MARTYN LLOYD-JONES ONCE SAID, “The glory of the gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first.”
I'm currently preaching through the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew beginning in chapter 5.
As I study and prepare to proclaim the text each weekend, I am sensing the seriousness in Jesus voice as He preached from the mountainside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Jesus began His message by sharing the characteristics of Kingdom-minded disciples. He's painting a panoramic view of what His disciples will look and live like, and He will be the perfect fulfillment of each characteristic.
As we read, we see Jesus immediately on the heels of the “Beatitudes” making this statement, “You are the salt of the earth...you are the light if the world.” His statement in verse 13 and in verse 14 are not suggestions for disciples. His words are emphatic and speak to the identity of an authentic disciple of Jesus.
I've read in recent years that there is little difference between the lives of those who claim to be born-again believers in Jesus and those who are not. Thus it seems that the world has become dominant in the lives of many professing Christians.
Demographic research fir a 3-mile radius around the church I pastor says only 15.7% of the people say that their faith is important to them. Is it because the local churches are not serious about “being church?” Is it because the lives of Christian's are lukewarm at best? Is it because the church looks more like the culture than it looks like Jesus? The salt of the earth will make others thirsty for Jesus!
Light erases darkness. Jesus said, “A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Again this is not a maybe, it's a promise. An authentic Disciple will be a light in this decaying world that will erase the darkness and expose sin. And light does more. It not only exposes sin, but it also reveals a glorious Savior!
The question before all Christians is this, Are we functioning as salt and light? What are people noticing about us from day to day? Are we seen as nothing more than religious, or do the unsaved see us and know that we've been with Jesus?
Carlyle Hall Jr. is pastor at Castalia Baptist Church. Comments are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlyle Hall, Jr.