City on a Hill – Part 2
Salt & Light
June 2, 2019
Rev. L. Kent Blanton
- Story of Tulu, an Ethiopian youth
- Tulu became a Christ-follower; experienced divine healing; became an effective witness
- Tulu attacked with a spear by Muslim extremists; miraculously recovers; over 50 people receive Christ in a community where previously there were only 4 Christ-followers
- Tulu attacked in a second incident, this time by Mohammed; Tulu dies en route to clinic
- Mohammed visited by 2 Christians in prison; after persistent encouragement and love, he becomes a Christ-follower; he is baptized along with three other prisoners
- Tulu and the two Christians who visited the prison were a city on a hill; through them the light of Jesus shattered and illuminated the spiritual darkness of over 50 people, including Mohammed, Tulu’s murderer
- If you are a Christ-follower, youare a city on a hill. How brightly are you shining?
- Hawkwood Baptist Church is a city on a hill.How brightly are we shining?
- The term city on a hillis found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 5:14
Review from Last Week (Matt 5:1-12)
- Sermon on the Mount (SM) provides practical instruction for Christ-followers about how to live life on this earth in light of the radical truth that the kingdom of heaven has arrived.
- The first words of the SM are called the Beatitudes because they contain eight statements that all start with the word blessed.
- The Beatitudes are not entrance requirements for the kingdom of heaven, nor ethical demands for personal behavior.
- The Beatitudes are a description of the kind of qualities produced in disciples of Jesus who are embracing kingdom-rule in their lives. They are qualities produced in individuals who wholeheartedly obey and follow Jesus as Lord.
- Both metaphors describe how Christ-followers will impact the world with the kingdom life they possess
- Jesus refers to his disciples as salt
- Salt had many uses in the ancient world
- Preservative – for meat and fish; no refrigeration; salt preserved the meat. Jesus could be saying that as his followers, we slow the moral decay of the broken world around us
- Seasoning – Salt is essential in human and animal diets and has been used for centuries for flavouring food. Jesus could be saying that his followers provide a God-enhanced kingdom seasoningto our world
- Agrarian – sometimes used a fertilizer in some soils or to keep manure from fermenting.Jesus could be suggesting that his followers enhance the growth of God’s work in this world.
- In all three uses, salt __________________ and _________________ what is touches
- Rather than alluding to one specific application, Jesus could have used the metaphor in a broad, inclusive sense referring to salt as a vital necessity for everyday life. (Pliny the Elder: “There is nothing more useful than salt and sunshine.”). Jesus could have been saying that his disciples are vitally important for the welfare of the world.
- Jesus speaks of salt that loses its taste (v. 13). He could be referring to . . .
- Rock formations containing deposits of sodium chloride used for packing meat and fish. After time, the salt leeched out and the rocks were disposed of. Jesus could be saying that as his followers we are either a preservative or a worthless rock!
- Salt collected from the Dead Sea by evaporation. This salt was impure because it also contained the mineral, gypsum. The salt was useless as a preservative or for flavoring. If this allusion is correct, Jesus is likely saying that impure lives make his disciples useless as preserving and seasoning agents in the world.
- A Jewish proverbial saying: “Can salt lose it’s flavor? Can a mule bear young?”Mules are sterile. The obvious answer to the proverb is “no.” If Jesus is alluding to this proverb, then he is indicating that true disciples can’t stop becoming disciples because they have been transformed with kingdom life, but disciples must remember that evidence of their transformation is demonstrated in how they live out kingdom values. Failure to demonstrate the kingdom values like those mentioned in the Beatitudes makes the disciples like tasteless salt – worthless.
- Jesus says that tasteless salt will be discarded and trampled upon (v. 13)
- If we fail to engage our culture with the kingdom life we’ve received and, instead, are apathetic, lifeless disciples, the world will ignore and reject us as ______________________
- Jesus refers to the disciples as light (v. 14)
- Likely allusion to Isa 42:6 & 49:6 – God’s suffering servant, the Messiah, would bring light to the world.
- Jesus calls himself the “light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5)
- Isa 42:6 and 49:6 also speak of Israel as brining light to the world; Paul says that as believers, have spiritually become “Israel” (Gal 6:16; 4:4-7; 28)
- Jesus calls his disciples “the light of the world (Matt 5:14)
- We are called to shine in reality, not just theoretically
- Jesus likens his disciples to a city on a hill that dispels the darkness of the night around it, and to lamps which give light to those dwelling in the houses they illuminate
- Jesus exhorts the disciples to let their lights shine before others so that others will glorify God (v. 16)
- Jesus also said that we should give to the poor, pray, and fast privately (Matt 6:3, 6, 17-18). Isn’t this a contradiction to his exhortation in Matt 5:16 to do good works that others clearly see?
- The difference is in the motivation. Privacy is commanded to avoid self-glorification, bringing attention to ourselves while doing good works publicly assumes a motivation of wanting God to look goodand others choosing to respond to his offer of kingdom life.
- The images of salt and light speak first not of what one does, but of what one _______.
- The metaphors refer to more than good deeds; they refer to our identity and character as kingdom citizens.
- Kingdom citizenship can only be embraced as a gift of grace, rather than as something earned
- Is your life saltless and void of light? Have you submitted control of your life to the king and been transformed into salt and light?
- Has the salt been leeched from your life? Has is your lamp running on “empty?” If so, it could be because you’re not in right relationship with God, because of unconfessed sin. What is he pointing out that you need to deal with today? He wants to help you, but you must choose to be honest with him, confess sin, choose to turn, and ask for his help.
- God is in the business of re-salting tasteless lives and rekindling dim lamps.
- These images also describe what we ________.
- Object lessons – salt has to mix with food and light must be exposed to darkness to have effect upon the environment. We have to engage others in relationship and friendship to have the effect of salt and light in their lives.
- We must invest in developing meaningful relationships with others as
- Individuals – Engage in conversation and connect with those in our . . .
- Work/school world
- Geographic world – i.e. neighbours
- Social world
Challenge for this week: Reach out and arrange to have a meaningful conversation with someone in one arena of your world
- Collectively, as the church
- Stampede Bar-b-q; VBS – God sometimes brings people to us
- Will you be salt and light by serving in these initiatives?
Summary & Challenge
- Youare the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world, a city on a hill. Let your light shine so that others may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.