Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered September 3, 2011 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Savory Saints

Luke 14:34-35

(RealAudio available)

The Bible talks about salt.  It says that salt can lose its savor.  The Bible says that salt is good and modern science says, you better slow down on the salt.  You're going to get high blood pressure.  So who is right?  We go by the Bible, right?  And we go by our doctors orders. 

So what did Jesus mean?  In Jesus' day, in many, many areas, salt was about as rare as snow in a well regulated July.  It just didn't happen very much.  In fact, the Romans were paid in salt.  That's where the word 'salary' comes from.  In some countries they would take salt and the equivalent amount, ounce for ounce, they would trade for gold.  Slaves were purchased with salt.  Often times they would say, are you worth your salt?  So you understand where that comes from.  There are about 14,000 uses that industry has for salt.  About 3% of the world's production is involved in your kitchen. 

Now Matthew 5 says something else about salt that's interesting to me.  Turn to Matthew 5:13.  It says, you are the salt of the earth.  Now what does that mean?  You are the salt.  Jesus didn't say you ought to be the salt of the world, or you should be, or you might want to be.  He said, you are.  I think this means several different things. 

Number one, it means you are the flavor of the Earth.  Turn to Job 6:6.  It says here, is tasteless food eaten without salt?  Imagine popcorn with no salt.  Is there a flavor in the white of an egg?  Some food you just have to salt them to bring out the flavor.  A Christian adds a good flavor, wholesome, honest flavor to his neighborhood, to his family, to his workplace.  Salt brings out the best in food and you are the salt of the world so you should bring out the best in the people that you associate with.  The Christian will be cheerful and bring out cheerfulness in his family.  Bring out the flavor of Jesus.  When I salt my grits, I don't say, wow!  That was great salt.  I say, wow! those were great grits.  Our life needs to magnify Jesus Christ and we are the salt of what?  The Bible says, you are the salt of the earth.  The whole Earth.  The whole world.  The entire planet. 

You realize that the Christian organization is the only organization on Earth that exists for people who are not the members of that organization.  Oliver Wendell Holmes thought he would be a Christian minister once, but he said, I was discouraged from doing it because all the ministers that I met looked too much like undertakers.  We ought to be a little bit happy.  If you want people to become Christians, then you need to look like you are not a refugee from a dill pickle jar.  You need to look like you have a little bit of happiness to your life.  Christians ought to be happy. 

Number two.  Not only should we add a good flavor, we should also be a preservation agent, because salt is a preservative.  Before refrigeration and the invention of ammonia and all that stuff, they used to preserve meat by salt, and smoke.  Salt is a preservative and so I think Christians are a hedge against the corruption of the world.  Microorganisms can't really live very well in salty atmosphere.  So we are the salt of the world. 

Thousands of Napoleon's troops died during his retreat from Moscow because their wounds would not heal because they did not have enough salt in their body.  Salt is pretty important.  There's only 4 ounces in your body but that's a very necessary 4 ounces.  Christians are a group who have a lot of salt.  We are a cleansing agent, a preservation agent.  Christians are like a cleansing antiseptic.  We're sort of like triple antibiotic ointment.  We clean the world up. 

The ancient world was corrupt.  In fact, Rome was likened to a filthy sewer and all the Christians were sent to Rome and Christianity began to clean up the corruption in Rome.  They brought in the antiseptic of Christ and applied it to the poison of life.  It made a big difference.  A cleansing influence to all that corruption.  I think Christians leave a trail of cleanliness wherever they go.  If you go into a land where there are cannibals, Christian missionaries change that and it becomes a safe place to be.  Salt keep things from getting rotten.  It's a good thing.  So that's why we as Christians make better employees.  We make better citizens.  Better neighbors.  So you all go out and be good neighbors this afternoon.  Smile at your neighbors.  Be friendly with them. 

If you were to evaporate a ton of water from the Pacific ocean, you would get 79 pounds of salt.  If you evaporate a ton of water from the Atlantic Ocean you would get 81 pounds salt.  If you evaporated, one ton, 2000 pounds of water from the Dead Sea, you would get 500 pounds of salt.  Salt concentrations vary, don't they?  The Earth's bodies of water have varying degrees of salt.  How much salt is in you? 

The Bible says something interesting.  In Luke 14:34, it says salt is good.  There's only one person who's good in this world, and that's Jesus Christ.  So I think salt represents Jesus.  Desire of Ages says that.  Page 439.  Christ's righteousness is the saving salt to the Christian.  So how can salt represent both me, you are the salt of the world, and represent Christ.  Two different things.  How can that be?  Because we are containers of Jesus in our life.  That's what we are.  As Christians we are to be containers of Christ. 

I have a salt shaker here that is full of salt.  This represents the Christian.  The two are one.  When you say, please pass the salt, what comes?  The shaker and all.  Their combined.  We say that a lot at our house.  Would you pass the salt please.  And here comes the shaker with salt in it.  We are like that.  When Christ is in us, it's very important.  Salt of the Christian represents the Christ-likeness of that Christian. 

Can you lose your saltiness?  Do you think salt could lose its saltiness?  Would that be possible.  We can, as Christians, lose our Christianity.  We could become insipid and tasteless and if we lose our salt, the Bible says, we're neither fit for human consumption or even for the manure pile.  If you lose your relationship with Jesus Christ, what value are you?  Not much.  You won't be saved.  You won't even be thrown out onto the manure pile.  You'll just be thrown out onto the road to walk on, much like just as in the earth made new the righteous walk on the ashes of the wicked. 

How does salt lose its flavor?  Matthew 5:13.  If the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  There are salt mines underneath Detroit Michigan.  That salt has been there for probably 4000 and some years.  Since the time of the flood.  It's an enduring mineral, so these deposits are thousands of years old.  It doesn't spoil.  You can't spoil when you are salt.  Even though the salt may grow hard and lumpy, it still salt.  So it can't spoil and even if you heat it up to 1474 degrees and it melts, once it cools down, it's just plain salt again.  You can't destroy it. 

So how can it lose its flavor?  By contamination. That's how.  It can get contaminated.  How can you lose Christ?  How can you lose your saltiness.  By contamination.  It'll be all gone.  It'll happen.  I will tell you the spiritual implications of this.  The Seventh-day Adventist church today, if our members are choked by the cares of this old world, we will lose our unique flavor.  We are God's last day remnant church.  We don't want to lose our flavor.  We need to hear old-fashioned Bible preaching that uplifts Jesus Christ.  We need to uplift the truth that we have.  We must not lose our unique flavor. 

Jesus said in John 17:15, even though we have to live in this old world, we are not to be a part of this world.  Even though you are in this world, you can be uncontaminated salt.  You can be, through the power of Christ.  You don't have to be bad. 

George Barna is a researcher.  I want to read you a quote from George Barna.  It says here, the average Christian in the average church is almost indistinguishable from the rest of society.  Do you believe that?  When Christian teenagers get pregnant and do drugs at the same rate as the general teenage population, when the marriages of Christians end in divorce at the same rate as the rest of society, when Christians cheat in business or lie and steal and cheat on their spouses at the same statistical level as those who say they are non-Christians, something is horribly wrong.  Last week I preached on abuse between husband and wife.   I said that the abuse rate inside of the Seventh-day Adventist church is more, it's higher than the rate on the outside of the Seventh-day Adventist church.  That's what we're talking about here.  We've got to be different.  We don't want to lose our unique flavor.  We want to be uncontaminated.  We want to be quality above what the rest of the world might be. 

What is the purpose of a salt shaker?   To contain salt?  No, that's not the purpose at all.  Its purpose is to dispense salt.  Either you shake or you're going to cake.  Sadly, many churches are the salt of the salt.  We're not the salt of the earth, we're the salt of the salt.  We're using our talents to edify each other.  That should not be.  We are the salt of the earth.  We should be dispensers of Jesus.  Most salt shakers are transparent and you need to be transparent, you need to let others see Jesus in you. 

Almost half of the people in Collegedale are Seventh-day Adventists.  If you were to take a 1 pound potato and add 8 ounces of salt would that make a big difference.?  If you take 50% of Collegedale are Seventh-day Adventists, shouldn't that make a big difference in our community?  Shouldn't this community be almost perfect?  With so much good quality salt around.  That's what I'm getting at.  I want us to be a little better grade.  When people speak of you let them speak highly of you.  Be worth your salt. 

Leonardo da Vinci painted a picture of the Last Supper.  In front of Judas he has a salt shaker that has been spilled.  Judas lost his salt.  Did you ever notice that when you look at that picture.  Too many Christians have lost Jesus.  They're members of the church but they've lost Jesus.  They were too contaminated with the world to see any difference.  George Barna talks about them.  They're worse than an empty salt shaker.  Contaminated salt is hypocritical salt.  Christians without Christ are worse than the heathens.  It's too bad. 

I think we need to get out of our shakers and go out and spread Jesus to the world.  Go down to this meth infested trailer park.  Go down to Chattanooga.  Make a difference.  Go to the hurting neighborhoods and make a difference. 

Salt is a miracle.  I talked with one of our chemists over at Southern.  Dr. Mensmer, and he said, chemically, salt is NaCl.  Sodium chloride.  Made of chloride and sodium.  If you separate those two hydrochloric acid is what you get.  You put that on your hand and hold a handful of it and after a little while, it's dripping out the other side of your hand.  It's made a hole all the way through.  But if you add sodium to hydrochloric acid, what happens?  A tremendous reaction.  A lot of energy is released from that thing, but the residue after it's all over is just salt water.  You could dehydrate it again and use it on your food.  These two terrible compounds. 

And just so, when God pours his sodium, his grace, onto my acidic nature my decayed, sinful, fleshly nature, the result is a miracle.  A transformation.  I'm changed.  By his miracle my acid is gone.  I'm sweet.  I'm tasteful.  I'm fit to use again.  I become a new person because of his blessing.  The preservation of the world becomes my goal. 

Number four.  Salt produces thirst.  That's something that a good Christian ought to do.  You should produce thirst.  Thirst for what?  For Jesus Christ.  For Christ likeness.  Thirst that somebody wants to be like you are.  Strong thirst for Christianity.  A positive impression of God. 

In other words, let me get this right down to the bare bones here.  I went over here to four corners.  There's a gas station there.  This was several years ago.  I saw in the window of that gas station all kinds of canceled checks that the owner of the gas station had taped to the window of his gas station.  I said, what are all those for, JB?  He said, well that's all the bounced checks that I've gotten this month.  What!!?  I said, can I look at this.  He said, help yourself.  That's why they're there.  I want everybody to see who these people are, and I saw several of my member's names there. 

You know what, when you write a check that bounces, what should you do?  You know it bounced, right, so what should you do?  You need to march right down there and pay your bill.  That's what I mean by let's be good salt.  Seventh-day Adventist Christians ought to be the people who are known for paying their bills.  We pay our bills on time.  We pay them and we don't always try to get a discount.  We're honest.  We write checks that don't bounce.  We're the best employees that you can hire.  We produce a spiritual thirst for Jesus in others.  Like a zebra in a herd of horses, we stand out.  We're different.  We should be better. 

Christians, in order to change the world, must come into contact with the world, and salt will not do any good in the shaker.  It's got to come out.  Get out of your shakers.  I think the shaking time is coming, don't you?  We've got to get out. 

Number five.  Salt illustrates how you're saved.  If you look at Numbers 18:19, it goes into the covenant of salt.  Before the Israelites could get their sins forgiven they had to slaughter a lamb and they had to add salt to that lamb.  The sacrifice was no good without a little bit of salt on it. 

Your works are no good without the righteousness of Jesus, because salt represents Christ.  Don't miss that point.  Only Jesus Christ and his perfect righteousness will make our best efforts acceptable to God.  No good works without Christ can gain any towards your salvation.  We are saved by accepting the free righteousness of Jesus Christ.  So I want you to be a good Christian. 

Do you know what is the most objectionable thing?  Gandhi was asked this question.  He was the spiritual leader of India.  Somebody asked him, what is the greatest hindrance to Christianity in India today?  Gandhi without even thinking said, Christians.  They like what you say you believe.  Do they like what they see in you?  Do they? 

Let's be good salt.  Remember that salt is Jesus and salt is you, and when you put those two salts together you have the most valuable object in the world.  Jesus came to die for you.  Not for junk, or something worse.  Are you worth your Jesus?  If you invite him into your heart you will be a salt container.  If you witness you will be a salt shaker.  A dispenser of Jesus.  Familiar words at our table are, please pass the salt.  May I suggest to you that the world wants Jesus.  The world wants an honest farmer, an honest doctor, an honest teacher.  Somebody who is filled with Jesus.  A dispenser of Jesus.  So pass Jesus onto your family.  Pass the salt, and give Jesus a good shake.


Hymn of Praise: #29, Sing Praise to God
Scripture: Luke 14:34-35
Hymn of Response: #370, Christ for the World
Sermon Notes:  Sermon notes available as PDF



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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 10/14/11