Memphis Belle

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Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 14:34-35

 

“Salt is good:  but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?  It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

“Chapter 14, and we’ll pray as we continue.  I encourage you too, men, get to the Men’s Retreat, as we still have this weekend to register.  Everybody waits till the last minute, we’re looking forward to having a great time, Lewis Nealy and David Rosales will be there, we always have a great time, Communion services with a couple hundred men worshipping.  We’re always outstanding, we live in days where it is necessary to pull aside and be together.  It says in the 133rd Psalm, ‘Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, it is like the precious oil that ran down Aaron’s beard upon the hem of his garment’ at the time of consecration, ‘it’s like the dew of Mount Hermon’, a time of refreshing.  ‘And behold, how good and how pleasant it is.’  You don’t have to go to the bar and get loaded to have a good time, you don’t have to go sit somewhere in an opium den to have a good time.  If we get together and lift our hands and sing the praises of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit overwhelms us, it is a wonderful time.  I encourage you, and the same thing with the Singles Retreat, it’s lining up.  Everybody’s always fast to spend 100 bucks on dinner, but slow to go to the Retreat.  And you get dinner, breakfast, lunch, dinner and breakfast there.  You just have to sleep in a room with somebody, [laughter] brothers, family.  ‘Father we settle our hearts as we continue.  We thank you for an opportunity to gather and to study your Word.  Lord, we see Father, at the same time such wonderful things happening around us Lord, your hand, Lord, is evident in other nations around the world and here in America, in this city, and here in our own church, Lord, we wonder at the things that we see you doing.  Father we pray that we might be yielded and sensitive and see a continuance.  And Lord, at the same time, it’s apparent that so many things that used to be absolutes and accepted standards are deteriorating, and morality is becoming a bygone word.  That which is good and right is being called wrong, and that which is wrong is being called right.  Father, we look at this city of Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley, Lord, over six million people, and we wonder.  Lord, if we ride down 95 and look at the row homes and the millions of people.  Who, Lord, will reach them?  Lord, we lift our hearts to you this evening, afresh, and ask that you speak to us.  Lord, we offer ourselves a living sacrifice to you Lord, and all of the things within our hearts and mind that stand in the way Lord, we ask that you would graciously continue to conform us into the image of your Son, and Lord that the sin that so easily besets us Lord, as individuals, those areas we struggle with, Lord, that you would be faithful Lord.  We stand upon your Word that you’re going to continue Lord, to the day of Christ.  And Lord, that we might be found fit for your use, Lord, in these last days.  We look to you Father, we pray in Jesus name, be with us this evening as we’re in your Word, amen.’

 

Salt is Good

 

The Cost of Discipleship

 

Chapter 14, Jesus has been in the house of a Pharisee, eating dinner.  And as he sat at the table with him, there was a man there with the dropsy he healed.  Then as he observed how they were seating themselves and taking the seat of honor, he challenged them on what to do when they’re invited somewhere, and what to do when they are the host inviting someone.  And then he likened the Kingdom to a great feast that a king sent out and invited people to, and then listed the excuses that people made as to why they could not attend.  Then the king, angry, sent his servants to gather in the lame and the halt and the blind and the poor.  And the servant said ‘We’ve done what you said, and there’s still room.’  He said, ‘Well go on out now into the highways, the hedges, and bring in all the rest, because there’s still room in my house, and those who were invited I tell you, in no way will they come to this feast’, speaking of those that are invited to the Kingdom, and the excuses that people make.  They don’t want to hear about Jesus, because they’re joining this golf club for $100,000 a year, they don’t need Jesus, because their bills are paid, and they’ve got a nice little [big] house somewhere, an apartment down on the shore, no problems with their health, make good money where they work. What do they need Jesus for?  Jesus is for, you know, people with problems, Jesus is a crutch, he’s for people that are mentally disabled, not for the vast number of successful people of the world.  [And so, who does Jesus, the king in this parable, go out and concentrate on calling?  The very people who know they need Jesus, people with problems, people who are mentally disabled, for all those who are not the successful people of the world, but the poor, maimed, lame and blind of the world.]  Besides that, when you mention Jesus these days, because of the great press that we get, we’re immediately associated with a dozen other things that we wish we weren’t associated with.  And yet the door is open.  There’s still room in the Father’s house.  And he’s still searching the hedges and the highways, and bringing in the halt, the blind and the lame, and the poor into his Kingdom, and to become his sons and daughters, joint-heirs of his Kingdom [cf. Romans 16:16-17] with his Son Jesus Christ.  But he says, ‘If you’re not willing to follow me, and take your relationship with me serious, so serious that it’s a priority over any other human relationship, that in comparison to your love for me, there’s a setting aside of mother and father and sister and brother and husband and wife and children, every other relationship has to be put in a pale light in comparison to your love and your relationship to me, and follow me.  Or you can in no wise be my disciple.’  And he says, Which of you, seeking to build a tower in your vineyard, obviously you sit down first and you count the cost, and you see if you have the means to finish that tower.’  That tower would be built in the vineyard and it would be the place to watch over the vineyard, to protect the vineyard.  Sometimes they would even sleep in that tower.  Because he said, ‘If you get the foundation laid, you start it and can’t finish it, people going by will mock at it.’  ‘Or what king’ he says, ‘going forth to battle, taking 10,000 against 20,000, fighting an army twice as big, won’t first sit down and count the cost, to see whether he can really bring about a victory in that situation, and if not he sends terms of peace before the battle even begins, before he’s destroyed.’  And Jesus is kind of comparing I think two things.  It’s difficult for us to tell.  Some people immediately, because we tend to be “doing” oriented, very much so, we immediately apply it to ourselves.  And I think we can do that, because we’re looking at disciples that have to count the cost.  And in our own lives, are we really willing to be builders in the Kingdom of God?  Or are we going to start a tower, like we want to watch over the vineyard, and when we realize it’s really work we’re going to throw the towel in?  If you’re a Christian going to work on Monday morning and acting like a Christian around your boss and co-laborers, it is work.  If you’re a Christian, and you want to maintain a Christian marriage, it’s work.  It’s not maintenance-free like batteries, the new batteries in the car, it’s work maintaining a healthy marriage, it  is work [see http://www.HOWMARRIAGEWORKS.COM it you don’t believe it].  Raising your children is work, being a witness in traffic is work.  Are you really willing to, you’re building something, there’s sweat and there’s labor.  Not in regards to your salvation, but in regards to being something that counts in this world.  Or war, and it is a warfare that we are in.  And the battle is fought on so many fronts right in our own hearts.  How often is it that we find ourselves struggling just to receive the love that Christ offers us, because no one’s ever loved us that way before?  Just to extend faith so often, to say ‘Lord, I’ve blown it today’, or I’ve compromised, or I’ve done something stupid,’  yet we find in his Word that he’s saying to us, “If we confess, he’s faithful and just to forgive us”, and we’re thinking ‘Oh could it be, can it be this real, can you give me another start tomorrow, you’re mercy is really new every morning,’ and we find we have to bring every thought into captivity to Christ just in the natural.  Then if there’s an illness or some difficulty in our life, we think ‘If he loves us, why would he let this happen?  Why would we find difficulty in our lives if he’s on the throne and is in charge of everything, and now here I am suffering, and if I was a father and I was all-powerful I wouldn’t let this happen to my children.’  And then we find in our own flesh that struggle, that battle daily as we notice in Galatians, that the flesh lusts after the things of this world, sexual pleasure and money and drunkenness and envy, and it lists those things, whereas the Spirit within us is longing for higher things, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and that’s there’s a battle it says, every day in our hearts.  [Read Pilgrim’s Progress]  You shouldn’t be defeated because of that, that’s an evidence that you’re born-again [ie that you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you].  But it’s a war.  And it will be a war until he comes [or until we die].  And it says if we don’t count the cost we’re going to get disheartened right away.  I think above and beyond that, maybe he’s the one that’s building the tower, maybe he is the king that is going to war, and maybe it’s telling us those are the kinds of disciples he’s looking for, those that he can build with, those that he can count to be in the battle.  Maybe that’s why he’s challenging us to be that way, because he has something that he’s building, and that we’re to be part of it, not necessarily as the builder, but as the building material.  That we are to be part of his army, not necessarily in charge, but yielded and used of him in these things. [And we all are, he’s building it through us is my guess, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/Zephaniah1.htm scroll to and read “Assignment: Building God’s Temple, Then and Now”.] 

 

‘Salt is good, but if it’s lost its saltiness, how do you restore that?

 

And either way, it speaks of the character of our lives, and that he’s looking for something in us.  And as he sums up that whole idea that we were working through last week, he does it in verse 34, where he says, “Salt is good” and that’s where we are.  And I say amen to that, salt is good.  “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?”  How do you make salt salty again?  “It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill, but men cast it out.  He that hath ears”, everybody included so far?  Have ears, we’re that far along, here’s where the question mark comes---“to hear,”---now people have ears to hold up earrings, people have ears to hold their glasses on their head, but if you have ears to hear, there’s divine satire here, “he who has ears to hear,” and it speaks of a condition of the heart---“let him hear.”  Now they would know immediately what he was speaking about when he said ‘Salt is good.’  In Matthew 5:13 he says “Ye are the salt of the earth.”  And then he says the same thing, he says ‘If salt has lost its saltiness, it’s not good for anything but to be cast out and trod under the foot of men.’  And there, by the way, it’s emphatic, it means ‘you, and you alone are the salt of the earth.’  But then there’s the warning of loosing saltiness, loosing its saltiness.  You and I can go to the grocery store and buy a container of salt whenever we need it, and put it in our cupboard at home, and it’s very available.  In that day, obviously, things were different, and salt had a particular value.  In fact, the Roman soldier was paid with a measure of coinage, of silver, a small value, and a bag of salt.  It was called his Salarium, which was his pay.  We get the word “salary” from it, when you get your salary every week, it’s from salt, from the measure of salt that the Roman soldier would get, and it was valuable to him.  He would use it to cleanse a wound, he would use it for his food, he would use it as an antiseptic, it had many uses.  But it was the Salarium, and we hear people say that, ‘This guy’s not worth his salt.’  Well that comes from, they would say of a Roman soldier, ‘This soldier is not even worth his salt’ because he would be paid in salt, the Salarium.  Or we might say of someone else, ‘That woman, she’s so wonderful, she’s just the salt of the earth.’  You know, that just means a good thing, she brings a good influence upon things.  And salt has a very interesting place throughout the Scripture. 

 

1st Quality of Salt:  It Flavors Everything It Comes In Contact With

 

Now, first and most obviously it’s talking about salt loosing its saltiness.  So the first thing it’s saying about salt is it’s salty.  And Jesus says salt is good.  I for one am a saltiholic.  Now not everyone is like that, I need to get on a 12-step program to get away from my salt problem.  But I love salt.  And the staff is always warning me, You’re gonna die of hardening of the arteries when you’re fifty years old [he’s 62 years old this year], what is it with this salt?  My blood pressure is 110/70, my cholesterol is 169, I have no idea why for either one, it is because God is preserving my life I guess.  But I love salt, I like the way it tastes.  If you give me a big steak, you give me a steak and a salt shaker, I want it right there next to it, very important.  And Job says that, ‘How can you eat something that’s not savory without salt?’  I don’t know if that’s part of the reason his wife cursed him, it was an indictment against her cooking.  You know, certain things, you get a plateful of white rice, you just need some salt or some soy sauce or something, you know, soup so often you have that problem, you know, mashed potatoes, you know certain things you’re just not going to eat without salt.  Salt is good for first of all, flavour. 

 

2nd Quality of Salt:  It’s A Preservative

 

Secondly, as we look in the Scripture, it is a preservative.  There were no refrigerators back then.  Peter and John and James and all of the fishermen that were standing around him when he said that knew exactly what he was talking about.  Salt is good, because every night when they came in from the Sea of Galilee, when they came in in the morning after fishing all night, the first thing they did was they took that catch of fish and they packed it in salt, because that catch of fish was on its way to Jerusalem to the Fish Gate.  And corruption, you know, things beginning to rot happened so quickly there because of the heat.  The Sea of Galilee was 600 foot below sea level, it was warm even in the winter, and those guys understood right away that because of corruption and because of things rotting, there’s a need for salt, and salt is good.  So they’d immediately take those fish, as soon as they brought them in, packed them in a crate, packed them in a basket and put layers of salt inbetween them so that by the time they got to market, they were still fresh, there was no rotting.  Or they would take meat, if you happened to kill a lamb or something, or friends would come over, you’d only eat as much of the animal as you could, you know, you couldn’t just take the leg, three legged animal walking around, so you don’t eat it all at once.  Obviously I’m making a joke, but you would take the rest of the meat and you would salt it, take the salt and rub it into the meat to keep the bacteria from beginning to work down into the meat which would make it rot.  So, very important.  Interesting, when Jesus says ‘that you, and you alone are the salt of the earth.’  Now what is he saying when he tells us that?  And what is the challenge as we look at this?  What kind of salt should be in us that we should be the kind of disciples that would not go to build a tower unless we count the cost, we wouldn’t go to war unless we take serious thought.  That kind of salt needs to be in us, that we would be a preservative.  If you remember, in Genesis chapter 18 and 19, as God [Yahweh, the pre-incarnate Christ] comes to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham says to him, ‘Shall not the God of all of the earth do right?  You’re a righteous judge, surely you’re not going to judge the righteous along with the wicked, you’re not going to pour the same punishment out on the righteous that you do on the wicked?’  And as you follow the record, it’s very interesting, as the angels are bringing out Lot and his family from Sodom, the angel says ‘Haste thee, for I can do nothing until you be brought hither from this place’---I can’t bring judgment until you’re taken out of here.’  He’s saying, ‘Lot, you’re the salt of Sodom, you’re the preservative.  As long as you’re in Sodom, I can’t rain down fire and brimstone, I can’t do anything until you’re taken out of here.’  And I think right now, look at the condition of America, look at the condition of the world that we live in, look at what’s going on with morality, look at how many young children are taking out a gun and blowing somebody away.  Look at babies being born and flushed down the toilet, and the young girl goes back on the dance floor at the prom afterwards.  Look at the things that we see happening around us that were unheard of 25 years ago.  25 years ago, I was a kid in the 1950s, I was born in 1950, I remember a time when something that was wrong was called wrong.  Did it happen?   Yeah it happened, but it wasn’t paraded down the street.  I remember in those days you didn’t take an American flag and set it on fire and dance on it, or you didn’t take a crucifix of Jesus and put it in urine and say that it was art, and get the government to fund you for doing it.  How much has the world changed?  And the Holy Spirit I think is saying to the Church [Body of Christ], ‘You, you know, you are the preservative, your influence in the world, you’re the salt, you and you alone.  Other people of other creeds and other convictions do not have what is necessary to appropriate preservation, you and you alone are the salt of the earth, the preserving factor.’  And I think it’s important.  It’s interesting, as we see Elisha, and the stream in Jericho is poison and they can’t drink of it.  It says that he takes the salt, and that he throws it, but not into the stream, he goes to the source, and he throws it there, and then because he purifies the source the stream becomes pure.  I think many in this world understand that, as I look they’re indoctrinating Kindergartener’s, and indoctrinating 1st graders and 2nd graders, Satan understands well that you go to the source.  [That is why many, many Christians are home-schooling their children now.]  And I think, you know, there’s 3,700 kids now in Sunday school every Sunday [in CC Philadelphia], go through those doors back there.  That’s an army.  That’s an army.  And sometimes on weeks on end we have to say ‘Does somebody want to go back and help, does somebody want to go back and teach?’  Let me tell you something, we have to be salty at the source.  If we don’t salt their lives now, what will happen to their lives?  And again, I don’t know if they have a future in America.  But I know America doesn’t have a future without them, an army right back there.  [And it’s now 16 years later, and that army, however many have been influenced to stay the course, are now young adults, influencing the workforce and their neighborhoods, wherever they work and live in Philadelphia.  How many have stayed the course?  That depends first on their parents, and a close second, on those teachers who volunteered to teach them about God’s Word.]  Salt, we should be salting at the source.  We should have salt in ourselves, not have salt in the sense of giving away, but when Jesus said ‘You are the salt’, we need to have salt in the sense of ‘we are salt’, it’s a preservative, very important.

 

3rd Quality of Salt:  Salt is an Antiseptic

 

It’s antiseptic also, it stings if you put salt in a wound, those of you who spend the summer down on the shore, you know if you get a cut or something, you go into the ocean, used to be safe anyhow to go in the ocean, and how the salt water would clean that out, and the puss would come very quickly, and it would heal so quickly, salt water, salt is so good on a wound, doesn’t feel good on a wound, but how quickly it proves itself an antiseptic.  Now today who knows what you’ll get, have to watch the news to see if the hypodermic needle level is low enough to go swimming.  [Knowing ocean salt water, I’d say even the diseased hypodermic needles are sterilized.  Once one of my adoptive daughters had some bad flee bites, and she went into the salt water at the beach, and they all healed right up in a day, almost like they hadn’t happened.]  Ezekiel chapter 16, verse 4, talks about the taking of a baby, because they would take their babies when they were born, before they swaddled them, as soon as they came out of the mother, they would rub them with salt, because they knew it provided an antiseptic, all over their skin, and then they’d wrap them in swaddling clothes.  “And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all [God talking about when he found Israel in Egypt as a newborn baby nation].”  Ezekiel 16:4 makes mention of it, ‘Who was there to rub you with salt before you were wrapped in swaddling clothes?’  And are we an antiseptic, can you walk into a situation and kind of bring healing?  If there’s something in your family, does your presence mean something?  You know, it’s interesting, I know of some of our family, when we get a chance to be with them on both sides of our family, you know, they really take note of Cathy and the kids and I, they see the way we are, we don’t have to drink to have fun when we’re on vacation, no alcohol.  You know if the kids want to go to the movies, we look at all of the ratings, they watch everything we do.  Maybe they’ll see us sitting up in the morning with our Bibles, talking about something, laughing about something, see us pray together at night.  And how so often it just kind of settles down everybody that’s on the vacation, it settles down the relatives around us.  It’s almost like an antiseptic.  It isn’t that you’re deliberately trying to be salty, it’s just what you are if you let the Holy Spirit be in your life.  Very important, salt is good, and this is in relationship to discipleship. 

 

4th Quality of Salt:  Salt Creates Thirst

 

Another thing about salt, is it creates thirst.  Now the people that own the movie theatres understand this perfectly, because you can get a large bag of salty popcorn at a reasonable price, but they’re gonna kill you on a soda you need to drink afterwards.  And you ever notice the water fountains are always funky in a movie theatre?  They don’t want you drinking that.  They want you to buy soda.  They understand it perfectly.  People here are drawn to Jesus, salt creates thirst.  And there should be people that watch your life and wonder.  Colossians chapter 4, verse 6 says, ‘that our speech should always be spoken with grace and seasoned with salt’, there always should be a preserving influence in the things that come out of our mouths.  That as other people get around us, we’re gonna sting some people, we’re not the sugar of the earth, I mean we have to realize that, Jesus didn’t say you’re the sugar of the earth, he said you’re the salt of the earth.  Some people are a wound, just some people, they walk around and they’re miserable, and they don’t like anybody, ‘Don’t give me that Bible thumping, you know, praise the Lord!’, they’re all walking wounds, that’s all they are, just a pussy wound.  And you being around them, you sting, you’re not trying to, you sting, you smiling, talking about Jesus.  You know, some people you’re going to sting.  But some people are going to get thirsty, they’re going to say ‘What’s this all about?  How come your mom’s got cancer, you’re in the hospital, and you and your mom are both praising the Lord and singing songs, that cook with a guitar comes, what is going on here?  What goes on here, what’s this all about?’  You know, somebody told me last week, Kirk, when he was really bad, you know his mouth was all burned, and he’s all burned, his neck’s all packed with gauze because he’s got third degree burns from the radiation, all back of his neck is burned, big thing the size of a golf ball on his face now, big blister from the radiation, and he was just downhearted, and the doctor came in and said ‘Now Kirk, you just have to be patient, because you’re going through hell right now.’  Now he can’t talk very loud, so he said, ‘no one goes through hell, he goes to hell, not through hell, and I’m not going, I’m a Christian, I’m going to heaven.  No one goes through hell.’  [applause]  And that doctor is just scratching her head, thing ‘Eye, yey ya, what have we got here?’   Salt.  But she said to him, ‘You know, I’ve seen a lot of people go through this, but I think you’re going to make it, because your faith,’ now she’s not a believer, but she said, ‘there’s something that drives you, something carries you.’  And people, we find that, will come around and ask questions.  I remember when we were on the West Coast, we started this Coffee House, we were living in San Diego, and we put in a salad bar, and we served soup, it was right down on Ocean Beach, there’s lots of kids, you know, run-aways.  The Coffee House, it’s cheap, a place to come in and chill out.  So we’re in there one night, and somebody’s playing the guitar in the corner, and here comes this motorcycle gang, comes walking in.  I mean, like something out of a movie.  You know, I don’t have to say it.  And somebody’s up there singing ‘Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,’ and these guys are looking around, and all of a sudden this one guy named Bear, I have to tell you that, says, ‘Is this a Christian place!?’  ‘Uh hah.’  ‘Are you a Christian!?’  ‘Uh hah.’  ‘Well praise the Lord, brother, so am I.’  And here is this group called The Evangelists, their colors are two pierced hands on all their leather jackets, and most of them get evangelized while they’re in prison, and then there’s a whole period where they have to ride with them when they get out, prove their prayer-life, prove their devotional life, and they’ll ride with the Hells Angels, ride with the Warlocks, they know how to ride in formation, it’s been their whole life, that’s the way they live, but they said ‘God loves these people too.’  And they told me, ‘We’ll go somewhere, and there’s crazy stuff going on, gun fights, fist fighting, and they’ll see us with our Bibles, and they’ll start coming over and say, ‘What is it with you guys?  You know, you look normal, but no girls, no whiskey, no drugs, what’s going on with you guys?’  And the one guy said to him, ‘Well let me get my Bible’, and the other guy said, ‘No, no, I’ll get it for you’ because he was fixing his bike, his hands were all greasy, and this Hells Angel says, ‘No, no, where is it?  Let me get it for you.’  And he got it, and he says, ‘Here we end up sitting there,’---because it created a thirst, it created a thirst.   And we should do that. 

 

The world is looking for the supernaturally natural, not the supernaturally weird

 

Let me tell you something, you can’t like want to be salty, like a wanna-bee salty person.  You know Christians like that, don’t you?  Wanna-bee salty Christians.  You kind of get around them and you’ll say, ‘Well I’ve gotta go to the bathroom.’  And they’ll say, ‘Well praise the Lord!’  Who says that when you go to the bathroom?  You know what wanna-bee salty Christians are like, the way they dress, and you’re thinking ‘Oh come on, would you please, cut me a break, you know, we’re saved, we’re happy we’re going to heaven, but we’re not like that.’  Because imitation salt stinks.  It’s just weird is what it is, it’s just weird.  People that are in the world that are unsaved, they see right through that.  They see right through that.  You know, when I was unsaved, sometimes we would get stoned and put on the televangelists without the sound on and just watch them, and just roll on the floor [laughing].  And then, you know, you get saved, it’s a funny thing, you get saved, and you watch some of those guys, and you say ‘Well I don’t want to be judgmental.’  And you think, ‘This guy’s a screwball,’ you have the Bible, you test it, this is not real salt, it’s not being judgmental, it’s being a fruit-inspector, the guy’s a fruit.  We’re allowed to inspect fruit, the Bible says that, to use discernment.  But in and of ourselves, I think the world is looking for people that are supernaturally natural, not supernaturally weird.  And you can’t try to be salty.  You have to be salty because you hang around with the saltiest One of them all, Jesus, because he rubs off on your life and in your life.  And it has to be, as Paul says, the love of the Spirit overflowing from our hearts.  And when that happens, salt is distinctive, there’s nothing else like it.  It’s salt, nothing is like salt.  Great stuff. 

 

5th Quality of Salt:  Salt Was Used to Seal a Covenant

 

Salt was used to seal a covenant.  Even today when you go to Israel the Arab and Bedouins will still use salt if they make a pact with one another or they strike a deal, they’ll use salt to confirm that.  There’s a covenant now between them.  It confirms a covenant.  And we read that of course in Numbers 18, that there were covenants that were to be sealed with salt, because it was a sign of a bond and of a friendship, and salt is good in that sense.  You know, it’s interesting, it tells us in Exodus chapter 34, verse 32 that leaven was never to be used in a blood sacrifice, because leaven is the opposite of salt, it doesn’t preserve, it putrefies it, it ferments.  And in Leviticus chapter 2, around verse 13 it says all of the blood sacrifices were to be offered with salt, because it was a picture of preservation, and of a pact and of a covenant.  Salt is a good thing.  Now, the other thing we have to understand is as soon as we hear about salt, everybody around Jesus understood that what called for salt was corruption, the world around them, it was a picture of the world that’s around us and its need for salt.  Salt is necessary because the world is putrefying, it’s rotting, it’s corrupting.  You know, we look at that text, and when we get to chapter 17 when Jesus talks about the days of Noah and the days of Lot, and the disciples asked, depending on your translation, ‘Where Lord? or When Lord?  And Jesus says, ‘Where the carcass is there shall the eagles, or, the vultures be gathered.’  And people look at that and say ‘What does that mean!?  That is so strange.’  Well it simply means that when there’s a carcass that begins to rot and putrefy, it’s carrion, that’s when the birds of prey begin to circle.  And in regards to the Last Days in the close of the age, Jesus is saying, ‘When the whole thing is so putrefied and so rotten, that is when judgment comes, just like when the birds of prey begin to circle.’  And I think the only hope for this present world is you and I, we’re the salt of the earth.  And I’m challenging my own heart, too.  1998 should be a year of fasting.  If we’ve ever known anything about fasting in the church, and prayer, it should be this year, because this is the most desperate year the Church [Body of Christ] has ever known.  We are closer to the return of the Lord than any generation of the Church that’s ever lived.  Do you realize, if Jesus doesn’t come for a thousand more years, and I’m just pointing out a hypothetical thought here, because I think he’s coming soon, but even if he doesn’t come for a thousand years, we still are living closer to the return of Christ than any generation of the Church that’s ever lived.  And it behooves us to sense the urgency of the hour that we live in.

 

Getting Us Out Of The Salt Shaker

 

Salt, now, the thing is with salt, nothing benefits without coming into contact with it.  And the problem I think the Lord has with me sometimes, or with you, is getting us out of the shaker, not just having salt in the salt shaker.  It’s wonderful, but you need to get it onto the meat, you need to get it onto the wound, you need to get it onto the problem, you’ve got to get it out there where the hurt is and where the pain is.  I had a tape of J. Vernon McGee addressing a class from a Presbyterian seminary at their graduation, of seminary students.  And he chose for his text from the Song of Solomon, ‘What is your beloved more than these?’  And he said to them in his Southern drawl, he said, “Well, you all might as well forget everything you’ve learned for the last four years, because you’re going out into a world where there are broken hearts, and broken lives, and broken marriages, and drug addiction, and bigotry, and hatred, and pain, and they don’t care about nothing you just learned in the last four years.  All they care about is ‘What is your beloved more than these.’”  He said, “All they care about is who you know, and not what you know.”  And that’s all the world cares about, is who you know.  Again in the Book of Acts it said ‘They took note of the apostles, that they were ignorant and unlearned men, but that they had been with Jesus.’  And I think when we’ve been with him, we’re infectious with the same thing. 

 

‘But if the Salt Have Lost His Savour’

 

The danger is that we’ll become unsalty.  It says it here in verses 34-35, “…but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?  It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  You know, that’s the thing, if we’re going to be salty, how do we then come in contact with a world that needs salt without getting desaltified?  I’ll tell you very simply this, if you have a problem with drinking, don’t develop a ministry in a bar.  If you have a problem with pornography or lust, you don’t want to develop a ministry on a beach in the summer.  If you have a problem with gambling, you don’t want to be a missionary in Atlantic City.  There are certain things that you need to realize about yourself, have salt in yourselves, but don’t destroy yourselves.  Because there’s a way for us to touch people’s lives without them infecting us, and the opposite of what goes on between us and Jesus, being a preservative in their lives.  Now if salt looses its saltiness, they understood in the temple precincts in Jesus day, in the Court of Women, the inner court there, inside the Court of the Gentiles, there were four big rooms.  One of those rooms was filled with wood for the altars, the other room was where people would go if they were going to take a vow, and shave their head, and they would sit quietly and meditate before the Lord.  The third room was a room where young boys that were Bar Mitzvah’d, that had become sons of the Law would come and talk with the doctors of the Law and teachers of the Law [ie the scribes], that’s where Mary and Joseph found Jesus when he was twelve in Jerusalem, sitting with the teachers and doctors of the Law.  And the fourth room was filled with salt.  And it was large quantities of salt, not the refined salt that they would use in the sacrifice, but it was the salt that really had lost its saltiness, but it was still good in the temple precincts in the winter when sometimes it would get icy there, to throw it out, and it was good for nothing but to be thrown out and trodden under the foot of men.  [you know, I was thinking of a good physical example of this.  Police for the most part have to deal with and rub shoulders with the criminal elements of society all the time, and very sadly, sometimes an officer over time will let it get to him, and become corrupted himself for whatever reason.  It is a genuine hazard of the profession.  What Pastor Joe is pointing out, is that we have the exact same hazards to watch out for, but in the spiritual realm.  We can’t be hiding under a rock, or in the salt-shaker, with have to properly mix with this hurting world, without becoming re-infected by it.]  And they understood exactly what he was talking about.  But he challenges them with being salty.  I think it’s good for us.  It’s good if your kids grow up watching those videos, Salty.

 

Luke 15:1-10

 

“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.  And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.  And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.  Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?  And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

 

Parable of the Ninety-Nine and One Sheep

 

Two Groups of People Before Jesus

 

“Chapter 15, “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.”  That’s because he’s salty, he’s making them thirst, they’re drawing near.  Now look whose drawing near to him, first of all the publicans.  You know who they were?  They were the tax collectors, and I hate to talk about that on April 15th, some of you are running right out of here to the Post Office, I understand.  Jesus ate with them.  “…and sinners” not just sinners, it seems to indicate notorious sinners, those that were famous for their violence and for their sin are drawing to him.  Verse 2 says, “And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners and eats with them.”  Now, for me that’s good news.  Because Jesus received me and saved me, and I like to eat.  So in his Kingdom I’m going to go to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, both of these things are good news for me.  [Want to see a possible Biblical scenario of how that might happen?  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm and go through that two-part series.]  In that culture, when you sat down at the table with someone, you partook of life with them, you broke bread with them, you partook of life with them.  They would never sit with a publican or a sinner, the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious people.  In verse 1 and 2 we have these pictures, one of the common people that were drawn to Jesus, that had a need, that were honest enough to admit it, that were not self-righteous.  And they were coming to him realizing they had a need, and Jesus wasn’t stinging them unduly, but Jesus was presenting truth and light to them to where it was palatable, making them thirsty.  Where the Pharisees and Sadducees presented religious terms to the people in such a way that it was distasteful, so they didn’t want to hear, it was painful, it was a burden as Paul says, that no man was able to bear (and James in Acts 15 said the same thing).  And they say to Jesus, they began to accuse him, ‘You’re eating with tax gatherers and sinners, with the worst kind of people, you’re partaking of life with them, becoming one with them.’   

 

A Good Shepherd Rejoices at the Burden of Restoration

 

“And he [Jesus] spake this parable unto them, saying,…”  Now take note, it’s a parable.  So you’re not going to develop doctrine here.  But there are points that will be made.  “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (verses 4-7).  So he tells this parable.  ‘Why are you eating with tax gatherers and sinners?’ the judgmental attitude of the religious people of the day, which was not salty at all.  And Jesus says, ‘Let me tell you a parable.  Which one of you having a hundred sheep’, you’ve got to understand, when we see the pictures inspired of Jesus by this little parable, you’ve seen pictures of Jesus with the sheep on his shoulder, or reaching over the cliff and getting the sheep that’s dangling there, or Jesus the Good Shepherd with the flock of sheep, you know, that’s kind of noble when it’s used as an idiom, because the kings of Israel were portrayed as shepherds, and Moses was a shepherd.  In the Midrash there’s a record that Moses was out one day watching Jethro’s flocks, and because one sheep wandered astray, a lamb, he spent all day and finally found it, that it was because of that God finally came to him and said ‘Now I’m going to make you shepherd over my people Israel, because you cared this much about another man’s lamb.’  So they understood there was a noble side of it.  Shepherds in that day were not allowed to testify in court.  Your daughter was not allowed to marry a shepherd.  They were pick-pockets, they were the low-life.  You know, we grow up in Sunday school [or Sabbath school] thinking ‘Oh, what a noble thing it was to be a shepherd.’  Not in that society.  And Jesus right off the bat says something to them that stings a little bit, speaking of salt stinging, when he says, ‘Which one of you, Pharisees, having a hundred sheep’, he’s telling them as a shepherd right away, they don’t like this conversation.  Now you have to understand, the average landowner, homeowner might have fifteen, twenty animals.  Someone with a larger flock might have forty.  We’re looking at a hundred sheep, we’re probably looking at the collective flock of the village, because we’re going to go back to the village afterwards.  And they would have two or three men that would be appointed by the village, they would be like the village shepherds, they would be paid to watch those flocks.  So that if one lamb goes astray, that shepherd would feel the burden of that, because it wasn’t just his, it belonged to the entire village.  So he has a picture here of the shepherd, Christ of course portraying himself, watching over a flock, and he says in idioms they understood, ‘What if one sheep, one lamb strayed, is lost?  Doesn’t that shepherd leave the ninety-nine with the one or two other shepherds, and then go seek that one that’s lost?’  They understood that, and of course the answer was ‘Yes.’  It says ‘when he comes and he finds it, he rejoices.’   Now you have to understand this, and those of you who go to Israel, if you get a chance, talk to a shepherd sometime.  Because the interesting thing is, if a lamb or a sheep strays far enough away to where they loose their sense where the flock is, and they don’t know where they’re at, you know what they do?  They lay down...[tape switchover, some text lost]…and the reason the shepherd has to carry it back, because if he just stood it up, what is the shepherd going to do, just kick it and say ‘Come on, you stupid sheep, get back!’ and the thing keeps laying down.  It doesn’t say the shepherd gets that sheep and skins it and hangs the skin up over the rest of the flock, and says ‘That’ll happen to you if you wander away.’  It says when he sees that sheep, he knows he’s going to carry it all the way back, but he rejoices before he loads it on his back.  He rejoices at the burden of restoration.  He rejoices, and that was his heart as he sat with the tax gatherers and sinners.  And he takes that sheep and loads it on his own shoulders, and carries it, not back to the flock, but back to the village where they had been, and it says the entire village comes out and rejoices for that one that was found.  That’s the same thing in your life this evening.  You know, if you are here and you don’t know Christ, you know it’s funny, we have people come sometime, their friends are trying to get them to come to church, and they’ll say ‘Yeah, yeah, if I go to your church the building will fall down when I get there.’  No, no, no, that’s not our God, that’s some other god you learn about.  Because our God is the one who rejoices when he finds one whose gone astray.  I mean, he rejoiced when he found me, cocaine, drugs, when he found me, strung out, when he found my life wasted, in a place where I couldn’t walk anymore.  Sin had fatigued me, I just lay down, I didn’t have any gumption or ability to do it anymore, I was tired of the burden, I was tired of the emptiness, I was tired of being phony.  I had nowhere to go though, I was lost, didn’t know my way.  And when I cried out, when Jesus found me, you know, he didn’t say ‘You know, when I wrote whomsoever will may come, I never dreamed this guy would take me up on it.  I’m really sorry I wrote that.  I didn’t foresee this.’  No, it says that ‘All of heaven rejoiced.’  That’s the heart of God, when he found you.  Or, if you’re here this evening and you don’t know him, you may have a sense of ‘I’m not worthy.’  No, no, this is somebody whose wandered away, somebody whose lost, can’t even walk anymore, and he’s picturing that person, as the tax gatherers and sinners, those who were notorious for sin, Jesus is picturing them in this lost sheep.  He rejoices even before he begins the burden of carrying it back, because you know what’s going to happen?  And we’re going to give you a chance at the end of the service tonight to accept Christ as your Saviour, and you know, Jesus is going to carry you.  He’s going to carry you for the rest of your life.  You all know the story of the footprints that we sell in the bookstore, it’s the story of someone whose walking their walk with Jesus, and walking down the beach, pictured as their life walking down the beach, and there are two sets of footprints, and this person notices that every time there is a tragedy or something hard goes on in their life, that there’s only one set of footprints.  And they say to the Lord, ‘Lord, how come every time things got hard, you bailed out on me?’  And the Lord says, ‘What are you talking about?’  And he says, ‘Here, look at the footprints, every time things got rough, there’s only one set of footprints.’  And Jesus said, ‘That’s not where I bailed out, that’s where I carried you.’  And he’s the same in our lives.  So he rejoices to take the burden of your life, before he even begins to carry you, he rejoices that he’s found the lost sheep it says.  Now look, it’s very interesting, Harry Ironside, who is dead now, was a great commentator, writing on this talked about a friend of his that was wealthy, that had a huge sheep ranch out west.  And he said he was staying at his house one night, and he said all of a sudden on the porch, he said ‘Come on.’  He said, ‘Where are you going?’  He said, ‘I hear a lamb crying,’ he said, ‘I don’t know where he is, but I can hear him.’  He knew the difference of some cry that was in trouble.  So he says they jumped in the pickup, he said ‘We rode around for hours.’  And he said, ‘I said to him, ‘What is wrong with you, you have thousands of sheep.’  And he said, ‘You know, I just couldn’t sleep tonight knowing this one’s out here, and a wolf or a coyote is going to get it.’  He said, ‘I’d go home and I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.’  Sinclair Ferguson, wonderful man, I love to listen to his teaching, teaches over Westminster seminary from Scotland, talks about growing up around sheep.  And he would watch the shepherds, and how they would take care of them, and how they would do this, and how the sheep would do this, and how stupid they were, and how the shepherds would put them on their feet.  And he said, his whole life, he would look at them and think, ‘Who would ever want to be a shepherd?  What would possess a human being to want to be a shepherd?’  [Being a shepherd is very hard work.  Buy on amazon.com or Christianbook.com “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller.  He was a professional shepherd in Africa of all places, and goes into great detail of what a shepherd’s life entails.]  And he said, one day when he was watching them he realized, ‘These are men who love sheep.’  [laughter]  And that’s what this parable is about.  It’s not how you get saved, it’s why you get saved.  It’s because of the heart of God, it’s because of the heart of the Shepherd, it’s not because of the intrinsic value of one lost lamb when there’s thousands of others.  That’s not what it is at all, it’s because of who he is, it’s because of his heart towards you.  And that’s why he sits with sinners today, the Bible says he’s the same today, yesterday and forever.  And that’s why even if you’re a notorious sinner, that when he comes in contact with your life, he rejoices, if you’re willing, that he might take hold of your life and carry you, because of his heart.  Not because you’re worthy, because you’re not.  I’m not either. 

 

Parable of the Lost Coin

 

He tells the next parable.  “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?  Now he doesn’t insult the Pharisees by saying “which of you being a woman”, because, every day the Pharisees, now let me straighten myself out, I just got myself in trouble.  Every day, the Pharisees would pray every morning, ‘Thank God I am not a Gentile, a dog, or a woman.’  You’ve come a long way, baby.  Jesus Christ has given the rightful place to women in society, but that’s what these Jewish Pharisees would pray every morning.  So now he tells another parable.  “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?  And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth”  (verses 8-10).  Now, here it goes again, ‘What woman is there if she loses a piece of silver doesn’t then go and clean the entire house looking for it?’  Now what is it talking about?  Does this mean, men, if your wife doesn’t really get the house clean, throw a piece of silver somewhere?  I’m just joking.  Just joking.  What it was talking about is that the bride in that day would have either a necklace with ten pieces of silver, ten coins, silver coins in it, or her veil, you’ve seen it sometimes, there would be ten pieces of silver across it, or sometimes on the headpiece.  And if you’ve seen pictures of the Near East you’ve seen the Bedouin even today with silver coins hanging sometimes in the headpiece.  And it was equivalent to our wedding ring today.  Now I don’t now a lot about your wedding ring.  Cathy and I got married in 1978.  We were Hippies, we were still Hippies in ’78.  And we didn’t have any money, we lived in a communal house, so I sold my high school ring, it was a great deal, I paid 16 bucks for it in 1967 [same year I graduated from high school] when I got it, and I sold it for $90.  I really felt good about that.  [laughter]  And we got both of our rings, we got this one for like 40 bucks or something, and got hers for $100 with a diamond chip in it, if you have a microscope you could see it, it’s down in there somewhere, we bought it in faith.  And now, I’m too fat to get mine off at this point, so I’m never going to lose this.  If I go on a forty day fast I might get it off, but this one ain’t going anywhere, as long as my finger doesn’t turn blue I’m not worried about it.  But she’s had hers off, and then all of a sudden ‘I don’t know where I’ve put my ring!’ and you notice there’s that panic.  It’s not because you lost a $50 ring.  You know, if you paid $5,000 and had a big stone in it, you and your husband would be freaking out.  It’s not because there’s some intrinsic value in the ring, it wasn’t because there was an intrinsic value in the one coin in the headpiece, it was because of what it symbolized, because of the covenant that it held out in front of them every day for the rest of their lives.  It was because it was valuable because of what it meant to them in their heart and their mind and their spirit.  That was what gave value to it, not the weight of the silver or the gold itself. 

 

The Coin Was Symbolic of a Marriage Covenant

 

And Jesus uses this parable because they would understand that, the power of a covenant.  And this was representative of that covenant that had been made.  And he says it’s like a woman who loses a piece of her headdress, a coin from that, then searches the entire house.  Not because of that one coin, she had nine others, but because now it had marred something that she had kept from her youth, that was of great value to her symbolically, emotionally.  And the rejoicing then that she experienced is not just because the thing is so valuable, it’s because of what it represents.  And God when he finds a sinner and brings that sinner back to himself, it is a picture of the covenant that he’s made.  It’s a picture of, the Bible tells us that as believers we’re the Bride of Christ, that he’s our Groom.  And it’s a picture of something much deeper.  You know, people wrestle with that.  They say ‘There’s nothing in me, I’m not worthy.’  And when you call people to be saved, some people sit and they hesitate and they think ‘Well I’m not worthy, why would Jesus die for me?  I’m not worthy that he should die for me.  I’m not worthy of his forgiveness, I’ve got to go out and get my life together a little bit.’  You’ve got to get over that, because none of us are worthy.  Nobody’s worthy, it isn’t because of the intrinsic value in you, it isn’t that God is looking down from heaven and said ‘Oh, that one’s so cute, I’ve got to send my Son to die for him.’  It’s because of who he is.  The ancient rabbis would say God loves us because he loves us.  There was no reason on our end, on the human end.  You and I only understand love that way.  Your best friend, when you develop a best friend, you know you think, ‘Well hey, she drives the same kind of car I drive, she watches the same shows I watch, she loves the same junk food I like, she loves to shop at the same place, obviously this is a brilliant woman [chuckles],’  Or ‘He fishes in the same stream, he drives a Bronco like I do, he likes to hunt for geese, this is the salt of the earth, this man here.’  No, that’s because we are drawn to someone else because of some value in them, there’s something in them that elicits our human love, because it’s so conditional.  [Want to learn more about God’s agape-love, which is not conditional?  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm.]  Then all of a sudden we’re coming to God, and he’s portraying himself as a shepherd whose going to look for a sheep whose wandered so far away and is so burdened down it can’t ever return, or as a lost coin that doesn’t have so much value in itself, but because of what it symbolizes, because of what it means in a covenant, it has great value.  And then of the rejoicing that there is when that is recovered.  And in both places he says the joy that’s experienced in those circumstances reflect the joy in heaven when one sinner comes to repentance, comes to change his mind. 

 

Religion verse Real Repentance

 

Repentance is metanoeo in the Greek, it means to change the mind.  And Jesus is saying that’s why sinners that are notable, notorious sinners are drawn to me.  Now see the problem is, I grew up in the Church [Lutheran], I was a sinner, I was not drawn to church, I wasn’t drawn to the pastor of the church that I was supposed to be going to.  I remember I was getting beat up by a gang, and I hid in his bushes.  The whole side of my head was swollen, was hit with a pool cue.  He comes out, sees me in his bushes and says ‘Get out of here!  Get out of my bushes!’  I said, ‘They’re going to kill me.’  He said, ‘I don’t care, get out of my bushes!’  He was worried about his bushes.  I’m thinking, ‘You’re supposed to be a Reverend or something, you know.  I’m going to get killed…I don’t care, get out of here!’  Now I hope he gets saved, you know.  He wasn’t.  If I see him in heaven [in the Kingdom of heaven] I’ll say ‘Don’t worry, it was great sermon material.’  [laughter]  But when I had come to the end of myself, like some of these sinners that were drawn to Jesus, I had friends that I had played music with in night clubs and concerts, and one or two of them were Christians, and one comes here all the time on Sunday, Larry, he used to witness to me and share Christ with me.  And I used to look at his life, and his marriage was different.  And we were in trouble, most of us in those days, most of us.  And there was something different about him, and I tasted something that tasted good, there was something salty there, there was something preserving there, there was something that drew me there and made me thirsty for more of whatever it was that he had.  And he would talk to me about Jesus.  And I don’t think he ever told me what church he went to.  He wasn’t pushing a denomination, or you need this certain thing or that thing.  He just talked about Jesus.  And when I had questions he would open the Bible and say ‘Look here, this is what it says,’ and I was drawn to that, there was an openness there for me.  I could sense for my own life, ‘This is worth trying, this is, I know that I’m a sinner, and if all of this is real, I don’t want to go to hell when I die, I want to go to heaven.  If all of this is true, and you’re telling me he loves me the way I am, with all of my problems, with all of my weight, with all of my burdens, with all my sin.  I want to know about this Jesus.  It’s not the Jesus I learned about when I grew up.’  Because the religious people, and they still talk about you, you have to understand that.  ‘That place over there, that old meter factory, you should see, that’s a cult, you should see those people that go in there, you should see, they have a drummer, they wear Hawaiian shirts, jeans and maybe they’re taking drugs in there, you don’t want to get involved in that place…’  For me, I’m glad that Jesus takes us the way that we are.  He took me the day I was saved, washed me and cleansed me and made me his own.  And I’m glad the Bible says now, for me, that man looks on the outward appearance and judges another man, but God looks upon the heart.   [Initially we come as we are, but we don’t remain that way.  Sanctification is in two parts, one part is instantaneous, the other part takes a lifetime.  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/1st%20Corinthians.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm] And I want to give an opportunity to those of you this evening who don’t know Jesus.  Maybe you know the Catholic church, maybe you know the Lutheran church, maybe you know the Baptist church, maybe you know the synagogue, maybe you know the mosque, maybe you know meditation, LSD, drugs, alcohol, whatever your religion might be, power, sex.  I know that whatever it is, it’s leaving you empty.  But Jesus said ‘If you come to me, and I’ll give you water to drink, and if you drink of it, you will never thirst again, it will answer that yearning, the emptiness, that void inside of you.’  And the thing is, you have to understand, you come just the way you are.  In both of these pictures, it says that heaven rejoiced when one sinner, it doesn’t mean only one sinner, there’s no such thing in heaven as only one.  In heaven one is as good as a million is what it means, one is as good as the ninety nine that were left so he could search for it.  One is everything.  And maybe there’s one person here tonight that wants to know Jesus as their Saviour.  I’m going to have the musicians come.  Read ahead.  Next week, Wednesday night Avi Lipkin will be here, whose a Major in the Israeli Army and Israeli Reserve.  He’s not a believer, he’s an Orthodox Jew, he’s in the War Room sometimes in Israel.  I’ve asked him to come and just kind of share with us the perspective right now in the Middle East, because remember, as we get to Luke 21 we’ll see that Israel is always God’s time-clock.  It isn’t the Y2K, it isn’t everything else that we…and we need to look at these things and be aware that Israel is the key, the prophetic time-clock.  So he will be here.  He’s not here because he agrees with us theologically, he’s here because he is an Israeli citizen, he is a Major in the Reserve, he’s involved in some of their planning, and he believes the only hope for Israel is a revival in the Church in America, because he believes the only friend of Israel is the born-again Christian, the evangelical that sees Israel’s place in prophecy.  So he’ll be here next week.  The week after, we’ll come to the parable of the prodigal son, if we’re still here.  Read that.  But tonight, as we sing this last song as we worship, look, if you feel on your heart, hey, if something has made you thirsty, and you think, not physically, but spiritually, ‘If this is true, I want it.  If I can be saved, Jesus will take me with the weight of my sin, he’ll take me with all of my dirt, he’ll take me with all my baggage.’  Well all it says here is you have to be a sinner, and the deal that the Scripture shows us, is you provide the sinner, he provides the Saviour.  And I think you can make that deal.  And if you’re ready to do that this evening, if you want to ask Christ to be your Saviour, as we sing this song, as we lift our voices, we’re going to give you that time, just to come and stand here, to pray and ask Jesus to be your Saviour.  We’ll give you a Bible, we’ll give you some literature to read.  We want you to come stand publicly.  He hung publicly for you, was crucified publicly for you…[connective expository sermon given on Luke 14:34-35 and Luke 15:1-10 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

What is Jesus building?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/Zephaniah1.htm

 

Possible Biblical scenario of how we get to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  See:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm and read through that two-part series.

 

God’s love is not conditional.  What type of love is that?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm

 

How Do I Become A Christian?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

and,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm

and scroll to the bolded paragraph title “How to Become a Christian and read from there.

 

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