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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Matthew 5:13

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A. Salt in those days had two primary uses.
1. The primary use was as a preservative.
a. They did not have refrigeration so salt was used as a preservative.
b. When meat is butchered it will soon begin to putrefy because of the surface bacteria.
c. Salt kills the bacteria and prevents a rapid putrification.
d. The old prospector.
2. The second use was for flavoring. Bringing out or enhancing the flavor of food.
a. I grew up on whole grain cereals for breakfast. Usually wheat or oats. Sometimes my mother would forget to put the salt in the boiling water as she cooked the oats. The taste was flat and insipid.
b. Have you ever tried eating potatoes without salt. They taste completely different.
B. I believe that Jesus had both uses in mind when He said to His disciples you are the salt of the earth.
A. I think that history adequately proves this to be true.
1. It did not take many generations from Adam till the earth became so corrupt that God saw the necessity to destroy it.
GEN 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
GEN 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
GEN 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
GEN 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; or the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
2. Just a few short generations after the flood we see the conditions in Babylon where men were building a tower into the heavens and it was necessary to bring a confusion of languages to stop the rebellion of man.
3. Not too many generations more we see God bringing fire and brimstone on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness.
4. Look at the history of the nation of Israel the most righteous of all nations. Through the Judges and the Kings.
5. There always seemed to be the necessity of raising up men to be salt to retard the rottenness.
6. Look how rotten our world is today.
a. Back in the late 1800 men were hailing the new century to come as the entering into paradise.
b. Their theory was that through the evolutionary process men had now achieved such an advanced state that he would never war again.
c. Science was to be the great savior of mankind.
d. We see how wrong they were.
e. All science has done is to bring us more effective ways of killing greater masses of people.
f. Science has brought all kinds of filth into our homes, so that we are living in one of the most polluted eras of human history.
B. Jesus is saying to His disciples, "You, are to be the salt of the earth."
1. We are disciples of Jesus Christ, and he intends that we be a purifying influence in our world.
a. I do not believe that righteousness will ever come through the political process.
b. For a long time I held that view, I believed the myth of the silent majority. I believe that we are the silent minority.
c. I do not believe that righteousness can ever come by legislation.
d. The perfect law of God could not make a man righteous.
2. Righteousness comes through revival.
a. God's people who are called by His name, must humble themselves and pray and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways.
b. Society is only changed by changing men's hearts.
A. "If the salt has lost it's savor, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of man.
1. If the salt has lost it's tang.
2. If it is leached out and is no more salty.
3. Then it cannot be effective in preserving the society from becoming putrid.
B. It is sad, but the church lost it's testimony when modernism came in. Higher criticism became the order of the day.
1. The church sought to be revellent.
2. Rather than change the world, it began to conform to the world.
3. The hope was to become popular with the world.
4. The doctrines of sin and atonement were watered down to be more acceptable by the world.
5. Within the church came voices questioning the accuracy and inspiration of the scriptures.
6. There came a denial of the virgin birth.
7. Many Sunday School curriculums began to teach evolution and looked at Adam and Eve as fables.
8. They said that it was not necessary to take the Bible literally but that the stories though false taught good morals.
C. There is today a great move still for the church to become more revellent.
1. They call it seeker friendly.
2. Eliminate words like sin, guilt, hell, and seek to appeal to the worldly mind.
3. Create an atmosphere that people will not recognize that they are in church.
4. Talk of psychology and how to develop personal relationships. Speak of Jesus as a great example and teacher of high moral ethics.
5. Tell the people that they can be rich and prosperous and can have all they desire, if they will just follow certain principles that happen to be laid out in the scriptures.
D. What has been the consequence?
1. So-called ministers are performing marriages for homosexuals.
2. Many pulpits are being filled by lesbians.
3. And like the church of Corinth, there is sort of a spiritual pride in the fact that we are so kind and loving that we can embrace those with sexual deviant behavior.
E. The major denominations are losing members and are dying off, and no wonder, they have no saving gospel anymore. The salt is not salty.
F. The consequence, "They are to be cast out and trodden under the foot of man."
1. If we are not fulfilling the purpose of our existence, then it will not be long until we cease to exist.
2. In those days when salt was no longer salty, they would throw it on the paths. There was still enough action to kill the weeds. Thus it was literally trodden under the foot of man.
A. We have already commented how so many foods can taste flat and insipid without salt.
1. Many people's lives are flat and insipid. They really seem to have nothing to live for.
2. Life has become a bore and a grind.
3. They search all over for some excitment.
a. This is the cause for the pleasure mania in the world today.
b. People are trying to find their way out of the doldrums.
B. Living for Jesus Christ should bring zest and flavor to life.
1. We should bring the excitment of Jesus Christ into our world.
2. The live of the believer should never be dull but filled with excitment as we follow Jesus Christ.
A. Have you ever noticed how flat pop-corn is without salt?
B. Have you noticed how thirsty you get after eating a bag of salted pop-corn?
C. How thirsty you get after eating salted peanuts?
D. Just so, our lives should cause other people to thirst for a true relationship with Jesus Christ.
Sermon Notes for Matthew 5:11,12 ← Prior Section
Sermon Notes for Matthew 5:13 Next Section →
Sermon Notes for Malachi 1:2 ← Prior Book
Sermon Notes for Mark 1:40 Next Book →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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