MATTHEW 5:13-16

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

#10 - SERMON ON THE MOUNT

 

We live in a needy world.

As we sit here this morning, American soldiers are risking their lives because of the oppression caused by a dictatorship.

 

We live in a needy world.

In Israel today Jews and Palestinians continue to exchange atrocities with bombings of innocent people and military retribution.

 

We live in a needy world.

In many areas of this Old World people go to bed hungry.

 

We live in a needy world.

In this country since the famous court case Roe V. Wade, millions of innocent children have been aborted.

 

We live in a needy world.

Just about every day I delete from my email in-box advertisements for sexually explicit material.

 

We live in a needy world.

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.

 

We live in a needy world.

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.

 

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.

 

As I watched the war on television I was impressed by the fact that the lights are still on in Baghdad. The American forces have gone to great lengths to center the war against Sudam, his government, and his military.  Therefore, the invading military has not taken out the electrical grid for Baghdad.  Imagine what more suffering there would be if the city did not have its lights.

 

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.

We continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount.

 

Follow along as I read Matthew 5:13-16.

Do you see it?

The world needs salt. You, Christian, are the salt of the earth.

The world needs light. You, Christian, are the light of the world.

 

I want us to consider three things this morning:

THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT

THE PROBLEMS WITH BEING SALT AND LIGHT

THE PRIORITY OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT

 

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 - And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: [2] And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

 

 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.

 

There is no such thing as being a Christian and not being a disciple.

A Christian is someone who knows that he is a sinner and can't save himself.

Isaiah 64:6 - But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 

A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus, the Son of God, died for His sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 - For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

 

Now, listen carefully to this next point. A Christian is someone who has made a commitment to Jesus Christ as His Savior.

You can believe in your head that you are a sinner and that Jesus died for your sins.  But the faith commitment of the heart says, "My only hope for forgiveness and eternal life is the Lord Jesus. I claim him as my Savior, I trust Him as my way to Heaven."

 

John 6:47 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

 

One of the great hymns of the faith is, Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine!   

   

If Jesus is yours, if you've truly trusted Him as your Savior, He is also your God. He is also your king. He is your boss.

He has changed your life, and now you are to be devoted to Him.

That makes you a disciple!

 

The Sermon on the Mount was spoken to the disciples.

The Sermon on the Mount was spoken to you!

And in Matthew 5:13-16, your Lord and Master, the Lord Jesus, gives you a great privilege.

He says, YOU are the salt of the earth!

He says, YOU are the light of the world!

 

The world needs salt. YOU are salt!

The world needs light. YOU are light!

 

The world is rotting and decaying before our eyes.

Alexander MacLaren said, "You do not salt a living thing; you salt a dead one, that it might no be a rotting one."

W. Robertson Nicoll, Editor, The Sermon Outline Bible, Volume 5 (Originally published by Hodder and Stoughton of Lond under the title, The Sermon Bible, reprinted by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1993), p. 75

 

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!

 

In the closet in our bathroom Dottie and I have light bulbs.

They just sit there in the closet.  Although they are light bulbs, they produce no light.

That is, they produce no light until they are screwed into a lamp, and the power is turned on. Then they produce light.

 

The original light of the world is who? It is the Lord Jesus!

 

John 8:12 - Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

 

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 - But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 

This may sound crude, but we are the light bulbs and the Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus living inside us is the power that lights the bulb.   

    

John 15:5 - I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 

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 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

 

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.

 

I have been in dark rooms when someone has turned on a light.

What a difference!

The world is in perpetual darkness, with the exception of the light that Christians provide.

 

What the world needs is salt and light.

We as Christians have the privilege of being salt and light.

 

THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT

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 I tried to put a box of salt into a glass of water, I'd have ridiculously salty water.

If I put the same box of salt into five gallons of water, I'd still have some pretty salty water.

If I put the box of salt into the pond out here, I'd have traces of salt, perhaps in the water.

But if I put the box of salt in Lake Erie, there would be no telling that there was salt.  

 

What's the point?  All too many of us have diluted our saltiness by letting the world get into us, instead of us getting into the world.

 

1 John 2:15-17 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 

All too many of us are like the Old Testament Character, Lot.

Lot chose to live in Sodom and Gomorrah, wicked cities that God eventually destroyed.

 

2 Peter 2:6-8 - And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; [7] And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: [8] (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

 

And what's sad about Lot is that, although, he was delivered, he had lost his saltiness.

He could not preserve his sons in-law.

When angels warned him of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he could not persuade them to leave the city with him. He seemed as one who mocked, according to Genesis 19:14.

Lot also could not preserve his own wife.  She was told not to look back when leaving the city. She did and became a pillar of salt.

And Lot could not morally preserve his own daughters who got him drunk and slept with their own father in order to have descendents.  

 

When we as Christians lose our saltiness, our testimony for Christ is non-existent.

We can not effectively help our families, our friends, our coworkers to come to Christ, if we love the world as much as they do.

Our saltiness will be diluted.

 

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 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

What the world needs now is salt and light.

Is your behavior diluting your saltiness?

Are you hiding your light?   

 

THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT

THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SALT AND LIGHT

THE PRIORITY OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT

 

I have found that all of us have priorities.

We will do what we deem important to ourselves.

Often we get our priorities mixed up. That's why most of you won't be back for church tonight. Your priorities are mixed up!

 

As I prepared this message, I was also convicted that my priorities are mixed up in some ways too.  I had to confess that to the Lord.

 

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 - Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

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.

 

Are your priorities straight?

   

We live in a needy world.

What the world needs now is salt and light.

Jesus says, "You are the salt of the earth."

Jesus says, "You are the light of the world."

 

THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT

THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SALT AND LIGHT

THE PRIORITY OF BEING SALT AND LIGHT