Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus calls His followers to be the "salt of the earth." This message thinks about what it is to be salt ; examining the characteristics of salt & asking if these are hallmarks of our Christian walk.

Matthew 5:13-16

Galatians 5:16-18

Jesus calls His followers to be the "salt of the earth." What does this really mean? Today, we are thinking about what it is to be salt ; examining the characteristics of salt & asking if these are hallmarks of our Christian walk.

So the first thing I want us to think about is that we add salt to food because it brings out or adds flavour. I have to say I find it very difficult to eat certain foods without salt. Fresh tomatoes, chips, steak, any kind of egg : the list goes on! In fact we have stopped using real salt, because too much salt is not good for you & now use ‘low salt’ instead. Even that though has quite an impact ; it seasons & improves taste.

As Christians, we have a Gospel imperative to be salt in the world – to bring out the goodness; to bring the Christ-like character God has stamped on our hearts, to bring to the world.

The next quality of salt is one that we don’t really use too much in this generation – salt the preservative. In previous ages, salt was used to keep meat from going rotten.

Likewise our lives are to show a different way of living & direct people to our Saviour Jesus. The hope & love of God is enough to keep the lives of those we meet from going rotten & bad. Even more the grace of God is enough to transform even the worst of sinners. What a calling rests upon us ….!

It is true of course that often when salt is used to bring about change, it is invisible. When I am cooking – yes I do quite a lot of it! - & I sprinkle salt on the boiling potatoes, for instance, it makes an impact but instantly is invisible.

We need to understand that often the difference we make as Christians in this world is slight & almost invisible in our eyes, but can bring about miraculous change in others.

In our own family we have a habit of always saying grace – all heads bowed – in restaurants. How many are challenged to see that faith is alive & well because of such a simple thing?

A smile, a comforting shoulder to cry upon, a faltering hesitating witness to Jesus – you & I have no idea how much God can use our fumbling efforts to bring glory to His name & salvation to others.

Equally when we refuse to swear when others do, or are courteous when forced to wait at the Post Office, or return our shopping trolleys to the space provided at the supermarket. We are salt & we would be wise to remember that even these simple tasks change the climate around us ; invisibly, miraculously.

You know what the last characteristic of salt I came up with is? Well why do bar owners put salted peanuts & other salty snacks on the bar ? Because salt makes you thirsty !

I don’t eat those snacks because you never know who has eaten them before you, & worse still where their hand was before it plunged into the peanuts! But those retailers are on to something you know. Once someone has tasted salt they develop a thirst & I think that is what God does through us too. As we live our lives in this world, others around us will develop a thirst. They will see the reality of Jesus in you – at least they will if you allow them to see the genuineness of your relationship, & the way God has changed..... and is changing you.

Such a testimony transforms others. You know the greatest witnesses I have seen are when people are going through hell & hardship & pain; yet still the presence of Christ burns through. The hope & faith we see in people like this is incredible. It also makes you thirsty ; for seeing God at work in others always causes others to want to taste & see that Jesus really is that good.

Do the people around you sense something special in your life and thirst to know what it is, & if not why not ?

The absolutely most important thing about salt is this though – it does nothing if it is kept locked away in the salt cellar.

As Church people, we are called to be salt in this world. Yet if the only contact we ever with others is with Christian people, then the salt will be wasted. If the crisps you buy are already salted, you don’t need to add more. We need to take this salt, this distinctiveness out into the world. To those who do not yet understand & do not yet know. If we refuse to talk to those who are far off from the standards of the Church, how will they ever hear?

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