Summary: What lasting impression will we leave to other generations of Christinas that come after us?
Text : Matthew 5: 13 - 20
Someone (Bill Crowder) gives us a snapshot of history as he relates an impression that has lasted over 1,500 years. “Caerlon is a Welsh village with deep historical roots. It was one of the three sites in the United Kingdom where Roman legions were posted during Rome’s occupation of Britain. While the military presence ended some 1,500 years ago, the imprint of the occupation can still be seen today. People come from all over the world come to visit the military fort, the barracks and the amphitheatre that are reminders of the days when Rome ruled the world and occupied Wales.” (Our Daily Bread. September – November 2010. Bill Crowder. “A Lasting Imprint”. RBC Ministries, Volume 55, Numbers 6, 7, & 8, printed in USA. 2010. Devotion for November 5, 2010). There is no doubt that Rome made a lasting impression that has survived even after Rome fell as the world’s most powerful empire in the early days of Christianity.
This scripture prompts us to ask ourselves about those that will come after us. What will they say about us? Will they say that we made a lasting impression?
WE MUST BE BOTH ACTIVE AND VISIBLE.
We must be salty. 1) Salt cannot remain idle: When Jesus tells us we must be salty, He is telling us that we must be active in changing any environment that we encounter. At almost every dinner table you will see has salt and pepper shakers. Think about salt and its purpose. Salt cannot do anything if it does not leave its shaker. Salt that stays in the shaker cannot season and change the taste of food.
2) Salt has a purifying quality: Salt cannot purify an environment unless it has come in contact with that environment. To be salty means that we grow inwardly in our faith and outwardly in how we serve.
3) Salt has a infiltrating quality: One of the connotations of infiltration is that of going into the territory of an enemy. Satan targets Christians because he considers us his enemy. Salt not only infiltrates but it also permeates (spreads throughout) whatever it comes in contact with. As Christians, we are resident aliens because we are salty people in a salt-free world. We are in the world but not of the world (John 18:36). We are called change the world as salt changes the flavor of food. We are called to live pure lives and to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).
4) Salt has a success quality: Someone (Ronald J. Allen) pointed out that “In Judaism, salt was a symbol of covenant”. (David L Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting On The Word. Year A, Volume 1. Ronald J. Allen. “Homiletical Perspective”. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010, p. 333). As William Barclay put it, “ The Christian must be … the person who by his presence defeats corruption and makes it easier for others to be good.” (William Barclay. The Daily Bible Study Series: The Gospel Of Matthew. Revised Edition. Volume 1. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975, p. 120 ). If a Christian is not fulfilling his purpose as a Christian, then he is on the way to disaster.” (Barclay , p. 121) . To be the salt of the earth we must be active to succeed! Inactivity invites disaster. Inactivity makes us good for nothing but to be trampled upon (Matthew 5:13 b).
We must be a beacon. 1) Light is meant to be visible. Light cannot hide in the darkness because light dispels the darkness. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John3:19 NIV).
2) We are called to shine for Jesus. When we shine for Jesus, more than likely we are demonstrating the character of the Beatitudes. Living in harmony with the principles of the Beatitudes is a way of living that leads to godly living and righteousness. As Christians, living out what we believe is sure to provoke those who would rather hide from us because our “light” makes them uncomfortable. Jesus warned us that others would oppose us as they opposed Jesus ( Matthew 10:22 paraphrased).
3) Some will respond to the light favorably. As long as people can see God’s light shining through them, it gives others hope. There are unbelievers whose lives have been changed because they have seen God’s light in the witness of His children shining through their darkness. When we let God’s light shine in us, we make it possible for people to see our good deeds and praise God for it (Matthew5:16). When they see our goodness, they can thank God because they know that God is instrumental in making those good things possible.