Sermon: Do You Make Men Thirsty?
Scripture: Matthew 5:13
In this week’s lessons, we learn what it means for a Christian to live for Christ in the world.
Theme: Source of Flavor
There is a second thing that salt is good for, and that is to provide flavor. The Christian, through the life of Jesus Christ within and the verities of the gospel, is to lend flavor to a flavorless, insipid world. The pleasures of the world are unsatisfying without Jesus Christ. They fill for a time. But they are rather like a Chinese dinner, and the person is soon left empty again. Consequently, those who pursue them are doomed to a constant and relentless search for that which will never satisfy the true hunger and desire of their soul. Christians are to be present as those who know something different and whose satisfaction in Christ can be seen and known by their unbelieving contemporaries.
Unfortunately, it has often been the other way around. For non-Christians have looked at Christians and have said, “What an insipid bunch of people; I would never want to be like one of them.” The nineteenth century poet and critic A. C. Swinburne wrote of Jesus, “Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath.” Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.” And the poet and author Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote in his diary, as if he were expressing an exceptional fact, “I have been to church today, and am not depressed.”
Now those are honest remarks by people who have seen an insipid Christianity. If they or their followers are to see something different, they must see it in the only place it can or will be seen—in us. They must see it in you and in me. Do you go around with a long face as if the world and everything you know is going to hell? Or do you go about as one who bears within the Spirit of the living God? The second is your true responsibility. And it is by doing that that you show forth the flavor of Christ and Christianity.
The third thing that salt does is to make one thirsty. This leads me to ask: Do you make anyone thirsty for Jesus Christ? The non-Christian tends to feel self-satisfied, even if he is not, and he naturally goes through life telling himself that circumstances are wonderful. But when a Christian comes into his sphere of vision, there should be that evidence of joy, satisfaction, and peace that makes the unbeliever look up and say, “That’s what I want; that is what I want to be like!” Do you do that? Do you make men thirsty for Jesus Christ?
In ancient times during the Feast of Tabernacles in the city of Jerusalem, it was the custom for the priests to go to the pool of Siloam each day and to return bearing large containers of water that were then poured upon the altar in the Temple. This happened for seven days during the feast, and on the last day the ceremony was repeated seven times. On this day, during the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus Christ stood up and cried in a loud voice, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). And it is true. Jesus Christ can satisfy the great thirst of the human soul. Your responsibility is not to satisfy the thirst yourself, but to point men to Jesus Christ. And if you do that, out of you will flow his life and character, and others will see him and be satisfied.
What is a second benefit salt is used for? How does the Christian exhibit this in the world?
What is the third thing salt does?
How does the world reveal its thirst, and give specific ways Christians seek to satisfy this thirst.
Reflection: When among unbelievers, how would you characterize your behavior? Do you speak and act in ways that reflect your commitment to Christ? Or do you look like the world?
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “Grace, Seasoned with Salt.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)