Ye are the Salt and the Light

“Ye Are The Salt and The Light
Matthew 5:13-16


  • Matthew 5:13…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.
  • 14) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15) 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. 16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
  • First note that these two verses are really not parables but rather similitudes.
  • What is a “similitude?” Webster’s defines it as 1. a visible likeness, image. 2. an imaginative comparison : similar. 3. correspondence in kind or quality, a point of comparison
  • These verses are somewhat parabolic in that they tell a truth with some sort of mysterious meaning behind the message.
  • The message of Christ here in these verses are really pretty clear to the people of God, but I feel they need to be examined a bit more to really get the full meaning Christ has for us in these similies or parables.


I. Ye Are The Salt Of the Earth

  A) The purpose of these verses

  • The reason Jesus gives us these verses is to inform us of our duties as a Christian to this world. Many times we lose our focus as to what we are to be doing.
  • If you will notice… Matthew 5:1-12, Christ gave us the “Beatitudes.”
  • If we apply the beatitudes to our living then we should become as salt and light to a tasteless and dark world.
  • We should become a “good” influence to the world.
  • President Woodrow Wilson told this story. He said, “I was in a very common place. I was sitting in a barber chair when I became aware that a personality had entered the room. A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself, to have his hair cut, and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least didactic (used for teaching), showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. And before I got through with what was being done for me, I was aware that I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. D.L. Moody was in that chair.
  • “I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular effect that his visit had brought upon the barber shop. They talked in undertones (low soft voices). They didn’t know his name, but they knew that something had elevated their thoughts. And I felt that I left that place as I should have left the place of worship. My admiration and esteem for Mr. Moody became very deep indeed.”
  • Two men went for a routine haircut. One had influenced another greatly by his character and speech so much that he felt he had been to the house of God. Can this be said of us? Can we be with somebody, or a group of people and when it comes time for us to leave, the whole room is filled with the presence of a child of God.

B) How do we affect the world?

  • To be an influence to someone, you must be near them, involved somehow.
  • How are we to influence this world? How can we be in it and not of it? How can we be sent to it and not love it?
  • The solution comes in verses 13-16. We have to be salt and ligh
  • Salt, in order to be effective, has to be mingled with the substance it’s affecting, and yet salt is distinct from that substance. Salt by itself is useless, not effective.
  • Light, in order to remove darkness, light must shine upon the darkness, and yet is distinct from the darkness.
  • Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:15…I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
  • I John 2:15…Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
  • Here is a dilemma … How can we as believers… be in the world, yet not of the world?
  • HOW? Be “salt,” Be “light.”

 C) Start with character

  • Salt has its own character. Light has its own character
  • Our character as a Christian is defined in Matthew 5:1-12. Jesus tells us… We are to be poor in spirit, mourn our sin, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for His sake, and accept verbal abuse.
  • When our character becomes like Jesus tells us in 5:1-12, then and only then will be affective to the world.
  • Do you know why you are not effective to other deaf in Wichita? You have not changed. You do not have a poor Spirit. You do not mourn your sin. You have not even forsaken your sin. You still hang on to it. You do not thirst after righteousness. You are merciless. You show no mercy to others. Many of us do not like when we are verbally abused, but then we get all up tight when someone verbally abuses us. Really? WHY? We reap what we sow!
  • You want to know something else? Note what Jesus said in Matthew 5:11, be happy when people abuse us verbally, ridicule us, mock us. WHY? Don’t let someone’s stupid mouth (or ASL) offend you and cause you to lose your saltness (effectiveness) to the world.
  • There are many people who give up because someone gave them a hard time.
  • Don’t let Satan get the victory! Give God the glory and the victory, Amen!
  • You are still the salt of the earth, still the light unto the world, still effective. As the little children’s song says… “Don’t let Satan phft (blow) it out I’m going to let it shine.”
  • Note this…the final Beatitude in verses 10-12 is the attitude of the world toward the believer. But in verses 13-16 should be the attitude of the believer to the world.
  • The world is going to hate us, but we still have to be salt and light to influence them.

D) We are it

  • We alone are the salt of the earth; there is no other. That’s it, just us. And if we lose our saltiness, it’s lost.
  • We are the light; that’s it, just us, nobody else. If our light is under a bushel, there is no other alternative.
  • There is no back-up plan!
  • The world is in decay and dark. Therefore we are needed to bring salt and light to the world that is in need of both.


I. God’s Plan

  A) God’s perspective

  • First of all, let us put God’s plan in perspective.
  • God created man to be a blessing (happiness) to Him.
  • Adam and Eve sinned.
  • God then gave them salvation’s plan to have man offer a blood sacrifice to cover their sins.
  • 6 chapters later in Genesis 6:5…And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
  • Then you read that it made God sick that He even created man. So he decided to give man yet another opportunity at salvation.
  • All of mankind refused the opportunity for salvation except 8 people. Noah and his family.
  • Now what happened? Man still has sinned. Note Jeremiah 17:9…The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
  • If you have read the Bible throughout, you will find that God has truly given man every opportunity possible for a better life, a holy life, a way that is right. And you know what he found out? That man’s heart is only evil continually, that the heart of man is desperately wicked. He has tried the heart, He has tested it, searched it, and gave every man special attention to judge him separately not comparatively.
  • He has tried very heart to make us salt and light to the world.
  • What have we done? We have lost our saltness, we have become as dark as the world around us.
  • You know what? We have become so much like the world that the world no longer can tell us apart. “What, you a Christian? I would have never known had you not told me.” No salt, no light.

B) God’s plan is for His disciples to have dominion (Rule, control over)

  • McArthur writes that God’s plan is for His disciples to have dominion. We are to be the Kings of darkness, princes of salt.
  • It is our God given duty to be the salt for which to heal a decaying world. We are to be a light to the darkness so that they are able to see the truth that makes them free.
  • To have dominion or rule over someone else, we need to have control of ourselves first.
  • For salt to be affective it must have its flavor, its seasoning, its saltness. This goes for us too. For us to be effective Christians we must have the flavor, the seasoning of God (mentioned in Matt. 5:1-12).

C) Important facts about salt

  • How important is salt? Here are some facts about salt.
  1. Salt has and always will be very valuable in human life.
  2. In the Greeks’ day, salt was considered to be divine. The Greek word for salt is theon. Meaning…divine.
  3. The Romans said that there was nothing more valuable than sun and salt. Why? Because in a day without refrigeration, the only way they could preserve meat was to salt it. And they would literally rub the salt in.
  4. Romans soldiers were often paid with salt for their work. And if you were a lousy soldier, you weren’t “worth your salt.” That’s where that phrase came from.
  5. In the Old Testament times offerings were required by God to be salted … Leviticus 2:13…And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
  6. Job said that lousy tasting food or egg whites needed to be salted (Job 6:6)
  7. Ezekiel brings up an interesting use for salt in Ezekiel 16:4… After a baby is born, it is to be washed off then salted. WHAT? Are they going to eat the baby? No! The salt was to cure any scratches, cut or abrasions of the baby during delivery.
  8. Another interesting thing to know is that too much salt can ruin things.
  9. Also know that salt itself is useless to metals. It’s effect is rust. Just as we are useless to those hardened by the Word, those who do not accept Christ.
  • Let’s face it folks, food without salt is kind of bland.
  • However this is why I think it is important for us to realize that we can view ourselves as “salt” in a bad way. Jesus said we are salt, salt is very valuable, salt is important, salt is necessary, I am very valuable, I am very important, I am necessary… see what I mean. Kind of a pride thing.
  • We must be careful how we view what God says.

D) Five interesting qualities of salt

  • One- it is white. This represents purity, holiness.
  • Two- it is a flavor. It edifies others.
  • Three- it stings. When put on a wound it can cause severe pain, but also is healing in the process.
  • Four- it creates thirst. We should cause others to hunger and thirst after righteousness
  • Fifth- It is a preservative. We are to prevent corruption. You rub salt on meat to keep it from becoming spoiled, ruined, or decayed. We need to rub the world with God’s Word to preserve their life.

 E) The Sad Truth is that we are not effective

  • Look lastly at salt being effective in Genesis 18:23…And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
  • We all are familiar with the story of Abraham and lot near S
  • God wanted to destroy Sodom because of their wickedness being…what? Homosexuality.
  • But Abraham wanted God to spare those he thought might be religious, Christians, holier than the others.
  • So Abraham bartered (Tried to make a deal) with God.
  • The final outcome was that God destroyed the city. WHY? Because Abraham and Lot had lost their saltness. Lost their effectiveness. Lost their flavor. Lost their sting. They no longer created a desire to hunger and thirst after righteousness. In fact, they were the complete opposite. They were like salt to metal. They created rust and ruination.
  • Look folks, are we like Abraham and Lot? Are we as effective.
  • God said… “WE ARE SALT.”
  • But, I am asking you… “Are you an effective salt?” Are you making a difference towards the positive side?
  • Or have you lost your flavoring?


II. You Are The Light of The World

  A) Without a light you cannot see

  • I remember reading of a little boy who forgot his lines in a Sunday
    School play
    . His mother sat in the front row to help him, and she gestured

    and formed the words with her lips, but it didn’t help the boy, for his mind
    was blank. Finally, the mother leaned forward, and whispered his cue, “I am
    the light of the world.” The child beamed with relief, then blurted out the
    words, “My mother is the light of the world!”
  • A magazine once carried a series of pictures that depicted one of the saddest stories imaginable. The first picture was of a vast wheat field in Kansas; it was a farm in Western Kansas. From horizon to horizon, all you could see was the wheat waving in the wind. The second picture was of a mother in distress inside her farmhouse in the middle of that wheat field. She had a small boy who had somehow wandered away from the house into that wheat field. The little fellow was so small that he couldn’t be seen; she couldn’t find him. She had called for her husband, and the two of them had searched all day long for that little boy, and they finally decided that they should call the neighbors, who began to search frantically all over the wheat field with no success.
  • They knew the boy was too little to see above the wheat and find his own way out, so the picture showed her in great distress. The third photo depicted all the people who had heard of the little boy being lost. They gathered in the morning, joining their hands, hand-to-hand, and in a great, long line of humanity, linked only by their hands, swept from one end of that wheat field to the next. The last picture was a heartbreaker; it was a picture of the father standing over the body of his little son. They had finally found him, but he was dead. It was too late. A cold, cold night had claimed its victim. Underneath the final picture of a weeping father were these words, “Oh, God, if we had only joined hands sooner.”
  • What a heart-searching story that is. Listen, people, Jesus said, as He looked out over the fields, “The field is white unto harvest, but the laborers are few.” I really believe there is a world of lost men, lost women, lost boys and girls, way out in the field of the world. They can’t find home, they can’t find the Father’s house, they can’t see above the wheat of the world. They are perishing in the night of sin, and when the cold morning dawns, it will be too late. Back in our text of Matthew 5:14…Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
  • Note that Christ said in verse 13.. “You are the salt,” and here in verse 14 He said “You are the light.” He said “You are.” He did not say… “you need to try and be the salt and the light.” He said “you are.”
  • The thing is this. How salty and how much light are you?
  • Another thing… Salt is many pieces of grain. It takes many grains of salt to sufficiently and adequately season your food.
  • You don’t take one grain of salt out of it’s container and feel satisfied with its flavor. In fact, you wouldn’t even know that you added any flavoring.
  • The more salt grains (church members) you add to your food (The world) the more effective (help) you will be in attaining the desired taste (Pleasing God).
  • John 1:4…In him (The Word, Jesus up in verse 1) was life; and the life was the light of men. 5) And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
  • To be “Christian” is to be “Christ-like.” According to John, Christ is what? Life and light. We are to be life and light also.
  • In John 8:12…Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
  • Did you get that? Jesus is the light of the world.(Spiritual light)
  • Then Jesus said… that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness (meaning walk as an unbeliever, do bad things) In Matthew 5:15, we are the light He said.
  • Paul tells us about our light as being people who do things without complaining, or arguing, or giving working without giving anyone a reason to rebuke us… Philippians 2:14… Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

B) Darkness in this world is getting darker

  • John McArthur said this… There is a little house next door to our church, and we had our special people in our house, handicapped people. They’d go in there for a few hours on a Sunday morning. But some judge somewhere ruled that a house cannot be used for religious purposes without a permit, even if you own the house. Sam Erickson, on our staff, called the city to find out about that and he said this, “You mean, if I want to have some people over to my house to study the Bible, we have to have a permit?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “What if I want people to come over to my house to drink beer and watch pornographic movies, that’s fine? But if we decided to talk about the Bible, we have to have a permit?” They said, “That’s right.” I don’t know what that means for the future, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier.
  • Now John’s church is in California. Wait till this law is passed in Kansas. It will happen!
  • The world is continually passing laws to shove Christianity out the door.
  • Did you know that in our U.S. Constitution it says that no law should ever be passed that takes away the freedom of religion at all from anybody.

C) God uses simple things

  • Martin Lloyd-Jones says this, “Most competent historians are agreed in saying that what undoubtedly saved England from a revolution such as was experienced in France at the end of the 18th Century was nothing but the evangelical revival. This was not done because anything was done directly, but because masses of individuals had become Christians and they were living this better life. They had this higher outlook. The whole political situation was affected, and the great acts of Parliament which were passed in the last century were mostly due to the fact that there were such large numbers of individual Christians found in the land.”
  • What he’s saying is that they dominated the land by the power of their testimony.
  • God used simple Christians in England to change millions.
  • Here’s some examples of simple things that God has used for amazing purposes.
  1. God made man from the dirt in the garden.
  2. When He called David to deliver Israel from the Philistines, He didn’t want Saul, the great king, and He didn’t want Saul’s massive armor. He used a shepherd and a couple of stones, that’s all.
  3. When God sent His son into the world, He didn’t send Him through a royal wealthy king’s line born in a castle. He sent Him through a peasant girl, to deliver Him in a stable.
  4. When Christ chose disciples to preach His word, He didn’t go to any seminary, or any high and mighty church affiliation. He chose a bunch of ignorant Galileans who were fishermen, extortionists, and rebel rousers.
  • In fact, when you read God’s Word through the hand of Paul He writes in I Corinthians 1:26…For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:    
  • From the beginning of the world till now, this is the way God has always been.
  • Why is that we are so stupid to think otherwise. We think that people should be accepted based on their schooling, their ethnic background, their race, their stature in life, and etc.
  • This is great news for you and I. God chose us to do His work.
  • All we have to do is be salt and light. That’s it.

D) Salt and Light are used differently to influence the world

  • This is really good here folks… Do you have any idea why God gave us two ways to influence the world for His purpose?
  • Salt and light balance each other in this sense.
  • Salt is hidden; You don’t see it at all. It just melts away into whatever it flavors or preserves. It works secretly to preserve from the inside. This is the influence of effective Christian character, quiet but powerful.
  • Light shines on the outside working visibly; Light is the communication of the content of the Gospel.
  • So there are two sides; on one hand, we live it, on the other hand, we preach it.
  • On one hand, from the inside, we affect society’s thinking and living by the power of our lives. On the other hand, we turn on the light so that everyone can see the message we want to give.
  • We are not always to be working silently, but sometimes right in the face of danger out in the open.
  • It is important to know that salt cannot change corruption into incorruption.
  • Salt can only slow down the process of corruption. Salt only holds back the corruption;
  • We must have the use of the “light of the Gospel” to transform that corruption into incorruption.
  • It’s like the lamb of the O.T. could only cover their sins, but the N.T. Lamb can remove our sins Amen!

E) The purpose of us being light

  • To see that is to look into our text of Matthew 5, but look in verse 16… “Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
  • The world is to see our good works. Not to show off our skills or knowledge, but to show the world that it is God who makes us what we are.
  • God gave us the talent, God gave us the skill, God gave us the abilities.
  • This is “Glorifying our Father who is in heaven.”


III. To Be Light We Must Show ourselves Godly

  A) God is light

  • In Acts 1:1, where Luke writes, “The former letter have I made unto you, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”
  • Did you get that… “do and teach.” Leading by example. We must “do” first, the “teach others” secondly.
  • You cannot teach someone to do something if you are not willing to do it also.
  • If you study the Bible, you’ll find that light is related to the true knowledge of God.
  • Psalm 36:9 says, “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”
  • First, realize that God is light (I John 1:5).
  • In Him is the fountain of life, and in His light will we see light; God is light. So if we are to be light, then we must manifest God.
  • Psalm 119:105… “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
  • God is light; the Word is light.
  • Jesus Christ said “I am the light of the world. He that follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”
  • So if we believe in God, Believe in the death burial and resurrection of His Son, we are surrounded by light and light indwells within our soul, how in the world can we not produce light? You cannot help it. People will know when you are a fake.

B) What is “the light” of God?

  • All through scripture we can see where God is “light,” God is “The light” and so on.
  • For example…1 John 1:5…This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
  • Note first of all “the message” of Jesus Christ mentioned in this verse. The message that John is talking about is the message mentioned in verses 1-4… “The witness (eyes have seen, hands have handled) of The Word of life,” and “eternal life,” and “the fellowship with the Father and Jesus Christ,”
  • The next part of the message is in verse 5 which tells us “that God is light.”
  • The word “light” here refers to “the word” intellectually light. Knowledge of the Word, the truth.
  • The word “darkness” refers to error, mistakes, falsehood.
  • “Light” also means purity, while darkness refers to sin or wrong doing.
  • When a person does not recognize their sin, they walk in “darkness.”
  • The light of God reveals darkness.
  • I John 1:6…If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
  • In this verse John (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God) writes here… “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie,” This means that if we say that we are His child, and that we have fellowship with God but still do as we please, sinning continually without repenting, without changing, then we are liars.
  • Do you know how many times I have got in the pulpit to preach God’s Word and hit on a specific sin and people will nod their heads as if to say “That’s right brother, you tell them.” And they act like they are not guilty of that sin but everybody else is guilty. Not me. To them I say “You are a hypocrite.” But God says “we lie,” we are liars.
  • The rest of that verse says “and do not the truth:” This is referring to the liar’s habitual failure to practice the truth. In other words, people who lie about being a Christian and do nothing to change their bad habits are blind and walk in darkness.
  • In essence, “the light” is the comprehension of God’s revelation to the world.
  • We are to proclaim this message of god, the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and dying world by being “salt and light.”

C) Having fellowship is light

  • Many people misunderstand the meaning of the word “fellowship.”
  • What do you think it means?
  • It does not mean social relations. It does not mean to talk and have fun and eat, and all that. The Greek word koinōnia is translated “fellowship.” It means … communion, communication, partnership.
  • The readers of the Bible are to be partners with it’s author (God) by possessing eternal life. Salvation is fellowship with the Father, His Son and The Holy Spirit.
  • It is the “reading” and “doing” and “knowledge” of God’s Word.
  • When I say “knowledge” I mean the knowledge that is inspired by the Spirit of God not one’s own intellect.
  • So in a nut shell… the word “fellowship” means intimately reading God’s word, daily prayer, action on our part towards our brethren, love, worship to God and knowledge of the Word.

D) We are the light

  • The Jews in Romans 2:19 claimed to be light.
  • The Apostle Paul denies that. Their light had gone out. They weren’t lights anymore.
  • The Jews used to say that Jerusalem was a light to the Gentiles.
  • In fact, a famous rabbi once called the city of Jerusalem “the lamp of Israel.”
  • But it wasn’t true anymore when Jesus spoke these words that day on the hillside; Jerusalem wasn’t any light. God’s light wasn’t there anymore, it was no lamp. The world was in darkness, so Jesus says, “It isn’t Jerusalem that is the light anymore, it isn’t Israel anymore. It isn’t the Jewish people anymore that are light, but you only are the light.”
  • The church would be the light, the ones who followed Jesus Christ would be the light.
  • Is Wichita or any other city for that matter “The light?” NO! We are the light.
  • Lastly and finally, Jesus said in Matthew 5: 14…Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
  • In this verse Jesus is also calling us a city, set on a hill. When you are out in the country driving at night, you top a hill and see the lights of a city bringing light to the dark sky. This is to be us. We are to lighten up the dark world.
  • If you had traveled in the Holy Land during Jesus’ time, or perhaps even today, you would be impressed with the fact that the villages are built on the tops of the hills.
  • Going through Galilee you will notice Caana, and Nazareth. Sitting on a hill.
  • One reason for that is during hot days or nights the buildings could be cooled by the breezes that blew.
  • Secondly, they could be more easily defended attacked by their enemy.
  • Thirdly, when travelers would come by night they would be able to see the city from quite a distance. If they needed water, food or supplies it would be more easily accessed when traveling directly towards the light.
  • You see, this is exactly what Christ was talking about.
  • You are the light. The person who is supposed to know the word of God and be able to lead someone else to Jesus Christ.
  • The world is in the dark. They have no knowledge of the word of God.
  • It is our ultimate and primary duty to be a light by sharing what we know of God to others so that they can be a light to even more people.
  • I must say, that most Christians have very little light. Their knowledge of God’s word is very small.
  • When sin enters our life, it dims our light. The longer the sin continues the more dim the light becomes. Until one day no one even recognizes that we are a Christian.
  • Let me ask you… “Are you effective Salt and Light, or are you not effective.