INTRODUCTION

Jesus, on a hillside by the sea of Galilee while looking out over the people of His day, saw the corruption and the disintegration of life at every point.  People were lost, broken and craving hope.  He preached a sermon primarily for His followers but also relevant to those who were not yet followers.  This sermon has become known as “The Sermon on the Mount” and is found in the book of Matthew, Chapters 5 to7.

SALT AND LIGHT

13“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

A HISTORY OF SALT

  • There was no refrigeration in the ancient world, so salt was incredibly precious and essential for its preserving qualities.
  • Roman soldiers were paid in salt.  Our word “salary” comes from the Latin word “salarium” (Sal = salt).
  • It was said of the ancient world that the strength and power of a Nation was dependent on its salt. 
  • In the Middle Ages, salt was so expensive it was called “white gold”.
  • Right up to the 1900s, pound bars of salt were the basic currency in Ethiopia.

1. YOU ARE SALT

13“You are the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:13a (NLT)

Greek translation: “You and you alone are the salt of the earth!”  There is no alternative, there is no plan B, no other option/plan – The Church is it!

You are the ‘salt of the earth’  He never said you are the earth – We are either salt or earth.

FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF SALT

1. Salt cleanses

In Ezekiel 16:4 it talks of the practice of rubbing newborns with salt.

Saline solution is frequently used in hospitals today to clean wounds.

We are called to be a cleansing agent to the world.

2. Salt heals

The medicinal and healing properties of salt are incredible.

The Roman goddess of health was called ‘Salus’ (Sal=salt)

[16] When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. [17] The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
[18] “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,
[19] and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Luke 4:16-19 (NLT)

Salvation is just the very beginning.  Jesus has come to bring complete wholeness (sozo).  

If the Head’s (Jesus) mission is healing and restoration, then the Body’s (the Church) mission is healing and restoration.

3. Salt preserves

Salt is a preservative – rubbed into meat it prevents the meat from decaying and keeps it good to eat.

We are called to prevent moral decline, and to preserve the goodness of God in this world. The preservation of the good in our Nation is our responsibility.

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17 (NLT)

4. Salt flavours

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. 

Matthew 5:13 (TMT)

Even super-healthy people will agree that salt brings out flavour.

It only takes a pinch of salt to flavour an entire dish. It only takes a small amount of Believers in a city to influence the entire city!

Caution: Don’t be too salty! Don’t rub salt in the wounds of broken people!

PART 2: SALT BECOMING UNSALTY

13 “Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your ‘saltiness’ be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled on by others.

Matthew 5:13 (TPT)

Salt is one of the world’s most stable compounds. Virtually no natural reaction can cause salt to turn into any other compound. There is one way that salt can lose its saltiness – if other things are mixed in with it.

Historically, salt was collected from crude sources such as salt marshes. This salt contained sodium-chloride plus other components – in other words salt mixed with earth. 

We have the ability and responsibility of slowing the moral decay around us – but we will fail if we present by our lives a watered-down, insipid version of the Gospel.

SEASONED WITH SALT

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)

“I was sitting in a barber chair when a man had come quietly in to have his hair cut, and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. Before I got through with what was being done for me, I was aware that I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr D. L. Moody was in that chair.  I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular effect that his visit had brought upon the barbershop. They talked in undertones; they didn’t know his name, but they knew that something had elevated their thoughts. I felt that I left a place of worship. My admiration and esteem for Mr Moody became very deep indeed.” 

President Woodrow Wilson (USA early 1900s)

CHURCH = GIANT SALTSHAKER

We deny the salt function when we fail to mingle with people that are lost… To deny the salt function is to deny the principles of the kingdom of God. And if we as Salt don’t rub against those who have no flavor, those who are perishing, who will? 

Salt is no good if it never leaves the salt-shaker, it is only a decoration on the kitchen table.

Salt comes out of the salt-shaker when it is shaken!

CONCLUSION

  • To be salt, we do not have to be spectacular
  • To be salt, we do not have to be sensational
  • To be salt, we do not have to be successful (by the world’s standards)
  • To be salt, we just have to affect our little corner of the world.