Book: Matthew 5:13-16

You Are Salt and Light People

By James Wiese on February 10, 2020

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany                                                                                        February 9, 2020
Text: Matthew 5:13-16                                      3 Year Series A                                              20:2173
Theme: You Are Salt and Light People

When you go to the grocery store, how many of you still have them put your groceries into a brown paper sack? I haven’t done it for years. I don’t even know what those sacks look like today. But go back a few years to something that was written on some of them. I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something like “This bag is worth $.05.” Do you remember that? Not that they would actually give you $.05 for it, but that was its worth. That got me thinking. If a brown paper bag into which we put our groceries and afterwards used as garbage bags is worth $.05, what am I worth?
Some 30 years ago I read an article that told me I was worth about $5. The article explained that if you were able to take all the elements which are in my body out of me, like salt, sugar, iron, etc., they could be sold for a little over $5. You would go for the same price. But is that all we are worth, just a few dollars? I think not!
You are worth more than money. You are precious in the eyes of God who sacrificed His own dear Son to redeem you to Himself. In Christ He bought you back from Satan’s stranglehold on you, “not with gold or silver but with the holy precious blood of Jesus and with His innocent suffering and death. He did it so that you could be His own and live under Him in His Kingdom.” That was a steep price He paid for you – the life of His Son. See how precious you are to Him!
But there is another way that you are precious to God. It is through you, one who believes in Christ crucified for your sins, that God reflects His redeeming love into the world. As Jesus said, You God’s Salt and Light People. That makes you worth more than $.05. What’s so valuable about that?

I. Like salt, you season and preserve the world.
Let’s start with salt. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” That’s a metaphor. You are not salt literally, but He is making a comparison. He compares you to salt. So, what is salt like? What are its characteristics, its qualities, its uses?
Consider first what you do if something that you are cooking on the stove at home doesn’t tastes quite right. You try to change it. One of the first things you might do is grab the salt and add some. Little by little you shake the salt into the food until it has just the right taste. You don’t have to prepare the salt in any special way to make it work. You put it in, it dissolves, you stir it around a bit, and its taste spreads throughout the dish silently, without your seeing it. It’s the very nature of salt to act that way. It changes things.
The Lord Jesus wants to the change the world that has gone apart from Him. So, what does He do? He uses us who believe in Him like salt. He sprinkles us into the world. We come into contact with others and give them a taste of Christ Jesus. The life we derive from Him as our Savior comes out in our words and actions and has its effect on the world around us every day, even without our awareness.
Student to students, worker to workers, shopper to shoppers, neighbor to neighbors, family member to family members. Like salt you constantly season people with the goodness of the Savior. And you are preserving this world in the truth of salvation until the time that Jesus comes again.
That’s another characteristic of salt; it preserves things. It keeps meat and other foods from spoiling. At times, do you think that this world is a bad place in which to live with all its crime, hatred, bickering, fighting, and killing? Imagine how it would be if there were no Christians in it. It would sink to such a level of corruption that God in His holiness would destroy it at once. But you have a God-given value, a purpose, a calling to be a blessing to the world. You are salt people, God’s salt that seasons and preserves the world. Are you living up to it?
I think that is not too much for God to expect of us. Not at all for it’s not so much an expectation that God has of us as much as it is a gift and a privilege that our Savior has granted us. In other words, God doesn’t tell you, “Try to be salt.” He says, “You are the salt of the earth because I have already changed your life, seasoning you with my pardoning grace in Christ Jesus. And I have given you a new heart in the Holy Spirit. Now it’s your very nature as my redeemed to reflect Christ, to think like Jesus, to talk like Jesus, to act like Jesus for He lives in you.”
You see, dear friends, your forgiveness and life in the Savior is a gift. You haven’t earned it. To do that your “goodness” would have to surpass that of the Pharisees. And make no mistake about it; the Pharisees were outwardly “good” people. By human standards they were the best people around. But they lacked Christ,
and they lacked the only righteousness that counts before God.
You don’t earn God’s blessings, dear friends. They are yours by grace, through faith in Jesus. It’s a gift that changes you. God put it into you so that you are His salt, seasoning and preserving the world in Christ.
But that also comes with a warning. Jesus said, “If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
What if salt would somehow stop being salty? Is that possible? What good would it be? You couldn’t even call it salt anymore. It would be like sand. The very nature of salt is to be salty.
Now, what if you stop living your faith. What if you don’t attend church? What if you don’t remain in God’s Word? What if you lead a sinful life and lead others astray in the process? You will be thrown out and rejected by God, like sand on the road.
Living for Christ is not an option; obeying God’s will is not an option; holding to the Savior in faith is not an option; being silent about the eternal blessings a Savior means for you is not an option. It’s in the very nature of a Christian to live it because Christ, who is the real salt of the earth, is in you. And by God’s grace you are His people, salt people. It’s your God-given blessing, value, privilege, and calling to season and preserve the world.

II. As light to show it the way.
But there is more. You can’t just work silently like salt does. You know, you really don’t see salt at work in your food. But you sure can taste it. It works silently. But, as God’s people, you can’t work only silently; you have to work openly and without restraint. So, Jesus continued: “You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket. No, they put it on a stand and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
Our Savior once said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). We Christians follow Him and have His saving light. The question is, “What shall we do with it?” Here He tells us what to do by showing the proper path between two dangers.
Danger number 1 is the temptation to keep our faith a private matter. That means you don’t live it; you don’t talk about it. It’s tempting not to say anything about faith when others seem to react with disapproval or hostility. If you don’t say anything, no one will get upset, right?
But hiding it won’t work. Jesus calls you light people. He doesn’t say, “Try to be the light.” He says, “You are the light.”
If faith is real, it can’t be hidden any more than a city on a hill can. You can see its lights for miles. It wouldn’t make any sense to try and hide it either. What good does a light do if it’s hidden?
Danger number 2 is to go so public with your faith that people ooh and ah over you. That’s self-promoting, like the Pharisees. They loved to pray on the street corners where people could see them and say, “My, what good people they are!” It was done in a showy way to win applause. But that’s all they got. The purpose of the Christian life is not to win awards and people’s applause for you. It’s to shine for your heavenly Father and His glory.
How do you avoid these dangers – the danger to hide your faith and the danger to be showy about your faith? By focusing always on Christ. He’s the light; we’re the reflection. Much like the stars and the moon reflect the light of the sun, so we shine with Christ’s light. His light shines to us, in us, and then through us to show others the way to Him. He shines so brightly that we simply can’t hide it in the privacy of our hearts. And as He shines through us, the world will see something far better than self-promotion and publicity stunts. They will see the redeeming love of a Savior who has completed everything that needs to be done before God for us.
You, dear friends, Are Salt and Light People. It’s your calling by which you season and preserve the world, showing the way to the Savior. And that makes you precious in God’s sight, worth much more than $.05. As you live for Christ you are worth eternity to others. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen

Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244 You can find us also on Facebook

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany   February 9, 2020

“You are the salt of the earth….You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13f

F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.

U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e

“Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees! I will praise You with an upright heart” (Psalm 119).

W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t

Salt and Light Christians. There is no such thing as a part-time disciple. Jesus said, “The one who is not with me is against me.” Either one is “in” or one is “out” with the Lord Jesus. There is no middle ground; there is no such thing as a part-time Christian. No more than salt can be salt once in a while or light can be light once in a while, one cannot be a disciple once in a while.
God puts us into this world to have a wholesome effect upon it. Through faith in the Savior we have been eternally blessed in countless ways. And He has given us the great task of letting that blessedness shine into this dark world, lighting the way to Him. Since there is no such thing as a part-time Christian and since He gives us such an important task, may we daily light the way to Him for others and season this world with the blessings of His redeeming love.
To that end we pray: Almighty God, You sent Your one and only Son as the Word of life for our eyes to see and our ears to hear. Help us believe what the Scriptures proclaim about Him and show to others the things that are pleasing in Your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –

The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 58:5-9

God prescribed Israel’s worship, including fasting and prayer. But such things were not to be considered godly simply by virtue of their performance. The Lord looks beyond the ritual to the heart that reaches out in love as He does. Such a life of faith is blessed and lights the way to God for others.

The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul reminds the Corinthians of his preaching and teaching among them. It was centered in Christ crucified, the Light of the world, and not on the promotion of himself. True Christian preaching is always a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, and not the wisdom or oratorical skills of man.

The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 5:13-20

As He begins the body of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of the disciples’ purpose in life to be salt and light Christians in the world – witnesses of the Gospel. That Gospel reveals how we become righteous before God only through faith in Christ Jesus. He is our righteousness before God, and we strive to reveal it in our thoughts, words, and deeds.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We Serve the Lord with Gladness:

Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
February’s Ushers: Jim Inniger, Matt Luetke, & Roger Lisenby

Point to Ponder: The Lord does not expect more from us than what He gives us, but He does expect us to use what He imparts. Through the power of His Gospel He saves us and equips us to make an impact on the world. It doesn’t matter whether we can foresee how we will make a difference in the world. What matters is that Jesus has made us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt and light always have an effect. But if we obscure the light of the Gospel and fail to let it have a wholesome influence in our lives, we not only keep it from ourselves but from others who need it.

Outline of Our Worship

Lord, Hear Us

Opening Thoughts on the Service

Entrance Hymn: #280

Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38,  “Service of the Word”

Lord, Feed Us

Isaiah 58:5-9

Psalm of the Day: #119a, Hymnal page 109

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Hymn Response: #579

Matthew 3:13-17

Sermon Hymn: insert #735

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:13-16   You Are Salt and Light In the World

Lord, Accept  Our Response

Apostles’ Creed: pg.41


Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43

Hymn: #458

Lord, Bless Us

Closing Prayer & Blessing:  Hymnal pages 43-44

Silent Prayer

WELS Connection Video

C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h

Today, Feb.9  Epiphany 5

9:00 am  Divine Worship Service

10:15 am  Bible study for all ages

Mon  Feb.10

Tues.  Feb.11

10 am   Gardens Bible Study

6 pm  Outreach

7:30 pm  Church Council

Wed.  Feb.12

Thurs.  Feb.13  11 am   Midweek Bible Class

Fri.  Feb.14

Sat.  Feb.15

Next Sun.  Feb.16  Epiphany 6

9:00 am  Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion

10:15 am   Bible study for all ages

A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
On a crystal-clear winter evening, it’s easy to believe that the full moon is producing the wonderful light that allows you to take a brisk walk through the woods without a flashlight. In reality, the moon is producing no light at all; instead, it is simply reflecting the light of the sun. When people notice Christians producing godly lives, it would be easy to pat them on the back and to give them the credit for the good things they do. In reality, God’s people are simply reflecting the good work of God’s Son, Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the World (Jn 8:12), and He is revealed through His people.

The Gospel Lesson (Matthew 5:13-20)
1. How does Jesus describe Christians in this world and why?
2. According to Jesus, why did He come into the world?
3. What warning does Jesus offer to people who believe that they lead God-pleasing lives apart from Jesus?

Prayer/Sick List Those We Remember In Our Prayers Gail Stuesser; Dea Windsor, Alyssa Cook’s mother; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Margaret Albaugh, Matt Luetke’s grandmother whom the Lord received to Himself this past week.

The Week in Review

Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: ; Adult Bible Class ; Sunday School: ; The Gardens Bible Class: no class this past week; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Sunday Offering: General Fund $

Forward in Christ’s latest issue for February has arrived. There are copies for family and friends in the narthex. Also, the next edition of Meditations daily devotions, beginning in March, will be found in the narthex.

Upcoming Dates

February 26/27 – Midweek Lenten Suppers/Services begin; at Peace on Wednesday evenings, at Zion on Thursdays

Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 2:6-13; Matthew 5:21-37

Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
4. They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world because they reflect the “salt” and “light” of Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself to the world through His people.
5. Jesus came not to abolish or overturn God’s order and will, revealed in His holy law. He came instead to fulfill it as God intended. Jesus has fulfilled His Father’s will perfectly as our substitute in order to save us from sin.
6. Holiness apart from faith in Jesus requires us to keep God’s law perfectly, which is impossible for sinners like us. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).

This week I am praying for……

Christian, You Are a Blessing to the World

By James Wiese on March 22, 2018

The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany                   February 4, 2018
Text: Matthew 5:13-16                                   3 Year Series A                        18:2048
Theme: Christian, You Are a Blessing to the World.

A little clock in a jewelry shop window stopped one day for only half an hour. The hands stood still at twenty minutes to eight. Children on their way to school, noticing the time, stopped to play; adults on their way to work, when they saw the clock, slowed their pace; and a man scurrying to catch a train, slackened his step when he saw that he still had plenty of time.
But the children were late for school, the adults were late for work, and the businessman missed his train – all because one little clock had stopped! Never had these people realized how much they depended on that little clock in the jeweler’s window – until for the first time in their lives it had led them astray.
I am like that clock – so are you. Everyone who professes faith in Christ and claims to lead a Christian life is like that clock. People all around us are consciously or unconsciously being influenced by what we say and do. If we permit our Christianity to “stop” for just a little while, if we by careless speech or improper conduct set a bad example, we are likely to lead our fellow man astray, just as surely as the clock in the jeweler’s window.
It is wrong to assume, even for a moment, that our lives do not count; that our actions are unimportant; that our influence is insignificant. In a sense more real than we suppose, God has placed every one of us as His people into this world to “tell the time” – to influence those around us in this journey towards eternity.
“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. “You are the light of the world.” Christian, you are a blessing to it!

I. As salt you flavor the world and keep it from spoiling.
Jesus did not tell us that we should be salt, or that we will be salt. He said we are salt. How? Consider that which salt does.
Salt adds to the flavor of food. It makes it taste better. People use it differently and in different proportions. Some people put a lot of salt on their food; others just a little; each according to their tastes and dietary needs. But, in either case they use salt because it makes their food taste better. Just a few grains of that tiny white stuff can make a difference in your enjoyment of the food you eat.
As a Christian your faith is like that. No, it won’t add flavor to the food you eat, but it flavors the life you live, and it has its enjoyable affect upon the people around you.
God has given us the great news of forgiveness and life in Christ our Savior. Along with that He has poured His love and gifts into us. That makes us like salt, seasoning the world that knows little of Christ and what He means for us as our Savior. What a source of flavoring to the earth Christians become when they show by what they say and how they live that Christ crucified is important to them for time and eternity. Such a blessing you are to those around you. Like salt you flavor the world.
Salt has another purpose, too, besides flavoring food – a very important purpose in Jesus’ day when they had no refrigerators and freezers. Salt acts as a preservative. It keeps food from spoiling.
I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I had friends who did. And sometimes they talked about the pork barrel that their grandmothers kept in the days before refrigerators. They would put meat in a barrel then add lots of salt on it. The salt kept the meat from getting rotten. It kept the worms out.
In a Bible class the other day, one of our members agreed with that. Her parents would salt their meat, wrap it, and bury it under grain in a granary on their farm. The salt kept the meat from rotting.
Our Savior wants to keep us and the people around us from rotting. He wants us to help people become God’s children through faith in Him so that they will not perish apart from Him and will join us in leading God-fearing and good lives. When we tell others about Jesus and when we give them a good example by the way we act, we are like good salt flavoring others around us and keeping the world from spoiling in the devil’s clutches.
But Jesus also warned that we might lose our salty purpose. In our time, we can’t imagine how salt can lose its properties. But the salt in Jesus’ day didn’t come from a grocery store like we have it.
Some people say that at times the salt long ago was scraped up from dried up ponds that had been filled with saltwater. When the water evaporated, the salt was left on the bottom of the pond and collected. But such salt also included sand and other things. If the salt got wet and dissolved, only the sand was left. So, the salt had lost its flavor. What good was it? None. It couldn’t do its job. Throw it out.
Maybe if Jesus were talking to us today, He might change His illustration a little and say, “You are a saltshaker. But if a saltshaker is empty, what good is it to people?”
As God’s salt in the world, I need to examine myself to see what I say. Is it kind or unkind? Does it help others, or hurt them? Does it point the way to Christ or just myself? I need to look at what I do. Do I treat others with the love with which God has treated me? Am I concerned for them, or just myself? Do I add something good eternally to the lives of others by how I act?
Oh, boy, sometimes I think I must be like an empty shaker that has lost its salt. But my salt does not come from a dried-up pond, nor does it come from the grocery store. My salt as a Christian comes from Christ, my Savior. As He has loved us and given His life for us, so He gives the love we need to show others. He flavors our lives and keeps the devil from spoiling us forever so that we can flavor the world and keep it from spoiling. That’s the power of the Gospel working within us.
So, Christian, as you heed God’s Word and return to the Savior again and again for the happiness of your own forgiveness and life, you are God’s salt – a blessing to the world.

II. As light to show it the way to Christ.
Jesus also said, “You are the light of the world…People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket. No, they put it on a stand, and it give light to all who are in the house. In the same way let your light shine before people that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
It’s been 10+ years now since the big ice storms of 2007 and 2008 hit our area and took out our electricity. What did you do for light at night in those days? I lit a candle in our living room and I was surprised by how much light one little candle gave to the room. Oh, of course it’s not like the light bulbs that we have today that seem to get better and better at giving us light. But that candle was probably more comparable to the type of light Jesus had in His day when He spoke these words. It’s amazing how one candle, even just a match, lit in a totally dark room is seen. It is noticed.
You heard again this year in the days after Christmas the prophet Isaiah saying (9:2), “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” That light, of course, is Christ. And we were those who lived in darkness – the darkness of sin and unbelief. But then the light of Christ shone into our hearts and lives and we saw Him, our Savior, and rejoiced in the help that God sent to bring us back to Him. But how did that light get into your life? You didn’t put it there; someone else helped to bring you that light so that you could shine with the light of faith in a Savior.
You know, a candle can’t light itself. Someone must light it. Who lit the light of salvation in you? In the end the Holy Spirit is the one who brings faith to fire in us. But the Holy Spirit uses people in the process. For me He used my parents first. Then the people at church, pastors, teachers, other members, relatives, friends. They let the light of the Gospel shine through them so that I might receive the light of Christ as Savior for myself.
And in similar ways the same has happened to you. God used others as lights to show you the way to Christ. And now we rejoice together in His light of salvation. But we also have a job to fulfill, a job that is a privilege and vital – to let that light of Christ shine in and through us to others by what we say and what we do for there are still so many in the darkness of sin and unbelief and they will perish there without seeing the Savior.
“But I don’t know that much,” you might say, “to tell them.” Ah, dear friends, but you know Christ who was born in a stable, who died on a cross for you, and rose again from the dead. And knowing Him you live your life differently than others do. You live in the joy of salvation. Show it by what you say and do. Simply live the enjoyment of knowing where you stand with God now and forever. A little light in a dark room goes a long way. And the more flickering candles you put together, the brighter the light is. If you had a hundred lamps that shone brightly, that would make the light real bright, wouldn’t it? Oh, what a blessing to the world you are! Think of how much this world needs us today!
So, dear friend, whether you work quietly like salt works in your food, or more visibly like light in a dark room – you know Christ as Savior and are flavored, preserved, and enlightened with the gifts and joys of salvation. You are God’s salt in the earth and His light of the world. Let your light shine that the world may see and glorify God and His Son above. And, like a little clock in a jeweler’s window, keep “telling the time,” never stopping for a moment because no matter how little you think you are, your Christian influence on those around you is great on this journey into eternity. God grant it to us for Jesus’ sake. Amen