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Summary: SALT WAS A VERY SPECIAL COMMODITY DURING JESUS' LIFETIME. TO BE COMPARED TO IT MAKES THE CHURCH VERY SPECIAL AS WELL, AND WITH A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY.

THE CHURCH: THE SALT OF THE EARTH

MATTHEW 5:1-13

TODAY WE COME TO THE END OF A SERIES ON THE SIGNIFICANCE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHURCH. JESUS USED A NUMBER OF SYMBOLS TO DESCRIBE THE CHURCH AND THE LAST ONE WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT IS SALT. SALT IS SOMETHING THAT IS READILY AVAILABLE IN MOST REGIONS, AND WE MAY HAVE SOME IDEA OF THE MANY USES IT CAN HAVE FOR US. MY FAVORITE USE THOUGH IS ON FRENCH FRIES AT DAIRY QUEEN, OR MacDONALDS, OR ANY OTHER PLACE WHERE YOU CAN GET FRIES.

JESUS USED SYMBOLS AND TOLD STORIES THAT THE PEOPLE COULD RELATE TO, AND SALT WITH IT’S MANY USES IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALL RELATE TO, ALTHOUGH THE WAY WE RELATE TO IT NOW IS DIFFERENT THAN THE WAY THEY DID IN JESUS’ DAY AS WE SHALL SEE.

SALT TODAY HAS MORE OF A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION. IT HAS A BAD REPUTATION IN HEALTH CIRCLES, BUT I FEEL THAT A SALT IN SMALL QUANTITIES, AND NOT AGAINST A DOCTOR’S ADVICE IS ALL RIGHT.

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO TODAY IS SUM UP HOW I FEEL THE CHURCH IS PERFORMING IN THE WORLD TODAY. IF WE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH, ARE WE SPICING THINGS UP, OR HAVE WE LOST OUR SALTINESS AND POTENCY FOR CHRIST?

IF WE LISTEN TO THE WORLD THE CHURCH IS IN BAD SHAPE. NOT ALL CHURCHES BUT BIBLE BELIEVING CHURCHES DO STAND AGAINST MUCH OF THE MORALLY ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS OF TODAY. WE BELIEVE IN THE COVENANT RELATIONSHIP OF MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN. WE STAND AGAINST ABORTION AND DIVORCE. WE OPPOSE GOVERNMENTS WHO WANT TO TAKE PRAYER OUT OF SCHOOLS, ALLOW BIBLE READING TO ELEMENTARY STUDENTS, AND DESIRE A SABBATH DAY OF REST. WE STAND FOR THESE THINGS AND I AM NOT ASHAMED OF DOING SO.

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT SINCE THE WORLD TURNED IT’S ATTENTION FROM BIBLICAL WAYS, AND NOW FOLLOW A STANDARD WITH NO VALUES AND NO ABSOLUTES, THAT FAMILIES ARE BEING DESTROYED AT AN ALARMING RATE, DIVORCE RATES ARE SKY HIGH AS ARE TEENAGE SUICIDE RATES. HUSBANDS AND WIVES NO LONGER TRUST IN EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY LIVE OUTSIDE THE COVENANT OF MARRIAGE. THE WORLD HAS NOT GAINED PEACE ON THE BASIS OF ITS ACCEPTANCE OF SOCIAL STANDARDS, IT HAS GAINED ONLY THE TURMOIL OF UNACCEPTANCE BY ITS OWN PEOPLE.

THE WORLD POINTS TO BIBLE BELIEVING CHURCHES AS A GROUP OF NARROW MINDED BIGOTS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD TODAY. IN SOME CASES THEY CAN BE RIGHT, BUT ALL CHURCHES ARE NOT LIKE THAT AND WE SHOULD NOT ALL BE PAINTED WITH THE SAME BRUSH, AS THE CHURCH SHOULD NOT PAINT ALL NON-BELIEVERS WITH THE SAME BRUSH. NOT EVERYONE IS BAD AND MOST PEOPLE ARE JUST TRYING TO LIVE THEIR LIVES.

IT WAS NOT THE CHURCH THOUGH THAT APPLAUDED IN NEW YORK WHEN THEIR LEGISLATION TO ALLOW LATE TERM ABORTION WAS PASSED. THERE ABPORTION IS NOW LEGAL RIGHT UP TO THE TIME OF DELIVERY AND AS THE GOVERNOR SAID DEATH OF THE CHILD SHOULD BE ALLOWED EVEN AFTER THAT. THERE IS LEGISLATION THAT COVERS THIS AND IT IS CALLED “MURDER”. IF PEOPLE ONLY KNEW THAT ONE DAY EVERY BABY WHOSE LIFE WAS ENDED BY ABORTION OR MISCARRIAGE WILL BE PRESENT AT THE WEDDING BANQUET OF THE LAMB, AND THEIR VOICES WILL BE ADDED TO THE PRAISE OF THE KING OF KINGS.

IT IS THE CHURCH THAT BROUGHT ABOUT MANY OF THE REFORMS FOR CHILDREN BACK IN THE 1800’S. IT WAS A CHRISTIAN WHO FORMED THE RED CROSS. IT IS THE CHURCH THAT REACHES OUT TO HELP IN TIMES OF NATURAL DISASTER. IT IS THE CHURCH THAT CAN OFFER TRUE PEACE TO FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES IN DEATH. IT IS THE CHURCH WHERE PEOPLE TURN TO FOR PRAYER FOR SICK FAMILY MEMBERS, AND WHO WILL STAND FOR PEOPLE WHEN IN LEGAL TROUBLE.

WHEN HOSPITALS IN THE AREA WERE GOING TO MAKE THEIR CHAPELS USABLE FOR ALL RELIGIONS, THE RESPONSE FROM MANY PEOPLE WAS THAT THEY DIDN’T WANT A CENT OF THEIR MONEY TO GO TO USELESS (AND I’M BEING KIND WITH THAT WORD) RENOVATION.

I ONCE HAD A MAN GET MAD AT ME AS PASTOR BECAUSE I WOULDN’T HELP HIM. HIS WIFE WAS LEAVING HIM AND HE WANTED TO HELP HER GO BY GETTING GAS MONEY FOR HER. THE CHURCH DOESN’T SUPPORT NOR HELP FINANCE THE BREAK UP OF A MARRIAGE. WE ARE TO BE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. WE ARE TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE.

CONTEXT:

JESUS IS TEACHING HIS DISCIPLES THIS LESSON ON THE BEATITUDES. IT IS A LESSON FOR BELIEVERS, AND THEY ARE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE PRESENT IN A BELIEVERS LIFE. WHEN JESUS LOOKS AT THEM AND SAYS “YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH” IT IS TO MAKE THEM REALIZE THAT THEY HAVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION IT IS A COMMAND STATEMENT.

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