THE LIFE OF CHRIST
last lesson, we finished up the 9 beatitudes in Matthew 5. In this lesson, we
will push forward in this life changing sermon that Jesus preached. We began
Matthew 5:13 " You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor,
how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and
trampled underfoot by men.
Mark 9:50 "Salt is good, but if the salt
loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have
peace with one another."
Luke 14:34 " Salt
is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be
seasoned? 35 "It is
neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He
who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
says we are the salt of the earth and in verse 14, He says we are the light of
the world. These two elements are among the most common elements that can be
found anywhere on earth and both are necessary for life. Our bodies need salt
and if we did not have light from the sun, life on our planet as we know it
would be gone because in the end, we would all freeze to death.
course, we are going to focus on being the salt of the earth first. I think you
might be surprised at how much can be gleaned from the simple statement Jesus
Marlin shares a story that illustrates the importance of salt. The story goes
summons his three beautiful daughters and asked them how much they loved him.
The first daughter said, “Father, I love you more than all the riches of your
empire. More than all the gold and silver and the precious stones and lands and
houses.” This saying impressed the king with the claim of devotion.
second daughter said, “Father, I love you more than pomp and pleasure of the
court. More than all the rich foods, beautiful clothes, and music. More than
the balls and expensive carriages and good times of the empire. This answer
pleased the king.
third, youngest daughter was asked the same question, her simple answer shocked
the king because she said, “Father, I love you more than salt.” The king was not pleased with her response
and he argued with her and shamed her in front of everyone for her lack of
court chef heard how the king was treating the younger daughter about her
response, so he decided to teach the king a lesson by not putting any salt on
the food at the next meal. When the king began to eat, he started complaining
about how bland the food was, then the cook told king, “Sire, I left the salt
out of the cooking today so you might know how much your youngest daughter
truly loves you.”
got the message and called his youngest daughter to him and gathered her into
his bosom and thanked her and apologized for being so short sighted. He
realized how indispensable salt really is and concluded that his youngest
daughter loved him more and was more devoted to him than his other daughters. Adapted
from the “Sermon on the Mount Getwell Lectureship”
Job 6:6 Can
flavorless food be eaten without salt?
story illustrates the importance of us being the salt of the earth. The world
has little to offer anyone beyond the flesh or beyond this life, but when we as
Christians have the qualities that we studied in the Beatitudes, we can add
great flavor to the world because the message we have to offer to the world
makes life worth living. So, don’t ever underestimate how important you are as
a Christian to the world.
always been important. The ancients considered the salt deposits as a gift from
the gods. Many wars have been fought for over salt deposits, there have been
salt taxes, and salt has even been used as money. The Jews were to use salt
with their offerings:
Leviticus 2:13 'And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you
shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your
grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.
I think everyone can agree that salt is also important to
us. So, without a doubt, as we take on this role as being the salt of the
earth, we can see just how important it is. To help us gain and even deeper
understand of about salt, let’s look at how some of the qualities of salt.
First, salt will make you thirsty. We have all heard the
expression “you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.” That
is true unless you feed him salt. A man by the name of David Roper used to do
this when he was a kid. When he was showing animals at fair, if the animal was
looking gaunt, he would give it salt, which would cause it to drink more water
and fill them out.
Think about the application of this. When we live our
lives as a direct reflection of Jesus, we can make people thirsty to want to
know more about God.
Of course, our words are important as well, which brings
us to our second quality, which is salt can bring out the flavor in food and
make it easier to swallow. I know we have all probably sit at the table and one
point or another and said, “please pass the salt.” Some foods are just too
bland without it.
Let’s relate this to our speech. As Paul said:
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech
always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you
ought to answer each one.
Let’s say you have a wife who is very sensitive and maybe
she is wearing something that does not look all that good in your opinion. She
is about to go on an interview and want her to make a good first impression.
What do you say? Do you say, you need to change your clothes and throw that
outfit in the trash because if go out dressed like that you are going to make
little kids scream when they see you coming? Well, I guess you could, but you
will be in the dog house for quite some time.
If you wanted to get your message across seasoned with
salt, you might say something like this, “Honey, I love you. I think you are a
beautiful lady, and I want you to make a great impression today. That outfit
you have on right now is alright, but I think you look even better in that blue
dress, don’t you?” Depending on the wife, you still might be in a little bit
trouble, but this second approach is definitely easier to handle.
The same thing is true when it comes to talking to people
about God. We could go door knocking and ask the person if they go to church.
If they say no, we could tell them that they are going to burn in the pits of
hell with the father the devil if they do not change their ways. How much
further do you think a conversation like that will go on after making such a
statement? Not far. However, if you began to talk to them about God and His
plan for man and God does not anyone one to go to hell, then you are going a
much greater chance of reaching them with the truth.
I want to make one thing clear, Paul did not say let your
speech be seasoned with sugar, which coats things and keeps thing hidden. He
said let your speech be seasoned with salt, which does not hide what is before
your eyes, it blends in with it makes it easier to swallow. It also does not
mean that there will not be a time when one is to be blunt and straight to the
Jesus is perfect example of this because His speech was
seasoned with salt many times when He spoke to the opposing Jews, but there
were other times when Jesus was a blunt as He could be because these Jews were
being rebellious. Such as in:
Matthew 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up
the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor
do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For
you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you
will receive greater condemnation. 15
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and
sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son
of hell as yourselves.
just a small sample of His bluntness in this chapter.
quality of salt is that it is considered to be pure. If you will remember
earlier Jesus said: Have salt in
yourselves. So, in order to be the salt of the earth, we must be
One the most of the most important uses of salt before
the invention of freezers was using it as a preservative. For example the
fisherman would pack his fish in salt because it would make them keep much
longer. They would use the same technique with other meats as well.
As we compare this to Jesus calling us the salt of the
earth, we can see that the earth is something that will rotten and become
rancid without the salt preserving it. This tells us how important that we be
the salt of the earth. Just as a small amount of salt can preserve meat, a
small amount of Christians within a society can preserve the morals of that
society. We can see how only a few godly people could have saved Sodom and
Genesis 18:23 And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous
with the wicked? 24
"Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also
destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in
it? 25 "Far be it from
You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that
the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge
of all the earth do right?" 26
So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city,
then I will spare all the place for their sakes." 27 Then Abraham answered and said,
"Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself
to speak to the Lord: 28
"Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy
all of the city for lack of five?" So He said, "If I find
there forty-five, I will not destroy it." 29 And he spoke to Him yet again
and said, "Suppose there should be forty found there?" So He said,
"I will not do it for the sake of forty." 30 Then he said, "Let not the
Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?" So
He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 And he said, "Indeed now,
I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be
found there?" So He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake
of twenty." 32 Then he
said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose
ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for
the sake of ten." 33 So
the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and
Abraham returned to his place.
this tells us is that 10 godly people could have kept this city from being
destroyed. So, this principle should encourage us to never give up being a
positive influence on our society even if there is just a few of us. Our jobs
is to help preserve the earth with God’s righteousness.
you to think about this. In order for salt to do any good for meat it must come
in contact with it. In the same way, if we are going to be able to do any good with
our time on this earth, we have to come in contact with the world and influence
them. While it is certainly important for us to encourage other Christians, we
are must also do our part of being an influence on the lost. As Jesus says
later in His sermon:
Matthew 5:43 " You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and
hate your enemy.' 44
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good
to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute
you, 45 "that you may be
sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the
good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 "For if you love those who
love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the
same? 47 "And if you
greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even
the tax collectors do so? 48
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
we have looked at so far tell us a lot about what it means to be the salt of
the earth. Notice what else Jesus said in the latter part of our original
but if the
salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
I see this as saying that if a Christian does not uphold
the qualities as mentioned in the Beatitudes and chooses not to live for the
Lord, then he becomes like salt that has lost its flavor. He is worthless
because he cannot possibly influence anyone in the world toward righteousness
or salvation because the worldly cannot preserve the worldly.
Before I move on to our next few verses, I want to share
an interesting point from Coffman Commentary about the salt losing its flavor:
the question of salt's losing its savor, Elmer W. Maurer, research chemist with
the United States Department of Agriculture and a brilliant contemporary
scientist, made this interesting reference to this portion of the Saviour's
Salt was accepted and collected as
taxes by the Romans from the people of the Holy Land. One of the main sources
of salt for Palestinians, of course, was the Dead Sea, or Salt Sea. So
oppressive were these taxes that the people adulterated the salt with sand or
other earthy material (the salt to begin with was not our nice pure table
salt). The government purified the salt by spreading it in big vats or tanks,
filling them with water and drawing off the concentrated salt solution or
brine. All that remained was the earthy, insoluble material. Indeed, the salt
had lost its savor because it was no longer salt. It was fit to be trodden
this was not the only way that salt could lose its savor. The surface waters of
the Dead Sea, on evaporation, have a chemical salts content of about 31 percent
sodium chloride, 13 percent calcium chloride, and 48 percent magnesium
chloride, together with other impurities. The calcium and magnesium chlorides
are hygroscopic (take water out of the air) and will thus literally dissolve
the sodium chloride. A bitter tasting composition results. It was the custom to
store vast amounts of this salt in houses that had earthen floors. In time, the
salt next to the ground spoiled because of the dampness. Since it would be
harmful to fertile land because of its salt content, no man would allow it to
be thrown on his field. The only place left was the street, where it was
trodden under foot of man. Thus the Bible was proved scientifically accurate,
even in its many small details - for this was just a lone example.
Next Jesus says this:
Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set
on a hill cannot be hidden. 15
"Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand,
and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in
Light is another one of those
essential elements that everyone appreciates. I can remember one year when we
did not see the sun much for almost a month. Almost every day was cloudy and
rainy and really affected my mood. However, when the sun came out, it not only
made things brighter, it made me feel better.
This is certainly included in
this idea of being a light to the world. When you get around a Christain who is
nice and positive, he makes you feel better even if your day is not going to
well. However, not everybody appreciates the light because it exposes sin. As
Paul wrote in:
5:8 For you were once darkness, but
now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for
the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10
finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12
For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them
in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by
the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
John 3:19 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come
into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
The world is in a dark place and
many in it are like cockroaches. Anytime the light is shining they go running
for a dark place, but the world is desperate need of the light. We must never
forget that Jesus is the true source of light. A good example of this comes
John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend
it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that
all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was
sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light
which gives light to every man coming into the world.
As great as John the Baptist was,
he understood that he was only a reflection of the true light, which is Jesus.
As Jesus said:
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the
light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the
light of life."
Every Christian needs to realize
that we are all supposed to be lights. We are to be a direct reflection of Jesus.
The way we allow our lights to shine bright is by us living our lives based on
the Word of God. Being a light is not optional, which is why Jesus said:
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp
and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who
are in the house. 16
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and
glorify your Father in heaven.
understand this idea of a city being on a hill we have to back in time. In
Palestine, they would build their cities on hills for two main reasons. 1. They
did not want to waste valuable farming land. 2. It made a good way to be
protected because they could see any enemy that might come their way. When
people were travelling at night, they could always look up and see the lights
of the city so they could know where to go.
We are to be
that same way in our Christian lives. The people of the world should be able to
tell that we are Christians. If we simply blend in with the world, then how can
they see? They cannot! Jesus gives a great example by pointing out how no one
will light a lamp and then cover it with a basket because that would be
pointless kind of like having salt without any flavor.
In the same
manner it is pointless to become a Christian and then to hide the fact that you
are one. Instead, we should allow ourselves to shine brightly as that city on a
hill so that people can see Jesus shining through us. Jesus tells us how this
is done. It is through our good works. When people see the good deeds we do it
glorifies our Father in heaven. We should never be afraid to let our light
shine. As David said:
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my
light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of
my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
Though the world may hate the
light at times, it needs it because not only does it expose sin, it gives hope.
Let us never forget that we are God’s chosen people as Peter said:
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Every Christian should understand
what it means to be in the light and how wonderful it is. Yes, it can expose
the sin in our lives, but we also know that it means that we can have our sins
forgiven and that heaven will be our home. As John writes:
1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and
declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have
fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the
truth. 7 But if we walk in
the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Let us be
challenged with what Jesus has told us. Let us be the salt of the earth and the
light of the world by living our lives in such a way that we can influence
those who are around and show those who are living in darkness just how
wonderful it is to be in the light where God and His truth dwells.
was adapted in part from the following sources:
Coffman Commentary on Matthew 5
Sermon On the Mount Getwell Lectureship J.T. Marlin Chapter 10
Truth For Today Commentary The Life of Christ, 1 David Roper.
World Mission School, Inc., 2209 Benton, Searcy, AR 72143.