READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Introduction: Christians are to have a community-wide, world-wide impact! Some Jews in Thessalonica said that the early Christians in the first century had turned the world upside-down! I think that is exactly what Jesus was telling His followers in today’s passage from the Sermon on the Mount. All of the people in the crowd that Jesus was speaking to would have had these two items in their homes: salt and light. Both salt and light were significant and valuable commodities in the ancient world, and although they are to some degree overlooked today, they are still very important to our everyday lives.
These two items illustrate that Christians are to be different than the world around them and they are to make a difference. The illustrations also show that the uniqueness can also be lost.
You are the Salt of the Earth
We use salt for all sorts of things. We most definitely take it for granted. Salt is good to season our food, it works as a preserving agent, it purifies, and it even melts ice. We know that salt also creates thirst.
Did you know that salt is in all living organisms? Did you know that in the ancient world salt was actually used as currency? Roman soldiers were often paid with salt.
Although all these things are true of salt, Jesus probably had in mind that salt preserved food and purified sacrifices. They did not have refrigerators to sneak downstairs to in the middle of the night for a midnight snack. Salt was crucial in preserving their food.
We are to preserve godly principles such as morality and godly things such as justice. Christians are the ones who spearheaded movements to build hospitals and orphanages; reform prisons and medical care; and abolish slavery and child labor.
You are the Light of the World
We know that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God is the Light of the world, and we have come into His light.
Both illustrations of light here are important. Jesus talks about the light of a hillside city and the light of a house lamp. Like salt, we take light for granted in a modern society.
Light was precious to the ancients. It had to be conserved and strategically placed. A city that was built at a higher elevation than the surrounding areas could be seen for miles in the dead of night. No one would light a lamp and put it under a basket. It would be strategically placed in the house on a lampstand so that it could be useful to all. You must also be useful and relevant in your ministry to others and for the glory of God.
Salt can lose its saltiness if it is mixed with something else like sand. It can be so diluted that it is worthless. We, too, can be diluted by the world if we are not careful. Light can be hidden, but we must shine forth!
We can see why Christians were/are so often persecuted. We are to attract attention to the things of God and many people do not like it. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!
Here is the thing, you are already salt and light simply for the fact that you are a Christian. You are one of His! Go make a difference. Do not attract attention to yourselves, but to our heavenly Father. Let people see your good works and praise Him!