And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, 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 an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:1-14)
Jesus introduced a completely different mindset when He delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said that we are blessed when people persecute us. A study of the martyrs through Church history will see account after account of people who were full of joy and praised God – some as they were led to their death.
Jesus’ audience were Jews subjected to the Roman occupation. They had experienced prosecution and were treated terribly by the Roman’s. Jesus said they were blessed when a lot of people would say they would be justified to be down or depressed.
Our problems seem much smaller when we start to examine our lives from the viewpoint of God. The Word of God is similar to a pair of binoculars that have been turned around so that we are looking through them backwards. Instead of magnifying our problems the way the world will, the Word makes them seem small and insignificant.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
This statemen is much easier to read than live. We have an instinct to defend ourselves when people criticize us but what have they really done to us? It is hard to take criticism but we need to step back and consider what people have said through the lens of the Word of God.
Paul was looking forward to suffering in the name of the Lord. This is not a popular message in the modern Church. We tend to gravitate towards the feel good messages that are nonconfrontational. The reality is we will be persecuted if we surrender everything to God.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, 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 an 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. (Matthew 5:13-16)
We are beginning a new category of posts called “Discovering Our Witness” which will be focusing on Jesus’ statement that we are called to be salt and light. Our focus will be on determining what that means for us in our daily Christian walk. There is a lot going on in the world today that should be provoking us as Christians to act. Jesus talked about persecution and then followed by telling His audience that they were the salt of the earth. Salt preserves, kills, and adds flavor. Jesus did not tell us to act like salt. He said that we are the salt of the earth. Christians should be the instruments used by God to kill the ungodliness that fills the world. For this to happen we will have to present our bodies as living sacrifices and give ourselves to meditation in His Word to allow it to wash us. There are some great things happening in the earth that are not being covered by the news media. A revival is ongoing in the Middle East and there are thousands of Muslims turning to Christ. This is just one example of how the Spirit of God is moving today.
Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. Many Christians are grumbling about what is going on the world. It is not time to gripe about the politicians or economy because the current state of the world is a reflection of the Church. Things are going downhill in society because the Church is not getting out of the salt shaker and shedding the light.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
The word savour is translated from the Greek word “moraino” which means “dull, sluggish, acting stupid or silly, or to play the fool”. It is translated “they became fools” in Romans 1:22. If we start acting like unbelievers the world will not be salted.
God has established that the world will be reached by the Church. We are the preserving factor in the earth and if we aren’t preserving this earth, God does not have a back up plan. There is no plan B or plan C. There is no way for the earth to be salted without the Church and Jesus said that if we lose our saltiness then we are “good for nothing”.
We will continue to talk about what it means to be salt and light in our upcoming posts within this category. For now we will close to allow time to think about our lives and whether the world around us can differentiate the difference between them and us.
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