An International Center for Fellowship and Learning

The Sermon on the Mount Pt. 1 – Lesson 6: Salt and Light

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” —2 Corinthians 5:18

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:13-16; John 3:1-21


Salt and light are two very different things and yet we’re compared to both. Salt acts in at least three ways which have applications for Christians. First, it seasons food. In like manner, we should be “seasoning” in this world, bringing out the best in people and circumstances.

Second, salt helps wounds heal and purifies them. When we get a sore throat or a scrape on our knee, salt helps clean out the bacteria which causes infection. Unfortunately, it stings in the process. As Christians, we’re to be cleaning the bacteria out of our lives and the lives of others—we’re to be a healing agent. This often stings, just as true salt does, but in the end, spiritual infection can be avoided.

Finally, salt acts as a preservative. When salt is rubbed onto meat, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. We should not purify what is spoiled, but we should ensure our purity isn’t corrupted.

If salt isn’t used for its intended purpose—seasoning, cleaning, and preserving—it becomes useless. In fact, useless salt used to be put on the roads as a way of discarding it. When we’re not ministering as God has desired, then we become useless, and are good only to be cast out into the roads to be stepped on.

Light is very different than salt. No matter how much darkness is present, the smallest flicker of light will end it. Even a match will severe the darkness of the darkest cave. This is our primary calling—we are to be light in the darkness. No matter how bad our circumstances are, we can always reflect the true light of Jesus Christ. We should be like a city on the top of a hill which can be seen for miles and miles.

When our actions are inconsistent with our words, then we put a bushel over our light The only darkness that can diminish our light is the darkness of our own actions.

Lesson Questions:

  1. Discuss the significance of salt as a preservative, seasoning, and cleansing agent. How do these three qualities symbolize our call to preserve, season, and cleanse the world? 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 3:10-11; Romans 10:14-17; Acts 13:47.
  2. Is there a point at which we could say we’ve lost our “saltiness?” Luke 9:62; Galatians 4:9; Hebrews 10:38; Isaiah 1:22; 2 Peter 2:20. What might cause us to lose our “saltiness?” Exodus 32:1-8; Luke 8:13; 2 Timothy 4:10; Proverbs 14:14.
  3. What did Jesus mean when He said those who have lost their “saltiness” would be cast out and trampled under men’s feet? Matthew 22:1-14; Revelation 3:14-22; John 15:4-6; Hebrews 2:1-3.
  4. Compare the statement, “Ye are the light of the world” with the truth that Jesus is the light of the world. How do we reconcile this seeming difference (Matthew 5:14)? Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; John 8:12; 12:36.
  5. In Matthew 5:14-15, Jesus states the obvious—a city on a hill cannot be hid. Why would Jesus state something so obvious about our witness to the world? Luke 9:25-26; Ephesians 5:6-8; Romans 13:11-14.
  6. In what practical ways can our lights shine in the world? Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; Ephesians 4:17-32; Romans 12:9-21.
  7. Are our works truly “good works” if they don’t glorify God (Matthew 5:16)? 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; Galatians 2:16; Matthew 7:22-23.

Life Application:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how bright is your light? Would your co-employees and friends be surprised to find out you profess Christ as your Savior? Over the next week, make it a specific point to do something for a non-Christian that shows them the love of Christ. Pray for an opportunity to share the Gospel with them so they can receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.