Renew the Call
November 16, 2008
NOTE: The back half of this message is taken almost exclusively, from John Hamby’s message, “Called to be the salt of the earth.”
We are on the backstretch of 2008.
For me, November is about “Thanksgiving” and thinking about next year. I think about next year in November because December is so much about Christ’s birth.
So in November I look to the next year, plan my teaching calendar, finalize major events for the church. I prepare for our “Harvest Meeting” – the church’s annual meeting to celebrate the past year and look to the future.
The past year… We can plan for that. It’s gone. But we must think on it. And learn from it. So, this week and next week, we are going to take a look, learn, and celebrate.
This week I want to remind us what we have been called to do, and remind us who we are.
The Vine church is called…
To influence this community
Our desire to influence the community is summed of in our Foundational statements
The first we call our Commission:
Jesus said to His disciples “Go Make Disciples…” (Matt 28:19)
We do that by
1. Sunday a.m. service – we teach the Bible.
2. Community Groups
3. CORE Groups
The Second we call our Vision:
A place where everyone can feel welcome in an environment that encourages truth seeking…
We influence the community by Community Service
CS = three prong approach
1. Church wide – Back pack collections, The Vine Day of Community Service, Leaf Brigade, and the Pads Christmas Party. Our kid’s led us in Food collection for the food pantry. They are now leading us in the shoe-box for kids.
2. Community Groups – Krista Anderson, our Minister of Community Service has asked each C.G. to do one service project a year
We ask you to reach out to your neighbors and friends and serve them in Jesus name. The world needs the peace and love you can give through God more than ever. The down economy is opening doors of opportunity for Christians to reach out and help people
As a church and as individuals, we are all called to Influence our world.
Matthew 5:13 READ
Jesus gives us no explicit explanation of the word picture of salt that he uses here.
Remember, Jesus was talking with the people in their context, not ours.
We must then seek to understand what He is talking about and How Are Christian’s Like Salt?”
Think about it with me for a moment
First, Christians Like Salt Are Of Infinite Value.
Jesus said to his followers “You are the salt of the earth.”
Salt was a necessity of life in ancient times and thus great value was attached to it. Salt was so important that it was sometimes used for money. The Roman soldiers of Jesus’ day were at times paid with it. In fact, our word “salary” comes from the Latin word salarium which referred to the payments to the soldiers with salt. We still use the phrase saying that someone either is, or is not, “worth their salt.”
When you depend on salt to preserve your food and when it is so valuable that it is used in the place of money, you get a completely different perspective on salt.
In Job 6:6 the Bible says, “Can flavorless food be eaten without salt?” For this one reason alone salt is indispensable.
Christians Like Salt Are Of Infinite Value and…
Second, Christians Like Salt Act As A Preservative.
Salt was important for survival, because it was the only way they had to preserve meat. Obviously, they were not as privileged as we are with refrigeration, so salt became very important in their ability to preserve their food. The salt was rubbed into the meat before it was stored. Salt was to arrest or at to hinder the process of decay, so too Christians are given the task of arresting the decay of our world.
IL. My dad described to me how his grandparents preserved food in the salt box.
Layer of salt / layer of meat etc… Bacteria don’t like salt, and salt takes bacteria’s water.
Christianity has in fact had a profound positive effect on the world. The most dramatic impact of Christianity on the world is that it has attached new value to human life. Prior to Christianity infanticide, and abandonment of children was a common practice. Hospitals as we now know them began through influence of Christianity. The Red Cross was started by an evangelical Christian. Almost every one of the first colleges and universities in the United States has Christian origins, founded by Christians for Christian purposes. The same could be said of orphanages, adoption agencies, humane treatment of the insane, the list goes on and on of dramatic impact of Christianity in our world. [D. James Kennedy. “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?” (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1994) pp. 3- 4]
Christian’s continue to have a positive benefit on our world. As a moral antiseptic, Christians keep the corruption of society at bay by opposing moral decay by their lives and their words.
Christians Like Salt Act As A Preservative and …
Third, Christians Like Salt Are to Promote Thirst.
In Titus 2:10 the Apostle Paul tells Christian servants that they must act in such a way
Titus 2:10 “make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (NIV)
The idea is here is that Christian servants (any Christian for that matter) have the power through their exemplary behavior to make the Christian life and faith beautiful to those outside.
Whenever we as Christians are introduced into a setting, whether is social or work related, the unbelievers should see evidence of the difference that Jesus Christ makes in our lives. They should be able to look at us and say, “I don’t know what they have but I want it.”
Christians Like Salt Should Promote Thirst and…
Fourth, Christians Like Salt Can Lose Their Usefulness. (v. 13b)
Jesus says that if the salt loses its flavor, (v. 13b) “… It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
Technically speaking, salt cannot lose its saltiness; sodium chloride is a stable compound. But in the part of the world where Jesus lived, salt was collected from around the Dead Sea where the crystals were often contaminated with other minerals. These crystallized formations were full of impurities, and since the actual salt was more soluble than the impurities, the rain could wash out the salt, which made what was left of little worth since it lost its saltiness. When this happened, the salt was thrown out, since it was no longer of any value either as a preservative or for flavoring.
Either our lives or counting for good and for God or they are making an impact for evil and the enemy…. The way we live, the things we say the attitudes we entertain, the life style we adopt… are continuously producing either positive or negative results in society…. Our lives, whether we are aware or not either count for God or against Him. There simply is no middle ground.” [W. Phillip Keller. Salt for Society. (Waco: Word Books, 1981) p. 145-149]
Christians Like Salt Can Lose Their Usefulness and….
Fifth, Christians Like Salt Must Have Contact To Have An Influence!
As we have already noted, the Christian is to be a preserving force in the world wherever God has placed them. But the salt never did any good when it was sitting on a shelf some place and the meat was some-where else. To be effective, the salt had to be rubbed into the meat. In a similar way Christian’s are to allow God use them wherever he has placed them.
Whenever the church becomes a salt warehouse, it has missed out on the lesson that salt must make contact to have an affect.
I want you to notice what Jesus says and does not say, He does not say, “You all can be the salt of the earth.” Nor does he say, “You all should be the salt of the earth.” Jesus says “You are the salt of the earth” and in the Greek it is literally “You and you alone are the salt of the earth.”
To be salt, we just have to effect our little corner of the world.