SPIRITUAL SALT AND SPIRITUAL LIGHT
Jesus said to his first disciples "You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world."
What does it mean to be the salt and light in a spiritual context? We
will consider these two qualities about which Jesus spoke.
I. Spiritual Salt. v 13
To understand spiritual salt we need to refresh our minds about the mineral salt. You know our salt is the chemical compound sodium chloride. It is a natural element of our earth. We get salt by mining, drying salt water and through brine well. No man makes salt. It is provided by God alone. Jesus says here all believers are salt. Their relationship to Christ makes them salt and it is implied if they are not salt, they are not believers.
In the New Testament, salt was viewed as very important by the average person. Roman solders were paid in salt. It was a tradable commodity. Our phrase "he's not worth his salt" comes from this period of time. In many societies a bag of salt was valued higher than a man's life. Salt then and now is essential to life. Noting that, it is even more significant that Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth." This can be emphasized "YOU AND YOU ALONE are the salt of the earth.
A comparison of Chemical and Spiritual Salt
Chemical Salt Spiritual Salt
preserves meat, stops corruption preserves a nation
stimulate the appetite stimulates a desire for Christ
is powerful in small amounts where two or three are gathered
is powerful because it's different is powerful because it's different
postpones death postpones death
never changes corruption never changes sin
is effective when it interacts must interact
makes one thirsty makes one thirsty
St. Louis has hot humid summers. I like them very much. Occasionally on a news cast we are told to increase our salt intake because of the heat causing perspiration and evaporation of the salt in our body. While in college, I worked as a draftsman for Stylecraft Mfg. In our plant we had salt pill dispensers. Many times men were told by the company nurse to take salt pills.
Christians are salt dispensers on this earth. They alone can stop moral
decay, postpone the death of society and make it thirsty for God. Are you
spiritual salt/ How salty is our church? We must be a salt dispenser.
II. Spiritual Light. v 14
It is interesting to note that Jesus emphasized what Christians are before he pointed out what a Christian does. We are salt and we are light and when we are the salt and light we should be, we will shine to glorify the Father. If we liken it to imports and exports, there needs to be a balance of trade, We must have the import of God's salt and light to export to our fellow man.
The Lord talks here about two kinds of light. In verse 14, Christians are likened to a city which is set on a hill. May I suggest that this is the light of Christians collectively or the light of a church. This light can not be hid. The community will know about it. However, in verse 15, the lampstand light might be easily likened to the individual Christian's light. Perhaps this light can be dampened or caused to be partially hid, but this is certainly not the purpose of spiritual light.
What kind of light do you have? Do you try to hide it at all? We should seek ways that our light could shine brighter. Our church should seek ways to cause our community to know we have light that points to Christ and Christian growth.
Light is also a life sustaining force. Without light everything dies. Just as sunny Spring and Fall days entice one to get outside, so does God's spiritual light. Other contrasts are:
Physical Light Spiritual Light
explains darkness explains darkness Jn. 3:19
points the way out points the way out
reveals what's ahead reveals God
is derived is derived, therefore humble
One of the first seven deacons was named Stephen; he was stoned to death. There was a young man named Saul who stood by and watched the stoning. Later in life this Saul the Christian persecutor, became Paul the Christian persuader. No doubt the spiritual salt in Stephen's life caused Saul to question his life of darkness. When Stephen called for God to forgive those who had stoned him, Saul had to be pointed out of his darkness into the light of Christ. Then, when a great light shone on Saul's way to Jerusalem, he immediately cried out, "who art thou, Lord?"
I would like to suggest that Saul recognized something similar in the
Damascus Road light and the light he saw in the life of Stephen. We are
to individually be light and we are, as a church, to be light. It may take
many lights to help some see their way out of darkness.
III. Warning to those who are
Spiritual Salt and Light. v 15-16
Luke 14:34-35 further states that this kind of salt is not even good for the manure pile. We should carefully weigh this stern warning of our Lord and in His power keep our influence salty. Is my influence effective? Is yours effective or is it even unfit for a pile of manure?
In verse 14, Jesus warns that spiritual light can not be hid. The collective light of the community will be seen. Is it a sobering thought to you that people see the influence of this church? In verse 15, Jesus warns that it is foolish to try to hide your individual Christian light. In verse 16, we are commanded to shine, therefore I interpret this as a warning. Don't try to hide your light.
As a child in the Primary and Junior Division I learned a little chorus. Let me sing it for you, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine; This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
The theology of that song is not correct. It is not my light, but His light in me and Satan can't blow it out, but he can tempt me to hide it rather than let it shine. This week are you going to be salt and light? You can't unless you are a genuine believer. But believer, you are commanded to shine and warned about keeping a positive influence.
We invite you to make a public decision for Christ. Do it on the first
verse of our invitational hymn.
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!