Monday 19th April 2021
Salt and Light of the World
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Matthew 5: 13-16 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Wow! What an awesome responsibility and yet what a blessed privilege – SALT and LIGHT of the world! Are you? Am I? Are we?
Salt has many characteristics like whiteness, pungency, flavor, preservative power and many others but I believe it is the last one – to combat deterioration that we as Christians must try to be – constantly combating moral and spiritual decay. Have you suddenly stepped into a crowd of non-believers and an off-color joke is suddenly held back because of your presence or profanity is left unspoken? One time I was at a believer’s garage when one of his clients let fly an obscene comment and my member immediately whispered to him “Hey, my Pastor here!” He immediately stopped, red face and quickly walked away. I wonder if my member would have reprimanded him had I not been around? Have we lost our saltiness? If so, then we are good for nothing except to be thrown out and be trampled on. Indeed, let us whom our Lord called salt be salt indeed! Ever so many people who never read the Bible are constantly reading us!
Light in Scripture indicates the true knowledge of God – goodness, righteousness, truthfulness, joy and gladness, true happiness and many others. As Christians we are never a light by ourselves. We are light “in the Lord” (Eph 5:8). Christ is the true, the original “light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35,36,46). We are “the light of the world” in a secondary or derived sense. Christ is “the light lighting” (John 1:9). We are the “light lighted”. He is the sun. We are like the moon, reflecting the sun’s light. Apart from Christ we cannot shine. So as Christians, we should always be in living contact with the original light so we can be light to others for “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), let alone shine.
So we as light of the world, being blessed with these endowments, we are to transmit them to others around us, starting from our family members, relatives, close friends, colleagues and to the world at large. We as light-possessors must become light-transmitters. Collectively we are “the light.” Individually we are “lights” (luminaries, stars, Phil 2:15). We often hide our light by:
- Being quiet when we should speak.
- Going along with the crowd.
- Denying the light.
- Letting sin dim our light.
- Not explaining our light to others.
- Ignoring the needs of others.
Let us all be beacons of truth – don’t shut our light off from the rest of the world.
Of course, “good deeds” must never be done in the hope that others would see them to gain praise and honor for ourselves. But it is unavoidable that some of our good deeds will be seen by the world. Even unbelievers will at times hear songs of praise sung by God’s children in their times of trial, sorrow and distress. They will at times be astonished when Christians will go out of their way, risking danger and even death to help the sick and dying. Tertullian wrote “But it is mainly the deeds of love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. ‘See,’ they say, ‘how they (the Christians) love one another,’ for they themselves (the non-Christians) are animated by mutual hatred; ‘see how they are ready even to die for one another,’ for they themselves will rather be put to death.”
The end result of all our good deeds, and in fact, anything and everything done in the name of our Lord should be “Praise our Father in heaven.” Never us.
PRAYER: Father God, thank you for reminding us that we are all Salt and Light of the world. We are to live out that life so others may see Jesus in us and give praise, honor and glory to you and you alone. In Jesus most precious name we pray AMEN.
哇！多么惊人的责任，却又是多么蒙福的特权 – 世界的盐与光！您是吗？我是吗？我们是吗？
盐有许多特性，如呈白色、具刺激性、可调味并具防腐力，还有许多其他特性，但我认为是最后一个 – 我们基督徒必须努力对抗恶化 – 不断与道德和灵性衰落战斗。您曾否突然走进一群非信徒当中，因为您的出现，一个下流的笑话突然间被忍住了，或者污秽的言语没有说出口？有一次，我在一位会友的车行里，他的一个客户脱口而出了一句污言秽语，我的会友立刻向他低声说：“嘿，我的牧师在这里！” 他立即停下来，红着脸，迅速走开了。我不知道如果我不在，我的会友会不会训斥他？我们失去咸味了吗？如果是这样，那么我们除了被丢到外面， 让人践踏之外，便一无是处了。诚然，让我们被主称作盐的人，真的为盐吧！众多从未阅读过圣经的人正不断地对我们察言观色！
圣经中的光表明对上帝的真知—良善、公义、真实、喜乐与喜悦、真正的幸福等等。作为基督徒，我们自己从来都不是光。“在主里面” 我们是光明的（弗5:8）。基督是真光、原始的 “世界的光” （约翰福音8:12; 9:5; 12:35,36,46），我们是继发或衍生意义上的 “世界的光”。基督是 “照亮的光”(约翰福音1:9)，我们是 “被点亮的光”。祂是太阳，我们就像月亮，反射太阳光。离了基督，我们无法发光。因此，作为基督徒，我们应该时刻与原始的光保持活泼的联系，这样我们才能成为别人的光，因为 “离了我，你们就不能作什么”(约翰福音15:5)，更不用说发光了。
因此，我们既为世界的光，被赐予这些禀赋，我们要将它们传播给我们周围的人，从我们的家人、亲戚、密友、同事到整个世界。作为光的拥有者，我们必须成为光的传播者。整体来说，我们是 “光”；个别而言，我们是 “照耀的明光”（发光体，恒星，腓2:15）。我们常通过以下方式隐藏我们的光：
让我们都成为真理的信标 – 不要把我们的光与世界隔绝。
当然， “好行为” 绝不能是希望别人看见为自己赢得赞美和荣誉而行。但不可避免的是，我们的一些好行为会被世人看到。即使是不信的人，有时也会听到上帝的儿女在试炼、悲伤和困苦中所唱出的赞美之歌。当基督徒不辞辛劳、冒险甚至是生命的危险去帮助病人和垂死的人时，他们有时会感到惊讶。Tertullian写道：“但正是如此崇高的爱的行为导致许多人在我们身上套上了标志。他们说：‘瞧，他们(基督徒)多么相亲相爱’，因为他们自己(非基督徒)被相互的仇恨所激化；‘看他们如何准备好为对方而死’，因为他们自己宁愿被处死。”