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YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH
AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, February 26, 2017

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).


Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. He saw Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on a little farther Jesus saw two brothers, James and John. They were repairing their nets for fishing. He called them and they left the ship and followed Him. What they saw Jesus do must have been very exciting. Jesus was preaching and healing all kinds of sickness among the people. Large crowds followed Jesus. When He saw the great crowd, He went up on a mountain. After He sat down His Disciples came to Him. And Jesus began to teach His Disciples. He gave them the beatitudes. They describe the inner qualities of a true Christian and promise him blessings in the future. Then He told His Disciples that they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world. What Jesus said of them is still true of every real Christian.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

I. First, you are the salt of the earth.

Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” The main use of salt at that time was as a preservative. If they put salt on meat it could be kept for months without refrigeration. Salt would keep it from decaying. When Adam sinned he brought death and decay into the world. All mankind has inherited death from the first sinner, Adam. Nothing can prevent that death but Christ. He told the Disciples that they were to be salt, to preserve people from decay and death. The Apostle James said, “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death...” (James 5:20).

The work of evangelism and prayer that you do may seem worthless. But that is the Devil speaking to you. A Christian who goes out to evangelism and brings sinners to Christ is the most important person in the world. You are the salt of the earth! You are doing the most important work in all the earth! If you don’t think that you are important, listen to what one young man said, “I came to church with tremendous hate and boredom...I was miserable. Many of my friends and family had let me down. The world around me seemed to be crumbling. There seemed to be no reason to live. No reason to do anything because there was so much corruption and destruction. I sometimes wished I had never been born, and at times I would contemplate suicide. I was confused and did not believe in God.”

Someone in our church brought that young man in to hear the Gospel. If you had not gone out to get him, he would never have come to know Christ. I do not know which of you brought him to church. I don’t know the details. But one of you brought him. Others among you made him feel at home in our church. God used you to save that young man’s life. God used you to save his soul from death, from a life of despair and hopelessness. That’s why Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth”! Without you he would not have been saved.

But today the churches would not have been able to help him. Our churches are in a terrible state of coldness and apostasy! Dr. Carl F. H. Henry (1913-2003) was a well known theologian. One of the last books he wrote was Twilight of a Great Civilization: The Drift Toward Neo-Paganism. He said there is something wrong with most of our churches today. He said, “Disillusionment over organized Christianity is soaring; one can see it in the statistics of declining church attendance...Savages are stirring the dust of a decadent civilization and already slink [hide] in the shadows of a disabled Church” (p. 17). He was right. I don’t know of any church but ours in Los Angeles that is reaching out to lost young people on the campuses and malls of the city. Southern Baptists now lose almost a quarter of a million members every year. None of the other denominations do any better. First they close the prayer meeting. Then they close the Sunday evening service. Then the Sunday morning services start to go down. Jesus said, “If the salt has lost its [taste] how can it become salty again? It is not good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matthew 5:13 KJV, NASV). The churches are “disabled” as Dr. Henry said. They are not able to convert young people today. Why is that true? Because the salt has lost its taste! Verse-by-verse Bible teaching does not cure a dead church! Soft teaching will not produce life. Only strong evangelistic preaching can do that. We need “salty” preaching, preaching on sin and Hell, preaching on the Blood of Christ, preaching on soul winning. Only white-hot soul winning can keep the “salt” in a church. Only strong prayer meetings can keep the “salt” in a church. Dr. John R. Rice was right when he said, “Only all-out effort can match New Testament soulwinning” (Why Our Churches Do Not Win Souls, p. 149).

If we do not want our church to die we must constantly work and pray, and do everything possible to bring in lost young people to hear the Gospel! Jesus said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). We must make soul winning the number one thing in our lives or our church will lose its life preserving “salt.” If we fail to do that, our church will become “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13). Don’t let our church die! Go out and bring sinners in to hear about Jesus and be saved by Him!

II. Second, you are the light of the world.

Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14). Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “The force of the statement is this: ‘Ye, and ye alone, are the light of the world,’ – the ‘ye’ is emphatic and carries that suggestion... there are certain things implied. The first is that the world is in a state of darkness” (Sermon on the Mount, p. 139). The world is in a horrible state of darkness tonight. Jesus is saying that only real Christians can show others how to escape from that darkness. There is no light at all in this world. The only light comes from real Christians and a church like ours. Jesus looked at His small group of Disciples. He said to them, “You, and you alone, are the light of the world.” Here are some examples of that.

The young man one of you brought to church said, “There seemed to be no reason to live...I sometimes wished I had never been born, and at times I would think about suicide...Dr. Hymers asked me if God loved me. I quickly said ‘yes.’ But Dr. Hymers asked me one more time...I suddenly said ‘no,’ and tears came in my eyes... After that Dr. Hymers asked me if I would trust Jesus, but I could not, I was too afraid to give up my sin. The following week I became aware of my sin in an intense way. I would lock myself in the restroom and cry, while thinking of my sin. Even when I was at school or work my sin would not leave me alone. On Sunday I gave in and I was ready to give up everything for Christ. I went to see Dr. Hymers and I trusted Jesus. I simply trusted Jesus by faith alone. That day I was incredibly joyful and was able to sleep at night. I was shown mercy despite my rebellion by a crucified and loving Saviour, and this I will never forget.”

Now listen to the words of a very clean-living young Chinese girl. She said, “I walked into church and my heart was heavy. God had awakened me to feel that I was a sinner. Everyone around me was in a cheerful mood, but I could not suppress my guilty conscience. I could no longer ignore that my heart was ugly, rebellious, and against God. My heart could no longer deceive me into thinking I was okay and a good person. I was not okay and there was no goodness in me. As I listened to the sermon, it felt like the pastor was speaking directly to me. I felt a great uneasiness wash over me as he spoke on my death. I felt as if I would go straight to Hell. I deserved to go to Hell. I was a sinner. Although I thought I could hide my sins from people, I could not hide them from God. God saw them all...I felt completely hopeless. Then, as the sermon was nearing the end, I listened to the Gospel for the first time. Christ died on the Cross in my place, to pay for my sins. His love for me, a guilty sinner was so great that He died on the Cross for me. His Blood was shed for sinners. His Blood was shed for me! I desperately needed Jesus! Rather than look for goodness in myself, I looked toward Jesus for the first time. And in that moment Jesus saved me, and washed away my sin with His Blood. I trusted Jesus and He saved me. All my goodness could not save a wretched sinner like me, but Christ alone saved me! Christ had broken the chains that locked me to sin. Christ clothed me in His Blood. He clothed me in His righteousness. My faith and assurance is in Christ alone. I was a sinner, but Jesus Christ saved me!”

Now here is another young woman. She had been a “good” girl in the eyes of the world. She had come to church all her life but she was still lost. Yet in her heart she was angry with God. Listen to her. “As the service went on I grew more troubled. I could not even smile when everyone was shaking hands. The feeling of defeat and repulsiveness of my sin grew. And then John Cagan preached on ‘God is Right, and You are Wrong.’ Every point drove in and intensified the sickening thought of my sin. As John preached, I realized God was speaking to me. By the time John finished preaching I was very distressed. Then Dr. Hymers came to the pulpit and talked about Jesus forgiving a prostitute taken in the very act of adultery. Though I had heard that story before, it never hit me like it did that morning. The love of Jesus blew me away. I began to feel a strong urge to come to Jesus. Dr. Hymers called me to speak with him. My mind was a whirl of thoughts and fears. Dr. Hymers pointed to himself and asked me if I trusted him, and I said, ‘yes.’ Then he told me that is the same way that one trusts Jesus. I had always hated it when I was told to ‘trust Jesus.’ ‘What in the world does that mean?’ I would think. ‘How am I supposed to do that?’ And yet when Dr. Hymers explained it, that it was the same as trusting him, it made sense. In those moments I simply knew that Jesus loved me. As I knelt down, all I could think of was that Jesus loved me. That He would forgive my sin. That I wanted Him so badly. Dr. Hymers put his hand on my head and wept and prayed for me. He told me that Jesus wanted me to trust Him. Even the tiniest bit of faith was enough for Him. That is all Jesus asked for. And then, it was just a few moments of time, I trusted Jesus. I didn’t trust that He would save me. I trusted Jesus Himself – comparable to how I trusted my pastor, Dr. Hymers. Before I would search through the abyss of my mind for a way to trust Jesus, and an experience to follow it. I refused to trust Jesus alone, without a feeling. And then, after I failed, I would always cry in frustration and self-pity. I was also afraid of having a false conversion. I was in danger of becoming a total cynic. And yet, after careful thought, I realized that the world had nothing to offer me. No love. No purpose. And no hope. I trust Jesus now. He is my only hope. It blows my mind that all Jesus wanted was to have me trust Him. He just wanted me to trust Him, and Him alone. Then He did everything else. My testimony is really so simple. I trusted Jesus and He saved me.”

It took several people to win those souls to Christ. One of the phoners called them. Dr. Chan arranged the car to pick them up. There were the words of Aaron Yancy about outside the church, out in the world...the emptiness and coldness the world would offer. There were the sermon manuscripts that they read, typed by Dr. Cagan, and the videos of our sermons that they watched, prepared by Mr. Olivacce. There was the advice of John Cagan. There was the friendship you gave them. Finally there were my sermons, and John Cagan’s sermons, and Noah Song’s sermons. After an inner struggle that lasted sometimes for weeks, I myself asked them, “Will you trust Jesus?” Then they trusted Jesus. It sounds so simple and it is simple. Several people in our church were used by God to lead them to Jesus. All of us were “lights” to help them find Jesus in this dark world. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones put it, “Ye, and ye alone, are the light of the world.” As an old hymn puts it,

The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin;
   The light of the world is Jesus;
Like sunshine at noon-day His glory shone in,
   The light of the world is Jesus.
Come to the light, ‘tis shining for thee;
   Sweetly the light has dawned upon me;
Once I was blind, but now I can see;
   The light of the world is Jesus.
(“The Light of the World is Jesus” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

Dear brothers and sisters, you and I have the great privilege of reflecting the light of Jesus to a sin-darkened world. Christ has given us light. Our revival hymn explains it clearly,

Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.
(“Fill All My Vision” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

Dear brothers and sisters, we have marvelous work to do as Christians. We are the salt of the earth. We, and we alone, are the light of the world! Let all of us reflect the light of Christ to a dark and fearful world! Never stop working to win souls. And never, ever, become discouraged in soul winning. Jesus is with you. He will bring you through all difficulties and hardships.

Now, to you who are still lost it is my great privilege to tell you that Jesus will save you too. There is nothing more for you to do but to trust Jesus Christ, the man who died in your place on the Cross, and shed His precious Blood to cleanse you from all sin. There’s a hymn that says it all,

Only trust Him, only trust Him,
   Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you,
   He will save you now.
(“Only Trust Him” by John H. Stockton, 1813-1877).


WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Saved by the Blood” (by S. J. Henderson, 19th century).


THE OUTLINE OF

YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH
AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, February 26, 2017

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

I.   First, you are the salt of the earth, James 5:20; Matthew 5:13;
Luke 14:23.

II.  Second, you are the light of the world, Matthew 5:14.