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Blessed: Salt and Light
Matthew 5:1–16 (NIV)
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But 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 underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The blessed are called by God to
1. Live with a clear identity.
“You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.”
■ Salt: flavor vs. flavorless
■ Light: shine vs. hidden
2. Live with a specific purpose.
let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds
When we align ourselves with Christ
and demonstrate our allegiance to him and him alone,
when we honestly and consistently
seek to live in accordance with his authority,
not just in church but in every area of life,
we will invariably draw out and enhance the good already in the world.
We will season and give life to those around us,
and illuminate the darkness.
When those around us see our kindness,
the depth of love we have for one another,
our courage and compassion and joy and readiness to forgive,
our acts of mercy for friend and foe,
our struggle for peace,
and our passion for justice,
they will come to know who God is and what he wills.
– Charles E. Moore
3. Live to glorify God in community.
before others… glorify your Father in heaven.
■ Make a Friend ■ Meet a Need ■ Give God Credit
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week.)
Use the Lenten Card for Reflection
Alone: Using SBPC’s Lenten card, spend 10 minutes engaging with the suggested practice of confessing, remembering, and returning.
Attending to God through Art (5-10 minutes)
Alone: Using the artwork highlighted on Sunday, March 19th, found here, spend 5-10 minutes reflecting and journaling on what you see in the painting.
Pray that God quiets the many distractions within you and beyond you in order to focus on the gift of this artwork before you.
As you focus in on the painting, you might journal your reflections to the following questions:
- Where am I emotionally and spiritually right now?
- Where does God meet me in this painting?
- What new perspectives is God shaping within me as I reflect on this painting?
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
- Together: Read Matthew 5:13-16 in the NIV and the Message versions.
- After you have read, reflect as a whole group on the two passages. Consider the following questions:
- What comes to mind when you think about salt and light? What stories? Pictures? Tastes? Sights? Memories?
- What do you think about when you read the description of ‘a town built on a hill’?
- How does Matthew 5:13-16 connect to your life right now?
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What questions, observations, or reactions do you have after reflecting on the passage and sermon?
- Why is salt important in food preservation and cooking—and especially in the time of Jesus?
- Why is it noteworthy that Jesus says “you are the salt…” and “you are the light…” instead of some other verb or verb tense (verse 13-14)?
- How should we understand Jesus’ words about saltiness and light?
- What modern day illustrations could help you encounter this passage in new ways?
- Jesus is speaking in 2nd person plural—how might that shift how you think about our communal identity as a church?
- Which main point from Sunday’s message challenged you the most?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD
- How might you live into your identity as salt and light with more clarity, purpose, and with a deepening sense of community?
Pray for SBPC as a church community—that we continue to shine our collective light into our community, workplaces, schools, and throughout the world. As a small group: lift up prayers for your own lives—how will each one of you live as a person of salt and light in new and transformative ways this week and in the weeks to come? Bless the big and small commitments together.
13 Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
14-16 Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (The Message)