Impact the World

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

As individual persons are we making an impact upon the people we meet in our daily activity? If we are followers of Jesus, then are we different from those of the world or mirror images of the society around us? If we are not impacting the people around us for the Kingdom of God, then we need to self-examine ourselves and see if we are walking our Sunday talk. It is true that we are in this world but our citizenship is found in the Kingdom of God and that should be obvious to those who cross our path. We are His people chosen to proclaim the gospel of His Kingdom and to testify to what the Lord has given us by His grace. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Jesus made this very point in His Sermon on the Mount recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 5:13-16. In this passage Jesus used the concepts of Salt and Light to emphasize the impact that His followers are to make in this world. In the Middle East during the first century there was no refrigeration of food to preserve it for future use. Salt was used to preserve the food, especially meat. In this same use followers of Jesus are to be the salt that preserves the Word of God. We are to protect it from the evil that is inherent in our society. We are to oppose the ungodly that will profess false doctrine and teach twisted truths that deceive the naïve. “They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:3) The Apostles warned that many false teachers would appear leading up to the end times. “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Salt was also used as a seasoning to enhance the flavor of the food that the people ate. In the Same way the Christian is to enhance the flavor of life in this world. The Christian walks in the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to the will of the Lord and this influence will affect those around him for the good who live in the world. The Christian is to live in the example of Jesus and be an instrument in His hand for ministry to His people. Where there is strife the Christian is to be a peacemaker, where there is sorrow he is to bring God’s comfort, he is to bind up the wounds of the heart with the truth of God’s Word, and in times of hatred the Christian is to exemplify the love of God. In this way, as Jesus, the Christian returns good for evil. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” (Luke 6:35)

As lights in the world we are the revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ. As followers of Jesus we were created by Him for the good work that God has beforehand prepared us to do. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) We are to shine His light through us that the world will come to know Him and His goodness. As a presence of Christ’s light in the midst of the darkness of this world it should be unmistakable that we are followers of Jesus. The Christian not only brings light to a darkened world by the good work we have been given, we also bring the truth of God’s Word into the darkened hearts of sinful man. (John 1:1-10)

Christians as the salt and light stand out not for their own sake but for the purpose to glorify the Father which is the purpose of Jesus and us as His followers. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

There is a great need for us to be the witnesses of Jesus. It is not hard for any man to know that the world is corrupted and the darkness of sin in this world continues to become darker. This is no surprise as our adversary strives ever harder to rob God of the souls of men. He knows that his time grows ever shorter. The Apostle Paul tells us of our times, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

From man’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden mankind is infected with sin. Sin fractured God’s order in this world and there is no cure apart from God. The world loves its own way and rebels against the truth of God’s way. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:6) But there is hope through the believers in Jesus. Those who belong to God and are eager to do what is good for the glory of God. “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:14)

We need to pay attention to what Jesus said, you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The Christian doesn’t have salt and light to give but is the salt and light for men to taste and see. The question then for the Christian is are we tasteful salt, are we visible light? If we are He will triumph through us and lives will be saved and changed for the good. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

As followers of Jesus we are not of this world of darkness but Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Light. “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” (Ephesians 5:8) The Christian must walk as children of light. We are the salt that will preserve His truth and retard the moral corruption of this world. “Being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3) God has changed us that we are no longer to be a part of the moral corruption of this world but to be the salt that will help preserve the order of God’s way.

The purpose is that by what we are and what we do should point to the Lord of our life that others may see Him through us in word and deed. Why else would one seek to change their life to the goodness of God’s love if His love is not seen in His children? All our efforts, Sunday through Sunday, should be to live that others may see the reflection of the image we were created in through us. This is the salt and light that we are to be as citizens of His Kingdom. This is an answer to our prayer “Your Kingdom come and Your will be done here as it is in heaven.” This is how we glorify God.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 12, 2017

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