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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