The Salt Factory

If you want to be the salt of the earth, go to the Salt Factory.


Good morning.  My name is David Sorn.  I’m the pastor of Renovation Church
We just have one announcement this morning
If you haven’t signed up for a HG yet, do so today.  They start this week
In fact, one group starts tonight.  
Our groups are packed w/ people…90 people have signed up so far.  
HG’s are a combination of large group/small group
HUGE value here at Renovation Church.
This is a church that believes in your being in community w/ other Christians and not just being a number in the seats.  
If you want to sign-up still, stop by the HGs table, and one of our house leaders can get you signed up, give you information, and even a map to your house.  
Let me just pray for this morning’s message.  

We are continuing our “Greatest Sermon Ever Preached” series on the Sermon on the Mount…A message that Jesus gives in Matthew chapters 5-7
Last week we talked about the first 12 verses of Matthew 5…which are sort of the introduction (an overview) of the whole sermon
And this week, we are going to get into some more of the content of Jesus’ message

1 of the things I love about Jesus (and fell in love w/ when I first started reading the Bible) is that so often he takes things from everyday life and uses them to explain spiritual truth
It’s a big part of the inspiration for how I speak
Lots of times when people talk about God, they’re pretty boring about it.  
But Jesus is so interesting to read (and prob was interesting to listen to) because he so often uses examples from real life.  
And in today’s section of the Bible we are studying, he uses two different examples from real life:  Salt & Light.
Let’s start with the first one:  Salt
(Matthew 5:13) - NIV
13"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 by men.
Okay…so what does that mean?  To me anyway, to be salty isn’t intuitively a compliment.  Is it? What does it mean to be the salt of the earth???
Whenever we study the Bible, it’s important realize that you can’t interpret it through our modern lens and how we see things
Let me explain…
Why do we use salt?    (For seasoning)
However, if that’s not how they used it in the ancient world, then it doesn’t matter how we use salt today
Fortunately, I wasn’t totally leading you astray because that is one of the ways they used salt in Jesus’ day……but that was just one of the ways and probably not even the main way
They also used it in other ways too…
It’s most common usage was actually probably as a Preservative.  They didn’t have refrigerators, but salt could be rubbed into meat or fish to slow decay.  
It was also used sometimes even as a fertilizer
And then of course it was sometimes used as a seasoning as well
So which one is he talking about?
Most scholars think Jesus is probably talking about all 3… or a better way to say it is just the usefulness of salt.  
So…He’s basically saying that…We are, Jesus’ followers that is, the salt of the earth.  We are to be what helps keep this world from decaying. We are the ones that are to help enhance the growth of God’s work in the earth, and We are to be the seasoning in people’s lives.  
Well, what is the context of this passage?  What was Jesus just talking about?
The last 12 verses were His introduction of what life can be like when we submit to Him as King…
And this is no different.  
We’re not going to change the world by just trying hard on our own.  
It’s by submitting to Him and let Him change us into salt
I had a Youth Pastor co-worker friend at Constance Free Church who went to Iowa State for college.  
And there’s a large church down there that has a huge college ministry, and I LOVE the name of their ministry
They call it the SALT COMPANY.  
Because really, that’s the imagery we need.  We become salt of the earth because Jesus is the Salt Company.  He is the Salt FACTORY. And when we start a relationship w/ Him…when we sit under his feet…he turns us into salt.  HE is the factory that makes us salty. It’s nothing from our own strength

Let’s read that first verse again:
(Matthew 5:13) - NIV
13"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 by men.
Can salt lose its saltiness?  Can it lose its flavor?
No.  It can’t.  Sodium Chloride is a stable compound, so it can’t lose its flavor.
So what did Jesus mean?
Most people think that he is using an idiom from his day or a saying
There was a proverb from Jesus’ time where they would say, “Does salt lose its flavor?”  Which was an idiom/a saying for “DUH. NO.”
Kind of like we would say, “IS the Pope Catholic?”  (YEAH!)
This sort of language continues in the next verses…city on a hill can’t be hidden…you don’t put a light under a bowl…
So what does that mean with our verse?  
It’s kind of like Jesus is saying this, “Listen, You are the salt of the earth.  You are my salt. You’re always going to be my salt. You can’t stop being salty and no longer be good for anything.  You always will be.”
Because if you know Jesus…you ARE Salt.  You will have an impact (at least to some degree).  His Spirit lives in you and is moving in you.
However, there are imposters right.  People who try to do the “spiritual/Christian” things but really don’t know Jesus
That is just an imitation.  Your effectiveness as salt if your just trying to do church things with out really having a relationship with Jesus…that’ll wear off.  
That’s not being salt from the salt factory of God.  
That’s just trying to be like salt.  
It’s like this  (Put up picture of salt costume)
And eventually that sort of salt loses its tastiness.  It’s effectiveness.
But if you are a child of God and the Holy Spirit lives within you, God will always be moving through you in some sort of capacity

Jesus then continues in his message and uses another metaphor
(Matthew 5:14-16) – NIV
14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
A couple of years ago, I had an interesting dream
I’m always really wary of saying this dream was from the Lord.  Could be over-spiritualizing and just really weird, and how do I really even know?
But yet I know that God uses dreams all the time in the Bible.  More than we’d like to admit.
And when I had this dream, I honestly don’t know if it was God speaking to me or not, but either way I think it works as a great illustration…whether it was a dream from God or just some illustration that I’m using from my dream I had
Explain dream (rowing to island, go through basement of large building, get pulled into the light by my father’s hand)
The Bible says that “Jesus is the light of the World.”  But it also says that “We are the light of the World”
But it’s only when we let him pull us into the light out of our own stumbling around in the dark, that we can see the light
And it’s only then that we can also see clearly enough to be a light to other people.  To say, “Hey, the way out is up here! Come this way”
But again, just like if you know Jesus, you are always salt, so are you always His light.  
It’s just a matter of how much we shade and hide the light inside of us.  How much we murk it up.
I have a camera phone that started taking terrible pictures because it got so murked up with dust and dirt.  
It would flash but I could barely make out what it was
Eventually I figured out to clean it and got great pictures
Listen, Jesus is always going to be a light in you shining out…it’s just that we fill out lives up with junk that gets in the way and hinders His light.  
He’s shining within us, it’s just matter of whether we are hiding it under a bowl, or putting his light up on top of a hill
And ultimately, He’s the SOURCE of light that makes us shine.  We’re not the SOURCE. We just let him shine through us.
Here’s another way to look at it
Take glow in the dark toys for example.  
If you put the toy right next to the light, it’s actually shining…take it away, starts to fade
If you’re standing right next to Jesus…you shine…if you got a lot of light in you…you glow!
But if you move from the light…from Christ…His light…His love through us starts to fade…because we’ve moved from the source
But the good news is, we can always come back.  
AND, if you were to put it mostly right next to the light…what would you mostly see?  A bright light!!
If you stand close to Jesus in your life, people see Him
They see your good deeds, and they praise your Father up in heaven…meaning, they see Him!

These passages are just like the ones before it.  It’s counter-intuitive upside down thinking. And it’s about God working in us to bring about change, not about us doing a to-do list to bring about change by our own strength.  
And if it’s okay, all of this talk reminds me of a word which is basically a swear word to most Christians.  Is it ok if I say it? Evangelism.
We start thinking…oh, if I gotta be a light, that means I have to tell people about Jesus…and oh…that seems all…I don’t like it!!
However, listen to what we’ve been talking about these past two weeks:  It’s not about us reading this and saying, “well, I guess I better go tell everyone I see about Jesus.”  
No.  That’s not what Jesus just said in his sermon on the mount so far!  He said, the Kingdom of God is a radical change HE brings to the world through changing us…his followers.  
We don’t bring change by our own strength…but by submitting to his transformation and His strength.  
It’s about us saying, “If I’m a light, I better figure out a way to shine brighter.  Which means, first off, and most importantly, I better figure out way to get more Jesus in my life.  To get closer to the source.”
If you want to shine, get by the thing that’s actually shining!!
Because we NEED to shine!!  
WHY??  Because…we are on this earth to give glory to God and to reach people for Him.  There are way too many people wandering around in darkness without the light of Jesus Christ in their lives.  WAY TOO MANY!
We need to be the light!  We need to shine! We need to glow!  Get close to God. Let Him shine brighter through you.  
BUT also know this…you’re human.  You’re never going to perfectly shine in this life.  You’re like that glow in the dark toy that keeps fading in and out.  
Unfortunately, I think we often carry out this passage wrongly.  We get really focused on “letting our light shine in front of others, (give examples)” and thus we try and live this perfect life in front of the world and in the end, I think we often end up actually giving the wrong impression about what Christianity is really about
And what happens is people inadvertently end up getting the impression (From US) that being a Christian is about being a really good person (because that’s what we’ve been spending all our energy doing…trying to be a really good person).  
But remember, Christianity is this:  It’s that we’re not good. In fact, we’re pretty messed up people.  BUT, Jesus came to die for us and offer us forgiveness ANYWAY
And then He has started to work in us a little and transform us some
But it’s not about us having to be this amazing example to everyone before we would speak of His name.  
And I think this is really important to remember, because if you think, “I have to be a much better person before I say anything”…you end up losing the focus of the message, because the focus of the message is that we weren’t good enough in the first place, and yet he offered us forgiveness
However, letting your life shine is always the best way to pave the path of preparation for you to speak
It’s the grease on the wheels.  It’s the water on the slide
Crocodile Mile Example (slip and slide…have to put water on first)
Putting the water on the slide is like shining for Christ.  
It prepares people to listen to you.  You’re earning the right to talk.
I know a person in our church who really turned his life around in the last year or two.  And the people at his work place noticed.
And when we started this church, he went around to each of his co-workers individually and talked to them about it
And they listened.  Because they were so impressed with his life and what had happened that he had earned their respect.  
So shine brightly for Him.  But also don’t forget it’s He that is making you shine in the first place.  Not your own good deeds.

So Shine for Him.  This world needs you to.  There’s no bigger investment you can make then to be serious about drawing close to the Source, Jesus Christ.  There’s not. No really, there isn’t.
Draw close to Him.  Let Him begin to transform you even more.  Even if you’ve been doing this for a long time.  
And let Him help you stand out at work.  By the way you treat other people. Forgive other people.  Put up with the annoying person.
Let Him Help you stand out in your circle of friends by the way you check up on others and pray for them.  
Let him Help you shine in your own family.  
We need to just let him Help us…because we need it.  
I don’t shine so well by myself.  
But I know with God…all things are possible.  And He can shine brightly, even through a person like me.  
Let’s pray.

If you look under your chair right now, you should see a pen and a card.  Go ahead and pick those up.
One of the things we do every week at Renovation Church, is fill out these connection cards.
It’s a way for you to connect with us and for us to connect with you.  
If you’re here for the first time, there’s  a question on there too, that helps on know how you found out about us

We are going to take an offering now as well
Which is a way that we as a community of people give back to God a portion of what He has graciously given to us.  
As the offering goes by, you can stick your connection card in there as well
Let me just pray for the offering
Let’s pray.  

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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