What Type of Salt Are You?Sunday, May 01, 2016
What Type of Salt Are You?
"13You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16.
In times of antiquity many stored their salt in a designated hole, often within their homes. Over time the salt that touched the earth became unusable due to moisture. At that point the family would need to remove the salt that had been damaged and throw it out. However the salt could not be thrown out on their land as that could damage the crops. Instead the salt would be thrown out, as Jesus says, on the streets to be "trampled under foot by men."
This reminds me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:37-38, "...The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Have you ever wondered why there are so few willing to teach others the gospel? Do we need to encourage more men to become preachers? Yes and No! Sure, more men need to become ministers of God's power to save but no that is not the real context or problem. The real context is that more disciples of Christ, not just evangelist, need to be willing to work in the fields that are plentiful with lost souls seeking answers.
I come back to this salt analogy that Jesus points us to. When I consider Matthew 5 and 9 here are some things that I believe would be good for all of us to consider.
1) Why don't more disciples do more "work" for Jesus? Perhaps we would like to but we feel like we would be perceived as hypocrites. Maybe our past or current sins hurt our influence with the lost around us. We should remember a part of doing "good works" is keeping ourselves "unspotted from the world" James 1:26-27. It is hard to show the lost the light of Christ when we ourselves are living in the filth and darkness of sin.
2) It would be good for all disciples to ask ourselves a simple question. What kind of salt am I ? Are we adding spiritual flavor for Christ to those around us or are we harming the fields around us that are full of influential lost souls?
In Genesis 18:32 Abraham asked the Lord to spare the land of Sodom and Gomorrah if at least 10 righteous souls could be found. Obviously 10 righteous souls were not found and the Lord destroyed the cities for their wickedness. Something that has always struck me is the fact that "righteous Lot" (2 Peter 2:7) lived within the walls of Sodom. Perhaps if Lot would have focused more on adding righteous flavor to Sodom instead of accepting the culture of the day at least 10 souls would have been found to be righteous. How is your influence? Are you living in such a way that you could influence 10 souls around you to be more righteous? "13You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "
The Best Test Of Your Faith… Your LoveSunday, February 07, 2016
The Best Test Of Your Faith… Your Love
1 John 3:11 states, "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,". There are many things that are easy in life. Some of these for you may be, showing your love to God, praying to God, worshipping God, loving your spouse and children, loving your best friends and family, or having love for your spiritual family in Christ. However, life gets a little more challenging when disputes or disagreements arise within one of these earthly relationships. This is understandable, after all Jesus knew we may struggle with loving those whom we perceive as "the enemy" (Mat. 5:43-48).
Disputes or disagreements between our own brothers and sisters in Christ are likely to happen, after all we are human. But as children of God we are called to be different. We are called to not hold grudges, to not backbite, to not tear down a fellow child of God. It is often easier to remain angry than to say two simple words, "I'm sorry."
Let us consider more of 1 John chapter 3 together. 1 John 3:14a "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren." The key phrase John writes here is "we have passed from death to life". How do we as Christians know that we have indeed passed from spiritual death to spiritual life? 1 John 3:14 helps us answer the question, "because we love the brethren". Have you passed the best test of your faith - your love for others, especially your fellow saints in Christ? Jesus says we will be judged according to the fruit we produce in this life (Matthew 7:15-20).
The importance of passing this test of love for each other is conveyed in the following verses. 1 John 3:14-15, "He who does not love his brother abides in death, 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." As children of God may we remember the important things in life. What is important is that we "...love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-38) We often get caught up in the unimportant such as: who is right, who holds the power over another, who has wronged us. Let us remember 3 things to help us pass our test of love for one another.
1) Jesus "laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16)
2) "...let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)
3) "And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him." (1 John 3:19)
Jesus the Christ is the gold standard of love. Everything you will ever need to know about what love looks like can be found in Jesus. Next time we feel the temptation to be angry or hold a grudge against another child of God, may we consider Jesus' example of love when He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross for our sins. Each local church will only be able to reach the lost if they are working under the authority of God and showing genuine love for one another. Let each of us ensure our love is passing the test for God!
Jesus Knows Our HeartsSunday, January 10, 2016
Jesus Knows Our Hearts
In John 6:26-27 we read that Jesus knew why the multitudes were be-ginning to follow him. He knew that his followers were not true disciples but were those who sought signs and wonders and to be physically fed. Jesus knew their thoughts and their hearts. He also knew the deepest secrets of the hearts of those who appeared to be the most committed to Him in, John 6:64, John 6:70-71. When the Lord looks at your life, what does he see? Does he see absolute commitment and faith to him and the Father? Or, does He see a life that seeks a minimum level of commitment and a minimum level of faith in him and the Father?
The harsh truth is that he sees you and me just as we are! He sees us in ways that we cannot even see ourselves. Nothing on this earth and no one on this earth can hide from Jesus. Peter was unable to hide from Jesus when he stood by that Roman fire denying Jesus as he was being falsely accused. The hearts of the hypocritical Pharisees that praised God on the street corners to be seen by men were unable to hide their true intentions from Jesus. Judas Iscariot who had deceived the 11 the night he betrayed Jesus was unable to hide his heart from Jesus. Some Christians today may hide dark secrets and struggle with sin behind closed doors, but they too cannot hide their hearts from Jesus.
Brethren, Jesus knows our hearts today. I cannot see into your heart and you cannot see into mine, but Jesus sees us just as we are. What does He see when He looks at you? We may deceive each other, but we will never deceive Jesus! He knows where you stand spiritually right now. For that very reason, there has never been a better incentive for us to carefully take a look at our own hearts. Everyday God blesses us to live, is another opportunity to serve and praise him. Let each of us make today the day we will give our full commitment and full faith to Him!