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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 05) - Salt and Light

Sunday English Service - 26 NOV 17


Let's please turn to Matthew's gospel chapter 5. I am going to read to you from verse 13 to 16; but let me just say a few words by way of introduction to this teaching. We have been teaching on work for the last many weeks. We did it in three parts. The first part had to do with God's original design for work. Before the sin and the fall came, what was God's intention about work? Why did God make man to work? He could have created us like we say in Tamilnadu, to be able to sit and eat. But why did He make us to have employment, to work? It is a big question. God designed work in such a way for His glory, to make Himself known, to show forth His glory. And I showed you what God's original design was; we gave several sermons on that.

And then we talked about what happened as a result of sin and the fall that came to man, and mankind. Sin and the fall affected man's work terribly. A major impact was upon work and that is what Genesis chapter 3 tells us. And so we talked about how work has now become difficult because of the sin and fall; and how the sin and the fall impacts our work today. We talked about it. And then the third part is about redemption and the work of our hands. Now that we redeemed that Jesus has come, redemption has come, now we are blessed. We are not living under a curse - we are under the blessing through Jesus Christ. And how does it impact our work today in this world? We are still living in a world that is sinful, fallen world, and so on, but we are redeemed. We belong in the Kingdom of God, we are in the Kingdom of God and Jesus is our Lord - he reigns over our lives. So there is a difference. How does this impact our work? That is what we have been talking about. And I showed you, that Galatians chapter 3 verse 13 and 14 talks about Paul's interpretation of the cross is this way. He says, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, As it is written, curse is everyone that hang upon a tree so that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles and that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

He gives two reasons as to why Christ died on the cross. I like the Epistles because they give the meaning - the significance of Christ's death on the cross. Not just details, he says two reasons for which Jesus died, so that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles. Secondly, so that we may receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. So I say to you that the blessing of Abraham has two sides to it. The one side is having to do with this fact that blessing is an ability to succeed. That is what it originally was when God said, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue and dominated." - To Adam and Eve. He was blessing them - it says so. God blessed them and said, be fruitful, multiply, and so on. Blessing is the endowment or empowerment given by God. It is a divine enablement, you may say, to succeed. Now that is played out in the life of Abraham and his descendants like Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, and the children of Israel and so on. That they had this enormous ability, indescribable ability that came from God, in very crucial circumstances in their life. The whole world tried to oppress them and put them down and cause them to fail, yet they succeeded. That is what is called ‘Blessing'. That is the power of blessing. Blessing is the power to succeed or the ability to succeed. That ability is given by God. So that is one aspect of blessing. This is about the external blessings. What happens on the outside? The circumstances of life, the problems of this life are defeated and you win because of who you are and because of the fact that Abraham's blessings reside in you. This is one aspect of the blessing of God that was there in the Old Testament. That is why we read so much about the external blessings; blessings by way of material blessings. And there is nothing wrong with that - that material blessings is given by God. So you cannot despise them - the material blessing is one side of the blessings.

The second side - the other side of blessing is what I talked about the last couple of weeks. And that is, the other side of blessing is that we may receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. This blessing even though it was promised to Abraham and his descendants, it was never enjoyed by them, never received by them, never received it in Abraham's lifetime. The people of Israel never received it. Under the Old Testament times it was not available under the Old Covenant; it is a New Covenant thing - that the Spirit will come and make our hearts the dwelling place. Why was it not possible under the Old Covenant? It was not possible under the Old Covenant because men's heart could not be the temple of God, because they were all sinners, and in the Old Covenant, only the blood of bulls and goats were available. They were only symbolic of what Christ would do and how his blood would cleanse us from all our sins and so on. It was only symbolically acted out in the sacrifices of the Old Testament. But in the New Testament it became reality. What was foreshadowed and typified in the Old Testament became real in the New Testament. So we are not living in the foreshadowing's now. We are living in the reality of what the Old Testament foreshadowed. So now we are a very privileged people. That is why Jesus said, "The greatest prophet of the Old Covenant or the Old Testament is John the Baptist." He lived under the period of the Old Covenant before the cross.

So the greatest prophet is John the Baptist under the Old Covenant, and he said, that the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than the greatest John the Baptist of the Old Testament. How can we be greater than Joseph the Baptist? One of the ways that we are greater than the big people of the Old Testament times - Abraham is a big guy. We read so much about him in the New Testament also. Abraham's faith and Abraham's blessing is talked about so much by Paul. Others are very popular like Moses and so on - great prophets, great men of God. People say, "How can say that we, the least among the New Testament believers, is greater than the Old covenant prophets,? the greatest of the Old covenant prophets? How is that possible? by this particular thing - That is... under the Old Covenant no matter how greatly they were used, how great a men of God they were, and how great a prophet they were, they could not have the Holy Spirit come and indwell them because they did not have the blood of Jesus to wash their sins away so that their hearts can become the temple of God. That was not available. It was all symbolic acting out, that is all. Only in the New Testament times we have the real washing of our sins and real cleansing that happens, real regeneration - new birth, so that we can become new creation. All these things were not available under the Old Covenant.

So, today you may be the least among the believers, but you are greater than the Old Covenant prophets, even the greatest prophets of the Old Testament - you are greater than that in that way, because you now have the indwelling spirit. So this was promised to them. Remember, God said to the people of Israel, "I will put my spirit within you." It was never realized under the Old Covenant. It remained a promise until Jesus came, died on the cross and washed men's sins away; so that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, so that now the Holy Spirit can come and indwell the believers.
So Abraham's blessings has two sides: One is the external blessings - the material blessings, which are spoken about much, in the Old Testament and this other blessing which they waited for, never enjoyed became reality through Jesus Christ under the New Covenant - that is the blessing of the indwelling of the Spirit, by which that we receive Spirit of God today, to dwell in us. Now this makes a huge change in us inwardly. This is the other side of blessing. Not just outward empowerment to succeed outwardly, but inwardly there is a lot of problem in man. Sin was pulling him down. Even though he can succeed outside, his own sins defeated him many times. Inwardly there was a lot of problem, and now under the New Covenant, there is the other side of the blessing - the indwelling spirit, a new heart, a new creation and so on. Now this change inwardly is the thing that we read about in Matthew gospel chapter 5 in the Beatitudes. Last two weeks I went through the Beatitudes, which begins with the word, "Blessed". See, it is talking about the blessing that has come in the Kingdom of God. If you are of the Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of God is already been inaugurated in a way. It will come in its fullness later on, but already inaugurated. That's the way the bible teaches. "Kingdom of God is in you." - It is something that is in us now. And Jesus Christ has become Lord and King in our lives.

The world may not have received him, but we have received him, and we have become the children of God, we have become sons and daughters of God, and we are in the Kingdom of God. Now in that Kingdom - because we are in the Kingdom, we are different people. What characterizes us are these qualities that we find in beatitudes - poor in spirit, mourning for all our wrongs, meekness, hunger and thirst for righteousness - mercy characterizes these people. They are pure in heart, they are peacemakers, and there are those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake. We looked at that. I showed you how these things characterize the people of the Kingdom. And I related it to work and how these things make a big difference in the area of work. Today I am going to do the same thing with the next three verses: 13, 14, 15 and 16 - four verses. And that is, we are going to take these two statements that Jesus gave about being salt of the earth and light of the world. And show you how this is going to work out in the area of work. So let me read to you this, You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Now, here Jesus is saying to the people that gathered to hear his Sermon on the Mount. He says, You are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world. Now, why did he make these statements and what did these statements mean to those that heard it and what does it mean to us? What he was saying is this: he had already told them that these are the qualities that characterized people in the Kingdom - they are peacemakers, they are merciful, they are meek and so on. This is the characterization of people in the Kingdom; but he now says I have a very important role for you in this earth. I want you to be in this earth, but for a purpose. You have an important role to play in this earth. You matter because you have an important role to play because you are the salt of the earth.

Now let us talk about the salt of the earth. Now we live in refrigeration days, so we think a little differently. In old times, in pre-refrigeration days or refrigerator days, if you said, "Salt", immediately what came to their mind is that its the ability to preserve food from rotting. - That is what came into their mind because they used it every day. Food was protected from rotting by the use of salt - they would rub it in meat and so on and keep it, and it will stay for a long time without rotting. So they thought about it in that way. So preservative - it is a preservative as far as those people were concerned. And then the next thing that would have naturally come to their mind is that food brings taste. Now I know that sometimes when you go to a doctor and he checks you up and you end up with one packet of salt for a day. With that one packet you have to manage the whole day - have you ever been in that situation like that? No greater punishment than that. You have to take this one packet of salt and just sprinkle a little bit in a breakfast, a little bit during lunch and little bit during dinner. That's all you can have, no more than that. That's terrible. You need to have the right amount of salt to be able to eat, otherwise you cannot. It is unacceptable.

Food is made tasty by the use of salt. Little bit of salt and so much food makes a whole lot of difference. It's amazing how salt works to bring wonderful taste to the food. Have you ever tasted some very good food and you know that it is good but something is missing. And you add a little bit more salt, immediately all the taste shows up from somewhere. It was missing that little more salt. So salt makes a difference. So they would have thought about salt as a preservative and they would have thought salt as a thing that brings taste. I heard about a bible study where they were discussing this - and everyone was asked to tell what salt is used for or what salt can do for them; and one of them said, "Yea, preservative", and the other said, "Yea, it gives taste". And one Chinese girl was there, it seems. And she thought about it and she said, "You know salt brings thirst." That's wonderful, if you keep thinking deeplyyou will come up with a lot of stuff.

Salt brings thirst. No wonder Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth." What did he mean? In the earth, everything is rotting because of sin and the fall, going from bad to worse and we know what that means. And in that world where everything is rotting and going to waste you are very necessary. Your presence in this world, your work in this world, your activity in this world, your participation in this world in every way is very important. Why? Because you are the preservative that God has in mind so that whatever is left of the good things in culture - in our culture, in every culture; whatever is left as good things from man's original creation, where God made him in the image and likeness of God. Some remnant of that likeness and goodness is left in man. Whatever is left is not also destroyed. You preserve the culture, you preserve the qualities that are good, that are in man. That are still there, even after the fall to some extent. You are the preservative God has in mind - these people, the kingdom people - as the ones that would be able to preserve from everything going completely rotten - that's what God has in mind. God also has in mind the fact that you may be able to make life more wonderful, tasty. Just imagine if only bad things that are happening in the world and only bad people did everything in the world, it will be unbearable life.

In the Old Testament times you read, in the beginning, people lived 900 years and so on. And then it reduced and reduced, and reduced, and then it came down to 120. God said that is enough. Because you don't want all the rowdies and the thugs, and smugglers, and all these bad people living for 700, 800 years. That would be a bad deal. So 120 is maximum, he said. Because you can't tolerate it. And even with 120 we still have a lot of problem because so many of them - the bad ones are living so long and causing so much trouble. So God had in mind this thing about the Kingdom people that they will not only be the preservative, that will keep their world from becoming totally rotten, but they will also bring some tastefulness in the world. Something beautiful and wonderful; that life will be livable, that you can tolerate it. You can actually enjoy, you can in this fallen, in this sinful world go to work, eat and drink and enjoy as the bible says. The bible says, It is man's portion to go and work and earn, and come and eat and drink, and enjoy. You should be able to that - even in a fallen world. It is your divine right to do that.

So God is thinking of these two things: preservatives and tastiness. But God is also thinking about the third thing that the Chinese girl was talking about; that is, thirst. Salt creates thirst. He wants you to be here as the salt of the earth, because when people see you at work, when you go to work, when you live your life - see, work is a very important part of our life. We say we work 8 hours; that's quite a lot of hours - significant time period of our daily life. Twenty four hours, eight hours is spent in work, but actually if you think of it we spend more like ten or twelve hours at work nowadays. And so, half of our life goes in working. Work has become such an important part. The other is family - we spend the rest with family and friends, and so on. So the family and work - if the work is not satisfying, if the work is not fulfilling, if you don't have meaning in work, if you can't make any sense of your working - if it doesn't make any sense to you, then I tell you, your whole life will be hell. The same way if can't have happiness in a home, then your whole life becomes very difficult because the home life is not good. You are not able to do your work, you are not able to carry on your other activity, your creativity and all of those things are hampered. You cannot even be the person that you are meant to be. It affects you in every way. So these two areas are very important, and I believe that is why the bible teaches so much about work and so much about family. That is why we are talking about work here. I have taught many many weeks about family also. So, we are talking about work right now. So God has these things in mind.

And the third thing is very much in the mind of God... that our presence in the world as salt of the earth is meant to create a thirst in others - all those that live around us and work around us; a thirst in their hearts to know the living God in whom we believe. We are supposed to be here and what they get out of us, the taste that they get out of us must bring thirst into them. They must seek God, they must want to find God and know God - the God whom we believe in. These are things that God has in mind. So I am talking about what Jesus meant when he said, "You are the salt of the earth." You can say many things about, you know, the books and others things talk about a lot of qualities about the salt. No, I am not going into that, but I am just saying plainly, the simple meaning of that thing. "You are the salt of the earth", literally got people into thinking - I believe in those days, at least about preservatives and tastiness and about the thirst that it must create. That there is a purpose for us being in this world - and this purpose for us being in this world is also the purpose at work, as we go to work in this world. Now, in order for salt to do its work - to bring the preservative qualities out and to bring taste and to bring thirst - to do its work, salt must come in contact with the thing that it wants to affect. For example if you want to preserve the meat, the salt must come in contact with meat; you got to rub it. Without the salt touching the meat, it's not it is not going to do anything to it. If it is in the shelf and the meat is on the table, the meat is going to rot and the salt is going to remain useless. Its qualities are there but it is not used. They are brought into contact - when they are brought into contact, then the thing begins to happen. So, I believe that when Jesus was saying, "You are the salt of the earth", he was literally saying, "Hey, don't withdraw into some woods, don't leave life because life is bad - because people are bad, because the world is bad and everything is evil and you don't like to mix with all these sinners." Hello, are you there? Or have you gone home? You don't like what's going on out there and you don't want to mess with all these people that are not right, that are no good.

A lot of people decide that a monastic life is better. That I will shut my door and remain in the back, and I will read my bible, I will meditate all day, and I will sing to the Lord and I will praise God, because I don't want any part of this world. This world is bad world - people are bad, evil. I don't want anything to do with this world. Now, it sounds nice - you see all these things sound nice always. The things that are not right, sound nice; that's the problem with it. That is why we preachers are there to show you that it is not nice and it is not right. It sounds right, but is it right? Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth". I didn't create you as a sanyasi, I didn't create you as a monk or a hermit. I made you to be in a world, to live in the society, to be the part of this world, interact with people, live among the people, deal with the people, do business among the people, transact with people in the world, deal with every situation. I want you to be there. Your influence is very important, your presence is very important - your presence is important because you are meant to be the salt. Just like the presence of salt in sambar is important. Ooh I love sambar. And those hearing from abroad, they don't know what sambar is. Believe me my friends - all hearing me from overseas, that must have come from heaven, literally. Every day I can eat sambar. Just as salt is important for the sambar, you are important. Your presence is important in this world.

When I was growing up, I grew up in very spiritual circles. I mean, almost too spiritual, you know. Most of them are so heavenly minded - there are no earthly good. The best thing they could have done is just die and go to heaven because they are always talking about heaven. Don't want this earth, they hated this world. They had no good opinion about the world. When you mentioned world, the equated it with hell. "World, I don't want the world", "I don't want to live in this world." Any problem they have they immediately lifted their hands to God, and say, "Lord I am ready to come." And lo, and behold, God never took them. And they were wondering why He is not taking. "I am telling Him that I am ready to come but He is not taking me at all." I know why He hasn't taken them, because He said, "You are supposed to be in the earth. I want you there. You are the salt of the earth." "We don't want you there", he says. "I will take care of heaven myself. I want you there - the salt of the earth. I want you to preserve culture; I want you to preserve the good things remaining there. I want you to bring tastefulness in this world. I want you to make life tolerable, enjoyable, delightful. I want you to be there. And I want you to create a thirst in those that do not know God - for God, for the living God that they don't know. I want you to be there", he says. Hello, are you glad you are here? I am glad I am here. And I want to be here for as long as possible. I am not in a hurry to go to heaven. So I am not praying the prayer, "Lord, take me there." Thank You, may your wish be granted.

The thing is the salt must come in contact with the thing it wants to preserve, that it wants to make tasteful. It must come and be sprinkled and must go in the stomach to create thirst. So, without contact, it is not possible. So Jesus when he said, "You are the salt of the earth", he was literally saying to them, "Hey, your presence is so important. I want you to be here. I want you to go everywhere. I want you to spread out and I want you to make a big impact in this world. Your business is important, your work is important, your family is important, your life is important. Don't ever think that you are not important. You are absolutely important in this world." First be convinced of that. Withdrawing is no answer, withdrawing is not spirituality - it is false spirituality. I know it is good to withdraw for few hours or one or two days to go and pray and fast - I am not objecting to that. I am objecting to total withdrawal; where you become so spiritual that you can't take the world and you want to completely withdraw - that is not scriptural at all. What is scriptural is that you are to remain in this earth, come in contact with the real world - with the world where everybody is living there, where the rubber meets the road and you have to interact with world. That is the place that God wants you in.

Now, why is he saying, "You are the salt of the earth?" If you understand verse 10 to 12, you will understand why he said, "You are the salt of the earth." In verse 10 he says, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. - So he is taking about persecution for righteousness' sake. Now when you try to go and live as a peacemaker, as a merciful person - like the beatitudes tell us - as a person who is poor in spirit, the person who hungers and thirsts after righteousness, a person who is pure in heart - not all the time you will be appreciated. Sometimes you will get into problem just because of that; because you are so strikingly different from all the rest of the bunch that is there. So, sometimes you get into a really big problem just because you are different. You may be persecuted for righteousness' sake. Just because you want to be right with God and right with everybody and do the right thing, you will get into trouble. Have you experienced that? You will think that if you doing wrong you will get into trouble. But nowadays you don't get into trouble for doing it wrong; you get into trouble for doing right. That is the world - that is how the world has changed. And Jesus is looking at the possibility and he says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sakes", and then he tells them, "Blessed are they revile and persecute you (verse 11) and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake, Verse 12 says, Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven. And so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." And then only he says, "You are the salt of the earth."

I believe that he is trying to encourage those people that have lived right, that have expressed this righteousness of God, that have been living for God sincerely in this world, as peacemakers, as the merciful, as the pure in the heart, and so on. And so because of that they got into trouble. And they are wondering what is happening: I am doing right, I am doing things for God. I am for righteousness, making a stand for him. Why am I in trouble? To them he is saying, "You are the salt of the earth." Now, what does that mean? To say to the people that are persecuted, "You are the salt of the earth." He means to say, "Hey, don't be perturbed by the persecution because your presence as salt has more power than the persecution." You may feel the persecution bothering you right now, but your presence as salt in this earth is more powerful. Why? Because your presence is like the presence of the leaven - you heard the leaven, right - in chapter 13 in Matthew - verse 33, Jesus talks about how the Kingdom of God is like the little leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of meal - until the whole was leavened. So, you take a little leaven and put it along with a lot of flour. And the whole thing is leavened by morning. Overnight you leave it, you don't hear big sounds coming out of it; like rockets flying or like something like that. It doesn't make any sounds, it doesn't make any impressive noises. You feel like, "What is it doing. I put that leaven in that dough. Is it doing anything?" You want to open it up and check it, but leave it alone. It looks like it is not doing anything, it is totally silent, it looks like there is no activity going on. But sure enough when you go check it the next morning it's totally leavened - completely leavened. Isn't that something?

And Jesus is saying, "Hey, those who are persecuted, I am telling you - persecution may look something big - very impressive, threatening, and so on. Don't be impressed by that. Be impressed by the power of your presence in this world. You are like the salt of earth - you be there. You stick on to your principles, you live as you live. And you continue as you can. You keep doing the things the right way that you keep doing. And what will happen is whole society will be impacted by you in some way or the other, pretty soon, because this is a silent worker. Salt is a silent worker. It doesn't make any show and noise, and all of that - but it does sure work.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, let me read it to you one beautiful verse. I think that expresses it very well; because Paul knows a lot about it. He says it like this: 2nd Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 14, says like this, Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. - See, he is going around doing ministry. Some places he is arrested, some places he is beaten, some places he is persecuted. So when he says here, "Thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph". Some people say, "What does he mean by triumph? You know he getting beaten, he has been thrown in jail, he is persecuted, he is driven out. What does he mean, "He always causes us to triumph." Yes outwardly these persecutions seem like they are big. It looks like something big going on against him. He is not impressed by that. He says, "Because through us, God diffuses the fragrance of the knowledge of God in every place." Yea, persecution looks big when they throw us in jail, beat us and all that; but you don't know something - the fragrance of the knowledge of God - I love the word that he is using, "the fragrance". And everybody understands fragrance. Now if you had a strong - some kind of a strong scent and brought it into the room, pretty soon everybody will start smelling it. You don't know exactly what it is, but it is nice. You say, "It smells good." He says, "The gospel I am preaching may not sound impressive, may not look like it is doing something great, but the fragrance of the knowledge of God. I am preaching Christ, I am preaching about this living God among people that don't know the living God, among the Gentiles. He says, but when I preach and I receive persecution because of that, I am not impressed by the persecution because I know what my preaching is doing. It is bringing the knowledge of God to people and that knowledge is spreading like a fragrance everywhere. Every place it is spreading. It is spreading very fast." So that at one time, in one instance when Paul went into a town they said, "The people who turned the world upside down are here", they said. Read the bible in the book of Acts. They turned the world upside down - these people are here. I don't know why Christians today are not known as people that turn the world upside down. We are meant to be people like that. We are meant to spread the fragrance of the gospel, the knowledge of God, which fragrance will spread everywhere we go. In your work spot it will spread. Everywhere it will spread. You need a microphone, you don't need the ability to speak, you don't need anything. The fragrance of God, the knowledge of God, lived out through you in the gospel, lived out in the work-place will spread and everyone will know that you got something on that they don't have.

Nowadays people are interested - what perfume you are using? What is it that you are using? So people will come to you and say, "Hey, what is that. That is nice, that smells good, that looks good. How are you like this? What made you like this? What is it about you?" That is what Paul is talking about. It makes an impact in ways that you would never imagine; in every place it makes an impact. He says, persecution is not like that; it is a few stripes here and there, in a few days of jail. But this one has a lasting impact everywhere - changing people with the knowledge of God.

Alright, if you are to be the salt of the earth, then you better have salt. Have you seen salt without salt? Some time ago I told a story about a guy who is selling mutton samosa in beach. He is going around selling soodaana mutton samosa. Saw an old man sitting there and said, "Come here" And got it. The guy got the money and left; and he put the samosa in his mouth and it was cold, stale. He called the fellow and he said, "Come here. You said soodaana mutton samosa. What happened to the "Hot mutton samosa?" I don't feel any heat at all in this. It is cold." The fellow said, (you won't believe the answer), He said, "Sir, that is only the name. It doesn't mean that it is hot. They named it like that. It is written in the can that I am carrying it in. Just the name is, "Hot mutton samosa". You can't expect it to be hot. So some people are like that. They are supposed to be the salt, but don't have the salt. What is it to have salt in yourself? How does the bible speak about?

Let me just read to you a couple of verses quickly. Colossians chapter 4 and verse 6: Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt (See, all the bible talks about salt - seasoning with salt) that you may know how you ought to answer each one. - Have you seen some people that they open their mouth and speak, you wish they didn't have a mouth. They will speak such utter-rubbish. I mean if words come out it's going to hurt somebody - somebody is going to cry for the rest of the week you know. So hurtful their words are and no thinking behind it, no mercy in it, no compassion in it, no love in it. Nothing in it - it doesn't have salt. It is something that you cannot digest, you cannot take, you cannot accept. It is like a salt-less food. You want to spit it out. That is the way their words are like; but when your words are seasoned with compassion, goodness, love, understand, mercy, forgiveness. When your words are characterized by that, that means you have got salt in yourself. Now you can check whether you have salt or not. That is a good way to check. That means you got salt. He says, "We people who have salt, let your speech always be with grace." - Gracefullness in speech and conduct means that a person has this Christian salt where Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth."

One more verse Mark chapter 9 and verse 50: Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? - Is there any way to season salt? Now if there is anything that needs season, you can season it with salt. But if the salt loses it saltiness, how will you season it. "Have salt in yourselves" - What does that means? How do you have salt in yourself and have peace with one another? - See if you live in peace with one another, that means you got salt. Have you seen people that live fighting one another all the time? Day and night they fight. And they sit down they fight, get up and they fight - morning, afternoon, night they fight. They live fighting all the time. No salt. You ask them what their name is: They will say, "Peter, Paul." Both apostles are there, or "John, James" or something like that. But no salt. It is called salt. The cover says salt, the packet says salt, but no salt, no taste. Why? Because there is no peace - peace with one another is having salt. That is the way the bible discusses it. And there are very many other references. You can go through it and think about it. But the thing is this: What it does is it slowly works, affects and impacts, and influences. So that everywhere the presence of the salt can be felt so that everything that salt touches has the flavor of the salt. Christians who don't have salt are people like salt that has lost its favor. You can't do nothing with it - it's unprofitable, no use for anybody; no fruitfulness.

Let me just quickly say something about (in 5 minutes) about the light of the world. Because I wanted to concentrate mainly on the salt thing because there is a lot we can understand through that. But regarding the light let me say this. When Jesus said, "You are the light of the world", it's about shining for Jesus, really. The bible many times tells us that we are the light in the Lord. Ephesians chapter 5, says, "You were darkness, but you are now light in the Lord" It calls you light. And Philippians 2:15 says that you must shine as lights. Christ calls himself the light of the world, and we reflect that light that we have in and through Christ. So light is something wonderful. Just imagine what would have happenedwhen God just stood there in the midst of the darkness, chaos and emptiness in the beginning; when the world was without form and empty; and darkness was upon the face of the earth. God stood there and said, "Let there be light" How welcome light would have been. What a wonderful thing light would have been. When the light shined out of darkness, when there was no light, when God spoke light and light came. Just think about what difference it would have made. That is the kind of difference we are supposed to make in this world.

When 2 Corinthians 4 tells us that when the gospel came to us - into our hearts and we started believing and we got saved, it is exactly the same kind of experience. It says, in the beginning, the God who in the midst of darkness, shined His light into the world has shined his light now in our hearts - That is the way Paul says it. It has happened again - all over again, the same effect. When? When we receive Jesus as our Lord, when Jesus came into our life, it was just like in the dark world chaotic, empty world, light shined all of a sudden and made all the difference. Now light shines in our hearts through Jesus Christ, he says. What a wonderful thing. And now we are supposed to shine. Just imagine the kind of impact that we make in this world. When talking about that light he says, "You are light of the world. A city that it set on a hill cannot be hidden." - Look at the description that God gives of the believers. It's a city set on a hill - you are exhibit. You are set there so that others can see. All eyes, God wants to be on you.He wants everybody to see you; He wants to make you a spectacular display before the world - put you before the world, set you up as light. If you go out there we have got a big posts and we have got lights on top of it. Why we need light out there? At night when you are coming and you need light out there. We have set up lights. And God has set every one of us as lights in this world. "You are the light of the world", he says. I want you to shine. The world needs that light. The world is a dark place and everywhere you shine, there would be a difference. The same kind of difference that it made in Genesis chapter 1, verse 3 when God said, "Let there be light." And just like in 2nd Corinthians 4, verse 4 to 6 where in our hearts the light shined. The same kind of difference must come wherever you go and where you shine for Jesus in the dark minds, in the dark hearts, in the hopelessness of people, in the midst of their tears, and worries and fears - light must shine. "I want you to shine the light", he says. So he set it up as light. We are set up as lights, so that is why we got to watch out because everybody is looking at us. You remember wherever light is everybody looks light. That is why the shops have all the bright lights because they want you to look at. And if you are set up as light you better be careful because everybody is looking at you. That is why we got to live right and do things right and so on because we are a display item. People are watching, looking. So they must look at good things, they must see Christ, they must see God's nature, they must see God's qualities displayed. But not only that, we must shine. How do you shine? You must shine with your gifts, and abilities and talents.

See, God has endowed us with gifts and abilities, and talents so that that will put us before this world. Every single person is endowed with some gift, some ability, some talent. That in some way puts you before this world in your own realm wherever you are. Not everybody is the same - thank God for that. That would be a boring world; everybody is different. And everybody is special because God has given you a special gift and a talent, and ability. But the problem is some people have taken that and what they have done is - they light a lamp and they put it under a basket, instead of on a lampstand. God wants to put it on a lampstand so that it may give light to the whole house, it says. That is the purpose of light. Nobody lights a light and puts it under a basket. The purpose of light is so that it may give light. When Jesus said, "You are the light of the world" - he says, your purpose is to shine before this world. Some Christians have some reservations about shining. I remember a man used to play piano accordion so well, and sing and really very impressive back in those days. Another guy came along and told him, "God showed me that your piano accordion playing is attracting people, which is wrong", he said. It is attracting people. So you leave your pianoaccordion - that is the only thing he has got. This guy is not a great preacher or anything. He is a good piano accordionplayer. If he sings you can listen to him all day; but if he preaches, it is not the same. And it made him quit playing the piano accordion. Because you are displaying your talents, your abilities.

My friend you have your abilities and talents are given to display. But what is your thinking behind that display. The display is not so that people can look at you and say, "Oh there is none in the world like you." Now if you believe that nonsense, then God help you. The same people will put you down also. Look at the cricket players. They hit a century, and a big write up; and next time they fail, big write up again. They want to hide under a pillow. So, it is not for you to be glorified. You see, God gives you gifts and abilities and talents so that not that you maybe glorified. Look at how it says it in verse 15, "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand that gives light to all those who are in the house." Let your light so shine, giving light to everybody; let is shine. Let the people see, let people enjoy the light. People enjoy the gifts, and abilities, and talents that you have. Go and express it. Make people relish it, hear those songs, hear the music, hear what you have got to give to them. Let people enjoy it. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works; and glorify you? No, glorify the Father in heaven.

So there is nothing wrong in going out there, using our gifts and talents, and abilities. You don't have to be apologetic about it. You don't have to hide and say, "No, No, I am nothing brother." This is the kind of background I came from. -"I am nothing. I am like the dust. I know I am no good. I am nothing." It is false humility. I am not the dust, I am the light. I don't know why you become like that. People say, "I am like the donkey that carried Jesus." People don't want to be the man that God made them to be. They want to be a donkey. God never made us to be a donkey. He made us to be a man, in the image and likeness of God. So, I am not a dust, I am not a nothing. I am a child of God. God wants you and I to be set up as a city on a hill so that people can see, and your light can shine, what God has put within you can benefit people, it can reach people, the light can shine in their hearts and they can be blessed by it. And there is nothing wrong in it as long as you don't take the glory, but give God the glory. Amen. So you got to watch out for people that say, "Oh, there is no one like you." You got to say, "Next comes a slap" - these same people. You got to always say, "No, it is not me, it is God. I never brought in this world. Everything that I got, God has given as a gift." That is our response to the good things that people find in us. And as long as you do it, people will see God's glory and glorify God in heaven. You are a vessel used to bring glory to God; to draw attention to God. So everything that you do must draw attention to the one who has given you these things.


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