SALT, LIGHT AND CITY ON A HILL – What are you?
By Pastor Samuel Obafaiye –
Mathew 5: 13-16 – 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Here Jesus was not addressing Governors, Pharisees, Sadducees, Sanhedrin, Kings etc. But he was talking to farmers, fishermen, traders, shepherds, housewives, jobless etc.
This must have amazed the people who heard it for they were not among the world’s powerful or elite of their time, or in any way in a position to think of themselves as people who were able to impact the world at all.
However, Jesus knew both the world and them. He knew the state of the world as well as what the world wants. He equally knew what has been invested in the people and more so that the investment existing ion the people is devoid in the world.
After all said and done, the question is did this lay people actually manifest? Take for example, Peter and John episode with the man at the Beautiful Gate. I believe that if they had sponsored the lame man to have an operation that would have been a level of manifestation. But to ask the man to just rise up and walk, that was super manifestation!
No wonder a testimony concerning them was written in Acts 4: 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Peter and John were able to manifest because they had been with Jesus. You and I have equally been with Jesus, they were with Him physically for over three years, how many years have you been with the Lord spiritually?
The same of word of charge comes to us today. Do you see yourself as a salt, light or city on a hill?
WHAT CAN SALT DO?
Slat works because it is fundamentally different from the things to which it is applied. Only when we are different, can we really make a meaningful difference to the world around us.
SALT IS A PRESERVATIVE – When rubbed into meat, for example, it prevents the meat from decaying, and keeps it good to eat. Salt keeps something from becoming bad.
SALT PROTECTS – When dissolved in a glass of water, it helps kill the germs that cause sore throat.
SALT IS A SEASONING AGENT – When sprinkled on bland food, it helps to enhance their flavour.
In Job 6: 6-7
6 Can that which has no taste to it be eaten without salt? Or is there any flavor in the white of an egg?
7 [These afflictions] my soul refuses to touch! Such things are like diseased food to me [sickening and repugnant]!
Salt by itself doesn’t taste so good; salt applied to food makes it better (just as you might think of what is good about you, just add yourself to the world and you will see the result.)
We are to function as preservative agents in the world. Often, the fact that a godly person is present stops the trend toward sin.
We are the seasoning agent in the world. We do this by helping people see theur is an alternative to the constant downward spiral of despair. An example is Elijah in the apostate Israel state (1Kings 18:1-39).
WHAT CAN LIGHT DO?
Light is used to signal
Light is used to guide (Psalm 119:105 NIV) Your world is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Light is used to penetrate the darkness and expose evil and error. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:19-24)
Light is used to prevent sin (security lights in dark areas).
Light is used to produce growth (plants).
Light does not exist for its own glory but to brighten up the world. Example is John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He was a light pointing to a greater light (Luke 1:76-79).
CITY ON A HILL
Jesus was using a metaphor that the people were familiar with. In the old Jewish times, special cities were built on hills. This is so for many reasons: as refuge centres (Joshua 20: 1-9). people should be able to run to you and find safety, solace, help, comfort etc.
7 So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8 On the east side of the Jordan of Jericho[a] they designated Bezer in the desert on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh. 9 Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.
They could be seen from a distance.
They enjoya good view;
They are good defensive sites;
They are easily noticeable;
They portray advance skill and technology;
Elisha was a “city” that was set on a hill.
Naman came to Samaria to look for him (11 Kings 5: 1-14) – he was able to locate his exact house. Host of Syria recognise this as well (11 Kings 6:8-16) – they found him in Dothan.
The Lord challenge to myself and possibly to you.
“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. (Luke 8:16)
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. (Luke 11:33)
HOW CAN I PUT MYSELF ON A CANDLESTICK?
You may not be able to rain down fire from heaven like Elijah
You may not be a great evangelist as John the Baptist.
You may not be able to heal leprosy, or blind your enemies like Elisha.
You can however do the following:
12 Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [[a]when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]. (1 Peter 2:12).
14 Do all things without grumbling and fault finding and complaining [[a]against God] and [b]questioning and doubting [among yourselves],
15 That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world. (Phil.2:14-15).
Two options are available to you: manifest or not to manifest. What will be your take?
-Sermon delivered by Pastor Samuel Obafaiye on 29th July, 2012.