“Be the salt and light!”
Today’s text is about Christian identity being “the salt and the light”. Vss. 13 and 14, “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world”.
Let’s talk about the salt, first. We all know that salt has been used throughout the centuries as a spice adding flavor. Some people even sprinkle salt on watermelon or on other fruits to bring more sweetness from them. We also know that the salt has been used as a preservative, keeping things from decaying. In the Bible, the salt symbolizes incorruptibility and permanence if we refer to the “covenant of salt” which signifies an everlasting and unchanging covenant. 2 Chronicles 13:5, “Should you not know that the LORD God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David, forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?” Psalm 89:34-37, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the word that is gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness, ……, as the sun before Me, it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” God’s covenant, God’s words do not change over time. We are celebrating Valentine’s Day today eating meals together after the service, celebrating, love between couple or husband and wife. The covenant, the promises, you couples made to one another, do they reflect incorruptibility and permanence? Sexual promiscuities, changing marital partners so very often because one cannot be faithful is being detested as it being opposite of God’s characteristics. In Ephesians, husband and wife are to live out the relationship Christ has with his church. Christ never cheated, never lied, always faithful and loved the church unto death. Do we live out Christ’s relationship with his church in our relationship with people, especially with our spouses?
Besides its preserving quality, the salt has a purifying effect on what it comes in contact with. Ezekiel 16:4 records that newborn babies were rubbed with salt to clean. We put vegetables, broccoli, and fruits, in salt-water to clean. Cleaning out fish, we use salt. Salt has cleaning, purifying qualities. Purified soul influences people around that person as long as that person does not lose his/her purity in God.
Also, salt signifies a new beginning. Elisha treated bad water supply in Jericho with salt. Salt, in the spiritual sense, cures bitterness in life. Constant bickering, fighting, cursing, complaining can be cured by salt-person’. Jesus says to us, “You are the salt of the earth!” Are we being the salt around people?
It is not optional for us to be the “salt”. It is mandatory for us to offer the life of salt to God. Salt is required in every sacrifice Israelites offered. Leviticus 2:13, “You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Salt was required in every sacrifice burned on the altar. We as a living sacrifice to God, we need to offer us with salt, –purified, the new beginning, undefiled, incorruptible, unchanging, permanent.
|Secondly, Vs. 14, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world!” Light illuminates what was once dark; it reveals things that were hidden. We are to be the brilliant light to the confused and dark world we are living in. In order for us to understand clearly “the light” we need to be, we have to understand the meaning of putting the light on the lampstand in vs. 15.|
In Exodus 25:31, the lampstand was to be made of pure gold which was the most valuable of all metals (Psalm 119:127; 19:10). Gold is known as being “tested by fire” and is purified. Likewise, we have to be purified out of testing and refining of the fire of God. The true people of God are those who came out of the “fire” and purified (Zechariah 13:7-9; Job 23:10, Number 31:23). Is there anyone who is being in the fire, tried and tested in God? Be happy, you are becoming a true person of God!
In Exodus 27:20-21, the light on the lampstand was to give forth light day and night in the Holy place. The light on the lampstand being the only source of light in the Holy place, it points directly to Christ as being the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). Jesus is the “true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9) and the only way anyone can come to the Father (John 14:6). Therefore, we have to proclaim this light by being the light shining the light of Christ, not worldly light.
In Revelation 1:20, “seven lampstands are seven churches”. The lampstand symbolizes the church. We need to put our light on the church, –walking together, growing together, and spreading together as a community of faith. The Christian life is never individualistic. We grow together. Before we come to Christ, we lived individually separated from other people, but when we come to Christ, we find ourselves in the community of faith, in which we practice, repentance, correction, forgiveness, and restoration of love amongst the members of the community of faith. One of my colleagues at the hospital shared a story happened a week ago. One of her church members one day asked her to pray for his wife at home, so she did. After the prayer, he grabbed her hands and asking for forgiveness. He told her that he was a hardcore racist being raised in Alabama while he was growing up. He confessed that he was one of those who shouted and yelled while throwing rocks and dirt at Afro-Americans who were marching with the civil rights movement leaders in the 60’s. He used to spat at black people. He asked her in tears whether she could forgive him. She said, “Well, I can forgive you, but did you ask God for forgiveness?” He said, “Yes, I did so many times but the peace of mind I was seeking for I could not have, so I am asking your forgiveness in person, as a black person. Would you, please, forgive me?” To that, she said, “I forgive you and it is time for you to forgive yourself!” At that, he broke out in tears and hugged her; his wife cried and my colleague cried. They all shed tears, —tears of repentance, tears of forgiveness, tears of reconciliation, joy, and happiness. In the community of faith, while walking together and growing together, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation happen.
Lastly, vs. 20, our righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, otherwise, we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. THE PHARISEES and Scribes were known as people teaching and knowing the right thing, but not doing what they were teaching. In other words, they were hypocrites who looked beautifully righteous on the outside, but on the inside, they were spiritually dead. (Good preaching missionary/pastors watching pornography) This should help us understand the words of the Lord in Matthew 5:20, our righteousness must be real and sincere, not a sham and hypocritical.
We have to remember that our own attempts to be righteous by our own works would be nothing but empty gesture, “filthy rags” in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Jesus is the only way for us to be righteous before God, by putting our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior! Amen and amen!!