Faithlife Sermons

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Salt and Light
Sometimes it still seems surreal to me when September 11th arrives.
September 11th, 2001 was 21 years ago, but it seems like that day and the days that followed are burned into so many of our memories.
I am going to ask that we all take a moment this morning and go before the throne of God in prayer for those who lost their lives, their families, the first responders, and those who still carry the physical and emotional scars from that day.
“Father God, We come into your throne room this morning.
Some of us are too young to remember what happened that day, for some of us it is a reminder of the evil nature of the world around us.
As we looked to you then, we continue to look to you this morning.
We know that persecution comes to those who work for the truth of your son Jesus Christ, who seek justice and salvation through Him for this world.
Father God, we pray for those lives lost, for those who died responding, for those who survived and carry loss, physical scars, and emotional scars.
Allow us, your children, to go forth and carry the light, teach us through your Word and Holy Spirit to be a reflection of you unto this world, a reflection of Christ to all who cross our paths.
We thank you for the divine opportunity and privilege to share your son with this world.
In the mighty name of Yeshua (Ham-a-shee-ach) Hamashiach, Jesus the Messiah, Amen.
I recall the days and weeks following 9/11/2001, the churches were packed!
The president at the time did not hide using the name of God, and people were searching for hope during a tragedy that shook America to the core.
We were struck by evil.
I was still new to the faith back then, but I recognized something as the churches filled up with people.
I saw something as people were openly praying in town squares and cities around the nation.
I saw God’s people uniting.
I saw the Christian Witness of Jesus Christ in those who put their faith in Him.
They were people just like you and me.
When we talk about our witness, what does that mean?
Jesus covered it in three verses.
Just after giving the Beatitudes, Jesus spoke on the believers witness at the Sermon on the Mount, and he did not pull any punches.
“You are the salt of the earth.”
Jesus delivered these words to the disciples.
By virtue, he speaks the same thing to us today.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples collectively and individually when he uses the word “you.”
I want you to notice the next word “are.”
This is what we call an “equative verb.”
Jesus is not telling us this is something that we are to work toward or that it is an action we perform.
It means exactly what he says “You are the salt of the earth.”
So why did Jesus choose to compare disciples to salt?
Salt is distinct.
It is distinctly different from what we put it on.
We are called to be separate from this world, to be different from this world.
Like salt, by nature and by purpose, we are different from this world.
We are new creations born of God through Christ.
What good is it to pour salt on salt?
We end up with a plate full of salt that does nothing.
That is what happens when we gather together but do nothing to bring others to the Lord.
We do not need to salt heaven, we are called to go into the world and flavor it, to change the very taste of the earth, and to do so with love and respect.
Keeping our salt locked up in the church does nothing for this world.
Let’s take this a bit deeper.
Salt was at times used as a fertilizer (planting seeds and helping others grow in their knowledge of God) but salt was predominantly used as a preservative during the time of Christ.
It is still used widely as a preservative to keep things from decaying.
Since we are called to be different, it is incumbent upon every believer to stop corruption and moral decay as much as it is in your power.
Salt was and is also used to clean, disinfect, and purify.
Bleach is mostly salt and turns back into salt and water.
We are called to be pure in heart, word, and deed seeking His sanctification daily.
Salt is irrepressible.
Once applied, it cannot be stopped.
A believer’s salt, your testimony, is irrepressible; it cannot be stopped.
It is the story of you and Jesus.
Your testimony is HIS witness!
Listen everybody, when Jesus asked “What good is salt when it loses its flavor?
Can you make it salty again?”
I was confused.
I have never heard of salt losing its flavor.
So I had to dig.
Jesus was connecting his teaching to the Old Testament.
There is a place called “The Valley of Salt” just south of the Dead Sea.
It lies between Judah and Edom.
It appears in 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, and 2 Kings.
There where several battles fought at the Valley of Salt.
You can still find salt there that when exposed for too long to the sun, rain, and elements, has no flavor.
It still sparkles like salt and looks like salt crystals, but has no taste or preservative properties when it becomes disconnected from the salt vein.
The salt that remains connected to the vein still tastes like salt.
If we become disconnected from Christ, we lose our flavor.
Many can still look like Christians and act like Christians, but offer nothing for Jesus Christ to this world.
Jesus was comparing our life in Him and our witness of Holy Spirit.
Remaining connected to Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit is what causes us to be instruments of good for others through Him.
The salt that had no taste or had impurities mixed with it, was used in the temple courtyards to keep people from slipping in the water, it served no other purpose.
It was trampled under foot.
Christ was giving us a picture of the believer who mixes the world with His Word.
Those who allow the world to take first place in their lives.
Jesus is talking about the corruption of the human heart.
Those believers who twist the Word, grieve the Spirit, and become stumbling blocks to other believers and those who might otherwise come to know Jesus Christ.
This next verse is awesome!
In 1 John 1:5, we are told that God is the light of the world.
In John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the Light of the World.”
Here Jesus says:
What an enormous compliment!
God is light, Christ is light, and we are said to be the light of the world.
There is no greater compliment any one of us could receive!
Jesus, the light of the world, calls us the light of the world.
Now, Jesus was saying something here that a lot of people miss.
The title “light of the world” or “ner ôlam” in Hebrew was reserved for the most eminent of Rabbi.
Christ, God with us, was transferring this title of “ner ôlam” to His own disciples.
To each of you this morning.
As much of a compliment as this is, it is a tremendous responsibility as well.
The same one who created light in Genesis 1:3 knows the nature of light.
Light is meant to cut through the darkness.
Light enlarges our vision and knowledge of an area.
Light reveals the truth of an area.
Light guides and directs our steps.
Light warns us of danger in our path.
We are to be a light in the same way.
We are to shine and reflect Christ to each-other and to the world.
As a matter of fact, we are to be the living demonstration of the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven.
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