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“Salty and Bright?”

(audio coming soon)

 ‘“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how [a]can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a [b]hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a [c]basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16

Introduction: are you a person of INFLUENCE?

  • We all have influence over others in our daily lives, and others often influence us as well. What kind of an influence are you?

Proposition: In Matthew 5:13-16 we discover how we fulfill our responsibility to the world.

I. By being SALT to the world. (v. 13)

  • Salt has several effects:
    1. In Jesus’ time salt was used to preserve meat: after having salt rubbed into it the meat (i.e. the world) will continue to decay, but through our Christian example we can slow the decaying process. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
    2. It creates thirst: As Christians, our life should create a thirst for something more, a thirst for a relationship with Christ. Nonbelievers should look at us and say “wow, I want what that person has.”
    3. Adds Flavor to dull foods: As Christians we should add “divine flavor” to an otherwise dead and lifeless world.
    4. Used to clean wounds: our saltiness should sting others when they see us doing good. It should prick their conscience and move them toward good works and repentance. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
    5. A useful article I found: http://www.struggler.org/Salt.html

A. A VALUED commodity that is also useful.

    • Salt was an exceptionally useful and valued commodity in Jesus’ time. It was used primarily as a preservative for food and was so highly valued that Roman soldiers were sometimes even paid in salt. (This is where we get the phrase “Not worth his salt.”) In fact, the same root word that we get our word salary from is the same root for salt. There was a saying at that time that only the sun was more valuable!
    • WE are a valuable commodity to God! We can be used greatly to further His kingdom and bring glory to His name. He has a plan for each of us, and a specific location that he has placed us in, with something he has called us to do. (See 1 Cor. 12 and Eph. 4)

B. We must MAINTAIN our saltiness.

  • In our day, salt does not lose its saltiness; however, in Biblical times their salt contained many impurities and could in fact become un-salty. When this happened it was no longer useful for its original purpose, but could still be used to spread over walkways to make paths less slippery.
  • “It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” If you have failed in your mission to be salt to the world, don’t worry, you can be useful for trampling!
    • There is also a metaphor in the fact that their salt had impurities that would cause it to decay: if we allow impure things to sneak into our lives it will cause us to lose our saltiness. Ephesians 5:3-5 tells us: “But immorality [c]or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among [d]saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no [e]immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Read the verses in context.)
    • We must use our saltiness to “season” our unsaved friends. We should not be seeking intimate fellowship with nonbelievers (that’s what Christian friends are for) but we should influence them positively. When we begin to be influenced by them and by their actions, we are not being effective witnesses for Christ.

II. By letting our light SHINE in the world. (vs. 14-16)

    • Light has always been a symbol of truth, purity, and the divine presence. In artwork divine characters are often presented with a halo of light, and a ray of light might serve to illuminate a pure character or an important moment.
    • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16 (context).

A. Fulfilling our PURPOSE. (vs. 14, 16)

  • What is the purpose of light? In Biblical times candle light would have been their only light source. The light of a fire or candle had two main purposes:
      1. To dispel darkness: Consider this passage. Really READ it, and don’t just gloss over it. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them;  for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 [f]trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even [g]expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are [h]exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians 5:6-14
      2. To create heat: Revelation 3:16 is the famous passage about being lukewarm. As Christians we should be HOT for God, and we should spread that warmth to all who step within the rays of the light we shine.

B. We must remain VISIBLE. (vs. 14-16)

    • We must be bold and speak up for our beliefs, and not hide our light. We must speak up against injustices, strive to right wrongs, and refuse to participate in activities that go against the call of Christ. (Things your friends will tell you “aren’t that bad.”) (See 2 Corinthians 3 and Acts 4:31)
  • Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
    • People around us should literally SEE a difference in our lives! The Good Word without good works is useless. (James 2:20)
    • “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)
    • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a [b]hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt 5:14). In Biblical times the cities would often be built of limestone, which would reflect the lights of the city against the walls. How brilliant and beautiful that must have looked! The city would have been very visible, even from a distance, and so should we be.

C. So that God is GLORIFIED. (vs. 16)

    • “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
    • Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may [g]approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless [h]until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
    • Often the divine moment in our life that affects others for God’s glory might be disproportionate to what we perceive the moment to be.

Conclusion: Don’t miss the divine OPPORTUNITIES to influence others for HIS glory!

Thoughts to Consider:

  1. 1.       Am I giving a visible example to my non-Christian friends and associates?
  2. 2.       Are any of my activities, hobbies, interests, or things I find amusing a negative example? Do some of my actions reflect poorly on Christ and His image and His church?
  3. 3.       Are there any impurities in my life that might be causing me to start to lose my saltiness?
  4. 4.       What is one thing I can start to change this week to become a better light to the world and salt to the earth?
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It’s amazing how the things that happen in our lives that seem like negative events are often things that make way for our lives to be better. God has a better plan than I do, and He can see the bigger picture. I just have to have faith that he will fulfill His promises and that He knows best.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

Most of you who will read this blog know that I had a music teaching position last year for 6 months, in lieu of a teacher who had to suddenly leave. I was not selected to continue in the position, as there were other more qualified and more experienced people who were interviewed. I also was passed over for another position for reasons that I believe were less than legitimate. I was rather frustrated with this for a while, really wanting to be able to help my husband in payment of the bills, his college loans, and general savings. I also wanted to be able to have some fairly decent health insurance, and have a better standard of living than I had been able to in the early years of my life. I was somewhat depressed by the turn of events; I had been so looking forward to having a full-time job!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Now I realize that God has put me in a wonderful position in life! I currently teach music lessons twice a week; I have about 9 students total, and I am clocked in for about 6-8 hours a week (depending upon the lesson schedule). I also substitute teach every week, usually averaging 2 days per week, though sometimes I get longer jobs for teachers out on illness, vacation, etc. I have the opportunity to practice my teaching skills in varying classrooms and I am able to experience different teaching styles through the lesson plans given me by the absent teachers. I use the time that I am not working to keep the house looking neat and clean, run errands, cook/bake, study scripture, practice music for church worship team, exercise, pay bills, manage the mail, grocery shop, and do laundry. I am able to spend time with my sister occasionally, and help her with college tasks. I have time to develop skills needed to care for my husband and be a good and loving wife. I nearly always have the house cleaned up and smelling nice, dishes done, and dinner on the table when my husband gets home from work. He doesn’t have to do anything! Once a week I usually attempt some form of new culinary or baking venture so that my husband has something delicious and different to eat, and isn’t stuck with the same foods every day. I also enjoy making healthier foods (I made fresh bread!) that aren’t processed or canned. And the best part is that I can just spend time relaxing with my husband when he gets home — neither of us have to be stressed or rushing around to get things done in the evening because it is already finished. I love being a part-time worker and full-time housewife!

All this is to say, when God closes a door for you he has another one open somewhere that he wants you to go through. It may not be open yet, and you may not recognize it when you walk through it, but have faith and patience and you will see that God has everything under control. 🙂

” Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

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