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'Make A Difference'
by Travis Wiginton
01/20/06
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Matthew 5:13-16:
"You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, wherewith shall it be salted?
It is henceforth good for nothing, but to cast out and to trodden under foot of men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick and it gives light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven."

Charles Swindoll calls this Scripture:
'Jesus' Profound Strategy for the World' and the only Strategy that will counteract the decline of mankind."
Our theme today is 'Make a Difference' and to do this, our actions need to be distinctive.

Out of my 66 website articles, the one that has been read the most is #28 (4-23-05) entitled 'You Are Special'.
You ARE special:
1) BY CREATION: Psalm 139:13-14 "You are beautifully and wonderfully made and God can direct your directions!"
2) BY THE CROSS: (where Christ died for you) John 3:16
3) BY CONVERSION: (from so much to so much more!) John 3:1-8
4) BY THE CARE GOD GIVES: II Peter 5:7
5) BY HIS CALL TO US: Jeremiah 1
6) BY HIS CONTROL: Jeremiah 29:10-14
7) BY YOUR COMMITMENT TO HIM: Matthew 11:28-30

You are special as SALT and LIGHT and you CAN make a difference!
You may ask 'how can I make a difference?' and the answer is, "One person at a time."

I see Matthew 5 divided into 3 portions:
Vs. 1-12: Blessed Attitudes within us.
Vs. 13-16: Blessed Atmosphere (influence) around you.
Vs. 17-48: Blessed Actions like Jesus taught...and lived.

All of these verses are great, but the most precious is verse 48:
"Be perfect as your Father is in Heaven".
To me, this means:
"be complete and Christ-like in your PATTERN for living and the POWER to live it."

I) MAKE A DIFFERENCE AS SALT OF THE EARTH: (Vs. 13)
I was raised on a farm where rock salt was very important for our milk cows and our work horses.
There was an expression used in those days which said, 'You are the salt of the earth' speaking of a person who was living a good life and was important to mankind.
It indicated a person of character and integrity.
So don't miss Jesus' emphasis on 'YOU' being the salt of the earth!

a) We see here the STATEMENT of the influence.
b) We see the SPHERE of the influence...the whole world.
c) We see the SIGNIFICANCE of the influence...if not YOU, who?
d) We see the SADNESS from lack of the influence.

Keep in mind that your influence on others can be immortal whether good or bad,
so make it good. Heb. 11:4: "Abel's influence lives on for good."

SOME QUALITIES OF SALT:
1) Salt must come 'in contact' to do any good.
2) The action of salt is silent and unseen, so our's will be at times also.
However salt must be gotten out of the shaker to be effective
and our influence must get out of our homes and churches.
If age or handicap limits you getting out, modern technology will help you to still make a difference.

La Moyne and I have been limited in mobility the last 2 yrs. so our website is a satisfying way to 'dispense salt'
La Moyne uses e-mail (and regular mail) as a way to encourage and minister to others.
('Thanks' to you who 'log on'. Please don't stop...and tell others about this ministry if you feel led to do so.)

3) Salt differs chemically from that into which it is placed.
Like salt, to make a difference, we must have a distinctive quality
and it SHOULD be 'Christ-likeness'.

Salt has 2 components: sodium and chloride.
These 2 come together to make a distinctive flavor.
Salt seasons food (for example, it sure makes gravy a lot better!)
Are YOU making life better for family, friends and others?

Too many times, people have associated Christianity with that which takes the flavor out of life.
I say, "Never lose the wonder of it all...and share this wonder with excitement and joy!"

This week, there were 2 clerks (one at the grocery store and one at the cafe) who had friendly smiles. I gave each a tract that had a smiley face on the front and the Plan of Salvation inside.
The tip I gave along with the tract to the waitress wasn't much, but it seemed to make a difference in her day.

There are 2 Seas in Galilee:
The Sea of Galilee receives from the Jordan River and overflows, emptying later into what is called 'The Dead Sea'.
The Dead Sea does NOT overflow, hence the use of the word 'Dead'.
We are to take all that God gives and overflow to those around us!
We may not can hold much, but we can overflow a lot.

E. Stanley Jones (missionary to India) wrote a very good Daily Devotional Book.
This book encouraged us while we were in language school for 2 yrs. in Seoul, Korea.
He wrote:
"Jesus insisted that we cannot live at the circumference of life unless we are alive at the center!"
Jesus is our center and we seek to share Him on out to the ends of the earth.
Jesus cautions us that 'the salt can lose it savor' (flavor and benefit)
and Christians may lose their influence to others.
His Words are very plain, "You are either good for something or good for nothing."

For example:
Too many people say, 'I, my and me', instead of 'we, our and us'.
Missions is our Mission.
God had one Son and He became a Foreign Missionary from Heaven to Earth.
(II Cor. 5:19-21)

II. MAKE A DIFFERENCE AS LIGHT OF THE WORLD: (Matt. 5:14-16)
Your influence counts!
Much of what has been said about your witness as 'salt'
can be said about your witness as 'light'.
I think of the action of salt as more private and unseen;
whereas light is more public and seen.
We are to be both in our attitudes and our influences!
The Bible is clear that Jesus is THE light and many of our gospel hymns underline this.

One of my favorites is, 'The Light of the World' by Phillip P. Bliss.
"The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin
The Light of the World is Jesus.
Like sunshine at noonday, His Glory shone in
The Light of the World is Jesus.

No darkness have we who in Jesus abide
The Light of the World is Jesus.
We walk in the light when we follow our Guide.
The Light of the World is Jesus.
Chorus:
Come to The Light, 'Tis shining for thee,
Sweetly The Light has dawned upon me.
Once I was blind, but now I can see.
The Light of the World is Jesus."

1) Light is primarily something meant to be seen. There is no such thing as 'secret Discipleship', for either the secrecy will destroy the Disciple or the Disciple will destroy the secrecy. The Christian light should not be visible ONLY within the church building!

2) The light (witness/influence) of a Christian shines, NOT to call attention to itself, but in order that something else may be seen. We live to reflect the Light (beauty) of Christ.
For example: When you see a radiant bride, the radiance which shines from her, comes from the love that she has in her heart.

3) No man nor woman kindles their own light. God through Christ, gives you the light, and through the Holy Spirit, Prayer and The Word, it is kept shining.
The brightness of our shining depends upon the fulness of our receiving from God.

4) Our light is often hid beneath 'baskets' and our light is wasted.
In his book, 'The Seven Deadly Sins', Billy Graham speaks of these as:
Pride, anger, envy, impurity, gluttony, slothfulness, and covetousness.

5) A light is a guide, but can be a warning also.

6) Our light shines best in the darkest places.
The darkest place is a heart/life without Jesus.
"It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
Keep on shining and it will be noticed.

7) Jesus is to be our example for shining His Light in the midst of all circumstances.

CONCLUSION:
The purpose of light is to light up dark places.
Many years ago we took our children to Carlsbad Caverns and at the deepest part of the Caverns, the lights were turned off. The complete darkness was very eerie and scary! (That's life without the light and love of Jesus.)
We were so glad when the lights came back on.
Jesus is THE Light and is too good to keep to ourselves. He MUST be shared!

One other illustration was the night that my Dad, my brother Bryce, and I were fishing with 50 bank poles. It was a very dark night, but we had to check the poles every 2 hours for fish.
Bryce said, "I'll go ahead of the light and check the next pole."
However, he decided to wait for the light and we were SO glad because there was a poisonous snake wrapped around the fishing pole! The light revealed this danger and helped Bryce escape possible death.

Two Scriptures that speak to this subject are:
John 12:35-36...
"For a little while you have he Light, so walk in that Light, for the one without it, does not know where he is going."
Put your trust in THE Light and let it shine as long as you live.
Acts 26:17-18...
"The apostle Paul was sent to the Gentiles, to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness from sin and receive their inheritance."

AND GOD SAYS, "SO SEND I YOU".......


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
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Sharon McClean 23 Jan 2006
Oh Travis, you are SO right! Christ made a BIG difference for US, not that we could look down our noses on others, but that we could offer them love and a helping hand, in Jesus, as He helped us. I love these TWO Scriptures: John 12:46-I have come AS A LIGHT into the world, that whoever believes IN ME should NOT abide in DARKNESS. (37) And if anyone HEARS My words and DOES NOT BELIEVE, I do NOT judge Him; for I did NOT come to judge the world, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD. This is what we should be trying to do as well, if we are walking in the light AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT! Blessings, Sharon




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