Salt and Light
Passage: Matthew 5:13–5:16
We've been walking through a series looking at the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus preached, which begins in Matthew 5. And so last week, we ended looking at the Beatitudes, which were essentially Christ laying out eight characteristics of Christians: Those who belong to the kingdom of God, and how they're to live their life so that they will really stand out from the world and ultimately influence the world for Christ.
And that's where the text is going to take us with the metaphor of Salt and Light, in Matthew 5, verses 13 through 16. So Jesus just finished the Beatitudes, talking about the characteristics of Christians. And I think he's going to continue talking about a characteristic of one of his disciples, being Salt and Light, but I think what we are going to see is that these characteristics are really in relation to the world.
In other words, they speak of how Christians are to function and impact the world. so Christians by Nature are to have an influencing impact on the world around them. So let's read in Matthew 5 in verse 13.
"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."
I think too often we read this verse, which is very familiar to many of you, and we immediately think of these verses as being imperatives rather than being indicatives. in other words, we think the Jesus is saying, Go and BE salt. Go and BE light.
But I think what he is saying here is actually more of an indicative rather than an imperative, meaning, you ARE salt and you ARE light. In other words, if you belong to me, if you are a disciple of Christ, you ought to be Salt and Light in the world. That's why when he's saying, if salt loses its saltiness, it's good for nothing. Salt can't really lose its saltiness. In other words, there is no thing as a useless Christian. If for some reason you are called salt and are not salty, then you've got to wonder if you really are salt. You have no use in the Kingdom.
What about light of the world? He says you don't hide it, you don't put it under a basket. No one does that. They put it on a lampstand. Even the name, Light, tells you its function; it's to light the room around it. And so right there if you were called Light but not giving off light, it makes no sense.
So I think two major initial truths that we can grab out of this text is first of all, it's telling disciples of Christ that we are to be distinct, yet engaged in the world. In other words, we're to be distinct. Salt is to be distinct from the earth. Light is to be distinct from the world.
And too often, the tragedy of the church has been where we've tried to assimilate to the culture around us. So that's always, by the way, been the downfall of God's people.
Remember in first Samuel 8 when the people of God wanted a king so that they could be like all the other nations? So again, we're to be distinct, we're to be set apart, we're to be holy. That's what that means, to look different from the world. To be in the world, but not of the world.
But to be in it, in fact, to be engaged in the world. Sometimes we see these verses and we think that we have to preserve our saltiness or our brightness, so let's retreat and disassociate from the world. These verses are saying exactly the opposite. No, we're to actually be IN the world, exerting an influence ON the world. Salt it must get out of the shaker and be spread out, right? A light must be put on a lampstand so it gives light to the environment around it.
So if we are not in the world making any difference, we have to ask, are we really Salt and Light? It's just like we saw last week with the Beatitude, "Blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven." If you are not persecuted at all -- I'm not talking about being thrown in prison -- but any heat for following Christ, you have to ask, Am I really following Christ? In the same way, if we're not being Salt and Light, do we really belong to Christ? And so let's look at these two metaphors.
The first one, the salt of the earth. What is that referring to? Some of you know that in Christ's day and for many centuries after that, salt was the most common of all preservatives. So obviously there were no refrigerators or freezers at the time. And salt was used, for instance, with meat, to be rubbed into the meat to keep it from spoiling or rotting.
And so what he's teaching here is, that's what Christians are to be. They are to have that kind of effect on the world. So what does it say, first of all, about the world? What it says about the world is, first of all, that the world is decaying. Friends, the world apart from Christ and apart from Christians being salt in the world, the world is like a decaying meat. It's going to continue to spiral downward in its moral decay.
We saw this in Romans chapter 1 when God's word says to us that without God, the people rejected God, turned from God, and decided that they were going to worship the creature rather than the Creator. So God gave them up to their impurities and to a debased mind, and ultimately goes, they were filled with unrighteousness and malice and all kinds of evil. This is the bent of the world apart from God.
At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the 20th century, there were many in the western world who actually thought that the world was getting better. We had come out of the Enlightenment, and people actually thought the human race, we were advancing and rising upwards -- in intellect, in education and science. So people thought that the 20th century, literally, some people thought it was going to be something close to Utopia. There's not going to be any wars, there will not be injustice, diseases would be cured, sufferings would be eradicated. And man, the 20th century was exactly the opposite of that. And the 21st century, even more so, I feel like, in some ways.
And so, today, not many people feel that the world is getting better. And what's funny as a church, instead of being so quick to point the finger for the moral decay at the world or at government or at evil empires or at ruthless dictators, instead, this verse is hugely convicting because it causes me to think that the church maybe wasn't fulfilling its calling to be salt in the world. That's why we've seen this moral decay.
Instead of pointing the finger at others, maybe we ought to look at ourselves. Maybe the church was so busy in theological debates within itself, or maybe the church was conforming to the world around. You can't blame unsalted meat for decaying. you have to ask the question, Where's the salt? Where was the salt?
And so we've got to look at ourselves. And what does it say about the world? It's decaying. And what does it say about Christians? First of all, we have to have a different mindset. Again, we don't look at the world and say, well, it's getting better. We know that's not true. But we don't also look at the world and say, Yeah, it's definitely declining morally, so forget it, let's throw up our hands and say forget it.
No, this verse is telling me that I am salt. In other words, I do no good being on the shelf. I've got to come out of the comfort zone of the shelf, come out of the bubble of the salt shaker, so to speak, and I'm to be rubbed into the meat. In other words, into the society, into every corner of the society. Into the educational world, the business world, go into the neighborhoods. I'm to be in the world.
And salt dissolves in order to release its flavor and its purifying effect. So man, I've got to be willing to be expended out in the world -- to be dissolved to my own interests, to what people think of me. To my name, to my fame, to my dreams and plans. This is what we've got to be called to.
And it also says, you are the salt of the earth. I love that he uses the most commonplace ingredient. He doesn't say, you are the gold, the precious metal of the Earth. You are salt. Salt was everywhere. And if you look at scripture, you know that God delights in using the common person, not the extraordinary person. The foolish things of the world, He brings to shame the wise; the weak things of the world to bring to shame the strong. Paul says in 1st Corinthians 1, look among you, there are not many noble who are called. And so this means every one of us has this calling.
Now, how do we impact the world? What are the uses of salt? Let's look at that. I've already mentioned the first one: Salt in those days was first and foremost seen to be a preservative. So I think that's probably foremost in Christ's mind, that we Christians are to have, again, a preserving force in the world. Again, we are to be rubbed into the meat, into every area of our world: work, politics, home, everywhere.
James Montgomery Boice also adds this cool thought: He says, if the body does not give off salt through perspiration, it retains water and becomes bloated. He says, in the same way, if we as the salt are not dispersed in the community, in this work of preservation, then the church is actually becoming unhealthy.
And so friends, we, the church in this society, we are called to be holding back the decay of our society. Yes, through political action, I think, speaking out against things like abortion or crime or domestic violence or discrimination. But also, caring for others in need. There should be a reality that moral decay is held at bay because we are engaged in our communities. We are to be courageous, and to be even more outspoken in condemning evil in the world, and standing up for what God says is right and true.
And I say we have to be courageous because you know that if you do that, if you say those things and live out those things, you are going to come, again, with persecution coming against you.
I love Martin Luther when he talks about these verses. He says, Jesus didn't say You're the honey of the world either. He's saying you are salt. What is biting and caustic. Right? It's abrasive. That's what salt is. And that doesn't mean that we are abrasive in our character, in the way we present Christ and live out our faith. But we've got to know that if we stand up for what's right and we stand against the moral decline, it's going to be abrasive to the world around us. We ought to expect that. But friend, none of us are exempt from this. Every one of us -- none of us can opt out. No matter how small a part you play, all of us are called to play a part in promoting a stronger, better society that reflects what we believe the word of God teaches us.
And so we are to stand for truth. and so, the salty Christian retards this decay, if you will, just by being present and by living it out in the world. Being around us, somehow we repel the moral decline. In fact, Christians being engaged in the world ought to, again, have the most powerful impact in society. I really believe if we engage our culture, engage, again, public office, engage the schools, engage our world around us and not retreat -- as we do that, our mere presence ought to, I believe, reduce crime, restrain ethical corruption, promote honesty, elevate moral uprightness in the world. We out to do that as we are engaged. When we declined, and when we retreat, and get in our bubble, we should not be surprised when it continues to decline further. And so, number one, it's a preservative. We are to be preserving.
Number two, Salt gives flavor, right? And we, our lives, should bring flavor to an insipid and flavorless world around us. In other words, Christians ought to know really makes life satisfying and full. We ought to have tasted it, and we are to live life running after Christ, and that ought to bring flavor to the world. In other words, your neighbors -- their lives ought to be better off because you are involved in their life.
Is this happening for us? There should be a sense that our non-Christian friends will actually want us around, because we bring joy to their lives. We serve them in a way that at first they might say, Wait, what are you trying to get from me? But as you serve them out of love for Christ and not for anything in return, they stop asking, What do you want from me? To man, What do you have that I need? Your life ought to be having that influence.
We should be preserving, we should be giving flavor, but thirdly also, salt makes people thirsty. In other words, here's the question: Do you make anyone thirsty for Jesus Christ? The way you live your life, does it make anyone thirsty for your God? The world thinks that they're satisfied. Or, maybe they know they are unsatisfied and they're still desperately searching for fulfillment. But when the world comes into contact with a Christian, and especially when the world starts doing life with a Christian, they ought to see evidences of joy, of fulfillment, of satisfaction, of peace. And they ought to look at us and say man, that's what I want. I want to be like that!
And I think the picture, for instance, the first, and Christ fulfilling that is the Feast of the Tabernacles that would happen in Jerusalem. This is what would happen. The priests would go to the pool of Siloam and they would come back with large containers of water and pour it out on the altar of the temple. They would do this 7 times on the last day.
And in one of these ceremonies, on the last day, when they were doing it 7 times, Jesus, in John 7 he stands up and he says these words: " If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." We saw how he did this with the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4. Remember the scene, when he asks the woman or a drink of water, and she says, you're a Jew, I'm a Samaritan. Jews don't ask Samaritans these things. And he says, if you knew who it was who was asking you, and what water I have to give you . . . He goes on to say that everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
And so she says, Sir give me this water, that I would never be thirsty again, and I would never have to come here to draw water again. And what does He do? He reveals what she's running after to fill that first. The misplaced running after something else, and He eventually reveals that, look, the man you're with, he isn't your husband, and not only that, the previous 5 men were not your husbands either. In other words, woman, you've been running after these relationships to fulfill and quench a thirst you have, and you will never be quenched until you turn to me.
And so, friends, as salt, our lives ought to make people thirsty. But remember, salt doesn't quench the thirst; salt just makes us thirsty. Water quenches the thirst. And in the same way, we are to live lives that make people thirsty for our God, but ultimately, we point them, not to us, but to Jesus, the Living Water.
And so how do we do that? I think, by showing in our lives, that we are fulfilled, and they ought to see that and want that. 1 Peter 4:19, one of my favorite verses, says, "When suffering comes, let us continue doing good, as to a faithful Creator." And so when hardship comes, I keep following my Christ, because I show that I'm already fulfilled in Him.
Or how about Philippians 4, when Paul says "Let your reasonableness be known to all." That reasonableness means even-keeled. In other words, you don't go too high or too low. He says "I have learned in whatever situation to be content. I've learned how to be low and how to abound -- how to face plenty and hunger, abundance and need." So I ought to live this kind of life that shows that I am fulfilled in Christ, and people ought to look at it and be thirsty for what I have. The way we live our lives ought to make people say, "Stay thirsty, my friends."
Before I come to a close on this salt idea-- all of us are to be preserving, giving flavor, and making people thirsty for Christ. So before we go on to Light, how do we stay salty? He says, if salt loses its saltiness, it's not good for anything but to be trampled upon. How do we keep our saltiness?
Well, there's a couple of verses I want you to see where Jesus gives us some insight. I want you to look at Luke 14. This is when Jesus has a mass of people following Him. And he turns and says some very difficult words, in Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to me (He says) and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."
He goes on to say, basically, we've got to count the cost. What it looks like to follow Him, means there's a cost. And so in verse 33, He says, so therefore any of you who does not renounce ALL that he has cannot be My disciple. And look what He says next: "Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use, either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Interesting. He says, the way you become salty, flavorful, is to the degree that you are willing to hate your father, mother, wife and children for Me. In other words, be willing to lose any relationship for me. To the degree you're able to take up your cross and follow Me, to the degree that you're able to forsake ALL to be My disciple. Why? Because we show, once again, that Jesus is our greatest treasure, and we're willing to lose anything for Him. We show how satisfying and fulfilling He is in our lives.
And so when you are truly taking up your cross and following Him, you become salty to the world. That's what the world wants to see in us. They don't know it, but that's what they want to see.
Look at Mark 9. Let me show you this one. Very similar idea here. In verse 43, He's talking here about our running after holiness. He says, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell. He goes on to say, if your eye offends, you cut it out. Then look what He says in verse 49: For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
So in that verse I see Jesus saying, ultimately, being salted with fire is this purifying that happens when I strive after holiness to the degree that I'd be willing to be drastic and cut off my hand. Lose anything that keeps me from following Christ that closely.
So I say, when the world sees that kind of life lived out, running that hard after Jesus, relinquishing all, that is what makes the world thirst after our Christ. And so, first off, we are to be the salt of the earth.
Second of all, we are to be the light of the world. That's what He continues here in 14-16. We are to be the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. What does it say about the world, first of all? What this metaphor says about the world, as you can imagine, just like with the salt analogy, that shows that the world is decaying?
Well, this metaphor tell me that the world is in darkness -- spiritual darkness. And you're gonna find out in a moment that, not only is the world in spiritual darkness, but the tragedy behind it is that the world actually PREFERS the darkness. They would rather be in the darkness than turn to the light of Christ. They would rather go their own imperfect, sinful ways than submit to the standards of our Lord.
So what does it say about Christ. Now, you might say, wait a minute, aren't you moving to us now? No, I've gotta get to Jesus first before I get to us. Jesus, number 2, IS the light of the world. Now stay with me -- again, you're saying, wait a minute, here Jesus is saying WE are the light of the world. We'll get there, but first, we must remember, Jesus is THE source of light. HE is the light of the world.
Let me share another ceremony with you that would happen in Jerusalem. During the nighttime ceremony called the Illumination of the Temple, that would happen in the temple treasury, there were four massive golden candelabras. These candelabras were as tall as the temple walls, and on the top of them there were mounted great bowls that held 65 liters of oil. What they would do is, they would light the protruding wicks, and the huge flames that would leap would not only illuminate the temple, but really all the city of Jerusalem.
This ceremony was meant to celebrate and commemorate God being the great Pillar of Fire, leading the people of God through the wilderness. And so, what's amazing is that during one of those ceremonies, Jesus stands and says in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Jesus is the light that brings life. And Jesus is the light that exposes darkness. Here's the deal: Before Christ came into the world, I think the world didn't fully understand how broken and fallen they were, how imperfect they were. But when Christ's perfect life came in a unique way, the imperfection and impurity of the world was felt. The light doesn't make the darkness; the light makes the darkness felt. And that's what Jesus is coming. It was judgement. That's what John 3:19-21 says:
"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light (Why?) because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."
He is the light that's come to show us our sin. And what's amazing is, think of this: We might, even without Christ, before Christ came into our lives, we might think that we're doing pretty good; we're good people, overall morally good, and we might even compare ourselves with other people and say, I'm a better person than that guy, maybe.
And I love how James Montgomery Boice used the illustration of a flashlight. He says, you might have a flashlight and your buddy might have a flashlight, and you're camping in the dark, and maybe one flashlight is brighter than the other, for whatever reason. Maybe it's got more battery life or whatever. So it's a little bit brighter, and you might say, That's brighter.
But when the sun comes up, both of you have your flashlights on, and you can't even see the light. You can't even compare them to each other. That's what happens. you might say this person's a little better than that person, but when the Light of Christ shines on the world, mankind understands how far removed we are from His righteousness. Regardless. We don't compare with one another. We know we're all sinners. And what's amazing is the reaction of Christ coming into the world. It either repels people-- they hate the light and go deeper into their darkness -- or by God's grace, their eyes are opened to see their depravity, and they turn to the light to find life.
And that's our ultimate desire. When the woman who was caught in adultery, and was in the dark about her sin, it came into the light and her sin was made known publicly. All who wanted to stone her left, because Jesus said, Whoever is without sin, throw the first stone. When everybody left, Jesus forgave her and did one of the most beautiful things. Go and sin no more. Go and live a life free from this darkness. So that's what the light does for us.
So now, I said Jesus is the light of the world. So what does that say about the world, what does that say about Jesus? Now, what about us? We are to be the light of the world as well. So you might say, what gives? We've got two verses. One, where Jesus says I am the light of the world, John 8:12 and here in Matthew 5 Jesus says, You are the light. Well, the answer is this. Christians are not the light in and of themselves. Rather, Christians show forth light to the extent that that light is first received from Jesus, and then reflected to others.
we see this difference in nature all the time. You know where I'm going with this. The difference between Christ and Christians is just like the difference between the Sun and the Moon. The sun IS the source of light. The sun rises and gives light to our day. But then the sun sets, and you see the moon. But the moon is also giving light. But it's not generating the light; it is actually reflecting the light off of the sun. And that's what we as Christians are to be. We are to so face Christ, so walk in His light, that we reflect His life to the world around us.
And by the way, you can carry this analogy a little bit further. Think of it. For instance, what happens when a total lunar eclipse happens? Do you know what happens? In a total lunar eclipse, that's when the earth comes between the sun and the moon, and the shadow of the earth completely darkens the moon. Right? In the same way, we have to be facing Christ in order to reflect him.
But what happens when we lose our light -- when we are not as bright as we ought to be? This is what happens. It's when the things of this world stand between us and Christ. When we start pursuing the things of this world over Jesus, it is as if we have let our light dim. We've become dark to this world. And this is what you see for instance in Matthew 6. Look at verse 22 -- "The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?" So he's saying your eye is very important. What you are pursuing in your life determining whether you have darkness in you, or light in you.
There are many Christians who are like eclipsed moons because we are running after idols. We are running after the things of this world. We have unrepented sin in our lives. and we are not to be eclipsed moons. We are to pursue Christ so that we can be children of the light, as Jesus teaches.
So now, how is the light used? What are the uses of light? Let me hit these really quickly. Again, we are not to hide it, we are to put it on a lampstand, and when you do, light does a certain few things.
The first one, we already talked about with Jesus, and if we are children of the light, we ought to do the same, and that's expose darkness. I won't say it this long, I've already hit this, but basically Ephesians 5 is a very good verse for us. Ephesians 5:7 says, "Do not become partners with them, for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them."
And that's what we are to be. As Christians, we are to seek what is pleasing to the Lord. And when you do that, your life ought to expose the world's decay again, expose the world's sin. But the loose morals in your office ought to feel like they have to kind of be repelled when you are in the room. You are to have that kind of influence. You ought to shine a light on that kind of immoral character. Not because you're being "holier than thou," but just because you are pursuing Christ that closely.
And then, light not only exposes darkness, but it reveals truth. The truth, I believe again, that Christ is ultimately the all-satisfying and fulfilling One that this world desperately needs.
And you know what's interesting about this? There are a couple of verses that speak to this. I think that we shine the truth that Christ fulfills when we, as Philippians 2 says, do all things without complaining or disputing. Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without complaining or disputing, So that you will shine as stars in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation." What does that remind you of?
Well, remember last week, Matthew 5:11, when it says, blessed are you when people utter all kinds of evil against you on my account? He says, you ought to rejoice and be glad. Take those two verses together, when He says do not dispute. What happens when someone speaks falsely against me? Well I want to dispute. I want to rise up. I want to complain about it. But he's saying, don't do that. You rejoice. The complaining Christian is not shining light on Christ.
Christian, if you are complaining, murmuring, grumbling all day long in your own life, why should anyone want your Christ? What are you saying about your Christ? And so, we are to do all things, and that's how we shine.
And we are to guide. Light guides. In other words, the wisdom that you give as you follow Christ will at times astonish people. Because you are speaking the words of God. I think of Peter and John in Acts 4 when they are brought before the Sanhedrin, and they defend Christ. They don't back down. They stand for Christ. And in Acts 4:13 it says this, that "When they saw their boldness and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished, and they recognized that they had been with Jesus."
In other words, these people were uneducated, but they were speaking with boldness, and they were speaking the wisdom of God's truth, and people said, They must have been with Jesus.
And that's the way it ought to be for us. We ought to give Life. Light gives life. Think of sunlight that promotes life in a plant. And we are to promote spiritual life in others. Our spouse, our children, our neighbors, your community group.
And then, finally, this is the one I want to land on the most. Light ultimately attracts others to Jesus. And that's what I think he's driving it home here. We are to shine a light, ultimately, to attract people. Remember Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 49:6? Both of those verses speak to God's people Israel, that they were to be a light to draw all nations to him. To bring people out of prison and out of darkness into His light, So that His salvation would reach to the ends of the Earth. Look at me friends, you and I as Christians are to be like a lighthouse that's on that shore. It is shining out for life, and there are people in the world who are adrift at sea, longing for fulfillment. And our light ought to shine in such a way that some may see the light and be drawn safely to the shore of Christ.
That's how we are to live our life. So you say, how do you attract others? Here's how you attract others. He says, let your good works be seen, so they would glorify your Father in Heaven. What kind of good works? I believe, again, when you live out the Beatitudes. When you are merciful. When you are a peacemaker. When you are serving, when you are loving the world around you. I think of First John 4:12, the world has never seen God. But when we love, Christ abides in us, His love is perfected in us. When you love, especially people who don't deserve your love, it maybe the first time they may ever actually see Christ. They may see your good deeds.
The Good Samaritan, when the priest and the Levite passed by, I believe he was the light of the world, when he went and took care of this man and his wounds, when no one else would. And so that's what we're to be about. So just like I said, how do you stay salty? Let me say really quickly, how do you stay bright? And I think you know the answer. You walk in the light. You keep yourself in the light.
We saw this a couple of weeks ago, in 2nd Corinthians 3 and 4, Paul says something very amazing. He talks about Moses coming off the mountain top meeting with God, and that his face was radiating God so much that he had to have a veil. And then he says this to the Christians: You, because of Christ, have that veil removed. In other words, you can come into God's presence every day, because of the blood of Christ.
And he says, "We with unveiled face, beholding the glory of God, are being transformed into his image from one degree of Glory to another." (2 Cor. 3:18) And then it says, "For Christ, who said, 'let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:6) So, friend, if you are a believer in Christ, because of the blood of Christ you can be in His presence, be in His word, so that you would shine Him out to the world.
Let me say one more thing: Walking in the light also, one of my favorite verses, 1 John 1:7, " When we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another. And the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin." And the very next verse says, "If we say we do not sin, we lie and the truth is not in us." So I'm saying, walking in the light is being in God's word, and being in fellowship with other Christians. Brothers and sisters who you are confessing your sins to. You're not lying about your sin. And they are confessing their sin, and you are walking in that kind of open accountability. You will become a reflector of Christ to the world.
And let me close with this: What's the ultimate reason for all of this? Why does he say, you are salt and you are light -- live it out. Why is he saying that? Ultimately, the very last phrase there, "that they may give glory to your father in Heaven." So, friend, the Christian is the one who is determined that he or she lives his or her life no longer for self, but for one purpose: the glory of God. That's what we live life ultimately for. And the church has this double role of Salt and Light. Salt to arrest or at least hinder social decay, moral decay. And light to dispel darkness and reveal the truth of Christ. This Is how we function in the world. And so, we are to stop the spread of evil and to promote the spread of Truth. And, man, we are willing to be expended, dissolved, spread out for it.
And so, before we pray: What have we seen so far in this Sermon on the Mount? The first 16 verses, the Beatitudes and Salt and Light, you've just gotten something that I think we could meditate on for months. Let me tell you what you've got. Look here.
One, how you can be blessed in life. The Beatitudes tell us how God is pleased with man and how man is most fulfilled, when you live this kind of life. Number two, how you can actually be of great service to the world. That's what we've just been taught. The privilege of being life is being given to the disciples of Christ as we live out these Beatitudes.
And then thirdly, this is the way God is going to be glorified through our lives. Friends, are you kidding me? The first 16 verses of this sermon basically say, You follow this, and here's what you got: You're going to be blessed; the world is going to receive salvation; and God is going to be glorified through you. And I submit to you, if you can tell me a better life lived than that -- blessing to me, life to others, glory to God. And that's what we're to be about. Let's pray.
Father, we love You. God, we thank You for Your word. And Lord, we pray, Jesus, that You would convict, Holy Spirit, that You would open our eyes. God, that maybe even in our community groups later this week, as we dialogue, Lord, that we would be true to ourselves. The message that we keep getting from this sermon is not to retreat, but to engage. Are we being salt and light?
Lord, help us to be honest in the areas that, Lord, we're not. Let us just be honest and turn to You and say, God, I want to pursue You, I want to walk in Your ways. As I live my normal, everyday life, like every human being around me, let me live it in a way that makes people thirsty for You -- that dispels darkness, that shows people the light of Christ, a better way. And, Jesus, may we do it all for Your glory. We love you. It's in Christ's name we pray, Amen.
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