Last week we discussed the elements or characteristics that our Lord gives each of us as we enter this blessed life that He has given us. Each of these elements illustrated throughout Matthew 5:1-12 are characteristics for which none of us can attain on our own but are critical elements to which we are all called to acquire in Jesus Christ. At the end of the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:24-25, we find that our Lord tells us that “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” These are truths for all who believe so that, in those moments when we are faced with the winds and floods of this world, that we remain strong in the truth that is within us. Today, as we are reminded of the new creation that we are in the person of our Lord, the question that we must grapple with is; what is God’s purpose for providing these characteristics in our lives? Knowing that our Lord gives us pure heart, the spirit of a peacemaker, a life called unto mercy, what is God’s purpose? Today’s passage of scripture that we are going to walk through is a focus on placing these characteristics to task in our lives. So turn with me today as we dissect the truth of what it means to be the salt and light to this world.
Scripture – Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Engaging the Word
We begin this passage of scripture with the words “you are the salt of the earth”. Notice that our Lord does not beat around the bush when it comes to this instruction. Unlike the previous passage where we read blessed are the poor in spirit, speaking in more general terms, here our Lord was speaking directly to the disciples that were sitting around him. Today he is speaking directly to you and me. Not to your neighbor to the right or left of you, but directly to you and me. Our Lord I believe does this in this passage to disparage any argument that what he was about to discuss here was for someone else other than you and me. You see the instruction that we are faced here in this text is not any easy pill to swallow at times. It is a salt pill that many of us, struggle with for a variety of reasons, and one that if we realized in our lives would change not only our lives, but the life of our homes, our church and more importantly our community. If you have struggled to understand how this world has got into the sinful state that it is in today. Here is your answer. So, what is our Lord’s purpose for revealing to us that we are called to be the salt of this world. Let’s consider the application of what salt reveals in our lives today.
The Holy Salt of our Lord stops and prevents the decay and corruption of sin that seeks to destroy. He is the great preservative as He preserves all that it comes into contact with and saves whatever He touches. Our Lord calls us to be the salt of this world, because we are in a world that is corrupt. This world seeks to destroy itself and because of this it is in a perpetual motion of rotting away all that is good. Just like that of the leper that it cast out in the early days, the world has become the leper itself. In James 1:17, the word tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” This scripture illustrates for us that if all good things come from God, then all corruption or bad things come from man. Folks today this passage of scripture is a call from our Lord to live a life of Godly preservation to those around us who seek to remove all morality from our Lord’s creation. From the morality of a Godly home, to marriage, to our schools, to our communities, to our nation, to our world as it seeks after the pleasures of sin to fill the loneliness that binds the lost. Unfortunately, we have seen ourselves in our saved states to hunker down because we are scared that they may take away what we might have. That perhaps those in the world might disagree with the moral perceptions we may carry. That we may be laughed and scorned upon for holding onto a truth that they just don’t understand. Yet today, we are being specifically called by our Lord to live a life of preservation in this world. If we are the salt of the earth, then we are called to actively function as God’s agents, present on earth to stop the decay and purification of this world. Living a life of preservation does not mean isolation, rather it means actively engaging those around us with the truth that is Jesus Christ. Preservation requires contact and Godly contact brings forth hope.
Salt in its eternal state revealed in our creator is essential for life. Experiencing a blessed life in Christ reveals life itself in the presence of our Savior. Without salt in our lives, we would die. Although some of us have decreased our salt intake for the purposes of reducing our blood pressure, etc., our lives cannot exist without the substance of salt. In this passage, it is illustrated by our Lord that without salt we become good for nothing. Not only do we become tasteless, but our actual purpose is no longer viable. It is very evident in the Christian world that there are those who have watered down their faith for the purpose of fitting within society have become worthless to those around them. They have appreciated elements of Christianity but fail to see the fullness of Christ’s calling. It is in doing this that we allow the impurities of this world to infect our calling as believers. The impurities are found in the weakness of the flesh to allow our own desires to supersede the will of God for our lives. They are found in the entertainment that we allow in our homes, through the Tv that we watch, the music that we listen to, the internet that we search through, or even the social media that we browse. Our Lord has called us to a life of purity and holiness not to place unreasonable burden upon our lives, but to provide the fullness of the essential element in every aspect of our lives. The elemental nature of our Lord’s salt in our lives provides a fullness of life that cannot be measured. It provides a joy that cannot be calculated. It provides a truth that transcends all the understanding of mankind. It is the essential element to all life and the sooner we embrace this truth the sooner we will reside in a fullness of life that we could not ever comprehend.
The fullness of Spiritual Seasoning
Salt is a great seasoning. It brings to life to all the other seasonings that we bring together. The salt of our Lord provides a seasoning in life that brings the fullness of flavor to all that our Lord reveals in his presence. I have found it very interesting as a pastor to see the seasoning of Christianity revealed in the lives of my congregation. From those who have felt that great music is all that you need to realize an effective church. To those who feel like all you need is an effective compassionate ministry program. To those focus entirely upon teaching and preaching. To those who feel like children’s ministry is the only necessary program for an effective church. No, no one would necessarily say this, but to often our actions speak this truth. The only effective ingredient in any church and any ministry is that of our Lord Jesus Christ. This past week as we spent time during the Holiness class, one of the elements that we studied that I would like to share with you today. Holiness or the salt of our Lord Jesus Christ is necessary for effective service to God. As I thought about this implication, I was stunned by the truth that existed within it. In order for us to become more palatable to the world around us we have diluted the salt of our Lord for ineffective service to God. We have allowed worship to be embraced without the presence of our Lord within every aspect. We have diluted the Word of God for the applause, appeasement and laughter of mankind. We have traded in the name of God for the purpose of government funding in our compassionate ministries. We have traded in our repentance, our holy zeal and call unto God for community appeasement. Yes, sometimes we may be defined too salty for the world that we live in, but rather salty than no longer good for anything.
Salt is an ingredient actively used in the medical community for healing and therapeutic purposes. For example, I visited a dialysis clinic this past week where salt was being used in ways that 20 years ago, could not have been used, providing a livable life for those who would have otherwise not have had hope. The salt of our Lord is given to each of us as believers so that we might reveal the healing of his presence into the hurt world that we live in. This past week, as I walked through the dialysis clinic I was brought up to speed on the critical nature of purity within this field. The individual who showed me around pointed out that the smallest amount of chlorine in the salt solution that is used in the patient can cause death to the patient. Yet the dialysis solution when it is in its purest form provides such a promise of tomorrow for those who have kidney problems. Every week as patients come and go, their blood is cleaned of all the toxins that build up just through coming into contact with purified salt water. It is here that there is truth. Living a blessed life allows you and me to come into contact with those who are hurting. Those who are broken. Those who have no hope. Yet as we come into contact with these men and woman we have an opportunity to wash away the poisons of this world with the presence of Jesus Christ. As John 3:17 says “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”.
The second aspect of this passage is scripture is revealed in verses 14-16, as our Lord illustrates to the disciples that they are called to be the light of the world. In John 8:12 it says; 12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “ I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” It is evident from this scripture and many other scriptures that our Lord is the light of the world and when we embrace him in each of us, it is then that His light lives within each of us as believers. So how does the light of our Lord reveal itself within us as believers? Yes, we all embrace the light of our Lord in our lives, but how do we evidence his light to those around us?
The first is through the illumination of truth. Although many would deny that they search for truth, all mankind in some form or another search after truth. Some may search for truth in the things of this world. Others may search for it in the religions and movements of purpose. Yet in Jesus Christ there exist all that man searches for. As the scripture tells us, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but through me” (John 14:6). Although many would scoff at this truth, it still remains the truth and it is incumbent upon us as his disciples to reveal the truth that He has so freely given each of us. It is when we embrace this truth in each of our lives that the fullness of God’s blessed life is revealed.
The second aspect that is revealed through the light of our Lord is that of guidance. The light of our Lord provides guidance for our souls and a way for the lost that surround us. Whether it is Godly guidance in the seeing promise is our relationships, our finances, our work environments, our ministries, our church; these are all areas in which our Lord provides each of us his light so that we might provide a path for those who are lost. This is not the advise that comes from the thoughts of men and women, rather these are the thoughts and directions that come from the Holy Spirit so that we might reveal a path for those around us. Anybody can give their own opinion but many struggle with the Godly insight that is placed before us. Our Lord provides his light in each of our lives so that we might walk his light of life.
Comfort and Hope
The last aspect that is revealed through the light that is Jesus Christ is that of eternal comfort and hope. Our Lord’s light provides eternal promise in the trials and tribulations of our lives. It also provides a comfort and hope in the Blessed life that is revealed to those around us. Whether one would and would not admit to it, all are lost and scared without the promise of Jesus. It is for this reason that many cry out to God upon their death beds, for without the comfort and hope of Jesus it is unbearable to imagine emptiness of death. So too, in this world whether we would like to admit to it or not, the hopelessness of this life will bind us if we are not found within the light of our Savior. It is for this reason that many are attracted to the comfort of those who carry the light of our Savior. It is for this reason that some may ask how we can live a life of joy and promise even in our hardest of times. The light of our Lord not only provides comfort and hope to each of us, but also provides a light of promise to those lost in the darkness.
Our Lord gives us this instruction today, so that we might take all that He has given us as his disciples and share it with the world that surrounds us.
- Our Lord has made us the salt of the earth through his presence so that might provide the preservation of Godly way in this world that is decaying.
- He has made us the salt of the world so that we might reveal to the lost world around us, that life only exists within the person of Christ.
- Our Lord has given us his salt so that we might reveal his fullness of live only exists within the presence of Christ.
- Finally our Lord provides the salt of his presence in our lives so that we might provide the healing that is needed in this broken world
It is in this great promise that we all have hope for tomorrow through His light that reveals illumination before us, guidance and comfort and hope for tomorrow.