Sermon # 10 Series: Matthew


            Title:              LESSONS FROM SALT, LIGHT, AND THE LAW
            Text:              Matthew 5:13-20
            Subject:        Characteristics of True Christianity

            Date:             Tuesday Evening – August 16, 1994
            Tape:            # Q-37




            Our Lord Jesus Christ was truly the Prince of preachers. He who is The Subject of all true preaching is also the Example all true preachers should follow. He wisely used common, ordinary, simple things with which all his hearers were familiar to illustrate and enforce the doctrine he taught. In the passage before us tonight he used salt, light, and the law to show us the characteristics of true Christianity. Let’s read verses 13-20 together.




            The grace of God changes people from the inside out, making them both righteous before God and useful to one another.




            If you are taking notes, the title of my message tonight is Lessons from Salt, Light, and The Law. In these eight verses of Inspiration, our Savior teaches us three very important lessons. May the Holy Spirit of God now seal them to our hearts.


  1. The Character of True Christianity – (vv. 13-16).
  2. The Unity of the Old and New Testaments – (vv. 17-19).
  3. The Necessity of an Infinitely Meritorious Substitute – (v. 20).


I.  First, our Savior here demonstrates The Character of True Christianity (vv. 13-16).


            All that glitters is not gold. “They are not all Israel which are of Israel.” And not all who profess to be Christians truly are Christians. Christianity radically changes men and women. Grace gives men and women new motives and principles of life that set them apart from the rest of the world.


A.  Believers are the salt of the earth (v. 13).


            Salt has a peculiar taste and quality. Nothing can really imitate it well. When mingled with other things, it imparts some of its taste and preserves other things from corruption. It is useful as long as it retains its savor, its saltiness. But once that is lost, it is useless. But how do these things apply to us?


1.  There is clearly an application here to those who preach the gospel.


  1. The preaching of the gospel preserves society from total corruption.
  2. Gospel preaching preserves God’s saints from the corrupting influence of the world.
  3. And when a preacher departs from the preaching of the gospel, he is utterly useless!


2.  However, these words must not be restricted to gospel preachers.


            Our Lord’s intention was that these words be applied by every believer to himself. Spurgeon was exactly right when he wrote, In the believer’s character there is a preserving force to keep the rest of society from utter corruption…There is a secret something, which is the secret of the believer’s power. That something is savor. It is not easy to define it, but yet it is absolutely essential to usefulness.”


  1. This teaches us the necessity of perseverance!


If the savor of God’s grace could be lost, it could never be restored – (Heb. 6:1-6).


  1. If grace could fail to save a man (Thank God! It cannot. But if grace could fail to save a man…) There would be no hope for any.


You can salt meat. But no one can salt salt. If grace fails, everything fails! Thank God for grace that cannot fail, for salt that cannot loose its savor (II Cor. 12:9).


B.  Believers are the light of the world – (vv. 14-16).


            “It is the property of light to be utterly distinct from darkness. The least spark in a dark room can be seen at once. Of all things created, light is the most useful: it fertilizes; it guides; it cheers. It was the first thing called into being. (Gen. 1:3). Without it, the world would be a gloomy blank.” J.C. Ryle


1. Again, there is clearly a reference to those who preach the gospel of Christ – (II Cor. 4:4-6).


  1. The gospel of Christ (The Three R’s) is the light of the world.
  2. It is our responsibility to give light to the whole house of God.
  3. Our object is that chosen sinners, being converted by the light of the gospel, may glorify God, our Father, by repentance and faith in Christ.


2.  Still, these words must not be applied only to gospel preachers. You who trust Christ are the light of the world.


            The church of Christ is the light of the World. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so we who believe, if we truly are believers, reflect the light of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness.


a.       We are to dispel the darkness of ignorance, sin, and sorrow, by proclaiming the glorious gospel of Christ – (v. 14).

b.       God intends for us to be conspicuous in our testimony regarding his grace and his Son – (v. 15).

c.        Yet, the light of the gospel shines forth not in our words but in our works – (v. 16).


·        Not Religious works of Self-Righteousness.

·        But Works of Faith and Love in Daily Affairs of Life.

·        Christianity is not a show but a Life!


“True shining is silent, but yet it is so useful, that men…are forced to bless God for the good which they receive…when they mark the good works of his saints.” C.H. Spurgeon


            Here is a noble ambition and prayer worthy of daily renewal – “Lord, help me today to improve the lives of those whose path I cross, to make them happier and better for having come into contact with me.”


            “It is perfectly clear that true Christianity is something more than being baptized and going to church. ‘Salt’ and ‘light’ evidently imply peculiarity both of heart and life, of faith and practice. We must dare to be singular and unlike the world.” J.C. Ryle


II.  Secondly, in verses 17-19, our Lord shows us The Unity Of The Old Testament and The New Testament.


            This is a point of great importance. The Bible is one Book, not two. The religion of the Old Testament and the religion of the New Testament are the same. Totally disregard as false any religious teacher or any doctrinal system that would teach you to despise, disregard, or ignore any part of Holy Scripture, suggesting that it applies only to people of another age. This Book was written for you and me (Rom. 15:4).


            Be sure you grasp and firmly hold to the unity of God’s Holy Word.


A.  The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all the types and requirements of the law and all the promises and predictions of the prophets.


1.  The Predictions of the Prophets!



2.  The Requirements of the Moral Law – By His Obedience!


3.  The Types of the Ceremonial Law – By His Sacrifice!


            In all things he exalted the law of God and made it honorable (Isa. 42:21).


B.  We must never despise or disregard the law of God.


1.  We are not under the law – (Rom. 6:14, 15; 7:1, 9; 10:4).


  1. Its Curse (Gal. 3:13).
  2. Its Covenant (Heb. 8:10-12).
  3. Its Constraint (II Cor. 5:14).


2.  Yet, every believer delights in God’s holy law (Rom. 7:22).


  1. The law is God’s measure, the only measure of right and wrong – (Rom. 7:7).
  2. The law shows men their sin and their need of Christ as Savior – (Rom. 3:19-20; Gal. 3:19-22).
  3. The law restrains wicked men from the wickedness that is in them – (I Tim. 1:8-9).


III.  Thirdly, in verse 20, our Savior, demonstrates to all The Necessity of an Infinitely Meritorious Substitute.


·        The Scribes were the Religious Scholars of the Day.

·        The Pharisees wore the Purest Religious Zealots of their Age.

·        We must have a righteousness that Exceeds theirs, or we cannot be saved – We must have a Representative Righteousness.


Let me show you five things from the Word of God about this matter of righteousness.


A.  God demands perfect righteousness (Lev. 22:21 – “Walk before me and be thou perfect” – Gen. 17:1).


B.  You and I have no righteousness, and no ability to produce righteousness.


·        We used to be righteous; but we lost it in Adam’s fall.

·        We cannot do righteousness (Rom. 3:9-19).

·        Even our imaginary righteousness is sin (Isa. 64:6).


C.  The Lord Jesus Christ, by His Obedience to God as our Representative and by His Sacrificial Death as our Substitute Has Established and Brought in Everlasting Righteousness For God’s Elect – (Jer. 23:6; Dan. 9:24).


·        He lived the life I could not live – Obedience!

·        He paid the debt I could not pay – Satisfaction!


D.  The Righteousness of God in Christ is Imputed to Every Believer in Justification.


·        Romans 5:19; 10:1-4

·        II Corinthians 5:21


E.  The Righteousness of God in Christ is Imparted to Every Saved Sinner in Regeneration.


·        II Peter 1:4

·        I John 3:9




            Let no one imagine that the gospel lowers either the law of God or the holiness of his saints.


1.  The only person who truly fulfils and honors the law is the sinner who is saved by grace, through faith, without the law (Rom. 3:31).


2.  The constraint of grace in the heart is far more powerful than the constraints of the law written in stone.


·        II Corinthians 8:9

·        I Corinthians 6:19-20

·        Romans 12:1-2