TEXT: Matthew 5:13-26

 

 

SALT AND LIGHT

Without salt, human life cannot be sustained. – Pliny

 

For two-thousand years, the sole effective ingredient for the preservation of the world’s societies has come through the practice of Christian principles. While other religions and moral systems make their boasts of enlightenment, the church of our Lord Jesus has been, rather without fanfare, diffusing its graces throughout the world. It matters not; in the remote regions of China; buried deep in the dark continent of Africa; in the ghettos of our American cities; or among the Auca Indians of South America: in every place we are changing lives and bringing hope and restoration to the millions; we are truly salt and light.

 

We are robbed of our effectiveness when we allow our ‘saltiness’ to be diluted by un-Christ-like ideas and practices. Light is meant to shine. Any barrier which we might place around our light is actually a barrier between Jesus and the world. Let your light reach out to ‘everyone’ so that God will receive praise.

 

Additional study scriptures: John 5:35; James 3:13; Job 29:11; I Peter 4:10

 

FULFILLING THE LAW

 

The ‘Law’ and the ‘Prophets’ made up the “rule of faith and practice” for Jewish believers. (Matthew Henry) The teachings in the Old Testament issued from God: As God is eternal, so also are His teachings. What the Jews didn’t understand was that there was an incompleteness in the O.T. teachings; Jesus didn’t pour out the partially filled ‘old;’ instead he filled our understanding of his purposes to the brim. He added to the law and then topped it off with “grace and truth.” Before the coming of Jesus, the ‘teachers of the law’ may perhaps have been good enough; Jesus now requires a ‘righteousness that surpasses.’ (v.20) His grace is the only way that “the righteous requirements” of the law can be “fully met.”

 

Additional study scriptures: John 1:17; Romans 8:1-4

 

MURDER, ANGER AND RECONCILLIATION

 

Un-resolved personal conflicts lead to anger; anger is the foundation of murder: Jesus says that we should “settle matters quickly:” Don’t come before God with the seed of murder in your heart. The word ‘Raca’ means ‘you cursed one; you empty fellow; one too lowly to be among the dogs.’ (Matthew Henry) The three forms of capital punishment used by the Jews were each considered to be progressively worse than the other: first there was beheading ‘by the judges,’ next came stoning by ‘the Sanhedrin,’ and finally there was being burned in the valley if Hinnon. Jesus reserved the worst punishment for what we might consider the least offence.

 

If the Pharisees had followed these precepts they would not even have come close to crucifying Jesus.

 

Additional study scriptures: I Timothy 2:8; Mark 11:25

 

QUESTIONS

 

  1. What might be some equivalent modern words that compare to the ancient word “Raca?” __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
  2. Give some examples where we might let our salt ‘lose its saltiness.’ _________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. What do you think ‘offering a gift at the altar’ means for us today? ____________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  4. Give an example of breaking a ‘least commandment.’ ______________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  5. Share a testimony about a time when you ‘let your light shine.’ _______________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

COMMENTS

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