"The key to understanding the Bible is to look for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus is the hero of the Bible. If you read the Bible and don't find Jesus, re-read it! The Bible has one hero, His name is Jesus; one villain, that is Satan; one problem, that is sin; one solution, that is salvation. That is what the Bible is all about." -Dr. Adrian Rogers

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pass the Salt

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.
Matthew 5:13

John R. W. Stott once said, “We should not ask, ‘What is wrong with the world,’ for that diagnosis has already been given. Rather, we should ask, ‘What has happened to the salt and light.’” This is a question I have been asking myself for years. The Bible commands us as children of the King to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. But is that what we’re doing? Are we living lives that convict? Are we living lives that preserve? Are we living lives that expose that which has been hidden in darkness? Or has our salt lost its savor and our light lost its brightness?

If you live in upstate SC, you are no doubt aware of the current controversy surrounding local megachurch NewSpring and its pastor, Perry Noble. For years, I have had my reservations about the so-called “church” for one reason. I haven’t heard very many messages preached by Perry Noble, so that couldn’t be it. I have only observed its rock concert-like worship style once, so that really couldn’t be it, either. No. My main concern with NewSpring has always been a lack of evidence of true change in the lives of its members. Jesus said in Matthew 7:16-18, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”

What the Lord was saying in that particular passage of Scripture is that we can make educated observations about someone’s salvation by the way they choose to live their lives. If they are clearly walking in the truth, growing in the Word, loving what He loves and hating what He hates, we can safely say that they most likely are in a right relationship with the Lord. However, if they clearly are not regularly feeding on the Word of God and if they aren’t living their lives according to the plan He has laid out for them in His Word, we have serious reason to doubt their salvation. This is exactly why I have serious doubts about the legitimacy of the thousands of conversions that have supposedly taken place at NewSpring over the past fifteen years.

You may say, “Well, how can you say these things”? When you sit in a restaurant and hear the lady behind you tell her friend that she attends NewSpring because she can be open about the fact that she and her boyfriend are living together before marriage and not have people judge her, you wise up. It doesn’t take too many times of hearing the people in front of you in class who you know attend NewSpring discussing the raunchiest shows on television for you to know that something just isn’t right. And when someone else you know attends NewSpring comes in on Monday and brags about how she got drunk with her friends over the weekend, you tend to question things.

On James Duncan’s blog, Pajama Pages, one commenter wrote, “This is really the crux of the issue with NewSpring. There is a lot of good marketing that gets people there, but there is not a lot [of] sound teaching that gets believers to ‘grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ I’ve come across many who have been baptized by NewSpring and regularly [attend]: open lesbian couples, cohabitating couples, and the like. They go there because they know they won’t be ‘judged’ there.” But if Perry Noble is really preaching the life-changing, earth-shattering truth of God’s Word, how can this be?

John 3:19 tells us, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Darkness dwells with darkness, and light with light. The two simply do not mix. When light enters a room full of darkness, all darkness leaves immediately; however, when darkness enters a room full of darkness, there is simply more darkness. The fact is there are only two possible things that can happen when someone who does not know the Lord listens to the preaching of His Word: either they will be convicted, embrace the conviction and seek to learn more about the Lord Jesus, eventually giving their heart and life to him, or they will be convicted and run from the conviction. Those living in disobedience to the Word of God don’t usually attend Bible believing churches for very long. The fact that NewSpring is filled with members who live in blatant disobedience to God’s Word suggests that the entire truth of the Bible may indeed not be being preached there, for darkness doesn’t dwell with light.

The title of this blog post is “Pass the Salt.” The Bible commands us to be the salt of the earth. Have you ever gotten salt in an open wound? It didn’t feel too good, did it? In fact, it burns something awful. Salt is a good healer, but in fighting the infection it brings serious pain. That is the effect the Word of God ought to have on a person who is living outside of God’s will for their life. People will either embrace the conviction and get right with God, or they will turn and run as fast they can in the opposite direction. Not too many will sit and listen week after week, year after year with no change of heart. If they do, it’s because the salt has lost its power.

May we all live salty lives, encouraging others to get right with the Lord, and may “your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is what Adrian Rogers meant when he used to say, “Witness always, using words when necessary.”

Do you know the Lord today? Have you embraced His calling to surrender your entire life to Him? If not, it is my prayer that you would come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

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