I continued our study of the Sermon on the Mount this past Sunday with a message on Matthew 5:14-16, where Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world.” This description of Christ-followers, along with Matthew 5:3 where Jesus declares, “You are the salt of the earth,” teach us what it means to maximize our influence for the kingdom of God. They are challenges passages, in which the Lord exhorts us to be different that the world around us. But they are also comforting passages, as Jesus reminds us that God is willing and able to use ordinary people like us to change the world.
Here is the sermon skeleton from Sunday’s message:
Title: “Turning on the Lights”
Text: Matthew 5:14-16
Theme: Maximizing kingdom influence
This world is in the dark. In a real sense, there is darkness within us. And, definitely, there is darkness all around us. But there is someone who is able who is able to turn on the lights for those who are engulfed in the darkness of sin. Light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. But you may be surprised about where Jesus says this light is found. Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world.”
I. Jesus describes his followers as the light of the world (5:14a).
A. The bad news: The world is dark.
1. It’s intense darkness (Gen. 19:11).
2. It’s intentional darkness (John 3:19).
B. The good news: The church is the light of the world.
1. It’s reflected light (John 8:12; 9:5).
2. It’s inherent light (Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:8; 1 P. 2:9).
II. Jesus explains the the significance of being the light of the world (5:14b-15).
A. Light cannot be hidden: “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (5:14b)
B. Light should not be hidden: “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (5:15)
III. Jesus commands his followers to shine as lights in the world (5:16)
A. The divine command: “In the same way, let your light shine before others”
B. The specific reason: “so that they may see your good works”
C. The ultimate purpose: “and give glory to your Father who is in heaven“