SEPTEMBER 6, 2019·
My wife tried an experiment year ago and brought
home some coffee she had bought in one of those coffee shops. It was
a “flavored” coffee (though, flavored with what, I don’t
know). There was only one problem: It had so much “flavoring”
in it, it did not taste like coffee. Now, I know how real coffee is
supposed to taste (most preachers do), and I want my coffee to taste
like coffee. This stuff had lost its distinctive “coffee”
taste by being mixed with so many other ingredients.
This incident reminded me of what Jesus said to
His church in the Sermon on the Mount. “Ye are the salt of
the earth.” Salt has a distinctive flavor, and all of the
“lite” salts and salt substitutes in the world cannot match
it. Can you imagine someone tampering with the flavor of salt, adding
“extra” ingredients, in order to make it taste better? All
they would do is cause it to taste like something other than
I believe something similar is happening to the
Lord’s churches and to the truths they are to preach. Men are trying
to change the flavor. “Let’s not make church seem like church,
and let’s try to sweeten those doctrines which taste so bitter to the
lost and religious world” seems to be the attitude of the day.
In other words, “Let’s try to change the taste of the salt.”
Also, many churches have become so mixed with other ingredients that
they have lost their distinctive flavor. (Sadly, it seems that some
do not want the distinction that standing firmly for the truth
will give them.)
By the way, I poured the “flavored”
coffee out and made some coffee that tasted like the real thing.
Jesus said of the salt that has lost its distinctiveness, “It
is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be
trodden under foot of men.” And, I believe the Lord has done
and will do the same with churches that refuse to stand for Him and
the truth of His Word. May God bless us and grant us grace so that WE
do not “lose our flavor.”
PEOPLE’S POLITICAL PLATITUDES
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
Every four years, the country suffers the deluge of political platitudes in sufficient quantity to ensure voter weariness. But, it is expected, and among those who actually think, most of the grand promises are taken with a grain of salt. However, in this context, it is troubling to note an apparent lack of understanding about the history of the nation and its relationship to God. It is oft heard that “America needs to return to God!” or some similar statement of the same import, except in recent political rallies where He has been booed. Really?
Looking back, in the early days of this country, Baptists were imprisoned for nothing more than preaching Bible truth. They were taxed against their will to build church houses of Protestant denominations. To be sure, the Lord’s churches have enjoyed a tremendous degree of freedom here, and flourished therein, but most of those freedoms came about because God blessed the consistent, pressing efforts of His people. Moreover, this also was not without undesirable repercussions.
So, in the general context of religious life, America is noted as a “Christian” nation. However, the persistent rejection of foundational ethics of Judeo-Christian origin, moral, ethical, and religious standards have been in more of a nose dive than on a slippery slope.
The bottom line is that as a nation, America has never been in step with God. The platitude of “America needs to return to God” would better be stated, “America needs to turn to God.”
It is still true that Satan is the god of this world. His power is such that he offered the kingdoms of this world to Jesus if only He would worship him. Was the offer legit? Surely it was, and had to be in order for it to be a temptation.
But it is demonstrably true that God had and has much to do with this country, much more than the country has to do with Him! It is lamentable, but Bible students have read the last chapter of the Holy Book. The sinking of nations into the cesspools of sin is a precursor to the return of Jesus. Meanwhile, how nice it would be if leaders would learn that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people!” Prov. 14:34 Still, it is not recommended that anyone hold his breath until this happens. When the voting is done reality continues until the next four year period. Truly, those who know God should pray for our country.
YE ARE THE “WHAT” OF THE EARTH?
Jesus began His marvelous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7) with the oft repeated beatitudes. The last one of those speaks of His disciples suffering persecution, slander, etc. for Jesus’ sake. They were told to rejoice to have the honor of being in class with the prophets of old, and that they should know their reward in heaven is great. It was then that Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
In all things, it is important to establish context correctly. Let the reader please note that Jesus withdrew Himself from the crowd, and retreated into a mountain place. Then His disciples came to Him, and He taught them there. So, Jesus was teaching His blood-bought, baptized, and called out disciples. This remains the basic definition of a New Testament Church. The message should be received in that context.
It follows then that a church, if it is what it is designed to be, is the savory spice to the world in an unsavory spiritual state. Think with me about the properties, and the spiritual application. A single point is being put forward.
Salt is a wonderful substance. Both health and enjoyment of diet are dependent upon it. A little salt makes bland and distasteful food desirable. It only takes a little, but it must be there. If salt loses its savory power, it is as useless or more-so than sawdust. In fact, it really is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trodden down. In like manner, churches make up a very small percentage of population, but their spiritual testimony savors (influences) the actions and restraints of many, even of governments and nations. If the Lord’s churches lose their savor; their purpose; their prime directives; they will become as unsavory salt and meet the same end. It is not the purpose of the Lord’s churches to cure society’s ills, provide for recreational or social programs, but to be the pillar and ground of the truth for which it is designed. (shame on church members, pastors, too, who have learned nothing in years!) Moreover, since churches may not be divorced from their membership, it is incumbent upon every legitimate church member to be the practical manifestation and presentation of that spiritual salt without apology, as though it were Jesus in person making the presentation. Will that create problems? You bet it will! That is the subject matter of the beatitudes. Read them again! One should not expect the reward if he fails to be savory in the field of battle.
I fully believe these things are true to the Holy Word. Moreover, they speak of the kind of Christian I strive to be.