Followers of Jesus are to live in such a way that unbelievers are attracted to Jesus! That was my main point yesterday as I taught on Matthew 5:13-16, the very famous section about salt & light. One danger with teaching this passage is that familiarity often breeds complacency. It is easy when someone preaches on a passage that is familiar to tune out because we already know what they are going to say. Or at least we think we do.
Another danger concerning the main point of the message is that our experience tells us that Christians often do not attract unbelievers to Jesus. Maybe the problem, though, is that many who claim the name of Jesus have never truly embraced Jesus and been changed by the gospel. Maybe in our Christianity, we are just not as radical as we think we are. Maybe we are not as kind, merciful, forgiving, bold as we think we are. There are many in the church that claim to be Christians, but in reality, the only thing that is different between them and the non-believer is that they attend church on Sunday mornings instead of golfing or sleeping in. And that gives Christianity and Jesus a bad name.
But when someone comes to embrace the REAL gospel, it changes their life. It changes them so radically that they begin to influence other people for the sake of Jesus. And that is what Jesus is saying. He is saying that if you are part of the Kingdom, you ARE salt and light. Not that you should act like salt and light, but you ARE these things.
SALT - His point concerning salt was not necessarily to distinguish the different characteristics of salt. His point is found in the second part of vs. 13 that if salt loses its saltiness it becomes good for nothing. This should be a powerful indictment upon us that if the Christian loses their distinctiveness in the culture they are no longer effective to accomplish what their purpose is to accomplish. They might as well be garbage thrown out onto the street.
LIGHT - Ultimately we know that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12). As His followers, we light up the world when we are connected to Him. He is the sun which shines, we are the moon which reflects. His point in saying that we are the light of the world is that we should be shining for Him. Ultimately, vs. 16 hits the main point by saying that we should let our light shine "in such a way" that those in the world would see our good works and glorify our Father.
Let your light shine before men! Let your light shine before men! Your light is going to shine differently than my light. Same light, but the way it expresses itself as it shines out of our life will be differently. So, find out how God has made you and let it shine! And may your light shining impact the unbelieving world in which you live for the glory of Jesus Christ!
You can listen to the message by going to our church website: www.cornerstoneneo.com (Please be patient. We are in transition of changing the host of our site. Hopefully that will be done early this week. The messages will not be available until that change happens. So stay tuned).