We've released a new version of SermonCentral! Read the release notes here.
Text Illustrations
I love to cook. The only problem is that many of the things I like to cook are things that my wife does not particularly care to eat. I like to cook things in a crock pot or in a pressure cooker.


One of my favorite things to cook is ham hocks and beans. My dad taught me to cook it and we used to cook it all the time! In fact, we developed our own recipe which included the ham hocks, the beans, onions, freshly sliced garlic, salt, and the final ingredient – mustard!


I really have no idea if mustard is a common ingredient found in ham hocks and beans but somehow we thought of it once and it became the final touch in our recipe. It’s really something though, once all of the heat and pressure begins to work on the food, the mustard will disappear.


And if you apply enough heat and pressure, all of the other ingredients start to dissolve as well. After a half a day or so in the pressure cooker all of the ingredients stop being ingredients and they become something altogether different.


They take on the attributes of the other ingredients; the colors, the textures, the smells, and the flavors.


In Luke 14:34-35 Jesus says, “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” (NKJV)


The early Church knew what it meant to be salty. The intense pressures of persecution did not destroy the Church! It worked just like the pressure cooker in my ham hocks and beans.


The heat and pressure of persecution made all of the ingredients – the early Christians – come together until it was very difficult to make out the individual ingredients because they had become one.


So it is with us. We have been called to allow the pressures and trials of this life draw us closer to one another until the flavors of faith and of our lives blend together and we become one body unified in one faith in Christ.


In John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”(NKJV)