You Can't Hide A City On a Hill

Matthew 5: 13-16

“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.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. 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.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Christ said, “You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world. Who is the “you?” Who was He talking to? Verses one and two tell us. His disciples came to him. And he taught them. So “you” refers to his disciples.

Disciples are followers. Those who followed Christ and learn from Him were and are His disciples. This is not a reference to the apostles. All the apostles were disciples. But not all disciples were apostles. So Christ addressed those who followed Him. That means the “you” includes you and me. We make up the “you.” Christ is talking to us.

We are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. This could be misunderstood. You and I are the light of the world. Wow, aren’t we something? The world could not get along without us. There is one problem with that understanding. The world got along fine before we came along. And it will do fine after we are dead and gone. To understand Christ in those terms is an obvious misinterpretation.

Christ was referring us in our calling. We provide light and salt to the world when we fulfill our purpose. We are salt and light as we fulfill our calling. What is our calling? Christ calls us to make disciples. We are to teach everything Christ taught and baptize. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Christ extends the metaphor by stating that if salt is not salty it is useless. If salt does not season or preserve, it is thrown away. It is useless. In the same way, we are useless if we do not fulfill our mission in Christ.

Somethings keep some value even when they lose their original qualities. But salt becomes hurtful. Christ extends His metaphor and says such a state is incurable. This is a great warning to ministers and teachers of the word. They render themselves tasteless and harmful when they corrupt the word. Rather than seasoning the world, they harm it with destructive doctrine.

This warning is not limited to ministers and teachers. It applies to the whole of the Church. It is God’s will to salt the earth with His word. Christ uses another metaphor of light. We are the vehicles through which the light of Christ shines. We are to let that light shine so the whole world can enjoy the glory of Christ.

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