The Church on Mission

A Biblical Vision for Transformation among All People

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4. Transformational Influence

Study Guide

Scripture reading: Matthew 5:1–15

After reading this chapter, consider the following:

  • What new insights did you gain?
  • Were there points with which you especially agreed or disagreed?
  • What issues were raised that you would like to explore further or clarify?

In the Sermon on the Mount, just before proclaiming that his followers are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13–15), Jesus gives the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1–12).

  • How do the character qualities described in the Beatitudes relate to our ability to be salt and light?
  • How is it possible for followers of Jesus to influence the world as salt and light if they are slandered and persecuted?
  • To what extent are we ready and willing to gladly face opposition due to our commitment to Christ?
  • What should our attitude be toward those who would persecute Christians or marginalize Christian influence in society? (See also Rom. 12:14; 1 Cor. 4:12; and Matt. 5:39, 43–44.)
  • How should this inform the way Christians engage with social issues in the public square?

In chapter 3 we discussed evangelism as an aspect of our being the light of the world. Here we consider various ways that we might be the salt of the earth, hindering evil and promoting good.

  • In what ways are you or others in your church presently acting as salt in the community?
  • Brainstorm other specific ways that you and your church might act as salt of the earth.
  • What are the implications of Proverbs 31:8–9 and Psalm 82:3–4 for how believers and churches are to be the salt of the earth? Give practical examples.
  • How can or should “salt” ministries (consisting of deeds) also be “light” ministries (consisting of words that witness to the gospel)?