- Sermon Notes
Let Your Light Shine
Intro: Look for the light.
This past week, our youth group had a summer day camp called “Light Up” where they have been focused in on learning the powerful truth that as followers of Jesus, they are the light of the world! …Our morning services today mark the last session of our youth day camp, and so today, we are going to turn to Matthew 5:13-16, where we will look at who Jesus says His followers are in the world, and the powerful call and reminder Jesus gives in these verses to let your light shine.
Read: Matthew 5:13-16
Those listening to Jesus speak were being told that they were the salt of the earth, and the light of world. Two vital components of their world and our world today. Both salt, and light serve an essential purpose on this earth. By calling His followers salt and light, Jesus is declaring that His disciples are essential to the world.
There is a way Jesus calls His followers to walk, a “who” that He calls them to be. It has been said that if you reduce these verses down to one word that describes the function Jesus defines for believers, it is “influence.” Understanding this is important in our lives as well. Not only has He come to make a way for you and for me, but He points us toward inward change and then outward, toward making a difference in the world.
In these verses Jesus tells those of you who are His followers who you are and because of who you are, what you are to do…You are salt, and you are light, let your light shine!
I. Proceed Knowing Who You Are in the World
Matthew 5:13, You are the salt of the earth…
Matthew 5:14, You are the light of the world…
As Jesus gives these descriptions, He doesn’t say that His followers should consider becoming salt and light, rather, by the very nature of your being His, He tells you who you are.
Let’s break this down because Jesus is making it personal.
In both verse 13 and 14, Jesus says “you,” and the pronoun “you” in the Greek language is emphatic. He is saying “you as my followers are the only salt of the earth,” “you as my followers are the only light of the world.”
“You” in both verses is also plural, meaning all of His followers, are the world’s salt and light.
Next is the word “are” which is given in the present tense. This means that Jesus is saying that you as my followers are right now the only salt of the earth, and you are right now the only light of the world.
So, if we, as Jesus body corporately, are refusing to be salty in a world in need, or our light has been switched to the off position, there is no salt, there is no light in the world.
While my aim is to make the focus of the message center on letting your light shine, I want to briefly look at the first comparative component Jesus gives, which is our being the salt of the earth.
With the proper emphasis and tenses in place, we understand that Jesus says, you are, right now, the only salt of the earth… So, let’s look at what being salt means for you and me.
Salt is valuable and essential, but it has its necessary effect only if it is distinct, yet fully involved.
Illus. Essential salts.
There are specific ways in which salt is used that correlate with our opportunity as Christians in this world.
Salt Preserves: Jesus is speaking in a time when freezers and refrigerators were not what preserved. Meat was heavily salted and then transported many miles in the hot desert.
Salt Flavors: If used properly and to taste, salt can bring out the great flavor of what it is added to.
Salt Stimulates Thirst: Once you eat something salty, you generally want to follow that something with a tall glass of water!
Salt is best when it is mixed in, as an additive ingredient. But even when it is mixed in, it can be tasted.
We are mixed into the world. It is important that we keep our value, just like salt does. And in our case, that we hold onto our values.
John 17:15-16, 18, I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them away from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world.
We are not of the world, but we have been sent into the world. We are to influence the world, but not be of the world.
Colossians 4:5-6, Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of each opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Paul is telling us to walk in wisdom toward those who are outside. That our Christian lives must be lived out and we should make the most of each opportunity.
Approach our world with wisdom because when Jesus is attached to your life, your words, what you say (and write) reflect Him.
He continues, let your speech be filled with grace, as though seasoned with salt.
Illus. Season your life.
This is who Jesus says you are on this earth, you are salt. Essential, but distinct. It is evident when you are added, and evident when you are absent.
Next, in verse 14, Jesus says “you are the light of the world…”
Again, with the proper emphasis and tenses in place, we understand that Jesus is saying, you are, right now, the only light of the world…
Illus. You be Mater.
Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As you run the race and look to Jesus, He will remind you who you are, “you are the light of the world…” Is what He said, and we have the light of life, because of being tied to Him in this life.
II. Know Who Your Light is Linked To
When Jesus came into the world, He was called the light of the world.
From the very beginning the Bible draws a distinction between darkness and light.
Genesis 1:3-4, God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
As Jesus’ ministry on earth began, Matthew quoted what was foretold of His coming to earth in Isaiah 9:2.
Matthew 4:16, The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a Light dawned.
Jesus as the light of the world is evident throughout His life.
John 9:5, While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.
John 8:12, Then Jesus again spoke to them saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life.”
You have the Light of life if you are in Jesus Christ, and in Matthew 5:14, Jesus says if you have Jesus in your life, in this world, you are the light.
In John 8:12 when Jesus says those who follow Him will have the Light of life, and in Matthew 5, when Jesus says “you are the light…” the word “light” in Greek is worth our consideration.
The word for light used in both places is “phos” which is the root word from where we get our English words photo, or photograph.
You are then, the light, or photograph of who your light is linked to in this world! You are to be a picture of Jesus.
Illus. Can you see it yet?
Because Jesus is the light, light dawned upon those in darkness. Because Jesus is the light, we have been given the Light of life and are referred to by Him as the light in this world.
Illus. Don’t let the world get in the way.
Matthew 13:22, And the one sown with seed among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the anxiety of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
We looked at this last week, the worries of the world choke the things of the Lord.
Matthew 6:34, Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
All kinds of things will attempt to get in the way, but remember that your light is linked to Jesus, the light of life, let nothing get in the way.
And if your light is linked to Jesus, it is essential to make sure your life looks more and more like Jesus.
John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
In Ephesians 5:8, Paul wrote about the fruit of the light.
Ephesians 5:8, For you were formerly in darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of light. (For the fruit of Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).
Jesus says, you are the light of the world, I encourage you to be sure that you are bearing the fruit of light in your life: goodness, righteousness and truth…These things can only be true if our lives are linked to Christ!
Matthew 5:14-15, You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Jesus spoke of His people as the light of the world, a city set on a hill…
By its nature, light must be visible to illuminate. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, whether it is day, or it is night, a city set on a hill is seen.
While it may stand out more clearly at night and from a further distance in the darkness, it is also visible during the day.
Since a city on a hill cannot be hidden, and we are that city set on a hill, we must understand that we are not called to be undercover Christians.
Some want to be secret agents, but Jesus wants us to live for Him in such a way that all might see. Lights are turned on to illuminate not to be hidden away.
And in verse 15, Jesus says “nor” which is a negative conjunction. A negative conjunction means it is telling the reader that something is missing.
Jesus says, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
People don’t do that; they don’t light a lamp and cover it up or put it under a basket. And Jesus did not give you the light of life to put you under a basket. Jesus did not light you up to cover you up.
1 Peter 2:9, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
III. Shine Bright So All May See
Matthew 5:16, Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven…
Considering all that He says in the verses that precede verse 16, Jesus makes something clear to His followers…Your light must shine.
Since you are the only salt and light in this world right now, since you are the photo of Him in this world…Your light MUST shine before people.
Our light then must shine, and it must shine beyond the walls of our church sanctuaries and before people, so that they may see.
Your light must be seen! I am not certain where the quote initiated, but I have used it before…You may be the only light a person ever sees.
Illus. What’s under the hood.
Notice, Jesus said let your light in such a way that people MAY see…the word may there does not mean certainly, but possibility…
This means that we have a responsibility…to live as the light, as Jesus calls us to be…
So that all may see…and though that is the way we are living, some may not see.
The results aren’t up to you and me, but we have the opportunity to walk willingly and faithfully as the only light in the world right now, and to let our lights shine so the world may see.
Illus. Put a song on your heart!
“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.“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 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. 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.