According to modern definition, "Stay Salty" has a couple of definitions: 1)it is a derogatory term, sarcastically telling someone to continue to cry like an immature baby over something that is trivial (salty tears), 2)it means to live an adventurous, physically demanding lifestyle that keeps you continually covered in either sea salt, or salty sweat. And I think we all know what the modern definition of, "Get Lit" might entail. But, in one of the first sermons that Jesus ever publically taught, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives a very different and powerful definition of what it means to, "Stay Salty and Get Lit" (Lake Gennesaret/Sea of Galilee): Matthew 5:13-17. What does Jesus mean by the comparison of our lives to salt and light? Never has it been more important for us to clearly understand these Words than today?
To understand what Jesus meant with this analogy, we must first understand more about salt and light in His days on earth. Salt was of extreme importance in the Old and New Testaments. In the OT, salt was a required part of the ancient Hebrew Sacrifices to God: Leviticus 2:13. It was part of the burnt offerings: Ezekiel 43:24. It was part of the incense recipe for use in the Tabernacle: Exodus 30:35. It was used to rub down newborn babes, to prevent disease and infections and to symbolize that the child would grow in character and integrity (preserved righteously). Lastly, salt played a huge role in the making of permanent covenants between men and even to God Himself: 2 Chronicles 13:5. So in the OT, salt represented integrity, preservation, healing, and covenant purity. In the NT, salt was used to preserve food (no refrigerators), to heal wounds
(How many have rinsed with salt water today?), and lastly, of course, to season foods. With those facts readily understood by the audience of Jesus, He told them to be the "Salt" of the earth—Why? Let's start with saying this: we keep complaining about how horrible this world, and this nation, have become. Well, according to Jesus' own Words, guess who let that happen? We are the preserving element of this fallen world. We have become so much like the world, that we surely cannot preserve it in knowledge, morality, or especially in love: Matthew 5:13. We are trying to save the world through political arguments and moral laws, and even if every law was passed, and every argument won, it would not bring one single heart to Christ. Therefore, it would produce no lasting change or good. Winning an argument does nothing to show broken, lost, misguided, hurt, angry people the love of Christ, the worth of their soul to Him, the real meaning of their existence, the true joy of following His Commandments. We've lost our saltiness—we've become a glorified version of the world with no real power, and no real love.
So how do you get serious about preserving the world with God's Word when you don't know it, won't learn it, and don't live by it? These are the very thoughts, desires, and wisdom of our God and Creator, put together in the most unbelievable fashion in history, proven to be true and unique through history, archeology, science, and prophetic accuracy, like no other Book in existence, for all ages. Most of you say you want to live your life by these Words, yet, you will spend more time on social media and TV, than trying to learn it. Many of you will attend high school and college classes faithfully, to learn the precious knowledge of this world, because it is so necessary for success today, yet, you will find every reason to miss coming to church to hear the eternal, life-changing Words of God. When other countries risk life and limb to hear these Words, when myself and others spend many, many hours to be sure you have the Truth spoon fed, and yet, you can have the audacity to claim ignorance when you sin against God. Many of you are not salty because you have not applied any salt (His word) to your life. As we hinted at earlier, there is only one thing strong enough to preserve this world from Satan and his schemes—the real love and mercy of Jesus Christ. So many of us feel we are just full of the love of Christ for this world—but are we really? Think about it for a moment: being full of the love of Christ doesn't just mean we are courteous, or speak plastic words of joy, blessings, or even knowledge to others—it means we are real in our love. Just face it and get over it, people are sinful, mean, and broken, and the only thing that will preserve their soul from total depravity, the only thing that will heal their abused and misguided hearts will be real love--that is the salt. Listen to how Jesus viewed others: Matthew 9:36-38. When Jesus saw sinners with no direction and no purpose, when He saw people beat down in life, it broke His heart with real compassion. Do you even notice the sinful broken? Much less, notice the church-going, righteous broken? Listen, as though it were the first time, to the people that Jesus literally attracted to Himself: Matthew 9:10-13.The worst of sinners felt comfortable enough to sit at a table with Jesus. What does that say about the way He treated them? Respected them? The New Living Testament uses the words, "notorious sinners" in this verse. How do you treat notorious sinners in your life? What most of you try to disassociate yourself with, try to argue with, get disgusted with, and condemn--these are the ones Jesus says are your very reasons for being here, to preserve and heal their souls in a decaying world. Here is where we are to make a difference—not just in moral living and proper voting. Would you ask God to give you even one, "notorious sinner" for whom you could show interest and compassion in their lives? Your life should look radical and different—if it doesn't, you are of the world, not preserving and healing it. Mark 2:15-16, Luke 15:1-4. Now, notice these sinners drew near to Him. How must He have treated them, shown interest in every individual over the average person, had genuine concern for them, in order for them to brave the ridicule and hatred of the Pharisees and others, just to be near Him—the One, most popular, sought after, religious Man of the day. Do you have an attitude of love and acceptance that would draw our most, "notorious sinners" to you today? Ask God to let you see them as He does. They don't need condemnation—they already have it—they need Truth and purpose, they need preserving from decay and death, they need healing from sin, lies, and hatred of the enemy. I want you to understand that the average person in this congregation, and most congregations, has a problem, not only showing preserving, and healing love for these sinners, but for the very brothers and sisters that share their love in Christ, within the very walls of the Church, because they've lost their saltiness, and are just like the world, because they are perpetually offended by something or someone, because they are forever the wound in need of salt, rather than ever being salt for another.
This is how we can all begin to fill our salt shakers and bring some preservation, healing, and flavor to the world: 1) Think on this a moment: what could this church, and any average church accomplish, if we could just become, "unoffendable"? If we could just be about the Lord's work of loving and serving, no matter what was said, not said, done, or not done; if we could get beyond thoughts of self, long enough to really be concerned about those around us, even if they offend us. How many in this room right now, are apathetic and unusable, because you have been offended? How many here right now, are not going to finish this race? How many will fall away from God? Get angry with the church? Stop loving others, and go into self-preservation mode for life? I have been very tempted repeatedly. 2) What could this church, and any average church accomplish, if we could embrace the cost of discipleship? If we could understand the cost will be great, understand it will interrupt our lives; be ready to embrace the suffering, as Scriptures say, rather than turn back every time it hurts? What could a church that is not hindered by struggle or suffering accomplish? What an unstoppable force against Satan that could be. What if vocation, sports, leisure time, money, vacation, family, and everything else in life, was seen as secondary to Christ? Matthew 10:37-39, Matthew 16:24-25, Matthew 13:44-46. Scriptures proclaim giving up all you have, and yet, we are struggling to see regular attendance, help in the Children's Church, and get the floors vacuumed. Would you make more time to be in this house if personal or national tragedy hit home? Do you think your salt shaker is full? 3) Before we worry anymore about one more blessing from God, or before we even pray for one more Gift of the Spirit in our lives, maybe we should all be praying for the Fruit of the Spirit first: Galatians 5:22-23. Blessings and Gifts of Power will never come anyway, until we are led by this Fruit of The Spirit, because, without these Fruits to salt those around us, no Gift of Power, or Blessing will ever be used in God's will. This Fruit is how we become the Salt of the earth. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ, Himself, was serious enough about filling the world with salt that He said we are worthy only to be thrown out and trampled if we are not serious? Why? Because it means we do not love—we do not love Him or others, as we say. Are you in danger of being thrown out because you have lied to yourself to feel safe and happy? Jesus closed this part of His teaching with this:
If we do these things, we will be a light to a completely dark world. People will only see the Light of Truth, of Who Christ is if our lives are so radically different, if our love is stronger than offenses, if our love gladly endures sacrifices, if we live to pour salt on their decaying lives. Jesus said once a flame is lit, it brings light to everyone in the room.
Are you a light, or is someone having to lead you through the darkness? In the Name of Jesus, and His Sermon on the Mount, I say, “stay salty my friends… and get lit, would you?”
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