The Shining

The Shining (Matthew 5:13-16) *Verses in NKJV*

Matthew 5:13-16, “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. 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 heaven.

1. What does it mean to be Salt? 

– My dad had a heart attack at 39 years old. For most of my childhood I remember having “heart healthy dinners”. We never had salt on the table! Salt/sodium is bad for you, and bad for your heart and kidneys.

– At 36 I decided I needed to get healthy, so I wouldn’t have a heart attack too. I told my brother that, “I was cutting all sodium/salt out of my diet!” Dan told me that you really can’t do that.

– I was worried about “the white death”, and talked to my nephrologist about my concerns. I asked if I should be worried about the salt in ketchup. He said, “How much ketchup are you eating?!”

You need salt to live. “Not enough” is actually worse than “too much.” It is an essential element.

– Salt is very valuable, and used for many reasons:

– It is a great preservative and keeps meat and foods from spoiling, especially before there was refrigeration. (Prosciutto is nothing but pork, salt, and time! It’s not even cooked.)

– Salt makes EVERYTHING taste better and brings out the flavor of foods. From BBQ to salted caramel… (Ever tried chocolate covered bacon?!)

– Salt is used to kill weeds on roads, kills poison ivy, can smother grease fires, sooth bee stings, clean tarnished copper, and 14,000 other uses…

– In the Old Testament we see it also used for ceremonial offerings. 

– Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt. Their monthly allowance was called “salarium”, (“sal” being Latin for salt). This is the root of the English word, “salary”. (Like the expression, “He’s not worth his salt.”)

– I could turn each one of these examples into some spiritually deep and symbolic message, but what is most important here is the point that Jesus was trying to make when he said these words.

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.

– The exact meaning of this statement is widely disputed, but I honestly don’t understand why. It’s not a riddle or a trick question. Jesus’ overall point is actually pretty basic.

– What good would salt be if it wasn’t salty? No good. What good would Jesus’ disciples be if they ceased to be a blessing and an example for Christ? Not good to the Kingdom of God.

– Just before this Jesus told his disciples that they are blessed when they are being persecuted for His sake. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!”  Don’t use hardship as an excuse to act like a spoiled brat.

Example: When Christians use being cheated or wronged as an excuse to behave badly…

In Luke, Jesus concludes his teaching on discipleship, and bearing one’s cross, and forsaking all to follow Him, with this verse:

Luke 14:34-35, “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!”

– Again, Jesus used the example of salt having flavor in reference to being a proper disciple.

In Mark, Jesus was teaching how we should go to great lengths to avoid sin, and ends with this:

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.”

– Jesus is using the example of “salt” to be an instruction on Christian behavior.

– This is what it looks like to be salty:

– Read Romans 12:9-21

– Stop being easily offended! Stop seeking retribution!

Colossians 4:6, Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

– Using scripture as a weapon to win your arguments is akin to taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “We are here as salt of the earth, to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for him, as workers together with him.”

2. What does it mean to be the Light? 

– City lights are brighter than the stars, even if you are viewing them from space.

– Las Vegas sits at 2100ft above sea level, and its lights are visible from 8 different National Parks.

– It is the dominant cause of light pollution in Death Valley (282ft below sea level) 135 miles away.

– There are 1 Billion Trillion stars in the know universe, but only about 5,000 that can be seen by the naked eye, on the clearest night, and only one that can outshine Las Vegas. (The sun!)

Matthew 5:14-15, 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.

– Las Vegas sits in the middle of the Mojave Desert like an oasis. It can clearly be seen from space.

– Again, don’t try to make this metaphor more complicated than Jesus intended it to be.

– Think about what a “city on a hill” would be like:

– A beacon of hope that could be seen for miles. A light leading you to safety.

– A refuge from your enemies that is located in the most defensible position from attack.

– It promises community, relationship, protection, and provision.

Proverbs 18:10, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Literally, “set on high.”)

– Jesus said YOU are the light of the world. He also told us where this light we have comes from.

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.”

1 John 1:5-7, 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. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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.

Eph. 5:8-10, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

– Jesus is the light, and it is HIS light that shines through us, if we walk in his ways.

 – As Christians, we should not hide the light of Christ within us, but shine it into the darkness.

– This is what it looks like to be The Shining light:

Phil. 2:14-15, Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world

– Your behavior is not hidden. It will reflect on Jesus, for good or for bad!

Example: When I attacked Pastor Matt’s troll on Facebook and a new family left the church. He said, “I can’t believe a pastor would say those things to someone.” Context doesn’t even matter! My words in the “public square” cost the kingdom a family. It wasn’t worth it!

Eph. 4:29-32, Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

– It would have done me well to extend some of the grace that Christ had extended to me.

– Your attitudes and behavior not only reflect on Jesus, but also on your church, and THE church. Remember this before you pick up your megaphone and seek personal satisfaction.

3. The Shining of your light is so that God can be Glorified. 

– Jesus uses the examples of “salt and light” NOT to be clever, but to be clear about his main point.

– Right before he said salt and light, he said this:

Matthew 5:11-12, Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

– When you are seasoned like salt and shine like a light, even through the worst of times, you bring glory to God in the eyes of others. How you behave reflects on the God you serve.

Example: My own shifting attitude and actions during this pandemic. I have been dismissive, disrespectful, critical, rebellious, and even insulting. Not a lot of longsuffering and forgiveness. What have I told those around me, by my actions, about the God I believe in during these trying times? 

– Matthew 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

– How can you convince your co-worker that Jesus changed your life, if you still act like the world? 

– Our actions, responses, and priorities should be telling the world around us that we love and trust a merciful Savior of humanity. Not implying that our comfort is more important than our character.

1 Peter 2:11-12, Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation…. 

– Shing your light in a way that “God gets glory” begins with how we treat each other.

Col. 3:12-14, Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

– Take you faith seriously. The world is watching.

– It is a sacrifice to live for Jesus, but it can never match the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us.

Matthew 5:13-16, “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. 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 heaven.

– prayer –

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