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Pearls of the Kingdom 5/1/24

Updated: May 8

Consider this verse with me today: 

Matt 5:13a “You are the salt of the earth”

Once again there is so much to look at here. For our time today I wanted us to consider the word “salt” in Matthew 5 and then look at Jesus prayer in John 17.

As we find many times in the scriptures Jesus will use something from the “natural” to give us a spiritual application and understanding. Here Jesus uses salt. Salt was something that the disciples and others would understand as it was an important part of life. Salt in the natural was used for several purposes. To prevent meat from spoiling, they would pack it in salt. This would slow down the process of spoiling. Used as an antiseptic. Salt was an accompaniment to the various offerings by sprinkling it over the sacrifices. To eat salt with one is to partake of his hospitality.

The key thought for us to agree on here today, is that salt must be applied too something, touch something, come into contact with something for it to be useful. Salt left inside a box, saltshaker does nothing to add flavor, aid in healing, act as a preservative. Salt needs to be shaken out, poured out, rubbed in, mixed in, come into close contact to have any affect.

Hold onto this thought as we look to this prayer of Jesus. 

Jn 17:15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

Some might be thinking, did I read that right? Did Jesus just pray to His Father, that his disciples, his followers not be taken out of the world, but kept from the evil one. Jesus does not pray for them to be rich or great in the world. He did not pray that they would not experience hardship, troubles, trials, and persecution. He does not ask that they be removed from these things and taken out of this world but that they would remain in the world. Jesus prayed that the Father would keep them from the evil one, from being corrupted by the world, from sin in their hearts and from the power of Satan.

Jesus was leaving soon and there is still much work to be done in “the world.”

Salvation is not the end of our faith journey but the start of our faith journey. Realize that when adversity, troubles, persecution comes, how easy ones prayer can be, “Jesus take me, get me out of this place.” Like, “beam me up Jesus.”  Yes, it would be easy for God to take us up to be with Him. Think of a guy named Enoch.

Gen 5:24 “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

Yet it is better for the believer, Christ follower, Christian to remain in the world. What better way to show the power of God than living out ones faith and spreading His Gospel message among lost people “living in the world.”

 “Many say one to the other, "Have you heard that so-and-so is dead?" "How did he die?" They should rather say, "How did he live?" It may be an important question, “how does a man die; but the most important question is, "How does a man live?" The greatest evidence is not how a man dies, but how he lives.” (Spurgeon)

“The Christian ideal is not freedom from work, but strength to do it; not freedom from temptation, but power to overcome it; not freedom from suffering, but joy in an abiding sense of the Father’s love; not absence from the world, but grace to make the world better for our presence; not holy lives driven from the world, and living apart from it, but holy lives spent in the world and leavening it.” (Ellicott)

If the “Christian”, believer, Christ follower, is not living in the world (being salt), how then can the “flavor,” “condition” of the world be changed?  Jesus prayed that we would not be taken out of the world, but remain in the world. It is here, in the world that we, you and I will have our greatest affect in the world and give glory to God by: 

1.    Loving our neighbor 

2.    Encouraging one another

3.    Serving one another

4.    Healing the broken hearted

5.    Setting the captives free

6.    Rescuing lives from the pit of death

7.    Welcoming home the prodigal

8.    Telling others the "Good News"

9.    Bearing fruit

Jesus let my prayers be aligned with your prayers, "not to be taken out of this world but that I remain in this world to be "salt" and by the power of God kept from the evil one.

Times have not changed, there is still much work to be done in the world,

Pastor Jeff

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