Revelation 3:1-6 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
Tonight, our small group Bible study came to the Ray Vander Laan lesson on the ancient city of Sardis, in the middle of the Hermus valley, at the foot of Mount Tmolus in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). John’s message in the opening passage was for the Christians of Sardis to wake up and watch; to be alive and alert. Michael led the discussion and asked this question related to both Sardis and our culture today. Do we influence our world, or does the world influence us? There are a lot of bumper stickers on cars these days with the acronym NOTW, which means “Not of this World”, meaning that the faithful Believer of the Gospel, the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, the child of God and citizen of the kingdom of Heaven is in the world, but not of the world.
The lesson taught that salt doesn’t do its job or fulfill its purpose until it is mixed in with what it is supposed to season and favor. But salt that becomes diluted by what it is supposed to flavor cannot do its job either. If Christians are to be the salt of the earth, how involved with the secular world and secular people must we be in order to be “salt” and communicate the message of Jesus Christ? How would you describe the difference between involvement that enables us to be salt and compromise that causes us to lose our saltiness? Creator Father God sent Jesus to seek and save the lost, and Jesus’ ministry is our ministry. Salt flavors, but salt also preserves and can help in healing. These physical attributes have spiritual attributes to those who are called metaphorically to be the salt of the earth. We are called to be where people need ministry most in a lost and dying anti-God world; to bring the message of Christ and morality to a sin-sick society. Everything is either devoted to God or to self. Society states that we are the center of the universe and yet sovereign God created the universe. We are to reclaim and replace the ungodly with the holy truth. In the Bible, salt symbolizes truth and integrity. The Greek root meaning for the word ”fool” is “unsalty”. Have you ever heard the term: “That guy is not worth his salt.”? The Christian must remain “salt”. Do not compromise is the process of ministry. Do not become part of the culture that the Lord has sent us to affect and change.
The Bible tells us to speak the truth because truth is based upon the Word of God. Salt is our nature, which the Lord God gave us all. As Believers, we are not to be isolated from unbelievers. God tells us to go out into the evil God-rejecting world system and mix our salt with sinful people. Yet, as we faithfully live out the “good news” in our world, we must keep our distinctive Christian identity. We must guard against absorbing the values of the secular humanist pagan world and losing the qualities that make us “Salt.”
In Christ, Brian