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Matthew 5:13-16

Let Your Salt Shine

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • May 20, 2018

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus described how His disciples should impact their world, how the one can influence the many for the kingdom of God.

Let’s discover what Jesus expects so that each of us may impact our world as disciples of Christ.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Let Your Salt Shine

Matthew 5:13-16


1. Can one person make a difference?

ILLUS – Malina supporting her big sister, Anna, during a volleyball match

2. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus described how His disciples should impact their world, how the one can influence the many for the kingdom of God.

3. Let’s discover what Jesus expects so that each of us may impact our world as disciples of Christ.

Matthew 5:13-16


1. In Matthew 5:1-12, Jesus told those who had gathered around Him what it means to be His disciple, the characteristics He expects to see from those who follow Him.

2. These are “beautiful attitudes”, attitudes which are the result of God’s work in the heart of each person who has surrendered their will, declared their allegiance, and have placed their faith in His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

3. God’s blessing rests upon each person who embodies what Jesus taught in these verses.

a. A true disciple of the kingdom of God is poor in spirit but is comforted by their heavenly Father.

b. They are meek yet empowered to do kingdom work because God’s Spirit is upon them.

c. They don’t settle for the empty things of this world but hunger and thirst for righteousness and are satisfied.

d. They will see God because of their faith in the cleansing work of Jesus’ blood at Calvary.

e. They seek peace, even with their enemies, just as their Father in Heaven did through His Son, Jesus.

4. Imagine what a person’s life would look like if these characteristics were evident and increasing over time.

5. Imagine the impact that person would have on those around them.

6. Jesus gave us two word pictures to spell out the impact for us in verses 13-16.

I. Be Salty (13)

The first thought that comes to mind when we hear that someone is “salty” is that the person in question is “coarse”, “vulgar”, or “rude”. 

Jesus did not have those synonyms in mind!But this is what He did have in mind… 

A. You can never be too salty

1. Salt was extremely valuable and important in that day, so this word picture would have had significant meaning to those listening to Jesus.

a. Pure salt does not decompose over time but maintains it chemical composition.

b. Therefore, salt became a symbol of endurance and value.

  • 2. Practically speaking, salt had many uses.

a. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid part of their wages in salt. Our English word, “salary”, comes from the Latin word which means “to give salt”. To be “worth one’s salt” means to “worth one’s pay”!

b. Meat was preserved with salt to keep it from spoiling in the hot sun.

c. Salt was added to wounds to protect against infection.

d. Newborn babies were rubbed with salt to cleanse and purify them (Ezekiel 16:4).

e. Salt was also used, as it is today, to add flavor to a meal.

3. For the Jew, salt had religious significance.

a. According to Jewish tradition, salt was linked to God because He is the one who purifies and preserves while demons were linked to corruption and decay.

b. Salt was linked to the Torah.

Quote: “The Torah is like salt… the world cannot endure without it.”

c. Salt was used in worship, mixed into or sprinkled upon sacrifices.

Leviticus 2:13, Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offerings; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

d. Covenants were made by eating bread with salt, or salt alone, which signified the enduring nature of the covenant.

2 Chronicles 13:5, Do you not know that the LORD God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?

e. Rabbis also used the image of salt to illustrate one who is wise.

4. Salt stimulates thirst.

ILLUS – Why do movie theaters put a ton of salt on their popcorn?

APPL – So what was Jesus saying when He declared that His disciples “are the salt of the earth?”

  • Jesus expects that His disciples will make the earth a purer and more palatable place.

John 14:12-13, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

  • Jesus expects that His disciples will create a thirst in others for a relationship with God.

Colossian 4:6, Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

ILLUS – The day Bennie came to Calvary Chapel Worship Center in Dallas, Texas.

APPL – If you’re around a godly person, it makes you want to be more godly. God wants your joy, your faith, your peace in the face of adversity to be such that people see what you have and want it also. One of the greatest compliments a Christian can ever receive is when someone says, “I want what you have.”  

B. Don’t be sodium free

1. Jesus warned His disciples about becoming “sodium free”, “unsalty salt”!

2.The word “tasteless” means to “gradually fade out, to disappear”.

3. How can salt become “tasteless” if it does not decompose? Only if it is compromised or impure!

a. The salt from the Dead Sea was known to decompose because it was not pure.

b. It did not cost as much, but eventually it needed to be replaced.

ILLUS – Arab bakers would line their ovens with blocks impure of salt.

4. It is interesting to note that the word “tasteless” is also related to the words “foolish”, “dull-witted”, and “absurd”.

APPL – So Jesus was warning us that if a person allows himself to be corrupted by the world, he has acted foolishly, dulled to the reality of what their compromise has done!

ILLUS – Demas stood with Paul in his imprisonment…

2 Timothy 4:9-10, Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica

5. The Apostle Paul gave a similar warning…

1 Corinthians 3:19-20, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The LORD knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” 

6. The Apostle John warned as well…

1 John 2:15-17, Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

II. Shine (14-16)

In verse 14, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Here again, Jesus was telling His disciples that He was sending them into the world to make a difference! 

Why? Because the world is dark and getting darker.

A. You can never shine too brightly (14)

1. Throughout the Bible there is a constant contrast between light and darkness. Light is linked with all that is good, while darkness is linked to evil.

Genesis 1:3-4, Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

a. Light is linked to God.

1 John 1:5, God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

b. Light is linked to the wisdom of God’s Word.

Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

c. Light is linked to Jesus.

John 8:12, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.

2. How is it that Jesus is the Light of the world when He also said that His disciples are the light of the world?

3. It is comparable to the light which was seen on the face of Moses after he had been in the presence of the LORD on Mount Sinai. Yet there is also a difference…

2 Corinthians 3:7-8, But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

APPL – So, Jesus is the Light of the world, and because of His presence in our lives, God’s glory is seen in us as well, a glory that should never fade away!

4. Jesus then said, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works… and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

APPL – Has God made a difference in your life? Then tell people about the difference that God has made in your life so that it may impact them as well.

ILLUS – The impact of my dad’s faith on my life

5. Darkness is also a picture of blindness.

ILLUS – The Ape Caves

6. The purpose of light is to show the way out of the darkness. Truth is what opens people’s eyes to see.

Psalm 43:3, O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places.

John 8:31-32, If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

APPL – God is sending us to make a difference in the world; to appeal to their spiritual thirst, their spiritual hunger, their desire to see, not to condemn the world, but to speak the words of life. Jesus expects us to influence the world and not be influenced by it.

B. Fan the flame of your faith

1. Don’t be invisible light!

2. Yet, that’s what the enemy of our souls wants.

3. He wants to fill your heart with fear so that you hide Christ’s light, just be “a secret disciple”!

ILLUS – “I can’t do this anymore!”

4. Satan wants to bring you back into his fold and make you think that it does not matter to God if you walk in darkness… you can have the best of both worlds.

5. Satan, who poses as an angel of light, wants to fill your heart with lies.

APPL – How do we combat Satan’s lies? Walk in the light… be honest with God!

1 John 1:5-10, This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.


ILLUS – The Candlelight Service at Calvary

Ephesians 5:15-16, Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.


Matthew 5:13-16      NASB 


13 "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. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 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. 16 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.


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