Summary: Jesus gives us five vivid images teaching us lessons about discipleship and the total commitment it requires
The lifeguard patiently explained, “You can see that he is much bigger and stronger than I am.” If I had gone out sooner, he was thrashing and kicked so violently that he would have probably drowned both of us. As long as he was trying to save himself, I couldn’t save him. But when he got tired, and gave up, then I knew I could save him.”
That’s a great lesson about salvation. As long as you think you are strong enough to save yourself, you won’t surrender to Jesus. It’s only when you give up and realize you are hopelessly lost, that Jesus can come and rescue you. Have you ever come to a place in your life where you have surrendered everything you have and everything you are to Jesus? I think real discipleship is coming to Jesus and saying, “Jesus, I give up. I give up control of my life.”
I think one of the reasons the book of Psalms speaks of lifting your hands in praise is because the lifting of hands has always been a gesture of surrender. Even today, the police will say, “Put your hands up!” Have you surrendered to Jesus? I didn’t ask you if you were a Christian. I have found I have to surrender to Jesus often. Maybe you need to do what I do on a regular basis. I get on my knees and I raise my hands and I say, “I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
Finally, Jesus used the image of:
5. SALT: STAY PURE TO PRESERVE GOODNESS
Salt was very valuable during Jesus’ time. Roman soldiers were paid with salt rations. The Latin phrase “Solarium Argentums” is where we get our word “salary.” Even today we speak of someone who is “not worth their salt.” In the time of Jesus the greatest value of salt was in its use as a preservative. Since they didn’t have any way to refrigerate meat, salt would be applied to fresh meat to prevent the meat from rotting. The salt created a chemical reaction that slowed down the process of decay. It retarded corruption, so as a consequence, it preserved the goodness of the meat. That’s why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13)
We live in a nation suffering from moral decay at an alarming rate. Our society is getting more rotten by the day. Like salt, we must come in contact with our corrupting culture to slow down the process of decay. As salt, our job is to preserve the goodness that still exists in our culture. We must be the ones who speak up when a sexually oriented business applies for a license–as some of us did a couple of weeks ago. We must be the ones who stand up and say taking “under God” out of the pledge of allegiance is not acceptable. We must be the ones who stand up and say in love that abortion is murder and homosexual behavior is perversion. If we don’t speak out against moral evil, we’ve lost our saltiness. Now that kind of activity is not going to make us popular with our culture. When he was trying to preach the annual presidential sermon, my seminary classmate, James Merritt, was interrupted many times by homosexual protesters at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis. Being salt will certainly not make us popular. Have you ever noticed how salt stings when it gets in a wound? Salt irritates, but in addition to being a preservative, it is also an antiseptic–and our society needs a good cleaning! We must be salt in our corrupting world. If we don’t speak up against evil, our nation will become even more perverse than it is now.