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Believers are Salt of the Earth


Matthew 5:13-16

    1. In verses 5:3-12, the Lord Jesus presented eight principles by which believers are to live. With each of the principles He also stated the reward that accompanied living by that principle.

      -Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Those that see themselves as sinners and who seek God's forgiveness)

      -Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Those that mourn over their sin turning to the Lord strength to overcome their sins)

      -Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Those who put aside pride who seek the Lord's will in all they do and live in the strength the Lord gives)

      -Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Those that seek the God's truth and reject sin in their lives. Righteousness means to be right. Right in one's belief and in their relationship to God. It means living according to the faith presented in the Bible)

      -Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Those that show grace to others as the Lord shows grace to those who believe in Him)

      -Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Those that by simple faith in Jesus Christ have believed and receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The pure in heart are those God has saved and imparted righteousness meaning unmerited favor)

      -Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Those that seek to win others to the Lord Jesus Christ who believe God's word and seek to bring peace to those who are lost in their sins that they too may come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and find true eternal peace)

      -Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Those that are peace makers who often are misunderstood, belittled, often scorned, treated badly and down through history many were martyred and killed by those who do not like to be told they are sinners or did not want to hear the truth. You see the first step in coming to Jesus Christ as one's Savior is to come to the understanding that we are sinners under the condemnation of sin. Most people do not like to hear anyone tell them they are lost and sinners and it often does not make any difference that it is not the believer who is says men are sinners....but God Himself.

    God says in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." In Romans 6:23 He says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.) It is the last part of that verse that drives the true Christian....the gift of God is eternal life. This is the message of the peacemaker who is often persecuted by the person he or she is seeking to bring to Jesus Christ.)

    2. Each of these principles deal in some degree with a person's testimony for the Lord. This brings us to the statements Jesus made in Matthew 5:13-18.

    I. You are the Salt of the Earth. Matt. 5:13 Jesus in these verse sums up the collected truth of the eight principles of the B-attitudes.

      A. What are the properties of salt? The Lord compares true believers with the properties of salt.

        1. Salt is used to add favor to food. It has a taste all its own, utterly unlike anything else.

          a. When mingled with foods it makes them taste good.

          b. It brings out the natural favor of food.

        2. It is also a preservative. When added to other substances it preserves them from corruption.

      ILLUS: My wife Carolyn is a farm girl raised on a farm in eastern North Carolina. They raised most of the food that ate. Around Thanksgiving in November they would kill hogs and put up the meat. They would take the hams and shoulders and pack them in salt in the smoke house to preserve them so the meat would not spoil and could be eaten throughout the year.

        Those of us with high blood pressure are warned to limit our salt intake. If you have tried to eat food without salt you know first hand that it does make food taste better.

      B. Salt has character. Its usefulness is when it is used in relationship of other substances. It becomes useful when it is put to use. By itself it is just salt, it has all the potential but it is useless until put to work.

      C. In comparing believers to salt the Lord is making the point of the benefit of true Christians to the world. Each of the B-attitudes as we stated earlier is accompanied by a promise. That promise is one of personal reward and benefit to the individual believer. The true believer who is saved by God's grace also is a benefit to the world. Christians are like salt to the world in relation to their being a testimony of God's grace to all mankind.

      D. Most of the world is rejecting God and God's truth. Jesus in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 instructs those who have received Christ to go into all the world and preach that Gospel

        1. The Gospel we are to teach is recorded in 1 Cor. 15:1-5. READ.

        2. The world needs to hear the Good News which is the meaning of the Greek word that is transliterated "gospel." It is the message of the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ thereby providing to us the means of salvation through Him.

        3. It is not a message telling people to join a church, be baptized, do good works, but of believing in Jesus Christ that He suffered and died for our sins and that those who repent of their sins and believe are given the free gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life. It is the good news of what Jesus Christ did for you and me that we could not do for ourselves. We are sinners condemned by our sin and being condemned we cannot offer anything for our salvation. Not church membership, baptism or a host of other things men try to offer to God. Yet, God in His wonderful grace, which is the expression of His love, offers us salvation if we will by faith accept it. Yes, we are to join a Bible believing church and be baptized, but not to merit or earn salvation, but to join ourselves with others who have been saved to share the Gospel with others around us so they can have the opportunity to believe and be saved.

        4. You see in preaching the Gospel believers are the salt of the earth. Those that believe receive true life which means we have a personal relationship with our Savior and God. Further it brings full assurance of our future with God in heaven and the peace and satisfaction of having the true purpose for those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

    II. You are the light of the World. Matt. 5:14-16 The illustration of comparing believers to salt is made clearer by the Lord's using the comparison also of believers being like light.

      A. Light ends darkness. The more light the less darkness. The brighter the light the less darkness. Light has the ability to completely eliminate darkness. It has a purifying effect.

        Even in a totally dark room the smallest spark of light can be seen. It also provides life. Without light there would be no life. It was the first thing God called into creation in Genesis 1:3. By the way if you read the Genesis account the light God created on the first day was not that of the sun. The were not created until the third day. The light that was created came from God.

      ILLUS: Several times Carolyn and I have visited underground caravans. I remember the first time was in the mountains of North Carolina in the Luray caravans. The guide asked us if we had been in total darkness before. She then told everyone to remain still and that she was going to cut off the lights. When the switch was thrown it became utter black. It was an scary and everyone was relieved with the lights were turned back on. If you were in a room that was totally dark and one speck of light shown through...your eyes would immediately focus on it.

        1. Throughout the Bible light is used to symbolize truth and darkness represented as the state of rejecting or not accepting truth.

          Psalms 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

          Psalms 43:3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me.

          Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

          Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.

          Luke 1:78-79 speaks of Israel's role as God's messengers taking truth to the world. The passage says, "Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Sadly, Israel rejected the truth, rejected their Messiah and today biblical Christians are privileged to be the ones God has chosen to tell the world who God is and of His love, grace and salvation. Those who have receive the light of the truth to share it with others.

        B. V14, Is saying a city set on a hill cannot be hid.

        ILLUS: My first trip west was exciting to me. I lived in Eastern North Carolina where all the trees grow. While in the Army I was transferred to Fort Huchucha, Arizona. What a sight going across the wide open spaces of the West and at night seeing a town fifty miles away shining brightly in the distance. It looked so close, yet was still far away. If you had been lost in the desert you would have been able to see the city at night and find your direction.

        The principle is that a true Christians who has receive salvation and been indwelled by God and his life changed and being given a new nature and life cannot be hid. The true believer is to reflect and be a channel of God's love to others.

        C. The illustration of putting a light under a bushel. (under a bowl).

        What is Christ saying: Folks do not light a candle and hide it. In our day we put lights in the ceilings in our rooms, outside our homes and along our streets so we can see what is there. No one puts up a light and then covers it so the light cannot show through. The purpose of light is to make things visible to us and it would be a waste of light to put a cover over it.

        Likewise, when God saves a person, the light of God comes into their life and they should not hide it. Jesus making the statement brings to our attention that it is possible to hide light even though it makes no sense to have a light that is hidden it is possible.

        D. Therefore the Lord instructs us to "Let your light shine!" V16. He is saying If you are saved and know the Lord Jesus as your Savior.... let that light shine!

        The fact we are told to let it shine implies we can hid it and sadly many do. But the message is that it is not normal to hide light. It is rare, unheard of that one would have the light of the Spirit of God and not show it.

      III. Christians Have Purpose! God is telling us that salvation brings with it the joy and responsibility of sharing it with others.

        A. John 17:8. This is the true Lord's prayer. (In Matt. 6, we find the Model prayer, not the Lord's prayer) Here Christ's prayer is recorded. He prayer was for those who would believe in Him and become the children of God.

          1. Read Verses 15-17. Those who are saved are saved out of the World. They are still in the world, but they are born again! They are new creatures in Christ. They are born into the family of God.

          2. Verse 17, Jesus asked that we be sanctified.

            a. To sanctify anything means that it is given wholly to God. The Tabernacle was sanctified meaning it was given over wholly to the service of the Lord.

            The word, "saint," comes from the same root word. The saints of God are those given wholly over to Him.

            I Cor. 7:12-14, God says the unbelieving husband is "sanctified," by the Christian wife. It does not mean the husband is any different, or is imparted salvation or even it effected morally. It means that he has a very privileged position in that he has a wife that knows God and therefore through her he can hear the truth. The same thing is true of a saved husband with an unsaved wife.

            b. It further means, that there is a process of being made like Christ as we live our lives. The word refers to our maturing and learning process that occurs in that we learn to live closer to Christ.

        B. Christians are in the world, but they are not of the world any longer. They are made the Christian of God only when they are saved. It is false taught that there is a brotherhood of all men. We are all related in that we are born the sons of Adam and Eve into this earth. But the Bible does not teach that all men are brothers and sisters of God. 1 John 3:10 says, "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God," Jesus in John 8:41, speaking to the Jews told them their father was the devil.

          The Good News is that although we are sinners we can become the children of God through salvation. The Lord says that He adopts us into His family.

          God tells us that once a person believes and is saved he has a special relationship with God.

            Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Abba, Father is the most expression endearing term there is in noting the new relationship that the one who believes receives when God become His father)

            Galatians 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. ( The purpose of salvation is to establish that relationship with God. Many ridicule biblical Christians when they say we have received Jesus Christ as our personal Savior...yet this is what the Bible teaches....we receive an intimate relationship with our God.)

            Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. (This verse tells us that this was God's plan....to save an make those that believe His children)

          1. The world is on a course that will end in its destruction.

          2. However, Christian has eternal life and is assured he will be in heaven with Christ when he dies.

          3. The Christian is saved "from" sin. Rom. 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid How shall we who are dead to sin, live any longer there in?" The world's god is religion, lust and sinning, but the Christian lives for truth and godliness .

        C. Therefore the Lord Jesus is saying that Christians in the world are very valuable to the world.

          1. Folks there is a lot of false ideas, religions and philosophies in the world. Jesus warned us Matt. 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

            a. Several points are made by the Lord.

            b. First there would be false prophets. These are people who teach a false Gospel and not God's truth.

            c. Second He says they coming in sheep's clothing. That means the look good on the outside. God also warned us in 1 Corinthians 11:14-15, saying "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

            d. Folks those that teach false doctrine work real hard to look good on the outside. Just because someone is sincere, looks good, talks good and seems to be a really nice person does not mean they have the truth. The test of whether what a person is truthful or not is solely a matter of comparing it with the Bible which is God's word. If they are a true prophet or teacher from God they will teach God's truth which is this Bible.

            e. The Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 just before He was crucified. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Folks the false prophet's message sound and look so good that if it would be possible even the true child of God could be deceived by it."

            John also instructed us in 1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

          This means that for a believer to be the salt of the earth and a light unto the world he must know and believe God's truth.

          2. The answer is simply this. Today in the world the influence of the biblical truth is fast being eroded away in our day.

          This makes the task of the believer vitally important. The Christian should not be ashamed of the truth and therefore be the witness for God. The Christian who will not seek to win others to Christ will have little or no influence on the world around then. Why? Those that do not stand and live uncompromising on what the Bible says are hurting those around them. It would be like publishing a book that has no words in it....nothing for anyone to read.

          3. Bible commentator J. C Ryle, says this: "Surely, if words mean anything, we are meant to learn from these two figures, (being the salt and light of the world), there must be something marked, distinct and peculiar about our character, if we are true Christians. It will never do to idle through life, thinking and living like others, if we mean to be owned by Christ as His people. Have we Grace? Then it must be "seen." Have we the Spirit? Then there must be "fruit". Have we saving faith? Then there must be a difference of habits, tastes and turn of mind, between us and those who think only of the world. It is perfectly clear, that true Christianity is something more than being baptized and going to church.

          Salt and light evidently imply "peculiarity" of both heart and life, of faith and practice. We must dare to be singular and unlike the world, if we mean to be saved."

        CONCLUSION:

        1. First the question we must all ask ourselves is "Are we truly saved? Have we at some point in time seen ourselves as sinners and in repentance of sin believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior? Have we accepted Him as our substitute to pay for our sins? The person who is truly a child of God is one who is truly trusting in Jesus Christ alone as his/her Savior. This does not mean accepting some church, one's baptism, or good works of any kind. It means simply that one is trusting in Christ to forgiven their sins and give them eternal life.

        2. If the answer is no or you are not sure then the question is this: Do you want to go to heaven. Do you want your sins forgiven and have eternal life? Do you want the peace and joy of knowing the truth?

        3. Maybe God has revealed to you that you don't measure up. Your life has not be changed. You have a religion, but you really have not experienced the power of God in your life.

        4. For some the question is a matter of totally surrendering you life to Christ. You maybe saved, but you let the world influence you. Maybe you do not take a stand against sin. You may not be a blatant sinner yourself, but you condone sin and let it go on around you.

        It could be that you have are hiding your light from the world.

        ILLUS: A pastor friend of mine told be the story of a man in his church who had attended there for thirty years. He came every Sunday and was faithful in his giving and attendance. One Sunday as the Word of God was preached God got hold of his heart and he saw the truth that he never witnessed to those around him. Hardly anyone outside the church knew he was a Christian. He vowed that day that from then on he would be a true witness for the Lord, not only in living a godly life but in tell people about Jesus Christ. He told the pastor later that at work in the factory he began to ask people if they knew the Lord and sought to witness to them. He said he was so ashamed that several told him..."John when did you get religion, I did not know you were a Christian."

        There maybe there are things in your life that you know are sin and hurt your testimony.

        4. Each service we give an invitation after the message. Folks it is not my invitation or the invitation of this church, though we wish all who need to come to Christ will. This is God's invitation to each of us personally to accept what He has said, to believe unto salvation and further to live our lives for Him.

        5. God knows your heart's need. It is matter between you and God. If God is speaking to your heart this morning and showing you a need in your life.....why not get it straight with Him right now by praying to Him.

        You do what God will have you to do?


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