Friday, August 22, 2014

August 23, 2014

Jesus is radically righteous!

Jesus is radical because His righteousness comes from a relationship with a Holy Righteous God.

Jesus describes the path to that righteousness in the Beatitudes that we have studied over the Summer:
Jesus is calling you to radical righteousness!

So, how do you know you have truly been made righteous?

Jesus provides three proofs of a righteous person:

1) They will be persecuted and yet be able to rejoice in the midst of persecution.
2) They will have a powerful positive influence on their culture comparable to the effect salt has on its environment.
3) They will provide moral and spiritual light in a dark world.

“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.”

Jesus says to these people “You are the salt of the earth.” Notice carefully that this is an “indicative” rather than an “imperative” statement. Jesus does not say, “Be salt!” or “You must be salt,” or “You should be salt,” or “It would be nice for you to be salt.” No, if you are the “blessed” ones mentioned in verses 3-10, if you are truly my disciples, then by that very definition you are the salt of the earth.

In other words, you and I, if we truly claim to be followers of Jesus, cannot excuse ourselves from being who we by definition are. We cannot say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” We cannot say that we don’t mind to be a follower of Jesus but that we refuse to be salt.  You are either a follower of Jesus or you are not a follower. And if you are a follower of Jesus, then salt is what you are, whether you asked for it or not, whether you like it or not. Either you are salt or you are an insult!

Someone has suggested there are 14,000 known uses for salt. 

Salt is necessary to sustain life and since i.t was rather rare in the ancient world, it was a valuable commodity. Wars were fought over it and workers often received their wages in salt.

But those who were there that day and heard this teaching of Jesus readily connected with the most common uses of salt in their world:

1) Salt purified
2) Salt provided flavor
3) Salt preserved.

Are you worth your salt as a Christian?

As a Christian are you salting the earth or insulting your faith?

Three practical applications:

YOUR IMPACT DEPENDS ON YOUR CONTACT - “You are the salt of the earth;”

People have a desire for salt because they know it is useful and necessary. When they come in contact with it they are not disappointed and their needs are met.

When people come in contact with God's people God's people must make sure they are in contact with God.
Who are you in contact with?

How is your impact?

Are you worth your salt?

Are you salt or are you an insult?

YOUR TASTE DEPENDS ON YOUR TRUST – “but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?”

French Fries are good – but they’re better with salt
Fresh Sliced Tomatoes are good – but they’re better with salt
Corn on the Cob is really good – but its better with salt
Hard boiled eggs are much better with salt.
Applesauce cake is really good – but you can’t make it without salt.

In our world, since we have refrigeration and we have plenty of other antiseptics, the main value of salt is as a flavor enhancer. Salt in combination with our favorite foods adds to our pleasure and enjoyment of food.

So, where does salt get its flavor?

The short answer is – GOD!

Did you know that salt is a miracle?  It’s composed of two poisons:  chloride and sodium.  If you ingest either by itself, you’ll die.  But put them together and you have common, ordinary salt, and that which used to bring death somehow comes together to bring life, and that’s a miracle!

So it is with the Christian, poisoned by sin, with death looming in the shadows, we put our trust in the grace of God expressed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Trusting Jesus removes the poison and replaces it with His life-giving presence.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”

The flavor you and I have to make this world a better place is HIM! We are to trust Him in such a way that when they taste us they taste Him!

Just as salt maintains its flavor through the chemical balance God created it to have, we – His spiritual salt – maintain our flavor by trusting Him.

The point Jesus is making here is this – if you don't flavor the world who will? 

And if you lose your flavor where will you find it?

And if you aren't trusting God you have no good flavor.

When people taste your life what flavor do they get?

They'd better taste Him! If they don't they may lose their appetite for God.

Your taste is only as good as your trust.

YOUR INFLUENCE DEPENDS ON YOUR INTIMACY – “It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

The main point of this teaching on the "salt of the earth" is you have an influence and it will either be tasteful or tasteless. Your influence will either create an appetite in God for others or it will spoil their appetite.

So how do I develop the proper influence?

Develop an intimate relationship with God?

How do I do that?

Follow the Beatitudes!

You ARE the salt of the Earth!

Will you be worth your salt?

Will you be salt or an insult to your faith?

Your impact depend on your contact with God as you interact with others.

Your taste will depend on your trust. 

Your influence will depend on your intimacy.