Perry Duggar |

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says His followers are like salt that adds flavor and light that shines in the dark. As Christians, we should let our good deeds shine for everyone to see so people will praise God.

Jesus at the Center of the Kingdom
Influence • Message 2
Perry Duggar
June 30, 2024


I. Introduction: We continue our series, Jesus at the Center of the Kingdom. (S on M)
Proverbs 12:26; Matthew 5:3-12; John 17:18


A.  Today’s title is Influence (based on a passage in Sermon referred to as Salt and Light).


Theme verse: Proverbs 12:26 (ESV)One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.


The Beatitudes (reviewed last week) lists attitudes and actions that enable us to live with Kingdom of God ethics while residing on earth.

Our calling as Christians is to exercise influence as the salt of the earth and the light of the world facilitated by Beatitudinal behaviors.


Matthew 5:3-10 (NLT/NIV)“God blesses [and uses] those who are …poor in spirit, ...mourners, … meek, …hungry and thirsty for righteousness, … merciful,  …pure in heart, …peacemakers, …[and] persecuted because of righteousness…” 

These qualities equipped us to affect the lives of others for Christ. (John 17:18)


B. Exercising Influence as Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-15).


Characteristics of the…

1. Salt of the Earth (Matthew 5:13. C/R: John 10:28-30)

Matthew 5:13a (NLT)“You are the salt of the earth [identity].”

The pronoun you is emphatic meaning you [plural] are the only salt of the earth.

The main source of salt in Palestine was large deposits near the Dead Sea.

Near Israel’s seacoast, salt was harvested by pouring seawater into pits or rock crevices and letting the sun evaporate the water until only salt crystals were left.

Matthew 5:13b (NLT)“But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”

Strictly speaking, salt (sodium chloride) can’t lose its flavor, its saltiness.

But the salt used by the people of Jesus’ time was not refined as salt is today, so it would contain minerals such as gypsum, foreign substances and other impurities.

If the white powder containing salt and other substances became wet, the highly soluble salt could be washed out, leaving what still looked like salt, was referred to as salt, but lost the properties of salt, tasted flat, so it would be thrown out!

Salvation cannot be lost (John 10:27), but saltiness can diminish if our lives become contaminated by sin and worldliness—and we lose our effectiveness.

We can look like Christ-followers by attending church and maintaining an outward religious appearance, but internally, we lack the salty character, convictions and lifestyle of a person truly committed to Jesus.


a. Prevents decay. (Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:14-16; James 5:19-20)

With no refrigerators, salt was used to preserve meat, fish and some vegetables because of its ability to remove water and inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Since it limits infection, salt was also used as an antiseptic on injuries.

But salt stings a wound! (Ever gargle salt water when you had a sore throat? Ow!)

As salt, we represent the presence of God in our world, which stings some people!

Our world needs salt because it is corrupt, contaminated, decaying, infected by sin.

We act as salt when we slow down the decay of our culture by restraining sin.

We are salty when our lives and words prick the conscience of this immoral, dishonest world, but people may be irritated or offended (might pick arguments).

Our mere presence and the purity of our lives should have the effect on others of limiting unkind, immoral, or even evil behaviors. (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20)

We must not be so concerned with not offending others that we fail to confront sin in our culture and in people’s lives. (Ex.: We should oppose drag queen story hour in public libraries and highly sexual, pornographic books in school libraries.)

APP.: Are you willing to speak and act to limit moral decline in our community?


b. Provides FLAVOR. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Peter 2:3)

EX.: Are you on a low-sodium diet? Those rice cakes taste like Styrofoam! “But they are not bad with peanut butter.” Peanut butter contains salt! And those salt-free crackers… you might as well eat the cardboard box they come in. Salt is tasty! Obey your doctor, but you have my sympathy.

Food without salt is bland and boring! It’s unsatisfying! It’s awful!

This world is drab and tasteless without the presence of Christians and faith.

You can pursue fun, entertainment and pleasure, which will be enjoyable for a while; but you will tire and be bored by what you once thought was so exciting!

All of this world’s distractions dim with repetition and familiarity.

Christians with Christ-like character add the rich taste of Jesus to our culture.

The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control improve the taste of life.

APP.: Does your life and faith sweeten the lives of others around you?


c. Produces THIRST. (John 4:28-30; 1 Peter 2:9; 3:15)

Salt makes you thirsty; that’s why bars give away salty snacks for free.

Salt tablets are given to athletes and people who work in excessive heat to avoid dehydration by encouraging ingesting more fluids as your body attempts to dilute the salt in your system.

The purity and peace of our lives should make others desire what we have.

The lives, behaviors and speech of salty Christians cause people to become aware of their spiritual dehydration and desire Jesus’ living water (John 4:14; 7:38-39).

The way we live, the way we conduct business, love our spouses, parent our children, treat our friends, suffer without complaining, and serve without being asked should cause people to question the secret of our satisfaction.

APP.: Does your life cause people to become spiritually thirsty?


Attributes of…

C. Light of the World (Matthew 5:14-16; C/R: Ephesians 5:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:6)

Matthew 5:14 (NLT)“You are [identity] the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” [All of you, the church, is the only light!]

Our world needs light because it is dark and descending into even greater darkness.

Jesus was the light of the world on earth (John 9:5); we received His light and live as people of light (Ephesians 5:8-9) with the reflected light of our Savior.

Light is in danger of becoming useless by being covered or hidden.

Matthew 5:15 (NLT)“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

If we hide our light out of fear of rejection or concern over offending others, we will fail to communicate God’s life-giving light.

Matthew 5:16 (NLT)“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”


a. Presents what’s HIDDEN. (John 3:19; Ephesians 5:10-14; Philippians 2:14-15)

Our culture does not expose sin; it justifies, defends, excuses, covers it in darkness. 

As followers of Jesus Christ, our lives should shine light into darkened areas of our world, exposing what is wrong and causing conviction in people’s lives.

We can sometimes accomplish this by displaying godly character without saying anything but sometimes we must exercise influence through caring confrontation.

Our lives must be different, distinctly holy, for anyone to see a difference in us that reveals the disobedience in their lives; to influence, we must be different.

Exposure of sin is often the first step to salvation; when we see the true state of our lives revealed by the Spirit, we will repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.

APP.: Will I expose something wrong, but hidden, though causes me difficulties?


b. Produces ILLUMINATION. (Psalm 36:9; Colossians 3:16; 1 Peter 2:9)

Lights are to illuminate, to enable people to see situations, even their own.

I don’t think wisdom and insight are common and natural, they must be learned.

People don’t naturally know God or how to seek and find Him. (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-12; 8:7-8) (Many claim to know god within, but it is a projection of themselves.)

People need to be explained the gospel by someone who knows it (Romans 10:13-14) so they can be enlightened by the Spirit to come to faith (John 16:6-15;1 Thessalonians 1:5).

We all want to pursue lives of significance and purpose; we desire meaningful, intimate, relationships, but most are confused about how to develop them.

They don’t know what’s wrong with their lives or why relationships don’t work.

All of our behaviors—regardless of how peculiar or damaging they are—seem right because of our distorted perspectives caused by deep, but unseen, wounds.

As the light of the world, you offer enlightenment by sharing God’s truth about His design for human nature and the damaging effects of sin on our lives.

APP.: Are you willing to humbly offer insight into people and their problems?


c. Provides DIRECTION. (Psalm 119:105; Luke 1:78-79; Ephesians 5:8-10)

Psalm 119:105 (NLT)-Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

We all find ourselves in need of direction, struggling to make difficult decisions. 

People in our culture are often lost and confused, misinformed and misdirected, following unreliable news media and narcissists on social media for direction.

People who are skeptical of Christians, as well as their counsel, will become interested in our suggestions if our lives really do operate much better than theirs. 

God’s Word points out correct paths to follow for practical decision-making.

We, as believers, should meekly provide guidance to bewildered people, not to control, dominate or manipulate them, but to share suggestions as people of light.

APP.: Are you willing to offer helpful advice to someone in need of direction?

How salty are you? Has your light been switched off?

God has called you to influence the world toward Christ; will you do it?

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