Summary: Examines the importance of Christians living uniquely different lives from those in the world. Suitable for Memorial Day.
OUR CALL TO TAKE A STAND
Standing on a small platform, a reader calls out names, “Michael Hyde. Donald Jackson. Jose Munoz.” The names being read were those engraved on “The Wall.” No one calls it anything else. It was once highly controversial. This was not a statue, no soldier on horseback, but a black granite gash in the earth containing the names of 58,183 men, each name representing on dead or missing man from the Vietnam War. (Jonesboro Sun, p.4a)
This past Veteran’s Day marked the 24th anniversary of the erection of this monument to the great and gallant men who fought in defense of their country, in an effort to stem the tide of communism; the men who bravely stood, offering the sweat of their brow and the blood of their bodies – standing as a wall between the evil empire and their families back home, praying they would be able to stop its advance before those back home had to suffer.
President Eisenhower took office in 1953, at a time of great international tension. Communism’s influence seemed to be expanding everywhere. Secretary John Foster Dulles, articulated the now famous Domino Theory. He said that if the Soviets could get a foothold in the peninsula of Indochina, if that area fell to their domination, the world would follow.
America took a stand. John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural address said America would “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty” (Vietnam, p28).
Jesus charged you and I to do the same in Matthew 5:13 when He said, “You are the salt of the earth.” In this one statement, Jesus commissioned you and I to take the same stand, make the same sacrifices, as the men whose names are written on the wall.
I. THE CHRISTIAN’S COMMISSION
We are to be disciples, soldiers, bottles carrying the perfume of Christ to the world. You and I are to be fishers of men, baiting our hooks with the love of Christ, and here Jesus says you and I are to be the salt of the earth.
In verses 3-12 Jesus has been describing the Christian’s character. Now He applies that description. You and I aren’t to be people who live in isolation. We are to be in the world but not like the world. We are to be poor in spirit, merciful, & meek, & hungering & thirsting after righteousness in order, in a sense, that we might be the salt of the earth.
II. THE WORLD’S NEED
“Ye are the salt of the earth”. That implies,
1. There is a Rottenness in the earth; it implies a tendency to pollution & becoming foul & offensive. It is sinful & fallen & bad.
Look at families. Look at society. The sins that once slinked along back allies, now parades itself down Main Street.
2. There is something Lacking in the earth – Life for many, provides no flavor. Doesn’t the world today prove that? Look at the quest in the world for pleasure. Clearly people are finding life dull & boring, so they have to rush to this entertainment or that.
Like the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes. All is vanity.
III. THE SAVIOR’S SOLUTION
1. To prevent rot – My Grandmother, Grinny, would take the rock ice from ice cream churn after churning ice cream and pour it around her mailbox post to keep the grass from growing there. A North American once asked a South American why they couldn’t seem to get their governments in order down there? He asked why there seemed to be so much corruption. The South American answered, “Think of why the two continents were first explored. Those who went to South America went looking for gold. Those who went to North America went looking for God.
2. To provide flavor – Show where true joy and excitement can be found.
Collards at Gladys’ parents’ house.
a. Through the church – We are a light on a hill, showing how Christian community is supposed to be lived out. Christian life Commission.
b. Through your life – Just by being the Christian you are called to be wherever you find yourself.
IV. THE FRIGHTENING COMPLAINT
I believe this is one of the saddest statements you find anywhere in the Bible.
- Thou fool. No, not a Christian.
- Peter, “Get thee behind me.” No, short-lived.
- “Whitewashed tombs”. – No, they were blinded.
Some of the saddest words are these. Good for nothing. Not good for what Christ designed you for.
1. Compromised – Where they can’t tell any difference – Lot.
2. Containerized – Salt doesn’t exist for itself. Salt is to penetrate food. Christians don’t live for themselves either. They are to penetrate the earth, ie society.