A Manual For Discipleship

 

Disciples – You Are Salt and Light

 

In the Beatitudes Jesus laid out not only the nature of a disciple, but the path to becoming a disciple. Now that He has laid this groundwork, He proceeds with stating the primary twofold purpose of a disciple. The primary twofold purpose of a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be salt and light in a way that brings glory to God.

 

Disciple – “You are . . .”

 

Matthew 5:13a - “You are the salt of the earth; . . .”  [1]

On the heels of Jesus introductory words about the heart attitude of a disciple and how to become a disciple, He then pronounces, “You are . . . .” Jesus is now expanding on His definition of a disciple. Once a disciple has passed through the Beatitudinal steps of discipleship, they are salt and light. This tells us something that is very important; being slat and light is not so much something a disciple does (in their own strength), as it is something God does in and through the disciple. Being salt and light is not a work of self-effort, but like all things done in the Lord it is a work of the Spirit in and through the believer, the disciple.

 

That the disciple is all that he or she is based on the spiritual nourishment received through Christ is evidenced in Jesus own teachings. Jesus spoke of this when He said:

 

  • John 15:1-8 - “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  [2]

As we abide “in” Jesus, he equips us to bear fruit, but without abiding “in” Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Abiding in Jesus, living in this personal spiritual relationship with the living Savior Jesus Christ, is the key to all that a disciple is and does.

 

A correlated phrase to that of Jesus words, “abide in Me,” is found throughout the writings of Paul where he uses the term, “in Christ.” The phrase “in Christ” is used by Paul to express the personal saving nature of the believer’s relationship with God in Christ. The phrase “in Christ,” occurs in Paul’s writings 84 times in 82 verses. It is “in Christ” that the disciple is spiritually nourished and built up in the faith. The apostle Paul spoke of this work of God in the believer when he was inspired to write in various letters:

 

  • 1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”  [3]
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  [4]
  • Philippians 2:12-13 – “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”  [5]

The disciple’s responsibility is to surrender to the Lord and in so doing cooperate with the will of God in their life. Paul spoke of this relationship between disciple and God when he wrote:

 

  • 2 Corinthians 6:1 – “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” [6]

Disciple, think of it, “you are” a worker “together with Him. God has chosen to work in and through you. What a glorious privilege to serve the Lord! So deep and close is this working relationship that the disciple has with God that Paul says God literally “pleads” with the lost world through the disciple. Read what Paul is inspired to write:

 

  • 2 Corinthians 5:20 – “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”  [7]

The Bible says that it is “in Christ” that we receive all our spiritual blessings and fruitfulness. As Paul said:

  • Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”  [8]

The disciple can lay no claim to fame or accomplishment, (no disciple of Jesus would anyway). The disciple is humbled in Christ. The disciple rests in Christ. The disciple is not salt and light in their own strength, but in the strength provided via their saving relationship in Christ. Disciple, you are who you are because you are in Christ.

 Disciple – You Are The Salt of the Earth

 

Matthew 5:13b - “You are the salt of the earth; . . .”  [9]

In the time of Christ and especially in the Roman Empire, salt was a precious commodity, an invaluable resource and very important. Therefore, when Jesus likens the disciple to “salt,” He is saying the disciple is valuable; the disciple can make a difference. In God’s sovereign plan to redeem this lost world He could have chosen to communicate solely through angelic beings; He could have simply spoke from heaven like He did at the Baptism and Transfiguration of Jesus; or He could have chose some other way; but the important thing to realize is that God’s sovereign plan of redemption involves disciples.

It was through disciples, “holy men of God,” that God breathed His inerrant word by the Holy Spirit:

  • 2 Peter 1:19-21 – “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  [10]

It was and is through disciples that He will fulfill the Great Commission:

  • Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”  [11]

Could, can God redeem the world without us? Yes, but He chooses to use us as His ambassadors:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  [12]

Disciples are God’s instruments to fulfill His will on earth. The disciple is as useful as he or she is surrendered to being used by God. “Salt,” points to the way a disciple lives and implies three uses for the disciple. When Jesus uses the metaphor of salt to describe the disciple, He is referring to the kind of life a disciple is to live. What are the four desirable affects which God desires to use the disciple to accomplish?

 

First, Salt affects, flavors ,influences everything with which it comes into contact. Just a little salt in a glass of water is discernable. Salt brings out the flavor in foods. You can’t come into contact with salt and be the same. Add some salt and it not only changes the taste of something, but it leaves a lasting impression. That is what is to be said of a disciple; a disciple should bring righteous flavor and leave a lasting holy impression upon those he or she contacts.

 

A good example of this is found in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. The Thessalonians were young Christians perhaps only months old in their faith and yet from the first chapter of Paul’s letter to them it is apparent that they had already become a holy influence to those around them. Paul is inspired to write:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 – “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  [13]

Just like these young believers in Thessalonica, disciples of all ages and in all times are to have an impact, to be an influence for the Lord in the lost world.

 

Second, Salt purifies that with which it comes into contact. In the Old Testament Elisha used salt to purify polluted waters (2 Kings 2:19-22). Therefore, when Jesus uses the metaphor of salt He is saying that what the disciple says and does should have a purifying effect on those around them. The apostle Paul addressed this when he was inspired to write:

 

  • Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”  [14]
  • Colossians 4:2-6 – “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”  [15]

This last verse of Paul’s in Colossians links salt-full speech with grace-full. If the disciple wants to be an agent of purity in the world then they should share the grace of God in the gospel and in life related practical applications (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10). This grace rich walk and word of the disciple is characterized by God’s wisdom (solving problems by God’s will and word), redeeming the time (using the time we have with others to bring about their redemption), being prayerful all the time relying on God to lead and empower you. That is being salt in the earth.

Third, Salt is a preservative. Just as salt was used to preserve the meat and food of that day, so too the disciple is a preservative in that he or she offers the only hope for a lost world. The world is a sinful place and only the Spirit working through the church is the only reason this world has not gone completely to hell already. This is the point implied by Paul in writing to the Thessalonians about the removal of this preserving influence at the Rapture of the church. Paul writes:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:5-10 – “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”  [16]

The Restrainer here is the Holy Spirit working in and through the church to influence the world to come to Christ. Once the church is removed at the Rapture, an unprecedented  tribulation will come upon the earth that will conclude with the Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 24; Revelation 6-19).

In regards to the preserving aspect of salt and how it is applied to the disciple, Pastor Chuck Smith comments:

      “Now in those days, salt was used as a preservative. They did not have refrigeration, so that when they butchered meat they would salt the meat heavily because salt would kill the surface bacteria of the meat and would prevent it from rotting. Used as a preservative. Used also as a seasoning, as we use it today, but used as a preservative to prevent the spoilage of the meat, the rotting of the meat when they butchered it. And even to the present day, there’s salt pork and so forth, and the purpose of it is just to kill the surface bacteria to prevent the rotting of the meat.

      Now Jesus when He said, “Ye are the salt of the earth” was probably referring to this preserving quality of salt, that retarding of the rottenness or putrefying of the meat. And you are to have that kind of an influence in the world. The world is a rotten place. But the church, the Christian in the world, should have a preserving influence, a preventing of that rottenness.”  [17]

 

Fourth, Salt stimulates thirst. When the disciple comes into contact with people and has the desired salt-full effect on them, those he or she has ministered to should be left with a hunger or thirst for more. When the disciple lives as salt among the lost people of the world, the lost should have a Spirit induced holy envy of what the disciple has. The grace, faith, love, peace and fruit of the Spirit exhibited by the disciple should be contagious. Those with questions or problems who come into contact with the disciple should be led to see that Jesus Christ can quench their thirst (John 7:37-39). The disciple is used by the Spirit of God to stimulate a thirst for Jesus and the eternal life offered through faith in Him.

 

In his book entitled Discipleship: The Next Step In Following Jesus, Greg Laurie comments:

 

“Salt stimulates thirst. Perhaps you can remember a time when you went to a movie theater and bought a box of popcorn. After you got to your seat and began to eat it, you became extremely thirsty because the attendant at the refreshment counter heavy salted it, knowing you would come back to buy a drink.

In the same way, if we live a godly life, it can stimulate a spiritual thirst in the lives of others to do likewise. If a nonbeliever sees something different in you, if he sees you are not like everyone else and you live a life directed by certain spiritual principles, he can find it very appealing. Many nonbelievers are also influenced when they see a Christian face severe circumstances and still maintain a sense of calmness and peace. Our lives are the only Bible many people will ever read. Christians are to be ‘living epistles,’ written by God and read by men.” [18]

 

How can we be salt? Maybe it means bringing your Bible to work. Maybe it means offering Bible tracts to people. You might bring Jesus up in a conversation by way of testifying as to how He was a source of help in a time of need you experienced. The KJV bible Commentary makes the following comment on this verse:

 

“again the phrase ye are indicates that only the genuinely born-again person is salt and can help meet the needs of the world. The salt adds flavoring, acts as a preservative, melts coldness and heals wounds. Thus it is a very appropriate description of the believer in his relationship to the world in which he lives.”   [19] (Emphasis added.)

 

Only one who has accepted Christ as Savior can be used as salt by God in this way. J. Vernon McGee in his Thru The Bible Commentary comments:

 

“God’s people in any age and under any condition are both salt and light in the world. The Scots translate “savour” by the more expressive word tang. I like their word much better. “If the salt has lost its tang.” The problem today is that most church members have not only lost their tang as salt, but as pepper they have lost their pep also. We have very few salt and pepper Christians in our day. Now salt doesn’t keep fermentation and that type of thing from taking place, but it will arrest it. You and I ought to be the salt in the earth and have an influence for good in the world.”  [20] (Emphasis added.)

 

How tangy are you disciple? How have you been living your life? What influence have you been having? Disciple, be salt in the earth!

 

There is one other thing we need to take into account. Too much salt can ruin a meal. When the disciple is living as salt in the tasteless lost world he or she should resist the temptation to pour it on so to speak. Let the Spirit guide you; be gentle, speak the truth in love; be wise. Read some instruction here from God’s word:

 

  • Matthew 10:16 - “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”  [21]
  • 2 Timothy 2:24-26 – “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”  [22]
  • 1 Peter 3:13-17 – “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”  [23]

Thus, to be the “slat of the earth,” means the disciple lives a life in the power of the Spirit that affects and influences the world for Christ, as well as brings purity to contrast with the unholy and leaves those contacted with a thirst for more of Jesus.

Saltlessness

Matthew 5:13c – “but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”  [24]

Salt can heal a wound and purify meat, but if the salt goes bad, there is no cure for saltless salt. Jesus is really calling the disciple to a point of decision. He’s saying, If you aren’t going to serve the purpose for which you were called, if you are going to compromise with the world, you will end up being trampled by the world whose temptations you have given into. Again I would like to refer to a comment by Bible teacher pastor Chuck Smith:

      “They would take the salt that had already been used or lost its effectiveness and they would throw it in the pathways, because salt would kill the vegetation. And thus it was common to salt the pathways killing the vegetation. And thus, it is trodden under the foot of men. In this, Jesus is really saying, . . . either be a purifying effect or you’re going to find yourself crushed by a rotten world. When the church of Jesus Christ no longer has that influence of righteousness and goodness, preventing the putrefying effect, then the church will end up being trodden under the foot of this fallen earth.

      Samson was the saving salt for the nation of Israel against the Philistines as long as he kept his commitment to God. But when he broke that commitment, he was trodden under the foot of the fallen Philistines. You’re the salt of the earth. Salt is supposed to be salty. It’s supposed to have an influence to prevent rottenness. And as I look at our society, and as I look at the world in which we live today, I must conclude as we see the creeping rottenness in our nation, that somehow the salt has lost its savour. The church has not and is not now a purifying influence or an influence that prevents the rottenness; and gradually, the church will be trodden under the foot of man, fallen society.

      We have already been targeted, you as a fundamental believer in Jesus Christ, are targeted by the world as one of the major problems that is preventing the new world order. You’re on the target list. And gradually, there’s going to be more and more legislation that is directed against fundamental Christian faith. In these gay rights amendments and gay right legislation, ultimately they are going to come and they are going to require that we in the church not speak against the gay lifestyle. This is their purpose and goal, they’ve announced it, to make it illegal because it is a hate crime and we are fostering hate towards this minority group when we speak against it.” [25]

 

 

There is a poem that captures what it means to be “salt” as a disciple and it goes like this:

The Gospel According to You

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John                                                                              Are read by more than a few                                                                                                               But the one that is most read and commented on                                                                               Is the gospel according to you.                                                                                                           You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day                                                                                     By the things that you do and the words that you say,                                                                       Men read what you write, whether faithless or true,                                                                           Say, what is the gospel according to you?                                                                                          Do men read His truth and His love in your life,                                                                                Or has yours been too full of malice and strife?                                                                                 Does your life speak of evil, or does it ring true?                                                                               Say, what is the gospel according to you?

Arthur McPhee. [26]

Disciple, have you lost your saltiness? Are you making an impact for the Lord? Standing for His truth in the power of His Spirit? Disciple, be salt!

But being salt is only half of the purpose of the disciple. A disciple is to live to influence but without the light of God in and through the disciple, the disciple’s efforts will be cut off and fall short.

Disciple – “You Are The Light of the World.”

Matthew 5:14-15 - “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”  [27]

A city is a big thing, and a city on top of a hill “cannot be hidden.” When you lose power in your home or are out camping and you take out your flashlight, you don’t cover up the bream of light do you? No, you shine it so that you and others can see where they are going. The same is true of the disciple; if you are living as salt, then you will stick out to the world. Religion may be private to those involved with it, but for a disciple, who has a personal saving relation ship with God in Christ, it is impossible to privatize that experience. Indeed, Jesus is pointing out the absurdity of such a thought.

What does Jesus mean by using the metaphor of “light” to refer to the disciples? First the Bible refers to the word of God as light. In the Psalms it states:

  • Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”  [28]

We can define this light more fully and come to it’s most intense brightness when we understand that the word is light because it sheds light on Jesus. When we get to the New Testament and come to the Gospel of John, John is inspired to write:

  • John 1:6-10 – “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”  [29]

These verses refer to John the Baptist who was called by God to prepare the way for Messiah Jesus, “the Light.” Later in John’s gospel Jesus further connects Himself with light when He says:

  • John 8:12 – “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  [30] (See also John 9:5)

In the book of Hebrews it states that the entire volume of the Bible is designed to shed light on Jesus:

  • Hebrews 10:7 – “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ”   [31]

As disciples of Jesus we need to be used by Him to shed light on Him. This is the purpose of a disciple. How is the disciple to be “light”? In the New Testament it states:

  • Ephesians 5:8-21 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.14 Therefore He says: 1 “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.”  [32]

To “walk in the light,” to “walk as children of light,” means therefore, to shed light on Jesus. The disciple sheds light on Jesus in that as they are salt in the world, they attribute their distinctive difference to Jesus and so shine a light on Him. To be, “the light of the world,” means to be God’s instruments of revealing or light-giving, of sharing His word and explaining Jesus and the Gospel to the lost.

 “Who me?”

Just imagine, it’s about 2000 years ago, Jesus and 12 disciples taken from amongst fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots, are sitting on a mountain side overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus says to them, “You are the light of the world.” Can you imagine what they were thinking? Maybe they thought, Who me? You mean little old me? Who knows me? How can I affect the world? Well, the truth of the matter is that they could not influence the world, but He could and still can. All God seeks are disciples, people who are surrendered to Him to be used by Him when, where and however He chooses. God is looking for such people and desires to affect the world through such people. Read what the Bible says about God and His desire to work through the little-ole-me people of the world:

  • 2 Chronicles 16:9a - “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. . . .”   [33]

Disciple, God wants to use you to influence the world for Him, will you surrender to Him to serve Him and be used? Are you being used by God to shine a light on Jesus?

 

The Final Product When The Disciple Is Salt and Light

Matthew 5:16 - “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” [34]

All that the disciple does is to being glory to God. Don’t shine a light on yourself or other people, shine a light on Jesus. The ministry of a disciple is only as effective as it points people to Jesus. This is to bring glory to God.

When Jesus ministered He brought glory to God (Matthew 9:8; 15:31). This is to be the objective of the disciple as well. Jesus said that the disciple’s objective was to glorify God. We see this in the following verses:

 

  • John 15:8 - “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  [35]

Peter, one of the first disciples passed on this purpose for the disciple when he was inspired to write:

  • 1 Peter 2:11-12 – “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”  [36]
  • 1 Peter 4:11-16 – “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”  [37]

The apostle Paul was inspired to write:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  [38]

Disciple, glorify God in all you do.

 

Salt and Light in Balance

Jesus calls the disciple to be SALT AND LIGHT. This is very important because these two attributes are indispensable to each other in terms of the disciple fulfilling his or her godly purpose. When the disciple is both salt and light, the result will be that God is glorified. The key here is balance. Referring again to Greg Laurie, he explains the problem that often exists in being both salt and light:

“Too many believers try to be light without first being salt. They talk the Christian talk, but they don’t live it. . . .

On the other side of the coin, there are those who are slat without being light. They live godly life but don’t tell people why! We must find balance. The Scripture says in Romans 10:14, ‘How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?’ God wants us to be the vehicle through which He can speak.”  [39]

Another way of saying this is that some people stick out like a sore thumb from the Body of Christ. How can we keep from being a “sore thumb” disciple?

Be Flexible. The disciple should follow the example of Jesus in this regard. Jesus was always available and flexible in His ministry to people. He did not rely on canned messages or a set of spiritual laws to minister to people. Jesus related to people as individuals and practically applied God’s word to their particular situation. Jesus ministered in a way that was appropriate and pertinent to those around Him. He didn’t speak in lofty tones or with complicated words to show off His intellect. Jesus shared in love and sought to save and heal those who came to Him.

Some people are like doctrinal porcupines, they have so many points, and no one can get near them. The apostle Paul spoke of the need to be flexible and pertinent to those ministered to. He was inspired to write:

  • 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 – “and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law;21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”  [40]

This does not mean we need to become a sinner to witness to a sinner, (we already know enough about being a sinner!) But what it means is that we should be able to empathize with the lost and not just brush their feeling or circumstances aside. We need to love them enough to get to know them, while not compromising God’s word or the Gospel.

The need to keep salt and light together in order for the disciple to accomplish his or her purpose as a disciple is seen in the following powerful poem:

You Lived Next Door

You lived next door to me for years                                                                                                   We shared our dreams, our joys, and tears.                                                                                        A friend to me you were indeed...                                                                                                       A friend who helped me when in need.                                                                                              My faith in you was strong and sure                                                                                                   We had such trust as should endure.                                                                                                  No spats between us ever rose;                                                                                                        Our friends were like...and so our foes.                                                                                           What sadness then, my friend, to find                                                                                                 That after all you weren't so kind.                                                                                                       The day my life on earth did end                                                                                                        I found you weren't a faithful friend

For all those years we spent on earth                                                                                                  You never talked of second birth.                                                                                                       You never spoke of my lost soul                                                                                                       And of the Messiah Who'd make me whole. 

I plead today from Hell's cruel fire And tell you now my last desire.                                          You cannot do a thing for me...                                                                                                          No words today my bonds will free.                                                                                                  But do not err, my friend, again;                                                                                                         Do all you can for souls of men.                                                                                                       Plead with them now quite earnestly,                                                                                                 Lest they be cast in Hell with me.

Source Unknown.

Conclusion

Disciples are who they are because of their relationship with God in Christ. Because of their relationship in Christ, disciples are both salt and light; they live in a way that influences, purifies, preserves and creates a spiritual thirst in those around them; they are also light, they do not just live a good life, but live for Christ and shine the light of Christ in a dark world bearing witness that who they are is because of who they know, Jesus. Disciple, you are salt and light.

 

 

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17] Chuck Smith, Word For Today audiotape #8004 (P.O. Box 8000, Costa Mesa, CA, Word For Today)

[18] Greg Laurie, Disicpleship: The Next Step In Following Jesus (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Pub.) 1993. p. 85-86.

[19]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[20]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25] Chuck Smith, Ibid.

[26] http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/w/witnessing.htm

[27]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[39] Greg Laurie, Ibid. p. 88

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.