Inescapable: The Quality

November 19, 2023

Series: Inescapable

Book: Matthew

This sermon is part of our Inescapable series. Inescapable is a 12 part series that studies the Gospel of Matthew and its messages. You can watch all 12 here.

Sermon manuscript:

Our passage this morning is going to teach us about our identity and purpose. Identity is who we are and purpose is why we are here. Think about that for a second. How do you see yourself? Who are you as a person? Why do you exist as a person? What’s your greater purpose in life?

The subject of identity and purpose is very popular in our culture right now.
DNA testing kits like “23 and Me” are very popular, because we want to get a sense for who we are as people. Right?

This is why we hear people describe their identity and purpose by their
sexuality or sexual desires. Or you might hear people describe their identity and purpose by their ethnicity or nationality? When we meet people, we talk about our work, we talk about our families, we talk about our accomplishments, because these are all things in life that help us know our identity and purpose.

But God’s Word teaches us our ultimate identity and purpose is in Him and in our passage this morning Jesus is going to zero in on our identity and purpose. Let’s look at verse 13:

Matthew 5:13, “13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

The Gospel of Matthew is a book about the life of Jesus. In Matthew chapters 1-3 we see the verification. In Matthew 4 we see the validation of Jesus. In Matthew 5, verses 1-12, we see Jesus inviting men, women and children to live in His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It’s very powerful! It’s very beautiful.

But in verses 10-11 Jesus sneaks in a challenge in His kingdom. Do you remember? His kingdom is full “peacemakers, pure in heart, poor in spirit” and then in verses 10-11 Jesus says, “Oh yeah, also, in My kingdom, you’re going to be persecuted, insulted, and falsely accused.” Do you remember that?

Matthew 5:10-11, “10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

Welcome to North Village Church in Austin! It’s possible you have been told if you follow Jesus you are going to get everything you ever wanted. You are going to have a lot of friends, great job, make lots of money, never go to the hospital and a great family but that’s not what God’s Word teaches. As a follower of Jesus, in His kingdom, there are going to be hardships!

Remember, in Matthew 5 Jesus is talking to a people who are living under the oppression of the Roman Empire. Their spiritual leaders have led them astray. They are emotionally discouraged. The promised Savior has shown up, and Jesus says, “There are going to be challenges!”

That’s the context of our passage this morning. It is in this context of hardship that Jesus points them to their identity and purpose in His kingdom, “You are salt of the earth.” You with me?

Matthew 5:13, “13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

The statement “You are salt of the earth” is statement of fact. This is who we are in His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. This isn’t an opinion. This isn’t a statement of aspiration. Maybe one day? This is a statement of identity and purpose about who we are in Christ in His kingdom.

It’s possible some of us see the other words, “but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again” and we can’t stop looking at those words but don’t go there yet. We will get there. Let’s focus on salt right now.

I know salt doesn’t have a positive connotation today. Salt can be unhealthy if we have too much salt in our diet. When people say, “You are being salty” it isn’t a compliment but in the first century “salt” was incredibly valuable.

Salt is a preservative. In the first century they didn’t have refrigerators, so the only way to keep meat from rotting immediately was to cover it in salt. In addition, salt was used to add flavor. Who doesn’t like to sprinkle salt on your chips? Salt enhances. Salt makes things taste better.

And salt functions as a cleansing agent. Salt was a means to bring about purification, so that in the midst of a people feeling discouraged about life, discouraged about certain persecution and insults Jesus reminds them, “In His kingdom, you have supernatural identity and purpose, you are salt of the earth!” Isn’t that good?

To be clear, Jesus isn’t saying this is what you should try to become or hope to become one day if you try really hard to be a good person. No, Jesus is saying, “This is who you are in Christ.” You are salt of the earth. Sit in that for a second.

In Christ, we have the ability to function as a preservative to humanity. In Christ, we are able to put off decay in humanity. Did you know that? Humanity is falling apart in sin, people are turning against one another, pornography is off the charts, greed is never ending, addiction to food, shopping, substance, and acceptance is never ending, so that through the power of the Holy Spirit we, who are in Christ, get to bring life, flavor and cleansing into the hearts of men, women and children. Salt of the earth!

Now, let’s talk about the warning in verse 13, because Jesus says, “But if the salt should become tasteless.” I am guessing that some of us are wondering, “Have I become tasteless?” Am I no longer good for anything? Have I been thrown out? Those are heavy words.

It’s possible we have made some poor decisions in life. It’s possible we have got drunk so many times, we get angry over and over, we say hurtful things over and over, we do hurtful things, we see our pride, our lust, our greed and it’s possible we have thought to ourselves or we are thinking to ourselves right now, “Maybe I have lost my saltiness?

Listen to me, our saltiness doesn’t come from our spiritual accomplishments or failures in life? I need you to hear that this morning. Our saltiness doesn’t come from our good choices or family background? Our saltiness comes from Christ, “You are salt of the earth.”

This is why we don’t want to root our identity and purpose in our sexuality, ethnicity, career, DNA, accomplishments or followers on social media because the value of those things are always changing. It used to be embarrassing to be nerd, now it’s cool to be a nerd. We used to hate the British, now we love the British. It’s up and down.

But in Christ, our identity and purpose never changes. Through faith in Jesus we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit, we are forgiven, we are ushered into His kingdom, we are called sons and daughters and we are made salty, so that in verse 13 Jesus is giving a warning, “Don’t turn from the one who has made you salty.”

Jesus knows he is speaking to a people who are going to encounter persecution, insults and accusations, therefore, Jesus warning them, “Don’t quit.” If you are here this morning and you have wondered from Jesus, come back. Your identity and purpose is in Him. Don’t push Jesus away. Don’t withdrawal from Jesus, His Word and His people. Turn to the one who makes us salty. Look at verses 14-15:

Matthew 5:14-15, “14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

In verses 14 and 15 Jesus says, “You are light of the world” but I want you to drill into our souls that we are only “light of the world” because of Jesus. In fact, verse 15 says, “Nor does anyone light a lamp” as a reminder that our lamps need to be lit. Does that make sense? Maybe that’s obvious, but I just want to be clear?

Jesus is the Light of the world. Nobody else has made that claim. John 8 Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world.” When Jesus makes that statement Jesus is claiming to be God. Jesus is claiming to be the creator of light, where the Father, Son and Spirit says, “Let there be light.”

Therefore, when Jesus turns to these men, women and children and says, “You are light of the world” it’s because of Jesus. All of humanity was created to be in the light, Genesis 1-2, but in Genesis 3 all of humanity turns toward the darkness, so that Jesus comes to take our darkness upon Himself at the cross, conquer darkness in the resurrection and then invites men, women and children into His marvelous kingdom of light.

Listen to me, if you have yet to trust in Jesus, do that this morning. Your soul is longing for the light of Christ. The reason you are here this morning is because you are curious about the light of Christ. Turn to Jesus, trust in Jesus and hear Jesus say to you, “You are light of the world.”

Let’s talk about that that means practically. Light and darkness in their day compared to our day was just different. They didn’t have electricity. In their day, most people lived in literal darkness as soon as the sun went down. They didn’t have city lights. They didn’t have flashlights, therefore, when Jesus says, “You are light of the world” this would have been powerful language.

First, this was language that was used of the religious leaders of the day. The religious leaders were supposed to be a “guide to the blind and a light to those who were in darkness” but Jesus just used those words to describe the men, women and children of His kingdom. You are light of the world!

Second, light illuminates. How many times have we tried to navigate a room in darkness? Scared of what’s behind the corner? Scared of stubbing our toe? Therefore, Jesus looks to people who are in His kingdom and says, “You have the supernatural ability to push back darkness in this world.”

Did you know the world is layered in spiritual darkness? People don’t believe in God. Somehow people look at the beauty of creation, complex design and think, “Yeah, I bet that just spontaneously combusted into existence.” That makes sense?

People are confused about truth. Everything in our culture has become true and when everything is true nothing is true. It’s confusing. Our culture is confused about sexuality. We’re not sure who are men and who are women.

We’re confused about family. People don’t want to have children. We’re confused about relationships, so that pornography seems like a better option than a relationship.

Therefore, Jesus comes, establish His kingdom, calls men, women, and children to Himself and says, “You are light of the world.” I know you have jobs, I know you have accomplishments, I know you have an ethnic background and sexual desires but your greatest identity and purpose is in Me, “You are light of the world!”

You get illuminate. You get to bring clarity. You get to expose error. Did you know that? When you show up to work, when you walk into a worship service, when you meet a friend for lunch; you are walking into those rooms with the light of Christ! Praise God!

Again, it isn’t because of you but through faith in Jesus we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit comes with light! You have the light of God’s Word. You have the light of His church and every time we walk into a home, workplace, worship service, or playdate at the park there is an explosion of light! That’s glorious!

When I came to faith in Christ it was through a 17-year old friend that didn’t have anything particular unique about his life or know anything about the bible. I would ask him questions about Jesus and he would say, “I don’t know. I would ask him questions about the bible and over and over and over he would say, “I don’t know.”

The whole time I would mock my friend, I would make fun of my friend and yet the Lord used my friend to invite me to trust in Jesus and despite all my unanswered questions, the Lord changed my life. Do you know why? It’s because we aren’t the light. We’re like the moon. We are reflections of the light through faith in Jesus we become a giant torch that lights up the world and pushes back darkness!

In verses 14 and 15 Jesus gives a warning. In verses 14 and 15 Jesus knows He is speaking to a people who are about to go through persecution, insults and accusations, therefore, Jesus says to them, “Don’t hide your light under a basket.”

Put it on a lampstand. You’re a city on a hill. You have the power to bring light to a people who are in darkness. Don’t pull away from Jesus. You with me? I know life is hard. I know it is easy for the light to become diluted or distracted, but this is who we are in Christ. Once you are lit, the light never goes out! This is who we are in Christ. We might not feel like, we might not feel up for it, we might not even like, but this is who we are in Christ. Look at verse 16:

Matthew 5:16, “16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

In verses 14 and 15 our lives are lit through faith in Jesus and in verse 16 Jesus says, “Let your light shine.” How is that supposed to happen practically? How is our life in Christ going to shine out the glory of God?

We show up at work. We talk to a few people. We go out to lunch. We tend to our marriage. We pay some bills. We pour into our children. We clean the dishes. At what point is our light shining out the glory of God? All of it!

First, we need to have our souls lit! We need to begin a relationship with God through faith in Jesus. If that has never happened, you need to do that this morning. Trust in Jesus. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart that Jesus resurrected from the dead. Trust in Jesus today.

Enter into His kingdom today. Receive the ultimate purpose and identity in life today!

Second, don’t just enter into His kingdom but grow in His kingdom, so that our lives might be as salty and bright as possible. What does that look like practically?

Commit to a local church is helpful. It is in the context of the local church in Austin where our faith can become more established. It doesn’t have to be North Village Church but we want to find a local gospel centered church in Austin where we can take ownership, so that you have a responsibility to the local church.

Connecting with other followers of Jesus is critical. Jesus said, “Persecution and hardships are coming.” I can’t imagine trying to go through those alone. Connecting with a group of men and women. Sharing meals with one another. Sharing our life stories with one another.

Let’s ask a question, “How many of us have had someone in our life who has come alongside us to help us grow spiritually?” Raise your hand. How many of us would like for someone to come alongside us to help us grow
spiritually?” Raise your hand. We need the body of Christ.

I would start with the relationships in my home. What does our salt and light look like in our home? Where do we get to add flavor in our home? Where do we get to push back darkness in our home? What does our salt and light look like in our marriage? What does our salt and light look like in relationships with our children and our children’s relationships with their parents? Wouldn’t it be odd to be salty and bright in out in our city but dull and flavorless in our home?

Challenge ourselves spiritually. Don’t get comfortable spiritually. Stretch yourself spiritually. Intentionally look for areas where you are unfamiliar in your faith in Jesus and take steps to help you grow in those areas.

Daily getting into God’s Word is like water to our soul. Right now, our church family is asking the Lord to help us grow in prayer. I am guessing the more we talk to the Lord through prayer the saltier and brighter we become. Theological training is a helpful resource to strengthen your faith in Jesus. We read a book a month, write a one-page paper on that book and meet to discuss; all to challenge ourselves spiritually.

Last one, compassion toward others. Serving others is part of our growth. God’s Word teaches us to not only look after our own interests but also the interests of others. Therefore, what does it look like to demonstrate and declare the love of Christ toward others?

Right now, our church family is gathering toys for Brown Santa. Last couple of weeks we collected food and gift cards for families at Pillow Elementary. The opportunities are endless. We can start language schools for people in our community. We can provide workshops on mechanics, music, carpentry, cosmetics and sewing for our community. We can come alongside the homeless. We can care for the elderly. We can bring encouragement for teachers but for these things to happen we have to be clear about our identity and our purpose in Him for His glory.


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

Check out our North Village Church calendar highlights such as our Christmas Eve Service and Easter Sunday Service.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


NVC Online

Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.