Summary: Jesus Christ commanded His church to be influential. We have a commission to impact people, principles and culture for Christ and His kingdom. How do we do this. We respond to His call to follow Him and be salt and light.
Intro: The philosophies or ways of thinking of the world lead to a devaluing. The worldly philosophies of the 19th century led to the idea of a golden era with no more war or rumors of war. There were many that believed that a utopia would result from the right thinking of man. They really believed man’s way of thinking would remove addictions and immorality. What we have discovered from their way of thinking is that many things devolved and were and are devalued. For instance prayer was devalued in the 1960s, human life was devalued in the 1970s, and today marriage is being devalued.
We as followers of Christ have not only the right but the responsibility to show what God values. In the cultural, economic, social, religious and global chaos that we face we have to ask ourselves, are we going to continue to allow lies and wrong philosophies to continue to shape the world around us?
Did you know that Jesus commanded us clearly to be influencers of people and culture? You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world. We are to affect everything on this earth. We are to affect everything in the present world system. Don’t simply take my word for it lets examine the Bible to see how we are to be an influence in this world.
Matthew 28:19 – 20 Make disciples of all nations – influence them to follow Jesus
Acts 1:8 When the Holy Spirit Comes you will receive power to become my witnesses – influence people to believe the gospel
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone. 3 It is clear that you are Christ’s letter, produced by us, not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God—not on stone tablets but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.” We are living breathing letters of God if His Spirit lives in us!
Matthew 5:13-14 Read
I. The infection of the world
There is an implication by the statement “you are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”
The metaphor of salt reveals a lot about the planet we live on and the people we live with. It clearly communicates that both have a tendency toward corruption. Salt was one of the earliest commodities and was greatly valued in the ancient world. There wasn’t such a thing as refrigeration so to keep their meat from spoiling they rubbed it with salt to keep it fresh for regular use. As short as 100 years ago sailors used salt to preserve the fish they caught to for long transatlantic journeys.
The bible doesn’t worry about mincing words or being politically correct about the fact that this planet and the people on it are corrupt, and have a tendency to become foul and polluted. There are numerous examples in the Bible. In Genesis under perfect conditions man sinned and rebelled against God and the pollution began. Cain from rage killed His brother Abel. It became so terrible that all the thoughts of man were only continually wicked (polluted, vile, corrupt) that God had to send the cleansing flood. It washed away the corruption. There was a new start but not a new nature and Sodom and Gomorrah were the place of every corrupt and polluted practice. Man left to Himself will always tend to devolve toward corruption and evil. (Thankfully God has a plan for the infection)
II. The influence of the Christian
The words of Jesus are not meant to discourage us but to encourage us. They are also designed to make us realistic. This world will never get better until Jesus takes charge and transforms it. We as salt are encouraged and commanded to delay and hold back the decay until He comes. How do we do this?
A) The distinctiveness of our character
To be a follower of Christ isn’t just saying I’m a Christian. The metaphor of salt teaches us that we are to be distinct and different. How are we to be different? We are to be different in our character and conduct. When you walk into a room does the conversation change. We are called to be radically different from the people of the world we live with every day. That is not a call to be bizarre or weird. It is a call to live lives that are clearly and distinctly led by the Spirit, principles, and person of Jesus. Jesus would not lead a woman to an abortion. Jesus would not lead people to co-habitate. Jesus would not lead us to lie to benefit our companies, business or boss. Jesus would not lead us to hate our neighbor. Jesus would not lead us to gossip. Jesus does not lead us to addictions. Jesus does not lead people to be unforgiving. Is there an attitude or practice in your life that you know Jesus would not lead you to? He will lead us to be committed, faithful, loving, lights in a dark world.