Summary: This is about being salt and light in our world.

How would you change the world? How would you change your world, the one in which you live? Who is going to make the change?

How are changes made in our world? Who makes changes? What is our role as a church in changing our world? Or, do we even have a role?

Read Matthew 5:13-16.

1) Salt

What are the two purposes of salt? Why do we use salt?

a) Preservative

In the days before iceboxes and modern refrigeration, salt was the main means of preserving perishable food. Food would be heavily salted to keep food from spoiling.

What happens if fish sits out for a few days? It get very aromatic. In Jesus day, fish was one of the main staples of the diet. Fish had to be transported from the seas to the various markets in the towns and villages. Fish would be salted in order to preserve it from rotting and decay.

In our passage, Jesus isn’t speaking directly of salt keeping fish from stinking. It is used metaphorically of followers of Christ as their character of Christlikeness. As followers of Christ, we are to be a preservative in the world. Sin is rampant in our world, as if that wasn’t obvious. We are to impact our world to preserve it from moral decay. Salt also adds…

b) Pizzazz

Salt brings flavor. This is the most obvious property of salts, especially since we no longer use it as a preservative. Some foods are terrible without salt. I like oatmeal, but without salt, or some other flavoring, it is tasteless mush.

We are to add flavor to our world. Too many followers of Christ walk around as though the just lost their best friend. Too often the church is seen as a place for joyless people.

c) Purity

The Romans saw salt as a symbol of purity, in that it came from two pure things seawater and sun. Most salt in ancient times was acquired by evaporating seawater.

It seems strange that Jesus would talk about salt losing its saltiness. How could that be? Jesus isn’t giving a chemistry lesson. The salt we use today is very pure and therefore doesn’t lose its saltiness. In that time, salt was often mixed with impurities.

We are to maintain our distinctive when we are in contact with the world. Salt cannot be a preservative or a seasoning if it never comes in contact with food. When it does come in contact with food it is useless if it is not pure.

If we are not going to impact our world as a flavoring or preservative, we are useless. If we do not maintain our purity, we are useless. Barclay says, “Uselessness invites disaster.”

What are you doing to be a preservative? What are you doing to bring pizzazz? Are you maintaining purity?

2) Light

Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” Now he tells his followers, “You are the light of the world.” What does he mean? How are we the light of the world, when Jesus said that he was the light of the world?

a) Reflection

We don’t make our own light, but we reflect the light of Christ, in the same way that the moon reflects the light of the sun. To call ourselves “Christians” or “followers of Christ” is to reflect Jesus’ light. The only question is: What kind of reflection are we? We are a reflection: good or bad. What kind of reflection are you? What is the main purpose of light?

b) Illumination

The main purpose of light is to give light, unless you have an Easy Bake Oven, then the purpose of the light bulb is to cook. In Jesus day, most houses were only one room with no windows (or maybe one small window). One lamp could illuminate the one-room houses if it was put on a lamp stand in the house.

In that time a lamp was a shallow bowl-shaped piece of property. The wick floated in oil. It was difficult to light the wick, especially since they didn’t have lighters or matches. The lamp would be placed on a stand in the middle of house or on a ledge in the wall. From that vantage point the whole house would receive light. Everyone could see to do what they needed to do.

That’s why we have light in the ceiling and not the floor. Even lamps are place on tables or poles. Lights can only bring illumination only if they are…

c) Uncovered

What happens when you cover a light? What happens when you cover a lamp that relies on a flame? The light becomes useless. When a thick blanket of clouds covers the moon, it does us no good.

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