Sermon on the Mount: The Light of the World

These next few verses are some of my favorites spoken by Jesus. In my last blog post, I talked about how Christians should be the “salt” of this earth. Jesus takes the metaphor a little farther and speaks about how Christians are to be the light of the world. Open your heart and mind and allow God’s word to transform you (Rom 12:2).

Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…

  • Jesus compares the Christian to a light. Not just a single light but a city full of lights and lamp that illuminates from its stand. But what does he mean by this? William Barclay describes it as, “A light is first and foremost something which is meant to be seen. So, then, Christianity is something which is meant to be seen. A man’s Christianity should be perfectly visible to all men.” During Creation, God separated light from darkness. The same thing happens when we become Christians and completely give everything to God. Just as God separated light from darkness, Christians should separate themselves from the world. Christians are the light amidst the darkness of the world. Those who are not Christians should notice this light pouring out of us. The light should be beaming and seeping out of us! Ephesians 5:8 says, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” If we turn our lives to Christ, why would we want to go back to the darkness?

Let it shine til Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine…

  • Barclay goes on to describe the light in a Christian’s life. “A light is a guide. A light is something to make clear the way. So then a Christian must make the way clear to others: that is to say, a Christian must of necessity be an example.” God not only wants us to shine our light for him, but he wants us to help guide and lead others to him. Once we shine and pour our light out and others see it, we can help lead them in the direction of Christ. How can we be the guide that we should be? Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” Jesus is our Ultimate light. We can look to him for guidance. If we look to and abide with his light, we can lead and guide others to it as well.

Hide it under a bushel…NO! I’m gonna let it shine…

  • Verse 16 says that in the same way that we shine our light, our good deeds should shine out for all to see as well. If we are truly born again, our actions, words and deeds will reflect the light of Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Our Christian light will reveal all of these attributes. They will come natural to us because we are being led by the Spirit and the Spirit gives us our light. Barclay explains that our good deeds ought to draw attention, not to ourselves, but to God. If our deeds are true, God will get all the glory. However, if we are not careful we could end up hiding our lights from the world. The Life Application Bible explains some ways that we hide our light:  being quiet when we should speak, going along with the crowd, denying the light, letting sin dim our light, not explaining our light to others, or ignoring the needs of others. Let’s be bold glowing lights that shine the fruits of Jesus instead of hiding them under a bushel.

The Beatitudes describe our inner characteristics that we should possess individually. These attributes give us the strength to be the “Salt” and the “Light” to a lost a dying world. Are you a “salty” Christian? Do you put on your salt scrub every morning? Are you a glowing light for Christ? Does his light seep through you? My prayer is that you will take these precious words of Jesus and go out into the world to illuminate and flavor it with Jesus Christ.

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Sermon on the Mount: The Salt of the Earth

Jesus gives us the Beatitudes, or the “attitudes” we should “be”, or inner qualities we should possess as true Christ followers, so now what? Now it’s time to take those qualities, apply them to our lives, and go into the world and share the Gospel with others.

Matthew 5:13, “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 by men.”

Jesus tells us in this verse to be the “salt of the earth” but what does he mean by this? Barclay explains 3 significant reasons why salt was highly valued in the ancient world and how they apply to us as Christians:   To be a “salty” Christian, we must lead a pure life, be a preservative in a corrupted world, and give flavor to life.

1.  “Salt was connected to purity. The Romans said that salt was the purest of all things, because it came from the purest of all things, the sun and the sea. So then, if the Christian is to be the salt of the earth he must be an example of purity.” When we ask Christ to be the Lord of our lives, he washes our sins from us and makes us pure. Isaiah 1:18 says, ” “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Jesus’ sacrifice purified our sins. After we have accepted his free gift of salvation we should lead our lives with purity, just as salt is pure. We are no longer of the world and our lives should reflect that.

2. “In the ancient world salt was the commonest of all preservatives. It was used to keep things from going bad, and to hold putrefaction at bay. So then salt preserves from corruption. If the Christian is to be the salt of the earth, he must have a certain antiseptic influence on life.” We must also be an “antiseptic” to corruption. As salt preserves things from rotting and decaying, so we should be the “salt” that preserves the world from decaying. James 1:15 tells us, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  If we are not preserved from the sin in the world, we will never experience the life that God intended for us. We must show preservation in our lives so that others will see and want to be preserved from their decaying, sinful lives.

3. “But the greatest and the most obvious quality of salt is that salt lends flavour to things. Christianity is to life what salt is to food. Christianity lends flavour to life.” Have you ever heard someone say “I want what she has” or “She is always happy, even through tough times” or “He is always smiling”? That’s what Jesus does to our lives. Just as salt gives flavor to food, Jesus gives our lives flavor. Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” And as Christians, this is how we should respond to the world. We may not have the best of things, situations, or even a lot of money because we are looking toward something greater; to be with our Lord in Heaven. If we are Christians, we should be positively flavoring everything around us.

I challenge you this week to take a look at your life and see how you are affecting the people around you. Salt effects things in so many good ways. Are you leading a pure life? Are you preserving your life from corruption? Is your life lending flavor to the world around you? My prayer for you is that you will wholeheartedly become the “salty” Christian that God has intended you to be.