Salt Is For S(h)akers
Standard; Lu 14:25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,
26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
27 "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it --
29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.
33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
34 "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?
35 "It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
“great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,” We were watching part 1 of the R.C. Sproul series on the holiness of God and he reminded us that Jesus was a “traveling rabbi.” He didn't have a school or seminary in a set city but would go from town to town gathering students as He went.
Much like the incident with the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus, whereby He opened up the Scriptures to the two disciples. I wonder how many of Jesus' teachings and parables were prompted by what was seen along the way. Did He actually pluck a mustard seed from a full grown plant and say look, the kingdom of heaven is like this. It starts out with the seed of the implanted Word of God and grows to a place of rest for birds.
When the traveling Rabbi said “follow Me,” He invited people to literally walk the road with Him and learn of His teachings.
So here's the Teacher and He looks behind Him and whoa! sees a “multitude” of people following Him!
And He turns to them to make sure they understand what it entails to be one of His followers. He goes over the expectations for the class. You teachers are familiar with the term rubric. At seminary, the professors give us a rubric at the beginning of the course so we will know what is expected of us.
This portion of Luke then is the rubric that Jesus gives for His students for all time. He even ends this portion of scripture with a line that teachers have been using ever since. “ He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Pay attention class, these are the expectations for you to pass His course.
In this day of “easy believism,” it would do us well to study these words. I'm reminded of the Portals of Prayer reading from Tuesday: Jude 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed--men spoken of in ancient writings as pre-destined to this condemnation--ungodly men, who pervert the grace of our God into an excuse for immorality, and disown Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord.
Here we have a stern warning about “cheap grace,” And I think cheap grace is a product of not “counting the cost.” Therefore, it is vital to recall these words of Jesus as we preach the gospel. People need to know there is a cost in following Jesus. They need to know what is expected of them before they enroll.
What is the cost? Simply put, ....everything. Jesus must be number 1! There are no exceptions. He must be more loved than one's own father....mother.........wife......children.....brothers......sisters..........more loved than one's own life!
And to emphasize the point of loving Him even more than our own life, He says, we must pick up our cross (crucify self) and follow after Him, wherever that may lead.
In the Great Commission Jesus said, “ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The reading of that passage in the proper Greek grammar tells us that disciples are made through baptism.
It is baptism that enrolls one in the schooling of Jesus. It is in baptism that we pick up our cross and are “crucified with Christ,”
Ro 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Once enrolled, we need to stay enrolled, note that He says “bear his cross AND come after Me.” Dying to self alone is not enough, you need to keep following Jesus. Enrollment in a class is not enough, you must continue in attendance and do the work if you expect to get a passing grade.
We need to keep on learning, to keep on following, Pr 21:16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead.
A disciple is a learner and the fountain of knowledge from Jesus flows to those who have truly made Him number 1: Those who have died to self and seek to remain that way.
Jesus then gives a couple of examples of counting the cost. He doesn't use random examples. The examples He uses are to make a point. The examples He uses here are to encourage and challenge His students. Teachers want there students to aspire to high things. They are not so much interested in mediocrity, They desire for each student to reach their maximum potential.
Lenski says, “To build a Christian-like life is like erecting a mighty tower, also like conquering an enemy who is twice our strength!” That's the challenge in Jesus' rubric, that's the stretch for these prospective students. It's the challenge for us today as well. Do you want in?
Well you better want in, because in the end, you're either with Jesus or against Him.
First requirement of the class. Love the Teacher more than anyone...even yourself. That means you purpose in your heart to believe the teacher, trust the teacher and obey the teacher. You can't pick and choose truth in this class. The teacher says, “I am the way. The truth and the life . No one comes to the Father (graduation Day) without Me.”
Then you must die to self. No man could possibly do these things by using his own natural ability
or resources. He must go to the teacher and ask for grace. No, not the cheap grace we were talking about before, not the grace that looks the other way at missed assignments and shoddy work, but the grace that provides all that is needed for the student to stay on track and succeed.
Again Lenski says, “Graces furnishes all that discipleship needs.” and “Discipleship is like a tower in that it builds something grand in us and strikes down something hostile outside of us. It builds faith and a new life''''a glorious tower indeed; and it overcomes the devil and all his assaults''''a glorious victory indeed.”
You can't hear these words of Jesus concerning towers and armies without being reminded that His students will be involved in war. It's a war that He desires for us. For to not war against Satan is to capitulate to him.
When I enlisted in the Navy I had to go through basic training. One of the major goals of basic training is to strip the recruit of self. You aren't there to debate the drill sergeant. You learn unquestioning loyalty to His commands and reliance on him and the rest of your unit for success in battle.
It's a war, and we will not win it relying on our own resources. When we come to Jesus empty of ourselves, we are ready to receive of all He has to finish the job and win the battle.
Know this beloved, when you enroll in the school of Jesus, you enlist in His army. Count the cost! Can you handle the losses? Are you prepared to make the sacrifice? Can you handle giving Him the number one place in your life? That may be inconvenient at times by the world's standards, but you must be able to say yes to that question if you want to be a follower of Jesus.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God (Jesus( and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want!”
So even as we count the cost, we have assurances from Him, that He will provide what is necessary. When you enroll in the military, you go in with the understanding that you may be required to give up your life for your country. In return, the military provides you with everything you need and then some!
When you enter the army of the Lord, you will be required to surrender all. You must renounce all your own resources. The Greek word used here is to bid adieu. It reminds me of the chorus of a song by Mercy Me, that goes,
“So long self. There's just no room for two. So you are gonna have to move. So long self. Don't take this wrong but you are wrong for me. Farewell, oh well, good by don't cry. “ Then in the last verse they sing, Don't go away mad (but by all means) just go away....go away. So long self.
Self-abandonment is an earmark of a Christian. It is someone who has forsaken it all for the sake of Jesus.
Jesus has told us that we are the “salt” of the earth. Not, “could be” or “should be,” we ARE the salt of the earth.
And isn't it interesting that on the heels of His teaching about dying to self and forsaking all He concludes His remarks to these prospective disciples by mentioning salt. Why salt? Because salt is one of the great forsakers.
It is useful only as it forsakes it's own identity as it gives itself to the task at hand.
Salt gives itself to seasoning meat, it disappears into the steak and even though you can't see it anymore, it died to self to make that meat taste good.
Salt surrenders itself in your water softener, losing it's identity to other elements to make the water soft.
Salt gives itself to meat to act as a preservative.
Salt gives itself to icy roads and they become drivable.
Salt is a great for saker. It's not just for shakers, it's for-sakers. Salt as used here by Jesus is just another way of saying “disciples.” Because disciples are those who have forsaken all to follow Him.
V 34 might read, “Forsaking is good, but if forsaking has lost it's flavor (fails to yield or combine with another agent, (namely fails to give itself up completely to Jesus it becomes useless)
Not only is forsaking a necessary element of being a disciple of Christ but it is useful in our relationships with others. In Mark 9:50 we read, “Have salt in yourselves and have peace with one another.”
Have a willingness to lay it down for others. A willingness to die to self as you interact with others, and as ice melts under the presence of salt so will the attitude of others that prevent peace.
In Col 4:6 we are reminded when dealing with unbelievers to “let our speech always be with grace
seasoned with salt, seasoned with forsaking, void of selfishness, “that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
How does that work? As salt, you have forsaken your life and are hidden in Christ, He will give you the words to speak. Just get self out of the picture. How many times have you talked to an unbeliever and afterward found yourself saying, “I should've said this or I should've said that!
Well, maybe the right words will come when we stop worrying about the right words. To worry about the right words is to worry about self. Let go, give yourself up to Jesus and trust Him for the words.
Do you want to follow Jesus? Then you must be a forsaker? Do you want peace with others, then be willing to lay it down for them! Do you want wisdom in witnessing, then die to self and rely on Christ.
We talk in Christian circles about being salt in the world and we take that to mean that we need to be in the political arena or social arena preserving the things of God. Some may indeed be called to do that, but salt first and foremost must be given to something in order to accomplish anything of eternal importance. Give yourself to Jesus. He will take your 7 Tablespoons of salt (the amount of salt in a 110 pound person and apply it where needed.
When it comes to forsaking and it's importance remember Lot's wife. She was turned into a pillar of salt. Why? Because she looked back, she didn't want to forsake the things of this world. And God with His perfect sense of justice and judgment made her a memorial for all Christians for all time.
It's like God was saying to her, “Fine, if you don't want to be a forsaker....if you don't want to be salt, I'll make you salt permanently. And poor Mrs Lot, too late to give herself up to anything, she herself becomes part of the forsaken and judged landscape of Sodom. Not even a cow around so she could at least be used as a salt lick.
Partial forsaking doesn't cut it. Jesus said He will spew out the lukewarm. When He said ALL He meant ALL.
Lu 9:62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
The Good News is that as long as you are within earshot of His Word there is still hope. He calls you from that Word to a total surrender to Him, a dedication and love that surpasses love of family, self, and the things of this world.
It is only in surrender to Him, that forsaking is possible. Will you slip up? Yes, but know that there is forgiveness when you do, and use that slip up as a reminder of an area in your life that needs a little salt, a little forsaking and ask Him to help you.
I want to challenge each of us here this morning. Have we surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ? Have we given our all to Him/ Have we said, “Take my life and let it be? Or take my sins and let me be? Is it I surrender some? Or I surrender All?
What areas are you holding out in. What are things that you aren't willing to forsake? Where has the world crept in to dilute your relationship with Jesus? Now, rather than get into the specific areas, let's just go for the whole nine yards. Let's simply agree to go back to square one and allow Jesus to have first place in our lives, if we do that, the forsaking will take care of itself. He will have it no other way.
Instead of a closing prayer let us sing together I Surrender All. But instead of thinking of individual things that need to be surrendered, Just think of Jesus and His love, think of His faithfulness, His trustworthiness and give your salt up to Him. Get lost in Him and His Word and a new day of forsaking will awaken in your heart.