We salt and light the world because we’re His disciples.
Hesham Shehab: Salt and Light
Sermon text preached by Rev. Hesham Shehab
Sunday, February 5, 2023
St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Whiting, IN
Text: Matthew 5:13-20
Salt and Light
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine living in a world that doesn’t have salt or light? Can you imagine French fries without salt! Would you like to live in Barrow, Alaska where the sun doesn’t shine for six months in the winter? Salt and light are natural in life; they’re needed and welcomed. But just like popcorn isn’t good with salt, and just like a parking lot is dangerous without lights and salt in snowy days, our society isn’t any good without salt or light. It is a dark, drab world obsessed with and immersed in sin, and it desperately needs the salt and light that is Christ Jesus. And fortunately, it can have both because you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Jesus doesn’t say that you will be the salt or that you were the light, He says that you are the salt and you are the light. As those blessed by Jesus, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are salt and light by virtue of being disciples of Jesus. Just as salt is salty and just as a light bulb gives off light, we naturally exhibit the characteristics of being a Christian. It’s not because we are holier or better than everyone else, it’s just because we’ve been changed through faith in Christ. It transports us from the darkness of this world into the light that is Jesus Christ.
And make no mistake, the world needs to be salted and have the light of Christ shined on it. In a manner of speaking, this world is unseasoned and dark. Just think for a moment about the sin that you see around you daily. The world is a dark and fallen place that desperately needs to be changed. It desperately needs to be seasoned by Christ if it is to emerge from shadow of sin and death. And that’s where we come in. In Arabic, they say, “A NEIGHBORHOOD WITHOUT CHRISTIANS LIVING THERE IS DOOMED.”
Now keep in mind that just like you can overdo the salt, you can be too hard on people. We don’t beat them up with their sin, we don’t shove the Bible down their throat, and we don’t shame them, rather we share the message of Christ with love. We love our family and friends and that’s why we share the Gospel with them. We want them to know the joy that comes from being the salt of Christ, we want them to experience the power of forgiveness that makes them shine. And like a city set on a hill, we want the people to see the Church as a place of refuge. We want to be the beacon of hope to a lost and fallen world. The Church stands alone from everything else in the world offering true hope and true peace to a world that knows neither hope nor peace.
And this is a high calling for you and me, it is one that our Lord takes most seriously and it’s one that we should take seriously as well. We salt and light the world because we’re His disciples.
We do what we do so that Christ would be the focus of those on whom we shine our light and sprinkle our salt. We salt the earth not that we would be praised, but that God would be praised. We do good works, we help those around us, we share the love of Christ not so others say what good people we are, but so that they would say how good God is. Nor do we salt the earth and shine our light that we somehow obtain God’s favor and forgiveness. We don’t need to earn those because Christ has done all that is necessary that we would be forgiven. We don’t shine our light to be saved, rather we shine our lights because we are saved.
Because we’re saved, we shine our light and we salt the earth as we live out our daily vocations. A vocation is where God has put you in this world. You might have the vocation of spouse, child, employee, and friend, you are probably a mixture of many of these. No matter what our station in life, no matter our age, our gender, or our vocation, we do all that we do so that others will glorify God and come to faith in Christ who saves them from sin and eternal death.
But in reality, we Christians sin, we fail to shine our lights, and we don’t sprinkle our salt, so every day we need to remember that Christ is for us too. Because He faithfully served as the Light of the World, even though it would lead to His death, He has given us what we don’t have; a new relationship with God. You are forgiven. You are forgiven for failing to be faithful in your vocations. You are forgiven for hiding your lamp. You are faithful for hoarding your salt. Because you then have a new and loving relationship with God, you have a new relationship with those around you. You aren’t just family, friends, or neighbors, you are saints, children of God, to whom He has entrusted the Salt and the Light of Christ Jesus.
The salt and light of we who are disciples of Christ bring hope to the hopeless, forgiveness to the sinners, and life to the spiritually dead. We shine our light in a darkened world so that others will know the salvation that we know, that they will also know that love of God. Amen
Now the peace which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen
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Adjunct Faculty at College of DuPage, Formerly Adjunct Faculty at American University of Beirut and Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church Lombard, IL Name pronounciation: HI-shahm SHI-hab Hebrews 12: 4 & Philippians 1: 29