Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Salt Series Part 2

Photo Credit:Pixabay

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)

A few weeks back I wrote of us believers as being the salt of the earth. If you have not read it, you may go here and read, if you like. As I spoke in my first post in this series, I mentioned most people refer to just one or two ways we are the salt of the earth. In this series I am going to share with my readers a few different ways in which we are the salt of the earth. A lot of this series will be based on a sermon I listened to by Pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley California. He did a message in October 2009 in which he spoke of ten ways we are the salt of the earth. He was not the only source I drew upon, but my writings will heavily, (but not entirely) follow his teaching. I took what I learned and put it into my own words along with sharing my own thoughts. I wish I was able to share a link to the message, but the only way I know how to find it is to download the podcast from Blessed Hope Chapel. I find that he is an excellent teacher and someone I can learn a great deal from, even though I do not hold the same interpretation concerning the timing of the rapture. He is post-trib and I am pre-trib. Today I will share with you two ways in which we are the salt of the earth.

Salt Signifies Purity.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;Though they are red like crimson,They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

How is it that salt symbolizes purity? In scripture purity is symbolized by white, and God made salt white. We are not to live lives contaminated with filth and sin. When we come to faith in Christ Jesus, He washes away all our sins and we become white as snow and be as wool. This however, does not give us license to sin. The Lord calls us to be set apart, to have pure hearts and live pure lives.

Salt Is A Seasoning

Salt brings out flavoring, it makes food taste good. We are salt in the things that we do and in the things in which we say. In as far as the things we do is concerned, we do things which helps others in some way. For example we feed the hungry or tend to the sick. I think of all the homeless shelters, hospitals, and orphanages which were started by Christians.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 NKJV)

for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; (Matthew 25:35 NKJV)

As far as our speech, with our words others should know we love Jesus. When we are saved, we have received grace form the Lord. His grace should be in our hearts; therefore we speak to others with grace demonstrating love and mercy. In doing so, our speech is seasoned with salt. When speaking to unbelievers, we speak the truth in love so that they might come to know the Lord. As far as believers, we build them up in the Lord. With our tongue, we may tear others down, but we should always be about building people up.

...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34b NKJV)

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29 NKJV)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Know God, Know Peace

Picture from www.Landscape-Photo.net (CC BY-NC-ND)

My heart and prayers goes out for the victims at the Boston Marathon along with their friends and families. I pray the Lord comforts those who are grieving and heals the injured. I pray that the Lord reveals His love through this tragedy that many come to know that the Lord is good. It is troubling to see all the things going on around the world today. I often ask, "How much longer, O Lord, till you come and put an end to the works of the devil?" The local news is loaded with murder, rape and theft. We hear of wars and rumors of war. There are many without jobs, with little hope of finding one. In various places around the world, those who follow the Lord are persecuted, even martyred for their faith. Perilous times are upon us. In our world today, the things which are evil, are called good. Then things which are good are called evil. Sin is being glorified. Those of us who make a stand for what is good, the things which are true are called "haters." There are many who are suffering from an illness, or lost a loved one. For others, their marriages are on the rocks.

How is it that we can have peace in a troubled world? Or is peace even possible?

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lordis everlasting strength. 

(Isaiah 26:3-4 NKJV)

The only true and lasting peace is found in the Lord. Yes it is true one may feel as though they are at peace for a time and a season. But at any moment, earthly peace may be shattered. If our security is found in anything of this world, it will come to an end and let you down. The keys to true and lasting peace is through faith and rejoicing in the Lord. When we do these things, Jesus will give us His peace. He is the "Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. Jesus came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.(John 10:10) No matter what may come our way, Jesus will give us His peace which surpasses all understanding, but our faith must be in the Lord because He knows the beginning from the end and all things are under His authority.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18 NKJV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:4-8 NKJV) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Believe Is To Follow

Photo Credit: FreeFoto.com ? Ian Britton

I have people in my family who profess to be saved. They say, going to church is not necessary for salvation, so there is no need to go. My stepdaughter chooses to live a sinful lifestyle with no plans of changing. She said, "I got baptized, so I am saved. Since I cannot lose your salvation, I am not going to change. I will do as I please with my life." She feels as though there is nothing to worry about, when she dies, she believes she will be in heaven.

This brings up a good question, since we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, does it matter what we do? After all the Bible is clear, all who believe on the Lord Jesus, will be saved. It is also a true fact that one need not do anything to get saved except receive the free gift of salvation. So why must I change the way I live my life? The reason is because Jesus also said that "unless you repent you will like wise perish." (See Luke 13:3) Yes, this may be confusing, if you believe, then you are saved. If you don't repent, then you will perish. 

The statements above by my family members are actually a testimony of disbelief, not belief. The thing is, saving faith will produce change. What I believe or put my faith in will affect the decisions I make and the things I do. It is like this, suppose you are staying in a cabin in the forest. One morning you wake up surrounded by a raging forest fire. Everywhere you look, there is fire. Someone comes to you saying, "Follow me, and I will lead you to safety." If you believed him you would follow him. If you felt you were safe, or knew better than him, you would not follow him, now would you? The same way with Jesus, if you belie Him, you will follow Him.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:27-28 NKJV)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Salt of the Earth

Photo Credit

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)

What does it mean to be "the salt of the earth?" Lately I have done some research in this area and I have found most will point to one or two different ways in which we are "the salt of the earth." One of them being, "salt is a flavor enhancer or seasoning." That is, we make life better for others. Another way being; "salt is a preservative." That is, we hold back the moral decay of society. The second is the way is the way I have usually viewed the meaning of the phrase; "you are the salt of the earth." I would agree fully with either of these interpretations, however, I have discovered that there are more ways than just these two to be the "salt of the earth." What I have found is that there is a treasure of truth to be mined here in just these few words. Jesus said, "we ARE, the salt of the earth," not may be the salt of the earth. Therefore, I believe it is worthy to spend some time digging into this and find out how it is that we are the salt of the earth so that we may become "more salty." I plan to, Lord willing, do a series of posts on different ways we are "the salt of the earth." I will make a couple points this week and give one way we are "salt of the earth." In the near future, I will write about a couple other ways, and so on. A lot of this series will be based an a message given by Pastor Joe Schimmel of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley California. 

Point number 1:

You are treasured by God.

In the first century salt was a valued mineral. In fact, Roman soldiers were paid in salt, which is where we get the word, "salary" from. To demonstrate God's love for us, look to John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." We were made in the image of God, and He loved us so much, that He gave His only Begotten Son so that we could spend eternity with Him. How is it that me, a sinner, could be loved by a Holy, just and all powerful God? If you ever doubt if you are loved by God, just look to the cross. He gave His best for me, why in the world would I want to reject it?

Point number 2:

Salt is essential for life:

One of the ways salt is essential for life is that it regulates water balance. According to the Salt Institute, "salt is also important to hydrate our bodies." The world needs us Christians to bring them the living water so that they may live. If we do not take the Gospel of Christ to the lost, how will they hear and be saved? 

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14 NKJV)

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15 NKJV)

The first way that we are the "Salt of the Earth":

Realize that we are made in the image of God, not evolved apes on a mission to share the message of Jesus with a lost and dying world.