The struggles of this year have certainly tested Christians!  Like tea bags diffusing into the water around them, are we influencing the world for the gospel?  Or are we like sponges instead, soaking up the culture we’re immersed in?

I.  Matthew 5:13-16.  In this world, Christians are called to be salt and light.  Both reach outward into the world around them to change the experience for the person eating or interacting in the world.  So we must flavor, preserve, and shine.  If we don’t, if we hide the truth with which we’ve been entrusted, we are good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled.  If Christians took this charge to influence the world around us for Christ seriously, then others would see and give God glory.

II.  Luke 16:1-13.  Christians must make friends for ourselves by the means of unrighteous wealth.  What?  This parable troubles many because the subject is a dishonest manager who doesn’t change or face judgment for his dishonesty.  Rather, he is commended.  But what is he commended for?  It is for being shrewd in using the things or ways of this world for his advantage.  The key comes in the last few verses when Jesus tells his followers that they can be wise about using their generation’s things for the Kingdom.  Do we do this?  Are we known as some weird folks sequestered within the walls of our church buildings?  Or are we a peculiar people using the technology and campuses–even our time and connectedness–to take to gospel to a lost world?

III.  1 Corinthians 15:17-34.  What separates the saved from the lost is the hope we have in the resurrection.  It is because of this hope that Christians make eternal choices unlike the world that makes temporal choices.  With the unceasing bombardment we get from the world, it is too easy for Christians to want to live like the lost around us Monday through Saturday and then attend church on Sunday–all the while believing that God accepts us in this compromised state.  We must wake up from our slumber, church, and look for the tea we’re diffusing.  Because if we can’t easily see Christ influencing the culture around us, then we are more likely sponges soaking up the world.