Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Comparison of Salt and Sugar, as to which is better... then realize we are called to be salt - nor sugar

Pentecost 19 have salt in yourselves

Mark 9:38-50

† In the Name of Jesus †

God’s gifts of mercy and peace, are given to you, because of our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!

Sugar or Salt

Question for you old time movie folks. Was it Mary Poppins or Sound of Music, that had the female lead singing a song about spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down?

Maybe my mom tried that trick on me, because of that movie. Or maybe her mom, or Auntie Toni taught it to her. I remember as a kid, often having to swallow a spoonful of sugar, or maybe two or three, when I was sick. No matter the tricks used, I could just not swallow a pill. I think that the combination of being miserably sick, and sugar have been eternally linked in my mind. Perhaps that is why I cannot stand most deserts.

Sugar is used, so often like salt, to flavor things that we eat and drink. But they are not interchangeable, as they have different purposes. Sugar is used to sweeten, or perhaps more accurately, to mask the flavors that are bitter, sour, or even starting to spoil. . In comparison, salt brings out the flavors of the food, not masking them as much as preserving them, and emphasizing that, which is good.

The comparison of the two work well, with today’s gospel reading, as we consider how we are flavored by the world, or by Jesus. For the world’s influence in our lives is much like sugar.

What is Masked?

The scandal-causer

Pleasure masking Hell

Are we this serious?

Quote on Spurgeon

Put enough sugar into something horrible tasting, like coffee, and even the most taste sensitive child will drink it. For the true taste of the drink is hidden by the sugar. A great example of this is coffee, or even better, the base syrup of coke-a-cola, without the sugar added. Blech. Basically, sugar is the great masking agent, when it comes to food. It overloads our sense of taste, and we cannot distinguish if what we are eating or drinking is good for us, or not. I mean, think of all those sugar coated cereals. Without the sugar, they are no different from the bland ones we hate. They would look, and taste like cardboard. It takes what is not pleasurable, whether bitter coffee, or horrible tasting medicine, or even rotting fruit, and makes it pleasurable.

So much of what the world offers us is similar. It looks pleasurable, but it is there, to cause us to fall into sin, to stumble through life. The overriding pleasure, fame or fortune, causes us to ignore the true nature of the sin that entraps us, and those it entraps around us.

IN dealing with sin, Jesus uses three terrible examples, vivid examples I have always struggled with understanding. We need to hear them again,

42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 44 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 46 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ’where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

In the example, we see Jesus discussing the idea of sin being caused by physical parts of our bodies, and that it would be better, to lose that part of our body, than to end up in hell. Often this has been reduced to the hands representing that which we do, our feet representing where we go, and our eyes, representing what we see, or contemplate doing. If we do things, that lead us to sin, then be rid of that influence in our life. The same for places we go, or the things we look at. Those things, those places, those things we see, act like the sugar, that overloads our sense of pleasure, and gets us caught in the trap of sin. We become blind to the sin, because of the temporary pleasure it offers, risking something that pleasure will never be able to mask.


Where the worm does not die, nor is the fire ever quenched.

One pastor who I really respect for his sermon crafting, wrote this,

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