Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XI: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Surpassing Righteousness
B. The Surpassing Righteous Influence Of Christ's Subjects
(Matthew 5:13-16)
  1. Introduction
    1. If Jesus is God's true Messiah, not only does He need to be upright, but His kingdom's subjects must reflect God's righteousness that surpasses the false righteousness of Israel's leaders in Jesus' day.
    2. Christ's great "Sermon on the Mount" of Matthew 5:1-7:29 explains how the righteousness in Christ's subjects surpasses the artificial righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20), and Matthew 5:13-16 reveals the ministry of the surpassing righteous influence of His godly followers (as follows):
  2. The Surpassing Righteous Influence Of Christ's Subjects, Matthew 5:13-16.
    1. Christ's truly godly, righteous subjects are the only entities on the earth that counter its spiritual depravity:
      1. In both the statements "You are the salt of the earth" in Matthew 5:13 and "You are the light of the world" in Matthew 5:14, the pronoun, "you" (humeis) is written before the second person plural indicative verb, este ("are"), U. B. S. Greek N. T., 1966, p. 12-13.
      2. This arrangement makes these two pronouns emphatic, indicating that only Christ's truly godly, righteous subjects, or, only "You" are the salt of the earth, and only "You" are the light of the world.
      3. Accordingly, the world lacks "salt" and "light" in itself, being in spiritual depravity, so the believer MUST act as effective "salt" and "light" in his life as no other entity in the world can do so!
    2. The ways Christ's truly godly, righteous subjects counter the world's spiritual depravity is expressed in terms of their being like "salt" and like "light", and we consider these entities as follows, Matt. 5:13, 14:
      1. Though salt has various positive uses like flavoring food and creating a positive thirst, it was mainly used in the Ancient Near East and Scripture events for purification: for example, newborn infants were rubbed in salt for medical protection (Ezekiel 16:4), and the term "covenant of salt" (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chron. 13:5) indicated a covenant that was enduring since it was to be immune to change, Zond. Pict. Ency. of the Bible , vol. Five, p. 220. Thus, Christ's upright, godly subjects influence the world for purposes of purification or regarding preservation from sin.
      2. Light tends to reveal what its opposite, darkness, conceals, so Christ's upright, godly subjects influence the world in providing insight into spiritual realities opposite the world's spiritual deception and concealing spiritual darkness, cf. 2 Timothy 3:13, 14-17.
    3. However, there are dangers of failure for Christ's subjects to be influential as noted in Matthew 5:13-16:
      1. Christ's subjects are in danger of ceasing to be effective "salt" that preserves from the corruption of the world like salt that has lost its potency, Matt. 5:13b. Such salt cannot be restored by its environment.
      2. Also, Christ's godly subjects are in danger of ceasing to be effective "light" that illumines with insight the world or darkness about them, Matthew 5:15a. If the light is hidden, the darkness dominates.
    4. Accordingly, Christ's subjects offset these dangers to be "salt" and "light" as Scripture teaches as follows:
      1. Since salt that has lost its savor can not be made potent by anything else around it to where it must be discarded (Matthew 5:13b), the believer must stay in right relationship with God and heed His Word to retain his influence for purity, for nothing in the world will restores a loss here, Ps. 119:105; Acts 4:13.
      2. To avoid ceasing to be "light," Christ's followers must openly perform good works in the Holy Spirit's power (Gal. 5:16) that they may be seen in the world and thus clarify the truth, Matthew 5:14,15, 16.
Lesson: In view of the world's helpless drift into deep sin and error, Christ's subjects must rely on Him to stay pure and offer illuminating insight of spiritual truth unto others. They must do so by staying in fellowship with Christ and immersed in Scripture, letting their illuminating works be evident to all or they will fail to be righteously influential since nothing in the world can reverse failure here.

Application: May we stay rightly dependent on the Lord and immersed in His Word to sustain a life of influential "salt" and "light" in a world of great impurity and error. If we see we have lost our "salt" and "light," may we immediately repent, confess our sin and return to rely on God and heed His Word!