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THE SALT OF THE EARTH #2 Pray, Vote, Engage

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”


A. When we think of salt in our Western culture, we usually think of (1) flavoring our foods or (2) putting it on our sidewalk/roads to help melt the snow in the winter. But salt has many other purposes. Salt was significant in the Eastern culture:                           



•                    Salt was (and is) a preservative.

•                    Roman soldiers received part of their salary in salt. “[In Biblical times] salt was...so precious that it was used as money. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt, giving us the word ‘salary,’ derived from the Latin word for salt—‘sal.’” http://www.courant.com/ctnowEven today we say things like, “he is not worth his salt (wages)” or “take that with a grain of salt.”

•                    Our bodies die without salt.

•                    In the Middle East, salt was used in making covenants.


B. We are the salt of the earth. If we as believers are not living the gospel as we should, we are as effective as tasteless salt. Salt does three important things:


(1) Salt Flavors.

A. We as believers are salt. Wherever we go, we flavor our surrounding. We do that primarily through what we say (Job 6:6; Colossians 4:5, 6).


(2) Salt Preserves.

A. In the ancient world, there was no refrigeration. So salt was rubbed into meat to preserve it—to keep it from going bad. We are the preserver of the land.

B. Actually, the world would be much worse if the salt was not preserving it.


(3) Salt Hinders.

A. In the ancient world, whenever one nation conquered another it made sure that nation could not rise again. The conquering army plowed under the surrounding countryside, spreading salt over everything to keep the land from producing crops again.

B. The same salt which will preserve will also hinder. It has the ability to hinder growth.

C. Salt FLAVORS, PRESERVES and HINDERS. We are to cause the work of God to flourish. But we also hinder the work of Satan in the earth.


PRAY, VOTE, ENGAGE



(1) PRAY.           

A. The apostle Paul lists three classes of people to pray for: (1) all men, (2) kings and (3) all who are in authority.


1 Timothy 2:1-4 “Therefore I exhort FIRST OF ALL that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”


Vs. 1 “I exhort FIRST OF ALL...” - Too often prayer is our last priority. It should be our foundation for success. The first thing we should pray for is others, in particular those who are in positions of authority.

Vs. 2a “kings” - Today we would say, “presidents.”

Vs. 2b “all who are in authority” - This would include governmental leaders (federal, state, & local) and spiritual leaders.

B. Godless emperor Nero was on the throne at that time and yet the believers were supposed to pray for him. Even when we cannot respect the men or women in authority, we must respect the office they stand in and pray for them.

Example: When Harrison graduated from VT, it was an election year. The President always had an invitation to speak at their college graduation and the First Lady came to speak that year. Her husband’s views were very different than those within our family but when she spoke, we stood up and clapped for her because we honored the office she stood in. That is the principle of honor.

C. I hear people say, “That is not MY President.” Whether you like them or not, or agree with them or not, if you are a citizen of the United States, they ARE your President.

Vs. 2c As we pray for our nation we, in turn, reap the benefits of those prayers.

D. Notice the words quiet and peaceable.

1. The word quiet denotes a calm due to the absence of any outward disturbance (no war, riots, turbulence, etc.).

2. The word peaceable refers to a calm from within. (See Wuest.)

Vs. 3 Praying for the government is good and acceptable to God.

E. God desires good government. Bad government hinders the preaching of the gospel. Good government allows the preaching of the gospel.

F. The Lord told Kenneth Copeland, “There are two times when you should pray for someone. One, when you think he’s right. And the other, when you think he’s wrong.”

                  

(2) VOTE.

A. Steven J. Cole said, “The Bible does not address voting directly because democracy was not practiced then. Some Christians argue that we are citizens of heaven and thus should not get involved at all in politics. But we are also citizens of this earth. Since we are given a say in who rules over us, not to vote is to allow the ungodly to win.”

Example: “There are 25 million self-identified Christians who are registered to vote but do not plan to cast their ballot this November. There are another 15 million self-identified Christians who are not even registered to vote. That’s a total of 40 million people who will throw away their opportunity to seek the welfare of their cities, states and our country.” (See American Pastors Network, October 1, 2020 letter.)    

B. Just having the privilege to vote is a blessing. Many nations do not have true, honest elections. Don’t take this great privilege for granted. Our religious liberties are under attack. We must let our voice—and our vote—be heard!

C. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Example: Dr. Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and world-renowned clinical psychiatrist. (See the blog on Viktor Frankl and the statue of responsibility at

psychologytoday.com.)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-meaningful-lifehttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-meaningful-life

“Although he enjoyed his time spent in America and admired much about it, Dr. Frankl was not shy about criticizing the popular understanding of some cherished American values, such as our notion of freedom. He took exception...to what appeared to be a commonly accepted view of equating freedom with a license to do virtually anything one wants. To Frankl, freedom without responsibility was an oxymoron. That is why he suggested that the Statue of LIBERTY in New York Harbor on the East Coast be supplemented by a ‘Statue of RESPONSIBILITY’ somewhere along the West Coast.


[Dr. Frankl said,] ‘Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of LIBERTY on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of RESPONSIBILITY on the West Coast.’”


D. People sometimes say, “You can’t do that. I know my rights!?!” Yes, but do you know your responsibilities as well?

E. There are two important things we can do to help us make a wise decision when it comes to voting:


(1) Make sure that the standards of Scripture are the litmus test for who you will vote for.

A. Don’t vote regarding the economy alone or just for your personal preferences. Vote for men and women with godly qualities—for those who have a reverence for God.

B. We want the Lord to reign over our land and over our government.




Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”


Proverbs 14:34 (NLT) “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Proverbs 29:2 (NLT) “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.”


C. As a nation right now, are people rejoicing or groaning? We need to pray for men and women with godly qualities to be placed into office. They don’t even have to be born again but they should be moral and honest.


2 Samuel 23:1, 3 “Now these are the last words of David... ‘The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.’”


D. Here are some of the key things I look for when I am voting:



•                    Is the candidate pro-life?

•                    Do they believe in the Biblical, traditional view of marriage?

•                    Do they support the nation and people of Israel?

•                    Do they fight for religious liberty?

•                    Do they stand up for and help the oppressed?


(2) Judge a candidate by their voting record, not just by what they say. Find out their previous track record.

A. Every candidate will say that he/she is a Christian or at least a person of faith.

Example: One presidential candidate was asked what his favorite verse of Scripture was. He was supposed to say John 3:16. (I’m sure his advisors told him to give that reference.) But by mistake, he said John 16:3. It says, “And these things they will do to you [believers] because they have not known the Father nor Me.”

B. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). Judge the candidates by their voting record, not simply by what they promise you.

Example: While overseas, one President was seen coming out of church with his Bible in hand. The press was taking pictures of this. What you didn’t know when watching this at home was that the whole thing was set up. His advisors picked a church that looked good. But they didn’t like the minister so they hired another minister to come in for the day and do a service for the President. It was all a set up.

C. Don’t just make your decisions by what the media says. Most of the media is biased and has an agenda.      

D. One minister asked the Lord, “Why don’t You just move and fix things?” and the Lord said, “Because I don’t vote!”

Example: You may say, “But I voted for righteousness and an ungodly individual got into office anyway?!” - If you obeyed the Lord and voted how He wanted you to, I believe that God will still honor your obedience and bless you.


(3) ENGAGE.

A. There is a popular teaching called, “The Seven Mountains of Influence.” There isn’t a passage that specifically refers to the “Seven Mountains.” But Jesus told His followers to be salt and light to the world in which we live (Matthew 5:13-16).

B. The command of Jesus is to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

C. Various Bible teachers teach this powerful concept. But where did it originate?


“The first recorded reference to the Seven Mountains...originates with Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade. In 1975, Bright was having lunch in Colorado with Loren Cunningham (who founded Youth with a Mission). Both men had been given a dream by God, containing a message to give to the other. That message was about Seven Mountains of influence.


Francis Schaeffer received a similar message from the Lord at about the same time. All three believed that in order for the church to impact the world for Jesus Christ, it would be necessary for us to influence the Seven Mountains of society.


D. The key word is influence. We are not talking about taking over those areas. That won’t happen. Paul said that evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

E. We are talking about being a godly influence for Jesus Christ in these seven different areas and being in a position of authority so that we can take a stand for righteousness.

Example: My brother works for the US State Department and has taken a stand for Biblical righteousness on many occasions. We need godly Christians in every sphere of society.

F. For too long, we’ve not taught people to get involved in politics, the educational system, etc. We felt that this was unspiritual. But some are as called to the marketplace, etc. as I am to the local church. Both are a calling from heaven and both are crucial!

G. Believers like Joseph, Nehemiah, Esther and Daniel were all used by the Lord to make a difference for Him in an often ungodly government. The leaders were not necessarily believers.

H. One of the core values of Oral Roberts University is “to live in the power of the Holy Spirit and to become service-oriented leaders WHO GO INTO EVERY PERSON’S WORLD with healing for the totality of human need.”

I. Very few Christians are called into full time pulpit ministry. Most are called to be laborers in the harvest field. We are to go into every person’s world with the good news of the gospel.

THE SEVEN MOUNTAINS OF INFLUENCE


                  (1) Religion                            (5) Media


                  (2) Family                                        (6) Arts & Entertainment


                  (3) Education                                  (7) Business


                  (4) Government/Politics


A. The far left/progressives have had this understanding for years. They have dominated the educational system, Hollywood, politics, the news media, etc. for decades. We are seeing the effects of that across our nation.

B. They have also redefined what the family looks like. But the body of Christ is beginning to rise up in these areas. It is time to be involved in the Seven Mountains of Influence.

Example: Christian movies like the Passion of the Christ, Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” and many others are making a big difference. Worship teams like Hillsong, Elevation and Bethel are rivaling anything the world puts out. The church is beginning to rise up in these areas. MFM