Summary: As we continue our series we transition from the beatitudes into Jesus talking about us being salt and light. Pursuing and practicing the things Jesus mentions in the beatitudes will help us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (part five)
Intro: Make connection between the beatitudes and us being salt and light.
1) We need to be salty.
Matt. 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth. but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."
At one time salt was a 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.”
Syracuse, the salt city. Salt museum. The salt industry has a long history in and around Syracuse going 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. How are we like salt?
One way is that salt is a preservative. They 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 meaning of preserve is to protect or defend. We're to defend the faith against false teachings and protect the integrity of Christianity against misrepresentation.
Another purpose of salt is flavoring. Salt makes bland food tastier; more appealing. Some people aren’t interested in the gospel. As the salt of the earth we can help 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, "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."
Apparently it was somewhat common for servants to disobey or shirk responsibilities and talk back to and steal from their masters. Paul wants to communicate a way for new Christians to show themselves to be different; more attractive.
We can apply this at our own workplace. Show our boss that we can be trusted not to take anything that doesn't belong to us; and that includes taking longer than allotted breaks (time stealing). Show them respect, show them hard work and integrity; show them and your co-workers the attractiveness of Christ.
This applies in every facet of our lives. We are to be alluring; drawing people in by our godly example. By living a more appealing way we can make the teaching about Jesus attractive to people.
Col. 4:6 says that our conversations with people are to be seasoned with salt. Part of being the salt of the earth is 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.