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Salt and Light Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus sat down to teach His disciples on a hillside while a large crowd of people gathered
around. Jesus teaching is very simple and easy to understand. However, His teaching is
very profound and contrary to the way that we normally think and act. People say that if
someone is satisfied and doesnt need anything, that if someone is content, self-confident,
and without stress or concernthat these people are blessed and happy.
But Jesus teaches differently. He turns everything on its head. He says blessed are those
who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, and those that hunger and
thirst for righteousness. And when we listen to these words, we know in our hearts that
His teaching is right. He is right and we are wrong.
Matthew 5:1-12
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His
disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
He said:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of
evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in
heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount by blessing people with eight characteristics.
Next, He tells His followers the purpose of living with these characteristics: so that they
will be a blessing to the world. He uses two illustrations: salt and light.

Matthew 5:13-16
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
14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that
they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Jesus did sent his followers into the world to bless others by being like salt and light.
Both of these things are unique and important and useful. We are not here to conquer the
world or remove ourselves from the world, but to be useful to people in the world, the
same way that salt and light are both unique but everywhere and useful for their special
purposes. Simply by having the life of God in us and working through usbeing
merciful, pure in heart, peacemakerswe are accomplishing an incredibly important
Jesus said that His followers should be in the world, but not of the world. We should be
distinct, not in regards to nationality, social status, what language we speak, or what
clothes we wear, but different in the same way that Jesus was different.
v. 13 You are the salt of the earth.
Salt is essential for our bodies, but it also makes food flavorful and helps preserve food.
In the Old Testament, the Bible mentions that salt was used in the temple sacrifices and
when making covenants.
Jesus said that we ought to have the flavor of God in us.
Colossians 4:6
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know
how to answer everyone.
One of the hallmarks of a Christian, besides love, is graciousness. Only those who have
received grace from Godreceived His forgivenesscan have this grace to give to
Jesus told a parable about a servant who owed a debt of $10,000 to his master. When this
servant went to his master and explained that he could not repay the debt, the master had
mercy on him and forgave the debt. The servant went away, and then met a fellow servant
who owed him $100. This second servant also could not pay his debt, but the first servant
did not have mercy and had the man sent to jail.
Why did Jesus use this parable? What was He trying to teach? When we receive the grace
of God, it should change us. We need to become like Him.

Actually, this is not difficult at all. All we have to do is think about the goodness of God
towards us and we will be filled with gratefulness. We will have Gods graciousness
inside of us that we can show to others.
1 Timothy 1:13-14
13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was
shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was
poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Paul recognized how much grace and mercy he received from God, and it changed him.
Definitely, we can choose to block God grace and refuse to accept it, just like the first
servant in Jesus parable could have chosen to refuse the masters mercy and gone to
But if we stop and consider what good things that God has done for us, even though we
are so undeserving, that knowledge transforms us. We will carry around that flavor and
fragrance with us wherever we go. Paul called it, the aroma of Christ.
You can tell when someone has met Jesus. Have you met Him? Do you need to spend
some time and receive that grace into your life again?
People need and crave the grace of God. Jesus said, You are the salt of the world, not
a salt. What we carry around inside of usthe good and gracious Spirit of Godis
unique and something that people will want for themselves.
Only remember this: You must keep this flavor. Go back to God every day, as often as
you need to, and ask for His life to be renewed in you. You cannot give what you have
not received in yourself.
Jesus said, 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 underfoot.
Do you have the flavor of God in you at your workplace, or are you acting just the same
as everyone else? Do you hold grudges against those who do wrong to you or do you turn
the other cheek?
v. 14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Besides salt, Jesus uses the example of light. Again, light is unique: Nothing can replace
it. We need light. When we are outside at night, we need a flashlight. When we are in a
dark room, we look for the light switch. And every day we look forward to the coming of
the dawn. Without light, we are lost.
Jesus says that we are the light of the world! Actually, He is the light of the world, but we
have His light shining from within us.

Jesus says that his followers should be like a city on a hillyou would be able to see the
lights from such a city far off at night. Just like a city on a hill cannot be hidden, so
Christians that shine the light of Christ through their lives will be noticed.
v. 15-16 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light
shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in
Light is only useful if seen. We should share our light with others. Let them see who God
is by observing your words and life.
Ephesians 5:8-16
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find
out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but
rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visibleand everything that is
illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
15 Be very careful, then, how you livenot as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of
every opportunity, because the days are evil.
You are the light of the world! The world needs to see God in you. You must be different
than you were before.
You are the light of the world. These words of Jesus apply to Christians in every age, but
today so many people are lost. They are seeking something, but blindly. They are like
men following after a mirage in the desert. Everything they want, once they have it, they
discover that it is only more sand and dirt.
There is only one answer for our society today: Jesus Christ. But people do not receive
Jesus through legislation or politicsthey receive Jesus by seeing Him in the lives of His
I want to share about two Christians that transformed the lives of millions of people by
being the salt and light. They did not have armies or political power, but they had the life
of God in them.
First is Saint Patrick, who lived in the 5th century. He was a Briton and was captured by
raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland. He spent many years watching after pigs in the hills
and during that time he spoke with God. One day, God told him that it was time to leave,
so he walked to the seaside and found a ship that took him away.

Patrick became a priest and later God told him to go back to Ireland to share the gospel
with the people who had held him prisoner for so many years. Patrick was not the only
Christian that went to Ireland, but he was incredibly effective. Within a single generation,
the majority of the kingdoms in Ireland had accepted Jesus and a society that was
characterized by warfare and slavery was radically transformed.
I believe that these things and greater things will happen through us! Dont be
discouraged or lose heart, but lets learn from the example of those who have gone
Another person I want to share about is Corrie Ten Boom. Her family hid Jews in
Holland during WWII. They saved the lives of dozens of people at the risk of their own
because they feared God more than the Nazis. Eventually, however, they were betrayed
and sent to concentration camps. Corrie ministered in the camps with her sister until her
sister died. By a miracle, Corrie was released. God told her to share her story.
After the war, Corrie ministered to those whose lives were torn apart by the war in
Germany. She even met and forgave her former captors. God used her to visit prisons
around the world sharing the message that no darkness is too deep that the love of God
cannot reach there and that it was possible to forgive.