Part 1


Just over eleven years ago the world was shaken by the deliberate

attacks made on the United States as four large planes were hijacked.

Two of them crashed into the World Trade Center, one into a part of the

Pentagon and the other one was overtaken by passengers who managed to

seize control of the plane before it could cause any damage but crashed

in rural Pennsylvania. The impact of this violation of human innocence

is keenly felt every time we travel and every year at this time we are

reminded through photographic and video images we relive those tragic



In the past month in the countries of Egypt and Libya and news from

other Northern African nations are reverberating with the violent

reaction to a low grade film that insulted the Muslim faith and their

historical founder, Mohammed.


The world we live in is complex; its full of problems and humanity

attempts to explain them by perspectives that are colored by sincere

faith, religion, history and ethnicity. If we listen carefully we will

hear interesting ideas, some make perfect sense while others are

motivated by hatred, insensitivity or just plain ignorance. Of course I

have my own ideas which are formed from the information I receive but I

have to stop and think; how do we navigate through these troubled times

from a christian believer’s point of view?


As a Christian, our guidance and wisdom are based in biblical fact.

There are two things that I wish to bring out regarding the things that

the Lord Jesus Christ stated. In Luke 19:10 it says that Christ came “to

seek and save the lost”. This is a fundamental truth.

The other thing is that Christ also came to challenge the hypocritical

religious environment that had been created in Israel. Those two issues

are still prevalent today, many people are still spiritually lost and

religious hypocrisy goes beyond the borders of Israel and affects all

nations and affects all kinds of religions. The thing that is still

prevalent today though is that JESUS IS THE ANSWER to these two

pervading problems. So as we live out the truth of Christ in our lives

we find in Matthew 5 the beginning of that insightful sermon which Jesus

delivered from a mountain top; and so its titled the “Sermon on the



What is required of us to live out those truths and adopt those

attitudes that are found in Matthew 5? The bulk of Matthew 5 right up to

chapter 7 gives us many instructions in how to encounter life and react

to the uncomfortable situations that present themselves. In Matthew

5:13-16 we read of a declaration Jesus makes to his hearers. The first

11 verses deal with what we know as the Beatitudes and culminate with

what we read in verses 11 and 12 where the Lord states that persecution

for our faith will come. He wants His followers to understand that while

they are truly blessed by God, the world will resist them and persecute

them as it resists and persecutes the kingdom. While Jesus, the Light,

was not overcome by the darkness of this world, He was persecuted by it.

So then, you might be wondering at this point in Jesus' sermon on the

mount, what is our relationship with the world? Why are we still here if

we are resisted and persecuted? Why can't we just immediately go and

live fully and only in the kingdom of God? I think Jesus begins to

answer these questions in this passage of Matthew 5:13-16. Jesus tells

His followers who they are in relation to the world where they live.

There are two images He presents to them. They are the salt of the earth

and the light of the world. Notice that these are both statements of

fact. Jesus is not telling them what He wants them to strive hard to

become. He is not commanding them. He is telling them what is true

already. As those who are blessed by God, they have a special

relationship with this world.

(To be continued....)


David Jones with excerpts from CD