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June 13, 2021 8:00 am
Too many Christians sit on the sidelines and separate themselves from the world around them. But in Christ's sermon on the mount. He tells his followers that they are to have an active positive influence on the world in which they live. Welcome to the Bible study out the radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically as Jesus reaches a turning point in his sermon on the Mount. He calls for his people to be like salt, and substance with the substantial characteristics of flavor preservation and a tendency to make men thirsty. Join Dr. Boyce as he unfolds.
Our Lord's challenge to make men thirsty for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In verse 13 of the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel, Jesus said you are the salt of the earth. But if the salt have lost its savor with what shall it be salted it is thereafter good for nothing but to be cast out. And to be trodden under the foot of men with this verse we leave the Beatitudes that we been studying for the past two months and we begin a new section of the sermon on the Mount, or to put it another way, we pass from an abstract definition of a Christian to a functional one.
What's the difference between an abstract definition and functional definition. Let me explain it. For instance, almost every dictionary definition of the word is abstract we turn the word hunger in Webster's new collegiate dictionary and read hunger is an un-easy sensation occasioned normally by want of food. However, we could also define hunger functionally. We could also say hunger is the one and 1/2 billion people in this world who live always on the verge of starvation and who die at the rate of 100,000 daily is the result of malnutrition. The second definition is anything but abstract, of course, it is better in the same way. The dictionary tells us that justice is the principle of rectitude and just dealings of men with each other.
We could also say that justice is enacting good laws, caring for the poor, raising children properly, and many other things, the differences, the difference between an abstract definition and a functional one. We have the same thing in theology. The Westminster shorter catechism asked the question what is God and it answers God is a spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable, and is being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth, but it's also true even more true than God is Jesus Christ died for our sin, then who rose again for our justification. The second definition in each of the cases takes you away from any detached door abstract understanding of the term understanding of the term inaction and it reduces the effect that Jesus also produced in his listeners by his father. Functional definition of the true Christian year the salt of the earth, ye are the light of the world by these definitions.
Jesus was saying that while it is true that the Christian is to be poor in spirit, mournful, forcing meek, thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart disposed to make peace.
Nevertheless, he is never to believe these things in isolation from a very real and sharply antithetical world is to manifest those characteristics in the world. What is more, these to practice these things in a way that will affect the world positively. Just as salt affects medium to which one applies it. This is a great significance for our understanding of the nature of true Christianity, and it's never been more significant than in our present day Jesus was saying those who are my disciples should affect the world positively.
By the way in which they live.
The end of the 19th century there was a feeling of confident optimism in the Western world based on the belief. I believe that the ongoing biological and philosophical evolution that people believed and would eventually solve all of man's troubles and lead to something closely akin to the Greeks Golden age.
The idea was that all of human life was advancing and rising upward. One commentator on these times Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, who grew up in a decade much closer to this age that I did writes perceptively of it. It's indeed pathetic to read the prognostication of the thinkers so-called the philosophers and poets and leaders toward the end of the last century wars were going to be abolished. Diseases were being cured. Suffering was going to be not only ameliorated but finally eradicated is to be an amazing century. Most of the problems were going to be solved for landed at last really begun to think the masses through education would cease giving themselves to drink and immorality and vice and as all the nations with us. Educated to think and hold conferences instead of rushing toward the whole world was very soon going to be paradise is not caricaturing the situation. It was believed confidently today. However, there are not many people who believe like that, whether once was a confident optimism. There is no pessimism and cute despair.
There's an awareness that something more than a theory of progress is necessary awareness that there must in fact be something akin to a new life embodied in a new breed of man.
This is what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers. And yet we find instead of the active permeating, preserving and transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, always operating in the world to all Christians, we find too many Christians sitting on the sidelines without the saver provided by the Lord Jesus Christ only fit if were to take Christ's words literally to be cast out and be trodden under foot of man, I'm well aware that there are good historical reasons why an evangelical church that once gave fuel and impetus to the greatest social movements the world is ever seen has come to be outdistanced by others and at times even to be hostile to the applications of the gospel to the contemporary world. David O.
Moberg, the author of the book. It is much list 10 reasons in his historical study of the neglect of the social aspects of the faith by evangelicals, a preoccupation with valid theological battles a misinterpretation of the prophecies than the last day things on this earth will get worse.
To mean that they will never in any circumstances get better belief that social concerns are antithetical to a concern for the salvation aspects of the church's message a concern for personal piety. The idea that politics are intrinsically dirty growing conformity to the world standards in business and political life by Christians and other things also. This is the explanation, but the explanation does not excuse the situation in which we find ourselves today.
Notice the situation itself negate the moral imperatives of Christ's teachings. According to Jesus, the Christian is clearly to influence his society and this must be true. Where ever the principles of the gospel impinge upon the religious, political, economic, or social issues of the Christian community. All of this falls into a much clearer focus.
When we consider the actual uses of salt, particularly those that were most valued in ancient times first in Christ's day and for many centuries thereafter. In fact, until nearly modern times salt was the most common of all preservatives, refrigerators in ancient times. No deep-freeze units and the Mediterranean world was largely tropical in such a climate, and in the face of such conditions. Salt was used to keep things from going bad and rotten particularly meets and it was successful at resisting spoilage and keeping putrefaction at bay. When Jesus said that those who followed him were to be the salt of the earth. Therefore, he was teaching the world apart from God is rotten because of sin, and that through his power. The disciples were able lend actually obliged to have a preserving and purifying effect upon it.
You see this clearly if you do the principles involved in this statement will keep you from the two opposing errors that have always gone along with programs to express the Christian social responsibility.
The first error is the thought that the world is basically good and will gradually become better and even perfect through Christian social action in opposition to this understanding, Christ says that the world is basically rotten and this means that even though it may tear healthy for a time is dead spiritually, it means that life is gone out of the body and that the microbes of sin will eventually have left themselves reduce it to a stinking unapproachable carcass.
The other error is the view that because this is so because the world is rotten. Therefore Christian should try to dissociate himself from the world as much as is possible.
Retreating to a monastery or it's one of our white or black middle-class self protecting churches and he should let the world go to hell. The answer to this error is the Christian is to be a preserving force in the world, wherever in the world God has placed him. Salt never did any good.
When salt was sitting on one shelf and the meat on another to be effective, the salt must be robbed into the meat. In a Similar Way, Christians must allow gone to Rob them in the world. This means that they must be Christians at work. Christians in politics. Christians at home and Christians everywhere else than a normal life in their own society would take them or will somebody is saying that would mean that I'd have to be taken out of the salt shaker and spread around. I may get dirty and even seem to dissolve or disappear.
Yes, that is exactly what it means. Gone is the one who provides the flavor. The flavor doesn't disappear when the salt is dispensed or when it's dissolved. In fact there's even a sense in which the salt must dissolve if the flavor is to be released. God sometimes shakes the salt shaker through persecution so that the salt will fall out and this might happen sometimes will mean we shall have to dissolve to our own interests. We shall have to extend ourselves in areas of the world where were we don't see many Christians we show fuel will only end even depressed. That is where the salt is active and it's where you should be active as a Christian I should add a fact here that's well-known to the medical world.
If body does not give off salt through perspiration. What happens, it retains water and becomes bloated the same way the church of Jesus Christ will always become bloated and desperately unhealthy.
If the salt is not dispersed in this work of preservation. Now there's a second thing, the salt is good for and that is to provide flavor the Christian through the life of Jesus Christ within the verities of the gospel is to lend flavor to flavorless insipid world. The pleasures of the world are unsatisfying without Jesus Christ fill for time, but there sort of like a Chinese dinner and the person is soon left empty again. Consequently, those who pursue the murder doomed to a constant and relentless search for that which will never satisfy the true hunger and desire of their soul. Christians are to be present as those who know something different and whose satisfaction in Christ can be seen and known by their unbelieving contemporaries. Unfortunately, you know, it's often been the other way around. For non-Christians of looked at Christians and of said what an insipid bunch of people I'd never want to be like one of them 19th-century poet and critic AC Swinburne road of Jesus I list Concord old pale Galilean, the world is grown gray for my breath over Wendell Holmes once said I might've entered the ministry of certain clergyman I knew would not looked and acted so much like undertakers in the poet and author Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote in his diary as if he were expressing an exceptional fact I have been to church today and I'm not depressed. Others are honest remarks by people who have seen it insipid Christianity and if they are there followers today are to see something different.
They must see it in the only place it can or will be seen in us. They must seating you and me you will around with a long face as if the world and everything you know is going to pot you go about is one who bears within the spirit of the living God, the second is your true responsibility. It's by doing that, that you show forth the flavor of Christ and Christianity. The third thing that salt does is to make one thirsty and this leads me to ask do you make anyone thirsty or Jesus Christ. Non-Christian tends to feel self-satisfied even if he's not and he naturally goes through life, telling himself that circumstances are wonderful. When a Christian comes into his sphere of vision.
There should be that evidence of Julia satisfaction and peace that makes him look up and say that that's what I want. That's what I want to be like do you do that do you make men thirsty for Jesus Christ. In ancient times during the feast of Tabernacles in the city of Jerusalem was the custom for the priests to go to the pool of silo home each day and to return bearing large containers of water that was in court upon the altar and the temple is happen for seven days during the feast on the last day. The ceremony was repeated seven times on this day, during the feast of Tabernacles in the year that he attended Jesus Christ stood up he cried in a loud voice any man thirst, let him come in to me and drink.
He that leave it on me, as the Scripture it said out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water, and it is true, Jesus Christ can satisfy the great thirst of the human soul does and your responsibility is not to satisfy the first yourself. But the point man to Jesus Christ you will do that out of you will flow his life and character and others will see him and their spiritual first will be satisfied. I'm sure you will already anticipated the last point of this study. You doubtless recognize that salt is one of the most common things of life is found everywhere.
Hence, when Jesus said year the salt of the earth. He was saying.
I delight to use little things didn't say year. The gold of the earth. He didn't say year the geranium of the earth didn't even say you're the lead although Christians sometimes resemble led far more than we like to admit. He said year. The salt and salt is one of the most common substances of our world from the common things from the week to foolish the despise the things that are not God brings the greatest glory to himself. We see that throughout Scripture and God made man in the Garden of Eden. What to use Golder silver iron no use dust, but he breathed into that dust the divine breath of life from God spoke to Moses in the desert to call them to come forth to be the deliverer of the people of Israel from Egypt.
How did he reveal himself in a dazzling theophany and thunder and lightning in an overpowering vision.
No, he revealed himself in the desert.
Bush that appeared to be burning, but he revealed himself as the great I am when God called David to deliver the Israelites from the Philistine tyranny did he make use of Saul's armor. No use disabling and few small stones and when Jesus Christ was born God did not allow him to be born in the courts of the Caesars or the women of noble ancestry and great culture. He chose a peasant girl was probably illiterate. She gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ in a stable, God uses the small things and the small people God uses you and me in order that he might do his work in the world. As a matter of fact, the smaller you can become, the more effective his work in you will be you know what we are to be we are to be picture frames in which Jesus Christ is to be seen, God's not interested in is being a gold frame or a highly carved frame.
He's just interested in it being an empty frame because he knows that if you will come to them with that you will come with your frame empty. Then he can put Christ there and when people look at you fat his home. They will see, they will see Jesus, and you will have great joy as they see him now, our father, we thank you for this great calling in for every opportunity we have the show forth Christ life and loving character was to empty ourselves to be, picture frames, in order that he might be seen in us. We pray in Jesus name, amen you listening to the Bible's gallery featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce does your speech reflect your faith.
Dr. Boyce lists five qualities that should mark the speech of a Christian in today's free CD message entitled grace, seasoned with salt. This reoffer is our way of saying thanks give us a call that 1-800-488-1888 and we will be pleased to send your copy of grace, seasoned with salt, that number again 1-800-488-1888 you play an important part in making men thirsty for the truth with your prayers and financial support of the Bible study our make a contribution by calling us directly at 1-800-488-1888 or visit us online at the Bible study our data work.
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You can reach the Bible study our at PO Box 24097 RPO Josephine North Bay, Ontario P1 be 0C7 thank you were grateful for your support reformation 21 and a place for truth are websites of the Alliance of confessing Evangelicals, proclaiming biblical doctrine to foster a reformed awakening in today's church, find blogs, articles, and podcasts from today's most influential reformed thinkers connect to it off from the Bible study our daughter. Thank you for joining us today by Mark Daniels. Jesus said we are to be the light to a world in utter darkness. How can we be lights in a world where people prefer darkness and evil is an irreducible component of man join Dr. James Boyce next time for more from the sermon on the Mount as he examines light and darkness, the answer to be still in its next time on the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically