Lesson 65—May 10, 2015
Audio Commentary by Life Focus teacher, David Daniel
Real Salt in a Real World
Scripture: Matthew 5:13
Lesson Goal: To gain an understanding of how true believers are made to be salt in the world.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Today is a very special day, as we recognize and express our appreciation to the moms and special ladies in our lives. If you are blessed with the opportunity to show your love to your mother today , please seize that opportunity. If possible, give her a big hug and a kiss on the check and tell her what she means to you. Make this Mother’s Day special for her.
I decided to do a little research on the tradition of Mother’s Day. I did not waste time on meaningless
computer searches; I went straight to the source of authority on such matters—“The Farmer’s Almanac”:
Although the custom of setting aside a day to honor mothers has ancient roots, our observance of Mother’s Day originated in 1907, with the efforts of a devoted daughter, Anna M. Jarvis of Philadelphia, who conceived the idea of a nationwide celebration. The public and the press quickly embraced the idea, and villages, towns, cities, and states soon began unofficial Mother’s Day observances. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day, and within a few years, the idea gained worldwide prominence. The first actual Mother’s Day service was held at a church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna Jarvis’ mother had taught. On that Sunday was born the idea that all mothers should be recognized both those alive and deceased. West Virginia was the first state to officially adopt the holiday and soon other states followed. Representative Thomas Heflin of Alabama and Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas presented a joint resolution to Congress that Mother’s Day be observed nationwide. The resolution was passed by both houses.
How about making it your personal resolution to recognize and honor your mom today? If your mother is alive, honor her. If you mother is deceased, do something to honor her memory and life.
Matthew 5:13—The Salt of the Earth
Before we look in detail at the properties of salt, and expound on Jesus’ metaphor, let us begin with one point of emphasis that is often overlooked when studying the details, attributes and qualities of salt. That often missed point of emphasis is that salt, pure true salt, is always distinctive. Its main thrust and action is a result of it distinctiveness. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word “distinction” means “a noticeable difference,” and the word “distinct” means “noticeably different.”
“You”—Disciples of Jesus Christ, true followers, true believers, are to be noticeably distinct.
“are the salt”—There are several properties of salt, but salt is very distinct. It makes a noticeable difference when it is used as an additive. The power of salt lies within its distinctiveness. To understand this distinctiveness, we must understand the difference that salt makes when it is applied. In a meal or recipe, it adds a distinctive taste or flavor. Salt makes a definite influence on the way things taste.
“of the earth”—Jesus states where His disciples are to minister as the “salt of the earth.” Our place of ministry is the world in which we live. We (true believers) are to minister and be the salt to the world, providing a distinctive influence. The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible provides a great word concerning our ministry as salt to the world: “There is a sense in which the church is the salt factory and the world is the marketplace of the salt. Too much salt is being stored and locked up at the church. There is not enough salt being sent out into the marketplace.” The result is that we may have a salt-filled church, but we are not fulfilling our purpose as given by Jesus in verse thirteen. Salt accomplishes nothing when stored in a container. It must be applied or used in order to be effective.
• How can you, as a follower of Jesus Christ, be salt in your world?
• How can Mars Hill Baptist Church be salt in the world?
As we study and learn from verses 13 through 16, it is absolutely imperative that we remember Jesus’ teaching in verses 3-12. He spoke to the character of the true follower. >>>>>>
Now Jesus teaches concerning the influence that results from the truths of verses 3-12 being lived out in the lives of His followers.
• How are you living out verses 3-12? Please be prayerful and honest.
We can answer by focusing on just a few words—poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemaker, persecuted for righteousness’ sake, persecuted for My sake.
In order to be salt, true believers must be consciously aware of the truths of verses 3-12. In fact, it is impossible to be the salt of the earth if we are not living out the truths of these ten verses. The only way we can be truly distinctive to the world, as Jesus would have us to be, is for the truth of these verses to become a daily reality in our lives. In these ten verses, we find the truths that ultimately transform our lives and give us the design and the pattern for godly living. These verses teach us godly character which we must demonstrate daily to be the “salt of the earth.”
Would you please take a moment and thank God for what He is teaching you through His Word found in the greatest message ever preached? Thank God for Matthew 5:3-12.
“But if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” The point that Jesus is making to us, His followers, is that “if we want to make a difference in the world, we have to be different from the world” (Life Application Bible). We must live our lives in such a way that our character shows forth a distinction to the world. We must be distinctive by the way we live our lives, but we must be careful that we do not base our distinctiveness on the very thing that was so important to the Pharisees—outward appearance. Our ability to be salt is not based upon our outward appearance, but rather the inner quality of character given to us in Jesus’ words of Matthew 5:3-12.
Please pray and meditate on these questions before you answer.
• How do God’s people look?
• How are God’s people supposed to look?
Through the years, these questions have often been answered by a complete focus on the outward appearance as shown by a quote from a popular preacher of past days: “God pity you people who call yourselves Christian and wear your hair long, beard and sideburns like a bunch of heathens. God, clean you up! Go to the barber shop tomorrow morning, and I am not kidding. It is time God’s people looked like God’s people. Good night, let folks know you are saved!”
Often, well-meaning individuals have “amen-ed” such words and lived by such standards. But is this the meaning of the truth that believers are to be “the salt of the earth”? Does short hair indicate a man is saved? Does long hair mean he is lost without Christ? Is wearing a suit and tie on Sunday morning evidence that a man is saved, while a man that wears jeans, cowboy boots and a tee-shirt is lost? These questions call for honest answers that can sometimes challenge us. They can challenge our backgrounds, traditions and personal preferences.
But we should not believe that Jesus’ teachings offer the true believer a license to self-gratification and indulgences. We are to honor God in all areas of our lives.
The question we would do well to answer is:
• How is the fact that Jesus Christ is my Savior being evidenced outwardly, as the result of what Jesus has done in my life inwardly? Please answer prayerfully.
Question: How is a Christian supposed to look?
Answer: Like Jesus!