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The Salt Of The Earth

Salt has many uses. It can be used to season food, which is probably its most common use. It can be used to preserve food as well. In the winter, we put rock salt down on the ice in order to melt it. Salt is very useful. Jesus said that His followers are to be useful as well. In the Sermon on the Mount, He said:

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. – Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

The salt they used in Jesus’ day was full of impurities and wasn’t always good for its intended purpose. As the salt of the earth, Jesus is telling us that we need to season the world with His flavor. If we are full of impurities, though, we can do more harm than good. We lose our saltiness when we allow too many impurities into our lives. If we fail to live out our purpose, we’re no good to the Kingdom of God. Let’s be good salt today and season the world with the pure love of Jesus.

When You Are Persecuted

Following Jesus will eventually bring persecution into your life. Jesus is threatening to people who want to live according to their own standards. People want to serve themselves and Jesus says, “Deny yourself.” People want to gratify their sinful natures and Jesus says we have to take up our cross. People want to follow their hearts and Jesus says, “Follow Me.” When you live for Jesus, you threaten their lifestyle and therefore they threaten your life. Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,​ ​because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

Persecution is nothing new and it will continue until Christ returns. Do not forget that there is a great reward for the faithful. Don’t give up! Persecution is temporary. Heaven is for eternity. We’ll be there soon and we’ll know that perseverance through persecution was worth it.

The Blessing Of Persecution

In Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” He begins with several “Beatitudes” that describe what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like. It begins with understanding the depth of one’s spiritual poverty and moves through a growing understanding of God’s purpose for their life. When you want the things of God’s Kingdom, you’ll become more of a Kingdom-minded person. Jesus says that this person is “blessed,” which means, “happy.” He concludes the “Beatitudes” by talking about being persecuted. He says:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

When you live for the Kingdom of God, it means that you are no longer living for the kingdom of this world. You’ll live differently than you did before. You’ll act differently, talk differently and think differently. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb. You may be persecuted for your faith. Jesus says that you are blessed when you are persecuted because you’ll know that you truly belong to Him. Persecution isn’t a possibility, it is a guarantee. When you live for Jesus, you become a threat and persecution becomes a reality. Stand firm in your faith because Heaven is the reward.

Pointing People To Peace

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins with several beatitudes. These are little statements that point us in the right direction. It begins with a recognition of one’s own spiritual poverty. As Jesus goes along, He describes the path to a right relationship with God as your Heavenly Father. As we grow and discover how to have peace with God, we are to point others to peace with God. Jesus said:

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

Our Heavenly Father desires peace between Himself and people. Because of sin, humanity is at war with God. He sent Jesus to bring about peace between us. We did all of the sinning and Jesus does all of the saving. He makes peace possible through His death and resurrection. Those who have received His peace are now called to be peacemakers. Pray for someone you know who needs Jesus. May you have an opportunity to be a peacemaker today.

Purity Of Heart

Jesus describes what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like in Matthew 5. It’s how He begins His “Sermon on the Mount.” We know this passage as “The Beatitudes.” He talks about the rewards for recognizing one’s spiritual poverty and need for God. Those who think that they’ve got it all together and have no need of a Savior will never find Him because they’re not looking for Him. Jesus continued by talking about the reward of being pure in heart. He said:

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God. – Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

What does it mean to be pure in heart? It means that one has a pure devotion to God. God loves you with His whole heart. If you think that you can love Him with only half of yours, you are mistaken. God wants it all. He wants your whole heart. He wants all of you. Is it because God is insecure? Not at all! He’s your Creator and as your Creator, He knows what is best for His Creation. He alone can truly satisfy our every longing for true love because only His love is true and unconditional. Let’s commit ourselves to purity of heart today knowing that we will see God one day.

The Hands Of Time

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on James 4:13-17.


Giving/Receiving Mercy

I remember growing up in church and learning the definitions of grace and mercy. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. God’s grace means that we get the gift of forgiveness. Mercy means that we don’t receive the punishment we deserve for our sins. Grace means that we get eternal life. Mercy means that we don’t get eternal death in Hell. Jesus wants us to extend mercy to others. He said:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

People are going to hurt you. They’re going to lie to you and cheat on you and gossip about you. They’ll do it more than once. How will you respond? Will you try to get revenge or will you show mercy? Jesus’ words remind us that His way is best. When we show mercy to others, we open ourselves up to receive the mercy of God. Author Dave Willis said something along the lines of “We should not treat people the way they deserve. Rather, we should treat them the way we want God to treat us.” If you want God to show you mercy, be merciful to others.

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