Lesson 11     June 7-13

"You Are the Salt"

READ FOR THIS WEEK'S STUDY: Col. 4:6; Luke 14:34, 35; Matt. 5:13, 44, 47; 1 John 4:8; John 17:18; Num. 18:19.

MEMORY TEXT: "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" (Matt. 5:13).

KEY THOUGHT: A church especially called to represent God to the world faces a constant danger of contemplating its privilege to the point of forgetting its responsibility. Let us renew our sense of responsibility to share God's love and the insights He has trusted to our care.

Sabbath Afternoon June 6

SALT OF THE EARTH. Jesus called His friends "the salt of the earth." There are three important points to note:

1. Jesus stressed the fact that His followers were to use their truthfilled insights to help others.
"Salt is valued for its preservative properties, and when God calls His children salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others."--Thoughts From the Mount of BLessing, p. 35.

2. Jesus urged His followers to meet people and share their faith.  
"Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse in order to preserve. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. "--Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 36.

3. Jesus was issuing a warning. Salt that has lost its savor does not have much value and is usually discarded.    

Sunday June 7


At the time of Christ's first advent, salt was used both to make food palatable and to preserve it. Christ's hearers must have been conscious of the role they should have been playing in making attractive and preserving the values of the kingdom of God in society. Jesus had just enunciated the operating principles of God's government in heaven, as well as on earth. All those who claimed to be friends of God had the responsibility of living these principles, as well as sharing them with their nonbelieving friends.

Jesus said to His disciples: "You are the salt," not you have the salt.  What difference do you see in this distinction?  Matt. 5:13.  

"[Dietrich] Bonhoeffer asserts that Christ said, 'you are the salt,' not 'you have the salt' (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 130). Witnessing does not happen by proxy, it is not done by giving something we have, but rather it results from giving ourselves. For we are the salt, and as the salt gives itself, so must we. Indeed, bestowing ourselves in service to others is Christ's great love made tangible."--Philip G. Samaan, Christ's Way of Reaching People, p. 32.

What lesson may we learn from the fact that salt must be added to food before the salt can be effective?  

As salt mingles with the food in order to give it flavor, so Jesus came to this fallen world to associate with people, "salting" their lives with His life. He took the initiative to reach them where they were, and to bring them the flavor of His love and the zest of His life. "It goes without saying that salt is sprinkled on the food, and not vice versa! Salt takes the initiative. We would consider it laughable if someone sprinkled food over the salt."--Philip G. Samaan, Christ's Way of Reaching People, p. 48.

"Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse in order to preserve. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. "--Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 36.

Has Christ "salted" your fife with His life? What difference does this make in your life and the lives of people around you? In what specific ways can you be the "salt of the earth" in your family, church, and community?   

Monday June 8


How does the salt losing its savor represent God's people who are unfaithful to Him?  Luke 14:34, 35.   

Salt that has lost its savor is like a fruitless tree. It occupies needed space, and it raises false hopes-causing both waste and disappointment. How may we, then, avoid becoming as savorless salt? From the beginning, peoples who have been set aside to be special representatives of God have had a problem keeping God at the center of their faith. And without His being at the center of our lives, we become the center of our own lives. And that is the sure way to unfaithfulness. We are utterly tasteless without the life of Christ flavoring our lives.

What conditions in the Laodicean church are equivalent to savorless salt?  Rev. 3:15-17.  

In 1889 Ellen White wrote: "The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives,"--Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 961. In 1898 she wrote: "Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean church who are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. The ardor of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. ... There may be a wonderful appearance for zeal and ceremonies, but this is the substance of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste."--Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 962.

What would Ellen White write today?  

"If Christians are such in name only, they are like the salt that has lost its savor. They have no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers."--The Desire of Ages, p. 306.

Very religious people can, through their misrepresentations of God, do great damage to the very truths they cherish.

Jesus in His love warns us against the danger of becoming savorless and lukewarm. How can He help you to possess and share the savor and the warmth of His life?  

Tuesday June 9


Ellen White identifies the savor of the salt with the love of Christ permeating our lives (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 36), but she goes on to expand on this idea. She writes that such love "will flow out to others, not because of favors received from them, but because love is the principle of action."-page 38. This is agape love, which has the ability to love the unlovable. It springs forth from principle, it is intelligent, active, and imaginative.

How does God's love make it possible to love the unlovable?  1 John 4:11, 12.  

God is love. He does not simply have love or show love, but He Himself is love. While we were His enemies He revealed His unconditional love to us in Christ. We do not deserve such unfathomable love, but His love is not something to be deserved, but it is to be accepted. It is a love that is not simply an impulse or a passing feeling, but rather an abiding principle. What tremendous assurance that should give us! Experiencing such love is the only way to help us love the unlovable. If we experience that He loves us in spite of all our own unlovableness, this leads us to love other unconditionally. "When love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, not because of favors received from them, but because love is the principle of action."--Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 38.

What dimension of Christian love makes it so effective in this broken world? 1 Cor. 13:4-8.   

"Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. ..."--Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 135. It is no wonder that Ellen White suggested that we read 1 Corinthians 13 on a daily basis.

Is it sometimes hard to love the unlovable? Have you experienced being loved by someone in spite of your unlovely character traits? Is your self-confidence based on worldly status and accomplishments, or on the knowledge that you are accepted as a son or a daughter of God?   

Wednesday June 10


Earlier in this lesson we considered Jesus' efforts at refining people's understanding of what it means to love others. Our Lord also renewed our understanding of the vertical definition of love, that is the love between an individual and God. Unless we experience His love for us and our love for Him in response, we cannot truly love others.

What efforts that duplicate Satan's appeal to Eve does Satan make today to produce savorless salt in God's church?  Gen. 3:4, 5.  

Satan's cunning and subtle approaches, if listened to, can gradually lead us to doubt God and His promises. All the enemy's hellish cleverness goes into putting God in the worst light, thus driving a wedge between Him and His children. "From the beginning it has been Satan's studied plan to cause men to forget God, that he might secure them to himself. Therefore he has sought to misrepresent the character of God, to lead men to cherish a false conception of Him. The Creator has been presented to their minds as clothed with the attributes of the prince of evil himself-as arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving-that He might be feared, shunned, and even hated by men. ... Christ came to reveal God to the world as a God of love, a God of mercy, tenderness, and compassion."--In Heavenly Places, p. 8.

Compare Philip's inquiry about what the Father is like (John 14:8, 9) with the serpent's words to Eve about God (Gen. 3:4, 5). 

Jesus was constantly encouraging His disciples to think of God in terms of the example of His own everyday life. The disciples had difficulty accepting this. Simply put, the gospel says that God is as loving and compassionate and wonderful as Jesus. To be truly Christian is to make Jesus normative for all we think and say about God and heaven.

"Had God the Father come to our world and dwelt among us, humbling Himself,veiling His glory, that humanity might look upon HIm, the history that we have of the life of Christ would not have been changed. ... In every act of Jesus, in every lesson of His instruction, we are to see and hear and recognize God. In sight, in hearing, in effect, it is the voice and movements of the Father."--That I May Know Him, p. 338.

Has Jesus' life become normative for what you think about your heavenly Father? What differences can this make in your life and witness? 

Thursday June 11

SALTED BY CHRIST (John 17:18; Num. 18:19).

Jesus is the salt of heaven sent to sinful humanity in order to share His love, righteousness, life, and salvation. As we allow Christ's life to transform our lives, we share with others what we have received from Him. Jesus said: "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world" (John 17:18). As He salts our lives with His life, His mission becomes our mission. We become His faithful representatives in this dying world.

What is the spiritual significance of the Lord's sealing His alliance with Aaron and his children with a "covenant of salt" in the wilderness? Num. 18:19b.  

This "covenant of salt" signified God's commitment, love and faithfulness to His people. At that time "people also associated salt with friendship, honor, and loyalty. Even today, groups of Bedouins roaming the deserts of the Middle East will seal a covenant of goodwill with salt. ... 'He ate salt at my table,' or 'there is salt between us' [they say], meaning that they shared food together and thus accepted each other as trusted friends."--Philip G. Samaan, Christ's Way of Reaching People, p. 21.

What should the reality of the Christian experience say to the world about our union in Christ's life and ministry? John 17:21, 23. 

"When God calls His children salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others. ... Christians who are purified through the truth will possess saving qualities that preserve the world from utter moral corruption."--Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 35, 36.

But what reaction can faithful Christians expect as they reach out to be the salt of people in this world? In John 15:20 Jesus tells us that His mission is our mission, and the way He was treated we will be treated. It is true that the world loves sin and hates righteousness. And it is equally true that we are not to withdraw from the world in order to escape persecution. But have we considered the problems the remnant will have with professedly religious people? Remember that Jesus died at the hands of fellow "believers."

For what do others recognize you?  When people come in contact with you, do they recognize you for your position and, achievement, or for being like Jesus? 

Friday June 12

FURTHER STUDY: Read Ellen G. White, Christ's Object Lessons, "Teaching in Parables," pp. 17-27; SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 329, 330; vol. 7, pp. 961, 962; Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 133-135; vol. 6, p. 54; The Desire of Ages, p. 22.

The Sermon on the Mount, addressed primarily to the disciples, was to help them turn in a direction much different from the one they had traveled all their lives. It is a gentle, yet specific, summary of the values that pervade heaven. Instead of an outright attack on the disciples' ideas, Jesus was tactfully offering as an alternative the truth about God, about heaven, and about the responsibilities of God's children.

By dwelling on the truth instead of giving consistent attention to error, Jesus won His way into the hearts of many of His hearers. "When Jesus spoke, it was not with hesitating uncertainty, with repetition of words and familiar figures. The truth came from His lips clothed in new and interesting representations that gave it the freshness of a new revelation. His voice was never pitched to an unnatural key, and His words came with an earnestness and assurance appropriate to their importance and the momentous consequences involved in their reception or rejection."-Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Jan. 7, 1890.


1. What can we do as a church to overcome our Laodicean condition? What is the key ingredient missing from the Laodicean church?  
2. What does our failure to be loving (the "salt of the earth") show about our relationship with God?  
3. How does Christianity, devoutly lived, give evidence of the reality of God in our lives and witness? 

SUMMARY: As the salt of the earth, Christians have the responsibility to share the saving truths of the gospel, to love, and to be of service to others. If our Christian experience is not seasoned with these activities, then our salt has definitely lost its savor.    

Power to Believe

J. H. Zaxhary

Alec Nasichovich grew up in a Muslim family in southern Russia. As a teenager Alec became involved with some youth who introduced him to drugs, eastern religions, astrology, and extra sensory perception. Fascinated by these new ideas, he began communicating with spirits, hoping to find success and happiness. But all he found was trouble with the police and threats from mafia thugs.

One day Alec was talking with some friends when one of them threw out a challenge. "Satan is stronger than God!"

"I do not know God," Alec replied. "But He must be stronger than Satan." Alec's words planted a seed in the heart of his friend that sent him searching for God. Imagine Alec's surprise when he learned that his friend had become a Christian! Alec saw the changes in his friend's life and wondered, "Is God really that powerful?"

Alec and his friend heard about some evangelistic meetings and decided to attend. Soon Alec too was convinced that the Bible was God's holy Book. The two attended every meeting, studying and learning. Alec accepted Jesus as his Lord. His heart overflowed with God's love, and he yearned to share it with others. He wrote a song in which he poured out his love for God and expressed the JOY he had found. He sang it at a meeting. "Alec," the pastor's wife said, "You could do so much for God through your singing."

Alec began to write poems describing the joy he found in Jesus. As he strummed his guitar, melodies came to his mind. Eagerly he put his poems to music and sang them whenever he had the chance. Alec has become a singing evangelist, and many have told him, "I found Christ through your music."

Alec has found his spiritual gift, "I want to be a musical missionary for God," he says. Just before evangelistic meetings open in a city, Alec presents a sacred concert and gives his testimony of how Jesus saved him. Then he invites the people to the meetings.

Throughout Russia thousands are hearing the message of God's love and redemption in these last days. Pray for these new believers and for those who lead them.

Alec Shayachmitov Nasichovich found God and a musical gift.  James Zachary is director of evangelism for The Quiet Hour in Redlands, California.

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