Out of the Saltshaker

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  • “For too long we have been tickling palates with fancy flavors, spicy relishes, and clever recipes borrowed from the world. Too many pulpits serve gourmet theology with menus from Hollywood and are trying to please the jaded appetites of the fed-up humanity. But what we really need is some old-fashioned salt. And if we do not start producing more of it in our churches, we shall be good for nothing.” – Vance Havner

    Title: “Out of the Saltshaker

    Text: Matthew 5:13


    I. Introduction

    Sodium Chloride – salt – gets a lot of bad press these days. It is blamed for everything from hypertension to obesity to heart disease. The need for salt is questioned. Its use is discouraged. And its presence on many tables is often more decorative than anything else. However, this was not the case when Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the salt of the earth.” In the cultural world of the ancient Near East, salt was both essential and valuable. For example, the Roman government often paid their soldiers’ wages in salt. And a good, faithful man was said to be “worth his salt.” In fact, our word “salary” comes from the Latin, salarium, which means to trade or barter with salt. Salt served a wide array of purposes in the ancient world. And, interestingly, scholars have just as many interpretations of what Jesus meant by this statement about salt in Matthew 5:13. But of all the possible meanings, there are three primary interpretations that deserve our attention.

        A. Salt prevents decay.

        B. Salt produces thirst.

        C. Salt provides flavor.

    II. Jesus describes his followers as the salt of the earth (5:13a).

        A. “You are…” – Character precedes performance; who you are is more important than what you do.

        B. Bad news/Good news

           1. Good News: God can use ordinary people like you.

           2. Bad News: Sometimes God has to shake things in your life in order to get your out of the saltshaker.

    III. Jesus warns about the danger of failing to be the salt of the earth (5:13b).

        A. The warning: “but if salt loses its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored.”

        B. The consequence: “It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

        C. The hope: God specializing in transforming good for nothing people!


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.