Sermon Preparation -
February 7, 1999

Matthew 5:13-20

You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.

You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

Don't suppose that I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning. Heaven and earth may disappear. But I promise you that not even a period or comma will every disappear from the Law. Everything written in it must happen.

If you reject even the least important command in the Law and teach others to do the same, you will be the least important person in the kingdom of heaven. But if you obey and teach others its commands, you will have an important place in the kingdom. You must obey God's commands better than the Pharisees and the teacher of the Law obey them. If you don't, I promise you that you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. [CEV]


1. Noticeability. There's a word and concept for you. Who notices your soul-force that transforms lives? Who notices your good deeds are directed toward GOD as well as others? When changes are made do you recognize that GOD is involved?
     This runs contrary to some other directions about doing your good deeds in secret, otherwise you will have received your reward already. Where do you find the guidance to know when to boast and when to quietly go about your business -- when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em?

2. This is spoken by one who will eventually be killed because of the way he dealt with Sabbath Law. Again we run into the on-going tension between honoring the past revelations while not putting new wine into old containers. How can we look beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of the law?
     One way of looking at this is not in terms of the hundreds of specific laws mentioned in Scripture, but through the over-arching laws: First, love GOD with all of you; Second, love others as yourself. If you set aside the second for the first, have you not also set aside the first? Now dive into the whirlpool of life.

3. Where is the grounding of your actions? Who is learning of that grounding?

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