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Reset // Matthew 5:13-16 // Week 1

CityRise October 4, 2020 sermons, cityrise, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, Roger Patterson, sermon, West U Baptist,

The following is a transcript from the sermon presented by Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday October 4, 2020 at our West U Baptist Campus and in our Online Experience on youtube.com/cityriseorg. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTube page.

Welcome to our worship gathering today…you who are online, and you who are with us here in the room. We are living in a fascinating time, aren’t we?  This week we had the first presidential debate. Wow!  That’s about all I can say.

On a positive note, we are seeing more and more progress made against the Corona Virus Pandemic, and we are making progress as a church.  Schools are opening and we are adjusting.

As a church, nearly 33% of our in-person attendance has been restored, and we are moving forward in our vision to lift our city and world by generously giving the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And today, we are launching a series, titled, RESET.

It’s a chance to rebootre-establish some rhythms…and remember our calling as followers of Jesus Christ.

To begin with today, I want to share with you a few quotes from CEO’s who have been leading their businesses through this pandemic.  Many of their comments focus on being clear about what you are called to do and executing that with precision.

Look and listen to Mark Del Rosso’s words.

“To lead a company, especially in a time of unprecedented global crisis, I find we are laser-focused on our purpose. We know the how, what and why we exist. The team and I have never communicated better. Through great communication, we’re learning, we’re adapting, we’ve become more nimble, efficient and effective.” ~ Mark Del Rosso, President & CEO, Genesis Motor North America

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought home the value of knowing our purpose as an organization. When I first joined MassMutual more than 30 years ago, I don’t think I fully appreciated what it meant to be purpose-driven, even though we have been since our 31 founders pooled $100,000 to start the company in 1851…There’s no universal playbook for organizations to follow right now – we each have parts to play, and if you know your purpose, it’s much easier to determine what you are best positioned to contribute in difficult times.” ~ Roger Crandall, Chairman, President & CEO, MassMutual

What are these leaders saying? I think it is really simple.

When you are in crisis, don’t retreat…don’t be a recluse…don’t recoil! But walk in your purpose!

When you are in a crisis…walk in your purpose. 

Our Vision is to lift our city and our world by generously giving the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We will not falter from this vision.

And we accomplish that vision by leading people to discover, develop, and deploy their God-given influence for His purpose and glory. 

You are the means by which we will accomplish this vision.

So, strategically, it is our responsibility to challenge you, encourage you, and equip you to live out this call.

So, here’s what I want you to hear today:

Our time of retreat has come to a close. It’s time to Reset.

Slide: Our time of retreat has come to a close. It’s time to RESET.

Now, some of you may say…hang on a minute.  Wait up.  We are still in the Red.  Are we throwing off all precaution? Are you no longer social distancing?

Friends, I’m not talking about social distancing. I’m not talking about how we execute on you coming to church.

I’m talking about being a people on mission once again. Moving from PRESERVATION MODE, to MAKING PROGRESS.

Context: When Jesus taught the multitudes as recorded in Matthew 5-7, what we know as the Sermon on the Mount, he was describing the Messiah’s Kingdom. It was a different way, a different ethic, a different attitude.

He begins this message with the Beattitudes. These are statements of Divine Blessing…

Matthew 5:2-6

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

And as he makes the statements of Divine Blessing, I can see him look one person in the eye…make a statement…and then go to the next person. 

And Jesus was introducing them to a new way…a new ethic…a new kingdom way to live and walk.

And at the end of this discourse, we see these words.

Matthew 7:24-27

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

This is the closing statement of this lengthy message of the Messiah’s Kingdom.  Here, he puts the responsibility in the lap of the disciple…the follower.  His message is this: Build your life on my words and you will have a strong foundation…so that when the storms of life come and they will, you will remain steadfast.

But hear my words and then don’t build upon them, you will be on shifting sands.  You will crash in the storms. You won’t have a sure foundation.

So, the bookends of this message are one’s of Divine Blessing and Divine Sure Footing.

And it’s within this context, we come to our text today, as we talk about getting back on mission and living out our purpose.

Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Here’s my simple outline that we will walk through together.

Jesus Calls His Followers to…

  1. Influence
  2. Illuminate
  3. Impact

Let’s look at this first point.

Jesus Calls his followers to…

I. Influence, as we Refresh and Preserve

Matthew 5:13

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

As D.A. Carson points out, from a chemical perspective as we think about the compound “sodium chloride” (NaCl), which is table salt— it is a stable compound and does not really “lose its saltiness.” However, “sodium chloride” (NaCl) represents salt in its purest form.

Most salt in the ancient world, on the other hand, was derived from salt marshes and the like, and would have contained many impurities. Because the actual salt was more soluble than these impurities, the salt itself could be leached out.

Some of the common uses of salt in that day included being used to:

  • flavor foods,
  • and of course, as a preservative. If rubbed into meat, it would slow the process of decay and allow the meat to last longer.

Whatever it’s use, you knew the salt was present, influencing, flavoring and preserving.

Application: Part of your responsibility as a follower of Jesus is that you are an influencer of others.

And you are going to either influence for good, pointing people to Christ, or you will influence for bad, pointing people away from Christ. 

And Jesus’ audience would understand that.  With this illustration of salt, you will either:

  • create a thirst in their hearts for Jesus,
  • or you will create a hardness in their hearts toward Jesus.

Notice what Roy Zuck says.

Quote: Roy Zuck states…

Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. When one sees a unique person who possesses superior qualities in specific areas, he desires to discover why that person is different. It is also possible that salt means these people serve as a preservative against the evils of society. Whichever view one takes, the important quality to note is that salt ought to maintain its basic character. If it fails to be salty, it has lost its purpose for existence and should be discarded.[1]

Application: You see, when you are effectively influencing others for Jesus, they want to know more. They are curious. They ask questions.

  • Are you living a life that creates a thirst in others to know more?

The Holy Spirit uses your good, virtuous life, to help others see a new way… a different way…the Messiah’s Kingdom way…a righteous way to live.

But, the second part of the verse here is also a warning to us.  You see, when we don’t preserve our “saltiness” we actually do damage to others—it leads to a hardening of the heart.  

Notice the second part of verse 13 and how salt is referenced as being used for trampling. 

Matthew 5:13

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Quote: Eugene Deatrick states,

In modern Israel, savorless salt is still said to be scattered on the soil of flat roofs, which helps to harden the soil and prevent leaks, but would also be trod on since the roofs serve as playgrounds and places for public gathering where people would walk.[2]

So, here, we see that salt that has lost its savor is used to help harden soil.

Application: In the same way, a Christian who rebels against Christ, who doesn’t uphold the ethic of Jesus, who doesn’t love our neighbor as we love ourselves…and we’ve all met them…Christian people who don’t act like Christian people…they cause a hardening of the hearts of those that they are to influence. 

  • This can be their spouse
  • Their children
  • Their employees or employer
  • Their neighbors
  • Their followers on social media

If we are to influence others for Jesus, we must retain our virtue and pursue righteousness.

Let me say that again… If we are to influence others for Jesus, we must retain our virtue and pursue righteousness.

Application:  As a point of application, allow me to ask a few questions:

  • What are you doing to grow in righteousness today? 
  • How are you forming and shaping your character? 
  • What disciplines and accountability have you put in place to keep your life from going off the rails? 
  • Are you self-aware of how you are perceived by others?
  • Do you reflect on your day and your interactions with others? Are you quick or slow to apologize?

Application:  Now is a great time to reset your life…before it gets going full speed again.  Don’t waste this season. Do the hard work and keep from losing your saltiness.

We must maintain our virtue and pursue righteousness if we are to influence others toward Jesus.  Beyond influence, we are to also illuminate.

Jesus Calls His Followers to…

  1. Influence
  2. Illuminate
  3. Impact

Jesus calls His followers to…

II. Illuminate, Lighting the Way

Matthew 5:14-15

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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.

Jesus calls his followers to be light…and there has never been a better time to help people find their way. I was talking to a friend this week on the phone. He was talking about managing his workers in this season and the mindset that has enveloped people. It’s as if people are wandering through a wilderness.

And we are in a political climate where people are looking for leadership. And they are struggling to find the leadership they want or need.

And we are looking for leadership in our schools. And that is an overwhelming challenge right now for so many.

But you…you are the light of the world. You are that city set on a hill that cannon be hidden.

Just as Jerusalem was set high up on Mount Zion, and it could be seen for miles and miles, we are to be a people of light where there is clarity, purity and beauty.

Quote: D.A. Carson states…

Light is a universal religious symbol, that frequently symbolizes purity opposed to filth, truth or knowledge as opposed to error or ignorance, and divine revelation and presence as opposed to reprobation and abandonment by God.6 

Now, how are we to possess the light that Jesus speaks of?

We have to know the source of light and follow him.

John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus is the light. He is the source. He is the one who lights our way.  And when we follow him and trust in him, we will not walk in darkness, but we will have this light.

We have to grasp our new identity as children of light.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

Our identity was that we were once in darkness, but now, because of the blood of Jesus and his sacrifice, we are children of the light.

We have to stay on this path of following Jesus.

Proverbs 4:18

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

Ephesians 5:8

…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

This verse speaks to both our identity and on-going pursuit of Jesus.  We are to stay on this path and walk as children of light.

So, you may say…well, how do I do that?  How do i stay on the path and How do I show the way in this COVID-19 World? With what I saw on the Presidential debate? How do i show the way when we are socially distanced and wearing masks?

Those are great questions.

How do you light the way in a Covid world?

Let me give you a few tips.

When you draw near to God, He promises to draw near to you.

James 4:8

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

All throughout the Scripture we are commanded to not be afraid.

Over and over again, we see the words, “Fear not.”

Now, there is a reason these are in the order they are in.  We first draw near to God, then we aren’t captured by fear.  Notice what the Scripture says about God.

1 John 4:8c

… God is love.

We draw near to God because God is love.

And, we see something profound about love.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

So, spending time with God, drawing near to him, knowing that his nature is love…perfect love…tells me that it will drive out all fear.

But even more than that, I don’t have to be afraid because God is WITH ME.

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Now, I want you to confident, but I don’t want you to be arrogant.

Jesus has just said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Here, he is talking about humility.

Jesus has just said, “Blessed are the meek.”  To be meek is to have power that is harnessed.

Jesus has just said, “Blessed are the merciful.” We need to be a merciful people, understanding that people are afraid, their mindset has been disrupted, and the things that they are trusting in are eroding.

But, we can be confident because we have a Divine Foundation. We can be confident because we have Divine blessings.

And then, we can move forward in faith, serving others by doing good.

And that’s the third things we see here.

Jesus Calls His Followers to…

  1. Influence
  2. Illuminate
  3. Impact

Jesus calls His followers to…

III. Impact, by doing Good

Matthew 5:16

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

One of the things that this pandemic took from us was a summer full of impact. Really, from Spring Break forward, we canceled mission trip upon mission trip.  We lost out on opportunities to touch lives.

But, one of the things that emerged from the pandemic was a sense of much greater need. I believe 2021 will have greater needs than 2020. That’s why we have doubled down on our strategy to build up CASA, launch the new campus, and seek to lift our city.

As you see, we have launched our umbrella brand, CityRise.

As you have heard, we are moving forward with the new campus, developing a new home base for CASA, our clinic, and moving into areas that call for greater sacrifice.

And yes, we lost a chance to impact a lot of people over the past 6 months, but what I didn’t see coming, but what has emerged, is our opportunity to develop another strategic partner with ATTACK POVERTY.

I’ve had the chance to connect very deeply with Brandon Baca, the CEO of ATTACK POVERTY.  And I want you to see the impact that they are already having in our city, as his organization is living this out.  Take a look at this video.

Attack Poverty will be another strategic partner at our CityRise Missouri City Campus…

but more than that, CASA will become a partner of ATTACK POVERTY.  They have ministry that they bring to us that we can build upon.  And we have ministry we can bring to them that enables us to go mobile and expand our influence through medicine across our city.

Conclusion:

It’s time.  It’s time to hit RESET.  The Retreat is OVER.

It’s time to get back to our vision to lift our city and world by generously giving the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And we want to give you a chance to be involved…

How can I get involved?

  1. Help with Campus Launch: Text CITYRISE to 797979
  2. Connect with us about the church: Text CONNECT to 797979
  3. Give a Gift to help us walk in our Vision: Text GENEROSITY to 797979

You will be sent a link. Click on that link and fill out the forms and we will follow up with you.


[1] Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Eugene P. Deatrick, Salt, Soil, Savor, 47.

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