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Identity Crisis: What it Means to Be the Bride of Christ

Apr 25, 2021 | Rev. Dr. K. Rick Baker

THE SALTY CHURCH: Jesus’ instructions for engaging an unbelieving culture

Matthew 5:13

Full Service


We live in a very confusing moment. Most of us grew up in the midst of a culture respectful toward, or at the very least sympathetic of, Christian values. The biggest scandal 70 years ago in the British Empire was the possible marriage of Princess Margaret to the divorced Peter Townsend! The Church of England wouldn’t hear of it, nor would the public. By 2002, (50 years later) the Anglicans were blessing same-sex unions, and in 2004, in certain global settings they were ordaining gay clergy and since 2005, the Church of England has permitted clergy to be same-sex partnered, but only in civil partnerships.

The vast majority of the global “church” has capitulated to a secular view of human sexuality and the public along with it-all under the apparently noble guise of “loving one’s neighbour.” There is a growing body of identity confusion among churches struggling to understand the right way to handle the opposition of a secular culture. Do we beat them back in battle (conflict), increasingly become them (accommodation), or is there a biblically defined way of cultural engagement? WHAT’S OUR WIN? --kill our enemies, conform to our enemies, see our enemies become our friends?

Secular—modern or postmodern
Tolerant—politically correct
Anti-discriminatory, anti-racist? (playing with critical theory and intersectionality)
Social justice crusaders—lobbying for equity, though they have no idea what they are doing!
Materials, evolutionists
Pursuing self-fulfillment rather than meaning

WHAT HAS THE CHURCH DONE? (systems of engagement)
Contemplation— monasticism, isolation, “off the grid and away from them” (Jn. 17:15,18)
Consumer/customer—seeker sensitive, “market them” (Rom. 3:11)—no one seeks
Capitulation—emergent/progressives, “be them” (Jn. 17:17)—no one is saved
Conflict—culture warriors, “beat them” (Jn. 18:36) – no one wants to be saved
Contrast—classic/traditional/primitive, “disciple them” (Matt 28:19-20)—Jesus saves them

The church is ordained by Christ to global service in a culture vigorously rejecting God. Time to re-orientate our identity crisis and reset our bearings to regain confidence again over our church/state, church/public relational insecurities. Our confidence is being shaken in this “crafty” moment driven by Satan, providentially permitted by God. Are our challenges concerning the rules of engagement with them centred on their legitimate fear or worldly antagonism or indivisibly indiscernible? Are we becoming more about ourselves or even more about Jesus?

Getting our bearings—Who does Jesus say we are? Matt. 5:13-16 Where is the church going?
The church will most represent me, most draw attention to me, this way. (Think of yourselves this way)


Are we “worth our salt?”

1. S-Salt. You are the salt of the earth and entirely different from the people of this world.

Salt is essential for life! “hyponatremia”—sodium deficiency (cramps, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shock,
coma, death. LIFESPICE

You (all) ARE!

Be vigilant to not any longer absorb secular worldview values because-- By being completely different we
exercise our purpose—“worth our salt”

Should we think church or do church anything like them? (Seeker-sensitive low-sodium)

2. A-Alternative. You are the people who bring zest to this world and must not allow yourselves to become

Salt gives taste to life; creates a thirst.

The church is a salty alternative to the substance-stimulated world addicted to self-fulfillment. The church
doesn’t traffic in meeting your every need or desire but in bringing actual meaning to your life. Society will never change by the counterfeit salt of political strategies or the salt substitutes of social justice, but by people getting a taste for the real thing. If the church is the same as all the rest, it loses its saltiness.

Should the church dilute its saltiness to take the edge off of absolute truth? (Emergent-progressives
sodium-free) The call of the past reformation was a call to be faithful to the Scriptures, not a call to change to be responsive to the prevailing culture.

3. L-Life-preserving. You are the people who preserve the world from utter decay.

Without salt, conquest and exploration were impossible—keeps things from spoiling.

Prevent putrefaction—to challenge global agencies that traffic in systemic sin. Preservers of righteousness
on earth.

Can we go off the grid? Salt has no effect from a distance! (Monastic-contemplatives sodium-flee)

4. T-Trample-resistant. Stay salty because the unsalty are rejected.

Salt is or isn’t—it never becomes or should be and only the real has potency. Trampling salt into the ground poisoned the field as a landowner’s punishment

“There is constant pressure to be insipid salt. Some pressure to “back off” is the work of the Dove Spirit who makes people humane, sensitive, and gentle; but some of this pressure is the work of the Evil One who makes people cowards and temporizing. Salt is made salty to be salty.” (Brunner, Matthew, 190)

There is a salt-neutralizing and light-damping side to “loving your neighbour” that is not love at all, but
rather ends up actually pandering to their fears and offence toward the actual special revelation of God—expressed through His church. There is equally a punitive potential when the church goes to war with her neighbours and begins to hate her enemies and the salt trampled into the field actually poisons the field!

SALT challenge--To keep the healthy from becoming sick and the sick from becoming more hostile.

A life-giving alternative, confronting decay, creating a taste, helping, not hurting—pure salt. You are LIFESPICE.




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