In His sermon on the mount, Jesus calls His followers to be salt and light to people (Matthew 5:13-16). In today’s teaching, Pastor Steve Shober outlines the various attributes of salt and light and explains how they apply to us as followers of Jesus. He then challenges each of us to self-examination: How does my life affect others through my words and actions? Do my words enhance the lives of others (Matthew 5:13, Galatians 4:6)? Am I careful to watch my words (Mark 9:50)? Does my light shine in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16, Ephesians 5:8-9)? Do I take advantage of opportunities to be salt and light to others (Galatians 6:10)? Am I on the lookout for new experiences with God that will glorify Him (Matthew 5:16)?
Pastor Steve Shober addresses a specific aspect of growing in Christ, namely, growing in the works/activities of Jesus. As Jesus begins His public ministry (Luke 4:14-17), He declares what He came to do (verses 18-19), fulfilling in verses 20-21 the prophecy from Isaiah 61:1-2. As messengers of Jesus, we are called to announce the good news to a lost and broken world, telling them what we know about Jesus (who He is, what He does, how He can be known). As ambassadors of Christ, we have been given authority to continue to carry on His ministry of casting out evil spirits and healing people from all disease and illness (Matthew 10:1) and setting free those living under spiritual oppression (Acts 10:38). Jesus came to set us free physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We know we can trust Him to keep His word (Hebrews 13:8).
Why be baptized? Scripture offers several reasons. Jesus was baptized, and then His public ministry began. Jesus told us to baptize others “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” and gave us His authority to do so. Paul was persecuting Christians when he heard the voice of God, was blinded for three days, prayed over, and then baptized. When he was later miraculously released from prison, instead of running away, he stayed and baptized his jailer. It’s not just a public statement; it is a choice that makes your life more impactful and effective.
Scripture references: Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 9:1-18, Acts 16:25-33.
Does your life seem harder at times, that people who do not know Jesus?
How can we respond when things are not going the way we want? Steve Shober offers some insights and suggestions from Psalms 37 to help us combat the fear or envy that can try to chip away at our faith during hard times. Steve encourages us to ‘cast our cares on Him’ (1 Peter 5:7) and ‘not to get tired of doing good’ (Galatians 6: 9-10), because trusting in the Lord is the remedy for worry.
Pastor Steve Shober taught that just as Jesus lived a life in humble service to mankind, our attitude toward others can reflect that level of unselfishness by putting others before ourselves.
- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above ourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others.” Phil 2:1-8
- God changes our spirit but we choose whether or not to heed his guidance. “He humbled Himself and became obedient even to the point of death on the cross.” Phil 2:8
- “Anyone who wants to be first must be last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35.
- “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…” 1 Peter 5: 6 and James 4:10.
- “But whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45.
- “If any want to be my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24.
On this last day of 2017, Pastor Steve Shober shared the stories of Abram, Moses, Gideon and Peter, and how God intervened in their lives in miraculous, encouraging and merciful ways. When we are honest, we can recognize ourselves in each of the lives of these four men: disqualified, helpless, discouraged and hopeless. Yet that didn't stop the Lord from blessing, empowering, encouraging and restoring these men and that will not stop Him from showing up in our lives to be in our stories!
Through Luke 15:1-10, Pastor SteveShober reminds us that Jesus lovingly welcomes all people to come to Him, including those who are sick, lost, and broken. As a Good Shepherd who has lost one sheep, he leaves the 99 to go after the lost one until he finds it and joyfully puts it on his shoulders to bring it home. There is much rejoicing in heaven when one lost person turns to Him. God uses ordinary people (like each of us) to reach out to others to be messengers of the Good News to bring peace, grace, mercy, kindness, healing, and deliverance to those who are lost.