[Also See Section The Contemporary Church]
Reaching forward with my hand to change the channel, an unusually sweet Christian man’s voice enticed me to draw my finger back from the scan button, as the host said “you’re on the air, Chris”.
“I am concerned about the hate I hear from my fellow Christians today”, this soft spoken man said. “It seems so much of what I hear on the radio today is so corrosive. Shouldn’t we be trying to love people into the Kingdom? It is a lot easier to draw flies with honey.”
“Flies with honey”, I thought as I hit the country music station button, where they actually sing about sin, not wanting to hear the host’s sugary response.
As I sat at the traffic light, trying not to scream, I glanced at the old 1988 Honda sitting in the lane beside me. Consumed by rust, it was a miracle that the old tan buggy still was able to wiggle down the road. “Wow”, I thought out loud. “The salt sure has corroded that car.”
Salt. Corrosion. Christian radio.
According to Webster, corrosive means to wear away gradually by chemical reaction.
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus told us “You are the salt of the earth”.
Ever wonder why He chose salt?
Why didn’t He say:
“You are the pepper of the world”.
Or “You are the Tabasco-sauce of the world”
Better yet, for today’s rapidly becoming good-for-nothing-Christians, “You are the sugar of the world.”
No, Jesus chose salt. Try as I might, I can’t think of a single situation where salt tastes sweet.
[Related Article: Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?]
A quick internet study on the properties of salt will show that it is, by its very nature, corrosive. Salt, an acid, is a combination of sodium and chloride, either element taken alone is toxic to the human body.
What was Jesus thinking? Why didn’t he tell us to be the “honey’ of the earth. Was He confused?
If Jesus told us that we were salt wouldn’t it be a good idea to study the function of the thing he told us to be? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to figure out what salt does?
· Salt is a preservative… keeps things from rotting. Know anything rotting in the world?
· Salt heals… your grandma every tell you to gargle salt water? Lot’s of hurting folks out there.
· Salt gives flavor… ever hear someone comment on how potatoey their French fries taste? No, the correct response is “Boy, those French fries taste salty.” Salt changes the taste of everything.
· Salt causes thirst… makes one want to drink… know anyone thirsty for Truth?
· Salt melts ice… only the Gospel can melt a cold, stony heart.
· Salt purifies… alkali, a form of salt, is the leading ingredient in soap. Couldn’t our culture use a good cleaning?
· Salt kills slugs… at least that is what a young boy told me when I spoke at a school assembly.
[Related Article: The Sedgefield Community]
Christians are supposed to be salt.
Sugar may make us feel good when we spread it around, but all sugar does is make something easier to swallow, if you know what I mean..
“Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down,” Mary Poppins sang.
The American culture is sick and decaying and we want to spread sugar.
[Related Article: Salt and Light]
I saw Joel Osteen on Larry King last week, promoting his book You’re Best Life Now. Having spent weeks atop the New York Times best sellers list, he, along with Rick Warren, is the face of modern evangelical Christianity. Osteen is pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, a congregation of 30,000, the fastest growing church in America and has a world-wide television ministry. Smiling, sweet, every hair in place, Pastor Joel and Mr. King engaged in the following dialogue.
KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?
OSTEEN: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody’s heart, and so — I don’t know. To me, it’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it’s wrong when you go around saying, you’re saying you’re not going, you’re not going, you’re not going, because it’s not exactly my way. I’m just…
KING: Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.
OSTEEN: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …
KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?
OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.
And a later give and take.
KING: Do you ever involve politics in the sermons?
OSTEEN: Never do. My father never …
KING: Never mention President Bush?
OSTEEN: Well, only to pray. Only to pray. We prayed for President Bush, Clinton, all of them. But I’ve never been political. My father hasn’t. I just, I have no …
KING: How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?
OSTEEN: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just …
KING: You have thoughts, though.
OSTEEN: I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.
KING: You don’t call them sinners?
OSTEEN: I don’t.
[Related Article: Is Homosexuality A Sin?]
That’s cotton candy folks, that ain’t salt. No wonder his church is overflowing, he’s preaching the gospel according to Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”
America is in trouble, because most churches are serving syrup. The largest church in America takes no position on the great moral issues of the day. Men marry men, 10 commandments ripped off of buildings, evolution trumps creation, abortion is a choice. That’s okay, come to our church, who are we to judge?
It takes courage to confront sin, to be the corrosive eating away at the framework of the world. Sad to say, but the world has become the salt of the church. Want proof? Doesn’t the average teenager in your church dress like Britney Spears?
[Related Article: The Communities of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Area]
Just before Jesus told us we were salt, he warned us of the consequences of becoming the corrosive. (Matthew 5:11-12)
“For the time is come that Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
I learned from a white-water rafting trip that once you allow the water into the raft, you spend the rest of the time bailing.
It’s time to bail.
It is time for some Truth, for a return to a salt-laced, corrosive, slug-killing Gospel.
Now is the time to pass the salt!
2005 Dave Daubenmire – All Rights Reserved
Preacher: JB Hall / Sermon presented at First Baptist Church – West Liberty, KY
Introduction: You and I live in extraordinary times in our nation’s history. These are not ordinary times. We are witnessing, right before our very eyes, the destruction of American culture, and the rise of a tyrannical Social state.
This is not just random, modern day cultural rot we are witnessing. This has been an ill-contrived, highly organized, masterfully executed plan that has been an ongoing project for many years. In much the same way termites eat away at the foundation of your home, and their work does not become visible until your home is in danger of total collapse; American culture has been under attack from hidden enemies with secretive agendas for decades, eating away at the foundations of our nation.
You and I live in the age of deception. Great deceptions by powerful people in high places are being perpetrated upon the citizens of America.
Let me read a few excerpts from a WND article titled:
“JOHN DEWEY’S DUNCES”
Exclusive: Ellis Washington exposes ‘Marxist propaganda factories called public schools’
Conservative intellectual Dr. Thomas Sowell, in a recent column, “Teaching Americans to hate their country”, made the historical observation about how 100 years ago progressives like John Dewey of Columbia University changed the American education paradigm whereby teachers were no longer considered “the transmitter of society’s culture” (as they have been for roughly the past 6,000 years) but activist “agents of [progressive, socialist] change,” as evidenced by the way most Americans have been happily educated inside its Marxist propaganda factories called “public schools.”
Who was John Dewey?
John Dewey (1859-1952) was the father of the modern American public school system, a leading progressive who promoted the philosophy of pragmatism and an activist for secular humanism in American society. Dewey was also an original signatory of the Humanist Manifesto and ridiculed moral absolutes and traditional religion, especially Christianity in favor of an evolution/atheist worldview.
So, America’s public education system became the factory for laying the foundation that would be the future Marxist, Socialist state these early Communists envisioned.
Fast forward to 1958; a man named Cleon Skousen published a book entitled The Naked Communist in which he listed 45 Current Communist Goals. These were goals that would accomplish the dissolution of the Constitutional Republic, which is the foundation of the United States of America. In 1963, at the request of Mrs. Patricia Nordman from De Land, FL, who had been the publisher of the De Land Courier; the HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR., (D) OF FLORIDA read before the US House of Representatives and entered into the congressional record, these 45 Current Communist Goals listed in Mr. Skousen’s book.
I won’t quote all of them, but I would like to read some of them:
1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing policy-making positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, and healthy.”
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
[Related Article: A Tribute to Communism]
How successful would you say they have been at accomplishing these goals in just 55 short years?
Fast forward to: May 2, 1996, and I quote excerpts from another WND article entitled:
“DOES OBAMA PLAN TO BANKRUPT AMERICA?”
The President is applying radical 1960s theory
On May 2, 1966, two Columbia University sociologists, Professor of Social Work Richard A. Cloward and his then-research associate Frances Fox Piven, wrote a pivotal article in The Nation, articulating “a strategy to end poverty.”
“…the two Columbia University-based sociologists concluded that a progressive strategy of voting ever-expanding social welfare programs could push the capitalist system to the breaking point.”
Cloward and Piven, who later married, both taught sociology at the Columbia University School of Social Work when Obama was registered as an undergraduate student at Columbia.
“The Cloward-Piven theory predicts capitalism will collapse such that the USA can be reconstructed as a truly socialist state dedicated to the elimination of private property and the creation of ‘social justice’ achieved by redistributing income from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have-nots.’”
Do our elected officials not understand simple economics? Did they fail Economics 101? Certainly not! They fully understand economic principles. The problem is that many of those in charge of shaping US economic policy subscribe to Cloward-Piven/Marxist economic ideology rather than traditional American capitalism that has made this country the greatest economic powerhouse the world has known…providing the greatest opportunity of any country in history for the common man to rise above his apparent means to financial success.
Remember, all this began at least a century to a century and a half ago. Even our founding fathers disagreed over the power and role of the federal government. Thankfully, those who favored a limited role for the federal government won out and produced the Constitution, our founding document that became the model for true American governance.
Who then, is the grand architect of this all-encompassing, diabolical conspiracy with a narrative spanning generations, political parties, and iconic cultural institutions?
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
People die, but Satan and his demonic forces live on. He and they clearly are the unseen powers of spiritual wickedness working in the high places of the institutions of power in our country; enlisting willing wicked individuals to perpetrate these great deceptions and keep the destructive plot moving forward across decades and generations.
Folks, troubling times appear to lay ahead for all Americans, and especially Christian Americans. We are right on the verge of experiencing genuine Christian persecution in America.
[Related Article: Judgment, Not Warning!]
Is there hope for America? Yes; but American culture, as well as individual Americans’ eternal fates, rests with the church.
Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
The first part of this verse has to do with personal conduct; the second part of the verse has to do with public speech. We must not only refrain from wickedness ourselves; we must publicly renounce wicked works. We are commanded to call sin ‘sin’ publicly.
[Related Article: The Sedgefield Community]
Sadly, the church has devolved into not only a passive observer of sin; it is quickly becoming a supporter, and in many cases, proponent of those who practice and promote the very things it should be sounding the alarm against.
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In an article on the church becoming more and more anti-Israel titled “Calling All Pentecostals!” Jim Fletcher, a Southern Baptist, wrote,
“I would go so far as to suggest to you that in 10 years’ time, you will no longer recognize the Southern Baptist Convention. As it too strides toward liberal theology and a dance with ecumenism that would cause its founders to spin in their graves, the SBC will also fall in line with the new thinking on Israel, both theologically and geo-politically.”
What then, is our role in a culture where Biblical Christians are increasingly marginalized?
I believe the answer is found in our Sermon Text today. We Christians are called to be salt and light to the evil world around us.
1. First, let’s talk about light. Light does two things:
A. It dissipates darkness.
B. It reveals reality.
C. We are not told to make our light shine, but to let or allow our light to shine. If we are saved, the Source of light, the Holy Spirit lives inside us.
D. Our job then is simply to not suppress His influence, simply to not hide Him.
E. Darkness will never quench light. Light will extinguish darkness 100% of the time.
F. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany said,
“It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Did you get that, “…the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie…!” Do you realize we have the advantage!
G. Applying the light of God’s truth to any issue will extinguish the darkness of the web of deception woven to conceal the truth, allowing the truth to be revealed in crystal clarity.
Thus, the deception will be exposed for all to see just what it is – a deceptive lie designed for the downfall of those taken in by it.
2. Second, let’s talk about salt. Salt has two basic purposes:
A. It flavors. Flavoring has to do with making the environment or culture around us pleasant – an enjoyable experience. Have you ever tasted something that was unsalted…a cooked food perhaps? It is usually not very palatable…doesn’t taste very good, does it? Even when it is salted while being cooked, it still does not have enough flavor for some people, and they put more salt on their food after it is served. Even fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe taste better with salt on them to some people. So, salt adds flavor to an unpalatable dish. Another thing about salt is that it permeates the entire pot of food that is cooking. A small amount of salt will flavor the entire pot of food. You do not need a ratio of 1 to 1…salt to food…only a pinch of salt will flavor it all.
B. It preserves. Preserving has to do with preventing cultural rot…preserving our culture from the destructive forces that would destroy it.
Before refrigeration was available, people would often preserve meat for the family by rubbing salt into the side of beef (or whatever piece of meat they had), and hanging it in a storage building to cure. This would preserve the meat without refrigeration.
[Related Article: Corrosive Christianity]
3. In our text this morning, Jesus said, “Ye [we Christians] are the salt of the earth:” and “Ye [we Christians] are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-15)
The thing we have to understand about salt and light is that they only work when they are applied to the food or darkness they are intended to flavor, preserve, or illuminate. We then, as salt and light, are useless until and unless we are applied to the culture we bemoan. As the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, we Christians are to permeate all areas of our culture. We are not to restrict our Christian influence to the walls of our churches and our homes; but to speak, stand, and live out the principles of Scripture wherever we are stationed in our culture – our jobs, our schools, our communities, etc. Popular or not in the politically correct climate in which we live, this is what we are called to do. As the Lord instructed Paul in Acts 18:9 we must “…Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace.”
Like Ephesians 5:11 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
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In Conclusion: The first and most critical step in healing is always an accurate diagnosis; to prescribe the right treatment we must have the right diagnosis. This morning we have diagnosed the problem, and have prescribed the solution.
The centers of power of our nation – The government, the judiciary, the public education system, and the media – as well as the culture at large, are all being influenced, motivated, and directed clearly by the destructive designs of Satan and his demonic forces. Our cultural and political problem is in fact a spiritual problem.
Neither the culture nor our government wants to hear the truth, and will revolt at the sound of it. However, the only hope of recovery from the downward, death spiral our nation is experiencing rests with you and me, the church. We are God’s salt and light…the applicators of God’s truth.
Healing can only begin when you and I, our nation’s salt and light, the applicators of God’s truth, apply (speak, stand for, and live) the illuminating, preserving, truth of His word to the deceptions, issues, and practices that are threatening the very existence of American culture.
The question then is this: Are you willing to be the salt and light God has made you to be by speaking, standing for, and living the truth of His Word, regardless of consequences, in the place He has stationed you?