THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-19-05
LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT: CHRISTIANS ARE SALT AND LIGHT"
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our Creator. Won't you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to the Lord, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's begin our offering to God with a prayer!
Our first song of the morning reminds us of the many blessings God gives to those who are faithful in His service. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "God Is The Fountain Whence."
(SONG # 1)
We have had a great study for the past several months concerning the Christian Beatitudes. What wonderful lessons we have learned concerning those things which pertain to a faithful follower of God. Truly we are happy people in the sight of God if we: are poor in spirit, if we mourn, if we are meek, if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, if we are merciful, if we are pure in heart, if we are peacemakers and if we are persecuted for righteousness sake. Oh, how all of these characteristics show our great need for God - for His love, care and protection.
On the other hand, we have learned why we are happy when we exemplify these characteristics according to the Will of God. What are the results of those who faithfully serve God with these different Christ-like characteristics? Well the same verse told us that: ours is the Kingdom of God, we will be comforted, we shall inherit the earth, we shall be filled, we will obtain mercy, we will see God, we shall be called sons of God and ours is the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh, God blesses and makes us happy as those who are striving to diligently obey His will!
I am amazed at these beautiful teachings which Christ chose to start His message with. Here in this first recorded sermon of our Lord, we read that He "preached the gospel" to the multitude! And where did He begin His sermon, with the follower of God and his/her attitude toward God and others. What great lessons we can learn from these Christian beatitudes!
However, what great lessons we can learn from all the wonderful teachings of Christ throughout the Sermon on the Mount. So today we would like to begin a new study dealing with the further teaching of Christ in His Sermon on the Mount. Together, we will strive to learn many of these great fundamentals which better equip us in the service of God. And Why? So that we might not only be acceptable before our loving God, but that we might also be a shining light to others in this world in which we live.
So, as far as our main study of the day, we will be starting this new discussion entitled, "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount!" Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with, "Christians Are Salt and Light!". So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "A New Creature."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this day and now we go to God's Word as we again turn to the great Sermon on the Mount there in Matthew chapter 5. It is very interesting as we just looked at the Beatitudes that which Jesus chose to first proclaim to the disciples concerning the kingdom of heaven. He then begins to include many other ideas, important facts that we need to know and understand and obey if we are to be right in His sight. Notice the Christian Beatitudes again develop a lot about our characteristics. They tell us a lot about who we are and it tells God about who we are and it lets the world see who we are in our service to God. But now as we find in our text today which will actually begin in Matthew chapter 5 beginning in verse 13 through verse 16, we find that now all these characteristics, if they are done properly and we are blessed by them, that we're going to be seen in the world as certain things. Now as I were to maybe think about maybe myself and how I'm seen by others in this world. What about you, if you were to think about yourself about how maybe others see you, at work, maybe wherever you might go, your friends, your neighbors, maybe it might even be acquaintances, might even be family members. How do others see you? Well it is interesting that Jesus says they must see you in a certain light. Now again, we've already mentioned the characteristics that are necessary, but what is that light that they must see you as? He says they must see you as salt. Well again, it almost seems as if that would not make sense. We are salt. Well the Bible says that we are the salt of the earth. How many of us like salt? Certainly salt is something that many of us might use and probably most of us who use it probably use too much of it and we like to put it on our food and it adds a little bit of a flavor, extra flavor I guess you could say, and sometimes we'll put pepper or we might even put some kind of chilies or hot sauce or different things like ketchup or different condiments again that might give different flavors that we all like to the foods that we eat.
I know that when I was in Africa it was there that I really began to use probably more salt than I should and probably it was because when you would eat with the Africans or you go to a lot of the places there to eat, there was not a lot of flavor sometimes to the food and so it was good to put extra salt and pepper to add some flavor, to wake up some of the flavors and the senses of my tongue of what I was about to put into my mouth. And sometimes, you wanted to taste the salt more than you wanted to taste some of the things that you were eating, that you weren't sure about what you were eating for sure!
But if we are the salt of the earth, what is the point? Certainly salt has an effect. Salt changes the flavor. Salt can even change the consistency of something. Salt as we might think about is really an element that is at the foundation of really all things that have been created to an extent. We find it throughout the creation that God made. We find it heavily in the seas, the oceans, if you will, that God created as well there in the first days of creation. But if you'll notice there that if we even consider that not only the oceans but there again the smaller bodies of water, there are often those that are referred to as very salty. In fact, we might even think about the Dead Sea that is very, very heavy in its salt content there in what we would refer to as the Middle East. Actually, it is still in the Holy Lands or the area of the Holy Lands there in our present day times.
But I might ask you again, what then does the salt do? One individual stated that if you were to drain all of the oceans and get the salt content out of it that over 100 feet deep of salt really would cover the entire earth if you so chose to do that. That's a lot of salt in there. What about our bodies? Have you ever started to sweat and what comes forth? Salt. Have you ever tasted some salt? Certainly there is some there. What about animals? What about again the basic elements and a lot of the consistency that makes up a lot... Salt is there! We are the salt of the earth. What is this talking about? Is it just talking about in the literal sense from the physical standpoint? Certainly not! He's going much deeper here in chapter 5 and verse 13 when He says, "You followers, My followers, you are the salt of the earth. You are that element in the earth and a part of the earth." Not of it, not the evils of it, but you are in the earth and around the earth and around those who are of the earth and you are that thing that changes, that flavors, that part that changes even the consistency that alters somehow those who are around you. So as the salt, what is the purpose? To somehow make it better, to add flavor, to change. To change toward what? Toward God. You are the salt of the earth. But now notice the caution. "But if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?" Have you ever got some salt before and you put it on your food and you took a bite and thought, "I didn't put enough," and you put more and you've got some old salt. Maybe it was an old shaker that you had. It lost its savor. It is good for nothing. As He goes on to say here, "It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under the foot of men." It is a worthless element after it loses its potency or its flavor.
The same is true of us. If we are the salt of the earth and we are amongst the world to flavor and to change it, as long as we're salty and we are able to change and make a difference for God's sake, praise be to God. But when we lose our flavor, how sad. How sad that we're really good for nothing like the literal salt that we might taste. We're good for nothing except to be cast out of even the kingdom of God, out of the service of God and to be trampled by men because we no longer are effective as a changing agent in the things that God would have us to promote in this world in which we live. Promote like what? The Beatitudes. The Christian characteristics where we again teach others about their needs for God and their need to mourn and so on and so forth to live Christ-like and their need to be willing to be peaceable and to endure persecution. You see there, that is what is being said, the salt of the earth, the Christ-like people of the earth affecting the world. As long as we're affecting the world, we are salt that is flavorful, that is meaningful. But the moment we begin to lose our flavor, we are worthless in the service of God.
He doesn't end there. He continues on in verse 14 with another concept that certainly again would be used in the sense of a metaphor to show again the same idea except here He uses the idea of light. Certainly light is something that we all understand because we have the sun in the day and it is bright, but at night when we go to bed and we turn out the lights, guess what. It gets dark. When we're young, a lot of times we don't like the darkness. We like the light and we might even turn a night light on. I know my children still like night lights in their rooms. Why? Because darkness is sometimes scary because we can't see and it is almost as if we have been covered, our eyes have been covered and we are unable to see and to really know what is around us. Well here, Jesus says, "You (that is My follower) are the light of the world." He not only says that we are the light of the world, but now notice like the salt has flavoring abilities, He says that, "You are the light of the world," and He goes on to say, "You are a city on a hill and as you are a city on a hill, your light can not be (what?) hidden." Children often sing that song, "Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine." The light of Jesus. The light of God. Certainly that is what is being spoken of here. We are lights. We are as if that light that is up on a hill and that light illuminates and it is bright and magnificent and people see and they use the light and they are drawn to the light. That city on a hill.
But what happens when that light is dampened or when that salt loses its flavor or light is no longer light because we have chosen now to be in darkness. We need to understand here when we are individuals who are in the light, we are like God. We are striving to exemplify God in the things that we do.
There's a verse over in the book of John that certainly helps us with this idea of light and darkness. In fact, in 1 John chapter 1 you might recall a verse there that no doubt you have seen before, no doubt have studied before if you study the Bible very much at all. If you'll notice there in that text, verse 5, it says, "This is the message that we have heard..." This is John speaking, John the apostle of Jesus. He says, "God is light." Now here we have it. God is light. That city on a hill illuminating and we are all drawn to God. But notice it says, "But in Him is no darkness at all." Now if God is light and there is no darkness, what's the contrast being made? We can't have it both ways. God being the light and being righteous, holy and pure and wondrous. What is darkness? The opposite. It would be anything that would be contrary to righteousness or holiness or purity, those things that are evil or that are worldly and thus evil of the world, those things that certainly are contrary to His Will. God is the light and in God there is no darkness. There is completely no darkness. And then it goes on to say, "That if we are to have fellowship with Him, (guess what) we must walk in the light."
Now, what about those disciples that we looked at back there that Jesus was speaking to? He says, "You are the light." He says, "I'm the light. You are the light and we must walk in the light because that's where the Father has led us." The Father of light, God being the light Himself. So here again we find this concept of the light being so strongly shown to us here in the text. I want you to also notice back in the gospel of John, that is the gospel account of John, and we're going to look if you will with me at chapter 3. Of course, chapter 3 of John is usually known for the famous passage of "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son..." and so on and so forth. But here in chapter 3 just a few verses after that, we see this very same idea of God the light and the concept of how we are not to be in darkness, being shown forth by this inspired writer.
I want you to notice with me there beginning in verse 19 as the Bible states this. Again the words of Jesus, "And this is the condemnation that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." There we have it. The darkness. Men loved darkness and their deeds were evil. The light came into the world. What was the light? Jesus. The light that would save us as the text tells us here. Verse 17, "The son was sent not to condemn the world but to save the world." That's the light. The power of the light. Verse 20 continues, "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." What does the light do? It exposes our deeds, at least the deeds of those who are evil. Let me think about that with you just for a moment and think about the fact of how the gospel of Christ pricks the heart like on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) when they were told what they were done, you have sinned, they were cut to the heart. You see the light brings to opening and really to the eyes of man the sin in one's life. It brings godly sorrow that is talked about there in Corinthians, the godly sorrow that leads to what? Repentance, a change, the same change that we've talked about in the past, the change that turns us to God away from those things that are contrary to His Will. But then verse 21 of John chapter 3 says, "But he who does the truth comes to the light that his deeds may be clearly seen and that they have been done in God." The one who comes to the light, the deeds are clear to all, to the world. Well what are these deeds now? They no longer are of the old man because we have died to the old man, but now these deeds are of the new man and the world sees it and then as we have read in our text, we are what? Cities on that hill and we illuminate and people see God in us. God is glorified. Why are we to be good salt? God is glorified. Why are we to be good light? God is glorified. You see as that city is that salt with flavor, that light again on the hill, we illuminate God and they see God in us and who do they want to know? Not us, but God, God in us.
I want you to again notice the text there, our main text, as He clarifies in verses 15 and 16 these same very points. "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand that it gives light to all who are in the house." Verse 16, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Notice how beautiful again, how beautiful this story is that Jesus gives, this comparison, this metaphor, of really a true follower of God, the salt, a true follower of God in the light, and here how He again states, "That light that shines before men on the hill...", that really can't be quenched because God is with that light, a part of that light, and it illuminates powerfully and then it says here, "it shines before men for one purpose," and what is that great purpose? "That they might see God, that they might see (notice) the works, the good works." You see what is part of the light? You see what part of faith is? Works! In the fact that we are of the light and the salt, there are good works that prove this to who? To God and to the world and people see, not that we say, "I love God, I love God, I love God," or that "I'm a Christian, I'm a Christian, I'm a Christian," they see our good works and it is the works that prove the light and then the fact that the works prove the light, it glorifies God. So what does that say to me? It says that as the salt and as the light I must live daily and do and say those things that illuminate God. What types of things? Again, those things that we've already looked at in the Beatitudes. Those things that make me proper in the eyes of God in order that I might be right in His sight, that I might be blessed in this life and even receive eternal life, that I live as a follower of God who is striving to exemplify myself in a way always that glorifies God whether it be in my speech or whether it be in my action. Therefore, what happens? The world sees in me God Almighty. Not that I am God, but that I am a servant of God. Not that I am the food, but I am the savor, the savor that adds flavor and shows forth the true glory of the food. Not that I am the full light. God is the full light, but I am one of the candlesticks that shows forth God so that they might see past me and see the greater light being God Almighty Himself.
You see the great challenge that we have as those who know what God wants, those who strive to exemplify the characteristics that Jesus had as He was on this earth. And as we strive again to be the salt of the earth that has savor, that is powerful, that has a kick to it, that makes a difference as men taste the flavor, as they see the light in us, the light of the world, the light of the world that changes their heart toward God away from evil in order that they might truly be in the light as we are in the light being blessed by God and as well blessed with eternal life. Again, the thing that we have learned today in relationship to the true follower of God is that we must understand that the salt must be exemplified. We are the salt of the earth. But only that, as God is light, we must be in the light and therefore we are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and in being such every day, every moment, we show forth God and we allow the world to see Christ in us so that they might want to know Him, obey His precious Will and reap in the joys of eternal life that we will share as well.
(SONG # 3 - "Footprints of Jesus!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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What a great privilege we have to be the Salt of the earth and the Light of this World. May we always show forth God in all we do and say, so that in all things He may be glorified!