Salt of the Earth

Matthew 5:13 ” 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.

We know that in the beatitudes Christ focus was to the religious sects of the day. But as we move on His focus turns more to His disciples. The beatitudes taught us its those things we lay down that will make a man blessed in the eyes of God. They dealt with the heart or our inward man. Showing these sects what true religion was. Not an outward show but an inward change. Not a man made religion but a God made religion. Now after telling us how we are to live holy and righteous lives, he moves to tell us we must not keep this to ourselves. We are not of the world, but we are in the world, we do not love the world but we are called to be a witness to the world. Christ portrayed this in his life, He had contact with the world but was not contaminated by the world. There was a line that he knew he could not cross. He was called a friend of sinners. So he tells us you can live a Godly life in this world. In fact ye are the salt of the earth. In the O.T. the prophets were the salt, in the N.T. the disciples were the salt but today you are the salt of the earth. Even if it’s just a little salt here and there it will make a difference. It does with food, so why wouldn’t it in the world. We see the affects the disciples had on this world as they turned it upside down for Jesus Christ. We can do the same thing just by spreading a little salt around in this world, just by showing a little love in this hateful world, just by being a light in this dark world. Christ is saying don’t isolate your Christianity, don’t hide it under a bushel, don’t stand on the sidelines while the world collapses. Our goal is to saturate and infiltrate the world in order to turn people away from darkness unto the glorious light. And if this is not done we see our cities, our homes, our schools decaying. Christianity is to life what salt is to food. In a worried world the Christian should be the only one who remains peaceful. In a depressed world the Christian should be the only one who remains full of joy. We are to bring flavor to the world. We are to make people thirsty for God. I wonder, does this reflect your life? Do you make people thirsty for Christ? Do people look at your life and say I want what they have? Do people come in contact with you and taste of Christ? If not the salt has lost its savour. Salt can be altered and diluted, and if it is not pure it will not work. It’s lost it’s influence. Someone once said if we are not affecting the world the world is affecting us. If we are not salting the world the world is rotting us.

Christians should live in the world, but not be filled with it. A ship lives in the water; but if the water gets into the ship, she goes to the bottom. So Christians may live in the world; but if the world gets into them, they sink.                                  D.L. Moody

 

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Persecuted

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

As we have seen week after week when the Lord Jesus came they hailed Him as the King of the Jews and they were waiting for Him to come and build a kingdom on earth. But they were wrong because Christ brought a kingdom in the hearts of men, a peacemaker Christ was. So He ends with blessed are those who are persecuted, because the poor in spirit will be persecuted, those who mourn will be persecuted, those who are meek, those who are hungry and thirsty after righteousness, those who are merciful, those who are peacemakers will be persecuted. Why is this, it’s because these are the complete opposite of what the world testifies. The world says your to be great in the spirit, it says don’t mourn just get over it and move on with life, it says don’t be meek people will walk all over you, don’t worry about being pure just enjoy yourself, it says don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness, hunger after lust, money and immorality, whatever makes you fill good. If you truly live for Jesus you will live the opposite of the world and the world won’t like that. John 15:18-20. It’s not the way we preach that they hate, it’s our Christlikeness that people hate. It has always been this way. Paul tells Timothy, Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. You can move from Abel who was slew by Cain because He brought the right sacrifices, to Moses and those that grumbled and complained those that resented him for bringing them out of Egypt. You can look at Joseph to David to Elijah as he runs and hides from Jezebel. The prophet Jeremiah was beaten and executed. The prophet Isaiah was sawn asunder. Stephen was stoned. John the Baptist was beheaded. Nero fed 1000’s of Christians to the lions and burnt them at the stake. And today many around the world are being persecuted for their faith but reality is those that live Godly will suffer. Thomas Stott 200 years ago said the wicked hate the holy image of God and those that bear it. I read recently of a story of a Romanian Pastor who knew what it was to rejoice and have joy in his persecution. He was tortured, he was imprisoned, mercilessly they put him through excruciating pain and yet, in his cell he testified that he experienced great joy. He was locked in solitary confinement and day by day he was taken by the captors who cut chunks of flesh from his body. Then, when he would return to his cell where he was starved almost to death, he would lay there and he would pray to God, and he would testify that in the midst of that there was times when the joy of Christ would so overcome him that he would pull himself up and shuffle about the cell dancing in the spirit. So remarkable was his joy that on his return from prison, when he got home to his wife and his children, the first thing that he did was had a day of fasting as a memorial to the joy that he had been given through persecution. As I end you may think it’s strange that Jesus passes so quickly from peacemaking to persecution. But as we come to learn from life, however hard we try to live peacefully or to make peace through reconciliation, some just refuse to live in peace with us and some take the initiative to oppose and slander us. We must live with the fact that persecution is simply the clash between two value systems. But God has called us, selected us to represent Him in enduring and even overcoming persecution as part of our witness for Him. Romans 8:18.

The world never burned a casual Christian at the stake.         John R. Rice

Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Isaiah 9:6 ” For unto us a child is born, unto us a  son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. God the Son, Jesus Christ came to earth that He might redeem us from all iniquity. He came to make peace between God and sinful man. So then those who walk in the footsteps of Christ should be peacemakers, people who strive to live in peace with God and man. To be a peacemaker means more than just keeping to oneself in order to avoid disturbances and contentions. A peacemaker is one who actively seeks the highest good for all mankind. But in order for this to happen one must first be at peace with God. Ephesians 2:14-16 ” For He is our peace, who hath made both one and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. One man said peace is merely the brief, glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload there weapons. In Genesis 6:11  the earth was filled with violence. That’s why there was the flood to destroy. David in Psalm 55:9 says I have seen violence and strife in the city. History tells us in the 400 years between Malachi and the New Testament there were 5 bloody wars for Jerusalem. So what a message Jesus brings, as He says Blessed are the peacemakers. You see the Zealots expected from Him a military, national, materialistic kingdom that He would defeat the Romans and set up kingdom. They thought He was coming as a man of war to conquer the enemies and set up the society that they had longed for. But again He turned everything upside down. You see true peace comes from the heart. And only God can make a peacemaker. So the reason there is so much violence and unrest in the world we live in is because we have a heart problem. Jesus Christ is not in most people’s hearts. We may have a head knowledge, but until we get a heart knowledge of Jesus Christ their will be unrest. You see the whole point of the beatitudes including this one is if we are to have anything from God than the I must die. The I must be crucified. Paul says I die daily. That is the old man dies daily. In Galatians 2:20 ” I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life which I know live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” This is how we will ever achieve true peace in our lives, by putting down the flesh. We can not do it on our own. It only comes from Christ. John 14:27 ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you not as the world giveth give I unto you.” Sadly the problem is everybody says I want this, I want that, I feel like that, I want to fulfill my desires, my passions, my instincts. But God says Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

No one has ever been converted by violence.       Jim Forest

Pure in Heart

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

The word pure means cleanness and purity. Psalm 24:3-4 “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity nor sworn deceitfully.” What does this mean, that those with pure hearts will enjoy the highest favor, they shall see God. How is purity attained, by obeying the gospel. How is it possible, in a sin sick world that we live in today, to walk in righteousness and keep a pure life? By knowing and obeying the Word of God. Purity is learned by cleansing thoughts, cleansing words and cleansing deeds. Philippians 4:8 ” Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Psalm 19:14 ” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” The person who is striving to be pure in heart has four characteristics. 1) They love God and to do His will above all else. Matthew 22:37, James 4:4. 1 John 2:15.  2) They are not filled with hypocrisy and unholy motivations. Matthew 6:1  3) They fill their mind and heart with pure things. Psalm 77:12.  4) They strive to remain pure and undefiled. 1 Timothy 5:22, 1 John 3:3. Now, if you remember I said one beatitude leads to another. The poor in spirit realized they were a sinner, they mourned over sin because they feel the weight of their sin. Repentance leads to a changed nature which is meekness. This is where you begin to hunger and thirst and realize only God can satisfy and fill us, this is where we realize that God has shown us mercy and we must show mercy to everyone else, and this is where we realize that we need to live a pure life. It’s a progression in our spiritual life called sanctification. We become a little more like Christ everyday. Let’s face it, it seems like everyday there is a battle raging within us and that’s simply because our old nature, our sinful nature is still within us. Yes, we have a new nature when we come to Him, but there is still a battle. Galatians 5:17 ” For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. So the question must be asked, who wins your battle? The old man or the new man! It all depends which nature you feed that day. If you fill yourself with the unpure worldly things you feed the old man, but if you fill yourself with pure Godly things you feed the spirit. And It’s time the Christian buries the old man completely and lives according to the spirit. We must be trying to live above sin with the help of the Holy Spirit in our lifes. We must be trying to live pure in heart, because that’s how we will see God. We must live a life free from hypocrisy, free from falsehood. A life knowing all is well between you and God. And it only comes to a person who has realized their sin, that has come to Christ for righteousness and realized that without purity we will never see God. (Read 1 Peter 1:13-16). So how healthy is your Christian walk? It is sin that defiles our character of being in the image of God. It defiles, pollutes, contaminates and blurs the reflection of God in us. The heart is desperately  wicked above all things, who can know it? So we must examine ourselves and if need be renewing our heart and purifying our deceitful heart. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:1 ” Having therefore these promises dearly beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.                     C.S. Lewis