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Salt and Light (9 of 21)
Series: THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
January 4, 2006
In our last lesson we had concluded the beatitudes. This evening we will pick up with (vv. 13-16), as the Lord continues His sermon on the mount.
In (5:1, 2), it says, And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:  And he opened his mouth, and taught them." The place from which He spoke was a small mountain located just above the southwest side of the Sea of Galilee. From His vantage point He could look below and see the lush green valley and the beautiful sea, sometimes referred to in the Bible as the Lake of Gennesaret. As Jesus continues His sermon, He begins a discussion using imagery about the importance of salt and light and how believers, in a symbolic way, are much like both. Let me give you two things:
I. Believers Are the Salt of the Earth
II. Believers Are the Light of the World
I. BELIEVERS ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH
In Bible times salt and oil were valuable commodities. Salt was used as a preservative, and oil was used in lamps for light. Because there was no refrigeration, meat and fish were packed in salt in order to preserve them. Salt was even sometimes used to cure a toothache; a little bit of salt placed in a tooth cavity would often eliminate the pain. Again, all the meat sacrifices in the Old Testament required salt. Leviticus 2:13, And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt."
Turning our attention back to (vs. 13), we find both a positive and a negative. Let's put down first of all...
A. The Positive: "Ye are the salt of the earth."
1. Salt is a preservative
a. Salt prevents things from going bad--it prevents decay.
ILLUS: I remember my father-in-law's old smoke house. Laid out on a wooden floor, on a bed of salt, were his shoulders of ham--good ol' country ham...mmm...mmm, good. If you've never had country ham, you've missed something. Can there be anything better for breakfast than a big slab of country ham, some eggs, hot grits, homemade biscuits and red eye gravy?
When he placed the ham in the smoke house, he put salt under it and salt on top of it. Occasionally, he would re-salt it, making certain the meat didn't spoil. That ham would last up to a year. That's hard to believe, isn't it? Weeks, and even months later, his wife could cut off a piece of that meat and cook it for breakfast--nothing tasted better.
1) In much the same way, we, as believers, are the salt of the earth. If it were not ...
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