Summary: What it means to be salt and light
Sermon on Mount
Being a People of Influence
In the SOM, Jesus’ aim was to create a lifestyle in his followers that would make people think about the value of God, or to glorify God. Jesus goes from talking about persecution to being salt and light that is being an influence in the world around us, even a hostile world. Ie Wright Brothers
1. My life is an influence (v. 13a).
The text tells us that you are salt and that we are light. The personal pronoun is emphatic – you are. It is what we are – salt and light. You are an influence. God by nature influences and as followers of Christ we partake of the divine nature so that we influence also. For example, the love we have is Gods love in us; the joy we have is Gods joy in us; the passion we have is Gods passion inside of us; the mercy we have is God’s mercy in us.
Reflect on your life this morning. What was your influence this morning on your house, what about yesterday. What was your influence down at the fishing hole, at the store, Captains, your work. How did you treat your family, your coworkers, the person fishing next to you? Was it positive or was it negative? Would they have any idea that you are a christian? Did you laugh at their off colored jokes? Did you participate in a conversation degraded another person? Did you stand up for what was right? I was talking to someone at Captains this week who has some friends they have been sharing with over time. They said of all the Christians they know in Homer, they were the only ones that they knew were living the life. Ie school closing.
• Salt is a preservative
Salt is a preservative. The ancients used it to preserve food in the days when there were no refrigerators. So as salt we preserve our culture or society around us with our influence. That is, the poor in spirit influence, the meek influence, the merciful influence, the pure in heart influence, the peacemakers influence. But to preserve salt must come into contact with that which it seeks to preserve. No contact no preservative. We cannot blame society for its evils when we stand by and let it decay and go dark. No contact; no impact! Salt does not just preserve, it also produces.
• Salt is used to season
Salt is also used to season, to make something taste better. By our contact with our culture we season it, make it better. We Influence it. But again no contact; no impact.
Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ie Chris McCartney
there is a promise but also a warning here – if the salt uses it saltiness it will be thrown away and trampled. Some salt had impurities so that the outer layer was lacking flavor so was discarded as worthless. Salt would be thrown into the street to be trampled. He is trying to shake us up – wake up. True followers are salty, have flavor. Don’t think you can slide in this life. Do not insulate and isolate. Remember this is in the context of persecution. Warning us not to pull back or isolate or insulate in the midst of persecution whether it is people sneering at us or killing us.
Salt is useless without contact!
2. My life makes a difference (v. 14a).
We are not only salt but we are also light of the world. The point is that the world is shrouded in darkness because it does not see Jesus and we are to light the way or be a light. Ie light and train illustration. Our lives point to Jesus (v. 16). In the same way that the spit can be seen for mile down east end road when it is lit up at night or a light beacon in the ocean lights up the dark skies so to do the lives of followers of Christ light up a world shrouded in darkness. Your words and your life makes a difference. You may not see it or you may not hear about but it does. We are light because Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:6-9; 8:12; 3:19) and God is light (1 John 5:3) and we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 4:12).
ESV Ephesians 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."