Summary: A focus on salt as a distinctive flavour and a preserving agent as a metaphor for Christian distinctiveness in a pluralistic world.
Intro: We are taught by Jesus in this passage that we are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But what do these words mean? It is important that we understand our purpose in this world and so we should endeavour to understand these metaphors that Jesus uses, that we might fulfill our purpose.
Prop.: All Chritians are called to stand apart from our world.
T.S.: All Christians are called to stand apart from our world by the metaphors in Matthew 5:13-16.
I. Salt: A Distinct Flavour
1. In the time of Jesus spice was a very expensive thing, much of the food was bland and without flavour, however salt added a sharp contrast to whatever it was added to.
2. In todays world we are pressured to believe that there are many roads that lead to God. Some students here will have heard the teaching that there is no absolute right or wrong, that everything has a shade of greyness, that sexual immorality is OK as long as you’re in love, that divorce is okay, as long as you’re not in love. That cheating is okay if you don’t get caught, that disobeyiing your parents is okay if you don’t want to do what they want you to. That suicide is okay if you don’t want to live, that abortion is okay if you don’t want a child, that homosexuality is okay if you are attracted to people of the same sex.
3. But if we understand that Jesus is telling us that we are to be a distinct flavour, that we are not to blend in, but that we are to be noticeably different than those who are around us.
4. That means it should not concern us that we will be ridiculed for what we believe. That we must stand up for what scripture teaches, that we should not be moved by our world, our politics or our culture to take a stand opposite to that mentioned in scripture.
II. Salt: A Preserving Agent
1. Have you ever taken out a piece of meat and set it on the counter and then forgotten about it? Imagine forgetting about it for an entire weekend, or how about the whole March break while you’re away on vacation. Imagine the rancid smell in your house when you finally return? That is what our world smells like to God, our world is a piece of rancid meat.
2. Romans 1:18-32 - I WILL NAME NAME’S AND I WILL POINT FINGERS!!! United Chruch, The Jesus Seminar, Those flaunt their sinful living --- AND GOD LOVES THEM!
3. In Biblical times their were no refrigerators or freezers and so the only way to prevent meat from rotting was to press salt into it. Salt didn’t keep the meat from rotting, but it slowed the process.
4. We need to slow the rotting process in our world - we can do this by taking an active part in writing letters to government on controvrsial bills - praying for our leaders, praying for our world. Standing up for what is right and standing against what is wrong in our world.
III. Salt: Without Flavour
1. The White Sand Shaker - The Taste of Sand
2. This is a warning to believers to be distinct, to have a slow decay -- and by all means not to become part of the world around them. If you are no different from those you encounter every day, what difference will it make if you try to take a stand for your faith? What effectiveness do you have for the kingdom of God if you blend in with the world around you???
3. Those who are not distinct will be trampled under foot, by the world.
IV. Light: The Conrast to Darkness
1. List some of the references to light in the Bible.
2. Thy word is a Lamp - We are to illuminate the way.
3. God dwells in Light - We are to be holy.
4. In Light there is no darkness - We are to push back the darkness and reclaim lost ground.
Concl: Dear Christian friends, these are teachings for the very mouth of the one who paid our debt, this is what Christ did, he was salt and light in his world -- in the same way we need to be a distinct flavour in our world, we need to be slowing the decay we see around us! It is not a simple task, it requires boldness, courage and humility!!! But it is my prayer that everyone of you would be like a light on a hill, blazing brightly for all those around to see!