A Disciple’s Influence

Text: Matthew 5:13-16

In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that His disciples would have an impact on the world around them. He uses three analogies – salt of the earth, light of the world, and a city set on a hill – to emphasize different aspects of the influence we are to have upon others and how the world will react to us.

The Salt of the Earth

  • If salt does not do what it is meant to do, “it is no longer good for anything…” – so what is salt good for?
  • Salt is used to improve taste – suffering is inherent in life (Job 14:1); we can make these conditions easier to handle by teaching of the reward (2 Corinthians 5:1-4)
  • Salt is a preservative – doesn’t mean that if disciples are more righteous or numerous that judgment will be delayed (Acts 17:31); by our godly lives, we help preserve what is good & right on the earth; by our words of admonition we help persuade others to live righteously in service to God

The Light of the World

  • As lights, God’s people would not be able to be hidden, nor should they try to be
  • Light shows us the way – God’s word is a lamp to show us our way (Psalm 119:105); Christians act as lights by enlightening others of the truth & showing the way of salvation
  • Light exposes wickedness – Jesus, as “the Light of the world” (John 8:12), would do this (John 3:19-20); disciples must also expose wickedness (Ephesians 5:11); by our words & actions we must present a clear distinction between right & wrong (Philippians 2:15-16)

A City Set on a Hill

  • The fact that the city was situated on a hill was significant
  • A city on a hill is highly visible – we are not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2); others will necessarily see our good works (Matthew 5:16)
  • A city on a hill is a target – apostles were warned that being different would cause others to hate them (John 15:19); all Christians will become targets (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12)
  • A city on a hill is in a position of strength – even though Christians will be persecuted, we should not despair (Matthew 10:28); when on the Lord’s side, we do not need to fear defeat (Revelation 17:14)

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