You are - Matthew 5:13-20 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday February 5th, 2023 / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
SERMON NOTES - Listen to the audio for more
Theme: “You are”
Intr – In the Gospel today Jesus says: “You are”. Think about just those two words: You are. What are you? Who are you? Who are we?
It seems like a simple question, but it goes beyond just saying your name or your profession. Especially when we think that in life there are things that you want to be. There are things that you should be. There are things you think you are. And then, there is who you really are.
What you are, and who you are?
1 – WHAT WE ARE
What you want to be regarding:
_As a family member
What you should be,or what you think people expect you to be:
_better money spender
What you think you are – This may fit in one or more categories in all of us:
_Better than others (that’s why sometimes we ask “Why me?”)
_More deserving of certain things (At least I don’t)
_Above average (The Dunning-Kruger effect)
How much of our time, of our life, we employ in these three categories? How much of our effort is put toward what we want, should be, or what we think we are?
2 – WHO WE ARE
Let’s look to the Gospel again. It tells you who you are. You are the salt of the World. You are the light of the World. Jesus doesn’t say you want to be it. Or that you should be it. Not even that you think you are, for it is not in our power to define and decide that. Jesus says YOU ARE, because since you were brought to faith in Christ, this is who you are. You are salt. You are light.
Here’s the thing: there is no way salt can be unsalted. Or even that its saltiness can be restored. These are two crazy, impossible affirmations of Jesus, as He likes to do. Salt is either salt, or it is not. Light is either t light around, or it is not even lit.
You are either a Christian, or you are not. The entire list of “you ares” either is real, or not. Other “you ares” include: Royal Priesthood, Holy Nation, you are my friends, family of God, citizens of the Kingdom of God. You are the branches. And many more.
Now, if you think about this deeply, it will eventually sound like a heavy burden. And it is. For the Bible also tells you that you are:
This is why we need Christ Crucified, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians. This is why this text comes right after the Beatitudes, where we learns Who God is and where we belong. So the first thing is to be sure of who God is. (The Apostles Creed)
From that belonging comes our being. You are who you are – Christian, Salt, Light, royal priesthood – as you are connected to who He is.
Don’t let the world dictate who you are, or nudge you in directions that take you away from this. Don’t get lost in the righteousness of the world or you would lose who you are. In Jesus’ time he is warning that we should exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
_Don’t think you are more than others
_Don’t think God is more pleased at you compared to others
_Don’t act as if you had a higher moral ground than others
-Don’t act outside of Christ and outside of love.
That same warning comes handy and useful for our time
_don’t think that you are what the world says you are
_Don’t fall for the idea that you are just matter, energy, and when your gone, your gone, it’s the end
_Don’t fall for the idea that you are a being that came by chance in this world.
_Don’t fall for the idea that you are what you are depending on the ways others act with you.
_Don’t act as if your saltiness, your faith doesn’t matter in the world, so you’ll keep it inside you, your house and your Church
Don ‘t let the world change you so that you conform to what our current age expects you to be. Dare to be salt. Dare to be fool. Dare to know nothing except Christ and Him Crucified.
I sum, don’t act as the world expects you to. Live as who you are in Christ.
But don’t mistake it for a teaching of no action at all. Go and act. Good works are not optional, the necessary follow faith. It is necessary to do the Good Works commanded by God. This is not prescriptive though (Do this and God will like you better, or God will save you better). This is descriptive: because God loves you and you are Salt, Light, you are a Christian, it is natural that you will let your faith shine through works in the World.
This connects directly to your life. This makes you look to the world through the lenses of faith. You will see a sinful, difficult, sometimes deplorable world. But you will see also the World for which Christ gave his own life. If you look around and think “Well, this world has gone mad, will I waste my time with it?”, remember that Jesus wasted not only his time, but also his life for it. He came back alive on Resurrection Day to assure is that as bad as it may go. He will never cease to offer love, forgiveness and salvation.
This is why Jesus urges us to let our light shine. So that more people can lift their heads from this world gone made and see the hope that shines from Him to them.
Cc - The daughter came to her dad in tears. Her older brother had called her a bad name that she hated to hear. Her dad listened attentively to here complaining and then asked her:
- Tell me: are you really what he called you?
- No daddy
- So why are you so sad?
-I...I don’t know....
The father, looking into her eyes, explained:
-Look darling. As you could see listening somebody call us something we are not is not enough to make us feel wrong or bad. You have to decide either you will feel bad for it or not. If you know that you are not that thing, then it won’t annoy you anymore.
Sure, sometimes it is inevitable to feel bothered by the anger, indifference, or malice we realize in other people’s words. But that dad’s piece of wisdom is hard to contradict. What people call us will hurt most when we are not sure of who we are.
Never forget who You are. Salt, Light, Child, Saved. A person redeemed by Christ Crucified, who will live this life in Him. For those times when bad words bring us down, Jesus is the reliable shoulder and the friendly ear where we can lay our complaint and lament. You know who He is. So you know who you are.
 “Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general. According to the researchers for whom it is named, psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the effect is explained by the fact that the metacognitive ability to recognize deficiencies in one’s own knowledge or competence requires that one possess at least a minimum level of the same kind of knowledge or competence, which those who exhibit the effect have not attained. Because they are unaware of their deficiencies, such people generally assume that they are not deficient, in keeping with the tendency of most people to “choose what they think is the most reasonable and optimal option.” Although not scientifically explored until the late 20th century, the phenomenon is familiar from ordinary life.”
 1 Corinthians 2
 Augsburg Confession, Article VI
 Ephesians 2;10
Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/salt-and-pepper-shakers-on-table-2978020/