Sermon on the Mount
How salty are you?
As believers in Christ we have been created to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.”
Matthew 5:13-16 – You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
As we look at this passage this morning the first thing we must consider is that the Beatitudes which we have been discussing for the last several weeks give us direction on how we are to live as passionate followers of Christ. The Beatitudes give us an overview of the Christian life but this week we begin to look at some specifics of what it means to live as a Passionate Follower of Christ.
What did Jesus mean by these verses? In this passage Jesus uses the symbolism of salt and light to describe the life of a Christian.
Salt speaks of inward character that influences others. Character is that inward quality that no one else knows about but you and God who sees the heart. Just like salt when it is applied to our food, it is invisible but we know it is there. So it is with our character it is invisible but we know it is there and we know when it is not there.
Salt has many uses:
- As a preservative – Before refrigeration salt was used to keep food fresh. Even today some foods are cured in salt. While living in Virginia we were given some fresh pork. In the packages of pork was some fresh ham. The first time we cooked the ham it was horrible because we forgot to clean off the excess salt which had been used to cure it or preserve it.
- As a cleanser – Salt has also been used as a cleanser. In the case of medical treatment it is used to clean out a wound and promotes the healing process.
- To seasoning food – The interesting thing is we know when food has been seasoned and when know when it has not been seasoned.
Light speaks of the outward testimony of that point to God’s glory. This testimony is best seen through the good works that one does, not to be seen of men but to bring glory to God. The light is able to penetrate the darkness and give direction and hope. It does not matter how big the light. It is interesting to note that it only takes a small amount of light to dispel the darkness.
It should be noted that we don’t become salt and light “we are the salt of the earth and that we are the light of the world.” In other words as a believer one of the innate qualities of the redeemed life is that we have been created to be salt and light in this world. The key to Jesus’ words is that he tells us that we ARE salt and we ARE light. Salt and light are not some statuses to be attained. They do not take hard work to achieve. They are not the keys to our salvation. Salt and light are simply what we are as passionate followers of Christ.
Because we are salt and light:
- God gives us identity – The identity we have is that we have been called to make a difference in the world we have been called.
- God gives us a sphere of influence – Because we are salt and light we are to influence our environment – Jesus was implying that by living a Christian that we influence the environment in which we live. Both salt and light are forces that change an alien environment permanently.
- God’s requires us to make an impact on the world around us. What changes when you walk into a room? How do you impact those around us?
Please note that we must give out the right amount of salt. If we do not use enough salt food is bland and tasteless. The same is true with our lives. Too often we make the Christian walk one that is bland, boring and without excitement. But this walk of faith for me is no boring. I enjoy the fact that as a believer I can have fun and I can enjoy life. However, too much salt causes one to be rejected. Have you ever tasted something that was too salty. My initial reaction is to spit that food out of my mouth if it is too salty. In our witness for Christ there are some who come across so strong in their message that they turn people off rather than turn them to Jesus.
The fact is every situation in our live will be different. In some cases we will need just a little salt and in others we will have to use a bit more salt. As believers the Holy Spirit will give us discernment on how salty we need to be.
The primary message here is that salt and light speaks of authenticity and being real. It means that we do not try to hide who we are or pretend that we do not have a relationship with Christ. The greatest need in our society is authenticity and realness. When we are salt we must hear the voice of God and be obedient to what He calls us to do.
If salt loses its ability to do these things then it worthless and was only to be used to pave the road ways to prevent grass from growing or to melt the ice and snow. God has called us as salt to have an impact on the world in which we live. The fact is we will have an impact whether we recognize it or not. Our task is to keep our lives pure that we might “salt” this earth and hold back corruption so that the Gospel can get out. Our good works must accompany our dedicated lives as we let our lights shine.