Being Salt and Light

Posted on October 13, 2013

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The Father’s  House Church of Stockton CA – Pastor Farris Baker

Being Salt and Light

Matthew 5: 13 ¶  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. KJV

Understanding of Being Salt and Light

Does the new millennium church even really understand what it means to be salt and light to the world around us? The basics are that salt takes things that are bland in flavor and makes them come alive, flavors that were there and hid step to the surface. Light obviously dispels darkness.  Things that were confusing and uncertain are identified in light as they are brought out of darkness as either good or bad. So basic yet, the bland of our world remains so and things like right and wrong that were black and white just a generation ago have become gray areas.

The Need for Salt

Think about when you or someone special made some dish and the salt was forgotten.  Salt by its nature brings out flavors so even though the more savory and flavor specific items are in a dish, lack of salt makes the dish taste flat or even tasteless.  Yet within this dish could be many other spices and natural flavors of meats or vegetables and all their nutrients as well yet the flavor is lacking because no salt is there.  A great example of this is the hidden talents(anointings) within people, saved and unsaved alike. In a city like mine, Stockton, with almost 300,000 people, just imagine how many awesome talented people that are not just hidden from the church but the world.  Musicians, song writers, charismatic speakers, deep thinkers, strategist, and the list go on of dormant folks not being used in the kingdom of God, they just need some salt to bring out their flavor to the city.

The Need for Light

Even more so than salt, light is a no brainer, light helps any and every one see.  Just like thinking of a bland dish with no salt, now think of an experience you had where there was no light and the problems it caused you. Ever try to make it across a room in the dark that you are not sure what obstacles are in the room. My toes and shins just hurt thinking about a trip across a dark room.  Not just dangers are lurking in darkness but things we need often cannot be found because of darkness. Have you been in that storage shed looking for that box you need real bad and the flashlight batteries give out on you. Because of the lack of light things come to a standstill. Now let’s apply that to our city.  How many hidden dangers are lurking to hurt our city because of the lack of light and how many things are needed by the church of God that are hid because we don’t have enough light to find them? How many churched have all the resources they could possibly want? The probable answer is most have needs and in many cases darkness of the city or lack of light keeps resources hidden and out of our hands. This list could go on with dangers in the city and hidden resources that are out of the hands of those that could use them.

It Takes Context and Sometimes The Previous Paragraph!

The paragraph that precedes this passage about salt and light begins with what is commonly called the Beatitudes and I believe Jesus was laying foundation of what it takes to be salt and light. Most often ministers that preach or teach from this chapter would have you believe that this sermon on the mount was to a large group but verse one and two tell us that Jesus went into a mountain to get away from the crowd and began speaking when the disciples showed up. Let’s look at the previous paragraph to get what Jesus was talking about.

Matthew 5:3  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

We need to break these down and I think you will see that this is the recipe for a group of people, the church of the living God that can’t help but be salt and light to their city.

Blessed?

So what is the definition of blessed? The Greek word used in the New Testament is “makarios” and is almost always translated to blessed but a few times as happy. The dictionary definition for blessed that fits the biblical context is when good fortune comes your way. An example of this is I had a blessed day.  This statement would suggest that the day went very well, no problems arose and mostly good things took place which would make one blessed and happy.

The Poor In Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. KJV

The Message explains this well.  “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.  The first thing about being the salt of the earth and light to the world around you is knowing where you stand in relation to an awesome God. Too often we are doing things in the flesh by programs and not placing ourselves in a humble position before our Lord. This passages is basically telling us, the kingdom of heaven and its resources are yours when your spirit is in a humble place before Him. We all need to take a step back at times and look where we are at and ask how did we get here and where do we go from here, trusting only the master to take us where we need to go.

Need Some Mourning

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted KJV

We mourn at the loss of someone, even the loss a pet. Who we lost was important to use and we are touched emotionally by the loss.  We reflect on the relationship, the character, and the qualities of the person we lost.  Now all people have some issues of some sort but we mourn for what we loved about them.  The closer we were to the person and greater the relationship the deeper and longer the morning.

Jesus was not talking about mourning for people we lost but our cities. Here in Stockton we had a record year of murders last year. A level of innocence was lost for our city due to this record. There were a few choices and two most common was to mourn and pray for our city or complain and leave.  It’s pretty clear of the two, which is salt and light.  Jesus was saying that you are a city changer when you love your community and are heart broken when problems arise, no matter what they are either.  When problems come to our attention we are hurt, even wounded in our hearts because we love our community. People like this can’t help but shape the city in a positive way.

Moses Was Meekest Man

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Moses was said to be the meekest man of his generations.  The New Testament definition of meek is a mild disposition. This is a person that is steady in their pursuit of God and His call upon their life. This is a tough position in our instant world today.  People want instant everything and get impatient very quickly. We have to not become weary in doing well.  Church attendance across American is on the decline and this not only makes it tough for church leaders but those that attend as well.  The meek will keep doing those things that God has called us to do, no matter what the rest of the world does.  These meek followers, both full  time ministers and others are being steadfast salt and light to their communities.

Hungry and Thirsty Christians.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Just recently we had two guest ministers come to Stockton and minister over a weekend. Just a few years back one of them should have filled the house. Today the hunger and thirst for righteousness has diminished. Christians that attended every weekend and midweek services are getting rarer in today’s world as well as the churches  having evening and mid-week services. There is little or no demand for Sunday evening or mid-week services or should I say no hunger or thirst. As a minister, it really seems like people in general come off, often as if they have obtained an adequate level of biblical knowledge and training.  Let alone the opportunities to serve and give back. Think about a time when you were without water or food. For most of us it may be on a hike or situation like that where we didn’t take enough water or a snack. For some you may have been on a fast and everything you can think of sounds good to eat.  The hungrier you are the less picky you get.  Those people are blessed.  Many don’t go to Sunday School classes or mid-week services because they have become picky about what they eat  and they are not receiving this blessing. Remember the hungry ones are going to be the salt and light to the community.

Mercy Please!

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

When a Christian leaders falls, often the least merciful are from the church. Opps, sounds like they are not salt and light to their community. We have to be vessels of His mercy and grace, we received mercy freely, freely we must give mercy. Favor from heaven comes our way when we are ministers of mercy and our community will see it and be changed as we truly as salt and light.

Pure Hearts

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

So much of our Christian walk is about our heart.  King David had some serious failures yet he was a man after God’s heart. Having a clean or pure heart is about living His ways and when we fail putting our failures under the blood and behind us. When we live this way it says we will see God.  Other passages tell us that no one has seen God, so it is telling us that we can see His hand and will more clearly in our lives. I want to see God in everything I do even in my dreams as I sleep.

There Must Be War To Need Peace Makers

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

There is no need for peacemakers if we live in peace. Peacemakers are for times of war and division. This one is so clearly applied to the community. Divisions due to economics, politics, race, or development in a community all have need of peacemakers.  We become salt and light to our community when we show up on the scene as peacemakers.  With many controversial issues Christians too often are not peace makers but one of the opposing parties. Obviously we take stands for our Godly values but often emphasis is put on polarizing subjects and not sharing the good news which is the good news of the kingdom.

No Pain No Gain

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Not one of these was without serious commitment and effort but being persecuted is a tough position. We join the fellowship of His suffering when we are persecuted for the cause of Christ. Persecution must be in line with the scriptures as well. If we as Christians are persecuted for sharing the good news of the kingdom that is much different than be a polarizing factor on a political issue and taking some heat.  When the community sees the body of Christ sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and that we are willing to be persecuted to do so, we become some powerful salt and light.

Summary

I don’t think most of us can be all these beatitudes but as God leads us we need to be some of them and we will see our communities and cities be transformed as we live out being Salt and Light to our world.

The Father’s  House Church of Stockton CA – Pastor Farris Baker

 

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