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Summary: After Jesus shares the attributes that will bless us he tells his disciples that they are salt and light. How are we like salt and light?

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SALT AND LIGHT

Matt. 5:13-16

Intro: Make connection between the beatitudes and us being salt and light.

1) We need to be salty (vs. 13). There was a time when salt was a much more precious commodity than it is today. “On October 2, 1864, one of the worst battles of the American Civil War was fought. 2800 Confederate soldiers squared off against 4500 Union soldiers. The battle is forever recorded in American history as one of the worst atrocities that has ever occurred on US soil. After a day of intense fighting, shots continued throughout the night muffling the cries of wounded Union soldiers. This intense fighting and great loss of life was all over salt. One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was fought over Saltville, VA--the largest supplier of salt to the Confederate army. Salt was so valuable that more wars have been fought over it than gold.” Historical facts about Syracuse, the salt city. Salt museum. The salt industry has a long history in and around Syracuse going all the way back to 1654. Onondaga Lake was once known as Salt Lake. In 1784 the region came to be known as the "Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation" and provided the basis for commercial salt production from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. The majority of salt used in the country in the 19th century came from Syracuse. In many societies salt was so valuable that it was used for money. The English word salary is derived from the Latin word Salarium which refers to the payments made to a Roman soldier with salt. Pretty valuable stuff. Jesus calls us salt. Why would he refer to his evangelistic disciples this way? How are we like salt? One way is that salt is a preservative. They obviously didn’t have refrigerators back then so salt was the means by which they preserved their food. The salt was rubbed into the meat before it was stored. The salt hindered or stopped the process of decay. Therefore we are called to hinder or stop the decay of the world. We are called to preserve the gospel; we are called to preserve the image of Christ. Another purpose of salt is flavoring. Salt can make a bland food tastier; more appealing. Some people aren’t interested in the gospel. As the salt of the earth we can help to make the gospel more appealing. We can show them how flavorful life can be if they come to Jesus. Salt also helps to motivate people to become thirsty. Like the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. No, but you can put salt in his oats.” We are the salt whose intended purpose is to make people thirsty for the living water. Titus 2:9-10. By living a more appealing way we can make the teaching about Jesus attractive to people. Paul said in Col. 4:6 that our conversations with people are to be seasoned with salt. Part of being the salt of the earth is found in how we are talking with others. We are to be having conversations that are wholesome and beneficial. By the way we live, speak and act we can draw others to Jesus. “There was a business owner who had employed many Christians in his company. He would watch them closely. "You know, I was naturally drawn to God by observing Christian workers who were conscientious and kind and thorough and aggressive on the job," he said. "But I’ll tell you what really impressed me. One day a guy who I knew to be a fresh convert asked if he could see me after work. I agreed to meet with him, but later in the day I started to worry that this young religious zealot might be coming to try to convert me. I was surprised when he came in my office with his head hanging low and said to me, ‘Sir, I’m here to ask your forgiveness. Over the years I’ve worked for you I’ve done what a lot of other employees do: borrowing a few company products here and there, taking some extra supplies; I’ve abused telephone privileges and I’ve cheated the time clock now and then. But I became a Christian a few months ago and it’s real. In gratitude for what Christ has done for me and in obedience to Him, I want to make amends to you and the company for the wrongs I’ve done. So could we figure out a way to do that? If you have to fire me for what I’ve done, I’ll understand. I deserve it. Or, if you want to dock my pay, dock it whatever figure you think is appropriate. If you want to give me some extra work to do on my own time, that would be okay, too, I just want to make things right with God and between us.’" Well they worked things out. And the business owner said that this conversation made a deeper spiritual impact on him than anything else ever had. It was the single most impressive demonstration of true Christianity he had ever witnessed.” We are to be the salt of the earth. Salt losing its saltiness. Salt can literally lose its saltiness. There’s an interesting description of this by a man named Maundrell. “In the land of Judea there is a place known as the Valley of Salt. On one side of the valley, toward Gibul, there is a small precipice about 12 feet long, occasioned by the continual taking away of the salt; and, in this, you may see how the veins of it lie. I broke a piece of it, of which that part that was exposed to the rain, sun, and air, though it had the sparks and particles of salt, it had completely lost its savor. However, the inner part, that which was connected to the rock, retained its savor." Maundrell discovered that the salt that had become disconnected from the rock had eventually lost its saltiness but the salt that had stayed connected to the rock hadn’t. That’s the formula for us as well. Stay connected to the rock which is Christ and we will not lose our saltiness. Mark 9:42-50, Luke 14:25-35. We can become unsalted through ignoring the beatitudes and not pursuing godly attributes (Matt.), through giving ourselves back over to sin (Mark), or through not persevering (Luke). Losing our saltiness is losing our effectiveness. Losing my saltiness is losing my value, my worth (it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men). Losing my saltiness is like when Jesus cursed the fig tree because it wasn’t bearing any fruit. It’s not a happy ending if that happens. Jesus is warning us. He’s telling us to be on the alert. It’s as if he’s saying, “You are the salt of the earth. You have been given a great privilege but also a great responsibility. But be prepared because you will encounter troubles. I am sending you to heal wounds. And what happens when salt enters the wound? It hurts? It’s helpful but it’s not pleasant. Some will not understand and will react unfavorably toward it. I’m telling you this so you will be forewarned and persevere through it. Also, watch out for the enemy; the devil. He hates you because you bear my name and are spreading my message of salvation. He wants to steal your saltiness through things like deceit, sin, fear and apathy. Don’t let him! I am with you. Cling to me and you will not fail. Be diligent and remain salty so you can escape the consequences of being unsalted.” We are the salt of the earth.


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