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Enhance Saltiness

The Preacher’s Commentary states that the Romans of Jesus’ day had a saying: there is nothing more useful than the sun and salt. Salt comes from the process of exposing sea water to the sun. Roman soldiers received salt as salary. Most of the salt used in Israel came from the Dead Sea and was full of impurities and thus unfit to use even as a fertilizer or catalyst for burning manure. Salt is a purifying, preserving and flavour-enhancing element. During Jesus’ time, salt was used to preserve fish as it would be spoiled if it was not salted.

Jesus’ followers are called to be the salt of the earth (Mt. 5:13-14). As His disciples, they are to season the earth with knowledge and grace by their lives and doctrines. They are to prevent decay and enrich or purify the social order by following Kingdom principles and values. However, Jesus warns them that it is dangerous if their life and witness becomes “unsalty” and inadequate. It is like salt losing its saltiness/savor when it is fit only to be thrown out and trampled by men (Lk 14:34-34). God would hold them accountable for their “saltiness” (that is, their usefulness). Jesus’ followers, as salt, are expected to gain saltiness. They are to grow naturally from a believer to a disciple, then to a disciple-maker and Shepherd through discipleship to the Good Shepherd.

Enhance Saltiness to be a Believer

Sincere faith in the true God and repentance plays a vital role to be born into God’s family as sons and daughters of God through spiritual birth (Jn 1:12-13, 3:3-6). God’s children must grow and maintain intimate relationship with Him through regular and meaningful quiet time and an obedient will. They must be sure of their salvation which comes through godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10, Is 55:6-7), confessing Jesus and believing that Jesus has authority to forgive sins and through Whom God accepts them as His children by His grace. They are then infants in Christ, silent listeners and learners in family prayer, Sunday worship service and local EU/EGF Bible Study (I Pet 2:2). They are in the learning process of overcoming temptations. Jesus is the perfect exemplary Believer with undivided faith in God the Father.

Enhance Saltiness to be a Disciple: Discipleship is the heartbeat of God and Highway to Maturity (Mt. 5:48, Heb. 5:14, 6:1, I Ki 3:9, I Cor. 3:12-17, Eph. 4:13, Phil 3:15, Is 50:4-5). A believer who chooses to be a disciple has to maintain the discipline of sitting long hours at the feet of the Lord with a listening and learning attitude (Mk 3:11) through regular Personal Bible Study (PBS) – Josh 1:5-8, Ezra 7:10, Ps 1:2-3). PBS involves the study of God’s Word, meditation, learning through obedience, practicing and teaching through Group Bible Study (GBS). The disciple deeply studies and understands the concept, criteria, call, cost and commitment of discipleship. Every disciple is a bearer of the gospel and improves interpersonal communication skills to share the born-again experience and the gospel with non-believers in his workplace, neighbourhood and among his friends.

The disciple is a Spirit-filled Steward of God-given resources: time, talents, environment, buildings, literature, treasure and human resources (family members, neighbours, friends, colleagues, fellow believers) and invests them in God’s Kingdom (Mt. 6:33). The disciple understands and fulfills his role as an individual, family, and community in God’s global purpose. The disciple’s spiritual eyes (discernment) are activated to sense the spiritual world (1 Cor 2:10-16) and the movements of the devil and resists him and his schemes through spiritual warfare (Js 4:7, Eph 6). The disciple is a member of the local Community and the Body of Christ. Jesus is the perfect exemplary Disciple, Who wanted to be alone with the Father, denied the heavenly glory and denied Himself and learned obedience (Mk 1:35, 3:14, Lk 9:23, Phil 2:6, Heb 5: 8). Moreover, Jesus spoke and did as God the Father taught Him (Jn 8:28, 12:49 & 14:10).

Enhance Saltiness to be a Disciple-maker (Only a Disciple can make another disciple): Every disciple follows Jesus’ method of Disciple-making. During a 3-year duration, Jesus made 84+ disciple-makers, while travelling on the road, by the roadside, under a tree, within the temple premises and rarely someone’s home. A disciple-maker maintains the habit of obeying the Greatest Commandment (Love your God and your neighbour – Mt 22:37-39) and Great Commission (Mt 28:18) to make the family and city the Kingdom of love. A disciple-maker is a role model as a disciple by doing and practicing PBS and leading GBS, excels in sharing the gospel (leading a student to Christ) and in disciple-making and is an exemplary Spirit-filled Steward of God-given resources in extending God’s Kingdom. He equips others to use their spiritual sight in resisting the devil. He teaches Kingdom Principles and Values. Jesus is the perfect exemplary Disciple-maker: Jesus made 3 Core Disciples (Lk 9:28-29 & Mt 26:36-38), 12 Disciples and 72 disciples (Lk 10:1). Jesus equipped and empowered all His 84 (12+72) disciples to be Disciple-Makers for All Nations (Lk 5:10, Mt 4:19, Mk 1:17).

Enhance Saltiness to be a Shepherd: (A Leader influences others to become leaders through an exemplary life):

In the Biblical context, leaders are Shepherds, both religious and political. Biblical and Spiritual leadership is Servant leadership (serving one another) and Team Leadership or Shared Leadership (working together). A spiritual leader is an influencing visionary. A leader is always teachable, humble to listen and learn from any person immaterial of age and from any event. A leader acquires leadership principles, strategies and skills of interpersonal and team building and is a team player. A leader promotes and practices the principles of Servant Leadership in his life, family and community of disciples.

Shepherds are to tend and feed their lambs and sheep (I Ki 22:17, Ezek. 34). The key idea here is not to rule and control but to care and share. A good shepherd seeks and rescues God’s sheep/flock (Lk 19:10, Jn 21:1), engages and empowers them (Mt. 10:1-2, Mk. 3:13-19), knows and prays for them by name (Jn 10:3, Jn 17, Lk 22:31-32), calls them friends but not servants/subordinates (Jn 15:15), tends/leads, feeds them with spiritual nourishment towards overall growth to become witnesses, protects them from all evils and enemies, restores and commissions them to be a shepherd of His flock (Jn 10:27-29, 21:15-17 & I Pet. 5:1-7). Jesus is the perfect exemplary Good Shepherd. The Chief Shepherd’s vision is one flock and one Shepherd (John 10:16).

Let us introspect our growth: Stage-1: Believer to Disciple, Stage-2: Disciple to Disciple-Maker, Stage-3: Disciple-Maker to Shepherd (Leader).

Vivekananda Sunder Singh Babu is the CND-Staff Secretary, based at Nagpur. He was an EU Student at Bhimavaram (1983-86), Asst. Pastor (1987-91), UESI-AP Staff (1992-2012), UESI Staff in-Charge of Missions and Evangelism (2012-2017) and NEGF Staff Secretary (2017-2023). He is married to Lakshmi Grace and blessed with son Sujay and daughter Spurthy.

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