Jesus calls his followers to be salt and light in the world. But what exactly does this mean? And how will our lives impact those around us when we are doing this well?
What Is Being Salt & Light?
Jesus says that you’re salt, you’re light, you’re a city on a hill.
“In Matthew 5:13-16 there’s three very simple illustrations that Jesus uses. They are very simple things but they will have a massive impact if you and I listen to them and to live them out. He says that you’re salt, you’re light, you’re a city on a hill.”
In this sermon Farai Mbirimi explains what Jesus means by these statements, why he says them, and what the impact will be if you follow his teaching.
Topics & Timestamps
00:37 – What Jesus Wants From His Followers
02:18 – Simple Things with A Massive Impact
04:47 – You Are Salt
08:30 – What You Need To Know About Salt
13:04 – A Christian’s Purpose in The World
15:05 – Who Are You Influencing?
19:40 – You Are Light
21:23 – The Meaning of Darkness In The Bible
23:56 – Disciples Are The Light of The World
27:27 – This Is Our Job As Disciples of Jesus
30:20 – A Warning: You Could Lose Your Saltiness
33:37 – An Encouragement: Your Impact Will Be Great!
Top Quotes: Being Salt & Light
“Jesus says that you’re salt, you’re light, you’re a city on a hill”.
“You have been called to have influence – to bring people to a knowledge of who God is”.
“Even the world knows how you and I ought to live as Christians. When we compromise our witness, we become useless”.
“Whatever God has placed in our hands to do, as we do that diligently, people ought to see that and say there is a God at work”.
Other Content On This Topic
Text: Matthew 5:13-16
Date Preached: 7 March 2021
Location: C4 Cross Centered Community Church, Bryanston, South Africa
So, church you know that we are in our series called ‘Different’. My desire, my hope for us as a church, as individuals, is that we will be different – as Jesus calls us to be – if we are his followers. If you’re not a Jesus follower this morning my prayer for you is that as you listen and as you hear what God has to say to you, as he reveals himself to you, you’ll begin to put your faith and trust in him and become a follower.
What Jesus Wants From His Followers
So, this morning we are continuing in our series and we’re in Matthew 5:13-16. And in these verses, we’re gonna listen to what Jesus has to say to his disciples on who they are, what he’s calling them to be, how he’s calling them to live and to function in the world.
What Jesus says will give you a purpose, it will give you a mission.
It is amazing, it is mind blowing. It will give you a purpose, it will give you a mission, it will give you something to live for – something to give the best years of our lives towards.
Who’s Your Biggest Influence?
And so, let me set things up for us this way and ask you to think about this: who played the most influential role in your life? Who had great influence in your life? Who made a great impact in your life? Or who is making a great impact in your life right now? Can you think about that? Does a name pop up? To say, “Wow! This person had great impact in my life”.
Perhaps you’ll say, “It is my mum”, perhaps you’ll say your dad, perhaps you’ll say a teacher in high school or varsity, perhaps you’ll say it’s a friend of yours. Who is it? A boss that you worked with perhaps. Who has had the most impact and the most influence in your life? Influence in the way that you think, influence in the way that you live your life. Maybe it’s something you read, or something that you watched on TV that impacted you so much that you changed the way that you did things – you changed the way that you thought, you changed the way that you spoke.
So, who is it that had influence over your life? Because that’s what we are talking about here this morning. Or at least that’s what Jesus is speaking about this morning to his disciples.
Simple Things with A Massive Impact
And in the verses that we’re gonna be looking at from Matthew 5:13-16, there’s three very simple illustrations that Jesus uses. Very simple things that Jesus says but they have massive impact if you and I were to listen to them and to live them out.
And so, here’s what Jesus says, he says that you’re salt, you’re light, you’re a city on a hill. Very simple concepts – it’s things that even the people who were listening to Jesus could understand. It’s things that you and I can understand this morning.
Jesus says that you’re salt, you’re light, you’re a city on a hill.
And so, as we get into these things and listen to Jesus, I want you to notice how simple these things are and yet that they have a massive impact and influence in our lives and in the people, who are around us. And that’s what Jesus wants as he speaks to his disciples. This is the very thing that he wants them to realise.
So, let me read for us, Matthew 5:13-16 as we listen to Jesus in these verses. Come with me, let me read for us Matthew 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”.
Matthew 5:14: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house”.
Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”.
Jesus is saying, “Listen, as a Jesus follower, as a disciple, as someone who has come to put his faith and trust, and who is obedient to me and following me, this is who you are. You are meant to be having, making an impact, you are meant to be having influence over people who are interacting with you”.
3 Things Jesus Wants You To Know
And so, this morning we’re gonna look at three things. So, let’s just get straight into it. I hope you got your Bible open, pen and notebook or some device to take down some key things that Jesus wants to bring to your attention this morning and to speak to you about.
You Are Salt
So, the first thing that he says is there in Matthew 5:13, he says you are salt, you are the salt of the earth. That’s what Jesus calls us. So church, notice this. Jesus says, “You are”. He’s speaking to his disciples can I just remind us of that? There’s a crowd that is also gathered but he’s not – he’s not into crowds – he’s into those that have seriously come to follow him and to listen to him.
And he says, “You”, and it’s an emphatic you. He says you and only you, and so you need to pay attention, you need to sit up, you need to listen very carefully to what I’m gonna say cause I’m speaking to you, I’m speaking to you and only you who can do the things that I’m calling you to do.
So, in high school I had a teacher who used to say to us, “Boys listen, listen very carefully to what I’m about to tell you because it could come in your exam at the end of the term”. And so, everybody sat up because they knew that this guy whenever he said that he was serious and so if you paid attention, you would pass the exam as he is giving us forewarning and so it was important.
What Do You Mean I’m Salt?
And so that’s what Jesus is saying – he’s saying, “You”, a Jesus follower I want you to pay attention, I want you to notice a couple of things. You are the salt of the earth. Only you can be salt because of your relationship with me, because you’ve come to follow me, you’ve come to know me, to put your life in my hands. And because you’ve done that, you have a new identity, you have a new purpose, you have a new mission by which you live. And this is how you ought to function as you deal with the world.
You don’t run away from the world – you don’t hide away from the world. Because if you remember, the previous verses, Matthew 5:11-12 he says, “Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the… great is their reward in heaven”.
So, who wants to be persecuted? What is your most natural response, what is your most natural response to persecution, to opposition? To people that come against you and challenge you?
Our Natural Response to Danger
My most natural response is to run, is to hide, is to remove myself, is to take myself out of that situation and not have to come back again and again into something where I’m being mistreated and persecuted.
Well, I went on a walk with my son the other day. And while we were walking my neighbour left… one of our neighbours left their gate open and their dog run out. And as soon as my son saw the dog, two things happened to him. Number one he froze for a couple of seconds, and then the second thing I think something clicked in his mind and he wanted to run. So, I anticipated this was gonna happen, so I grabbed him before he went off because listen, my son is quicker than me, he’s faster than me. If he runs, he might get away and then the dog will come for me – so I stopped him before he did that!
And that’s our most natural response, when we see opposition or danger. When we are in conflict and people are persecuting us, the most natural thing for us to do is run. And so, Jesus now comes and says to his disciples in Matthew 5:13, “Listen, we don’t run away from the world, we don’t hide away because of persecution. Here’s who you are – here’s your purpose – here’s your function, you are salt in the earth: in your community, in your society – wherever it is that Jesus has placed you.
What You Need To Know About Salt
So C4, here’s what you need to know about salt, let’s talk about salt for a bit. In ancient times, salt had real value – it was real currency. At time the Roman Empire paid the Roman soldiers in salt instead of coins. The word salary, did you know this? The word salary actually comes from the root word salt, did you know that? Please put that in the comments section, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The root word to the word salary comes from the word salt.
Salt Had Great Value In Ancient Times
So, picture this C4, here you are, it’s pay day and you know how it’s like when it’s pay day for you, right? You get all excited, life is good, life is perfect. Even in the pandemic life is good on the day when you get that notification that you’ve been paid. Well, until the debit orders start coming off and then life falls apart once more.
So, imagine pay day and there you are, you are a Roman soldier, you line up to get paid and you get bags and bags of salt. For you and me in 2021 that will not be funny, isn’t it? That will not be something to look forward to. It is not a joke; it is not a funny joke for you and me in 2021. But if you were living in ancient days, if you were living in ancient times, getting bags of salt was real value. It had real worth – you could go and trade it for coins and for gold. You could go and do all sorts of things because salt was a valuable commodity in that time.
You Have Great Value To The World Too
So watch what Jesus is saying here, Church don’t miss what Jesus is saying. It is not the main point, but it is surely one of the things that he is saying and pointing out to his disciples. He’s saying that you have worth; you have great value to the world.
But here is the main point that Jesus is saying: salt might look insignificant, it might look small, yet it has great value and can make a great impact even in your society.
So, question C4 this morning, why salt? Why salt? Why is Jesus talking about salt? And just by the way, salt is the only rock that you can eat, did you know that? Salt is the only rock that you and I as human beings can eat. But why salt?
Salt Adds Flavour
Jesus uses this illustration of salt for two reasons: Number one because salt, he talks about salt because of what it can do. So, this morning, church show of hands, you can put it in the comments section, you can say: “Yes that’s me”. How many of us add salt to food before we even taste it? How many of us do that? You just find yourself adding a little bit of salt before you even taste the food. I know a couple of people who are guilty of doing that. Some of us we love our salt, not so? We love our salt; we even love that yellow stuff called Aromat. I’m not so sure if Aromat qualifies as salt. You and I can talk about that offline but I’m not so sure if it does qualify.
So, salt adds flavour to food. Ever had a plate of food that is saltless? It is bland, isn’t it? It is tasteless. Until you add a little bit of salt – it brings about flavour in the food. Salt influences the taste, doesn’t it? Adding salt to food impacts the taste of the food.
But check this out church, in ancient times, salt was not just used to flavour, it was mostly used to preserve. So, if you had a piece of meat, if you’d killed an animal and you wanted to preserve as much of that meat as you could, you would rub a lot of salt in it so that it could stop and delay the process of decay and rotting. That’s why it was valuable. Because if you could stop the decay and delay the decaying process, the rotting process, that means you could trade it, that means you could exchange that meat for something else and you could actually make a little bit of money from that meat.
So, you rub a little bit of some salt into that meat and you could preserve it and the process of decaying would be delayed.
You need to function wherever it is that you are to delay the rotting process in the world.
A Christian’s Purpose in The World
So, watch this, Jesus says, that is who you are. As a follower, as a disciple here’s your function, here’s your calling, here’s your purpose in the world. It is not to withdraw because you’re being persecuted, and finding opposition, and finding Christianity hard and then you withdraw yourself from society. No. Here’s your function, here’s what I’ll need you to do. And you, only you, can do that. You need to function wherever it is that you are to delay the rotting process, to delay the decaying process in the world.
So, Jesus is saying a world without him, a world that doesn’t get know him and come to him, is a world that is busy decaying.
My dear friends I don’t need to convince you of that truth, you can just look at the news, you can just read news online to see just how rotten our society is. All the murder, all the rape that takes place, the corruption – why people would steal PPE money, why people would steal money from the poor. That is rotten! All the lies, and the hatred, the racism, I don’t need to convince you of this. You know this because you and I live in this world.
But not only are we here to slow down the decaying process in our society, we’re also here to add a little bit of flavour wherever we are.
Jesus is saying a world that doesn’t get to know him and come to him is a world that is busy decaying.
Stopping The Rot
So, don’t be that guy or that girl that people avoid because you’re Mr. Moods or Mrs. Moods all the time. You are supposed to be somebody that brings flavour: that brings a different way of thinking, that introduces a different way of speaking, that introduces a different way of living, that points people who are in a decaying situation – who are in a rotting moral situation – to live differently. You’re pointing people to a different way of life.
Who Are You Influencing?
So church, who are you influencing and how are you influencing them? Yours and my life needs to make an impact wherever it is that we are.
And so, one of the ways that you and I can stop the decay in our society is just by simply saying, “Listen, because I am a Jesus follower, I’m gonna obey Jesus in what he says”. And one of the thing Jesus says is do not lie to each other. So, you take the decision that, “I’m gonna stop lying to people”. Because we live in a society, we live in a community and a culture that is built around lies. And if you don’t believe me, why don’t you go and look on social media. What is happening on Instagram? What are the things that people are posting? We lie about our lives; people lie about who they are.
So, you can bring a different flavour wherever it is that you are and be a person who speaks the truth: somebody who is open about their life, somebody who is open about their struggles and about the things that they stumble over in life. People need that! People are looking for a genuine people.
Choosing To Be Different
And you as salt can also make a decision that, “Listen, I’m gonna stop envying people, I’m gonna stop comparing myself, I’m gonna stop playing this game. We all play this game now, right? You walk into a room you’re trying to size out where… what the pecking order is not so church? Or is it just the pastor that is fallen and broken in that way? You walk into a room and you try and size out where you fit in on the packing order.
So, as a Jesus follower, as somebody who wants to preserve and stop the rot, you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t wanna live like that. In the office, with my friends, with my family, I’m no longer gonna live my life like that, comparing myself, competing”.
And so, there’s this cold war, there’s this unspoken competition that happens amongst people. And for guys it’s, “What car do you drive? What is it? How much horsepower do you have?” Maybe that’s you.
For ladies it’s, “What’s the handbag that you carry? What shoes are you wearing? What dress do you wear? Where do you shop? Where do you live?” Maybe those are the things that you and I can come and say, “Listen, I’m not gonna live like that. I’m gonna be… I’m gonna bring about flavour where I am, a breath of fresh air”. Something that can cause someone to say, “Listen, I’m tired of this”. Because people are tired of the way things are, they’re looking for something different. And Jesus says, “You! You and only you are the salt of the earth. You are here to stop the rot, to stop the decay”.
So, my dear friends, can I ask you C4 this morning, if you’re a Christian, what influence do you have in your office, and in your family, with your friends?
You Don’t Need To Be Great To Have An Impact
You don’t have to have a title to have influence. You don’t need to have some title, some accolades, some acknowledgment to have influence. Just as you are, Jesus says that you can have influence over people. You can stop the rot and you can bring about flavour.
Some of us just need to deregister from the school of PhD, we’re working towards a PhD. You know what a PhD is? Pull him down or pull her down. Maybe your office is full of people with PHD’s or working toward PhD’s but you as a Jesus follower you do something different. You are here to complement people, you’re here to encourage people, you’re here to be good to people, you’re salt and you’re flavour.
So, here’s one thing that happens to me and it happens to me often as a pastor. I walk into a room and people are swearing before that and they, they just stop. Because the pastor has shown up, the conversation changes and that’s a good thing! Because we’re stopping the rot from bad language being used. And that’s what Jesus is calling us to be: genuine about our lives, open about our lives, available as salt in our lives.
Invisible, But Powerful
But here’s another thing about salt, salt when you add it to food, you know what happens? It just disappears but it has an impact. It might look insignificant, but it has great impact when you add it to food, it brings about a different flavour.
So, that’s the first thing that Jesus says to his disciples.
You Are Light
The second thing that Jesus says to his disciples, and these things are not complicated watch Matthew 5:14: he says that “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden”. Matthew 5:15: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they out it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house”.
Again, Jesus says emphatically, “You and only you as a disciple, as a Jesus follower, can do this, can live this way. I’m calling you to be different, I’m sending you on a mission, I’m giving your life purpose, I’m giving you something to live for that will impact and influence people”.
So, listen church, salt is subtle, it disappears when you put it in food, it is hidden and yet it has an impact in its function. But here light, light is not subtle, isn’t it? When you light a switch, you walk into a room that is dark and you light… and you flip the switch, it’s not subtle. The light will take over the darkness. It will rule over the darkness and you and I know that this is what happens when you flip a switch.
But we also know the opposite living in Joburg don’t we? We have had load shedding and so you and I know what happens when lights go off suddenly. Don’t you just hate it when load shedding happens unexpectedly and at night, and you’re busy cooking? You are halfway through cooking dinner and the lights go out. That is annoying, isn’t it? And there’s darkness that just takes over.
Darkness Is A Spiritual State
My dear friends can I just tell you this, that there’s a darkness that is active, there’s a darkness in this world that wants to consume everything. There’s a darkness in this world that wants to take over everything. And what I’m talking about here is not Eskom switching us off, what I’m talking about here is a spiritual condition that is there in the world because men and women have chosen to live their lives without God. Men and women have chosen to turn away from God who is light, who is good, who is loving. We now find ourselves in a state of darkness where there is sin and wickedness.
Again, I don’t have to convince you of this. I’m sure you live with yourself; you know some of the darkness in your own life. We see some of the darkness in communities – you just need to read the news and watch people’s lives to see just how dark it is.
Who Is The Light?
So, when Jesus says, “You are the light”, he’s saying that in a world without Jesus, in a world which has gone against Jesus, there is darkness. But he doesn’t want you to leave the world in that way. And so, you and only you, have been sent, and have been commissioned, and have been given this task to go and combat the darkness wherever it is that you find people and darkness.
So, for the disciples listening to Jesus on the day, listening to Jesus say you’re the light of the world, they would have been… they would have been shocked. But they would have also remembered, “I’ve heard this before, this is familiar”. And so, it would have been familiar because the Rabbis and the Pharisees and the teachers of the law used to use this phrase, “You are the light of the world”, to boast and brag about themselves and boast and brag about each other.
So, they would say, “Rabbi so and so, you are so good. You are the light of the world”. And then that Rabbi would say, “No, no, no, no, Rabbi so and so you are so good, you are so perfect and so you are the light of the world”. You and I do this we just use different words. You know yourself when people are paying you compliments and, “Ah no, stop it but I like it”. It’s that sort of thing.
So, these disciples listening to Jesus would say, “Well I’ve heard that been said before, it’s not a new term for me”.
Disciples Are The Light of The World
But here is where it becomes shocking, Jesus is saying that you guys, you the disciples are the light of the world. And they would have looked at themselves and said, “I’m not a Rabbi, I’m not a Pharisee, I’m not a teacher of the law, I’m not educated in the things of the law and I’m not a theologian. So how can I be the light of the world?”
But notice what Jesus says, he says just as with salt, “You are”, this is who you are. He doesn’t say “You shall be”, or “One day you will be”, he says right now, right here, this. is your identity. This is how you function in the world. You are light wherever it is that I have placed you. You have a responsibility. You don’t hide away, you don’t run away and exclude yourself and remove yourself from society, no. You go into the place that I have sent you and you function, and you live your life as light. You shine in the darkness that is around you.
Darkness In The Bible Means Spiritual Ignorance
My dear friends can I just remind us that darkness in the Bible represents two things: Number one it’s spiritual ignorance, spiritual ignorance and confusion about who God is. Do you know someone who is like that? Who is ignorant about who God is? Somebody who is confused about what God has called them to be and what God has done for them in Christ Jesus. Ignorant about God and who he is and how he’s called us to be in relationship with him.
Paul had that situation when he went into Athens and he saw all the idols, all these monuments built to commemorate all the gods. There was even one that said, ‘to the unknown god’. Ignorance: didn’t know who God is, in darkness when it comes to knowing God.
You have been called to have influence – to bring people to a knowledge of who God is.
And so Jesus is saying, “Listen, wherever it is that you are, you shine your light, you’re bringing people to a realisation”. Your job, your function is to switch on lights, spiritual lights in people’s hearts, so that they get to know God. Introduce them to Jesus the wonderful saviour who died for sinners so that they will not perish and continue to live in ignorance and in confusion.
People live in confusion: confused about what to do next, confused about their lives and what they’re here for. But you my dear friends, you can have an impact. You have been called to have influence and that influence is to bring people to a knowledge of who God is and his son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Darkness Also Means Evil & Sin
And the second thing, the second use of darkness in the Bible, darkness means evil and sin. People want to do sin, they want to do what they want, when they want, with whom they want. And here’s the catch, no questions asked. “I don’t want to be… I don’t want to answer to anybody for my lifestyle. You don’t get to tell me anything about my lifestyle”.
So, I want to do that which pleases me which is most of the time contrary to God because that’s what the Bible says, that our hearts are always towards sin, and wickedness, and rebellion. I want to live my life my way and not have any judgement and guilt at all.
This Is Our Job As Disciples of Jesus
But you as the light, you are there to function and to bring light to that situation. To say to your colleagues in your office, your friends and family, “Listen, this is not how God has created you, this is not what God has created you for, you are not the person that God created you to be. And so, the only way to be right, to be the person God has called you to be is to come to submission and to obedience to his son the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn away from the darkness, turn away from sin and wickedness That’s what repentance is all about. Repent and believe in Jesus, turn away from the way that you’re going and turn towards Jesus”.
That’s what your job is: it’s to shine the light of the gospel, it is to shine the reality of who Jesus is in dark places. Do you know friends who you look at their lives and you say, “They are in darkness”? They are either ignorant about who God is or they are living in habitual rebellion against God. Do you know that? Do you know people like that? And if we continue to ignore people like that and to remove ourselves from people like that, they are going into a Christ-less eternity.
But Jesus says, “Listen, you – you and only you – can function as light wherever it is that I have placed you”.
Your Light Will Make A Difference
Watch this church. He says that in a dark world, you light a lamp, Matthew 5:15: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl”. That makes no sense but notice what you do instead you put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Listen my dear friends some of us we are spoilt for light, isn’t it? You’ve got a light on your phone, you’ve got a little torch you can turn it on when it’s dark, you can turn on your phone and you can see, you’ve got light everywhere! You’ve got access to light everywhere. But in Jesus’ day in ancient times this was a luxury, this was something really important to have. It made an impact in a dark room, and that’s what Jesus is calling us to do.
And notice what he says, he says you put it on its stand, you put it in a strategic place where it will have the most impact in a dark room. You put it in a place where it can have the most influence and light up the room. Isn’t that awesome? That’s what Jesus is calling us to be. So, what will that look like wherever it is that God has placed you? What will you look like as the light wherever it is God has placed you?
Two Final Message From Jesus
And then my dear friends before we pray together and finish our time, there’s something that Jesus speaks about, there’s two things that Jesus speaks about. One, well the first, is a warning. And then second is a positive thing. So, let’s have a quick look at that before we pray together.
A Warning: You Could Lose Your Saltiness
Check out Matthew 5:13. He says, “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”. So, he gives a warning – he gives a warning here, you could lose your saltiness. And then Matthew 5:15, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl”. So, what is Jesus saying? How is it that you can lose your saltiness?
Well, if you’re a scientist, science tells us that salt can’t really lose its saltiness, but it can be contaminated. And in Jesus’ day they didn’t have factories like you, and I do and the technology to produce pure salt so sometimes the salt was contaminated with sand or with dirt – and it becomes good for nothing, it becomes useless.
Are You Contaminated or Compromised?
So, what is Jesus saying? Don’t be contaminated, don’t be compromised. Because here’s the real truth my dear friends for some of us as Jesus followers this morning we’re being contaminated by the world because we want to live in the world, but we also want to live for Jesus. Some of us have been compromised because of the things that we have done, because of our thoughts, and our words. We are now compromised; our witness is compromised.
When we don’t live as salt we compromise our witness – we become useless.
Listen to what Jesus says, if it is not salt, if it is not salty again, it can’t be made salty. It is only good to be thrown out and trampled by men. What does it mean ‘trampled by men’? It’s a curious little phrase, isn’t it? It’s thrown out to be trampled by men. He’s saying even the world knows how you and I ought to live as Christians, did you know that? Your non-Christian friends they know how you and I ought to live as Christians. But when we don’t do that, when we compromise our faith, when we compromise our witness, we become useless. And even they will come back and say, “Listen, if this is what it means to be a Christian, I’m not interested”.
My dear friends are you compromised? Are you salt that has become contaminated in some way? Maybe it’s a pattern of thought, maybe it’s the attitude of your heart, maybe it’s the way that you do things, the way that you’ve organised your life, maybe it’s the way that you speak that has caused you to be compromised. The lifestyle that you’ve chosen live. So now you have zero witness, zero influence over people’s lives for Jesus.
A Hidden Lamp Is Useless
And then Matthew 5:17 says, “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl”. Who does that? That is crazy, isn’t it? The whole point of lighting a lamp is so that it can shine. A hidden lamp, check this out from Jesus, a hidden lamp is useless. It’s not serving its purpose; it is not functioning in the way that it was designed and manufactured to work. It is utterly useless.
A hidden lamp is useless. It’s not serving its purpose.
So, I need to ask myself this morning, have I become saltless? Have I become an ineffective lamp under a bowl? What impact, what influence as a Jesus follower I’m I having in the world right now?
An Encouragement: Your Impact Will Be Great!
So, that’s the warning that Jesus gives and here’s the positive thing that Jesus tells his disciples again in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth.” Guys, check this out, who is Jesus speaking to here? Remember he’s speaking to his twelve disciples – these twelve guys who have put their faith and trust in him who are saying that we are here to follow you. And he says to these twelve guys, “Listen, you are going to have influence and you have influence and impact in the world”.
Notice what he says, “You are the salt of the earth and you are the light”, Matthew 5:14, “the light of the world”. He doesn’t say that you guys are the salt in Galilee or the light in Jerusalem, he says, “to the world”. He’s speaking to these twelve guys who are semi-educated, who are poor, who have no influence in society, who are nobodies, no standing, no stature in society. And he says, “You, you guys, I’m calling you on a mission, I’m giving you something to live for. Something that will cause you to have great, massive impact if you choose to believe it. And not only in your society, not only in your community, but in the world”.
Did that happen, church this morning? The answer is yes. You and I are reading about it because these guys took Jesus’ word seriously and they’ve had great influence 2000 years later. You and I are here because of their faithfulness and their trust and faith in Jesus.
Ordinary People Make The Difference
And so, these are ordinary guys, nothing special about them. Because when you and I talk about having influence and impact we think that “Well, I need to have some sort of… some sort of position, I need to have some sort of gifts and talents that will make an impact”. Jesus is saying, “No, in your everyday ordinary life, you must make a choice and say, I’m gonna be different, I’m gonna treat people differently, I’m gonna interact with people differently. I’m here to introduce people to Jesus and to show them what Jesus has done so that they don’t live in ignorance and in sin. I’m gonna do this wherever it is that God has placed me”.
Folks, watch Matthew 5:13-14 closer, salt of the world – ordinary lives. Matthew 5:14, light of the world – ordinary lives having massive impact in society and in community.
So, listen to this church. Jesus is inviting these disciples on an incredible journey, on an incredible unbelievable journey where God will transform them by the power of his Spirit, where they will recognise that the only way to live is to come under the lordship of Jesus. And once I’ve come to know Jesus in relationship, he’s sending me out on this amazing journey, on this amazing mission to influence and impact the world with the gospel of Jesus.
Are You Answering The Call?
So, church, Jesus is calling you this morning, Jesus is calling me this morning as a follower to be the same way. And so, I need to rethink, how am I being salt? How am I like salt wherever it is that I spend my day? How am I being light in darkness wherever it is that Jesus has placed me? So, I need to rethink how I use my time, I need to rethink how I use my money, I need to rethink how I use my resources. Am I using all these things to bring about glory and honour to God?
Whatever God has placed in our hands to do, as we do that diligently, people ought to see that and say there is a God at work.
Because that’s what Jesus speaks about here in Matthew 5:16. Check this out, “In the same way, as you’re functioning as light, shining before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven”. They may see the good deeds, that you love people, you care about people, you’re committed to people, you’re committed to sharing them… sharing with them the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And as we do good deeds, whatever it is that God has placed in our hands to do, as we do that diligently, as you do your work diligently, as we go about changing society, as we feed the hungry, and take care of the orphan, the widow and the poor, people ought to see that and say, There is a God at work in them. These guys have a father, not only do they speak about him, but they live passionately for him and they’ll give praise to the father in heaven”.
What Needs To Start Happening In Your Life?
So, listen C4 as I end, what needs to start happening for you as a Jesus follower to be salt and light? What needs to start happening today? My dear friends, what needs to stop happening today in order for you to be salt and light as Jesus has called you to?
Listen, you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world. This is who you are. What impact and influence is your life having for the gospel?
Come let’s pray together.