Salt & Light

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Welcome to week 2 of this seven week series, The Sermon on the Mount, where we will be covering the sermon that Jesus gave from a mountainside as recorded in the gospel of Matthew.
Last week we started it off by covering the conclusion, the ending, because in that conclusion Jesus made a very important point that is extremely important to remember throughout this series, and so I will recap it every single week.
Let’s take a look:
Matthew 7
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
And we learned last week that Jesus is not suggesting that the things he just covered (which we are about to cover) in the long sermon on the mount are a list of things we should all aspire to do and be so that we will be wise and have our house (or life) built on the rock and not have it come crashing down.
But rather he was indicating the difference between those whose foundation is in the Rock – which is Jesus Christ himself, and those who have their foundation in the shifting sands of self wisdom and popular opinion. Those who have their foundation in Christ will be safe from the storm that is the final judgment, and those who do not will not. That’s the only difference as far as the storm is concerned.
But the other difference will be in how we behave. And Jesus says that those of us with our foundation in Him, the Rock, are wise and will therefore listen to what he says and obey.
And the final concept that is important to remember:
REMEMBER
OBEDIENCE is an attitude of the heart that says I will pre-decide to be and do what God asks of me, no matter what.
 It is an attitude that results in action, but it is an attitude of the heart first. And as I said, last week, an attitude of obedience is one that approaches God’s Word pre-deciding to do or be whatever it says. Because we recognize that he is all knowing, and all wise, and we are not.
So, let us today, before we go any further, do just that. Will you pray with me?
Father, we are your servants. We have gladly accepted your salvation and forgiveness, and we gladly make you our Lord and master. Enlighten us with your Word today so that we may know the right way to live and empower us to do your will not our own. Amen.
Now, if you actually have not accepted Jesus as your personal savior and made him lord of your life, you always have that opportunity.
Romans 10:9
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
If you truly believe that, then you can do that any time you like. It doesn’t have to be at the end of a service with a prayer led by the pastor. You can do it right now in your seat, or in your car on the way home, or in the shower tomorrow morning. The only location that matters is that it happens in your heart. But I encourage you to do it sooner rather than later.
But for now, let’s get into God’s Word together!
We will pick it up at the beginning of the sermon in chapter 5 of Matthew.
It begins with what are called the Beatitudes. Beatitude come from the Latin term “Beatitudo” which means “happiness.” Because that is what the Greek word (makarios) translated as “blessed” really means. It means happy, fortunate, to be envied.
And so here, Jesus begins with a list of ways to be happy. Or rather what kind of people ARE happy.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Now, if you’ve never read these before, or even if you have, it can be quite confusing how it is that happiness comes from mourning, being poor in spirit, and being persecuted. But again, these are Jesus’ words, so they must be true despite our feelings about it.
And as is always the case, there is much more to be understood about this seemingly paradoxical list. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Does it matter why we mourn? And so on.
Well, I’m not going to go in depth with these today because like I said, 7 weeks is really not enough time to cover the whole Sermon on the Mount. But in January, for the whole month, I will be doing a new series titled “The Pursuit of Happiness” and you can be sure that these will be in that.
For now, let me just quickly give you some insight on a few of these. (I’ve commented on each one in my notes that you can access on our website)
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
This is not poor in the wallet. It has nothing to do with wealth. It is poor in spirit, which ultimately means a humble person. But even more than that,  it is those who recognize their own spiritual poverty apart from God. Blessed or happy is the person who realizes that they are nothing without God, because that is step one to accepting Christ and the kingdom of heaven is yours!
Blessed are those who mourn.
This is not just general mourning like over the loss of a loved one or from not getting your way. This is specifically the mourning that comes when you become poor in Spirit and realize the wretchedness of your own sin. David exemplified this kind of mourning when he finally confessed his sin with Bathsheba. It’s the kind of sadness that comes when you recognize just how wrong you have been and that your actions have caused serious pain on another, and in this case on Jesus, the Son of God who died on the cross for that sin. The blessedness comes when you realize that because Christ did that, your sins are forgiven never to be remembered. It is a blessing to fully embrace the fact that you don’t have to pay for that sin yourself.
Blessed are the meek.
Meekness can also be translated as gentle. It doesn’t mean that you are a wallflower and afraid to hurt a fly. It is a spirit like the first two in that you recognize your low state, but that you also recognize just how powerful and majestic God is and you have absolutely no room to boast or be proud. It’s really what Paul refers to as a “sober judgment” about yourself. Neither thinking too highly or too lowly, but resting on your identity in CHRIST as your source of significance.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
This one is self explanatory. It is a passionate desire to live your whole life for God’s glory and to do His will above all else. But you won’t have this kind of hunger or thirst until you can identify with the first three. You see this list is a progression.
Blessed are the merciful.
This is a characteristic of having genuine love and compassion for other people, not for self benefit, but for their sake. A merciful person is a giver and not a taker. A merciful person is a forgiving person. This is not something you can try to be. Like these others, this is something you become, the more you become like Christ.
Perhaps you are seeing now, how Jesus is not describing a checklist of things to do to be happy. He’s describing the internal path that we must take as human beings in order to obtain true happiness. Not the fleeting happiness of the world, but the enduring inner happiness or joy that only comes with knowing Christ with your whole soul.  The Beatitudes are describing this experience.
Blessed are the pure in heart.
This is exactly what you’ve heard me talk about a few times. Put simply, this is doing it right. This is being all in for God. Not double minded. Not trying to have your way and God’s way at the same time. This is the person who in their deepest being truly does put God first in everything and does nothing out of any motive other than to serve the will of God. This status brings the blessedness: they shall see God!!  I imagine few of us ever reach this point 100% in this body, but I long for the day in heaven when this is true of all of us.  For now, we must begin where we are and just daily, hourly, minutely, secondly surrender our thoughts and hearts to God.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
This is not referring to those who make peace as in the opposite of conflict, but ultimate peace with God. Both for themselves and for others. These are the evangelists, who with their lives they live at peace with God through Jesus Christ and because of their new nature and obedient heart also bring others to that same peace.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
It’s hard to imagine persecution as bringing happiness. But the happiness is not in the persecution itself, it’s in the knowing that you have been such a faithful servant of God that the world that hates HIM also hates YOU. In other words, you resemble Christ so much in your character, word, and deed that you get the same treatment he did. Paul spoke of this:
2 Corinthians 4
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Basically, the gist of the beatitudes is that true happiness does not come from what the world offers. True happiness only comes when we have a right relationship with God.  There’s a lot more to it than that, but I don’t have time to cover it today. Please check out my notes online and stay tuned for January’s “The Pursuit of Happiness”.
Now, let’s get to the next section which is what I really wanted to focus on today.
After the beatitudes, Jesus gives two illustrations that you are probably all familiar with if you’ve been in church for any amount of time.
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Not salt and pepper, but salt and light.
Let’s talk about salt first.
Jesus says
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
What is he talking about? How are we like salt?
Well, there are several properties of salt that Jesus could be referring to that can be applied to His followers.
Salt has always been a valuable in human society, often much more so than it is today.
  • During a period of ancient Greek history it was called theon, which means divine.
  • The Romans held that, except for the sun, nothing was more valuable than salt.
  • Often Roman soldiers were paid in salt, and it was from that practice that the expression “not worth his salt” originated.
  • Salt was frequently used in the ancient Near East to bind a covenant, somewhat in the way an agreement or contract is notarized in our day. When the parties to a covenant ate salt together before witnesses, the covenant was given special authentication.
In numerous ways Jesus’ hearers—whether Greek, Roman, or Jewish—would have understood salt of the earth to represent a valuable commodity.
But how are we to be like salt?
Some suggest it’s the flavor. Salt makes things taste better. So, Christians are to add divine flavor to the world.  Just as many foods are tasteless without salt, the world is drab and tasteless without the presence of Christians. Perhaps….
Others suggest that because salt stings when placed in a wound, that Christians are to sting the world, prick its conscience, make it uncomfortable in the presence of God’s holy gospel. This also has some merit…
Another aspect of salt is that it creates thirst.  Perhaps God intends for His people to SO live and testify before the world that others will be made more aware of their spiritual dehydration and danger. A person may see our peace in a trying circumstance, or our confidence in what we believe, and thereby be persuaded to try our faith.
I believe that all of these analogies have some validity.
 
  • Christians are to be pure; they should add a certain attractiveness to the gospel;
  • they should be true to God’s Word even when it stings;
  • and their living should create a thirst for God in those who do not know Him.
But I believe the primary characteristic Jesus emphasizes is that of preservation.
Salt is used for the PRESERVATION of food.
Christians act as the MORAL PRESERVATIVE of the world;
they retard moral and spiritual spoilage.
A good evidence of this is that, according to Scripture, when the church is taken out of the world at the rapture, it will take only seven years for the world to descend to the very pits of hellishness.
As God’s children and as the temples of His Holy Spirit, Christians represent God’s presence in the earth. We are the salt that prevents the entire earth from degenerating even faster than it is. And as you can clearly see in just our own country, the further away from God that we become as a society, the more depraved and dangerous things become. Imagine if there were NO true Christians in this nation or the world!
As Christians we ARE the salt of the earth. Notice that Jesus did not say that we SHOULD be the salt of the earth, but that we ARE the salt of the earth.
In fact we are the ONLY salt of the earth.
We are the ONLY thing keeping humanity from going the way of Sodom and Gomorra and the people of earth before the flood where the “only inclination of mans heart was only evil all the time.” And if you don’t believe that, just look at the middle east and other parts of the world that have whole-sale rejected Christ.
It is our devotion to God and His scriptures and His Holy Spirit indwelling us that keeps us INDIVIDUALLY from such depravity and COLLECTIVELY we keep the rest of the world from going TOO FAR. From literally rotting with moral decay. As the salt of the earth, we slow that process down by preserving the ways of God in our society.
But salt is only good at preserving when it maintains its saltiness.
Jesus said:
But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
How does salt lose its saltiness? Well, it doesn’t fade over time. That’s why it’s such a valuable commodity. No the only way that salt loses its key characteristics is if it gets CONTAMINATED by other minerals.  When it ceases to be pure salt.  And this is how a Christian loses the ability to be salty as well.
With great responsibility there is often great danger.
  • We cannot be an influence for purity in the world if we have compromised our own purity.
  •  
  • We cannot sting the world’s conscience if we continually go against our own.
  •  
  • We cannot stimulate thirst for righteousness if we have lost our own.
  •  
  • We cannot be used of God to retard the corruption of sin in the world if our own lives become corrupted by sin. 
To lose our saltiness is not to lose our salvation, but it is to lose our effectiveness and to become disqualified for service.
Basically, when we look and act and think just like the rest of the world – then how can we have any influence or make any difference?
Jesus says that we are THE salt of the earth. There is no other salt. If we aren’t salty, then no one will be. And it will be hell on earth.
In fact, can’t you see it already beginning?  Why?
 
Because the church, the body of Christ, is quickly becoming more and more contaminated by false doctrines and lies so clever they sound like the truth.
 
Christians are looking everywhere but the Word of God for their direction. They are following their feelers. Their self wisdom and popular opinion instead of staying grounded in the Rock.
Don’t do that.
 
Don’t allow yourself to be contaminated.
 
Bury your head in God’s Word and turn off anything that is contrary.
 
Most Christians are completely immersed in the culture and only dabble in God’s Word.
 
We spend hour upon hour feeding our brains everything that the World is selling, and expect a 40 minute message once a week to be enough to keep us grounded. Well, it won’t.
I challenge you to do something drastic. Go on a diet. But not a food diet. A brain diet.
That’s how you stay pure. Watch your brain diet.
Set a time frame. I recommend a month, where you turn off ALL influences that are not actively teaching you about God. Spend a month soaking your brain in the things of God. I do it by listening to preaching all week long. Every time I am in my car I am listening to a podcast of one of a few different preachers that I like. Aside from that, and on top of studying for my sermons, I have a daily bible reading that I do with a friend. We hold each other accountable.  That’s a good way to have a constant stream of God’s Word into your head.
But it’s not enough to just add the vegetables. You have to remove the junk food too.
I also don’t watch TV or listen to talk radio. If I do listen to the radio, it’s a Christian station. In other words, I have removed two significant sources of brain junk food. Now, I’m not completely detached from the world as you might imagine. I’m on Facebook quite a bit, and pretty much everything that’s happening in the world is on there. Trending stories. Shared news stories etc. I haven’t completely removed myself from the world because how else could I influence it. But in order to be salty, to be pure, I keep the primary flow into my brain coming from God and not the world. If you are just the opposite, then guess what your brain is made of, and guess how salty you are.
So, I challenge you – maybe start this week and take a month where the only brain food you eat is from God.
OR, if completely unplugging from the World seems impossible – just give equal time. If you watch an hour of TV, read your bible or listen to preaching for an hour. For every hour you spend feeding your brain junk, ALSO spend an hour feeding your brain the good stuff.
I promise two things: 1. It will be hard at first, but I also promise
#2 that you will be no-kidding amazed at what a difference it makes in your thought life, and how much more effective you will be as the salt of the earth at the end of that month. You may not want to go back… So, I challenge you to try it. 
Because being salt is not optional. You ARE the salt of the earth. The ONLY salt of the earth. The responsibility is ours. The world is literally depending on us, even if it doesn’t know it.
But we are not only the preserving force of salt.
We are also the light of the world.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Actually, you and I are not the light. Jesus is the actual light of the world.
John 8:12
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
John 9:5
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
That second mention he makes an important distinction. While he was in the world, Jesus was the one and only light of the world. But once He left the earth, guess who holds the light now? 
US. YOU. ME.
Doesn’t the Spirit of Jesus – the light of the world – reside in each of us that call him Lord? Therefore, Jesus is correctly saying to you and to me that YOU are the light of the world. Really we are lights like the moon is a light. We are not the light ourselves, but we reflect the light. We are His reflectors. This is part of becoming like Him in character.
And why is this light necessary? Because the world is in darkness.
In our suburban industrial culture, we hardly know what darkness really is. We have electric lights everywhere. You have to travel pretty far to try to find a place where there are no artificial lights. Nicole and I once tried to do that on a date night just to look at the stars. So, we drove down and around Pungo with no luck.  Even if you do drive away from the city to where there are no street lights – the glow from the city itself will still obscure the sky a bit.
This is what Jesus is talking about. As long as we reflect Jesus, as long as we allow ourselves to shine, we become like that city on a hill that is all lit up so that it is hard to find a place where our light does not reach.
And why is that important? Because in the absence of any light is absolute darkness.
And guess what happens in absolute darkness.
True human nature and human depravity runs rampant. It literally becomes the blind leading the blind because NO ONE can see.
In fact, we are going to try an experiment and see how dark we can make it in here. It probably won’t be pitch black, but it might be close.
Two points to illustrate with this:
1. What could you get away with in this kind of darkness? Assuming that the lights would never come back on and you were stuck here, and we weren’t church people…  I won’t go any further and just let your human imagination answer that question. How different would it be if just one light was on? Does it change things when you know that you can be seen? Of course.
So, the light, like the salt, also acts as a moral preservative, but only when it’s shining.  But even more than that:
2. What if while all the lights are off a fire alarm goes off, and let’s assume for a moment that you actually don’t know where you are in the room or where the exits are. What would happen? How would people find their way out? How successful would you be?
But what if there is one light. And the person with the light, because they have the light, they know the way out. They could lead the others out. The light carrier shows those in the darkness the way out of the darkness.
TURN LIGHTS BACK ON
And so that is what we are. We are the light in the darkness. We are the representatives, the reflectors of Jesus on this earth. Without his light, the world would be in complete darkness. And just to be clear we are talking moral darkness AND eternal darkness.
The light keeps IMMORALITY in check.
As long as the Spirit of Christ shines through Christians, immorality is still held in check. Trust me, it’s not as bad as it could be.
AND as long as we let Christ shine through us, there is hope for the lost.
They don’t know truth. They think they do, or they think that it doesn’t matter. But they are lost and do not know the way out.
Only the light can show the WAY OUT of the darkness.
And the light MUST show the way out, because when the world is burned up as is promised throughout Scripture – those who are still lost in the darkness will burn up with it.
Yes, it’s that serious.
This is why Jesus tells us to shine. Because there are lives hanging in the balance. Because if we don’t shine. Who will? Or rather, who CAN? Remember, being the light is not something we can aspire to or try to be. We ARE the light of the world, the ONLY light of the world. If WE don’t shine there is darkness. Period.
So, how do we shine?  Put simply, we let Jesus shine through us.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
In the same way….in the same way that you put a lamp on a stand to give light to the whole house. In the same way that you DON’T put it under a bowl. Let your light – the light of Jesus – SHINE through you before others!
And what does that look like? Good deeds. 
What are good deeds?
The good deeds that faith produces. The fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. We’re not talking about doing one or a few of a set list of actions called goodlike giving to charity or helping old ladies cross the street. He’s talking about living out the faith, of reflecting Jesus in your character.
This is the same thing we talked about last week.
  • When your foundation is in the ROCK,
  • when you have the Spirit of Christ inside of you,
  • when you are a new creation,
  • when you are no longer a slave to your sin nature,
  • but obligated to your spirit nature –
  • you will do good deeds as you obey God.
Jesus is saying, don’t hide that. Live this way out loud, in the world, in plain site. Let your light shine. Don’t hide it.
So, why DO we hide it?
Because we are afraid.
It’s a lot easier to just fit in and hang out in the dark like everyone else. Being a light in the darkness makes you different. It makes you noticeable. It can also make you a target.
Jesus predicted that:
John 3:20
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
In other words. The world of darkness will hate you, just as it hated Jesus. The people of the world want it to stay dark, so they can live however they want to live. So they can make up their own rules. So they can be accountable to no one.
The world HATES the light because it EXPOSES SIN.
In fact, it exposes all of us!!
Hebrews 4
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Do you know who the Word of God is? Jesus. It’s not just the Scripture. It’s not just this book. They are linked. It’s a mystery, but the LIGHT of the world is also the WORD of GOD.  And as you can see, it exposes us all.
This is why we are afraid to shine. Because it exposes our own selves, AND it exposes those around us – and no one likes to be exposed. But remember it’s not YOU or ME exposing anyone, it’s the LIGHT, the WORD OF GOD that exposes. And if we shy away from letting that light shine on ourselves or shine through us – then we are depriving the WORLD of the LIGHT THAT SAVES THEM.
So, yes they will hate us as we shine. But it doesn’t change the fact that we must. Because LIVES ARE IN THE BALANCE.
AND not all will hate.
What does Jesus say:
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Some will see your light and turn to God because of it.  If you and I don’t shine – then those people will never see the light and be saved.
Peter echoed this:
1 Peter 2:11
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
My friends, we are indeed foreigners and exiles in this world. Jesus told us that we are not OF this world, but we ARE IN this world for the purpose of being salt and light.
And what Peter predicts is absolutely true. The world will accuse us of doing wrong.  They do it already. They call our beliefs, which come straight from the Word of God – wrong, and even hateful.  And trying to fight back with words will not convince them otherwise.  But living as the salt and light just might.
So, how do we do it? How, on a daily basis, can you and I maintain our saltiness and let our light shine through? Preacher, can you give me some step by step instructions? Can you give me a list of things I need to do?
Well, the people of Israel made a similar request back in the day when God was hounding them about not living right…
Micah 6:6-8
6 What can we bring to the Lord?
    Should we bring him burnt offerings?
Should we bow before God Most High
    with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands of rams
    and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
    to pay for our sins?
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.
These people were exasperated and asking God what He wanted from them. And they listed all these extreme, external, check-in-the-box, surface-level, bandaid-like actions.
A modern equivalent would be:
What do you want from me God?
  • Should I be at church every time the doors are open and participate in everything they offer?
  • Should I be a part of every Life Group?
  • Volunteer for every team?
  • Should I give you 10% of my income?
  • How about 50% or 90%? Would that make you happy?
  • Should I read the whole bible every day and pray for hours?
  • Should I sell all I have, give it to the poor, and go to Africa as a missionary?
  • Would that make you happy?
And God is saying, No.
  • I don’t want all these false displays of honor.
  • I don’t want you to try to appease me.
  • I don’t want you to follow a checklist of dos and don’ts.
  • What I want is your heart.
  • Do what is right. Love Mercy. Walk humbly with your God.
You’ve chosen the Rock as your foundation. You’ve made Jesus your Lord. Now, just follow Him. Walk humbly with Him. Stop trying to have your way and His way at the same time. It can’t be done. You can’t serve two masters.
Here’s a good visual. Most of you have probably walked with a child before, holding their hand. There’s two ways that can go. One way is when the kid walks along with you in the same direction. They are following you. You are leading, and they are following. Where you go, they go, without a fight.  Their will is subject to yours. They are doing what is right.
The other way is maybe more typical in that the kid is trying to do their own thing and often times it’s the exact opposite of what you are doing. So as you grip their hand and drag them along they are all over the place and probably fall down a lot. On the outside they LOOK LIKE they are “following” you but on the inside they are anything but. That’s not following. That is being dragged against your will.
But guess what…God doesn’t do that. He lets you do your own thing. He won’t drag you in the right direction. He wants us to walk with him, humbly, of our own free will.
 
He wants your HEART to lean in HIS direction.
So, as always, it comes down to a choice. And this is the KEY CONCEPT in your notes.
But the choice is not will I BE salt, will I BE light. If you are a Christian, you already are.
You ARE salt, and you ARE light.
The choice is, will I take this seriously? Will I treat Jesus as a golden ticket and live how I want to live, or will I treat Him as Lord and actually follow Him, walk with Him, do what is right?
Will I be salty – or will I let myself be contaminated and become useless for the kingdom?
Will I let my light shine, or will I hide the light and try to blend in?
You and I ARE the only salt of the earth, You and I ARE the only light of the world.
But being SALTY and SHINING are up to you.
My friends, the world is depending on us.
 
JESUS is depending on us.
 
He gave us this great privilege and responsibility.
 
What will we do with it?
 
What will YOU do with it?
 
What will you decide today that will change not only your tomorrow…but the tomorrow for you, the ones you love, and the whole world?
 
It’s Your Move.
Let’s Pray

You know…one of the fears of a pastor is that all the effort and energy that is poured into a message will have zero effect. That the words, once uttered, and though recorded and placed on the internet, are lost to the ether making no more difference in your life than who wins the football games later that day. Sure, the people will listen, and nod their heads, and maybe even feel a bit encouraged, challenged, or convicted…but will that survive the trip to the parking lot? Will it make it home with them? Will this week be any different than the week before, or will this message just end up on the shelf next to the dusty Bible like all the others?
That’s a fear that pastors share.
My hope and prayer is always that this is not the case with you. My hope and prayer is that you will experience the same kind of life changing enlightenment that I do every time I study for a message. I hope and pray that you will take that conviction, that encouragement, that challenge and allow it to change you. That you will take it home with you. That you will sit down with your spouse or your kids or all by yourself and look over the notes you took and make some decisions that will effect tomorrow. I pray that you will read these scriptures for yourself and ask God to show you how to do it. How to be salty. How to let your light shine. I pray that you will ask God for the courage to be different. I pray that you will set it in your heart that you will not spend another day hiding your light or contaminating your salt because you truly realize that the world you live in is depending on you and that if you don’t shine for them, they won’t have light. And if you don’t keep your saltiness, instead of you lifting them up, you will let them drag you down.  I pray that you realize that this is not a checklist to follow. It’s an attitude of the heart, and I pray that YOU PRAY and ask God to create in you a pure heart. I pray that you give Jesus your whole life and walk humbly with your God. I pray that you find out what BLESSED really means.