“Christ’s Culinary Cautions”

Jeremy Stopford, Semi-Retired Pastor


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.”

—Matthew 5:13

We have now come to the “AND BEYOND !!!” part of the Sermon on the Mount. Having finished the 8 beatitudes (“blessed…”), the Savior now invests several of our chapters discussing how the believer is to be different in the world wherever He has wisely placed us.

Today’s study takes us initially to the kitchen, and with the subject matter being “SALT”. Now, I’m a real aficionado when it comes to the kitchen. Back in 2002 when I was pastoring my first charge in a small town called Beaver Meadow, NY, my wife suddenly developed cancer. She would need surgery and as a result would be bedridden for several weeks following the surgery. [BTW – that cancer no longer exists, PTL!] The church ladies asked if they could help to make meals while my bride was recovering. I wisely said, “I’ve got it all taken care of! We’ll have hot dogs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and we’ll have hamburgers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Sundays? Oh then we’ll have leftovers. I’ve got it all taken care of!”. Needless to say, the kind ladies and their families fed us well!

SALT! The Lord Jesus is taking us into the kitchen of His usefulness. When He says, “you are the SALT of the earth”, He is making a number of distinctions:

* The “YOU” is the Christian – the individual making an impact in the day to day living.

* The “YOU” is NOT primarily the Church (local or universal); while a lighthouse in the community, it is not as evident as the Christian on a day to day basis.

* The “EARTH” is the world and its system, quite distinct from the Christian.

* The distinction is always to be evident. We are in it to win it but not a part of its system – we were bought out of it!

But when the Christian has lost its “FLAVOR/SAVOR” – its strength, its distinctions – he is now useless, and the world (and Satan) has gained another victory.

THIS MAY SOUND HARSH: The world is FULL of useless Christians who have given up being SALTS. Today’s verse is designed to REFRESH, to REVIVE, and to PRICK as a warning of what could happen.

I’M NO CHEF! Thankfully the Bible shows several uses – pictures – of SALT which should remind the Christian of what he is to be:

First, SALT shows an AGREEMENT.

“As for the offering of the first fruits, you shall offer them to the Lord, but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet aroma.  And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Leviticus 2:12-13

This is the harvest season! And the description of “first fruits” means that these are lifted up to God at the start of the harvest. It is an act of faith – letting God know that the farmer/citizen is trusting God for the bounty of the REST of the harvest!

The “SALT of the covenant” is a recognition of GOD’S provision. SALT thus becomes a wonderful picture of what God has provided.

“There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ

Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His

mercy He saved us…” Titus 3:5a

This is the Father’s greatest agreement, that He has provided a Savior AND He has provided salvation in the Savior – His Son the Lord Jesus – ALONE!

But further, it is an agreement that salvation is in Christ and NOT in the church.

NOTE THE WARNING HERE: When the Christian forgets, casts aside this agreement, he has lost his focus, his SAVOR, and he is now USELESS.

Second, SALT shows a JUDGMENT.

In Genesis 19, we find God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities which He was going to destroy due to their extreme and willful wickedness. By the grace of God, Lot’s family was spared from the destruction. But they were given a warning. Listen to the Holy Writ:

“Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain.” [v. 17c].

Of course, we know Lot’s wife’s ultimate response:

“his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of SALT.”

It reminds me of the story of the little Sunday school boy listening attentively to the teacher describing the above incident. He politely raised his hand, and when called upon recounted, “the other day my mom was driving, and she looked back and turned into a telephone pole.”

Of tremendous interest is the look of Abraham just moments later:

“ Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace.” [v. 28].

Why was Lot’s wife judged and turned into a pillar of SALT, but when Abraham looked at the destroyed towns, he was NOT judged? The answer is simple: Lot’s wife looked with longing; Abraham looked with horror while observing the holiness of God on display.


Third, SALT shows an HEALING.

In 2 Kings, a situation developed where water was no longer drinkable. This was a most dangerous situation – for without good water, the ground could not be cropped and the people would also die of thirst. Elisha the prophet was used of God in a most unique way. His instructions were most unique:

“Bring me a new bowl, and put SALT in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he

went out to the source of the water, and cast in the SALT there, and said, “Thus

says the Lord: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or

barrenness.’ ”

As the SALT was used of God to be an instrument of healing bad water, so the Christian is to be a SALT, an healing influence of hearts for eternity. He is also to be a healer of lives for today. He makes a difference. He IMPROVES his world, his job, his community. Do WE?

Finally, SALT shows a SEASONING.

I’m no chef, but a little SALT DOES make eggs taste better!

Listen to this amazing verse:

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with SALT, that you may

know how you ought to answer each one.” [Colossians 4:6]

The Christian is the GRACE – the presence of Christ – here through the tongue. He adds flavor to the arena in which he has been wisely placed by the living God.

As SALT also acts as a preservative, keeping food from decaying – even so, the Christian is an instrument who holds back sin and in turn changes lives into something useful for God! You’ve seen in personally: when you walk into a room, what happens? The swearing stops! Or you hear, “oh, I’m sorry, pardon my French!”.

The reality is that where SAVOR is lost, SIN WINS.

The Christian is in a battle to be SALT. How are YOU doing in this battle?

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.”

—Matthew 5:13