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1731. Salt and Light

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2024 8:38 am

1731. Salt and Light

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 18, 2024 8:38 am

Dr. Peter Radford, Lead Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Landsdale, PA, preaches a message from Matthew 5:13-16.

The post 1731. Salt and Light appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from Pennsylvania. And is a great place, a God-honoring place to live and to learn. So while all of that was true, I was still missing something. I didn't fully comprehend what God had placed me and all disciples here on the earth to do. In fact, I'm not sure I got it until I was in my 30s pastoring a little church in southern Delaware. So today I want to invite you to a passage of scripture where Jesus cuts right to the chase. The passage that occurs just before our text is the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are a dense portrayal of kingdom values. Each one of them deserves its own sermon.

The content is weighty and heady. But lucky for us, Jesus gets really practical really fast. The passage we will study today is both easy to understand and practical. It's essentially the how-to follow-up to the Beatitudes. So this morning as we read Matthew 5 verses 13 to 16, be thinking of this as Jesus' consolidation of kingdom values in a very practical how-to way. The text represents in the simplest forms what I had missed about Christianity while I was a student sitting where you sit.

Follow along as I read. Verse 13. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick. 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 which is in heaven. These verses are simple and profound in the same moment. I mean, they're simple in that they call us to be salt and light.

Like, duh, you've already gotten the outline of the message, right? But they're profound in that these metaphors teach us so much about what it means to live out kingdom values in this world. To summarize this text, we might say simply, Jesus calls disciples to live out his kingdom values by living as salt and light. One quick clarification before we go any further. Remember that when Jesus is calling disciples to do something, that's you and me. You see, all disciples are Christians, and all Christians are disciples.

That being said, I see three instructions in this text. Let's find the first one in verses 13 and 14. Let me read just the first parts of them once again. You are the salt of the earth. Skip to verse 14. You are the light of the world. We're going to talk about the meaning of salt and light here in short order.

That's what you came for, I suppose. But before we get there, I want you to notice the descriptions that occur after each metaphor. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. So we need to be very clear about one thing as we live out kingdom values. We live as salt and light in the world.

So we might put it this way. Disciples live as salt and light by maintaining a connection to people in the world. There's quite a bit to ponder here. As we live for Jesus, he wants us to do so in connection with the world and with the people of the world. He doesn't call us to hide from the world or to isolate from the world. In my formative years of ministry, I heard a lot of people preaching about how we needed to separate from the world. Now don't get me wrong, the Bible talks often about the allure of the world system and the power of the evil one, all of that for sure. Certainly the Bible calls us to separate from worldliness, but the Bible doesn't call us to separate from the people in the world. How else are we going to carry out the Great Commission and live as salt and light? Jesus puts it so well in his prayer for the disciples in John 17.

He says this, I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. So this, this is what I didn't get when I was sitting where you sit. I got out of college and I went to seminary and I took a job building oak tables at an oak table factory in Pennsylvania. And let me tell you, the guys that I worked with were about as lost as lost could be. Their sinfulness was on full display in the break room, you know, for those 15 minutes in between shifts. And I can remember walking into that room and just feeling threatened, feeling vulnerable, like am I even supposed to be here? You see, I had missed what God wanted me to be. The guys in that room knew that I was a Christian, they knew that I didn't want to go along with their foul language and inappropriate jokes, they got all that. But God wanted me in that room, he wanted me rubbing shoulders with these guys, he wanted me living out kingdom values in front of them. That was his plan. And here I was, a seminary student just trying to make rent and pay my school bill.

And God was up to something a whole lot bigger. So let me challenge the students and faculty within the sound of my voice. I know how isolating it can be to live on a Christian campus and work in a Christian ministry. You can go years, years without a meaningful relationship with someone who's lost. When we live like this, intentionally, or just by default, isolating from the world, it is impossible for us to function as salt and light. Disciples live as salt and light by maintaining a connection to people in the world. Let's find the second principle in verse 13. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?

It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trotted underfoot of men. Well in this verse, Jesus tells disciples that their lives are supposed to function as salt. Further, he tells them by analogy that if their lives are not functioning as salt, they have no purpose. Now the challenge to interpreting this is there's a number of functions of salt that Jesus could be referring to.

One commentator presents no less than 11 functions of salt. You know the difference between a pastor with too many points and a hostage situation? Not much. Not much difference at all. We're just going to go through two of them, alright?

Two of them that I think are fairly likely. The first interpretation presents salt as a preservative. Remember, in the first century they didn't have whirlpool refrigerators, so in order to keep their meat over a course of time, they'd put salt on it in order to keep it well, keep it good so they could eat it. Well this is one plausible interpretation. The idea is that Christians live their lives according to God's principles, and the moral decay and corruption in the world is held at bay, so the Christian is the preservative. The second interpretation is the one that maybe you anticipated.

That is salt as a seasoning. The idea is that Christians live out kingdom values in their lives, and the world around them is exposed to God's truth through their lives. In this way, they salt the earth with kingdom living. This interpretation seems the most likely to me, although both of them have some things to favor about it.

So here's our second instruction. Disciples live as salt and light by seasoning the world with the taste of Jesus. Do you realize that there are people in your life, and your life is the only Bible that they will ever encounter?

Our world has become so secularized. In talking with a new church planter of ours up in New Hampshire, his name is Michael, he was telling me a story about a woman who had come to Christ in the area where he was hoping to plant a church. There's a church there.

He'll be planting a little ways down the road. And this woman, until she had been exposed to Christ by this family in a church, had never heard of Jesus. Now let me be clear, we're not talking about Africa, or somewhere in the Middle East, we're talking about New Hampshire, up there where they cheer for the patriots.

They're not that great this year, but historically they've been pretty good. The point being this, you might know someone, there might be someone on your block, somewhere where you work when you're at home, who doesn't know Jesus at all. And God has placed you in their lives to show them what Jesus is all about, by seasoning them with a taste of Jesus. So how many people in your world have never heard about Jesus? God is calling you to live out kingdom values, such that those around you get a taste of what Jesus is like. So the person that you work out next to, the person who cuts your hair, your mechanic, your neighbor, your postman, your doctor, the guy who treats your lawn, the cashier at the grocery store, the Amazon delivery guy, your hall leader, just kidding, the local fireman, the guy at Subway who makes your sandwiches. Every single person in your world should get a taste of Jesus from you. So how's that going?

How are you doing at that? When I was growing up, my grandmother used to send us a Christmas box. And it often had a bunch of oranges.

She lived in Florida. But on the top of the oranges, she would always put a big box of chocolates. I don't know if you know the ones that I'm talking about. These big boxes of chocolate, the ones that I remember, had two layers of these multi-shaped chocolates. But there was one big problem. The ones that she would send each year did not have, I'm not sure what to call it, like this little tablet that would tell you what flavor, what candy was. Well, so it was a bit of a conundrum when you would go to the candy box to get a piece of candy. You weren't sure if you were going to get one that you liked. So sometimes, it was almost like a game show. Like you'd walk up to pick up a piece of candy, and you would taste it, and then you'd get one that had this awful fruit filling in, and then the music would play.

I mean, it was terrible. So we would play these games of assorted chocolate bingo, and then mom would finally say, hey, it's time to lay off the chocolates. We've got dinner coming up. Now, there was a standing rule in the Radford House. We were a high justice family, so everything had to be fair in my family. And so the rule was that you had to finish the top layer of candy before you could go down to the lower layer.

Well, one year, the most unspeakable atrocity occurred. It came time to move down to the lower layer of chocolates. We were excited about that because we had scoped out all of the other chocolates.

We knew the ones that we liked, and we especially knew the ones that we didn't like. So my younger brother reached down, pulled off the little plastic thing that held the chocolates in place and that little thin piece of cardboard in between the two. And then to our absolute horror, we discovered that about 10 of the chocolates had bites taken out of them. Somebody had gone to the lower level prematurely in search of a chocolate that they liked. And in the process, they had sampled about 10 chocolates.

And then, just to add insult to injury, they had the audacity to take the half-eaten chocolates and put them back in the box. Well, it took about seven seconds for us to figure out which brother it was. It was Paul.

We all knew it was Paul. So in the spirit of mob justice, we called him over to confront him about his heinous crime, to which he replied, I was just trying to find one that I liked. You know, the unsafe people around you are trying to make sense of their lives. Don't be intimidated by them.

You have it way better than they have it, although it seems like the opposite is true. They're trying to figure out the secret to happiness and the purpose of their lives. And in the process of doing that, they will hunt around, trying to find people that are content whose lives have purpose.

They're tasting chocolates, if you will. That's where we come in. Through our interactions with them, they start to get a taste of Jesus. They start to see that though we aren't perfect, let's not give them that impression, because we can't hold up to that one for very long. But we have direction and purpose, and our lives are settled. We become the taste of Jesus that ultimately leads them to put their faith in him. And that's how God's designed it. Disciples live as salt and light by seasoning the world with a taste of Jesus. Let's find the final instruction in verses 14 to 16. Ye are the light of the world.

A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but not a candlestick. And it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Well now this metaphor is a little easier to interpret, right? We know what light means in the Bible. It's used throughout scripture to talk about things like life and truth and goodness and salvation and God's commandments and the presence of God. So when Jesus calls us to be light, the message is pretty clear. He's calling us to reflect the character of God in our lives. To live out kingdom values in a world that is opposed to them. But just in case we didn't get it, Jesus drops in a couple of quick illustrations.

Did you see? He talks about being a city on a hill and a lamp under a basket. Jesus says that we are like a city on a hill and that city can't be hidden. There's a number of reasons that someone might choose to build a city on a hill but none of those reasons are to hide it, right? So Jesus' message for you as a disciple is that you can't and shouldn't hide the fact that you're a Christian.

It's who you are. Jesus also talks about a lamp in a dark house. If you need to see where you're going, you don't take a lamp or a flashlight or your cell phone flashlight and stick it under something.

No, you hold it open so that you can see. It doesn't make any sense for us as Christians to hide who we are. So here's the final illustration, the final instruction. Disciples live as salt and light by living openly as followers of Jesus. Verse 16 makes our jobs really clear. It tells us to let our lights shine.

So read, live out kingdom values in your life. We do this so that the people around us can see how we live. Now we have to be careful. Now see, the goal isn't for them to see us and think wow, that Peter Radford, he's a sharp guy.

I like him. If that happens, we've failed the mission. We've missed the mark entirely. We want them to see our lives, to see us living as Jesus instructed and then in the end, to glorify God. We have to frame our good works in such a way that they attract attention to God. When I lived in Delaware, I got involved in our local world gym just to get in shape.

But more importantly, to rub shoulders with some other athletes and coaches who needed Jesus. And to my surprise, it started to work. Now they say that a camera puts on 10 pounds.

I must have had like three cameras on me there. To my surprise, it started to work. The people around me that I was working out next to, they came to know in time that I was a pastor and when the manure would hit the fan in their lives, they would want to talk. I remember one coach in particular looking across the table for me at breakfast and asking the following question.

This is almost a quote as well as I remember it. Pete, I've been around you and Jen enough to see what you were like. How in the world do you stay so positive and optimistic even when times are tough? Now, there's a lot of ways to answer that question. Try this. I'm just a really positive person and I make it a point to stay positive. Wrong answer.

Try this. I appreciate the compliment, but Jen and I struggle to stay positive probably more than you've noticed. But we have a confidence in God that everything we experience is by design from Him. So even when difficulties arise and we start to get discouraged, we have to remind ourselves that God will give us the strength that we need to get through it. Can you see how the first reaction makes me the hero?

Can you see how the second reaction makes God the hero? So Christian, what I'm trying to say is as we walk with God and live out kingdom values in front of them, we want to do so in such a way that makes Him great and doesn't seek to make us great. So I urge you all to consider your posture toward unbelievers. So many Christians carefully hide the fact that they're followers of Jesus. Now I'm not telling you to be annoying about the fact that you're a Christian. You know, put on a sandwich board and walk around and make it be uncomfortable that you're a Christian and make everybody know it.

I'm not saying that. But Jesus is lovingly nudging us out of the shadows. He desires that the light of our faith shine brightly to those that are in the world. Disciples live as salt and light by living openly as followers of Jesus. Well in conclusion, there's a little secret behind the final words of our text where it says, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. How is it that any of us can bring glory to our Father who is in heaven? Well the answer is that God has redeemed us and He's changed us from the inside out and through the work of the Spirit He changes us so that in time our lives can bring glory to Him. So when Jesus calls us to be salt and light the goal is that unsaved people will see the work of grace He has done in our lives and will be transformed in the same way.

So the only way that they can ever glorify our Father who is in heaven is by coming to know Him and putting their faith in Him. So just in case you were like me just a few years ago when I was sitting where you sat and I didn't really understand what the Christian life was about for heaven's sake, everyone around me was a Christian. When I stepped out into the world I began to realize that by design God wanted me to rub shoulders with those who don't know Him.

He wanted me to be salt and light in their lives. It took me a little while to get comfortable with that arrangement but God has deeply blessed now that I understand. I challenge you to go and do the same. So hear this, Jesus calls disciples to live out His kingdom values by living as salt and light. May God help us to do the same this week and in the weeks to come. Let's pray together. Father, thank you so much for the clarity of your word.

Lord, you give us the simplest challenges. Lord, most of the people in this room could have preached this sermon. But Father, it will take courage on their behalf and the power of the Holy Spirit for them to live out this sermon. So Lord, I pray for them on the cusp of heading home for Thanksgiving break, heading home for Christmas break and seeing some of the people that they know. Lord, I pray that you would help them to carefully think through their interactions with those who don't know you. And I pray for them even as they leave this place in the years to come that their lives would become about being salt and light. Father, only you can accomplish this in our midst.

I sure know I couldn't do it without you. So I pray that you would do that work with the power of your Spirit in our lives. We pray this in the name of Jesus.

Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by Dr. Peter Radford, lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. If you would like more information about how the biblical principles of creation, fall, and redemption are applied in Christian education, we would like to make you aware of the textbook division of Bob Jones University called BJU Press. BJU Press produces textbooks and educational materials for preschool through 12th grade and the textbooks are filled with biblical worldview integration, not just in the Bible course textbooks but in all academic subjects. As stated on their website, we shape each subject according to the lens of Scripture. Each discipline takes on a new meaning when we apply the themes of creation, fall, and redemption. If you would like more information about BJU Press for both Christian schools and home schools, go to www.bjupress.com slash about where you can find out more about how biblical worldview, academic rigor, and critical thinking is integrated into all of their textbooks and classroom material. Once again, that's www.bjupress.com slash about. Join us next time as we hear another message preached from the Bob Jones University Chapel platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-20 10:16:12 / 2024-03-20 10:26:04 / 10

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