Impacting the World: Matthew 5:13-14
First of all, let’s understand that we will never be able to make a real impact on our society through legislation, programs and committees alone. Things done in the flesh in and of itself are doomed to failure – they must be done through Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is how the early disciples turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). The problem is much of the church is too much like Lot. As Lot, our faith is personal and private – we are not really interested in impacting our society. We are only serious about our personal peace and affluence. Jesus said two things about who we are to be as His followers:
The light of the world (Mt. 5:14). Paul said we were to shine forth as light (luminaries) in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15). In doing so Peter said we show forth to the world the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus said we are not to hide this light, as so many do, but let it shine for all to see.
As the moon has no light of it’s own and merely reflects the light of the sun, so we have no light of our own and merely reflect Jesus’ light. Your light may seem dim in the midst of your other brothers & sisters, but when you get out into the darkness of the world even the dimmest light among us shines forth brightly.
While hanging in the darkness the dimmest light shines bright. We become like those we are around (1 Corinthians 15:33). In order to keep our light trim and bright we must spend time around God’s people as well. They are the ones in whom God dwells. They help us to keep our lights lit and bright. Godet said, “One torch serves to light another.”
The salt of the earth (Mt. 5:13). There are a number of things about salt that reveal to us the impact we can make on society if we will just be what God has called us to be. Here are a few interesting facts about salt:
- Salt is a preservative. It preserves what would otherwise decay. Before the days of refrigeration, people would pack meat in salt to preserve it. In the absence of salt, bacteria causes meat to go bad. Our job is to be on the meat and not just having a good time in the saltshaker (church). We have so much fun in the saltshaker that we allow the meat to go bad. Don’t get me wrong, church is not supposed to be dead and boring. We are to have a lively and fun time in church, but that is to motivate us to do our job and go outside the doors of the church to get on the meat.
- Salt stimulates growth. In Jesus’ day, farmers mixed salt with soil to enhance productivity. We are to be productive, to produce righteousness in our society, and an increase in the body of Christ by reproducing ourselves (John. 15:16). If we are not producing then we are not being the salt God wants us to be.
- Salt produces thirst. Taverns provide an abundance of salty snacks. They don’t provide them because they’re nice guys, they simply know that those snacks make people thirsty and then their customers will purchase more to drink. If we are being the salt Jesus says we are to be then the world will become thirsty for what we have and see Jesus as the only one who can satisfy their thirsty soul (John.4:13).
- Salt heals. Salt gets rid of impurities. I remember as a young child when I had a sore throat my mother would have me gargle with salt water. The church is to be a spiritual hospital that provides healing for a wounded society (Gal. 6:1; Luke. 4:18-19).
- Salt intensifies heat. My wife informed me of how instructions with some pasta’s call for salt to be added. The addition of salt makes the temperature of the water boil hotter and more rapidly. We are to boil hotter for God and turn up the heat in the world.
- Salt adds taste (Matthew 5:13). When salt is added to food it gives the food a more colorful taste and makes it less bland. Jesus said that salt can become tasteless and when it does it’s good for nothing but to be trampled under the foot of man. When salt is mixed with another substance it changes. The other substance doesn’t become salty but the potency of the salt is diminished to the point that it may not even be seen or tasted. This is why we can’t have, as our source of fellowship, the lost world. We must be in and around the world to affect it, but the lost souls of the world can’t be what we consistently fellowship with (1Cor. 15:33).
- Salt penetrates. In Indiana our roads are often salted during the winter to melt ice and we see the result in some of our older vehicles as rust eats through the body of the cars. We are to penetrate the kingdom of darkness and the hearts of the lost. If we’re not impacting our world, then something is wrong. We are not being what Jesus has called us to be. Let’s be the light and salt we are supposed to be as Jesus’ disciples. Let it also be said of us, “These that have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6).