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In the Beatitudes Jesus sets before us a word picture of the inner spirit of a genuine Christian (Matt. 5:3-9)
The Master continues the Sermon on the Mount with lessons of Christian discipleship by describing in graphic terms the influence of such Christians.
By using the terms salt and light to describe the influence of the church, he sets forth a part of its function in the world. The words of the verse in which the text is found imply a conflict, express a compliment, issue a commission, mention a calamity, and deliver a call to consecration.
I. You are the salt of the earth – conflict (Matt. 5:10-12)
a. It is not right for Christians to follow a policy of peace at any price.
i. They cannot do so and be worthy followers of Jesus Christ.
ii. Christianity is revolutionary.
iii. Some who think of Christianity as something sweet may be shocked at the idea that genuine Christians provoke conflict.
b. Real Christians are different; they are concerned about others.
c. Real Christians are a constant rebuke to selfishness and sin.
d. Christians experience conflict because they interfere with an hinder those who practice injustice and follow a policy of greed.
i. The presence of a godly person hinders the Devil from having elbow room to do his work.
ii. Evil and wicked persons will sometimes be ashamed to show themselves in the presence of purity.
e. Jesus tells us to rejoice because of this opposition. Why?
i. We have evidence that we are children of God.
ii. This is the pathway to spiritual growth
iii. We follow in the train of the prophets.
II. You are the salt of the earth – compliment
a. This is a grace judgment of the world.
i. Apart from God, the earth is seen in Jesus’ eyes as getting worse instead of better.
ii. He declares that his disciples will save the world from deterioration.
b. We preserve that which is good.
c. We purify that which is worthwhile
d. We season the community, the city, the country, the church, and the home.
III. You are the salt of the earth – commission
a. Slat is a preservative
b. Salt is an antiseptic
c. Salt is seasoning
d. Salt is positive
i. It preserves the standards of a community
ii. It preserves the standards in recreation
iii. It preserves the business structure
iv. It preserves the business structure
v. It preserves justice and righteousness in politics
vi. It preserves the purity of a city
e. Salt is preventative
i. It is an enemy of decay
ii. It is a foe of impurity
iii. It is an antagonist of rottenness and decomposition
IV. If the salt losses its savor – calamity
a. If the salt loses its distinctive nature, it also loses the preserving power and becomes dull, sluggish, insipid, flat, and tasteless.
b. The individual Christian, through compromise with a contaminating world and through spiritual indifference, can lose his or her saltiness.
c. The church whose membership refuses both claims and the commission of the Lord can lose its reason for being and consequently become of no value either to God or to people.
d. The sad results:
i. No hope for the world
ii. No joy in the heart of the compromised Christian
iii. No treasure above
e. Historians tell us that at the beginning of the 19th century, England was on the verge of a devastating revolution like the one that almost submerged France.
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