Summary: Demonstrating Christ to the world
First Baptist Church
Salt and Light
May 6, 2001
On Sunday, April 8, 1945, German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken from a worship service he had just conducted for prisoners to a concentration camp in Flossenburg. He was tried for treason and hanged just a few days before the Allied Forces liberated the prison camp. A doctor at the scene described Bonhoeffer’s final moments:
“Through the half-open door in one of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison clothes, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so submissive to the will of God. (H. Fisher- Hullstrung, "A Report from Flossenburg," in I Knew Dietrich Bonhoeffer, p. 232).
Bonhoeffer believed the words of Jesus, even to the point of death. ‘You Dietrich, are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world.’ When we accept those words, it may mean that we are called to do something that will lead to persecution, ridicule and difficult decisions. It means radical obedience to Jesus. It means that all we should make a difference for Jesus. If you believe those words of Jesus, then to the best of your ability, are you being salt and light to this world? In order to best answer the question, let’s take a look at what Jesus meant when He told the disciples and us we are to be salt and light.
Salt adds flavor to whatever it touches. In fact most of us don’t even think about salt unless we’re on salt-free or low-salt diets. To benefit those who can’t have salt, there are items we can buy which taste like salt, but do not contain any.
A Christian who is the salt of the earth, gives taste to a world that is sinful, bland, and without joy. Christians who influence this world give taste to a tasteless world. We add divine flavor.
Salt creates thirst. If you eat salty food, you get thirsty. If you go to a Chinese buffet, they intentionally make the food salty. Why? So you’ll have to drink more liquid, which fills you up, so you eat less. Have you ever been to a bland buffet?
As salty Christians, we should create a thirst for God in those who don’t know Him. A Christian should help people have the desire to drink from the living water of Christ. There should be something about Christians that is different from the world.
In his book How to Live, G. Campbell Morgan, the famous minister of Westminster Chapel in London, told about a conversation he had with a man who said he invited a coworker to church. He told Morgan they had worked together for 5 years and never knew the other was a believer in Christ. The man thought it was funny. But to his surprise, Morgan exclaimed, "Funny?! No, it isn't funny at all! You both need to be born again." You see, it was inconceivable to Morgan that two men could be Christian, work side-by-side and not be aware that they were brothers in Christ.
George Barna's research has shown that the average Christian in the average evangelical church is almost indistinguishable from the rest of society. He is referring to the fundamental moral and ethical difference that Christ can make in how we live. ‘When Christian teens, get pregnant and do drugs at the same rate as the general teenage population - when our marriages end in divorce at the same rate as the rest of society - when we cheat, lie, steal, and commit adultery at the same statistical level as those who say they are not Christians - something is wrong.’
If you are a Chirstian, what makes your life different than non-Christians? Philip Yancey asks the question, "If a nonbeliever came to you and asked how your life as a Christian differs from theirs as a moral nonChristian, what would you tell them?" (Reaching for the Invisible God)
Our lives must make a distinguishable difference in the lives of others. Not just through our morality, but through our spirituality. As a Christian you have the opportunity to accept God’s gift of salvation — love, hope, joy and peace. My sister, who is Jewish, once said that I will always have something she doesn’t have, “HOPE.” She knows I believe in eternal life with Christ, while she doesn’t.