"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" The Influence Of The Kingdom (5:13-16) INTRODUCTION 1. In "The Beatitudes" (Mt 5:3-12), we saw... a. The character of those who would be citizens of the kingdom b. The blessedness of the citizens described 2. In the final beatitude, Jesus implied the attitude the world would often display towards the citizens of the kingdom - Mt 5:10-12 a. The world would revile and persecute those in the kingdom b. The world would say all kinds of evil against them falsely for His sake c. The world would persecute them just as it persecuted the prophets before them -- Thus the influence of the world upon the kingdom would often be one of persecution 3. Jesus then proceeded to describe the opposite... a. The influence of the kingdom upon the world b. The impact the kingdom was designed to have upon those in the world [He uses two metaphors in doing so. The first, in Mt 5:13, involves the figure of salt...] I. "YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH" A. SALT HAS SEVERAL CHARACTERISTICS... 1. It is white, enhances flavor, preserves, etc. 2. Based on the context, it is probably salt's ability to enhance flavor to which Jesus refers in his illustration a. Notice: "...but if the salt loses its flavor..." b. Salt has the ability to give flavor to that which is otherwise bland c. Job mentioned this ability in Job 6:6 B. THROUGH THE METAPHOR OF "SALT"... 1. Jesus depicts the relationship of the citizens of the kingdom to the world as one of: a. Making the world palatable (bearable) to God, and possibly to others as well b. Perhaps making it possible for God to continue to bear with this world and its "distasteful" wickedness 2. The idea that the "righteous few" can make it is easier for God to forbear the many wicked is illustrated: a. In Abraham's conversation with God over Sodom - Gen 18:20-32 b. In God's dealing with Jerusalem - Jer 5:1 -- So from God's point of view, the citizens of the kingdom give the world what good "flavor" it has! C. JESUS WARNS AGAINST LOSING OUR FLAVORING ABILITY! 1. With pure salt... a. It actually never loses its flavor b. But when mixed with impurities salt can lose its ability to enhance flavor 2. We too might lose our ability to be a "flavoring agent" for the world... a. By allowing "impurities" into our lives - 1Co 15:33 b. Therefore, we need to keep ourselves from sin - Ep 5:3-7 D. IF WE LOSE OUR "FLAVOR"... 1. How are we going to be "seasoned"? (impurities prevent us from being useful) 2. We will be thrown out! a. Is Jesus teaching the possibility of losing our salvation? b. He certainly does elsewhere! - Mt 13:40-43; Re 3:15-16 [First of all, then, we are told of the relationship of the kingdom to the world FROM GOD'S POINT OF VIEW: "You are the salt of the earth." In Mt 5:14-16, we find Jesus teaching concerning those in the kingdom as to their PRIMARY FUNCTION in the world...] II. "YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD" A. USED BY GOD TO TRANSMIT HIS GLORY TO THE WORLD... 1. They are "lights" in a dark world - Php 2:14-15 2. Their purpose: to proclaim the praises of God! - 1Pe 2:9; Ep 5:8b-9 B. THEY ARE NOT A "LIGHT" IN AND OF THEMSELVES... 1. Only in the Lord - Ep 5:8a 2. Christ is the "true" or "original" light - Jn 8:12 3. Citizens of the kingdom are simply "luminaries" reflecting The One True Light, just as the moon reflects the sun - 2Co 4:6 C. THEIR TWOFOLD RESPONSIBILITY AS "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"... 1. They must be visible a. Implied by Jesus in His use of a "city" and a "lampstand"as metaphors b. Jesus therefore expects His followers to be seen by the world - e.g., Jn 13:35; 17:21 2. They must radiate (give light) a. This principle conveyed by the idea of the lamp 1) Designed to shine on a lampstand 2) Not put under a basket b. This principle explicitly stated in "let your light SO SHINE before men" -- The purpose of such visible radiation: so men may glorify the Father in heaven - e.g., 1Pe 2:11-12; 2Co 9:12-13 CONCLUSION 1. The influence and impact that the citizens of the kingdom are to have on the world can be simply stated... a. "You are the salt of the earth" b. "You are the light of the world" 2. Why make the effort to be salt and light? Because of He who is described as "your Father who is in heaven"! a. An expression which should remind us that God is both: 1) Tender (He is our "Father"; a term of tenderness) 2) Majestic (He is "in heaven") b. Such a Majestic Being, willing to be our Father, makes Him: 1) Worthy to be pleased! 2) And worthy to be praised! 3. We who claim to be the children of God, citizens of the kingdom, are we: a. Pleasing to our Father (by being "the salt of the earth")? b. Praising Him (by being "the light of the world")? If not, then may the prayer of David in Ps 51:10-15 become our own: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.