|Create Date||February 12, 2020|
|Last Updated||February 14, 2020|
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YOU ARE THE SALT YOU ARE THE LIGHT
Redhill. 9 February 2020. Presented by Gordon Green
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 town built 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.
Jesus took his disciples up onto a mountain side and had a private chat with them. He was going to put truth into them that was going to transform their lives. He was showing them (and us) the way of the Kingdom of God - what it’s like to be a member of the Kingdom. Or to put it another way; what it’s like to be a Christian. The Kingdom of God is a state of being. He was showing them and us the Kingdom is within you. It’s a state of being. It’s not out there, external, but begins inside at our deepest core and there we are grounded in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was calling them (and us) into His world and drawing them into the life He lived. This was the life he was living. He wasn’t talking about something in the future but all his language was in the present tense. It wasn’t about you have to die to go to heaven then you will get it. He was talking about a lifestyle, the way you are, your attitude towards life. Then Jesus said “you are salt of the earth, the light of the world….” Why would Jesus say that? Let’s focus on salt.
Salt in bible times wasn’t only used to make food taste better but it was also a preservative. They didn’t have fridges or cans in those days so they used salt to preserve their food - their, meat. Another way of saying that is salt was used to restrain corruption. Jesus was saying that those who are going to live my way are the salt of the earth. You will be a preserving agent within your society. Your very presence will restrain corruption.” Jesus said “You are”. He didn’t say “You have” or “You must try hard to become salt” or “You must become” or “You have the salt” but “you are”. Do you know who you are? “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”
Jesus was saying that something had happened to them and to us . You are different (not better) from the world. The world bases its life on the way of greed, lust, pride but you are different - and you make a difference. That’s a good word to summarise what Jesus was teaching, or a great theme of what Jesus was sharing with his disciples - Different. If you want to preserve your meat add salt – it will make a difference. If you want to improve and make a difference to your food – add salt. So Jesus says be who you are - be salt in your world.
If we are going to be genuine Christians, if we are going to be committed to following Jesus we must walk as Jesus did. When we are baptised we leave the kingdom of this world behind and we enter the Kingdom of God. In this Kingdom we live new values and new habits. We become a different kind of person. We become distinct people. There should be something different about our lives, our behaviour. Our lives should help preserve and illuminate the world. The early church grew to about 6 million Christians in 300 years (about 10% of the population of the Roman Empire). This was despite living in the environment of a hostile government opposed to Christians. They grew primarily not from evangelism or witnessing on street corners but when people looked at them they saw a peacefulness, good habits and attitudes etc. They were a group of people who were different. The church had a saying “We do not proclaim great things – we live them.” They were different and these are some of the major characteristics they were identified by: .Their sexual ethics, their worship of one God (which caused a lot of persecution because everyone was supposed to worship Caesar), their simple and honest lifestyle, their renunciation of all violence and their acceptance of foreigners. Pagans found these traits appealing and eventually many were won over to Christianity. If you read the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) you discover more of what it means to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Jesus talks about keeping marital vows, living a non-violent life, giving to the poor, praying and fasting, trusting God instead of money, not judging others, not trying to impress and deceive others and about how to treat others. Mother Teresa: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Ask God to give you opportunities to share love and kindness, compassion etc with others. And when you do that be wide awake because sometimes the opportunities are just there for a brief moment and they’re gone! Being the salt and light of the world isn’t about bringing attention to ourselves but it’s about bringing attention to the compassion, the forgiveness, the kindness – the love of God. Many suffer from misguided and misinformed views of who God is and see Him as a stern judge who is looking for reasons to condemn and sentence. Living differently gives a different view of God.
Christianity is a lifelong journey of following Jesus – that’s the life worth living. It may be costly. It’s not about going to heaven when you die it’s about living in the Now - about the life we live now. It’s the type of life we carry into our homes, into our schools, into our neighbourhood, into our families. If we follow Jesus we begin to realise why we are here. We were created for good works – godly works. We are not saved by them but that’s how we live. That’s what happens when Jesus lives in us by the Holy Spirit. As we submit and surrender to Him, we begin to be the light and salt. We make a difference because we are different.