Tuesday, 5 January 2021
Title: Be Salt And Light For Jesus In 2021
By: Pastor Isaac Yim
The 2021 theme for Pantai Baptist Church is LIVE THE LIFE. Matthew chapter 5 is the most famous teaching of Jesus to His disciples. This is referred to as “The Sermon on The Mount”. The first part on the Sermon on the Mount is call the Beatitudes which means “The Blessings”. Some have referred to this as the believer’s “Be – attitudes”. Believers are to be blessed or happy when we put these character traits from the Beatitudes into our lifestyles. (Matthew 5:1-9)
These blessed people are to hold fast to the teachings of Jesus. These teachings are contrary to the to the culture and values, then and now. People who practise the principles taught in the Beatitudes are persecuted. (Matthew 5:10-12)
The focus for today is taken from Matthew 5:13-16. Jesus specifically addressed His followers, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.” We are to live our lives in such a way that “they (the world) may see our good works, and glorify our Father Who is in heaven.”
The presence of both salt and light are very noticeable. They do not call attention to themselves, but their presence will definitely make a great difference. Jesus wants to make sure His followers live a different kind of life. What makes us different from the rest of the world? The study of the word “salt” in Greek will help us to understand. “Salt” in Greek is “halas” which means prudent. Paul uses this word “halas” in Colossian 4:6, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt – “halas” – so that you may know how you should answer everyone.” Prudence is used to describe the character of a disciple and it is easily observable in the way he speaks. In the Middle East, salt was used to preserve food, especially meat, which would quickly spoil in the hot desert environment. Salt is also used to enhance flavour in food. As we live our lives in obedience to the Holy Spirit, we will influence the people around us for good. We will make a difference in corrupt situations; we will contribute to lives that are tasteless, without purpose and direction. However – Jesus warns us – we can lose that influence, just like salt can lose its saltiness.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” (Matthew 5:13 NLT)
Salt that has become tasteless will be rendered useless and can neither make any difference nor be of influence. We have daily choices to be prudent or imprudent. You will lose your effectiveness for Jesus if you choose to be imprudent. There is no substitute for prudence. We must be extra careful because all of us can potentially lose our saltiness. We must constantly live in the presence of the Lord and be totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to lead us daily.
In 2021, let us maintain our saltiness by living a godly life. Whenever we compromise with the world, we will lose our saltiness.
Jesus uses the analogy of light to the world; the good works of followers of Jesus are to shine for all to see. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)
“Light” in the Bible stands for spiritual illumination and truth. It encompasses all that is pure, good, and holy, as opposed to the darkness of evil. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 119:105, “lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” As we follow the Light – Jesus the Light of the world – we will never stray from Him.
The opposite of light is not darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. The presence of light is something that is unmistakable. So as followers of Jesus, our presence in the world must be a light in the darkness, and that the truth of the light of Christ will enlighten the darkened hearts of sinful man. (John 1:1-10). At the same time the good deeds of believers will be evident for all to see.
However, Jesus cautions us that just as we can lose our saltiness, we can also blur or dim our lights. Thus, we can easily lose our influence and our distinction as believers if we choose our way instead of following the ways of the Holy Spirit. Another way we can be rendered ineffective for Christ is when we fail to take up the cross to follow Jesus daily, and instead take the path of comfort or convenience.
Our salt and light will be effective when we walk in humility and obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. When our lives are Spirit-led, we continue to make a difference where we are. Our obedient lives in Christ will bear fruits of love that others will see and give glory to God.
Prayer for today
Dear God, remind us each and every day that we are Your beloved children, who are called, equipped, and empowered to be salt and light to the world. Teach us to love others as You have loved us, grant us the humility and the capacity to carry out good works of love that will give You all the glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT)
班底浸信会2021年的主题是 活出生命。马太福音第5章是耶稣对祂门徒最著名的教导，被称为 “登山宝训”。登山宝训的第一部分叫作“八福”，意思是 “祝福”；有些人称之为信徒的 “待人处世的态度”。当我们把 “八福” 的这些性格特征融入我们的生活方式时，信徒就会得到祝福或幸福。（马太福音5:1-9)
今天的关注点取自马太福音5:13-16。耶稣特别对跟从祂的人说：“你们是世上的盐” 和 “你们是世上的光”。我们要过这样的生活，好让 “他们(世人)看见我们的好行为，便将荣耀归给我们在天上的父。”
盐和光的存在是非常明显的。它们不会引起别人对自己的注意，但它们的存在肯定会带来很大的不同。耶稣想要确保跟从祂的人过一种与别不同的生活。是什么让我们与众不同？研究希腊文中的 “盐” 一词将有助于我们理解。“盐” 在希腊文中是 “halas”，意思是慎重。保罗在歌罗西书4:6用了 “halas” 这个词：“你们的言语要常常带着和气，好像用盐 – ‘halas’ – 调和，就可知道该怎样回答各人。” 慎重是用来描述一个门徒的性格的，从他说话的方式就可以很容易地看出这一点。在中东，盐被用来保存食物，尤其是肉类，这些食物在炎热的沙漠环境中很快就会变质。盐也被用来增添食物的风味。当我们活出顺服圣灵的生活时，我们永远都会影响我们身边的人。我们会在腐败的局面带来改变；我们能为平淡无味、没有目标和方向的生命作出贡献。然而，耶稣警告我们 – 我们可以失去这种影响力，正如盐可以失去它的咸味一样。
耶稣用光的比喻论世界；跟从耶稣的人的好行为要照耀让所有人都能看到。“你们是世上的光．城造在山上、是不能隐藏的。人点灯、不放在斗底下、是放在灯台上、就照亮一家的人。你们的光也当这样照在人前、叫他们看见你们的好行为、便将荣耀归给你们在天上的父。” (马太福音5:14-16 和合本)
圣经中的 “光” 代表灵性的光明和真理。它涵括了所有纯净、美好和神圣的事物，与邪恶的黑暗相对。诗人在诗篇119:105中写道：“我脚前的灯、我路上的光。” 当我们跟从光 — 耶稣，世界之光 — 我们就永远不会偏离祂。
弟兄们、我不是以为自己已经得着了．我只有一件事、就是忘记背后努力面前的、向着标竿直跑、要得 神在基督耶稣里从上面召我来得的奖赏。（腓立比书 3:13-14 和合本）