Posted on Tue, Sep 5, 2006
Have you ever considered how others view you?? Are you unique because you are a follower of Jesus Christ? This message challenges each of us to be salt and light.
“How do you Taste?” Communion Sunday Sept.3, 06
Preparation for Prayer: Psalm 32
Scripture Text: Matthew 5: 13-16
A 7 year old boy attended evangelistic services on Mon. night, Tues. night, Wed. night, Thurs. night, and again on Fri. night. He never responded to the evangelist’s invitation, --but on Friday night after the service was over, the boy ran out to the parking lot following the evangelist. He called out to the evangelist “Let me ask you something, You say I have to ask Jesus Christ into my life,”
The evangelist replied “that’s right son”
“I’m only 7 years old. The boy replied, “how big is Jesus?”
“Oh He’s a pretty good size because he’s a carpenter.” Replied the Evangelist.
“That’s what I thought. If I were to ask him into me, wouldn’t he stick out?”
The evangelist replied “Son, you’ve got the message. More and more, Jesus will stick out of you.”
I gotta ask you a question---.
How is your life different from the person living down the street who doesn’t have Jesus living in his or her heart?? Is there a noticeable difference?? Besides going to church, is there something that sets you apart form a non-believer?? It’s a question that you and I need to continually be asking ourselves---Does my life reflect and consist of something that makes others want what I have?? Does Jesus stick out of you????
Last week we learned that one of the primary doctrines of our church is that we are the people (or representatives) of Christ. As Christ’s representatives then, we need to be approachable. We are the redeemed people of God, and as such, you and I are to seek the “greater blessing.” Which is to bring blessing into other people’s lives.
It’s so important for you and I to be the kind of person that others feel comfortable approaching. I hope I made the point that as Christ lives in us, we are changed. According to Matt. 5 (sermon on the mount) our priorities change when Christ is living in us.
Today we are looking at another aspect of being a Christian. You and I need to taste good, or be appealing to other people. When your neighbor, a friend or a stranger, someone in a store sees you, --Do they see and hear something that makes them want whatever it is that you have?? Are your actions and attitudes different because Christ is living in your heart??
It is interesting that Jesus first tells us that we need to approachable, then He tells us that there needs to be something about us, that makes people want to approach us. Jesus is showing you and I how we can be an influence on our world.
When you think of salt, what do you think of?? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of salt???---I think of homemade Ice Cream. You use salt to melt the ice, which in turn flavors the ice cream.
Some people think of salt all by itself, and try to decide what they should have with thier salt. Salt reminds you of sweetness. Making food taste better.
When Jesus refers to you as salt, clearly he intends for you to make a difference in the world or at least in your little corner of the world. When Jesus calls you to be salt, He is calling you to make the earth a purer and a more palatable place. You and I use salt primarily as seasoning, but in Jesus’ day it had much greater value then that. It was useful for 7 different purposes.
1.In the Roman world, salt was used as a purifying agent. The Romans had a saying “there is nothing more useful than sun and salt” What did they mean by that??—At the time this scripture was written, the Roman People would take water from the Sea, set it in the sun, then the sun would cause the water to evaporate. The salt was then used as an antiseptic to cleanse wounds and prevent infection. Since salt came from the sea and the sun, it was considered a most favorable gift from the gods. Its glistening whiteness served as an easy reminder of purity.
By their lifestyle, followers of Jesus become a purifying agent in a world which,-- if left to its own designs, will continue its relentless downward spiral. Followers of Jesus are “pure in heart” and raise the standard that is commonly held in society. They are “the salt of the earth” which cleans wounds of society to keep them form becoming fatal. As salt,--you are God’s most favorable gift to the world!.
2. Salt was widely used as a preservative to extend the usefulness of meat, fish and other food products. Obviously they did not have refrigerators or freezers as the time this scripture was written. . Just as all foods are perishable and will decay if not preserved with salt, so, it’s up to you and me to preserve this world so God can continue to work out his perfect plan.
The person without Jesus in their life is heading in a different direction than someone who doesn’t know Jesus as Lord of their life. –The difference is two different destinations.
If your life is focused on your job, family, —earthly stuff, you have a different destination and it affects the way your interpret everything from the time you get up until the time you lay back down again.
When I get up in the morning, I’m living for Jesus, my perspective on life is unique because whatever this day brings, Jesus is in my heart!! My attitude about this day is different, because I know whatever this day brings, my Lord will be my guide. David said “He makes me as sure footed as a deer”---I have nothing to fear, because you are near me”
When you leave for your destination in the morning, it is incredible to know that at the end of the day, you will still be at peace. How can you remain peaceful and confident even on bad days??? It’s the salt factor, when you have Christ in your heart, you are preserved and cleansed from the impurities of the world. Just as you and I are preserved for God’s use, we have the opportunity to have a healthy, life-giving influence and slow the process of corruption. When Jesus emphasized “you” He was very plainly indicating that the followers of Jesus, and none other, are the salt of the earth. Citizenship in the kingdom of heaven positions the followers of Jesus to stand against the decay of society.
3. Salt as a flavoring agent---=-probably the one you relate to the most.
Salt makes food taste better. It makes bland food taste good. Similarly, following Jesus adds flavor to life. It is a tragedy that Christianity often seems to take the sparkle and zest out of life. Oliver Wendell Holmes once noted, “I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers” ---Do you know any preachers who remind you of undertakers??---Hopefully that’s not the case. Christianity should project the radiance of joy, the calmness of peace, the unending patience of gentleness, the open-faced open handed sincerity of love, the dependability of faithfulness and the graciousness of compassion and forgiveness. Such a life is not gray or colorless!!.
Do you know what I have noticed in my own life?? The more I surrender to Christ, the more I’m freed up to enjoy the rest of what God has for me. The things of this life can really bind me up, but when I release them to Christ, I am free to enjoy all the other things that God intended me to.
4. Salt was used as fertilizer.—Some scholars, by translating “the earth” to “soil” point out that salt was used as fertilizer. This meaning of the metaphor “salt” suggests the world will become more productive and abundant through the lives of Jesus’ followers. The gospel, then as Jesus declares later, will grow from very small beginnings to greatness (13: 31-35)
5. Salt was used in the OT times as a bonding agent in covenant agreements. (Exodus 30, 35) God instructed Moses to add salt to all your offerings (Leviticus 2:13) Salt, therefore, has significance in terms of the sacrifices offered to God. Followers of Jesus are part of the sacrifice, which brings delight to God. As Christians then, we are to bring the realities of heaven to earth. As salt we are to certify that Christ and heaven are real because they can be seen in us.
6.Salt melts ice (so we are to use salt to make homemade ice-cream, so everyone can enjoy it???) Salt melts ice on sidewalks----so we are to melt the hardness of other people towards Christ and the church. You and I are to save people from slipping, falling and getting hurt.(eternally hurt in Hell) We are to point them towards Jesus where they can find firm footing in their lives.
I’ve got a question for you---(Pastor has a 50 lb. Block of salt on stage) How many times would a sheep need to lick this block of salt in order to consume the whole thing?? --- How many times would it take a human being??--- My brothers and I used to go with dad to the local feed store, we would go to the warehouse where the salt blocks were stored and we would lick them. I think it was more the novelty of it then anything else, but there was an attraction to the salt. Have you ever wondered why Livestock producers feed salt to their livestock?? One reason is so they will drink more water, keeping them healthier. Did you know that it is a proven fact that born-again Christians are generally healthier than non-Christians??
Back to the point, when I place a block of salt like this in my sheep pen, and the sheep come home from the pasture, they will do one of two things, they either go to drink water or they go to the salt block because they are attracted to the salt. When Jesus tells us to be salt, he is saying we need to be the kind of person, others come to when they are in need physically or emotionally or spiritually.
7. Salt creates thirst. You and I are to live so others are thirsty for what we have. The idea is that as others see your life, they see something that makes them thirsty for the peace they see in your life. When someone sees you drinking a can of pop, What happens,---usually it makes them thirsty too!!. What if something in your life, made them want what you have—(open a can of pop) what if you made them thirsty for Jesus??.
Jesus declared that if salt looses its saltiness, it is useless. Did you know that the compound sodium chloride, which is salt, cannot lose it saltiness. However, it can become contaminated. When salt becomes contaminated with other substances it is no longer useful. If Christians are not distinguishable from nonbelievers, or loose their Christ-likeness, they have become free-agents to the world. They no longer understand the purpose they have been called to fulfill. Christ’s command to you and I is “Don’t get contaminated by worldliness.” We are to be set apart, living differently then the rest of the world. We are to have different priories as well as different behaviors.
8.. Light dispelling darkness and illuminating goodness
The second metaphor—“light” is a very important and a powerful concept in the Bible. God is light (1 John 1:5) and Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world (John 8:12;9:5;12:46) Earlier Matthew stated Jesus was the fulfillment of the OT promise in Isaiah 9:2; the people living in darkness have seen a great light. Jesus is the light of the world Isaiah 42:6 49:6) however, his role has been passed on to his followers (you and me) (Acts 13:47) Paul describes the Christian community as “children of light” (Eph. 5:8) God is light, Christ is light, Father and Son have designated you and me to be His lights to the world.
1 Light is a universal symbol for everything that stands against wickedness, darkness and ignorance. It is the property of light to be utterly distinct from darkness. (John 1:4-5) Where light is present, darkness must flee! .it stands for life, salvation and well-being.
Your witness as the “new” people of God is nothing more, and certainly nothing less, than doing good deeds in the name of Jesus. It is living the values of the kingdom of God in everyday life. As followers of Christ, we are salt and light when–
1.We refuse to rob our employers by being lazy on the job, or to rob their employees by succumbing to greed and stinginess.
B. We are the first to help another person in their time of need and the last to return a barbed reply.
C.We honestly desire the advancement of the others’ interest, and honestly dislike smutty humor.
D. We are transparent in our honesty and genuine in our concern for others.
How can I increase another persons’ hunger for Jesus?? How can you make yourself taste good???
When I give my sheep fresh salt, they come running, just to get a lick, Jesus is saying to you and to me, that if we are his followers, people will crave what we have.
Jesus uses 2 metaphors to help us understand how we can both bring a blessing and be a blessing---Salt and light
1. My relationship with Christ must be PRIAMRY in my life.
What is the most important thing in your life?? Where is your time spent?? What is at the center of your hearts’ yearning??? Is it for God?? Is your desire for Christ so strong that you thirst for Him?? You see it can be hard to get someone else thirsty for Jesus if you aren’t.
What flows in us will naturally flow from us. You can force Christian “eze” but you can be assured others will see it as less than authentic.
Society tells us we need physical renewal, paying little attention to spiritual renewal. When Salt looses it’s saltiness, you must go back to the source to get more salt. You and I must constantly be “renewed” in our faith if we are to be effective witnesses.
We don’t renew ourselves though,we seek renewal through prayer praise and worship.
I cant’ make myself holy again, only God, the source can make me holy. One of the ways you can renew your holiness is thorough participating in the celebration of Holy Communion.
If you get up in the morning and don’t believe you can make a difference in your little corner of the world, you’re in trouble at the get go. You must decide that “today”, as much as it depends on me, I will serve my Lord with all my heart.
There is a real danger for you and me when we begin to discount the difference we can make in the lives of those we come in contact with. It’s like getting up in the mourning with no incentive, HO HUM , It’s just another day!
Where if you get up in the morning thinking---today!! I can spread a little salt for Jesus—I can show others what’ really inside of me. That gives my day eternal meaning and purpose. Do you wanna spread a little salt?
3. By LIVING what I claim to believe.
Contrary to what a lot of us were taught, our Christianity is not to be kept a secret. We are not secret agents according to Matt. 5. Your spirituality should not be held in. Once you ask Christ into your heart, you begin the process of knowing the fullness of God. That fullness of God, transforms us into people who live the goodness of God in our everyday lives. Does Jesus stick out of you?? If our lives do not show the grace of being blessed by God, then we probably don’t possess them, To possess them is to live them.
Jesus is making an up or down statement. Either you are salt or your not!! Jesus is really saying in Vs. 13 if you aren’t being a witness, I don’t need you. Ouch! That hurts, yet that’s what he Jesus is saying.
4. By shining for JESUS
Jesus is saying in Vs. 14-16 if Christ is living in you, you can’t hold it in. Jesus is encouraging you to “let it out” I think a lot of the reason you and I don’t let our light shine as brightly as we should, is because we are just a little afraid that our light won’t be bright enough. What if I say the wrong thing, what will this person think of me??? Jesus dispels that myth in Vs. 16, He says, that you are to let your light shine WHY? So that others will SEE your good deeds, and do WHAT?? Praise your Father in heaven. When we spread salt, we create thirst.
Today we celebrate Holy Communion. First we remember our own unworthiness. We remember that Jesus gave His body and lifeblood to save us from our sin. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our failure to be salt and light. It’ not an excuse, but a relief to know that when Christ died for my sin, I’m given another chance to get it right.
Secondly, We take the physical elements praying to be renewed by the Holy Sprit, empowered to be salt and light once again.
Third, we celebrate the fact that Jesus is coming back for you and for me!! We have joy in our hearts as we remember Christ’s promise that He has indeed gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us. We can be salt and light because we know where we are going.
Heavenly Father, Thank-you for Your Word; given to us so we can know for sure what You expect of us. We pray that You would forgive us of our sin, and prepare our hearts for Holy Communion. Thank-you for the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, so we can live in joy as forgiven people. Bless us with the presence of the Holy Spirit, empower us to be salt and light this week, we pray this in the name of the Risen One, Jesus Christ, Amen.
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