Below is a copy of the sermon I preached on Sunday, February 5, in Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, West Virginia. You can find a podcast of this sermon on the Cove Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.
If you find this sermon meaningful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.
Now, I hope most of y’all know that over the last three weeks, we’ve been focused on spiritual growth, in other words, how we might grow in our understanding of and our relationship with God. And during this time, we’ve looked at three steps that I think will enable to us grow.
For example, during the first sermon, we considered how, when we recognize our limits, we’re more realistic in what we expect and more focused in how we approach God and more patient in our faith. And then, during the second sermon, we looked at how trusting the Lord helps us grow, because faith is really trust, and it begins with a decision on our part, and it frees us to explore different ways we might approach growth. And then, last week, we talked about loving one another, something that forces us to turn from the values of the world and that moves us behind Jesus Christ and that leads us to change our attitudes and our actions. Now this is what we covered during the last three weeks.
But having said that, I still think it’s important if we want to grow spiritually. But in order to do it without paralyzing fear and debilitating guilt, before we talk about why, I believe we really need to consider how, you know, how we can make an impact and make it as effectively as we can.
Just like we need to consider who, your know, with whom might we have an impact. For example, will it be folks who are hungry for a better understanding of the Bible or for a decent meal for once? Will it be for people who may suddenly have a lot of time on their hands or who may suddenly find themselves with no place to live? And will it be for Christian brothers and sisters who are facing hard times or for non-Christian friends and strangers who are also facing hard times? You see, the who is just as varied as the where. And even though those folks all have very definite needs, I think we need to spend some time asking ourselves exactly whom we’re able to help.
And I’ll tell you, when that happens, when we take seriously that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, a city on a hill and a lamp on a stand, in other words, when we begin to look for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others, I believe as sure as I’m standing here, we’re going to grow. We’re going to grow spiritually. Man, we’re going to grow in our understand of and our relationship with God. And for me, there are three reasons why that’s so.
Now, I recognize that, at least for me, the idea that God has made me salt and light and that he’s put me on a hill and a stand, I’m telling you, I’m probably always going to feel a little scared, because I think it’s more than I can handle, and a little guilt, because I worry about whether I should be doing more and doing it better. And yet, regardless of how I feel or you feel, that’s what God has done with both of us, because we’ve been called to make an impact on the world around us. And you know, this is something we can do when we begin to consider where we’re able to act and whom we’re able to help and what we’re able to give. And I’ll tell you, when we figure it out and when we decide that this is part of our call, to make a difference, we’re going to start listening to others and looking inside ourselves and moving closer to God, which, when taken together will result in some genuine spiritual growth.