Pastor Joe Miller
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to preach a Sunday morning service. Like any good leftovers, I am still digesting and enjoying the biblical principles that we talked about that day.
Matthew 5:13, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
We, as the children of God, are the salt of the earth. The influencers and ambassadors for God. An influencer has the God-given ability to have an effect on the character development and behavior of an individual or group, even the power to shape the policies that govern them causing change. If the salt loses its savor (or influence) it is good for nothing, which is being witnessed in our families and churches across our country and even the world. That phrase ‘have lost his savor’ means to become foolish, to lose influence because of the lack of godly wisdom. We, as Christians, need to get back to the basics of being like Jesus, separate from the worldly wisdom that religion without Christ has to offer.
James 4:1, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"
All around us, we see the products of the flesh and the pride of man, confusion, and division. Back in James 3:13-18, I see a challenge for all of us as children and ambassadors of God to return to His wisdom and His methods of influencing our families, churches, friends, country, and world.
James 3:13-18, "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
The passage starts out with a question to the reader of ‘who is a wise man among you?’ This person, who is to embody the characteristics of Jesus with the answers and the hope that this world around us needs. By living a lifestyle full of meekness in the power of God, not flesh, to regulate the situations and conversations that we find ourselves in, to the glory of God. Verses 14-16 discuss worldly wisdom, envying, strife, lies, confusion, all driven by pride - sinful and unproductive. All too often, we find ourselves in situations where opinions mixed with partial truths and pride end up in a spiritual brawl and division - polluting the Gospel of hope, ultimately grieving God. Verse 17 describes the seven characteristics that should illuminate or shine out of every Christian's actions and words.
Pure - to be free from defilement; holy; truth vs. my opinion
Peaceable - words without strife or contention
Gentle - relaxing strict standards; in order to keep the spirit of the law. Focusing on the real intent of the conversation and purpose and what is really at stake. Not being distracted by pride and opinions. Focusing on truth, hope, and growth.
Easy to be entreated - easy to deal with. Jesus was easy to talk to and we should be too.
Full of mercy - compassionate towards others for the benefit of those around us.
Without partiality - to be impartial; don’t judge, don’t condemn, don’t destroy.
Without hypocrisy - be sincere, be real; Jesus vs. Pharisees
The world’s perception and opinion of God and the Gospel generally comes from their view of His children - you and me. Sadly, too many times I find myself in the flesh grieving our Father instead of putting a smile on His face. I pray that after reading this, we would be obedient to the challenge of His Word, influencing our surroundings, bringing godly change, and embodying the life of Jesus.
Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."