Seasoned With SaltSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
SEASONED WITH SALT
Sermon By Terry Siverd / April 23, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
I ran across an article recently that caught my attention: Seven Speaking Styles That Drive People Crazy.
Mussitation / speaking too softly with a muffled voice
Discursive / rambling and seldom staying on point
Ponderous / boring or dull
Flowery / speaking too poetically so as to over-complicate plain speech
Loquacious / wordy and excessive talk
Prolix / long and drawn out speech
Sesquipedalian / using long multi-syllabic words trying to impress
Stand up; Speak up; Scripture up; Shut up.
A long-time friend of mine is currently reading a book on the words of Jesus and finding it very interesting reading.
President Jefferson was known to have recognized the words of Jesus as being valuable in nurturing good citizenship.
This original cut-and-glue creation, sometimes called “The Jefferson Bible” first appeared in 1804. It was titled,
The Philosophy Of Jesus Of Nazareth, Being Extracted From The Account Of His Life And Doctrines Given By
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Being An Abridgment Of The New Testament For The Use Of The Indians...
Jefferson wrote to Charles Clay, a friend who was a preacher, acknowledging this arrangement to be - -
fragments of the most sublime edifice of morality which had ever been exhibited to man.
In His sermon on the mount (Mt.5:13), Jesus declared His disciples to be the salt of the earth. He went on to clarify that if the salt becomes tasteless it will be good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot. cf. Lk.14:34.
This image of being salt is rich in meaning. From ancient times (and still today), salt remains a precious commodity.
Chief among its many applications and/or usages is the ability to help preserve and flavor.
Salt truly is “the spice of life”.
In Mark's account of Jesus' dynamic sermon (Mk.9:50), our Lord asserts,
Salt is good!, adding the exhortation, have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.
This morning I want us to think together about being SALTY.
This is one of those words that has almost done a 180 degree turn from its original meaning.
A number of words have undergone a similar evolution. e.g., the word, garble:
originally it meant to sift or separate, but it has now has come to mean the opposite - - to scramble or mix.
What used to be a noteworthy quality (being salty) over time became tainted (sailors' talk) and has nowadys salty
has come to be a slang term (not worthy of emulation) used to describe a person who is angry, bitter or upset.
In asking if we're a salty bunch, I'm referring to the earlier meaning of this metaphor that shaped Jesus' exhortations.
I'm not interested in helping to cultivate a saltiness that stirs up conflict and strife. We don't need help with that.
What we continue to need is a renewed focus on being the salt of the earth about which Jesus spoke.
As followers of Jesus we need to aspire to be a salty people.
We live in a world with tensions in a time when people of all stripes hunger to hear and see good words and deeds.
The NASV of Prov.15:23 states, a man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word.
The Living Bible paraphrases: Everyone enjoys a fitting reply, it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time.
Prov.15:1 notes, a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
With flowery lingo, Prov.25:11 declares, like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.
How marvelous it would be if people could count on us Christians to be reservoirs of apt words and actions.
To be the salt of the earth to and for others strikes at the essence of what is required in following Jesus.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, once wrote (Isa.50:4) - -
The Lord has given Me the tongue of discipleship, that I may know how to sustain the weary one
with a word. He answers me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE FULL OF SALT?
WHAT QUALIFIES US FOR BEING THE SALT OF THE EARTH?
I have stood up; I am speaking up; and now before I shut up, I want to Scripture up.
Let me share a few additional passages from the Bible that clarify what it means to be SALTY in a good way.
In Eph.4:29 the apostle Paul writes (as if he has been ruminating on the words of Solomon and Isaiah) - -
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for
edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give GRACE to those who hear.
Paul also writes in Col.4:5-6, saying - - Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders. Let your speech
always be with GRACE, seasoned at it were with salt, so that you may know how you shall respond to each person.
The apostle Peter writes similar words (1Pet.3:15) - -
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who
asks you to give an account for that hope that is in you, yet with GENTLENESS AND REVERENCE...
John's gospel tells us that during our Lord's incarnation, Jesus was full of GRACE and truth.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GRACIOUS?
Our dictionaries define gracious as: being characterized by kindness ...
merciful ... compassionate … condescendingly courteous … indulgent.
(These latter terms speak of a willingness to stoop down to tend to the needs of others).
Our Bibles tell us that the good and salty tongue and lifestyle entails:
speaking wholesome words to build up rather than to tear down …
emoting words and deeds that dispense grace - - spoken with gentleness and respect …
The GRACIOUS LIFE, according to Jesus, is a life filled with word and actions that promotes peace (Mk.9:50b).
Our dear heavenly Father - - We confess today that we frequently stumble at not speaking graciously
and our behavior often fails us in our desire to truly excel at being the salt of earth. Forgive us Lord.
As eager disciples of Jesus, grant us the strength we need to live lives full of grace and truth.
May the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable in Thy sight (Ps.19:14).
Through Christ our Savior, who shows us the way we pray. Amen.