Isaiah 58:1-9a; I Corinthians 1: 2-16; Matthew 5:13-20
Pearl: The root of our righteousness derives from the spirit and mind of Christ.
Function: To emphasize the foundation of our righteousness thereby leading worshippers to consider their constant need for Christ’s indwelling in the inner self and channeling of the mind of Christ so that we might shine properly and bear the proper fruit (apple tree should produce apples—Christ’s followers care for the orphans—the homeless—clothe the naked—feed the hungry, etc.
Jesus told his followers that they were salt and light. The Apostle Paul wrote that the follower of Christ by the Spirit has the mind of Christ. In saying these things Jesus and Paul meant that you are created by the Father to make a difference, to have an impact upon the world around you.
- Notice that I said that we are created by the Father to make this difference. It begins with God. It is true that there are all kinds of people in this world who want to make a difference and who are doing so much good.
- But you who follow Christ are called to make a difference as salt impacts what it contacts. But there is a key point to be made. The good that you do is a result of Jesus Christ in you.
- All of the good that we should do is to flow out of our relationship with the Father through our Savior and Lord Jesus the Christ.
- And not only that but the good that you do flows from your character as guided and directed by having the mind of Christ Jesus in your own mind. It is about synching up your mind with the mind of Christ. It is about paring your mind with the mind of Christ.
The root of any virtue in us, and the better biblical concept is “righteousness,” lies in our essential being. There are certain kinds of things that we should do in ministry but it is not the doing of these things alone which so much makes the difference. Such acts of care and compassion and justice make an impact but when they are done by Christ-centered, Christ-related persons there is an effect like the effect of salt and light.
- This is a key move in Jesus’ sermon to the crowds. He was speaking to the “righteousness” of the Scribes and the Pharisees. He was suggesting that their sense of living right and making an impact was in their appearing righteous without actually being righteous. Jesus’ entire message on how to live and how to make an impact with our lives was about being “in Him” and therefore “in the Father.”
key for Jesus is “our inner being.” In your relationship with God are you
allowing the Lord to continually transform you from the inside to the outside?
This is why Jesus talked about cups and having them cleaned out on the inside
so that the outside would therefore be clean also. It is much better that you
are clean on the inside and not just on the outside as the Pharisees and
Scribes. People can put on a good show of being “religious;” it isn’t that
hard. Are you different on the inside and is your mind transformed by Christ?
Are you the way that you say that you are? Does your life match your
- In honesty, nowhere near 100% of the time. But this is our constant goal: to be directed and changed by the Spirit and mind of Christ?
- The goal is to be Christ-centered, Christ-filled, and Spirit-filled human beings: to be continually transformed in our inner being by the Lord Jesus and thus a proper host for the Spirit of God. Lent is only weeks away. Lent is an intentional time to renew your body, mind, and spirit and to synchronize with the Lord. It is a time to clean house again. Think of it as spiritual spring cleaning.
As our identity is established and renewed, that is, as we continually channel the mind of Christ our lives bear certain kinds of fruits and we radiate the Spirit of God and make a difference in a more brilliant way than humanly possible.
The Apostle Paul spoke about having the mind of Christ to the Corinthian church. Corinth was a very cosmopolitan city. Philosophy was appreciated and eloquent speaking and thinking was championed. There are many things about ancient Corinth which are similar to our world today. So, this is why Paul said he didn’t come with eloquent words of wisdom but he came with a simple message which had the power to change hearts, minds, and even the world.
was this simple message with the power to transform minds?
said it was the message of the cross.
- He wrote, “My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (I Cor. 2: 4, 5).
was the message of “Christ crucified.”
- “I decided to know nothing among you except Christ, and him crucified” (I Cor. 2: 2).
- Paul said it was the message of the cross.
does this translate to today? How does this message of Christ crucified
continue to transform and change people and creation still today? How would you
answer that question? The message of the cross…
- Makes us humble and thankful to God for such generous love.
- That God gave all, his very life through the Son, shows that God is completely committed to what he creates—us, the world, and all creatures.
- It means that God knows what it means to be abased, abused, put down, tortured, ridiculed, scorned, and so on. So, you cannot experience anything which God has not also experienced.
- It means that even death cannot win. Life and light and God cannot be silenced. Goodness cannot be silenced and it will win the day; it will win the world.
officers of the church being ordained and installed today to serve in
leadership are called to serve by the power and by the counter-intuitive wisdom
of “Christ crucified.”
- Serve and work by this power which defies logic.
- Think and live by a spirit which loves and gives.
- Serve after the example of your Lord Jesus who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life in return to God in humble thanks.
- Serve others knowing that all of these others are beloved of God.
And as we all live and serve and continually channel the mind of Christ, God works in ways that cannot be explained.
And our righteousness becomes something deep inside of us, not even of us but of God, of Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.