Summary: Jesus describes the drastic contrasts people of the world from people of The Kingdom of God in His Sermon on the Mount.
Woes, Salt, Light and the Law
OUTLINE: “Woes, Salt, Light and Law”
Introduction: The Woes of the Worldly (Luke 6:24-26) record the traits, mindsets, and attitudes of people who are immersed in the things of this world, and demonstrate the opposite characteristics of the Beatitudes.
I. “You are the Salt of the Earth.”
A. Salt brings out the flavor in dead foods.
B. Salt preserves and purifies.
C. Salt was used in sacrifices.
D. Salt in the OT points to Christ.
E. Salt in the NT speaks of the Gospel.
II. “You are the Light of the World.”
A. Cities built on hills are to be visible.
B. Lamps are lit to extinguish darkness.
C. A True Disciple of Jesus does not consciously, intentionally, or constantly
hide the light of the Gospel which has been given to him!
D. Salt may influence quietly and secretively, but LIGHT is visible and conspicuous.
III. The Fulfillment of the Law
A. The Old Testament prophesies a Savior who will be greater than the law and prophets.
B. Jesus “fulfills” but does not terminate the law.
C. Jesus expands upon the law by establishing His law in our hearts.
We studied The Beatitudes for a few weeks which reflect the blessings that God gives to the Children whom he has adopted. A Contrast to the Beatitudes are the Woes of the Worldly found in Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6:24-26:
“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.”
The Woes of the Worldly record the traits, mindsets, and attitudes of people who are immersed in the things of this world, the things of the here and now, and demonstrate the opposite characteristics of the Beatitudes: The woes do not only describe people who are “rich” in possessions verses those who are “poor” in possessions, but rather people’s attitude and priorities toward others and toward God during this lifetime.
Luke is speaking to those who are rich in THEMSELVES instead in God’s GRACE; they trust in their own self-security and self-reliance rather than totally reliance upon God. This would include the proud of this world. Those who take God for granted and so neglect Him, His grace, and His Kingdom, and neglect to respond wholeheartedly to His grace in this life: They have received their reward NOW in terms of earthly things but will not receive God’s Kingdom rewards in the future. In the future, they will be left hungry and starving for God’s grace and presence.
People who are poor in spirit place their HOPE in God IN THIS LIFETIME. They have not been deceived by materialism. They do not allow the blessings FROM God to become more important than God, Himself. They use their resources for the Glory of God, not for themselves. They are not concerned with how they “look” in the eyes of the World because they realize that it doesn’t matter. To the poor in spirit, pride, self-image, success, possessions and popularity are not valid or accurate tests of the truth. Jesus is the TRUTH to them.
In the Old Testament, FALSE prophets were POPULAR among the people, but the True Prophets of God were put to death. Jesus warned that many false prophets would rise in the church and we see false teachers abound in the World today: name it and claim it preachers, health and wealth gospels, teachers who bend the truth of God’s Word to “tickle” people’s ears are usually well-liked, miracle seekers instead of seekers of God, pastors who prefer style over Biblical Substance. Today, pastors who teach Holiness, reverence, repentance and obedience to God are usually shunned in our country and killed in others.
“You are the Salt of the Earth”
With those things in mind, we return to Matthew 5:13, where Jesus says: "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
Jesus didn’t say we were the potatoes, the sugar, or the honey of the Earth, and there are some very good reasons for that. We use salt today, as a matter of fact, our understanding of the benefits of salt are far more extensive than in Jesus’ day. I read that over 14,000 uses for salt have been discovered.
Salt brings out the flavor in otherwise dead-tasting foods; as advanced as technology is today, nobody has found any other substance on the face of this Earth that does what salt is able to do in bringing out the inherent taste of otherwise bland and in many cases, downright DISTASTEFUL and DEAD foods. It brings the taste of dead foods to life. Job 6:6-7 says:” Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the white of an egg? I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.” This refers to more than finicky taste-buds. There is a spiritual reality to these verses.