Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Salty Christians–Part 3

salt cross
(Mat 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.

In this verse, Jesus informs his disciples that we are the salt of the earth. So far, we have looked at the PRIORITY and PROMINENCE of the statement. Today, we will finish our study by looking at:


I want to look at the three different ways that salt works.

First, we note that Salt Saves. Salt is a preservative. When Jesus told his disciples that they were the salt of the earth, He was telling them that they were preserving the world from ultimate deterioration.

We are to be the salt of the earth. Dr. Raymond Barber said in relation to this text, “Isn’t it high time we start being what we have become?” Are you preserving a godly environment around you, or are you adding to its sinfulness and faithlessness?

Secondly, we know that Salt Salves. Salt is often used as a healing agent for the following:
Sore throats, toothaches, postnasal drip, bee stings, mosquito bites, painful gums, poison ivy, and poison oak -
We live in a sin-sick world that is hurting, and we must be the salt that God has prescribed.  As the salt of the earth, we can and we must serve God under any and all circumstances.

Finally, we that Salt Seasons. Again, salt only makes a difference if it is poured out of the shaker and onto your food. Here is a spiritual checklist to see if your have lost your savor or not:
1. Supplication - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
2. Study - 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
3. Showing up to church - Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
4. Stewardship - Malachi 3:8-10 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
5. Soul-winning - Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Based on the statement of Jesus, we can and should ask ourselves a very simple question:
  • Are we the salt of the earth? – living and testifying for Jesus Christ.
  • Or are we good for nothing?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Salty Christians–Part 2

salt word
(Mat 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.

In this verse, Jesus informs his disciples that we are the salt of the earth. In the last post, we looked at the PRIORITY of the statement. Today, we will look at:


There are four important facts to consider about:

First, Salt does not do its best work in the shaker. Have you ever gone through a drive thru and gotten an order of French fries with no salt on them? They had the salt by the deep fryer, but it didn’t do you any good because the salt did not make it out of the shaker. You don’t receive the benefit of the salt until it is out of the shaker.

Now, how does this relate to us today? Well, you can sit in church your whole life, but you won’t be effective unless you get up and live out what you hear taught. Churches today are filled with too many un-used salt shakers.

Secondly, Salt is no good until it makes contact. Living in Michigan, I have become very familiar with rock salt. I keep a small garbage can full of it by my back door. But I am not amazed and confused every morning when I wake up and my driveway is icy even though that all of that rock salt is sitting there. It does no good until it comes in contact with the ice.

A Christian can never be effective in this world until they begin to come in contact with a lost and dying world around them. Christians are most effective when the lost not only hear the gospel from them, but see and observe the salt in their life.

Too many are content to hear the gospel preached to them, but not go out and tell anyone else around them. That is why Jesus’ last command before He ascended into Heaven was, “Go ye…

Next, we see that Salt loses itself in order to become effective.

Salt is most effect when it is completely dissolved. When it is too cold (20-15°F), salt cannot dissolve, and therefore cannot work – I have learned the hard way and wasted some bags (and $) of salt to no avail. I believe this is a principle that Jesus taught in Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

When Jesus talks about losing your life, He is not telling you to go out and run head-first into oncoming traffic. He is teaching us that in order to truly live, we must lose those things that we hold dear, the things that we think we can’t live without (jobs, hobbies, etc.).

We die in order to live. Just as salt, we must lose ourselves in order to become effective for Christ.

Finally, we know that Salt is no good when it loses its savor.

Salt CAN lose its ability to be effective. HOW?
1. When foreign chemicals are mixed with it, it loses it savor. When we allow sin to be mixed in with our life, we lose our saltiness.
2. When it sits on the shelf too long, it begins to crystallize and gets hard – Many Christians have sat in church so long doing nothing and continuing in their sin that their hearts have grown cold and hard.
And what does Jesus say is the result of someone who has lost their saltiness, lost their savor? THEY ARE GOOD FOR NOTHING! If I said you were good for nothing, you would say I was being mean spirited and harsh – but that is exactly what Jesus is saying.

So, we notice today that Jesus is saying we can either be salt, or we can be good for nothing. WHICH ARE YOU TODAY?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Salty Christians–Part 1

salt 1
(Mat 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.

Today, the term “salty” is often used, but not in a good way. Someone who is “rough around the edges, foul language, etc.” But once of the characteristics we are expected to exuberate as Christians is saltiness.
Why did Jesus compare the Christian to salt?Salt is something very common during Jesus’ earthly ministry, and is still common today. It is said that salt has over 14 thousand uses.
In the times of the Bible, they used salt with the sacrifices:
Leviticus 2:13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
In the Middle East, during the times of the Bible, it is said that salt was used as a token of a covenant. When an agreement was made, each person would sprinkle a little salt and say something to the effect of, “There is salt between us.”

All of this shows the importance of salt during these times that Jesus is teaching. So, we will take a three-part look at the aspects of Jesus expectation of the Christian to be the salt of the earth:


To understand the statement, we need to understand the background of it. There are three important questions to consider:

First, Who Said It? Jesus – He is the greatest authority in the entire world, on all things. After He finished the Sermon on the Mount, the Word of God tells us in Matthew 7:28-29 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: (29) For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

After listening to this great sermon, the hearers could feel and knew that there was something different about what and how Jesus taught. He had the authority of God, because He was God. He knew the Word because He was the Word.

Too many Christians give more authority to preachers and friends than they do the Lord and the Bible. The Word of God is our final authority for all areas of faith and practice.

The second question we will consider is, What Did He Say?

Jesus said that they, and in turn us today, are salt. Salt is something that is essential in this world, something that is needed. Christians who are sold-out and living for God are needed today, but little in supply. In essence, Jesus was saying, “You are what keeps things going.”

Jesus did not say, “You MIGHT be salt…you should TRY to be salt…but, “Ye ARE the salt of the earth…” Regardless of what real or imaginary limitations we may have in ability, we are expected to be salt. There is nothing that should prevent us from doing so.

The final question we consider is, Whom Did He Say It To?

He said it to His disciples, not the multitude (5:1). We often get into trouble because we expect those who are lost to believe and live like Christians (be salt, light, etc) and can’t figure out why they won’t. It is because they are a part of the multitude, but not a disciple.

The word disciple means learner. Some try, unsuccessfully, to separate disciples from the saved and say that a disciple is a different level of Christian, or a more committed Christian. The Bible does not make this distinction, and all believers are considered disciples.

No doubt some disciples are not doing a good job following the Lord; it does not mean they are not a disciple. Think about kids at school. Students in same class get different grades on same test. They are all students, but some are better than others. Therefore, all born-again believers are disciples, some are just closer to the Lord than others.

What priority do you make Jesus and His commands in your life?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

He Did Not Come Down–Part 3 of 3

MATTHEW 27:39-44, key vs. 40, 42
As we finish up this study on these three groups of people who were present at the crucifixion of Jesus and how they all wanted Him to come down from the cross, we look at the final group:


The first thing that we notice is that the Two were Critical 27:44. Matthew’s Gospel account clearly shows us that both of the thieves who were on the cross, suffering from the death penalty for their sins and transgressions against society, were critical and blasphemous when the process of the crucifixion started. Both of these men were just like the scribes and chief priest in that they were under conviction for their sin.

And when we go to Luke’s gospel account, we see that there are two ways to respond to conviction.
One thief was CallousedLuke 23:39. This thief was looking for what just about everyone else is looking for – some sort of temporal relief from their current situation. Many people come to church, or begin to pray, not because they seek  to worship a holy God and repent of their sin, but because they are expecting some magical genie to grant them their wish so they can go back to living their life they way they had before.

This thief was not seeking forgiveness of his sins, but just a pardoning from his punishment. He was bitter at his lot in life – though it was well deserved. Some people are so obstinate to their need of a saviour, even till the bitter end.

But we notice a change in the other thief, he was ConvictedLuke 23:40-43. This second thief shows us a couple of truths:
1. It is never too late to turn to Christ as long as you have breath.
2. When under conviction, we can choose to either get better or get bitter.
Too many people today are under conviction about their sin, yet too prideful, scared, or confused to turn to Christ.

We read both in Matthew 27:50 and Luke 23:46 HE DID NOT COME DOWN!

A great theologian of old Matthew Henry said in relation to this portion of Scripture - He {Jesus} was, at His death, numbered amongst the transgressors, that we, at our death, might be numbered among the saints.

We are all one of the thieves on one of the crosses because we are all sinners who deserve an eternity in Hell and the Lake of Fire. I am glad that in June of 1999 it was not too late for me and I called out to Jesus in repentance and faith and He saved my soul!

How about you? Which thief are you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He Did Not Come Down–Part 2 of 3

MATTHEW 27:39-44, key vs. 40, 42
Grid_6, 7/28/09, 4:52 PM, 16C, 7966x11435 (741+0), 150%, Repro 2.2 v2,  1/15 s, R102.0, G76.5, B90.6
In our last post, we took a look at the first group of people who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. This post, we will study the second group:


The scribes, Sadducees, Pharisees, and chief priest were always at odds with Jesus during His earthly ministry. There are certain characteristics we notice about this group.

The first characteristic we observe was that they were often Copycats27:41. These religious leaders were acting more like politicians than they were prophets or preachers. We observe this from the word “likewise.” They were not leading the way like they were supposed to have been doing, but just following the crowd.

It is a sad truth that many preachers and teachers will change, or soften, what they believe in order to gain a larger crowd. Most do not proclaim what they believe based on conviction; but test the wind to see what is the popular and follow after that. Beware of those who claim to be preachers, yet will not stand against anything. It has be aptly said before that, “If you won’t stand against anything, you will fall for everything.”

Another truth we notice is that they were Compassionless27:42. We know that they had no compassion on those in need. How? Because they knew of all the people Jesus helped that they themselves often ignored. They did not believe in Jesus while He was amongst them healing the sick and lame; they wouldn’t have believed on Him had He came down from the cross.

The measure of a man’s faith can been seen in how they help others less fortunate than himself. The religious leaders always had to have the attention focused on them, and thus had no time or desire to help others. When the spotlight must always be pointed on us, even while helping others, reveals a real deficiency in our character. It is during those times when we are more worried about our reputations and what we can gain from “helping” someone that we are following the lead of the religious rulers of Jesus’ day in showing our lack of compassion.

The final characteristic we notice is that they were Convicted27:43. By making the statement, “for he said, I am the Son of God,” these religious rulers reveal to us that secretly, they were under conviction. They wanted Jesus to come down from the cross because they did not want to admit that they were sinners in need of Redeemer.

When under conviction, you have one of two ways to respond, as we see from the final group in the upcoming post.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

He Did Not Come Down–Part 1 of 3

MATTHEW 27:39-44, key vs. 40, 42

crucifixion 1

We live in a world today that is very antagonistic to God and the things of the Bible. I thought about something that recently came across my desk from Answers in Genesis. They are a very successful Science group that promotes Creation and a literal interpretation of Genesis. Their newest project is a life sized replica of Noah’s Ark. There was a feature story on ABC’s “World News With Diane Sawyer, and article in the New York Times, and many other world-wide publications.

With this notoriety came a lot of negative backlash. Much of it came from the secular world, but some of it even came from the “religious” crowd who were against promoting a literal belief in Genesis. Why? Because to believe literally in Genesis would mean that mankind would be held accountable to its Creator and then would have to take the remaining Bible literally.

Most of religion today does not want to take a literal approach to God’s Word, especially to Jesus’ claim to be the only way to heaven. This was never more evident than at the crucifixion of Jesus, as we see in vs. 40 & 42 and the phrase, “let him now come down from the cross…” But if Jesus had not died on the cross, shed His precious blood for the remission of sins, and rose from the grave on the third day, then there would be no hope of salvation.

The sad truth is that the world is filled with people who don’t want to recognize Jesus as dying on the cross for their sins. Are you one of the ones groups of people who wanted Jesus to come down from the cross? This coming week, we notice from the text 3 groups of people who wanted Jesus to come down from the Cross, and we will look at the first group today:


The first thing we observe about this group is that they Spoke Evilreviled. The word used for reviled here is – blasphēmeō, which means:

1. to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme

2. to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at

They spoke all manner of evil and lies about Jesus as He hung there on the cross paying for their sins. We live in a world, and amongst people who can’t wait to blaspheme the name of Jesus. Whether it is taking the Lord’s name in vain out of anger, or making our precious Saviour the punch line of some crude joke on a television show – people are still reviling the name of Jesus.

They try to “tear down” the name of Jesus because the Bible tells us in Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

A second characteristic we notice about them is that they Stirred Emotionswagging. This was a display of their contempt and a public insult. Job suffered the same response from his so-called friends, as he said in Job 16:4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. David felt the same shame and penned this: Psalm 109:25 I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.

A final characteristic we observe is that they Spewed Errorsaying. Here is a group of people who probably never read OT Scripture, or would have anything to do with anything else Jesus might have said, but are quoting Him now OUT OF CONTEXT because it helps their cause.

Just like those today who like to quote (Judge not…God is love…etc) but have no clue on the context of those verses and what they really are saying. There are a lot of “Bible experts” out there who never have even read the Bible from cover to cover before.

These SINNERS IN THE CROWD wanted Jesus to come down off the cross, but He didn’t! Stayed tuned as we will move on to the second group of people who wanted Jesus to come down from the cross.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Willow Hope Gilbert

Just wanted to "show" everyone the reason why there have not been many post recently. On Wednesday at 9:31am, God gave us Willow Hope Gilbert. She was born 7lbs 11oz and 21" long. Mom (Darci) delivered her by c-section and is in the process of recovery. Will try to post something at least once this week, but if I don't you'll understand why.

Willow will be forever known as our "Blizzard Baby." We were due to be at the hospital by 7am on Wednesday, right in the middle of what was supposed to be one of the biggest blizzards in the last 20-30 years here in Detroit. As of Tuesday evening, just about everything was closed already for the next day - except the hospital. On Tuesday, Darci called twice to make sure the procedure was still on schedule and both times she was reassured that they would not cancel it. So, just to be on the safe side and to make sure we got there, we left on Tuesday evening and planned on sleeping in the hospital waiting room until 7am. The roads were pretty bad, you could barely see in front of you and the winds were about 30mph. The only thing that made the drive bearable was the we were one of the few out there driving.

Well, once we got there that evening, the lady at the front desk said, "Well, let me call and see if I can get you a room, there are a lot available since most of the c-sections that were scheduled have been canceled (they try to schedule them all once or twice a week)." Not good, because as we found out later, our doctor was one of the ones who canceled, in spite of the fact that we were told twice that it would not be.

So, Wednesday morning came around and the doctor on call came by and said if her doctor did not come, he would do it. Low and behold, a little while later her doctor came walking in the door and everything went off as planned. Mommy and baby came through the procedure successfully, and so we then spent the next couple of days recovering. The pediatrician for the hospital would come in during the mornings and check on Willow and became concerned about her developing Jaundice. Not that big of a deal, except it meant we stayed one extra night at the hospital and did not leave until Saturday.

Of course, when Saturday came, her doctor did not come by in the morning like the other days. That would have been great because we could have gone home in clear driving conditions. Instead, we were released at 3:30pm, right in the middle of an unexpected snow storm. About  4-6" fell in a short period of time, and there were a lot of people on the roads which made for less than ideal driving conditions. This is why she will be forever known as our Blizzard Baby.

Thanks to all those who prayed for us, and to those who will continue to pray for us. Especially for Darci, as the next month or so is rough, especially with 3 other daughters under the age of 7! Most people would have stayed home this first Sunday, but not Darci! Her and Willow were in church the very first Sunday. Very thankful for a faithful wife.