Salt, Light & The Mark Of The Beast - Jacob Stanley
Matthew 5:1-20 English Standard Version Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. ————— Lets’ Pray —————— Righteousness really matters to God. God really want’s his people to be different. So much so that his people stand out.
In a sin corrupted world, his people will be pure, and clean.
Psalm 11:7 ESV 7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
In this passage of the sermon on the mount Jesus explains to the crowd how Gods people are supposed to be different. It’s how you know that they are God’s people. How do you identify salt? You taste it. Is it salty?
God has called his people to be different, to be holy, to be set apart. That means you look different, you sound different, you are a blessing to the world around you and yet you are light in darkness, and flavour in the dullness. You bring hope to the people around you You make the world a much better place.
What are known for in your family? What’s your reputation at work?
What do people think you care most about?
do people see a burning flame of love for God or has it been sniffed out?
Do your conversations will people leave them with a good taste in their mouth, like delicious food, or do they leave feeling like you are just as lost as everyone else?
Colossians 4:6 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
What’s your taste? What do you bring that is different? When you speak, is it sweet, or sour? Is it life-giving, or do you speak words of death? Do your words build faith, or bring doubt and confusion?
Ephesians 4:17- NIV 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. God has sealed you with his Holy Spirit. The evidence of his spirit is the righteousness he produces in your life! Revelation 22:4 ESV  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
God is claiming you as his own! 1 Peter 2:9-17 ESV  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,  or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover- up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Peter calls christians to Honour the emperor. The emperor at the time was Nero. Nero was referred to as the beast. And Rome, Babylon. Nero led a heavy and brutal persecution against the Christians tradition says that Peter wrote this letter around 62AD from Rome, two years later emperor Nero had him publicly Martyred at the site of the Circus Maximus. To honour the emperor was a radical call. It’s similar when Jesus tells his jewish followers to obey a centurions order and walk a mile with him carrying his heavy gear, and then to walk another mile. It’s costly, and radical. It’s a call to behave completely different than the society they live in, And to behave radically different than your pride or your flesh would want you to.
BUT THE CHRISTIAN IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF PERSON You are a royal priesthood
You are salt of the earth
You are the light of hope, a beacon in the darkness
Peter says You are a sojourner and an exile - a people chosen by God to be set apart. You are here for a moment, you are representing a different kingdom.
When you are at work - you’re a foreigner When you’re at a family gathering- you’re representing a different kingdom When you are playing sport with friends - you’re a visitor
This is not your home, you are from somewhere else. You are members of a royal household. So let you behaviour reflect that truth.
You are chosen
You are marked by God.
His name is a banner over your life
—— BAND UP ——
Exodus 13:8-10 8] You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’  And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.  You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year. It sounds like the mark of the beast, well this is the original mark, his people marked by God. As a sign of his faithfulness and their righteousness.
1 John 2:15-22 ESV  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.  But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.  I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.  Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
There are different Antichrists and there are different marks. If you love Jesus you are marked by him, marked by the righteousness that the Holy Spirit works in your life. You don’t have to worry about the future, you are chosen by God.
The mark of the beast has absolutely nothing to do with barcodes, qr codes, eftpos cards, micro chips, even vaccination passports.
The mark is about the overarching theme of your life. Do you love the world? Or or do you love God?
Do you relate as a person of the world! Or do relate as person of God?
Are you one with this society or are you a foreigner, representing a different kingdom, a different way, a different culture?
Will you be salt? Will you be light?
You will be marked as Person that represents heaven, with the name of Jesus as a banner over your life?