(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)
Matthew 5:13-16 – WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW
#10 – Sermon On the Mount
- We live in a needy world.
- In many parts of the world there are wars, oppression and persecution.
- In many areas of this Old World people go to bed hungry.
- With the exception of re-runs, television for the most part has indeed become a vast wasteland of suggestive comedies, gruesome murders, ridiculous talk shows and questionable reality programs.
- Right around you live people who are hurting because of sorrow in their lives.
- Right around you live people who are caught in the bondage of sin.
- Right around you live people who live in guilt.
- Right around you live people who have no hope for forgiveness or for going to Heaven.
We live in a needy world.
But what does the world need?
There was a song that was popular a few years ago that said, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love”.
This is nice sentiment, and while sometimes love does help, it doesn’t solve society’s problems.
What the world does need is salt and light.
The world needs salt.
Salt has always been around.
Salt was the original preservative for rotting and decaying meat.
Meat rubbed down with salt or soaked in a strong salty solution slowed down the decaying process.
The world needs some sort of salt to slow down the rot and decay of sin.
Salt is also a spice. Salt added to food adds flavor.
The world needs salt to spice it up, to give it the flavor of hope, the flavor or forgiveness, the flavor of righteousness.
Salt will also make you thirsty. If you pig out on potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, or some other salty snack, you will be looking for pop or some other drink to satisfy your thirst.
The world needs salt to make it thirsty for God. The world is not thirsty for God, but the right salt will make it thirsty. Thoughts on the uses of salt – R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon On The Mount, The Message of the Kingdom, (Crossway Books, Wheaton Illinois, 2001) pages 78-80
The world needs salt.
The world also needs light.
It is the light of day that allows people to see and function.
It is the light of fire and electricity that causes us to see at night
This world is dark with sin and sorrow.
This world needs light to help it to see clearly.
This world needs light to give it hope, just as each new sunrise gives the hope of a new day.
We live in a needy world.
What the world needs is salt and light.
The world needs salt. You, Christian, are the salt of the earth.
The world needs light. You, Christian, are the light of the world.
THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT
To whom did Jesus address the Sermon on the Mount?
Who was He primarily talking to? Matthew 5:1-2
The Sermon on the Mount was addressed to the disciples, Jesus’ followers.
Are you a disciple of Jesus?
You are a disciple, a learner, a follower, if you are a Christian.
You are salt.
You can help slow down the rot and decay of this whole world.
How, you ask?
Your righteous living in Christ will arrest some of the decay.
The world does not care about doing right, as a disciple, you do.
The world does not care about pleasing God, as a disciple, you do.
The world does not care about eternal things, as a disciple, you do.
Your righteous living arrests decay in your home, on your job, in your community, and yes, even in your church.
As salt, Christian, you also give flavor to this world.
Non-Christians will also find your level of commitment to Christ, your compassion, your love for people, your righteous living as a refreshing spice to an otherwise drab existence for them.
As salt, Christian, you also make the world thirsty.
The world needs what you have.
The world wants what you have.
The world is to see in you something desirable, something different.
Probably one of the most encouraging things my brother Art ever told me was that before he became a Christian, he could see that I had something he didn’t have. I was salt, making him thirsty.
What a privilege!
As we live the Christian Life the way it is to be lived, we will be salt of the earth.
What a privilege!
We are the light of the world!
The original light of the world is who? It is the Lord Jesus! John 8:12
Jesus is the light of the world.
Who lives inside of us Christians?
The Holy Spirit of God
The Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus – Romans 8:9
You are the light of the world because of the light of the world lives inside of you! And when the Spirit of God is allowed to do His work in your life, you will shine! Galatians 5:22-23
Christian Jesus has given you two privileges.
First, as salt, he allows you to make people thirsty for Christ.
Second, as light, he allows you to beam Christ to the world that needs Him.
THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SALT AND LIGHT
Matthew 5:13 – Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Technically, salt is a chemical compound, and does not lose its saltiness.
However, salt in the days of Jesus was not always pure salt. The salt was diluted with other things and lost its saltiness.
If we our lives are diluted with the things of this world we will lose our saltiness for Christ. 1 John 2:15-17
Not only is there a problem with salt, but there is a problem with light.
Light is designed to shine.
Cities were often situated on hills in the Holy Land.
At night when the lamps were lit in the homes, the city was visible.
And when a lamp was lit, it was not hidden, but it was placed on a lamp stand.
Christians all too often hide their light.
They hide their light, by acting like the world.
The world won’t want what you have, if you appear to be just like them.
Christians hide their light with bad attitudes. A bad attitude does not cause your light to shine for Christ. It causes contempt and bitterness instead.
Christians hide their light by trying to conceal their Christianity.
Christians who don’t talk about their faith are hiding their light.
Christians hide their light by failing to do good works. Ephesians 2:10
THE PRIORITY OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT
I have found that all of us have priorities.
When our priorities are straight, we will want to be salty.
We will want to live righteous lives.
And by the way when you live the beatitudes, you will be salty.
You will make people want what you have as you are poor in spirit, mourn over sin, act meekly, hunger and thirst after righteousness, show mercy, are pure in heart, make peace, and suffer for righteousness’ sake.
When our priorities are straight, we will want our lights to shine. Matthew 5:16
Our lights will shine as we do what is right.
Our lights will shine as we do good works for others.
Our lights will shine as we allow the Holy Spirit to produce in us, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control.