You may have heard about the little boy that was saying his prayers. He was speaking so softly that his mother said, “Honey speak louder – I can’t hear you.” To which the little boy replied, “I wasn’t talking to you!” Jesus looked out upon the multitudes, was moved by their needs, and then addressed His disciples. Everyone within the sound of His voice heard what He had to say, but His words were meant only for those that had trusted Him – His words are for us! The Sermon on the Mount tells us who we are and what we are about. We are the instruments of His grace in the world to transform the world.
To demonstrate the impact these people would make on their world, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. It is also possible that salt means these people serve as a preservative against the evils of society. Whichever view one takes, the important quality to note is that salt ought to maintain its basic character. If it fails to be salty, it has lost its purpose for existence and should be discarded.
A light is meant to shine and give direction. Individuals Jesus described in verses 3-10 would obviously radiate and point others to the proper path. Their influence would be evident, like a city on a hill or a lamp . . . on its stand. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl would be useless. A few years ago, I was asked a question that made me take stock. An older man asked me why God allows us to hang around after we get saved. If it is His purpose to see men saved, why doesn’t he take us to Heaven immediately afterward? Light-radiating people live so that others see their good deeds and give praise not to them but to their Father in heaven.
I. What Is Our Purpose? Why Are We Still Here?
A. Why is the Church confused about the main things?
1. Praise and worship
2. Evangelism, discipleship, & fellowship
B. Why did Jesus use this metaphor?
1. In His day salt was the only form of preservation
2. Salt makes you thirsty. An old Texas saying, “You can lead a horse to water and you can make him drink if you feed him salt.
3. Its about the catching kind of religion –
a.) Do you have religion?
b.) Is it the catching kind?
c.) Has anybody caught it from you?
C. We are light
1. A city on a hill cannot be hidden (The elephant cage at Misawa was visible for miles)
2. You don’t put a cover over a lamp – My former mother in law had at least six lamps in her living room and all were lit. She was proud of her possessions and wanted them to be seen
II. Be Salt and Light Or Life Is Wasted
A. Light can be covered and salt can lose its flavor
1. Sin and careless living hide the light
2. Salt can become adulterated or diluted
B. We will never be perfect, but God can still use us
1. We need a big sign out front – For Sinners Only!
2. Dr. Ray Stedman once asked his congregation a question:
After reading 1st Corinthians 6:9-11, he asked, “Which of you were saved from that kind of background?” The congregation grew very quiet- they began to look around and fidget. He said it was as if they were praying, “Even so come quickly Lord Jesus!” Finally, a 90-year-old lady stood and confessed. Following her example, the entire congregation came to their feet.