The Sermon on the Mount Part 2

by Mike Ratliff

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)

I finished translating Matthew 5 last night. I must say that going verse-by-verse, word-by-word through this part of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount this way has got to be one of the most humbling and heart-rending exercises I have ever gone through. Why? Our Lord was proclaiming that his kingdom had come and that those in it would have certain characteristics and those who did not were not part of his kingdom. In other words, these verses he proclaims about us being salt and light are not parts of a sermon on how to become salt and light, but indicative statements of fact about those already part of his kingdom. Of course, there are later statements of rebuke in which he preaches about our behavior of what we are to do and not do as those in his kingdom. However, as I translated chapter 5 I did a huge self-checkup and realized how my flesh rather than my Lord rules far too much of my character. Continue reading

The Discipline of God

by Mike Ratliff

3 ἀναλογίσασθε γὰρ τὸν τοιαύτην ὑπομεμενηκότα ὑπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀντιλογίαν, ἵνα μὴ κάμητε ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὑμῶν ἐκλυόμενοι. (Hebrews 12:3 NA27)

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such opposition against himself that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3 Possessing the Treasure New Testament V1)

I invite you to look back on the last Presidential election in the U.S. in which Barak Obama was elected and how so many of us were devastated by that. When I was born the President of the United States was Harry Truman. Yes, that’s right, I’m getting old, but it also means that I remember what its like to be both a non-Christian living in a Christian home under a Government that is not liberal enough for me, but too liberal for my parents and at other times having a Government that my was too liberal even for me causing social change in such unbalanced and inequitable ways that could only be explained by our leaders being bent on changing us into a Communist state. Remember, I grew up during The Cold War and had the Draft and Vietnam waiting for me as I went through High School. All through that, I was convinced that it really did not matter who was in The White House or who was in Congress or the Senate. They were all inept with an agenda that made sense to no one but them. Continue reading

Salt of the Earth

The following article is taken from the January 2012 issue of Tabletalk Magazine and is from the “For the Church” column. The author, Phil Johnson, is executive director of Grace to You in Panorama City, California, and he edits most of John MacArthur’s major books and has contributed to numerous books himself. He is also the owner of the blog Pyromanics and other very useful websites. Enjoy and be blessed my brethren – Mike Ratliff

Salt of the Earth

by Phil Johnson

“You are the salt of the earth… . You are the light of the world… . Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:13–16).

That text is often cited as if it were a mandate for the church to engage in political activism — lobbying, rallying voters, organizing protests, and harnessing the evangelical movement for political clout. I recently heard a well-known evangelical leader say, “We need to make our voices heard in the voting booth, or we’re not being salt and light the way Jesus commanded.”

That view is pervasive. Say the phrase “salt and light,” and the typical evangelical starts talking politics as if by Pavlovian reflex. Continue reading