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 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Salt and light are being used as synonyms and as we described salts’ use last week, this week Jesus reveals our job description as being light. The verse explains that lights’ very function is that, to give light. To explain the obvious description of how this light is revealed, Jesus goes on to say “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”. Thinking the Beatitudes would lend itself to a monastic, recluse lifestyle, Jesus is quick to point out our lives as believers is to be spent on display before others. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden”.
Jesus explained in John 9:5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”. Our ambassadorship includes being involved in reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:18-21), as we reflect his light in the world. Paul defines a similar analogy of being light in the world in Philippians 2. After explaining the example that Jesus gave us in verses 2:1-11, Paul says in light of all this (with a “therefore”), our obedience is revealed in working out our salvation with fear and trembling “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (2:12-13). Then he explains in contrast to grumbling or disputing (2:12) we should be “blameless and innocent in a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” This would bring the beatitudes and our salt and light illustration to a very vivid reality, not to be left in obscure theory. This is how we live as salt and light.
We discussed the properties of salt last week and we would be remiss to not explain at least a couple attributes of light, its impact in the life of a believer and its use in a dark world. Light does many things but its most obvious quality is to dispel darkness. Light literally drives darkness from its presence. Light is shown to reveal deeds done in darkness that are evil (John 3:19). Light is also used to be a guide and can provide ample warning.
So on a quick side note and to give you something else to ponder, what is the role of the church? Think about that in specific terms, the church is to be a source of light. It is to be a purifying influence. That seems vague but the role of the church is to reflect the glory of God in a dark world. Still vague and kind of an arms length transaction, but how exactly do we function in this capacity as sinners? Now it gets more real because Jesus gave us ample direction in Matthew 18:15-20. If someone sins against you go to him, if he doesn’t repent go to him with a brother, if he still won’t repent take it before the church. The captain obvious question is does the church where you fellowship do this? You obviously have sinners in your congregation (you are there and if we go to the same church I am there). I’m convinced there are times we don’t repent, but does a brother come to you and in love rebuke you. Will you live a transparent life and do you ever let anyone close enough in your life to be able to do this? If you are going to be salt and light, how is your salty flavor and how bright is your light. Are you helping make others more salty, is your light shining brightly? If not then maybe this is a good day to examine yourselves as Paul commands us in 2 Cor 13:5. If the church where you fellowship is not practicing church restoration as commanded in Matthew 18 then maybe this is the problem and you need to be used by God to be part of the solution. Ask your elders why this isn’t practiced. In a time where the only intolerable sin is to abuse Matthew 7 and “judge not” when Jesus spends the rest of the chapter explaining how we are to not judge hypocritically but enter through the narrow gate by good judgment and Paul explains in 1 Cor 5 if someone calls themselves a believer “is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” (vs 12). Maybe today is the day your salt just gets a little saltier and your light gets a little brighter
This has much significance in the life of a believer as we look at our mission statement of spreading the gospel (Mark 16:15-16) and making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). We know that our light is revealed in what we do and we know that as we share the gospel and make disciples we are reflecting Christ’s work in our own lives. We also know as believers, we have the Light within us (Eph 1:13), the question I have to ask myself daily is how brightly is It shining?