how can it be made salty again?
It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Matthew 5:13, NASB
Those who heard Jesus teach that day could only begin to grasp the full meaning of what we call The Beatitudes. John MacArthur, in his book The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, says: “The Sermon on the Mount was a critique of the Pharisees’ religion. He condemned their doctrine; their phony approach to practical holiness; their pedantic style of Scripture twisting; and their smug overconfidence.”1 Do these charges apply to us today in the institutional church?
We see the Beatitudes from our vantage point this side of the cross. May our vantage point never de-sensitize us to God’s parenting. Those who heard the Sermon on the Mount could hardly comprehend what this discipleship process would mean for them. They would be salt and light on mission to the world. Salt flavors, heals, and preserves. For us who would flavor the world for God, total dependence on him is essential. For us who would administer God’s healing, self-sacrifice must reign. For we who would preserve the world for God, we must embrace daily repentance and purification. Otherwise, we become useless to him—flavoring without flavor, medicine without healing, preservative that rots. Uselessness should be a disciple’s greatest fear!
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14, NASB
What would you think of a marathon runner who loads his or her body with carbohydrates for the race and then sleeps in, misses the start, and spends the day watching the race on television? Too many of our church members are fat with God’s nutrition yet never use it to fuel real work for the kingdom. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation. You need milk, not solid food,” charged the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 5:12, HCSB).
Like worship, if discipleship is for our own enrichment alone, it becomes idolatry. Discipleship is the process of growing more Christ-like so that, like Christ, God can use us to reach people. He desires to use our relationship with him to bring others into relationship. Too often discipleship has been misinterpreted as “sit and savor.” Jesus calls us to get up and go. THAT’S WHY HE IS TRYING TO GROW US UP AS HIS CHILDREN… to take us full circle as a worshiping disciple on mission!
The apostle Paul exemplified going full circle in missional living. The ruthless persecutor of Christians encountered the living Christ face to face. Jesus’ words to Paul on the Damascus road were the truth of the gospel. The word of truth took root in his heart, and he responded with brokenness. The power of the gospel gripped him, propelling him into the world. Paul was truly transformed. The cruelty and hardness of his own spirit gave way to the Holy Spirit. The ultimate Pharisee became the ultimate disciple. The ultimate disciple became the ultimate missionary. The ultimate missionary gave us the list of characteristics God expects from worshiping disciples on mission. Paul’s life went full circle.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.
We have gone full circle in the process of discipleship. Are you submitting to our heavenly Father to grow you spiritually? Is the fruit of God’s Spirit growing out of you? Are you partnering with God on mission to make disciples who make disciples? These are not goals we can attain, but rather the evidence of a life completely yielded to Christ in discipleship.
We must allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to produce his fruit in us. Without these spiritual traits active in our lives the world will reject us as hypocrites. If they see meanness, anger, harshness, anxiety, or lust in us, how can they embrace the God we claim has saved us from those things?
Go one step more. Think of the worship team that you lead… or your family, or your team at work or school. Do they produce the fruit of the Spirit, too? Do they show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control in their daily lives? If not, you must partner with God to bring them into his process of parenting. Lead them into discipleship and take them on mission. Your heavenly Father awaits. — Mark Powers
MacArthur, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, 129.