basis for who knows how long. Every time we open our mouths to share about Christ, what if a person actually expresses interest? Are you ready to put your life on hold for the sake of that person?
God has been pressing me hard on this point for several months now. I was looking at my schedule and how I was spending my time and mainly I was either praying or reading a book, or preparing a sermon or Bible study, getting to know other pastors, or meeting one of you. And these are necessary and good things. We are a young church. It makes sense that we have to focus on internal church matters before we can go out and be salt and light. But something about my lack of outward focus hasn’t been sitting well with me. Did the disciples go out and make disciples of all nations after they had all their ducks in a row and they had all their bases covered? I doubt it. They just felt the call of God and went. We could spend the rest of our life as a church fixing our internal issues and never think about what’s going on in the world outside of these walls. How little I have engaged my neighbors in everyday life because I give God so little room to interrupt my schedule and the things I have to do so that I can be available to share my faith with others. This is the area that God was convicting me personally that needed to change.
And when God convicts, He always provides. He is preparing me and I believe he is preparing us as a church to engage the world. The first part of God’s provision was the trip to the SBC Convention, which was possible because Daniel and Sora watched our kids and I thank them again. I am happy to report that God is moving across our denomination. The entire reason for the convention coming together in the first place was to fund foreign missionaries. And now I see God shifting the denomination to take the same missional approach in reaching America for the gospel. Talk to anyone on the streets, read the news, examine our culture and I think it is safe to say that America is no longer a Christian nation.
Even within our denomination, the ratio of the population served by each SBC church has slipped from 3000-4,000 in 1900 to a bit over 6,000 in 2010. We’ve lost ground on a national scale. Of course, there is a higher concentration of SBC churches in the southern states. But take our city, LA, for example. There is 1 SBC church for over 17,000 people in LA. Or Canada–in the city of Quebec, there is 1 SBC church for over 200,000 people. We are losing ground in North America. You don’t have to go halfway around the world to reach the lost. They are in our own backyard. I believe God has gotten me connected to more of what is happening in our denomination through Pastor Don and I want our church to join what God is doing. I’m not sure what that’s going to look like, but I’m open and willing to do what we can as a church to foster church planting in LA.
If that is not enough, I have a video that I want to show you about another opportunity that God is bringing literally to our doorstep.
The Harvest Crusade is coming here. It’s called Harvest America. FBC is one of the sponsoring churches who agreed to host the event so on August 26th at 4pm, you won’t have to hear me or Pastor John speak. You’ll get to hear Pastor Greg Laurie. FBC invited us to join and their hope was that we would not be 2 churches hosting an event at the same place, but FBC and LBC would be one church partnering together for the gospel. To be a city on a hill in Pasadena. Do you think it’s an accident that this event is coming to our doorstep? I don’t. I believe in the sovereignty of God. I don’t believe this is an accident.
I’ll make more announcements during fellowship time, but start by praying. Remember, God doesn’t want evangelism to be committe-run. We shouldn’t be satisfied if just a small handful of us got involved. If you are a Christian and a member of this church, I ask you to pray about being salt, being light and volunteering to serve in Harvest America so that souls would be saved.
The fourth relational blessing is found in v10-12–
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In this country, we won’t be persecuted for believing in Jesus. No one is going to throw us into prison or threaten to kill us. We have to recognize that there are still many countries out there where religious persecution is a daily threat.
What if we speak out for Christ, what’s the worst thing that can happen to us? We can be rejected. You will be. They rejected Christ, they crucified him, do you expect it to be any different for his followers? Expect rejection. When you are true salt and true light, when your love for Jesus just oozes out of your pores and you can’t help but speak about him, expect that many will roll their eyes. Many might stop being your friend. You might not get calls to attend as many parties.
Be salt, be light, influence, impact, speak up. And when you do speak, as I pray that we all will, and you are rejected, rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven.