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These words give awareness to Christians living in this world. Salt has been used as an antiseptic for a long time, and even if it loses its original shape, its existence is recognized. Before going into this theme, we would like to briefly learn three points from Jesus ‘ message this time. Please read Mark 9: 38-50.
First of all, I would like to focus on the cooperation of the Church and the expansion of its work from the words spoken by Jesus. In verse thirty-eight, John says, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” John tried to stop him from driving out the demons in the name of Jesus because he wasn’t one of them. Jesus’ answer is, “Do not stop him, … For whoever is not against us is for us.”
It seems that among those who did not spend time with Jesus, there were some becoming Jesus’ new disciples. They heard the message of Jesus and witnessed a miracle, and they became hidden follower of Jesus. It is implied that there were some becoming hidden disciples of Jesus.
By the way, many churches have been unable to have worship service recently in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This decision was made as a response to the request of the government to refrain from gathering, but it was really a tough decision for us, believers. At the same time, the form of worship service has changed in many churches, and there are some churches started streaming messages through the Internet. A new way of evangelism has been created. Also, we need to examine building cooperative relationships between churches. If we focus only on ourselves, the message of gospel won’t be able to spread. I believe that God wants us, churches and Christians to be united overcoming the differences, and create a new environment where we stop being isolated, but to be united, encouraging each other as a body of Christ.
The second point is the transformation of our behavior as a person with hope of heaven. In verses 41 and 42, he said,
“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.」
And then he continue, “And if your hand and foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. “ This is the emphasized expression of Christ so it should not be taken literally.
Rather, Jesus is giving us a challenge of renewal of our mind. Our thoughts determine what we see, where to go, and what to do. In order to go to heaven, it is necessary to make a wise decision. Jesus is teaching us the act of giving even a glass of water and consideration for the little ones. We need to change our minds, being friends with one another, believe in the gospel of Christ, practicing love, and make the decision to live with Christ at the center of our hearts.
The third point is to keep salt in yourself, which is today’s theme. It is written in verse 49 that “Everyone will be salted with fire.” With fire means going through trials and persecution. Christians can deepen our faith through trials and persecution. Romans 5: 3-5 says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
I haven’t met a believer who has been through trials and persecution as much as Paul who wrote this letter. What a powerful word that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character.
There are times when God let trials, difficulty and persecution get into our lives with His purpose. Through trials we are protected from corruption and backslide. Those people who went trough trials have compassion for others and be kind to themselves yet have self-control. And from those people, patience, faith, character, love, and hope will be seen by many. These things seem to be really difficult and impossible to do with human effort. But I believe it is possible to live a life of keeping salt with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. How about you guys? The state of emergency was declared to prevent coronavirus spread, and now we live with a lot of inconvenience and anxiety. Let us believe that these trials bring salt to our lives. Saltiness is not visible. But let us live with this faith that God is preparing us through these trials and challenges.