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THE PARABLES OF JESUS, #001
A Chronological Study

"You Are The Salt Of The Land."
Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34-35



"To Him who opened His mouth in parables and
uttered things hidden since the creation of the world."
Psalm 78:2



INTRODUCTION
I'm using these two introductory ideas from Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" as the beginning of this series on the Parables. As Jesus stands on the mountainside, slightly above His disciples -- as was the practice for a teacher of the Law in that day -- and instead of explaining the Law of God to them, He opens up His heart and begins to explain the Grace of God, and His kingdom, to them. The Gospel writer John reports, "No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten God [Jesus], who is in the bosom of the Father, He [Jesus] unfolds Him [the Father]" (John 1:18, Lit.)." Just a few verses into this sermon on the mount, Jesus, as the expected teacher of the Law turns to His disciples and says, "But I say to you...."

Over and over again, especially in the parables, Jesus tells -- in fact warns -- His disciples, "You who have ears for hearing, be hearing these words"

The parables were told in a situation story manner. The truths told would seem to be child's nonsense to those whom God did not give "ears for hearing." But to those He did, they would receive understanding of some of the deepest desires of the Lord God for the instruction of those who were the recipients of His saving grace.

The parables are the direct words of Jesus! Now, open your ears, sharpen your understanding, and hear what He has to say.
 
WARNING

During this series there will be many hard sayings. We’ll be dealing with issues of salvation, judgment, judging, and many other hard sayings.

It will be good to remember that the bible clearly teaches “Once saved – always saved.” We also know that the bible teaches that there are some, perhaps many, who act saved, talk saved, and walk in a saved manner – but who are not lovers of Jesus and His heavenly Father, nor will they submit to the Lord’s Kingship in their lives. For their own reasons they pretend, they reject, and or they are ignorant of what it means to Love God with all their hearts, minds, and strength through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the sacrifice of God’s anointed Son, Jesus.

When the Bible seemingly points a finger at you and says that such like you cannot be saved… please remember that if you’re already IN-Christ… that finger may be a warning about cleaning up your act… but that finger is not directly pointed at you, but upon those who are not already saved under His grace. For IN-Christ you have the righteousness of God applied – eternally.

My favorite examples come from the book of 1st Corinthians. It is there in Chapter 5 that a man is sleeping with his father’s wife – Incest indeed. However, it’s important to remember that Paul speaks to that church in Chapter 1 and calls them “sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be His holy people” [1:2]. Then a little later he writes, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on that day of our Lord Jesus Christ” [1:8]. “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters…” [1:10]. Brothers and sisters… [1:26], and so on throughout the book.

However, and there’s always a “however,” if you are caught up in sin - as a believer - you are under the warnings of the Scriptures that you will be dealt with and sometimes even through death, in order that Christ’s Church may not suffer from your iniquity – but you will arrive directly in heaven – that is His promise to the truly saved. We’ll go deeper into this when we get to the Parable of the Sewer, the Seeds, and The Soils.

As a personal and private study, please spend some deep study time in Ephesians, Chapter 1.
 


#001 - The Salt of the Land
Matthew 5:13


[NASB]
Jesus Said:

        13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing any more, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot my man.

[Lit.]
Jesus Said:

        13 "You are right now being the salt-of-the-land; if the salt may be being insipid [lacking flavor, vigor, or interest] then with what will the land be salted? For it avails nothing except to be cast out, to be trampled by men.
  
[Comments from Matthew 5:13]
In the background of the Sermon on the Mount we need to remember that Jesus is teaching His disciples about the King and the kingdom of Christ in that day when His kingdom is set up at His second coming. Jesus' words concerning "salt" are primarily directed (in these verses) at the state of the nation of Israel, and specifically the leadership in Jerusalem. The Hebrew nation was put into existence in order to be "Salt" ("Light" and many other things to secure the nation as a People who belonged to Almighty God Yahweh). They were to be the nation that all the world were supposed to be pointed to as those who were the faithful family of God. But... They were no longer "salt" and had become worthless in leading God's people, and the world, in repentance, righteousness, and salvation.

God's grace, reaching out to the Gentiles (everyone except the nation of Israel), has included all those who come to God through His Son through His dead sacrifice and resurrection to life as part of the New Covenant. In this age we are a foreshadowing of the wonders of that New Covenant. So that the things Jesus teaches concerning His kingdom, and those who live there, apply to us believing gentiles as well. We are the foretaste of what is to come. We are also the heirs to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Here, in Chapter 5, verses 15-16, Jesus is speaking about those who are the kingdom recipients of the blessings of Chapter 5, verses 1-14 (blessed are the....). All that to say that these words of Jesus are intended both to those who will enjoy the Kingdom blessings, and to us who are the "foretaste" of those Kingdom blessings.

Therefore:
    1. If you have been called by Christ to be a witness, testimony, minister, etc. [a true believer], you are right now being salt of the land.

    2. Salt is an integral element of our planet - thus the symbolism is that we [true believers] also are integral in our place just as the salt of the land.

    3. If you, as a [so called] servant of Christ have no "salt," [flavor, vigor, or interest of the things of Christ] as the pharasees and the nation did not have, then how will anyone hear the Gospel through you? Then: "For" you and your "servanthood," "ministry," etc., are then only worthy of being "cast out" and becoming as the land, to be trampled by men.

    4. If you are "un-salt," then with what will the land be salted? If you won't spread the Gospel of Christ... then how will the world hear?




Mark 9:50
[NASB]
Jesus Said:

 
        50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
 
[Lit.]
Jesus Said:


        50 "Salt tastes good, yet if that salt should be becoming unsalted? You, be having the seasoning of salt in yourselves, and be being at peace among one another."
 
[Comments from Mark 9:50]
    1. I think that most would agree that salt tastes good, especially when it is used appropriately.

    2. A bag of salt that is not salty... is of no use to anyone.

    3. The imagery is that "You are salt"

    4. As salt, if you have no saltiness, then for the purposes of salting, you are of no value.

    5. The last sentence, in the Greek, begins with "You."

    6. You are to be "salty."

    7. You (plural - you and other believers) are to be like a great meal, where there is a blend of salty spices (the Gospel and the Word of God) and your saltiness is at peace with all the other salty spices.

Therefore: 
    1. Salt is of only value when it is salty. Your life and ministry are only of value when they are active and of biblical content. 

    2. The Christian Life is biblically active and full of content - if it is not... perhaps you are not biblical in your faith. 

    3. Be Salty! Work at your faith and content, that you may be found to be faithful and effective. 

    4. Your content - if biblical - will not conflict with the truth. Seek with others of faith for agreement and peace in the things of the Scriptures and the Christian Life to which you are called.




Luke 14:34-35
[NASB]


        34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
 
[Lit.]
        34 "Ideal, then, is salt. Yet if ever the salt may be being caused to be insipid, in what shall it be being seasoned?" 35 Neither is it fit for the land nor for the manure pile. Outside they are casting it. The one who has ears to be hearing, let him be hearing!
 
[Comments from Luke 14:34-35]
1. Salt is good.

2. If your salt is the Gospel, and you lose the Gospel in you (you turn away from Jesus), and you become "insipid," and you spurn the grace of God, how would you ever get it back?

3. Luke says it directly that if you lose your faith, you are not fit for witness / testimony / ministry nor for the manure pile! (not worth even to be flushed!).

4. If you are salt... then be salty, and be with other salties.

5. Understand your saltiness and the saltiness of other believers, and be at peace with them.
 
Therefore: 
1. Heed the Scriptural warnings against "falling away" from your faith. Take stock and make sure you are, in-fact, saved. Take stock and make sure you are, in-fact, following a true interpretation of the Scriptures in your faith - for there is no way to make salt salty if it has lost its saltiness. 

2. Develop a rich Biblical life in Christ. Study the Word of God. Follow good teachers. Have a consistent and lively prayer life. Fellowship with other true believers. Avoid building too strong attachments to unbelievers and secular co-workers. 

3. Work hard at your faith - it is more important than any other relationship you have. An eternity apart from God and His grace, love, and mercy... is a very long time.

 

DON'T BE TASTELESS


WRAP-UP COMMENTARY on Salt:
If you are "hearing" then it should already be obvious that "salt" refers to the Gospel quality of your witness, testimony, and ministry. It is your job to inhabit the land - the world full of unsaved people - and spread the Gospel. If your witness, testimony, and ministry have no Gospel quality to it... then your witness, testimony, and ministry is of absolutely no value to the world around you.

Then three final words: First, if you are truly among the saved, then work on your saltiness - get more "spice" into it and share your salt with the world around you.

Second, there are Christians all around you and know that God has "spiced" many of them with additional flavors (because some people don't like one flavor, but enjoy another).

Third, knowing about all the other salty spices... live in peace with all of them - they are all using their saltiness at the direction of The Lord -- just like you, only different.




FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS - W/O Answers
1. What do you need to have in order to hear what the parables teach?

 
2. What do you need from God to hear what the parables teach?

 
3. What are the two kinds of salt in the parable?

 
4. If Salt becomes tasteless, what is it good for?

 
5. As a believer are you covered by the New Covenant?


6. When will the New Covenant come into full force?

 
7. Mark tells us to have what with fellow believers?

 
8. Mark tells us to be what with fellow believers?

 
9. What do you need to understand the parables?

 
10. What three Gospels contain this parable?




FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS - With Answers

1. What do you need to have in order to hear what the parables teach?
You need ears that can hear what the parables teach.
 
2. What do you need from God to hear what the parables teach?
You need Biblical Faith
 
3. What are the two kinds of salt in the parable?
Salty Salt and Tasteless Salt
 
4. If Salt becomes tasteless, what is it good for?
To be thrown out or trampled under foot
 
5. As a believer are you covered by the New Covenant?
Yes, you are a "foretaste" of what is to come

6. When will the New Covenant come into full force?
At Jesus' second coming (the Kingdom Age)
 
7. Mark tells us to have what with fellow believers?
Salt, to be salty among each other
 
8. Mark tells us to be what with fellow believers?
To be at peace with one another (in our saltiness)
 
9. What do you need to understand the parables?
Ears that hear (Jesus' meaning, God's message)
 
10. What three Gospels contain this parable?
Matthew, Mark Luke




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