Salt and Light


 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Mat 5:13)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Mat 5:14)

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; nor does it give light unto all that are in the house. (Mat 5:15)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:16)

 

 Introduction

Have you ever had some thing in your possession that could not be replaced? A “one of a kind” object that if it was lost or compromised it did not have the worth that it had before.  When Jesus was speaking to the people on Mt. Olive, he was describing the character that Christians should have like “Blessed are the meek…” “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness”   But after he described the character he told us how to function in the world as the church. Our place in the world has been compromised, lost it’s savor, and has conformed to its surroundings.

Rotten World

Our society has become rotten; there is no longer preservation of virginity until marriage, no preservation in marriages, and no preservation in our daily lives. We live in a society of get everything that you can get now, time is money and money is time. Our lifestyles have become so faced paced that preservation is becoming obsolete. We sugar coat spiritual issues in our churches. We try to sweeten things, so that we can keep people happy instead of telling the harsh truths that need to be told. We’ve developed a Church that compromises just to keep a large membership or to keep the church functioning financially. We have become so sweet in our talk that our faith in God has started to decay and church is just form and fashion. But Jesus declared in  this sermon that we are “SALT” of the Earth not the Sugar. 

            The people of this world are wicked, sinful, and against God. They glory in their shame and even today many are coming out proudly declaring their lesbianism, homosexuality and other deviant lifestyles. Evil has become good and good has become evil.

            This has been the situation in the world since the fall of man. Why? Because of the sin of human hearts. In Jeremiah 17:9 we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure,” and in Matthew 15:19 Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander,” and so on. In Romans 1:21, 24 and 26 we read, “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. . . God gave them over [in judgment] to the sinful desires of their heart to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. . . God gave them over to shameful lusts.” And in Romans 1:28 we read that God “gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.”

Romans 1: 29-32 says “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Salt for the World

Jesus said in verse 13 of Matthew that we were the “salt of the earth” But why was he comparing us to salt? Jesus was saying although the world was rotting, Christians were to function as salt to the world. We are different from the world. Like the world we were once dead but now that we have been delivered and born again we are alive by our relationship with Jesus.

Salt is distinctive. Jesus did not call us to be salt to the world and stay within the four walls of our church, because salt has no effect on meat until it is rubbed in. When salt is rubbed into a cut it serves as a natural cleanser, which purifies the wound that has been made.

Jesus complimented us when he said that we were the “salt of the earth” because salt serves multiple purposes.

  1. Salt is a preservative– it keeps spoiling meat from becoming even more rotten and corrupt. In tropical countries where there are no refrigerators, people rub salt into meat to keep it from going bad. When Christians come in close contact with the sinful people of the world, the world is kept from progressing further into sin. Christians are a benefit to secular society. Without our presence, the world would decay at an even faster rate. As the “salt of the earth”, Christians keep the corruption of society at bay by opposing moral decay by our lives and our words. We must realize that, like salt, Christians might irritate the wound at first. Remember, Christians are not sugar; they are salt. But I say, welcome the irritation that Christians bring about. Welcome the discomfort that the salt of the earth initially creates, because salt will greatly benefit you.

 

  1. Salt is necessary for flavor. Without Christians and the gospel they this world would be more tasteless. There is no true flavor found in the world. There is no true joy found in this world. Only the company of Christians gives flavor and joy to the world. We can prove this by examining the worldly parties and good times. What are they like? Boring and tasteless. As Christians, we have the function to provide flavor and taste to the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. The world is without hope, and only the Christian, by his lifestyle and practices, will point the world to hope in Jesus Christ.

 

  1. Salt is white, symbolizing purity. Christians are to be in the world and yet live pure, different lives. Christians should glory in their difference. We are citizens of heaven who are living in this rotting world for its benefit. We must constantly resist the temptation of being like the world and must be like the Lord Jesus Christ. We must oppose the rotting and foul values of the world, and proclaim and practice biblical lifestyles. As we read in James 4:4, “Friendship [or conformity] with the world is hatred toward God.” As the salt of the earth, we must be holy, pure and different from the world. In Romans 12:2 Paul says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world” and in James 1:27 we read that we must keep ourselves “from being polluted by the world.” In 1 Peter 4:4 we read that the world thinks it strange “that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation.” Salt is pure.

 

  1. Salt also was used as a fertilizer. Christians must function in a way that promotes the growth of that which is good in the world. We must reject evil and exalt good. There is much good in God’s world, and Christians must support and promote that which is useful to mankind. For example, Christians must engage in politics to promote policies that are helpful to families. Historically, Christians have championed many causes that promoted the good of humanity. We have to suppress evil and cause good to grow and flourish.
  2. Salt causes people to become thirsty. Christians should cause people to thirst for Jesus Christ and his gospel. If we live as Christians daily for God’s glory alone in the midst of the world, the world will observe us and desire to know about Jesus Christ. Now, I don’t mean all the people of the world will do this, but God’s elect will. Through us God will cause them to thirst for the living God, and they will come to us and ask, “Why are you different? Why are you so full of hope and peace and joy even in the midst of troubles?” When they do this, you then can tell them about Jesus Christ.

 Are we functioning as salt in the world? Are we causing people to thirst for Jesus Christ?

In John 7:37, Jesus declared at the Feast, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” It is the church’s business to produce in the hearts of unbelievers’ great thirst for Jesus Christ.

Worldliness Destroys Saltiness

Jesus said that if salt lost its saltiness, it would become useless and worthless. Can people lose their saltiness? Yes. How? Through worldliness. When we conform to the pattern of the world, when we embrace the rotten values of the world, when we become materialistic, sensual and pleasure-seeking, we lose our saltiness. We become like the world–rotting, rotten, and foul.

We must realize that we are to be in the world but not of the world. Although we are in the world, we must focus on Jesus Christ and his teachings. We are to be different, and if we are not, we will become fools. We will become useless to God, useless to our families, useless to society–yea, useless to the world. And the day will come when salt less professors of Christ will be cast out by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 8:11-12: “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness. Where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

One day the Lord Jesus Christ will say to such people, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” One day he will speak to them, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” That day is coming!

Light of the World

Jesus also told his disciples, “You are the light of the world.”  Jesus was speaking to poor, humble people but exalting them as lights to the world. He said that they ALONE were the light of the world. He gave them dignity and the same goes for you if you are a Christian.  Proverbs 4:19 “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness.” But Jesus said that we are the light that illuminates dark places.

Ephesians 5:8,9 says, “For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”. In 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 it says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of glory of Christ, who is the image of God. . . . [But] God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

We were once darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. How are we supposed to live? As children of the light. Jesus said he was the light of the world and then he told his disciples that they are the light of the world.

We must realize that although the world is sinful and dark, God loves it and sent his one and only Son to redeem it.

In John 3:19-21 Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

God loves the world, and he sent his Son to be its light. He has purposed to save a people from their sins, and he will save them. He saves them through the church as Christians proclaim and demonstrate the gospel in every aspect of life. Whether in the workplace or the marketplace, whether in the political arena, the family, or the school, as we demonstrate the light of Christianity, God will save some out of darkness just as he saved us.

Lights Must Be Different

We are placed in the world to benefit the world. But we benefit it only when we live as light. If the people of the world fornicate and we fornicate, what is the difference? If they lie and we lie, what is the difference? When they do a sloppy job, and we do a sloppy job, what is the difference? When they complain and murmur against their bosses, and we complain and murmur against our bosses, what is the difference? When they don’t love their spouses, and we don’t love our spouses, what is the difference? When they divorce and we divorce, what is the difference? When they are lazy and we are lazy, what is the difference?

We cannot benefit the world when we are like the world. Christians are to reflect the light of Jesus to the world. And what is this light? It is the light of salvation, the light of eternal life, the light of the knowledge of God, the light of the joy of salvation, the light of hope, and the light that shines in darkness. It is the light that opens the eyes of the blind and causes them to see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Our mission is to be light to the world. When the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned the apostle Paul, he told him, “I am sending you to [the Gentiles] to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:17-18). And Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:9, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, let us examine how we can apply this teaching to our lives. First, we must ask ourselves: Are we salt and light? Or are we dead meat and darkness? These are serious questions. And if, after examining ourselves, we find that we are darkness, may we cry out to Jesus Christ that he may save us. Then he will transform us into salt and light.

Second, if we are salt and light, we must be different and glory in our difference.

Third, we must live in the world and yet not be of the world. We must not try to get out of the world. Why? Light is for the dark world and salt is for dead meat.

Fourth, we must be the best we can be with God’s power in our work life, our family life, our school life, our political life and every other aspect of life. We must be the best for Jesus Christ so that we can be winsome and attractive and draw attention to our heavenly Father.

Fifth, we must practice the beatitudes every day, being poor in spirit, mourning over sin, and so on.

Sixth, we must be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. We cannot shine without the oil of the Spirit of the living God.

Seventh, we must trim our wicks on a daily basis, meaning we must engage in biblical self-examination.

What will happen when we do these things? We will be useful to God and to the world, and we will not be thrown out to be trampled by men.

As Christians, we must always remember that we alone are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As we represent Jesus Christ to the world, we are the hope of the world. May God help us even this day to be different from the world, that the world may benefit by our difference and come to glorify God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

 

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