The church is God’s instrument for global transformation. The church that Jesus launched is to be ‘salt and light’; but if salt is left in the shaker it is useless, and light that is blocked results in darkness. When we hear the word ‘church’ what do you think of? The word Jesus used for church was not religious in nature at all. In fact, by the time He first uttered the word for church ‘Ekklesia’, it had been in use for centuries in both Greek and Roman cultures, referring to a secular institution operating in the marketplace in a governmental capacity. Ekklesia refers to people, not a building. It is people who will bring God’s redemptive order back into a broken society.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus explained a plan for influencing the world. He came up with a formula that would have an impact on people around us:
HP + CP + CC = MI
The Word of God challenges us to arrange our lives so that we can have the highest possible spiritual impact on people around us. What did Jesus mean when He said: ‘You are salt’? Today we have fridges, but in biblical days salt was used to keep food from going bad. Salt holds back decay; it preserves from corruption. Salt stimulates thirst; when we are in tune with the Spirit, living with a sense of God’s presence with peace and joy, then we will create a spiritual thirst to people around us.
HP = High Potency
As His church, we are meant to show the world how to live and once we start living as people of God’s kingdom, in the dynamics of a Spirit-filled life, we will then have an impact on our community. In order for salt to have the greatest impact, it must be potent enough to have an effect and it has to get close to whatever it is supposed to affect.
CP = Close Proximity
Unless salt gets out of the shaker, it remains a mere table ornament. We too need to get out to where people are. God forbid that we remain a good-looking table ornament, but having no impact on the lives of other people. Christ did not save us to sing spiritual songs behind stained glass windows, He planted a seed so that it would become a noble vine. Christ saved us to have an influence on others. How do we reach out to a broken society? How do we express the kingdom of God to those who are lost, living with no hope, no purpose, and no future? As Malcolm Duncan said, “the kingdom of God does not need new ideas, it just needs hands and hearts and lives ready to lay themselves down for others”. In an age of consumerism where we always want more, Jesus taught the opposite – to give. Don’t hide away from a world that needs hope, be friends to others and be willing and ready to share your testimony. It comes more natural to us to shout the gospel at people from a distance, than to involve ourselves deeply in their lives and to feel with them in their pain. Jesus was always where people were investing His life in developing relationships, unlike the religious leaders of the day who preferred to stay in the safety of their pulpits and buildings. As Christians, we need to understand our identity in the world. Many have misunderstood what it means to be ‘in the world, but not of the world’. Separation from the world does not mean isolation, where we hid in our pews and pulpits.
CC = Clear Communication
What does light do? It gives direction, it reveals. We need to know how to communicate the gospel, it is not just living our lives with consistency and authenticity, we need to learn to seize the opportunities that come along and speak words of power into people’s lives. The greatest service one person can render to another is bringing them to Jesus. Use wisdom, don’t be insensitive. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Avoid using Christian jargon (words like redeemed, saved, salvation, washed in the blood of the lamb).
MI = Maximum Impact
Why should we tell others about Christ?
- Because the Bible says so. ‘Go…’
- It is the Father’s plan to tell others (Matthew 5:18-19)
- Because of the spiritual condition of people without Christ
- God has entrusted us with the gospel
If we are to see transformation of our communities, then we must have a life changing message for a lost world. Billy Fenning