This is the final sermon is the series. This will be preached on Sunday morning, June 7th, 2009.
DEVELOPING A BE-ATTITUDE ATTITUDE part 10
Salt and Light
Matthew 5:13-16 TNIV – 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 city 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.
This is the final sermon in our series, “Developing a be-attitude attitude.” We have been looking at Mathew 5:1-16 in this series and I pray that the Lord has spoke too you throughout it.
Let’s just do a little rehearsing before we look into today’s sermon.
vv. 3-9 shows the type of attitudes that God blesses. These are the attitudes that the world should see in the life of the believer. These attitudes are: Destitute in spirit, Mourning over sin, Humble, Hungering and Thirsting for God’s righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, Merciful, and Pure.
Then in verses 10-12 the believer with these types of attitudes that Christ speaks of is one that will joyfully endure persecution when it comes.
Today, we are going to be looking into vv. 13-16 and see how we are to live before the world. The truths within this text in context are talking about when suffering persecution. But whether we suffer persecution or not, we are going to see what the results are of living the beatitudes are in the life of the believer.
Christians are to be salt in a salt-less society.
Matthew 5:13 TNIV – 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.
First off, Christians are not supposed to hunker down and hide from society. We are not supposed to be some hermits hiding, just waiting for Jesus to come back and take us home. That’s not the purpose of the beatitudes.
We are supposed to live within our society. That means, we have families, jobs, hobbies, friends, neighbors; we serve in churches, on boards; we teach in school, own and run businesses, etc…
We can’t be salty Christians we are refuse to be part of our culture and society.
Let’s look at a few facts about salt for a few moments:
• Salt in its purest form, cannot lose its taste.
I know this may seem that I’m contradicting Jesus here, but I’m not. Scientist will tell you the same thing: Pure salt will always have its taste.
• The only way for salt to lose it taste is it must become impure, or mixed with impurities.
I believe that this is what Jesus is talking about here. In this world, whether it persecutes us or not, we are to be pure, unstained by the world, and not influenced by the world. When we are, we can lose our taste, our preservative influence, and thereby our testimony is good for nothing other than being trampled upon.
In fact the Greek word for tasteless means, “stupid, insipid, foolish, moronic.” We get our English word, “Moron” from the Greek word.
When we try to be seeker-sensitive in our services and appeal to the world by watering down the gospel, we are becoming impure and losing our taste. The only way to keep our purity is too preach a pure Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected.
Let’s look at a couple of Scriptures in the epistles that bear this out.
Romans 12:2a TNIV – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
James 1:27 TNIV – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
• Salt in its purest form is a preservative.
In the time of Christ, they didn’t have freezers to keep meat, so in the markets that would coat the meat with salt to keep it fresh and preserved.
One reason that we live in the world today is to be a preservative. I know that our world is getting more wicked by the moment, but the only thing that keeps this world from spinning out of control to hell is the followers of Christ within the world. So as long as we are in the world, we are here to preserve it.
This does not mean that we are to try to impose morality on totally unregenerate people, because we have seen that this just doesn’t work. We are not supposed to impose our morality, but live our morality before the lost.
• Salt in its purest form adds flavor.
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.”
That statement rings with a lot of truth. We Christians sometimes appear before the world as a boring group, with all the life and joy sucked out of us. But the truth is, we Christians have more to be joyful about than any other group of people within this world. We have been redeemed by our Savior Jesus Christ; we have other believers to fellowship with and bear our burdens; we have the Holy Spirit abiding within us, not only filling us but crying out in us, “Abba Father!” What a wonderful life we truly have, no matter what takes place around us.
In the life of Paul, not even prison and death threats could rob his joy in the Lord. Notice what he wrote while in prison.
Philippians 4:4 TNIV – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let’s now look at our next point.
Christians are to be light in a dark society.
Matthew 5:14 TNIV – You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Our world is totally eclipsed by darkness, and this darkness has a name – sin. We shine as lights in this dark world.
Notice what Paul says in a couple of passages.
Ephesians 5:8-9 TNIV – 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).
Philippians 2:14-15 TNIV – 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
Now notice in this verse that Jesus describes the light we shine as a city on a hill. Many cities during the time of Christ that were built on hills were coated with polished limestone. As the moon would give off its light at night, it would reflect off the limestone bricks of these cities, providing light to weary travelers as they approached the city.
In the same way, we reflect the true light of the world – Jesus Christ, so that those who are weary and bound in their sin and see this light, and come and be set free.
Now let’s look at the final verses.
Matthew 5:15-16 TNIV – 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.
Lamps in Jesus day were small, they could be held in one hand. You didn’t put a bowl over it, but you let the light shine in such a way that the light would shine as brightly as possible within the house.
In the same way, we shine our light, whether we are facing persecution or not. This light is our good works, which God has prepared for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 TNIV – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
These good works are not for the purpose of people seeing how good we are, but so that people may glorify God. How will they glorify God? By turning from their sins and turning to Christ and believing the Gospel we preach and live.
As we close, notice what Peter says:
1 Peter 2:12 TNIV – Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
This world is decaying rapidly. It is losing its taste and become bitter. It is dark and full of sin. Living the beatitudes by the power of the Spirit is for the purpose of being salt – bringing taste and preservation to the world; and being light – Our good works that God enables us to do points the unregenerate to the true light – Jesus Christ.
I close this message with what the Apostle John wrote this morning.
John 1:4-5&9 TNIV – 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.