Summary: This is a study of the Sermon on the Mount. This is the 2nd sermon in the series.
Sermon on the Mount
Salt and Light
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (14) You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
A. As a Christian, What is your relationship to the world?
I think that is a fair question to ask.
1. If you are a policeman, you would be expected to be a law abiding citizen.
a. Who would want a person to enforce the laws of the land if they did not respect them enough to observe them correctly?
b. I would think the answer would be no one.
2. If you are a business owner, you would be expected to be fair and honest with your customers.
a. Who would you want to do business with someone who would intentionally sell you an inferior product or tell you one price for an item and then when you come to purchase it, find that it is at all all-together price?
b. Again, I would think the answer would be one.
3. So if you are a Christian, then you would be expected to act, talk, and live as a Christian before others.
a. Who would want someone to tell you that they are a Christian and then they get involved in things of immorality or worldliness in which Christianity should not be associated with?
b. I would think that the answer again the answer would be no one.
B. The text today begins with Jesus addressing a particular group of people.
1. In verses 13, 14, | 16 we find the personal pronouns YOU, YOU, and YOUR being used by Jesus.
a. These personal references in the context of this passage of The Sermon on the Mount in verses 1 | 2 refer to Jesus addressing His disciples as He taught them on the mountain side.
b. The significance of this is that even though the multitude was there listening to what Jesus said, His message was for those who were His disciples who would understand that He was talking about them living a Christian life. In these verses the Lord summarizes the function of believers in the world. Reducing the summary to one word: influence. Disciples of Christ influence others!
c. The significance for us today – since we too are His disciples this also applies to us.
I. Salt of the Earth Influence
A. Christians should be good salt.
Christians, especially ministers are the salt of the earth.
1. One function of salt is to resist decay – as Christians this is through our moral living we will influence others in following our example whether they are Christians or not.
1. Salt does not change corruption into incorruption, but it does prevent corruption from spreading.
2. It is used to hold decay and rotting at bay. Before the days of refrigeration, salt was the most commonly used preservative to prevent meat from spoiling (going bad).
Salt is a miracle.
1. It is chemically composed of sodium and chloride. Pour a little hydrochloric acid on your hand and in about one-half of a minute your hand will burn away. Drink some hydrochloric acid to wash down the meat that you have just eaten and in a few minutes you will die in agony.
2. Add sodium to hydrochloride and you will have salt. An excellent seasoning for your food.
NOTE: Similarly, when God pours out His (sodium) grace into the hydrochloride (decayed sinful fleshly nature) of our lives, the result is a miracle. A regenerated person placed in the world for the blessing and preservation of all mankind.
c. Salt is one of the most common, most useful substances on earth, a substance essential to life itself.
1. Whether Jewish, Greek, or Roman would have heard Jesus’ statement concerning salt would have understood that it was a valuable commodity and fully understood what He was saying concerning its use.
THOT: Jesus said, You are the salt of the earth.
--- Source [John Phillips, Exploring the Gospel of Matthew: An Expository Commentary, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1999, p. 92 (adapted) ---
B. Christians should not be salt that has lost it savor.
This does not refer to one losing their salvation, but it does testify to one losing their testimony and influence.