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The Parable about
Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16 (6:1)

Service Notes

MATTHEW 5:13-20
    13.  You are the-same-as salt in the world.  If salt loses its taste, salt can't get that taste back again.  That salt is good only for one thing:  throw out on the ground and people walk on it.
    14.  You are the-same-as lights in the world.  A city established on a hill can't hide.
    15.  You don't put a candle under a basket, but you put a candle on a stand.  The light shines for everyone on the house.
    16.  You let your light shine in-front-of people.  They will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

 

Salt =  

Light =  

Application = 


Last week we studied the story about YEAST.
We learned that yeast spreading in DOUGH,
    making the dough rise,
    making the bread soft,
    making the bread taste good...
that is the same as the Good News about Jesus
    that Jesus wants us to spread in the world.

Now, if we don't act like yeast,
    if we keep His Good News secret,
        what happens?

Jesus answers that question in two other stories,
    one story about salt
    and the other story about light.

"You are the-same-as salt in the world.  If salt loses its taste, salt can't get that taste back again.  That salt is good only for one thing:  throw out on the ground and people walk on it."

In times long ago, people got salt from where?

Mostly from:
    1. Sea water.
    2. Water from salt wells.

They pumped water into a large pond.
    The water evaporated and dried,
        leaving salt with other minerals and other things.

In a few places in the world they could dig salt rocks from the earth.
But they didn't have machines that could dig deep,
    like our deep salt tunnels today.

What did they use their salt for?
1. Taste?  Yes, some.  But that was not most important.
2. They used salt for preserving [saving] food.
        They didn't have refrigerators.
        They didn't have canning jars.

They used salt for keeping food a long time and not spoil.

Salt was really important.
Sometimes they used salt for money.
Our word SALARY means "salt."

Sometimes bosses describe a good worker:
    "That person is worth his salt."

But in the old days long ago, salt made from sea water
    was not pure salt.

The real salt --  NaCl -- Sodium Chloride
    can wash out, leaving only the other minerals and dust.

That weak, washed-out salt is no-good.
Throw it out on the road.

Jesus said, that is like what happens
    when Christians don't act like His followers,
    when we don't tell His Good News to the world.

We lose our influence in the world.
We lose respect from the world.
The world throws us out and walks on us.

If salt stays in its box, and doesn't go in food,
    the salt isn't doing anything.

If yeast doesn't spread in the dough, that yeast is dead.

If a lamp doesn't have a burning light shining,
    that lamp is worthless.

If Christians stay quiet in our church boxes,
    and don't touch the world,
        we failed.
        We also are worthless for the world.

Then what happens?

Jesus said:
"That salt is good only for one thing:  throw out on the ground and people walk on it."

And that's what the world does to us Christians.

If we don't stand strong for Christ,
if we become weak and washed-out,
if we stay, hiding in our church box,
if our lives don't make a positive influence in the world,
    then the world will laugh and run over us.

Is that what is happening today in America?
    Maybe, yes.

How can we change that?
How can we have a positive influence in the world?
?Electing Christians to public office
    who will make strict laws & force everyone to obey?
No. Strict laws don't change people's hearts.

?Running wonderful social programs in the church
    that will help poor people?
That's good a thing that we should do,
    but government does the same thing
        and it doesn't really change people.

?Be nice, so other people will want to become nice, too? 

Jesus seems to say that in the last part of our lesson:

Jesus said:
"You are the-same-as lights in the world.
A city established on a hill can't hide.
You don't put a candle under a basket,
    but you put a candle on a stand.
The light shines for everyone on the house.
Let your light shine in-front-of people.
    They will see the good things you do
    and praise your Father in heaven."

Question:  Jesus says: "Let your light shine."
What does He mean, "your light"?
What is that "light"?

Many years I misunderstood this verse.

I thought Jesus means, "Do good things in front of people,
    then they will praise your Father in heaven."  

I thought that in this verse  our "light" shining in-front of people
    means doing good works that people can see.

But if we continue reading Jesus' sermon,
    the next chapter, first verse, Jesus said:

"Be careful! When you do good things,
    don't
do that in front of people so they can see you.
If you do that, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)


Jesus continues to explain that when we help other people,
    we should help them secretly.
When we pray to God, we pray in a private place.
When you fast [suspend eating for prayer],
    don't let anyone know that.

Many years ago, one famous pastor found an interesting way to teach his church members this principle.

When people had serious financial trouble,
    the pastor secretly gave them the money that they needed,
The people didn't know who helped them.

That happened again... and again... and again.
And the people were puzzled -- who was helping them?

Then one day someone caught the pastor,
    while he tried to give secretly.

Now the people knew.

So the pastor taught them what Jesus said about giving secretly,
so when we give,
    when we help,
        we don't receive any praise for that.

That pastor's name was Saint Nicholas --
    yes, the REAL "Santa Claus."

When Jesus said, "Let your light shine..."
    what did He mean by that word "light"?
What is our light?

Oops, wrong question!
WHO is our light?

Jesus! 

In John 8:12, Jesus said:
"I am the light of the world.
The person who follows me will never live in darkness
    but he will have the light that gives life."


When we share His Gospel,
    when we introduce people to Jesus,
Jesus shines through us,
Jesus leads into a living relationship with Him.

We let our Light shine --
we let Jesus shine
    when we share His message about salvation with other people.

If we only do good works and say nothing about Jesus,
    people will praise us, not Him!

How can people know that we represent Him, and not ourselves?
We must tell them.  They can't read our minds!

And when people know that we represent Christ Jesus,
    and they see Christ's actions and attitudes in us,
        they praise and respect Him.


Jesus said,
"You are the-same-as lights in the world.
A city established on a hill can't hide."

When you truly trust Jesus Christ,
    and you truly follow Him,
His Holy Spirit lives in you,
    changing your attitudes,
    changing your actions,
    changing your focus [attention],
        no more focusing on yourself,
        but now focusing on other people,
        showing Christ's love for them,
you can't hide that.

We must not show off "how good we are."
That is not Christ's attitude.

But when people will see that you belong to Christ,
they will see that in your eyes,
    in your smile,
    in your words,
    in your actions,
    in your attitude.

They will see your inner peace,
    and they will thirst for what you have.

That leads us back to Jesus' picture about salt.

Many restaurants give their customers free snacks
    while they wait for their food.
But notice: Those snacks have a lot of salt.
Why?
That salt makes people thirsty,
    so they will buy more drinks.

You are the same as that salt.

When people see Christ in you,
    they will thirst for Him.

And when we tell them about Jesus,
    they can know where they can get that new life, also.

We tell them.
We tell them all that Jesus has done for them,
    suffering and dying on the cross for them,
    so He can forgive all their sins
    and give them peace, joy, and eternal life.

If we don't tell them, how will they know?


Parables Index