“”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.”
Matthew 5:13-16 ESV
Jesus is well into his ministry of preaching, healing, and teaching. On this day, he stops “on a hillside and begins to teach them” (the Sermon on the Mount) about the counter-culture values of the kingdom of God and how we are to live as Kingdom people in the world. In the midst of this message, he proclaims, “You are the salt of the earth. … You are the light of the world.”
• You are the salt and the light. It’s what we do so much, but who we are by His Spirit within us.
• Let your light shine. Not something we work up or make happen. We surrender to His grace and simply let His life flow in and through us.
• Salt. Not so critical to us today (just adds flavor to our food, always available), but for them, salt was precious. It was how they preserved foods (they had no refrigeration). It was valuable, at times even a form of currency, but if it lost its saltiness, getting mixed in with dirt and residues, it became diluted and worthless.
• Light. Again, for most of us American citizens, light is an expectation, a given. We need never be hindered by darkness, just flip a switch. But for them, light was precious, a delicate commodity to be well-managed. Lamps were lit and put on a stand to give light throughout the house, to everyone. One would never light a lamp and hide it under a bowl! Jesus is saying we must be such lights. Shine in such a way – “like a (lit) city set on a hill.”
How do we be such salt and light in the public square? How do we “so shine”? To whom can you shine in your various “public square” places? Think of specific names in your different spheres.
• Fear of rejection or loss. What if I offend them? What if I look strange? Will I lose credibility or friendships?
• Confusion about calling versus occupation. We all have a calling to be salt and light, everywhere we go. This calling is not tied to specific jobs/vocations. It is rooted in who we are as God’s ambassadors in the world, filled with His Spirit. See 1 Peter 2:9-10
• The (false) sacred/secular divide. “To a man who lives unto God, nothing is secular, everything is sacred. He puts on his workday garment and it is vestment to him. He sits down to his evening meal, and it is a sacrament. He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense, and his life a sacrifice. He sleeps on the bosom of God and lives and moves in the divine presence. To draw a hard and fast line and say, ‘This is sacred and this is secular’, is to my mind diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of the gospel.” – Charles Spurgeon, 1874
• The (erroneous) clergy/laity divide. “The mission of God requires that believers leverage their lives for His glory. The Great Commission is not for a select few; it is for the entirety of the church. The movement of God’s mission sweeps across everyday, ordinary lives to draw in business people, soccer moms, grandmothers, neighbors, students, lawyers, teachers, and all the above…….everyone who calls themselves a Christ follower!
The above was taken from the sermon notes preached on March 4th, 2018, by Pastor Derrick Shields
What is stopping you from being salt and light? Take time to pray about that and commit it to God right now.
Who do you need to be salt and light to this week?
Write down what salt and light looks like in today’s culture. Commit it to memory or put it in a place where you can see it regularly.