Salt and light are the results of the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. More transformation is brought and more Christ grows in us and more salt and light will be the expression of our life.
ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, but the Lord shall arise upon you [O Jerusalem], and His glory shall be seen on you.
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
This word is a prophetic word for Jerusalem, but I believe that it fits also the actual situation of the Church. We live a difficult transitional time that is taking us to the final period of history before the coming of Jesus. We need to receive this encouragement from the Father. He has not finished with us!
How many of us need some encouragement? I need it!
Darkness are becoming more dark on the earth, but there is a hope and a responsibility for the people of God: the Lord is going to shine on us and through us to release light into the world for those who are looking for a way out, for an answer for a solution.
This time in which we are entering is going to be a time of great opportunity. We have the opportunity to do what we have not done in the past: manifest the reality of the Kingdom of God in several areas of life. But it is a time of great challenge!
It is the time to take up again the mandate that Jesus has given us and that we find in
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
We have great responsibility to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, especially in times like these.
1. To be the salt.
What is the salt for in this text? To give taste, flavor. Which taste and flavor? The taste and flavor of God, of His character, of His Kingdom. SLIDE 8
As Jesus was on this earth, people around Him could taste the flavor of the Father in heaven and in a sense the flavor of heaven, the flavor of the Kingdom of God. We can also use the term atmosphere. The Presence of God was in Him and created an atmosphere that was not of this world.
This is possible for us because Jesus dwells in us and if we keep a fresh relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit will spread the flavor of heaven around us.
2 Corinthians 2:14,15 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
It is the taste of the culture of the Kingdom. What is culture. (It comes from cultivate. see God’s mandate to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2) SLIDE 9
Culture is a unique system that includes knowledge, beliefs, values, laws, weapons, tools, art, language, symbols and other forms of communication, customs, distinctive group patterns and relationships, and any capabilities or habits acquired by one as a member of a certain group.
The sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
It is shared by all or almost all members, and is passed on from one generation to the next. It shapes our behavior and structures our perception of the world.
So to be salt of the earth means to manifest and transform the world around us according to the belief, values, laws, principles, perspective, etc., of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said insegnando loro a osservare tutte quante le cose che vi ho comandate.
Salt can be seen also as the taste of real life. When Jesus was on earth hungry people could feel that life, real life was coming out of Him.
This is the life of the Spirit of God.
People are longing to touch real life, to taste it. We are the ones we should give them this taste/flavor and an atmosphere of life. People around us are not looking for good words, but to taste life. When it happens they will be interested about the source of that life.
Jesus was giving out this salt with His anointed words:
John 6:63 The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life
Another thought about salt has to make things, natural things healthy, or we could say the things of this world, that are part of the life of this world.
2 Kings 2:19-22 Elisha in Jericho. Waters were bad and the ground sterile. Then Elisha put salt at the source of the water and this is what happens:
And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
Then Elisha went to the spring of the waters and cast the salt in it and said, Thus says the Lord:I [not the salt] have healed these waters; there shall not be any more death, miscarriage or barrenness [and bereavement] because of it.
So the waters were healed to this day, as Elisha had said (AMP)
2. To be the light.
Light of the world. Light is meant to expose darkness and that is true, but Jesus meant something different. If the light as the city on the mountain is seen, it means that outside there is darkness. If we are not in that city it means that we need a shelter. The light shows a direction to the people. The Church today tends to hide from the world, but…
We are not here on earth to build up a protected environment to live in and judge what is happening around us, but to become a reference point and to bring our light into that world to transform it!
It is interesting that Jesus start speaking of a town on a hill. SLIDE 12
A city is more than individual. SLIDE 13
It is a group of people, a society. A city include a culture, several domain of social life. It includes families, churches, business, government, education, arts, communication (media).
It means that a city living in the light is giving a model of life for all these domains according to the principles and values of God, the principles and values of the Kingdom.
It is not concerning spiritual life, but how spiritual life may affect the all city life. It is a complete message. All this can only be accomplished by the supernatural provision of God through the Holy Spirit. It is not just something human. True wisdom, authority and power, come from God, and God alone.
To be the light of this world means to be a reference point, a place were people can run to find an answer in the midst of the confusion and despair there is out there, in the world.
To be a city on a mountain means that people can see it and run to it to find not just refuge, but answers and solutions for their life. SLIDE 14
To be a light means being like a lighthouse in the storm (SLIDE 15) to allow ships to get safely to the harbor. People shaken by the stormy waters of this world, becoming more and more stormy are looking for the way to come into the peaceful environment of a protected harbor.
We are the one pointing them to the solution, to the real harbor that is the House of the Father, where every kind of provision is available.
This is true for any aspect of our life.
3. Power and wisdom
Some examples from the Bible, beside Jesus, are Joseph and Daniel. They were the light of God among pagan nations and brought the flavor of the Kingdom of God. Their taste didn’t get confused by the evil environment that surrounded them.
Daniel and his three friends are captive aliens in Babylon, taken from their families as adolescents into the palace and service of the King. They attend Babylon University where they study witchcraft, divination, and other sordid subjects, and they are at the top of their class.
They are surrounded by a pagan, idolatrous culture, yet none of them absorbs any of it.
How do we explain this in a world where Christians and non-Christians alike are declaring television, movies, music, advertising, and schools to be the formative influences on young people’s minds? How did Daniel and the others stand in this Babylonian environment?
The answer is simple and profoundly emphasized in scripture: they took their values with them. They continued to weigh the values around them in captivity with what they had been taught and, more importantly, modeled in their homes. Scripture indicates that if children are the victims of the world around them, there can only be one explanation. They are not being given the tools at home to evaluate the messages coming at them from the world, and they have not been given the confidence that they, with God’s help, can know and discern truth.
The fullness of the Spirit in the Church today means to bring wisdom and power into the world.
Immediate results: destroy the work of the enemy. Long term results: reformation.
Two main expressions of the Kingdom culture:
Look at Stephen in
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) –Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
When Daniel or Joseph impressed the kings they were serving with wisdom, they clearly underlined that that wisdom was not their own, but it was coming from God. So those kings recognized that their God was the true God.
Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.
As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
When Peter showed the power of God, as in healing, they gave to God all the glory. Acts 3.
Wisdom and power are pointing people towards God, the source of true power and wisdom.
We spoke about signs, last time, pointing to God. The hands of God pointing to the face of God.
You see, all the glory belongs to God, because we have nothing that we have not received from Him. There is nothing to be proud of!
So we can conclude summarizing by saying:
To be salt of the earth and light of the world, means to be in a position of alignment with God in our own personal and social life and to bring salt and light into the world outside in all the domain of social life so that the world outside may be transformed.
In another way we can say that the reformation we have experienced in our own life now becomes the reformation of the world outside. This is the Kingdom of God and the response to the model of Jesus to pray according to Matthew 6:9,10.
I want to remind Isaiah 60:3
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Last time we prayed for the Reformers for the Body of Christ. Now we are enlarging the vision: God is calling us to bring reformation, according to the values of God into the society around us. We must get involved somehow. We must know how we can be the salt and the light, how we can show the wisdom and power of God.
We are responsible to make disciples of all nations. As we said the other time, to make disciples is much more than just get people saved. It is to teach them how to live in the Kingdom of God, under His government and become themselves committed to the mandate of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20.
This mandate is for each of us who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. We have accepted Jesus, but have we accepted the mandate?
We get only what we receive. Are you ready to get also the mandate, not only the benefit?
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”