The Influence of the Church
Matthew 5: 13 – 16
We are the church and we are given the responsibility to carry out a dangerous task – influence our world for the cause of Christ. In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, he uses two illustrations for his followers to consider concerning their influence on society. Jesus used salt and light as examples of how we are to influence Jonesborough and our surrounding area.
The Salt of the Earth
Have you ever had to restrict the amount of salt you use with your food? What are some of the adjustments a person has to make when they are put on a salt free or restricted salt diet?
Today we use salt in two major ways as a preservative and as flavoring. In Jesus’ day it was no different. The two primary usages of salt were as a preservative and as flavoring.
We are to be a preservative to our society
If food is left without a preservative what will naturally take place?
When God calls us to be a preservative is it something that comes natural?
Why do you think we often use the excuse that mixing with those who are not yet believers does not feel natural?
Do you think God calls us to only do what feels natural to us? Why or why not?
In 1 Corinthians 7:12–16, in writing about marriage, Paul counsels believers married to non-believers to stay in the relationship (if possible) because their faith will have a positive, sanctifying influence on the home. What exactly is Paul asking the believer not to do?
In the same light what is Jesus asking us as believers not to do in order to be salt to our society?
We are to serve as a flavoring to our society
In the rabbinic literature of biblical times, salt was a metaphor for wisdom. Given the previous explanation of salt as a metaphor for wisdom, read Colossians 4:6 – what could Paul be telling us to do as believers?
If you were in a conversation with an unbeliever how would you apply Colossians 4:6?
Is sharing biblical wisdom with someone a form of sharing the gospel? Why or why not?
When it comes to sharing biblical insight or wisdom with an unbeliever do you think you can share too much? Why or why not?
We Are The Light to our Society
A question you never hear someone ask is, “What is light?” There is absolutely nothing you can confuse light with – it is either light or it isn’t.
How did Jesus refer to himself in John 8:12?
What is the best way for Christians to make sure they are continually walking in the light?
It is important to note that Jesus’ reference to us as the light of the world follows his talk about the beatitudes. What relationship do the beatitudes have with us being the light of the world?
What effect does light have on darkness?
What effect would our living out the beatitudes have on people you work with or conduct business with?
According to Matthew 5: 15,16 where is our light most needed?
In what ways can we be guilty of hiding our light under a basket?
What must happen for salt to be a preservative or to add flavor to food?
What must happen for darkness to be dispelled?
According to this Study what will be the easiest way for you to be salt and light to others?
What will be the most difficult way for you to be salt and light to others?
What is one thing you will do this week that will enable you to be salt or light to others?