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You Are The Salt Of The Earth

February 9, 2020 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Verse: Matthew 5:13–5:16

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Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
February 9, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Epiphany 5
The Salt Of The Earth And The Light Of The World

You are the salt of the earth! But if the salt loses its saltiness how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer of any use but to be thrown outside and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world! It is impossible for a city established on a mountain to be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp only to place it under a basket; but upon the Lampstand and it imparts its light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Mt. 5:13-16)

Sunday after Sunday we hear thrilling words from Scripture, and each Lord’s Day draws us ever closer to our God; and why should it not for we possess the Spirit of God, and the mind of Christ.

And so we who might otherwise be unremarkable people as the world counts remarkable are able to see what the giants of earth cannot – namely “the good things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9).

Yes, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, Christ himself has declared it.

Indeed even the toddler who, after listening to God’s liturgy week after week, one day on the way home opens his mouth and out comes, “Lord have mercy upon us!” That child is a brighter light than the all the luminaries of world; and will be the salt of the earth his whole life long – as he advances to worlds unknown!

For that child has reached out beyond himself, beyond the confines of the earth, the sky, the universe, past all things visible and invisible, and has called upon his true and Heavenly Father.

Look into the vast sky on a clear coal-black night and take in the starry hosts if you can, and as you do note well that this is only the outer-most, dullest and darkest back acre of Heaven. But this child has pierced straight through it all and his cry has found its resting place in the ear of the Heavenly Father who loves him!

You are that child!

You are the salt of the earth!

You are the light of the world!

Jesus has declared it, but what does he mean?

Much more than meets the eye.

Whenever we meet people who are truly good, kind and generous; whose words are gentle whose mere presence makes everything good, we refer to them as “the salt of the earth,” and so they are!

But the Lord’s words go deeper than that.

Salt was an essential part of Old Testament sacrifice. (Lev. 2:13) Every sacrifice offered had to be seasoned with salt. And so when Jesus tells his church that she is the salt of the earth he is saying that she is a kind of sacrifice for the world.

What kind?

The same kind he was!

In the Prophet Isaiah the nation of Israel is called “the suffering servant” because as the bearer of God’s Christ she suffered the scorn and abuse of the whole sin-darkened world – indeed she still does though the Christ came 2,000 years ago.

In his day our Lord also suffered scorn, abuse, violent opposition, rejection, and the most violent death that the world knew how to inflict! As Isaiah prophesied: “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief …” (Is. 53:3)

He came with love! Came with healing on his wings! “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” But his speech, if you will, was ceremoniously torn into pieces. But nonetheless as Isaiah says, “He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows.” (Is. 54:4)

Now Jesus says to his church, the New and True Israel (Gal. 6:6): You are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. That is to say:

we are Christ to the world!

As such we, like Israel of old, bear Christ to the world; and like them and like him we also will suffer stiff opposition, icy rejection and whatever other evil the world wishes to inflict upon us.

But what the world does not know is that, like salt, the church is its preservative! For the church is the place in this world that God visits earth and communes with men; and we are not speaking figuratively here! But actually and factually; really and truly.

This Holy Communion that the church celebrates around the world today is the time and place that she offers her most powerful and important prayers! Supplications and intercessions for the good estate of the church, the blessing of the world, and for every sort of man, and condition of man! But the dull world is oblivious as to what goes on here, though it is her only hope of salvation.

But while the world is utterly unaware of the mighty intercessory prayer that is offered up for it in Christian liturgy (like the Lord’s own Euch. Prayer in Jn 17) what the dark world cannot ignore, and cannot help but marvel at is the beautiful love that Christians extend to all: even their enemies. Jesus has this marvelous saying, let us all take to heart:

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.”

This is the “outreach” that is required of all God’s people; to demonstrate the love of Christ by extending sacrificial love to the world about you. You do not need to go to an “evangelism seminar” to learn how sell Jesus to the unsuspecting.

People know who you are!

People know who you are and they are watching you. Watching, waiting and anxiously hoping for good things from God; and you are the delivery system!

It is not pandering church signs, or slick websites that draw people to God or give people a New Life. But the distinctive love of Christ that you display! And just so there is no doubt in your mind – it is a light that burns all the brighter when it shines through our own suffering.

When people see this they cannot help but fall down on their knees and cry out: surely God is in this place! (1 Cor. 14:25)

And by a mysterious process that we cannot know, much less replicate, they cease their war with heaven and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)

Then they, along with you, will shine like the stars forever. (Dan. 12:3) For God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4)

And so, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Amen