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Monday, March 13, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 11 of 40: The Salt of the Earth

Matthew 5: 13
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?  It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

In Jesus' time, salt was highly valued.  It was thought to be pure and to have a cleansing quality, so it was frequently offered as a sacrifice by the Jewish people.  It was also used to season and to preserve food; to prevent meat from spoiling.

Jesus, in verses 10-12, has told his disciples that they will be persecuted for their faith, but they are to persevere and in fact rejoice in their suffering.  Christians should approach each day with thankfulness and awareness of the presence of God.  We should not flee or withdraw from the world but should live in the world openly as examples of Christ.  By showing the world love and joy in a time of hate disciples would be acting as salt.   In a world of strife and war Christians should be islands of peace. In a world of poverty and suffering, Christians should be sources of caring and help.  In a world focused on materialism, power, and greed, Christians should offer the world a living example of Christ.

Salt, when added to a dish of food becomes part of that dish but is still distinct from the food.  It flavors the food but does not become the food.  If Christians become indistinguishable from the world they serve, then their salt loses it flavor and its preservative qualities.  God desires us to be a people of the gospel, a people set apart and distinct, yet adding something to the world that the world cannot provide for itself.

We are to be in the world, involved in the world but not absorbed by it.  We are to give the world a unique flavor- the flavor of the love of Christ.

Tomorrow we will study the light of the world.

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