Sunday, 25 April 2010

Matt 5:13-16 - Church in the marketplace

Matthew 5:13-16
Church in the marketplace

Introduction
- E Stanley Jones, no.1 problem of church = irrelevance (not meaningfully connected with the real world outside, therefore making little or no impact)
- lost influence in marketplace, neglected responsibility to be salt and light where we are
- ref Lord's Prayer "Your kingdom come, Your will be done"
- not just individuals, but entire environment of marketplace
- Christians feel confined to church building 4 walls, marketplace arena of the devil

1. Spice up the marketplace as salt of the earth (v.13)

- Ed Silvoso "Anointed for business" - government, business, education // heart is to body
- early church saw marketplace as their parish/do ministry
- witnessing as a way of life (+ signs and wonders) e.g. Acts, 40+ in Acts, only 1 in religious place (3:1-10)
- Acts 18:1-3 - partners in ministry + business (Paul, Aquila and Priscilla)
- // today, millions of Christians called to full-time ministry in the marketplace
- full-time followers of Jesus Christ (not just pastors and missionaries)
- potential to be generals in God's kingdom
- salt, indispensable, precious commodity for trade (salary = "salt money")
- seasoning, flavouring for food
- preservative, prevent food from spoiling
- 40% professionals are Christians
- challenge to be the best you can be in your workplace (bring added value, pursue excellence)
- we can spice up marketplace, as long as not lose our flavour
- salt can lose saltiness when contaminated
- not go around condemning other people
- NT says nothing about protests, confrontation, boycotting, petitions against sin (Jn 3:17)
- not point out unbelievers' sins, but stress God's forgiveness, to repent and accept His grace; those passages confronting sin is addressed to believers, within the church

2.Shine in the marketplace as light of the world (v.14-16)

- light in contrast with darkness, knowledge versus ignorance
- seek opportunity to perceive truth about Jesus through lives of Christians
- light can lose effectiveness by being hidden
- v.14 ref Jerusalem on a hill, seen from far
- v.15 bowl/basket, big bowl for grain
- in difficult work environment, natural to hide our identity as Christians (defeat purpose of witnessing)
- v.16 shine our light through tangible/practical good deeds
- goal/purpose = glorify God
- if we remain hidden/not visible, people may praise you as a person, not God

Conclusion
- survey of views of institutions (Mar 2010)
  - banks/financial institutions 22% yes, 69% no
  - large corporations 24% yes, 65% no
  - churches/religious organisations 63% yes
- we are change agents in our marketplace
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