THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT -- LESSON NINE
"You Are The Salt of The Earth"
I. Salt has been a mineral of high value from the beginning, an essential
to health: "Body cells must have salt in order to live and work." World
Book Encyclopedia estimates "more than 14,000 uses for salt;" but
less than 5% of the 22 million tons produced annually in the USA is
for use in food.
II. WHO ARE "THE SALT OF THE EARTH"? The poor in spirit, they
that mourn, the meek, they that hunger and thirst after
righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, who
have entered God's kingdom and are willing to be persecuted and
suffer for righteousness' sake, because of their calling, nature and
relationship to God.
III. But since all may become disciples of the Lord and citizens of his
kingdom, he is speaking to all who will.
IV. HE SPEAKS OF OUR PRIVILEGES, POSSIBILITIES AND OUR
A. As a statement of fact, it becomes the highest of compliments to
any person, a tremendous encouragement to those who suffer
unjustly for Christ's sake, and a clear and powerful call to
B. It thus speaks of our hope in Christ, and becomes a summary of
all our duties in him.
I. THE NATURE AND VALUE OF SALT:
LITERAL AND SPIRITUAL
A. Literal salt is very distinctive and important.
1. As a negative function, it is a saving power: It purifies and
preserves from impurity and prevents decay and corruption.
It is therefore one of the indispensable things, an absolute
2. As a positive function, it is a seasoning power. It seasons
when it makes direct contact and "strikes in." A child
defined it as "that which makes potatoes no good without."
Thomas illustration: A king asked three daughters how
much they loved him: Two said "Better than all the gold and
silver in the world." The third one said, "Better than salt." --
Sermon on the Mount, p.22.
3. Can also destroy when perverted and used unwisely.
B. Spiritual salt is also extremely important and enormous in value.
1. Christian character is very distinctive and a wonderful force
in the world that cannot be ignored. The kingdom of God and
heaven, the church, is an essential and indispensable thing:
Though often criticized, it is one of the necessities of life.
2. It is an incomparable and mighty force in teaching and
leading others to Christ, doing more to preserve the earth
from decay than all other institutions (John 6:44,45; I Tim.
3. It is the foe of impurity, decay, corruption and rottenness: It
is a unique negative and preventative. It keeps character
pure, sound, godly and saintly; and is a safeguard of the
world (Gen. 18:22-33).
4. It is also very positive, giving improved flavor and taste to
whatever it touches.
II. WHERE IS THE SPHERE OF OUR INFLUENCE?
A. Not in heaven, yesterday or in some far off tomorrow.
B. God gives us wonderful and unparalleled opportunities here and
1. In our homes: "What is in your (salt) bucket"?
2. In the church: Upon our peers, those we teach and
3. In our community: In all walks of life, in all we say and do
around the earth (Acts 8:1-4; 1 Cor.10:31-33)?
C. When? "Now today" (2 Cor. 6:2; James 4:13-15; Hebrews 3:7-19).
III . HOW? SOME WAG SAID, "MOST CHRISTIANS ARE ON A
SALT-FREE DIET." HOW SAD!
A. By character: By being something distinctive it is our duty to
be salt Mark 9:50).
1. Disciples of Christ are like him, not half-hearted or
2. He did not say "scatter salt," but "you are the salt of the
3. By life commitment and loyalty to Jesus, his truth and values
(Matt. 5:112; Luke 14:26; 2 Peter 1:5-11).
B. By contact: By doing something distinctive as followers of
Jesus: Penetration; we have a duty to be salt: The basic
active ingredient: Heb. 4:12.
1. By being in contact with those whom we are to salt.
2. By going into the stream of life: getting involved (Matt. 9:10-13).
By losing self in service to God as the salt of the earth
(Matt. 16:25; 2 Cor. 12:15).
3. No monastic life is taught here: "Salt in a box" saves and
seasons nothing. If all Christians remain "in one lump," and
send out no personal workers or missionaries, hold no
meetings, do no broadcasting or speaking for Christ and his
truth, and turn the printed pages and mass media over to the
forces of evil, what will happen to us and the lost world in
view of Mark 16:15-16, and Matthew 28:18-20?
C. Five powerful/wonderful ways to be salt: 1 Timothy 4:12.
1. "In word" (Col.4:6; Psalm 19:14; Matt.12:34,37; Gal.4:19;
2:20). Do yours encourage and comfort?
2. "In manner of life" (Phil.1:27; 2 Cor.5:15,17). Is yours
3. "In love" (John 13:35; 14:23; Romans 12:17-21; 1 Cor. 16:14;
4. "In faith" (1 Cor.16:13; 15:58; Eph. 4:14,15; 1 Thes. 2:13; Gal.
5:6; Jude 3).
5. "In purity" (Matt.5:8; 1 Cor. 13:16; 1 Thes. 5:21-22).
IV. BIBLE EXAMPLES: THE POWER OF INFLUENCE, BOTH
GODLY AND UNGODLY, IS PROFOUND AND FAR-REACHING.
A. These were NOT "the salt of the earth" (Gen. 6:5).
1. Lot's wife, in a time of great immorality and perversion:
Jesus said "remember" her (Luke 17:32).
2. Nadab and Abihu: In a position of high privilege, trust,
responsibility and opportunity, they wasted it and destroyed
themselves (Leviticus 10:1-3).
3. Ananias and Saphira: In a time of great need and grand
opportunity, they blew it. Selfishness and deceit filled and
marked the end of their lives: like many, willing to make a
donation, but not give heart/life (Acts 5). Unlike Barnabas
whose gift marked the beginning of great life/service to our
Master (Acts 4:36).
4. These all had influence, but not the right kind.
B. These were "the salt of the earth."
1. Abraham: "And be thou a blessing" (Genesis 12:2). He was
2. Joseph: One of God's best, greatest and most Christlike men
3. Moses: One of God's most monumental men.
4. The Jewish maiden who had such enormous influence on
Naaman the Syrian leper (Luke 5:27; 2 Kings 5).
5. Barnabas; Paul; Lois; Eunice; Timothy (Acts 13; Phil.2:19,20).
6. Mary the mother of Jesus; Dorcas; N.B. Hardeman; David
Lipscomb; Liff Sanders went to Nashville Bible School in
1898, stayed one year, later began the church in Lubbock,
7. There are many such examples of salt: John T. Lewis in
Birmingham; Reece Boyd, Jasper, TN., etc.
V. THE DANGER OF LOSING SAVOR: CEASING TO BE PURE
A. The Lord teaches plainly that this can and does happen: Loss
of spirituality and/or power to salt (Mark 9:49,50).
B. Its doom: To be rejected of God, trodden under foot by man, and
1. "Salt without savor is fit only to be cast out and/or thrown
away, according to Jesus.
2. It is not correct to say there is some good in every person, for
the Lord says plainly that a professed Christian may lose his
power for good so that he becomes "good for nothing, but to
be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
C. A Christian who loses his influence for God is perverted from his
divine purpose and is worthless (Rev. 3:14-18; 2 Peter 2:20).
D. "The Valley of salt" near the Dead Sea with rock salt is a place of
death (2 Sam. 8:13; 2 Kings 14:7; 1 Chron. 18:12; 2 Chron. 25:11;
Psalm 60, title; etc.)
I. The power of godly influence is enormous. When one is "dead to sin,
alive unto God in Christ Jesus," he makes a great difference on
earth (Romans 6:11).
II. As Willard Collins said, "The influence of ten Abrahams could have
saved Sodom. A Christian must live in such a way that the ideals of
Christ can be seen in his daily life. This is the greatest contribution a
child of God can make to his community in a time of crisis."--Collins,
The Best of 20 Years, p.150.
III. The Lord's words about his disciples being salt and light came after
the beatitudes, not before.
--Charles E. Crouch