How to Change the World

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Message today is How to Change the World in One Easy Lesson. I believe Jesus wants us to change the World. Look at the sermon on the Mount.
Jesus is teaching the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 5-7. He teaches the Beatitudes: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit… those who mourn...
When Jesus preached that sermon, the Sermon on the Mount… when he preached the Beatitudes blessed are the poor and those who mourn and all that, when Jesus preached that he was announcing the coming of a new kingdom. He was saying that what you have been waiting on is here.

Jesus announced the coming of a New Kingdom

A new kingdom is here with a new King. There is a new economy… a new way of thinking… a new set of values… new kind of citizenship… There is a whole new way to live.
The Sermon on the Mount was Jesus first sermon and it laid out what he was about. It’s an important sermon, but he did not give it to the rich, or the educated, or the religious leaders. He gave it in a field on the side of a hill in Galilee to people who were mixed with people from other parts of the world… people the Jews looked down on. Their religious practice was not as “pure” as the religious practice in Jerusalem. Don’t you just love to be around people like the leaders?
He began his ministry by speaking to the least likely people… with the Galileans, the misfits of society, the vulnerable people… the ones who continually compromised with the culture.
These are the people that Jesus said
Matthew 5:3–12 NIV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 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.
He is telling “these people” that the KOG is yours.
What is the KOG?
The KOG is where Jesus is ruling. So if Jesus is ruling in heaven then obviously the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven is in heaven. But if Jesus is reigning on the earth then the kingdom of God is on the earth. If Jesus reigns in your life then the kingdom of God is in your life. As Jesus said, The kingdom of God is within you. It is among you. If Jesus is king in your home then the kingdom of God is already in your home. The kingdom of God is wherever Jesus has been made king.
We are Kingdom people. Look at
Colossians 1:13 NLT
13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,
When you receive Jesus as your Savior, he transfers your citizenship to the KOG. We are already citizens of Heaven. The sooner we let that soak in, the sooner we will begin to live by that truth.
Jesus says this kingdom does not belong to the self-righteous, it belongs to the spiritually bankrupt. It does not belong to those who think they are righteous enough to deserve it.
The KOG does not belong to the self sufficient, but to those who are fully surrendered tot he Lord.
The KOG is opposite from all other religious teaching where people have to strive to reach heaven or something similar. Here, Jesus just gives us the KOG.
As far as Jesus was concerned, the KOG was not the end, but the beginning of our mission. We are already kingdom people. We look forward to spending eternity in heaven with the Lord, but eternal life doesn’t begin when you die. It started when you received Jesus.
You body will die, but your soul will live forever. Does that make sense? We are already living new and different lives… an abundant and eternal life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Paul did not say that one day you will become new if you work hard enough. He said that when you give your life to Christ, you become a new person… the old is gone.
So the KOG is something we possess right now, but it’s not because of anything we have or will do. It’s totally because of what Jesus did on the cross.
It’s because we recognized our spiritual poverty and our desperate need for a Savior. We have invited the King of Kings to become the King of our lives. So we are now citizens of heaven.

In God’s Kingdom broken people are blessed.

In this kingdom broken people are blessed, not the beautiful people who have it all together. The subjects in this kingdom are not oppressed by our king, we get to rule with our king. We are called to represent our king to the world. We are called to partner with the king to change the world. He changes the world though his people… you and me.
He works through us… people just like those in Galilee - the broken, misfits, the hopeless, the ones who don’t measure up to the standards of the religious… He works through us to extend the influence of his kingdom into the world around us to bring more people under the authority and rulership of Christ to live as kingdom people. So the king has invited us to change the world.

How are we supposed to change the world?

Matthew 5:13–16 NLT
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Jesus says that you and I are the Salt of the earth and the light of the world. To us, this statement could get lost even though it’s a powerful statement.
In Jesus day, Light of the World was a title some religious leaders held. He is making a radical, life changing statement by saying to everyone present - YOU are the light of the world. That title was only meant for the most respected rabbis of the day… not to common people.
But Jesus is saying. You broken people, you hopeless people, you tired people, you misfits, you outcasts, you the people who are trying the figure this stuff out… You are the light of the world… You are the Salt of the earth.
Jesus knew exactly who he was talking to. They’re saying, You can’t mean me. And Jesus was saying, Yeah I do mean you. Because Jesus had just finished telling us who the kingdom belongs to in the Beatitudes. It belongs to the spiritually bankrupt. It belongs to those who mourn their condition. It belongs to those who are surrendered to him. All of those characteristics you read about in the Beatitudes. Those who are starving – because they hunger and thirst for righteousness. That means they are starving for God to make things right in their life. And they are starving to be made right in God’s eyes. That’s who this kingdom belongs to.
“Jesus comes not for the super spiritual but for the wobbly and the weak kneed who know that they don’t have it all together and who are not too proud to accept a handout of amazing grace. Jesus’ kingdom, he says, is made up of people who willingly admit that their cheese has fallen off of their cracker.” Ragamuffin Gospel
Anybody here besides me say, Yea, my cheese fell off a long time ago?
Jesus is saying you are the ones the KOG belongs to. He says you are the Salt.... You are the light!
Not only does Jesus save sinners, he changes sinners! Anyone in the house who have been transformed by the Power of God?
He not only changes us, he calls and empowers us to go out and change the World. He didn’t save us to sit in the corner, or in the church and clap and sing, he saved us, called us and equips us to change the world.
He uses us, the broken and least likely to change the world. Paul goes on to say that we are his ambassadors or representatives to the world.
There’s another reason that this statement, you’re the salt of the earth and you’re the light of the world, there’s another reason that it was so surprising to people. It’s because in those days there were basically three schools of thought on how the kingdom was going to come and how God’s people were supposed to interact with the rest of the world.

Three Schools of Thought

1. Compromisers
These were the Pharisees. The compromised with the Roman government to get what they wanted. And the Pharisee position, the compromiser’s position was if we just compromise enough, if we’re willing to be politically correct enough, not make any waves, not really stand up for what we truly believe, if we just get along with everybody well enough maybe they’ll just mind their own business and let us be to ourselves. If we really play the game well enough then we can become the power brokers of religion.
2. Separatists
They want to separate themselves from the world. There was a sect in that time called Qumran sect. The Qumran sect. They were the people who lived out in the desert and wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. Their whole approach to the world was, We’re going to hide from the world. We’re going to have nothing to do with those wicked and horrible and bad people and we’re just going to wait for God to do what God’s going to do. Have nothing to do, never interact with the rest of the world. In other words we’re going to hide the light and we’re going to stockpile our salt.
3. Zealots
Essenes. They were a radical group of people and they were the ones who thought they had to defend God. They’ve got to protect him, got to protect God’s reputation.
God does not need you to protect him. Somebody once said you defend God the way you defend a lion; you just open the cage and get out of the way. God doesn’t need you to defend him.
What he does need is for you and I to love people… and change the world.
The approach that these radicals would take, these zealots would take, their basic approach was, ok guys say your prayers; sharpen your swords and let’s go out and fight a holy war. We’re going to burn down some abortion clinics, pick a fight with some gay activists, maybe knock a couple of Mormons off their bicycles. Those are the zealots.
Sadly all three of those groups still exist today. They are people who just want to have nothing at all to do with the rest of the world. They don’t want to talk to their neighbor; they don’t want to know any sinners, any terrible horrible dark people. They don’t want to have anything to do with people who don’t know Jesus.
We have people who are compromisers. They don’t want to make any waves. They don’t really want to let anybody know what they think. I’m just going to get along with the crowd and try to fit in with the rest of the world.
Then you’ve got the zealots. The people who are just out causing trouble and trying to come to God’s defense, like he really needs to be protected.
In fact the separatists and the zealots are two sides of the same coin. Because both the separatists and the zealots believed that God hates the world.
God doesn’t hate the world. But they think he hates the world. So the separatists say we’re just going to remove ourselves until the world goes to hell. And the zealots say let’s just see if we can send them there sooner.
So you’ve got these three groups of people. Now Jesus comes along and he presents another option. A surprising option. He says, You’re the salt of the earth. And you’re the light of the world. He’s saying don’t compromise. And don’t be afraid of them. And don’t hate them either.
Instead just change the world. Change things. You don’t have to hide from the world. I want you to spread your influence throughout the world. Spread the influence of my kingdom wherever you go.

How we see the world determines how we face the world.

When you watch the news, when you see all the stuff going on in the world that might be offensive to your senses, might be offensive to your sense of decency. You see people doing stuff that you would never do, do you think of those people, do you see those people as bad people or do you see them as lost people?
If you see them as bad people, you will approach with an argument and anger and they will respond the same way. We see that in the media daily.
But if you see them as lost people, it will stir up compassion in you. People respond differently to compassion than they do self-righteous indignation. They may still not agree with you, but they will see you care about them and may listen and enter into a discussion with you.
Jesus says we are to be salt and light to them… not to hide from them.
What does light do? Illuminates, warms
What does salt do? preserves, provides flavor, provides traction...
Let’s look at these.

You salt the earth by your words

You are salt by the words you speak and write. There is enough distasteful stuff on social media already. Let’s not add more.
We are to salt the earth with our words. We are to preserve. The Lord wants us to preserve civility, morality, dignity, decency with the things that we say. He wants us to improve the conversation with words of grace.
Colossians 4:6 NIV
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
What kind of words? Here are a few

Words of encouragement.

Encourage not discourage. positive not negative.
Somebody is discouraged. They’re having a tough day, feeling like giving up. Maybe they’re worried and anxious about something. You bring them a word of encouragement. You salt the conversation with words of encouragement.
Proverbs 12:25 GW
25 A person’s anxiety will weigh him down, but an encouraging word makes him joyful.

Words of patience

Words of patience. Where you’re in a situation where maybe you’re waiting in line or you’ve got a server who isn’t serving up to your standards and your expectations. They’ve got way too many people to take care of. Everybody’s getting impatient and restless and angry. Don’t jump into the impatience and the anger. Instead respond with words of patience. Tell them, “Take your time…I know things are tough on you…You’re doing a great job…” You salt the conversation with words of patience.
Proverbs 16:32 NIV
32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Ephesians 4:2 NIV
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Words of faith

When somebody is afraid. When it seems like they’re just waiting for bad news. You don’t have to join into their panic and their doubting. But instead you bring words of faith. The Bible says we live by faith and not by sight. The Bible says that God calls things that are not as though they were. So we speak words of faith. We salt that conversation with words of faith.
2 Corinthians 4:13 ESV
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak,
We build each other up with words of faith.

Words of truth

What kind of words come out of your mouth? Is it gossip? Is it innuendo? Is it spreading rumors?
Or is it truth? And when it is truth we must speak the truth in love. People need to know that we’re truthful in the way that we speak. They need to know that we can be trusted. But they also need to know that when it is necessary we will speak truth into a situation. But we always must do it in a loving way.
1 Corinthians 13:6 NIV
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Ephesians 4:15 The Living Bible
15 Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Words of peace

When somebody is argumentative, somebody is being combative, somebody is yelling, don’t yell back. Don’t raise your voice. The louder you get the louder they’re going to get. Instead you bring words of peace. You don’t stir up the conflict with harsh words. With accusations. Instead salt the earth with words of peace.
Proverbs 15:1 NIV
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Words of hope

People are desperate for hope. When you meet somebody who is in despair, when they have just given up all hope, then you need to speak words of hope into their life. A great way to do that is to just pray with them. Give them some hope.
Great verse...
Romans 15:13 NIV
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Another way to bring hope is to tell your story. Ever been in a situation where things were tough and somebody came and said “Let me tell you what God did when I went through that.” It builds hope in you. You tell your story. I was lost and now I’m found. I was blind and now I see. I was angry but now I’m at peace. I was filled with hatred but God taught me how to love and forgive. I was bound up in some kind of addiction but now the Lord has set me free.
People can argue with theology and the bible, but they cannot argue with a changed life.
Remember the blind man Jesus healed in John 9? He had been born blind.
And after this man was healed he was brought before the religious leaders and they demanded. They said who did this? What did he look like? Where did he go? And how did he do it? And the blind guy said, I have no idea. I was blind remember? I don’t know who he is. I don’t know what he looked like. He said, I don’t know who it was and I don’t know how he did it.
All I know is this. And he says, “All I know is I was blind and now I see.”
There was nothing they could do to refute his story. Your story is the most compelling piece of evidence… What has God done for you, in you....
1 Peter 3:15 NIV
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Gentleness and respect - keep civility. we don’t share what God has done in our lives and point our long bony fingers to someone else. Just lovingly tell your story.
Are you ready to tell your story? How do you get ready. Write it out. Practice telling it. People can’t argue with your life. They will ask you what’s different? How can you have hope?
They will ask you because…

You light the world by your deeds

Matthew 5:14–15 NLT
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
Matthew 5:16 NIV
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
It’s not enough to say you believe, you have to actually live like you have faith in Jesus. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. They don’t want to hear your voice rattling a bunch of words, they want to see your deeds… to put it into action.
James 2:14–18 NLT
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
Get out and do something is what he is saying.
What kind of deeds light the world? Here are some suggestions.

Deeds of compassion

When you see somebody in need, someone who is hurting and it is within your power and ability to do something about it to help them, then do something about it and help them. Don’t just talk about it; do something about it.
This is why we are doing Fuel the Future. It’s why we have a food pantry. It’s why we provide free dinner to anyone who come on Wednesdays. It’s why we are doing the Harvest Fest… We are showing the Love of Jesus in tangible ways.
Matthew 25:35–40 NIV
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Deeds of mercy

Did you know mercy triumphs over judgement?
When it is within your power to get even with somebody, when it is within your power to get even with somebody, instead show them mercy. Show them mercy. Why would you do that?
There’s a couple of reasons. One is because you’re going to need mercy from God sometime in the future too. Two - the Bible says that God shows us mercy the way we show mercy to other people. So we need to be merciful.
Think about this: Which one do you think is more likely to cause somebody to give their life to Christ? Getting even with them or showing mercy to them? We light the world with deeds of mercy.
Micah 6:8 NLT
8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Deeds of generosity

You can also light the world through deeds of generosity. Through deeds of generosity. When you see a need and it is within your power to meet that need then meet the need. God gives to you so that he can give through you. Everything God does he does through his people. God doesn’t just make money fall miraculously from the sky. He puts money into our hands so that we can meet the needs of other people.
He gives to you so he can give through you. You can light the world through deeds of generosity. He wants us to learn to be generous because he wants us to be like him. We give because he gives.
2 Corinthians 9:13 NIV
13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
1 Timothy 6:18 NIV
18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Deeds of selflessness

The Bible teaches that we are to prefer others above ourselves… to look after them.
Romans 12:10 AMP
10 Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.
Romans 12:10 The Message
10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
We are in fact our brother’s keeper.
We have to understand this. You don’t get rid of darkness with salt. If there is darkness all around you, just sitting there talking about it will not get rid of it.
The only way to get rid of darkness is to turn on the light. Whenever there is something you can do to shine your light, do it. You shine your light through your deeds. The world needs acts of grace and mercy. The world needs us to shine our lights and light the path to Jesus.
Stockpiled salt and hidden light is useless. The church is not the building. The church is God’s people and God is working through his people – remember he has invited us to partner with him to accomplish the plans and the purposes of heaven on earth. He wants to do it through us and he can’t do it through us if we never go outside the walls of the church. The church is not meant for us to all just come and have a holy huddle. Remember: The kingdom of God is not the final destination. It is the launching pad for our mission and our ministry in the world. And God wants us to extend the influence of his kingdom into the world that he loves.
The world needs to hear that God does not hate them. He loves them. He loves them so much that he sent His only Son Jesus to die on a cross for them.
God is not afraid of unbelievers… of getting dirty by being around them. We don’t have to be afraid of them either.
1 Peter 2:11–13 The Living Bible
11 Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls. 12 Be careful how you behave among your unsaved neighbors; for then, even if they are suspicious of you and talk against you, they will end up praising God for your good works when Christ returns. 13 For the Lord’s sake, obey every law of your government: those of the king as head of the state,
Sea Bass illustration.
If God can put a seabass in saltwater and keep it from tasting salty, he can put you and me in the world without us tasting like the world.
Colossians 4:6 NIV
6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Matthew 5:16 NIV
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Colossians 3:17 NIV
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
God wants us to change the world… Lets go do that.
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