There is a MESSAGE for the Unbeliever and a Strong MESSAGE for the Church in this time of a pandemic and now chaos in our streets. This is the time when the Body of Christ should SHINE. There are darkness and death all around us. It has touched many of us. What is more important is that the Body of Christ begins to reach out and TOUCH others who are lost, hurting, and needy.
Please pause here and read the Salt and Light scripture text in Matthew 5:13-16.
Salt (of the Earth)
The Lord states that believers are the SALT of the Earth… not “can be” It is not an option. As true followers of Christ, believers possess the ability to DRAW (as salt does) and PRESERVE (as salt does). Salt causes THIRST. The Body of Christ is to create a thirst for Christ.
In wound care, salt or solution of saline draws out bacteria and cleanse the wound. It can sting when first administered, but it will soothe shortly thereafter. In ancient history, salt was used to pay wages to the Roman soldiers; Greeks believed salt to be divine. Across the theological spectrum, meanings of salt range from being a symbol of purity, a reference to flavor, acts as a sting to an open wound.
But maybe the Lord was seeing all these properties plus the one; Salt stops decay.
“All followers of Christ are to serve as preservatives, stopping moral decay in our sin infected world.” (Michael Youssef, Leading the Way Ministries christianity.com )
Jesus’ disciples, no doubt, immediately could relate to this property because many were fishermen. Their catch of the day was dependent upon salt being quickly applied to the fish to stop the rot. Here the Lord uses examples men can easily relate to. Healthy Christians are to counteract the corruption in the world by being examples of what is good and right and holy. This creates an atmosphere and the “…opportunity for the gospel to be proclaimed and received.” (Youssef)
In his article, Youssef goes on to say, “We have been given a wonderful privilege to be the salt of the earth, but Jesus gave us a warning. The second half of Matthew 5:13 states: “But if salt loses its taste, how would its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men”. Jesus did not say that we can lose our salvation; He said that we can lose our saltiness. When salt is contaminated it becomes corrosive and poisonous. Contaminated salt cannot even be used for fertilizer on the field, so it has to be thrown on the road. If we have allowed disobedience, carelessness, and indifference to rule our lives, we have become contaminated salt and have lost our saltiness. We need to confess our sin and let the Lord restore us to the purpose for which we were called.”
Light (of the World)
The Body of Christ is LIGHTin the darkness all around the world. Light illuminates and makes visible what is unseen. Try something tonight. Go to a room that does not have the light on… turn it on. What happens? Darkness flees!! In the spiritual sense, light exposes deeds of darkness. The Body of Christ is witness to the Presence of Christ in this world. This witness shows in true worship of God, a love for one another, and others, and the Body of Christ demonstrating the love of Christ by its deeds. The Body SHINES as light in a dark world. This coronavirus is unseen to the naked eye. But God sees it for what it truly is. God is Light! It has never been invisible to Him. The Lord will use this adversary for the good of the Church. He has ACTIVATED an army of prayer warriors and lay ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is Light! It has never been invisible to Him.
Some will say, “Well, how’s that different from celebrities and many wealthy people who do the same? Even others with good intentions who aren’t Christians do good things.” Doing good deeds outside of knowing Christ will get individuals recognized. It is only attached to the individual. Not all are looking for accolades and props… but without an object to glorify, the glory falls upon the giver. One very important thing to remember; the believers have been commissioned to ‘speak’ the gospel of Christ; pointing to Christ, other than themselves. Let that marinate for a moment. The Lord desires His followers to be different. He says believers are to Glorify Him with good deeds.
The Greek word used for light in Philippians 2:15, “Believers, you are to shine as light in the world.” is akin to the word for the beacon. The beacon of light that a lighthouse emits is bright and, “… unmistakable in its purpose. It warns of danger. It directs to safe harbor. It provides hope for those who have lost hope. Every day we are surrounded by people groping around in the darkness, separated from the God who loves them. God uses His children, like beacons from a lighthouse, to show the way to Him.” (Youssef) The followers of Christ are being prepared for heaven, with a wonderful opportunity to bring others as well. It is not by accident that families are being drawn together by this pandemic. It is a perfect opportunity for those who are strong witnesses among them… to SHINE! As many folks are saddened by not being able to fellowship in their Church groups, worshiping together, enjoying fellowship meals, and hearing the Word of God being shared by leaders in the Church… try seeing the glass half full instead of half empty. Perhaps this is a time when the Lord can spread His message to others who would not have otherwise gone to Church.
The Lord has done this in the past… He dispatched the disciples of Christ using the growing persecutions of the day. When Saul began persecuting the church in Jerusalem, the disciples were “scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria” and they “went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:1, 4). So, until life gets back to a ‘new normal’ the Body of Christ can bring out all those creative abilities, invest those talents, sharpen the sword with the Word of God, and be Christ, like never before for the purpose of expanding the kingdom of God. In many cases, families are shut in with a follower of Christ who is spreading Salt and shining Light! Children see and interact more with their parents now than ever before. Internet ministries are popping up all over the place, as well. The Church has been DISPATCHED by Sheltering in Place.
This is The Body of Christ In the Face of Crisis
Youssef, Michael. “Christian: You Are Salt and Light.” Christianity.com, Salem Web Network, 3 Dec. 2008, www.christianity.com/bible/christian-you-are-salt-and-light-11596480.html.
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