Summary: Christian, you are crucial in God's plan for His world! 1. Learn the value of your life (vs 13a). 2. Listen to Christ's warning about a diluted life (vs 13b). 3. Let the Savior's light shine through you (vs 14-16). 4. Live to give glory to God (vs 16).

Christians Are Crucial

Matthew 5:13-16

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - March 13, 2013

*An old Peanuts cartoon, showed Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown. Patty said, "Guess what, Chuck? The first day of school, and I got sent to the principal's office. It was your fault, Chuck."

*Poor, confused Charlie Brown asked, "My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?" Patty replied, "You're my friend, aren't you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me." (1)

*Christians: What kind of influence are we? As we look into the Word of God tonight, we can see the kind of influence Jesus wants us to be. And you may not feel like it, but Christian, you are crucial in God's plan for His world!

1. So first of all, learn the value of your life.

*In vs. 13, the Lord taught His followers about the value of our lives in this world. There Jesus said: "You are the salt of the earth. . ." This symbolism doesn't make nearly as much sense to us as it did to the Lord's followers 2,000 years ago. "You are the salt of the earth." That sounds kind of ho-hum to us, because salt is cheap and plentiful today.

*You'll never hear about people sticking-up Sonic for a few packets of salt. But in the ancient world salt was a tremendously valuable commodity. Workers in some cultures were paid with salt. That's why our word "salary" comes from the word, "salt."

*People wanting to buy something would pay for it with salt the same way we use money today. And people treasured salt as we might value gold or silver. Scott Hoezee tells us that the earliest roads were built to transport salt, the earliest taxes were charged on salt, and whole military campaigns were launched to obtain it. (2)

*We take salt for granted, but Billy Strayhorn reminds us how much it can do.

[1] First, of course, salt makes things taste better. That's why we put it on everything from eggs to grits to popcorn. Some of us even put it on watermelon.

[2] Salt enhances the flavor of food. But on top of that, it's a preservative. Before refrigeration or canning, much meat was preserved by packing it in salt. That salt-cured meat would last for years.

[3] Salt was used as a preservative, and as a curative. Before the time of modern medicine, salt was used as an antiseptic. It burned like crazy, but salt was often poured into an open wound to clean it of any impurities. Today we still gargle salt water sometimes to kill germs. (3&4)

*Salt was and is extremely useful. And Christians, we are the salt of the earth. So just like physical salt, we are intended by God to be a positive influence on our society, both by our words and the way we act.

*By the grace of God and His power at work in our lives, we have the power to help preserve and purify our world. Right now, the Holy Spirit is at work in the world, and part of His work comes through Christians committed to the cause of Christ. Can you imagine what the world would be like without this godly influence? -- It would be evil completely unrestrained.

*That's how it will be here after the rapture, and I dread that for those who are left behind. But while we are here, we can be a positive influence in our family, at work, at school, and all over our community. And just like salt, we can add great flavor to life. We can show people that the Christian life is not boring or bland. It's abundant! It's the best life of all. It's the only real life.

*There is one other powerful impact of salt. Melvin Shelton pointed it out in the story of a youth meeting. That night, the youth were talking about the meaning of the Lord's words in Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth."

*The students discussed the meaning of the verse, and the leader asked them to talk about different uses of salt. There were several good answers: Salt gives flavor to food. It preserves food to keep it from spoiling. Then one girl said, "Salt makes you thirsty." And everybody got quiet as they began to ask themselves: "Have I ever made anyone thirsty for Jesus?" (5)

*This is what God wants us to do: Make people thirsty to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. And this is the most important influence we can have in the world!

*Jesus wants us to learn the value of our lives. So learn the value of your life.

2. And listen to Christ's warning about a diluted life.

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