- “11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:11-13
- “47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” Mark 9:47-50
- “6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
Friends…one of the jobs we have as Christians is that we’re the salt of the earth, and that means we’re here to preserve the earth. This isn’t a message about “earth day”…it’s a message about how we as Christians are to operate in this world.
I’m excited about today’s message, and am ready to get into talking about: Salt, Suffering, and Satisfaction.
Try this interpretation of what it means for Christians to be salt.
I suggest that being salty as a Christian means at root being so profoundly satisfied by Christ as our eternal reward, we are freed from fear and greed for the sacrifices of love, while rejoicing at persecution.
Oh that I would find myself in a place where I am constant in being profoundly satisfied by Christ. A place where Christ would completely overtake any satisfaction I find in the world. I want to get to such a place where I am rejoicing at persecution. I just want to be in such a place in my walk with God that nothing satisfies me more than He does…and I am getting to that place…but I freely admit I have a long…long way to go before God’s my complete satisfaction…but I’m striving to get there…and I believe that God honors our desire…especially when it comes to having a heart to want to honor Him not just with our words and actions…but every single part of our lives.
Let’s see if that works in three texts.
We’re going to look at three separate texts to find out if that interpretation works…and we may also go in any direction the Holy Ghost wants to go as well.
Read Matthew 5:11-13
The immediate context of “You are the salt of the earth” is “Blessed are you when you are persecuted . . . Rejoice and be glad . . . because your reward is great in heaven.” When someone lives like this, it is so utterly unnatural and amazing and wonderful, it tastes really good. Joyful suffering for the sake of Christ is startling, spectacular, salty.
First of all…I would like to point out something that John and I both feel are extremely important…Read Matthew 5:11-13. Don’t just look at the Scripture reference…Read Matthew 5:11-13. Find out what God has to say when YOU Read Matthew 5:11-13. It’s important that you Read Matthew 5:11-13 for yourself.
Listen. I NEVER intended for this to be something that I do, and you just read…I want YOU to read the Bible verses for yourself. I want you to come to a place where you know the Word of God…that’s more important to me than anything I can teach because I don’t know anything accept what the Holy Spirit gives me.
So…the first point in this whole thing is that YOU should Read Matthew 5:11-13.
The next thing we get into when it comes to what we read is that we find that in being the salt of the earth we’re going to endure persecution. Remember the other day that we talked about God’s promises being YES? This is one of those promises. Jesus promised us that persecution would come for His sake…and that not everyone would be as excited as we are when it comes to serving God.
I get people who look down their nose at me all the time because I haven’t been to 4 years of seminary school, but what they don’t know is that one year with the Holy Ghost, and 6 years under Pastor Stephen Robbins has given me a foundation in Scripture that most preachers that have been through seminary school don’t get or have.
It goes further. Satan enjoys when we get persecuted because he joins in the persecution. For the longest time Satan used the persecution I was getting because of my lack of “professional religious instruction”, and used it to get me to a place where I felt in order to make a difference I needed to go to school and have a title.
I do have a title, but not from some Theological School…I have been given the title of Pastor by the One who called me to be a Pastor. I was given a ministry by the One who called me into the ministry. I didn’t wake up one day and decide I was going to be Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries. No…I had the Lord tell me that I was going to be Pastor Bryan J. Kizer of Christlike Ministries.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that persecution doesn’t still come. I can say, however, that I’m learning to rejoice that it’s coming because it is coming for the sake of Jesus. It let’s me know that I’m doing things the right way, and that I’m on the right track…because Jesus said that persecution would come for HIS NAME’S SAKE.
As the salt of the earth…we are here to preserve it…and by preserve it I mean that we cannot allow persecution to drive us away from ministry…but that it ought to encourage us to get deeper and more involved in it…because that’s the reason persecution comes…for His sake.
See…if you don’t ever face anything then you may want to take a look at where you’re at in your walk with God. If you’re not doing anything for God…then persecution won’t come. Listen…if the devil knows your name…he’s going to do everything in his power to get you to stop serving God…and if the Christian life is a little easier than you thought it would be…that’s because the devil not only doesn’t know your name…but he’s not worried about you making any kind of impact for the Kingdom of God.
Read Mark 9:47–50
Jesus moves from the fire of hell to saying “Everyone will be salted with fire.” I take that to mean, everyone will encounter fires of trouble and pain in life, and this experience can make you salty. It salts you. In other words, close calls with eternity, where you can smell the flames of hell and the scents of paradise can fill you with an amazing dissatisfaction with this world and a profound satisfaction in Christ as your eternal reward.
Verse 50a says this is good, and if you lose it, you may never get it back. Then verse 50b says, “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with each other.” Few things make for greater peace than freedom from the need for this world’s affirmation and rewards. Such people don’t return evil for evil. They rejoice when reviled. They are peacemakers. And that freedom for love comes from the salt of satisfaction in the reward of Jesus now and in the age to come.
Oh man. How many of us have had someone say to us that we shouldn’t be “salty”? How many of us have said at one point that something has made us to be “a little salty”? Friends…the trials of life as we read here are meant to make us salty…but not in the context that we used to use it. Salty used to have a much different meaning for me than it does now. See…this is why it’s important that we study the Bible…and instead of having someone tell you what Mark 9:47–50 says…you should read it for yourself.
I will say it’s good to have a good commentary also, but only by well-respected people like John Piper. We really need to be careful who we allow to influence our minds and hearts with their interpretations of Scripture. I find John Piper to be one of the few extremely good ones. I also like Dr. David Jeremiah…I really like to listen to his radio show. He has some outstanding insight into the Word of God…and I learn a lot by listening to him.
So…our experiences in life that make us “salty” ought to point us to that place where we find that profound satisfaction in Christ as our reward…it shouldn’t get us to a place where we’re angrily shaking our fist at God and wanting to quit being a Christian.
If I’m reading this correctly…persecution provides the flavor to our salt. The more persecution we endure with joy because we recognize it as coming as a result of our serving and walking with God…the saltier we will be. So…instead of being table salt…we can become rock salt that’s capable of melting ice under the heat of the sun.
Read Colossians 4:6
The question here is: How does being seasoned with salt help us “know how to answer each person”? How does being salty make you more discerning? Answer: If we are deeply satisfied with Jesus as our reward, and freed from the cravings for approval and for reward on earth, then our faculties of discernment about what is loving, will be less clouded with selfish distortions. We will “know” more readily what love calls for, because we will be more ready to love.
What a mouthful. I don’t know about anyone else…but the whole point of becoming more and more like God is to grow in love. The chief thing that we’re to put on display for the world is the love of God that’s shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost…and therefore if there’s something that will enable me to be more ready to love…then I want to be participating in whatever causes me to do that.
I can already share with you that I don’t really care at all about what the world says or thinks about me serving God. In fact, if I were writing these messages to myself…I’d be just as happy writing them to myself as I would if I was writing to hundreds of people. I know there are people in third world countries printing out these messages and using them to teach people as far away as Africa…however…my joy comes from serving God…not man. I get a joy out of doing this because I know that God’s getting the glory for it, and He alone deserves the glory for this ministry.
Listen. Christlike Ministries may be my ministry…but He’s the One who called me to it. At first, I have to admit that I was a little discouraged because it seemed like no one was being fed or helped by these messages, but now God keeps drawing more and more people to this ministry. He is adding to my flock…and that’s awesome.
I still want to be in a place where I “know” more readily what love calls for…and be MORE ready to love than I am now. That’s what this thing is all about…sharing the love of God with the world. Anything we do for God ought to be done out of a motivation of love because everything that God’s done for us (and is still doing for us) is done out of the motive of love…and I mean EVERYTHING.
Everything that God does in us, through us, and for us is done out of love, it’s done with love, it’s done for love, and it’s done because of love. God is love…and therefore love is the chief thing that we’re to strive to have, and operate out of…LOVE.
Listen…if we were meant to operate out of anything else I believe we wouldn’t have been told that of faith, hope, and love…the greatest is love. Jesus wouldn’t have said that the world would know His disciples by the love we share with it. Jesus wouldn’t have said that we keep all of the commandments by loving God…loving others…and loving ourselves.
What are we told to do for our enemies? Love them right!?! Where is that?
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
Read Matthew 5:43-48. Take some time to read it in the context of what we’re talking about in this message, and you come away with an understanding that we really can interpret what it really means for Christians to be salt.
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and PERSECUTE you.” Those are Jesus’ words…not mine.
So…our flavor comes from being good to our enemies, and the real mark of maturity in the life of a Christian then becomes how we treat those who don’t love us. Again…not my words…they’re Jesus’. Perfection comes as we love those who don’t deserve our love…because God loved us (and still loves us) when we don’t deserve His…and when we love those who not only love us…but those who hate us…we look more like our Father.
I don’t know about you…but anything that helps me to become more Christlike…and God-like…I want to be doing…because that’s what being a living epistle is all about. Love in word is only as strong as the love we show in action. Therefore…when we refuse to love those who aren’t good to us, when we refuse to love those who hate us, and when we refuse to love those who persecute us…not only do we not look or act like our Father…but we lose our flavor as salt to the earth…and when we lose our flavor…we’re no good.
So…it’s still all about love, love, love!
I believe I’m going to let Mr. Piper close this message:
This is my suggestion: to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world means that at root Christians are so profoundly satisfied by Christ as our eternal reward, we are freed from fear and greed for the sacrifices of love, and are able to rejoice at persecution. When the world sees this, they see the glory of Christ and taste the satisfying pleasure of who he is.
I don’t know about anyone else…but this is what I want the world to see in me…Amen!?!
Lord Jesus, I want to be in a place where I am so profoundly satisfied by You that I can share the love of God at any time. I want to be so ready and readily able to love those who love me, hate me, use me, and persecute me that the world sees that love…and glorifies You…and more importantly wants to know You because of me. Lord, I ask that You’d teach me and help me to have this never-ending, never-failing love that causes me to be good tasting salt and bright light for the world that You loved so much that You gave Your life for. In Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen