This month's Series is on The Gospel According to Matthew. We have looked at the first four chapters of Matthew. In the previous post we saw that the next three chapters presented Jesus' Premiere Teaching. The previous post began looking at chapter 5 of Matthew, specifically the Beatitudes portion of the Sermon on the Mount. We saw these eight Cause to Effect statements presented a progression of maturity for a believer. Here is a summary for the most mature level:
This was a HUGE passage and the culmination of the Effects from a Cause Statement progression. The ULTIMATE example of a person who was humble and took direction from God was someone who could REJOICE (Positive Emotion) at persecution (Negative Action). It was NOT enough to NOT strike back and NOT feel bad when you were persecuted. The place we ought to have progressed towards was REJOICING DURING persecution. Notice, Jesus covered reproach, persecute, and SAYING all manner of evil against you falsely. WORDS are able to be used to attack. WORDS can be persecution. This portion of the teaching concluded with the most mature level a Christian could attain: REJOICING DURING persecution. What level are you at in this simple, yet powerful foundational teaching?
Furthermore, Acts 5 also showed WHY believers OUGHT to rejoice when they were persecuted when it recorded this about the Apostles:
"41 They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name."
These believers recognized they had reached the Ultimate level of Christian maturity: they were counted worthy of suffering for the Name of Jesus.
Today, we will look at how Jesus' Statements immediately following this example of Ultimate Christian maturity explained more specifically what we OUGHT to DO and HOW we OUGHT to DO it...
"13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
(The purpose of salt is to mask bitterness. Salt doesn't have a flavor in and of itself. Also, salt doesn't "bring out the flavor". Salt actually is added to food in order to mask the bitterness that is present, so that other flavors can be tasted better. Just like we don't bring out God through us...we focus on masking the bitterness (killing the flesh) so that more of God comes out.)
(When Jesus said we are the salt of the world, He was saying we ought to be the agent that when added to a situation REMOVES bitterness. If we have lost our ability to remove bitterness, then we were "good for nothing". In fact, it said we will be "cast out" AND "trodden under foot of men". We will be hypocrites. We will SAY that we are salt AND NOT DO what salt does...and even the world will walk all over us.)
"14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid."
(Considering what we learned during the I John Series, this section is especially revealing. Whenever you read the word "light", think of the word "energy". Visible Light is actually a thin part of the spectrum of "light". Energy is needed to create. Believers are the energy, creative force, of the world BECAUSE we allow God to flow through us to others.)
"15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house."
(This verse was setting up the concluding verse. This verse showed that even people of the world KNOW what to DO with a light and how it benefited ALL that were in the house.)
"16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
(The salt verse was what we DO. The light verses were HOW we let people KNOW about us. This was our commission. We OUGHT to let our light (creative energy of God through us) so shine (be apparent) BEFORE men (publicly and obvious to the world) THAT when these people saw our good works (what we DO, NOT what we SAY), they recognized it could ONLY have come from God THROUGH us. Again, this section was COMPLETELY compatible with I John.)
Matthew 5 first showed Jesus progressing the group He was teaching toward maturity through a series of Statements. Then, in this section, He told us what we OUGHT to DO and HOW we OUGHT to DO it IF we were truly mature.
Tomorrow, we will see the next section went through the MOST mature topic: Doctrine. People shouldn't go to the next stage until they fulfill the previous stage.