Summary: As Jesus disciples, we are called to be the salt of the earth.
The Nature of a Disciple: Salt
Text: Matt. 5:13
1. Read Matt. 5:13
2. Martin Luther once said "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing."
3. We are all called to be disciples of Christ, but what does that mean?
4. Jesus gave several characteristics of a disciple. We are going to look at one of those characteristics: salt.
Proposition: As Jesus disciples, we are called to be the salt of the earth.
I. What Does It Mean to Be Salt?
A. You Are the Salt
1. Several things can be said about salt that point out just what Jesus means.
2. Salt is distinctive. It is totally different from the food or object upon which it is put.
a. The power of salt lies in this difference. Believers, just as salt, are to be different from the world.
b. The power of their lives and their testimony lies in their being different and distinctive.
c. Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3. Salt preserves. It keeps things from going bad and decaying.
a. It cleanses and disinfects. Believers, just as salt, are to cleanse and preserve the world.
b. They are to disinfect the world and keep the germs of the world from causing things to go bad.
4. Salt penetrates. It inserts a new quality, substance, and life.
a. It changes that upon which it is put.
b. Believers are likewise to penetrate the world and insert a new life into it.
B. Making a Difference
1. Illustration: A market research interviewer was stopping people in the grocery store after they picked up their bread. One fellow picked up a loaf of Wonder Bread and the man asked him, ’Sir, would you be willing to answer a couple of questions about your choice of bread?’ The man responded, ’Yes, I’d be happy to.’ ’Fine,’ the man said. ’The question I’d like to ask you is this: Do you feel that your choice of Wonder Bread has been at all influenced by their advertising program?’ The fellow looked shocked and said, ’Of course not. I’m not influenced by that sort of thing at all!’ ’Well then,’ he said, ’could you tell me just why you did choose Wonder Bread?’ And he replied, ’Of course I can! Because it builds strong bodies eight ways!’
2. The reason that Christ has called us to be salt is that salt makes a difference.
a. It changes whatever it comes in contact with.
b. It changes the taste, texture, and tenderness of meat.
c. It makes a difference in whatever it touches.
3. He didn’t call us so that we could all sit around and wait to go to heaven, but he has called us to make a difference in the world.
4. The world shouldn’t influence us, we should influence them.
5. 2 Cor. 5:17 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
Transition: The next question we must ask is why are we called to be salt?
II. What is the Purpose of Being Salt?
A. Salt of the Earth
1. Note a critical point: believers are the salt of the earth, not of heaven.
a. They can do nothing to salt heaven. They cannot penetrate, flavor, or preserve heaven.
b. Any relationship whatsoever they have with heaven is a gift from heaven.
2. However, believers are the salt of the earth; they can penetrate, flavor, and preserve the earth.
3. The world is the place where believers are to move about and salt (live and minister).
4. Too many believers live as though they are already in heaven: safe and secure from all harm.
a. They do not pay enough attention to this earth: its needs, its turning bad, its decay, its corruption.
b. While on this earth, believers are called to salt and flavor the earth, not heaven.
5. There is a sense in which the church is the salt factory and the world is the marketplace for the salt.
a. Too much salt is being stored and locked up at the church.
b. There is not enough salt being sent out into the marketplace.
c. The result? The world is not being salted and flavored enough.
B. Out of the Salt Shaker
1. Illustration: The late Sam Shoemaker, an Episcopalian bishop, summed up the situation this way: "In the Great Commission the Lord has called us to be--like Peter--fishers of men. We’ve turned the commission around so that we have become merely keepers of the aquarium. Occasionally I take some fish out of your fishbowl and put them into mine, and you do the same with my bowl. But we’re all tending the same fish."