Be The Light | Matthew 5:13-16

May 3, 2014

Book: Matthew

Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16

Praise the Lord! We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus. Welcome to our New Year Service. In a few minutes, we are going to say goodbye to this year and a great year is awaiting us. Let’s thank God for 2022. God has been faithful. Seasons have come and gone but God has been good to us. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will lead us successfully in 2020.

If God has brought us to the end of this year, God has a purpose for you in 2023. You Are Here, right now for a Purpose, to be the light of the world.

I want to introduce the theme of the new year: Be His Light | Matthew 5:13-16


You and I are in the context of living in a dark work, ministering in a dark place, in a dark context. You can pick anything in this world, and it is dark. Whether it is family disintegration or financial disintegration, whether it is in the corporate world or the society around us. We can pick anything and we can find a dark cloud surrounding it in the day in which we live.

The question is:

  • Is there hope in the middle of this darkness?
  • Is there light in the middle of this seemingly hopeless world?
  • How can we be the light of the world?

Matthew 5:13-16 13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


This section is from the sermon on the mount. Jesus’ audiences were the disciples of Jesus and the crowd, who were the future disciples of Jesus. They were weighing the cost of following Jesus.

Jesus told them repentance is the key to entering the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 4:17

Who can enter the Kingdom of God? Matthew 5:3-6

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Attitude Of A Kingdom Person: Matthew 5:7-9

7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

How The World Treats A Kingdom Citizen. Matthew 5:11

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rewards Of The Kingdom Of God. Matthew 5:12

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


We are the citizens of Heaven, ambassadors of Christ, heir of the kingdom of God. That is because of the work of Jesus on the cross and our faith and belief in Jesus.

The Purpose/Influence Of A Kingdom Person: You Are The Salt And Light.

Matthew 5:13“You are the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:15 “You are the light of the world.


Once there was a major power failure in the whole of Bangalore north. The street lights are not on, there was darkness all around. When we came to the church, there was full electricity. Everything is working as normal. The church invested in a generator that generated power. Even when there was utter darkness all around, we could function as normal and give light.

Today darkness reigns on the earth. The question is how do we find in the midst of darkness, light that keeps us moving on, going on, and ministering on?

Jesus is saying that you all, the community of Jesus, the church together are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

This is About Our Identity In Jesus.

It is not about you trying to be something but it is what you are in Jesus and His kingdom.

The beauty of the gospel is that God makes us his people, and gives us a new identity and a new purpose and God calls us to figure out how to work out that identity in the world. So our identity is in Christ who is the salt of the earth and the light of the world and we in our identity become that in the world.

This Is About Our Mission.

In the Great Commission Jesus said, “To and make disciples of all nations ….” We can carry out our mission only if we are salt and the light.

Jesus told his disciples that in spite of the difficulties, in spite of the persecution you are to be the salt and the light of the world. My Job is for you to engage with the world. When times are tough we have the tendency to quit and withdraw into our small community and be self-sufficient, Jesus said, “No, the citizens of my kingdom have an important role to play in this world even in a world there can be things that are against our principles and ethics.” Our mission is to be like salt and light in this world.

Transition: Let us see this passage in two parts. First is the part where Jesus told us to be the salt.


Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth.

The first metaphor that Jesus uses for our connection with the world or our engagement with the world is that we are to be salt.

Salt is used by humanity for over 6000 years. What was the idea of salt in the thinking of the ancient world?

Salt was a very valuable commodity in the ancient world. It was like money. There are records that at sometimes at some places, Roman soldiers might receive their pay in salt. You go to the pay table and they give you a little pouch with a salt. That is how valuable and sellable salt was in the ancient world.

Use of Salt:


Flavouring Agent

Preserving Agent. In the ancient world and even today salt is used to preserve meat. Salted meat and fish became a necessity in the days before the refrigerator was invented. The very basic way you could do it was to pack it with salt and dry it up so that you could preserve the meat. The idea behind salt is very much about preserving influence.

Christians are to serve as a preserving influence in the world against decay. That is what Jesus is saying about his disciples. You are to be like a preservative in the world. If the world around you is wicked, arrogant, sinful and going through the worldly system of ways, the believers in its mist must act like a preservative and make it slow down in its progress to decay. We should make the world better.

There is something distinct about us, God’s goodness in us protects against decay of the world. At the cross Jesus defeated death and the system of the world, now we become a preserving factor for goodness.


Are you serving as a preserving agent or are you one among the world?

Flavouring Agent. Salt is used to season our food. Some of you, you love your salt like anything. Some of you salt your food even before you taste it.

Salt greatly enhances the flavour of the food. We are there to make society better. The world is supposed to be the better fact that the disciples of Jesus are in it. Sometimes the world does not understand that. It often persecutes believers.

There is no area of your life that Jesus does not come into. He comes in your professional life, family life, your personal life, your relationship with others and in all those relationships you are a preservative against the corruption of the world. You must be a blessing in your workplace. You must be a blessing in your schools and colleges. Christians must be the salt in the hospitals and other workplaces.

We serve as the preserving agent and flavouring agent of the world.


We are the light of the world.

The Bible begins by saying:

Genesis 1:1-2 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

1 John 1:5 God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.

John 8:12 I am the light of the world

God is the light. Jesus is the light of the world. Now Jesus looks at his followers and he says, you are the light of the world. Jesus said, “Just like I shined in the world, now I want you to shine in the world.”

Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.

Believers are the light of the world.

This is a great compliment but also a great responsibility.

That is a powerful declaration of the individual worth and mission of every believer.

Light Is Visibility & Radiance

Matthew 5:14-16 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

  • We Are The Light Of The World.
  • We Are A City On The Hill.
  • We Are To Be Visible.
  • Our Visibility Is Done By Action – Good Deeds.


To Come Into Light Means To Come Out Of Hiding. We have to be visible in society with the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. The light is the gospel.

The Gospel Has To Radiate From Our Lives. When your light shines some will accept and turn to the father but some will reject us. If we are neutral, there is something wrong with our Christian effectiveness.

Our Good Deeds Must Radiate From Us.

What great responsibility has been given to us? There is not another light that Jesus is shining in this world. You are the light of the world. Jesus says, “I want you to be my light. I want you to be my instrument. You are like my body, my hands and my mouth and my feet on this earth. You are the light of the world.”

In Jesus’ time, there were prominent rabbis who were called the light of the world. But you see what Jesus does, “He looks at all his disciples and he looks at us today and says, that we are the light of the world.”

Jesus looks at the 12 disciples of his, sometimes they were so carnal in their thinking. He looks at the 100s of people in the crowd who wanted to be his disciples and he says to them, “You are the light of the world.”


The story is told of a lighthouse keeper who worked on a rocky stretch of coastline and who received his new supply of oil once a month to keep the light burning. Not being far from shore, he had frequent guests. One night a woman from the village begged some oil to keep her family warm. Another time a father asked for some to use in his lamp. Another needed some to lubricate a wheel. Since all the requests seemed legitimate, the lighthouse keeper tried to please everyone and granted them all.

Toward the end of the month he noticed that the supply of oil was very low. Soon, it was gone, and the beacon light went out. That night several ships were wrecked and lives were lost.

When the authorities investigated, the man was very repentant. To his excuses and pleading their reply was: “You were given the oil for one purpose — to keep that light burning!”

We are called to keep the light burning.

Think about Jesus’ time. In his day, they did not have artificial lighting as we have today. We have all different kinds of ways to light up an area. But Jesus’ followers never understood the present lighting system. They had oil lamps in Jesus’ time. Every house had an oil lamp. And these are kinds of lights that Jesus is talking about. You are the light of the world, now individually one of this might not be too bright. But if you can just imagine a hundred of this in the street, it will light up the entire area.

It is simple and steady. You don’t have to be spectacular. You don’t have to be a lazer light. You can just shine in a very simple and steady with your simple life that will bring God glory.

Jesus wants our Christian light to shine first and foremost at home.

What Causes Us To Be Ineffective As Salt & Light?

What is the Scenario in which salt loses its saltiness:

  1. Contamination & Assimilation

Mix salt with sand or other chemicals, you will lose its saltiness. loses its saltiness when it is mixed with water. The church loses it saltiness when it compromises with the culture and the world.

Absorbing The World.

Accept The Ways Of The World

Compromise With The World

The danger of looking like the world rather than being the salt and light of the world. The danger of having little to no impact in the city that God has placed us in because of how we are and how we live. We are called out to be a unique and different people.

1 Peter 2:9-10 9But 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. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy

  1. Isolation

Salt loses its effectiveness when salt is isolated as a single grain. It is not of much use. Christian loses his/her effectiveness when they isolate themselves from the society of God.

Salt loses its usefulness if it is not used. If you are not bringing the flavour in the community, it is useless. We are primarily called to bring the flavour of God to the world around us.

In his second illustration, Jesus talks about how his disciples must be the light.

  1. Living For Ourselves

The church exists under Jesus in freedom to live no longer for ourselves but to live freely for the world for which God gave his Son. So God calls us to live in freedom for the world and sends us out into the world. So the church becomes a witness of God’s concern for humanity and we become a witness for that in our word and through our deeds.

  1. Disobedience To Christ

Failure in us to daily take up the cross and follow Christ wholeheartedly.

  1. Disunity

Mark 9:50 Have salt among yourselves and be at peace your each other.

Lack of peace with one another.

The Benefit of Being the Light:

1 John 1:6-7 6If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

  • Fellowship With Jesus.
  • Fellowship With One Another.
  • We Are Purified From All Sin.
  • A Purpose-Driven Life. There is usefulness of your life. God will use you. God will use your life for the blessings of others.
  • God Is Glorified. Glorify Our Father in Heaven.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

How is our witness? How is our influence? How is our visibility? This is an experience of the community of men and women who acknowledges that Jesus is Lord and we as the Holy Spirit empower his people to be his witnesses in this world. Our greatest satisfaction is found in our total commitment to the witness of Jesus as our King in the kingdom.


The theme for the New Year is to be a people of purpose: Be the Salt; Be the Light.

How was our 2022? Did we live as a salt of the earth and the light of the world?

Are we living just like the world? Living in sin, living in flesh. Let’s ask God for forgiveness and repentance. Given a chance in 2023, let’s commit that we will be holy, separated, be the light and the salt.

Some Things We Can Do To Be The Light

  • Share Your Faith In Christ
  • Take Light Where It’s Dark
  • Shine Together As The Church
  • Live A Surrendered To The Lord