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You Are the Light of the World B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2024 3:00 am

You Are the Light of the World B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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February 26, 2024 3:00 am

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There's one single reason why you should stay Today, John MacArthur will give you practical advice for how to stand strong and be the light of the world that Jesus talks about in Matthew 5.

The title of John's series, How to Live in a Dying World. And with that, here's John with today's lesson. Let's look at Matthew chapter 5, verses 13 through 16. Here our Lord in His Sermon on the Mount directs His attention away from the multitudes to the group of disciples gathered closest to Him and He says to them, Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt of lost its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is thereafter good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel but on a lampstand and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. We are salt and we are light to reach the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ and this is the vital message contained right here in our Lord's words. He has followed up the beatitudes. In the beatitudes He says, here's the character I expect you to have and if you have this kind of character, then you're a child of My kingdom. And if you have this character and you are a child of My kingdom, here's your job, sweep through the world as salt and light and make a difference. Jesus is calling on us, as we saw in our last study, to influence the world for His glory, to find the lost before it's too late. And the key is in what's gone on in the verses before. Having magnificently come to know the principles and the qualities that render us effective for God, that bring us into His kingdom, that make us distinct from the world, He now tells us move out into the world with that marvelous distinctiveness and find those that are lost and bring them to Christ. The supreme matter in the kingdom is character.

Character is the issue. The character described in the beatitudes makes it possible for us to affect the world. The emphatic is here. We are the only salt and we are the only light the world will ever know. So you notice that the final beatitude is transitional, don't you? The final beatitude is in verse 10, blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

Verse 11, blessed are you when men shall revile you, persecute you, say all manner of evil against you falsely. In other words, the world is going to hate us and the world is going to persecute us. We expect that to happen. We don't expect it to be easy and I believe it will get harder and harder all the time.

It isn't going to be easier. I think the price is going to be paid. I think that just because the world makes it tough on us, we don't crawl in a hole, we don't keep our mouths shut, we don't hide. We come right into verse 13, we are salt in the world and we are light in the world. Now to better understand this concept, I told you last time there are four great truths you need to grip. First the presupposition, then the plan, then the problem and then the purpose. The presupposition is the darkness and decay of the world. The plan is the dominion of the disciples.

We've got to move in the world and dominate it. Notice in verse 13, ye are the salt. Verse 14, ye are the light.

Verse 16, let your light so shine. What is God's plan to deal with this dark and decaying world? His plan is us. It's us. There isn't anybody else.

He isn't going to be given to anybody else. The presupposition, the dark and decaying world. The plan, the dominion of the disciples as they dominate the world by their influence as salt and by their message and content as light. Thirdly, the presupposition and the plan also includes a problem. There is a problem folks. If the presupposition is the darkness and decay of the world, if the plan is the dominion of the disciples, then the problem is the danger of failure. And there is that danger. There is that danger.

With this tremendous responsibility, there is an attendant danger. We are salt and light, but we need to be warned because if sin enters our lives and if we don't walk in the Spirit, then we will stop being effective as salt and we will be useless as light. Look at verse 13 again. We are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, what good is it? Non-salty salt, folks, has absolutely no use. It is thereafter good for nothing but to be cast out, to be trodden underfoot of men.

Verse 15, neither do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. The point is this, salt is only good when it's got saltiness and light is only good when it's conspicuous. There's no place for a secret disciple.

There's no place for a secret Christian. Let's look at the concept of salt. And our Lord says the danger here is that salt could lose its saltiness. Moraino in the Greek, it means flat and tasteless.

It could become flat and tasteless. Now there have been many explanations of this. Some say, well, you know, the salt we have today doesn't lose its saltiness, and that for the most part is true, but in that day it wasn't nearly as refined. In fact, the salt from the marshes and the lagoons and the rocks around the Dead Sea, which by the way was a tremendous and still is a tremendous repository for salt.

You can go to the Dead Sea and just lay flat on your back and you'll just bob there, it's incredible. And we've done that. But the salt there is just in abundance. But it easily acquired in that time and still, because of its impurity, a stale or alkaline taste because it was mixed with gypsum, which was also there. And so that kind of salt would lose its capability to salt and it would become very, very alkaline, very stale and so forth. And the only thing it was good for was to throw out on the road where people walked on it. They didn't throw it on the field because it would kill everything growing there.

So they threw it in the road where all that would happen would be trampled. By the way, natural salt is impure in many cases and frequently mixed with other chemicals can become unsalty. William Thompson in his classic book called The Land and the Book, which deals with the nation of Israel, tells about a merchant who rented several homes in which he stored salt. The merchant, however, forgot to cover the dirt floor before he put the salt down and he simply unloaded the salt on the dirt, says Thompson. When he returned later, he discovered that his salt had lost its flavor from being next to the earth.

The whole supply he threw into the street where men walked on it. So we know that the kind of salt they had at that time had the capacity to lose its saltiness. And that is what our Lord is alluding to, something that they would no doubt understand that salt could lose its saltiness.

I just want you to understand that. In Luke 14 34 it says, "'Salt is good, but if the salt have lost its savor, with what shall it be seasoned? It's neither fit for the land nor for the dung hill, but men throw it out.'" So it's the same statement there in Luke. Now listen, we don't need to argue, and it's amazing how many commentators argue that Jesus was wrong here because salt can't lose its saltiness. But if anybody knows about salt, He does.

Like He knows about everything else. So we just find another explanation as I've given to you, which is very simple. But what He's saying here is not that you lose your salvation. He's not saying after you're not careful you're going to lose your saltiness.

No. What He's saying here is you'll lose your influence, right? And if sin enters into a Christian's life, it can lose its influence. Sin is in your life, you have no influence.

You can't retire the corruption of the world, you're in it. You can't be purity against an impure background, you're impurity too. You can't be stinging in the wounds of other people's sin because you've got your own. You're not going to create a thirst in somebody for God because there's nothing there to make them thirsty for what you've got, you're just like them in behavior. So the point here is not that you lose your salvation, but like 1 Corinthians 9, 27, you become a castaway, you forfeit your influence, you lose your impact. Christian loses his saltiness, it's a sad situation.

You can lose it. You just be sinful at work and you'll lose your reputation. You be sinful at school, listen to the things people say that aren't right. Go along with the dirty talk or whatever.

Be involved in the things they do you know aren't right. And you'll lose your saltiness. You'll make no contribution to retard their corruption.

You'll make no pure statement against an impure background. You'll create no thirst in anybody for God. You see, the point is God needs your influence and you are to be salt and to be salt you've got to stay away from that which corrupts you. You know, they say that perfectly pure salt never loses its flavor. I like that.

Want to know something? None of us is perfectly pure salt. We won't be until we get to glory, right?

As long as we're in this life, we're going to have impurities and the potential of losing our saltiness is always there. God help us to so live the kind of life that will influence the world. Let's talk about light for a minute. He says a light?

It's something set on a hill. It's something put on a lampstand and it gives light to everybody in the house. You certainly don't light a lamp and stick it under a peck. It's literally a measure about a peck-shaped basket. You don't stick it under a basket. You don't take a lamp and put it under a basket.

That's absolutely absurd. The little lamps they use, I don't know if you've seen those little terracotta lamps. They have a little spout on one end, a little handle on the other end and a little floating wick in the middle and they just fill them up with oil and they just burn about three or four inches wide, two inches high, six inches long, you know. And they would leave them to light all night. In fact, in Proverbs 31, the lady who gets up and lets her lamp not go out by night is probably the kind of lady who makes sure that there's always a lamp on in the house so anybody who needs to find his way around can. She got enough oil to make sure that's done and she's conscientious enough to get up in the middle of the night and relight that little lamp so there will always be a light in the house. Jesus is saying how foolish it would be to get your lamp all trimmed, get the wick all clipped, get it down there, fill it up with oil and stick a thing on top of it so nobody could see it.

It would be silly. Listen, Christians, you know what's amazing? Some of us have got within us the treasure in earthen vessels, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Only nobody knows. You know, somebody said most Christians are like the Arctic River frozen over at the mouth. I don't know if that's totally true, but there are a lot of us who haven't shared Jesus Christ with anybody in a year, five years, ten or fifteen. We got a light all right.

We just got a modias over it, a peck basket. Listen, if you're going to light, you've got to get your light where people can see it. And it's kind of interesting to look at verse 15 and see that it says, "'Neither do men light a lamp put under a bushel, but on a lampstand, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.'" And some feel that's a reference to Israel, that that specifically refers to them. And then the statement, "'All that enter in would refer to the Gentiles.'"

I don't know that we can push that too far, but the point is, whoever it is, whether it's Israel or the Gentiles, or whoever it is, we want to make sure that the light is lit and visible. That's what Jesus is saying. And you know, to the people He was saying it to, He was really calling for something new.

He was saying, you know, you're a part of a religious system that's all fouled up. And if you live according to kingdom character and the beatitudes, then you've got to really be different. And you've got to be light so that they can all see it. And that isn't easy because they're not going to like what they see. It's always the fear of persecution that makes us hesitant.

We're always a little afraid. And so after the beatitude of blessed are the persecuted, He has to reinforce the fact that don't you put your light under a bushel. You put it there where everybody can see it. So the whole world will know the truth of God. Verse 16 personalizes it, let your light so shine, so shine before men that they may see your good works.

Stop right there. Let your good deeds, agathos, good in quality. This is the quality of your deeds. The idea...rather this is kalas, I'm sorry, agathos means good in quality, but kalas used here means good in terms of beauty. It's the manifest beauty, not just that they're good in and of themselves, but they have a beauty about them, an attractiveness, they're winsome.

And that's the word He uses. In other words, let men see your winsomeness. Let them see your beauty.

Let them see your attractiveness, your quality. It isn't just the good deed itself, it's the beauty that it manifests. I just want to make a little footnote. At the beginning of verse 16 it says, let your light shine. You don't have to trump it up. You don't have to light it. You don't have to crank it up. You don't have to worry about getting it started. All you got to do is let it go. You can't stop the light and you can't light the light.

You can just stick a bushel on it. The light is there, right? If Christ lives in you, He's the light. And you can't change that, you can't, you remember that little song, there's nobody who can fwit out?

Well, that's right. There isn't anybody going to fwit out because the light is there. But you can put a bushel basket on top of it so nobody will ever know.

It might be the bushel basket of fear, of wanting to be acceptable, not wanting to offend, not wanting to make waves or whatever, but whatever it is, it ought to get off of there. You don't have to light it and you can't put it out. You just got to let it shine by the way you live and the things you say and let it shine before men in the presence of those who would hate you and kill you and reject you and deny you. Let it shine and let them see the beauty of your works. You know, when you hide your testimony, you're not doing anything but preventing somebody from seeing the beauty of God Himself. When you don't testify, you're just withholding from someone that which they desperately need to see if they're ever to come to God. Well, what do we see then? The presupposition our Lord gives, the decay and darkness of the world. The plan that He gives, the dominion of the disciples, the dominion of the Christians. The problem that He talks about, the danger of failure. Oh, listen, we can hide that light and we can lose that saltiness.

And if we do, we're losing our hands and all of a sudden we're going to go through that field and not going to find anybody that's lost finally. We've seen the presupposition and the plan and the problem and now the purpose. And if the presupposition is the decay of the world and the plan is the dominion of the Christians and the problem is the danger of failure, then the purpose is the dignity of God. The dignity of God. And it's at the end of verse 16, and I don't need to say much about it because I've preached on it so many, many times.

The reason for all of this, people, there's one single reason that overarches the whole universe. There's one single reason why you should be salt that is salty and light that is manifest and it is this, that you might glorify your Father who is in heaven, do you see? And if you don't do it, then you're more concerned with your reputation than His glory, you see?

That's still always the issue. Well I don't know whether I ought to stick my neck out, I might lose my job or reputation or whatever or whatever, then you have just ascended the scale and what you have and what you attain and what you get is more important than the glory of God. You see, not unto us, O Lord, said the psalmist, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, right? Can you lose yourself?

Can you be salt that is salty? Can you be light that is lit and manifest? You can if you only care about the glory of God, but if you let your own personality and your own popularity and your own prestige and your own reputation get in the way, then the glory of God is dragged down, your flag goes up and you say, Irene, I'll do what appeals to me. Glorify your Father who is in heaven. Notice He uses the word Father, I think because He wants to emphasize the beautiful tenderness and intimacy of God and yet He says in heaven and there He speaks of the majesty. On the one hand, God is a tender, loving Father. On the other hand, He is a majestic, sovereign God in heaven. And so He says we are to glorify God.

That's good news. That's the reason we live. There is no other reason. Just to glorify God, that's all.

Dr. Robert Murray McShane was one of the saints of the last century. His face, they used to say, was sometimes lit up with a hallowed expression so that people who came to see Him fell on their knees to accept Jesus Christ when they saw His face. And it says, others were so attracted to the indescribable beauty of holiness manifested on His countenance that Jesus became to them irresistible.

Isn't that fantastic? Influence. It is said of Fenelon, the great Christian of ages past, his communion with God was such that his face shone. Lord Peterborough, a skeptic, was once compelled to spend a night with him in an inn. In the morning, he hurried away saying, if I spend another night with that man, I'll be a Christian in spite of myself. Fenelon's manner, his voice and his face reflected so perfectly the glory of Christ that he was irresistibly attractive to even the worldliest and vilest of humanity.

What about you? Are you the kind of salt that retards the corruption and the kind of light that just attracts in the beauty of holiness as the shining of your goodness and beauty, the power of God released in you, touches the people around you and you never mitigate it, you never cover it, you let it shine so that God can be glorified? Salt and light, Father, simple message, needed to be because this was just part of the first sermon you gave.

They needed to hear the basics and so do we, two thousand years later, we who know the Bible so well, and we just need to hear again the same old story. There's a wheat field out there and the wheat is too tall for the people who are lost to see the Father's house and we've got to join our hands and go from one end of the field to the other before it's too late and we come to one whom the cold of the night has taken to a Christless grave. God help us to join hands before it's too late for some. We know even today some passed into eternity, tomorrow some more will pass to eternity. You've told us to take the gospel to every creature. If we were to die tomorrow, could it be said that we made a difference in the world? O Lord God, may we be salt that is salty and light that is manifest.

May we be a city set on a hill. May we let our light so shine that men may see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven. Deliver us from the sins that would render us tasteless, useless, but to be thrown on the road and walked on. Deliver us from the fear and the pride and the exaltation of self that makes us put our light under a bushel. Help us to live the way you want us to live, make a difference in the world.

We expect the world isn't going to like it, but even though there may be a reaction against it, there's also going to be some who are coming to Jesus Christ through our life. May we be useful in the world's wheat field to find those that are lost. We think of our Lord Jesus as He looked over the city of Jerusalem and wept and said, You will not come to Me that you might have life.

Father, help us not to cause even more tears because we too have been unfaithful. May we so live to fulfill this marvelous command of our Lord Jesus Christ. We who have kingdom character, may we let it influence the world in which we live. Make us different, Lord, that the world may be different because we are. You're listening to Grace to You with John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary.

His lesson today is part of the series he calls How to Live in a Dying World. Now John, as you wrap up this series, talk about what it's going to look like for this ministry to be salt and light in the coming days and weeks and months to have influence in the dark and dying world that we've been talking about. Well, nothing will change because our impact and our influence is solely and totally based upon proclamation of Scripture.

We believe it is the Word of God that saves, it is the Word of God that sanctifies, well even backing up before that, it's the Word of God that convicts, it's the Word of God that proclaims truth, then it saves, then it sanctifies, then it strengthens, builds up, gives hope, confidence, joy, all of those things. But all of that comes out of the Word of God. We can't predict what the culture is going to look like. We're not going to be able to predict the particular changes that are going to come. They're going to come fast and they're going to come in a disastrous way.

I think about AI for one thing. I can't imagine what that can create in a world where you can't tell the difference between somebody giving you lies and the truth because the fabrication of the lies is so well done. And since Satan is a liar, he's going to do everything he can to use that. So we can expect chaos and confusion as to the truth in ways maybe we've never ever seen before. But we're going to stand on biblical truth.

The Bible doesn't change. God's Word is living, powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. We know that we have lived it.

We've seen its power. We've seen its fruitfulness, and we'll continue to be faithful to the Word of God. And I think this radio ministry, whether I'm here or not, will continue. It's my prayer until Jesus comes again. And that Word of God, so powerfully proclaimed, will continue to go out from our ministry as long as the Lord allows it. So we're committed to doing what we've always done, unleashing God's truth one verse at a time.

And know this. We rely on your prayers. We need you to pray for the radio ministry. Pray for the Word of God as it goes forth. Pray for the staff and the folks that do so much in partnership with us in the radio station world. And could I suggest that you pray for the team at this radio station you're listening to right now? That will encourage them. You can even give them a call or send an email.

I know they would be so pleased to hear from you. And to encourage you in being salt and light in the culture, remember that you can download the messages from the study we concluded today, How to Live in a Dying World. The MP3s are free at gty.org.

Thanks John. And friend, downloading this series from our website is a great option if you'd like to review this series at your own pace. And be sure you're being salt and light in this dark and decaying world. Get in touch with us today. Both messages from How to Live in a Dying World are available to download free of charge that's in MP3 and transcript format from our website, gty.org.

That's gty.org. And as John said earlier, thank you for your support and your prayers, and know that when you bring grace to you and the team at this radio station before the throne of God, you take an active role in keeping John's verse-by-verse teaching in cars and homes and churches where people are learning and being transformed for the glory of God. And I encourage you to take John's suggestion and let the people at this radio station know that you're praying for them. And remember, letting us know what John's teaching means to you and your family is a great encouragement to us. So write a note and send it to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412.

Or you can send an email to letters at gty.org. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Tomorrow John launches a study that answers the most important question anyone could ever ask, what must I do to be saved? Be here for that, it's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-26 05:28:55 / 2024-02-26 05:40:12 / 11

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