Summary: Impact, witness, cultural change
SALT: MAKE USE OF IT
Matt 5: 13-14 (p683) May 8, 2011
Bob Briner in his book "Roaring Lambs" writes, "I have a friend who raises sheep. He says they're the most misunderstood of farm animals. True, he says, they are meek…they need someone to follow, and if they don't have a thoughtful, caring shepherd, they generally get themselves into trouble…BIG TIME TROUBLE. But, says my friend, the sheep farmer, their trust in their shepherd is so strong that they will do anything to follow the guy. In fact, he says, they can be the bravest, most assertive creatures when they feel secure in the care of their shepherds.” That's the kind of lambs we ought to be. We have a shepherd we can trust fully, so we really ought to be out there on the front lines of battle for the cause of the Gospel. The fact that many times we aren’t has a lot to do with our understanding or (misunderstanding) of these oft quoted words from Matt 5:13:
"YOU ARE THE SALT."
To the average Christian salt is something that comes in a round blue box and hides itself on the shelf until it’s needed…it’s found on one of these little white packets…(pepper's best friend). If you've spent more than 20 minutes in church you have probably heard that "you are the salt of the earth".
I was watching a newscaster report on the horrible devastation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama…hundreds were killed, thousands displaced….it was absolutely horrible…and he said these were "salt of the earth kind of people…hard working, honest, Americans"
My heart breaks for these folks…it’s affected even people we love here at Fern Creek…but that's not what Jesus meant in any way, shape or form when he uses the words "you are the salt of the Earth."
When Jesus said, "you are the salt of the earth," He was speaking to anyone then or now who accepts Him as Savior…It's one of the clearest declarations from Jesus to His followers. Notice, He did not say for us to become salt. He said we are salt…once we accept Him into our lives we are automatically the salt of the earth.
And the second part of the verse gives us insight into what being salt should mean…"But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out an trampled by men."
In fact isn't Jesus saying…just being salt is not enough…if we are salt and not being salty we are good for nothing Christians?
But the question is what do we do?
I HOW DO WE ACT AS SALT IN OUR WORLD
The answer lies in the way salt is used. Salt is a seasoning and preservative. It seasons by adding taste and enhancing flavor…It preserves by cleansing and retarding spoilage.
In both cases, the salt has to be in contact with what it seeks to season and what it seeks to preserve before it works…its power cannot be released unless it touches the food.
Salt does no good sitting in the little packets or shaker…It might as well be thrown out.
20 years ago E. Stanley Jones, the great writer and missionary, was asked to name the No. 1 problem in the church…His quick reply, "Irrelevance". He believed that Christians were failing to show in concrete ways and to tell in understandable terms how the person of Christ is relevant to all of life in the 20th century.
Elton Trueblood, the influential Quaker teacher and writer, put it this way…"It is hard to exaggerate the degree to which the modern church seems irrelevant to modern man.” The number one way for Christians to be salt is for us to show Christ's relevance, to live His relevance in every area of life.
We cannot accomplish this by talking only to ourselves, writing only for ourselves, and working only in the "safe" careers and professions.
Remember Jesus isn't speaking to pastors and missionaries at a convention…He's speaking to lay people…and he's challenging them to think strategically about the Kingdom of God…and to act in ways to built it. Be salt when it comes to public policy, be salt in advertising, media, higher education, business, entertainment, the arts and sports.
If you keep Christ's relevance bottled up in the church it’s like keeping Salt in the shaker…as we go…and where we go, we need to show His relevance and the relevance of His word in every aspect of modern life…It's not an option we can be ashamed of …It's a scripture imperative!
For us to be obedient to this command it takes penetration…salt must penetrate the meat to preserve it; Christians must penetrate the world in the key areas of our culture if we want to preserve it.