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Sermon 8
Matthew 5:13-16

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Sermon 8: Matthew 5:13-16
Jesus Teaches about Salt and Light
December 17, 2023


Hi, my name is Philip, a servant of God from Beggars Breaking Bread, and I will be reading, teaching and preaching from Matthew 5:13-16.


Scripture (Matthew 5:13-16, CSB)
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty?


It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.


You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.


In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.


This is the word of the Lord.

For today, instead of asking you a question like I usually do, I want to begin by sharing with you a story.


It's a story about a small town in the heart of the South, where faith ran deep, and community bonds were strong.
 

In this town, there lived a man named John. John was a simple man, a carpenter by trade, and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. He wasn't a preacher or a theologian, but he loved the Lord with all his heart. He had a wife, Sarah, and two young children, David and Mary.

 

John was known for his integrity, his kindness, and his unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. Every Sunday, rain or shine, he attended his humble church with his family, and he was always eager to serve his neighbors in any way he could. John's life was a living testimony of his faith, and everyone in the town knew it.
 

One day, as John was working on a project in his workshop, a young neighbor named Timmy approached him. Timmy was a troubled young man, lost in the darkness of drug addiction and despair. His life was falling apart, after being laid off from his job, and he saw no way out, contemplating suicide. He knew that John was a Christian, and in his desperation, he turned to him for help.
 

John, with a heart full of love and compassion, welcomed Timmy into his home. He listened to his struggles, shared the message of hope found in Jesus Christ, and prayed with him. Through John's unwavering support and Christ-like love, Timmy found the strength to overcome his addiction, turn his life around, and accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
 

Timmy's transformation didn't stop there. He began attending church with John, and over time, many others in the community witnessed the powerful change in his life. Timmy's story became a beacon of hope for others who had gone through rough times, serving as a testament to the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ, and it sparked a revival in their small town that reached the hearts of many. All because of one man's faithful witness and his willingness to share with his neighbor.

My dear brothers and sisters, the story of John and Timmy illustrates the very essence of what Jesus meant when He spoke these words in Matthew 5:13-16.
 

John’s example serves as a reminder to how we, as Christians, should be like to our neighbors. His love for God and others brings to life the main idea of our sermon for today.
 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be Salt and Light in this world. 
 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be Salt and Light in this world. 
 

In a society that often seems to be growing darker and more spiritually lost, our role as salt and light is crucial. Let us delve into this passage and unpack three supporting points that will help us understand our calling more deeply.
 

1.    The purpose of salt (verse 13)
2.    The radiance of light (verses 14-15)
3.    Jesus’ call to let our light shine (verse 16)

 

Let us start by understanding the purpose of salt from verse 13: You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.


What does it mean to be salt, and what is its significance for us today?
 

Salt, in biblical times, had several essential functions. During a time where there were no refrigerators or freezers, salt was used primarily as a preservative, preventing decay and spoiling of food. Salt also added flavor and enhanced the taste of meals, making them more enjoyable, similar to how I like my French Fries from McDonald’s. Furthermore, salt was used as a purifying agent, symbolizing cleansing and purification.
 

In the same way, Jesus calls us, as His followers, to be the salt of this earth and to be preservatives in a decaying world. Our faith and values should act as a preserving force, slowing down the moral and spiritual decay that surrounds us. We should stand firm in our commitment to biblical principles as God’s ambassadors on Earth, even when the world around us seems to be drifting further away from God's truth and love.
 

Additionally, just as salt enhances the flavor of food, we should bring the richness of Christ's love and grace into our interactions with others. Our lives should be so full of His love that we bring a taste of His goodness to those we encounter.

 

This reminds me of the second half of the corporate purpose of a heavenly place whose French fries – or I should say, waffle fries – are very tasty with the right amount of salt: Chick-Fil-A. I have adopted its corporate purpose into my life, and the second half of its corporate purpose focuses on “to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.”
 

To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with me. That means that flavor that I have from Jesus should rub off on other people by the way I speak to them, by the actions I take, and by the way I love my neighbor. Jesus wants the same for you in how you interact with others, whether they are fellow believers or not.
 

But we cannot rub that flavor onto others if our salt loses its taste and usefulness. As Jesus said, if salt loses its taste, it’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 
 

Jesus shares that it is possible for us to be useless to the Kingdom of God. If a seasoning has no flavor, it has no value.
 

God has a specific purpose and a plan for each of us. However, if we become too alike with the sinful world around us, rather than the God within us, we lose our uniqueness as a Christian to positively influence others for God, bringing the best flavor out of them like seasoning, as well as our ability to make a difference for His Kingdom.
 

Be honest with yourself: has your salt lost its taste? Have you even lost your salt altogether?
 

Lastly, salt's purifying qualities remind us that we should live lives of holiness and purity, reflecting God's character in all we do. People should see God when they encounter us. That is the best compliment that you can ever receive from someone, more than any likes, loves, or comments you can receive on social media. Your character should push them towards being like Jesus themselves, not like the rest of the world. 

By doing so, we become beacons of light in a world darkened by sin, which brings us to our next point: the radiance of Light. In verses 14-15, the Bible says: You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.

 

Light serves multiple essential purposes in our lives. It dispels darkness, guides our way, and reveals hidden truths. The Bible says in John 8:12 that Jesus is the light of the world. If He is the light of the world, and in verse 14 here, He says that You are the light of the world, then Jesus wants us to be lights as well as His followers.

 

As Christians, our lives should dispel the spiritual darkness that engulfs our society. We should be a guiding light for those lost in the moral and ethical confusion of our age. Moreover, we should reveal the truth of Christ's love and salvation to a world that desperately needs it.
 

Just as the city on a hill cannot be hidden, our light, according to verse 15, should not be put under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. Two things come to mind from reading this.
 

One. It is possible for us to hide our light. How can we hide our light within a dark world?
 

We hide our light by (1) going along with the crowd around us in sin, (2) being quiet when we should speak up for Jesus, (3) denying the light publicly or acting like undercover Christians, (4) not explaining our light to others in fear of their reaction, (5) being too comfortable with sin that it dims our light, and (6) ignoring the needs of our neighbors.
 

Which one of these six is most likely hiding your light in the world?
 

Two. It can be lonely being the only light shining on a lampstand by yourself with darkness around you. Fear of being the only Christian in your family, in your workplace, in your community is enough to have you consider dimming your light, so you are in the familiar company of others, even if it is in darkness. 
 

Rest assured; you are not the only light on. Jesus has His light on, as well as other believers, which is why it is so important to stay connected to Jesus in His Word and in your prayer life, as well as stay connected to your local community of believers, so that you can light each other up when it inevitably dims sometimes.

Jesus is calling on you to let your light shine, which brings us to our final point with verse 16: In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

 

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Ohhh, this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 

I remember when I learned that song in Sunday School when I was around eight years old. My grandparents teaching me that song is part of their legacy that lives on in me, after they have both passed on to live in Heaven with our Lord.
 

Though that song may seem cute and elementary, it applies to us now as adults, for us to keep our light shining.
 

This call to let our light shine carries with it a profound responsibility. It's not enough for us to simply possess faith and keep it hidden within the confines of our hearts. We are called to action, to demonstrate our faith through good works that bring glory to our Heavenly Father.
 

Our good works should be a reflection of Christ's love and compassion, as well as a loving response for what Jesus did for us over 2,000 years ago, when He died on the Cross in our place for our sins, so that we can be forgiven and reconciled in relationship back to God. As we engage in acts of kindness, mercy, and justice, we are revealing the character of God to the world. 
 

You may very well be the John to someone’s Timmy who is looking for help beyond earthly means to heal them from their hard circumstances. Through our selflessness, forgiveness, and love for one another, like John, we show the transformative power of the gospel to our neighbor out of love for him or her to turn from their sins and follow the same Jesus Christ that has turned our lives around as well and is the reason for joy in our season.
 

You have no idea what God has planned for your life, and how many Timmys you can bring back to God. However, we will never know how far God wants us to go to save the spiritually lost until we make a commitment to obey Jesus and shine our light for the world around us to see, so that our good works can be done for the good of our neighbors and for the glory of God.
 

Will you commit to shining your Light for God wherever you go?

A couple days ago, my wife Mayra and I went to visit our children’s school because Sofia’s class had an open house for parents to come in that morning to see all the progress the kids made at the end of the semester.

 

Sofia would show us drawings, photos, her desk, while giving us a personal tour of her classroom.
 

But there was one thing that caught my eye.
 

When she was sharing a picture she drew of her family, I saw the usual suspects: Mom, Dad, her sister Elizabeth, Sofia…
 

But I noticed someone else present too.
 

And I asked her: “Sofia, who is this other person in the family you drew?”
 

She responded, “Daddy, that’s God.”
 

I had to pause afterwards similar to what I’m doing now.
 

It’s hard to put into words when you see your child grow up and reflect what her parents instilled in her.
 

Sofia has a light inside of her for Jesus at an early age. A light that was lit by her parents’ light.
 

I reflected afterwards with my wife in how we personally have seen four generations of our family.

 

For me, I have seen my great-grandmother, my grandparents, my parents, and now my children. God willing, I’ll live to see the fifth generation in my grandchildren one day.
 

But one of the things I thought about in that instance was the legacy left by generations of people before me, particularly my grandparents. It was my grandparents that lit a light within me for Jesus. And now, I want for my children the same thing that my grandparents wanted for me.

 

Something more important than riches, popularity, fame, peace, or success.
 

More than anything else, I want my children to know Jesus and to have a lifelong relationship with Him.
 

I want them to have His light within them as they walk through this dark, fallen and sinful world, knowing that they have the light of their parents, and the light of Jesus with them for the rest of their lives, as they embark on lighting up others as they go through life.
 

Even when I am no longer here but in Heaven one day, I know that I have done my job well as a parent when my children walk this Earth as salt and light. And that is what Jesus calls us to do for Him: be the salt and light our world so desperately needs.

What about you?

 

What are you feeling in your heart right now?
 

Have you been living your life as salt and light or has your salt lost flavor and your light been dimmed?
 

God has a plan for your life, and He wants you to live like Jesus as the light of the world, not hiding but shining bright for all to see of your good works that glorify God and bring those in the dark into the Light with us.
 

He is ready to give you His holy assignment within the Kingdom. He just needs to hear from you if you’re ready to shine.
 

How will you respond today?
 

Do you trust Jesus today to follow Him and be Salt and Light to the world?
 

Jesus loves you. 


If you’re not yet a believer, I believe that Jesus is calling you to Him right now. And He wants you to come as you are, flaws and all, and put your trust not in yourself but in Him. He will forgive all of your sins and help you live your life following after Him as salt and light.
 

Of all the things I have done in my life, following Him is the best decision I ever made. And I want you to make the best decision in your life too.
 

All we have to do is ask Jesus into our hearts and make Him the Lord and Savior of our lives.
 

If you’re ready to take that step, would you pray this prayer with me: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe that you came from Heaven to Earth to live, die and rise again just for me, so that my sins may be forgiven. I trust you with my life. By faith, I make you my Lord and Savior. Thank you for your love and sacrifice. In Jesus name, Amen.
 

If you prayed that prayer, let me be the first to congratulate you on the best decision you could make in your life. Let me also welcome you to the family, as the angels in Heaven are rejoicing on you coming back home. I encourage you to find a local, Bible-based church to connect with and to join its community as you walk out the blessed life and Jesus’ ministry together with other believers.
 

If you already are a believer, and you want to do your part to be the John to the Timmys of the world who are looking desperately for a better way that they can only find in Jesus, please share this message with someone who does not yet know Jesus. God has a great plan for you, and it involves bringing the spiritually lost back to God through Jesus Christ. 
 

Let us continue the good work ahead of us to globally spread the Good News about Jesus Christ and to welcome more into His family.

God bless you for watching, listening to or reading this sermon. Thank you and take care.

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