Daniel Study Guide: Ch. 1

“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.

-Jesus

Jesus said that “you” are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Who was He speaking to? He was speaking to His people, to every Christian man, woman, and child. But what does it mean to be salt and light? Is it our attitude, our actions, our beliefs, our speech, or our demeanor? Yes, and much more. Salt and light refers to our identity and our influence on the world around us.

To understand what Jesus means when He says that we are the salt of the earth, we need to understand what salt does. In the ancient world salt was primarily a means of preservation, it prevented decay. This is what Jesus is calling Christians to do, to prevent the decay of society. How do we do this? By speaking and acting against all that is not right in the communities that God has put us into. Jesus calls us to stand up for the rights of the fatherless, the widow, and the foreigner and to prophetically speak against injustice and corruption. Jesus calls us to expend ourselves by being rubbed into and infiltrating society, not only to help those who have been hurt by injustice but also to work to build social structures that honor God and bless people. We must be courageous and stand up for what our Lord says is right even when it costs us because of deep-rooted and established systems set against God’s kingdom of righteousness. Our saltiness is caustic and painful to the world not because we are called to be rude or unkind to sinners but because of its countercultural nature, it is antithetical to the world’s deepest desires.

If salt is the negative arresting of the decay of society, what does it mean to

be the light of the world? Light is the positive pronouncement of the light of the Gospel in word and in deed. As salt works within, light works by shining upon and illuminating the darkness of fallen humanity and offering a glorious alternative. We shine our light when we openly share the good news of the gospel with those around us and by living lives worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27). Jesus said that when people see our good works they will praise our Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:16) One of the things about light is that it must be exposed and visible for it to be effective. We are not called as Christians to retreat to safe places but to go where the deepest darkness grips the prisoners of the enemy and set them free with the light of the world. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of Jesus in Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Jesus has put that light in us and charged us to “bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47)

John Stott wrote,“So Jesus calls his disciples to exert a double influence on the secular community, a negative influence by arresting its decay and a positive influence by bringing light into its darkness. For it is one thing to stop the spread of evil; it is another to promote the spread of truth, beauty and goodness.
Putting the two metaphors together, it seems legitimate to discern in them the proper relation between evangelism and social action in the total mission of Christ in the world—a relation which perplexes many believers today. We are called to be both salt and light to the secular community.”

May God give us the courage and the love to be what He has recreated us to be to a world that desperately needs us.

 


Scripture For Further Study

Ephesians 4:1 “As a prisoner for the 1Lord, then, I urge you to live a life

worthy of the calling you have received.”

Philippians 2:15 “so that you may
become blameless and pure, “children of
God without fault in a warped and 2crooked generation.” Then you will shine
among them like stars in the sky as you
hold firmly to the word of life.” 3

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Study Questions

Jesus said that we are salt and light. How are these things complementary and why are both necessary in the world?

How can you be salt and light in your job, your school, or your home?

What is the effect on our communities when we as Christians refuse to be salt and light?

 

Family Worship

Jesus said that we are salt and light. How are these things complementary and why are both necessary in the world?

How can you be salt and light in your job, your school, or your home?

What is the effect on our communities when we as Christians refuse to be salt and light?

Read Daniel 1:1-4 and work together as a family to describe what has happened to the tribe of Judah. Where are they? Why? Continue reading verses 5-21 picturing yourself next to Daniel as he speaks. In verse 8, what does it mean that Daniel “resolved” that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or drink? In the same verse, how does Daniel follow through with what he resolved to do? Take turns sharing examples of situations that call for resolving in your heart to obey God and then acting on it. What would it look like for you to follow through with your decision to obey God?

Conclude your family worship time by thanking God for His faithfulness to each person here, and ask for the courage to remain faithful in obedience when you are faced with uncertainty and hardship. Praise Him for specific evidences of mercy you have witnessed, and invite your kids to make requests or offer praise in the same way.

 

Community Involvement

The Love Initiative is a tangible way to get out of your comfort zone and be the salt and light of our community and across the globe. We have a variety of ministries to reach the orphan, widow, forgotten, hungry, lonely, and oppressed. Every month the Love Initiative will be hosting a way to love our community and be the hands and feet of Jesus. From providing for the poor to beautifying and renewing dilapidated structures, the Love Initiative team is actively engaging the people of the High Desert to spread the good news of Jesus. I would like to encourage you to join our Local Outreach team by emailing loveinitiative@redeemerhd.com

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