Matthew 5:13 ESV
“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.”
If something is salty, it is sharp, clear, well-defined, definite, clear-cut, distinct, precise, and in focus.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
It is not wishy-washy, light, and fluffy feel-good stuff which leaves people feeling good about themselves and perhaps feeling as though they did something religious or that they connected with God (or a god), but which never pierces to the division of the soul and spirit, never discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
A Reminder This Morning
The Lord Jesus reminded me this morning of Rick Warren. So, I did a search on my documents to see what I had previously written about him. Some of the documents were missing, but others were not, and there were several previous writings about him and about his purpose driven ministry. One of them, in particular, stood out to me which you can read here (1).
Anyway, I wanted to see what was current with Rick Warren, so I googled his name and it brought up his website (PastorRick.com). And so I read 3 of his most recent devotionals (9/30, 9/29, 9/28), which were very telling, but consistent with who he is and where he has been headed all along.
In a total of 3 devotions, Jesus’ name was only mentioned once. Mostly Rick Warren just said “God.” He said, “The apostle Paul’s life goal—even toward the very end when he was dying alone—was for other people know about Jesus.” But then Rick Warren didn’t talk about Jesus, and he didn’t help us to know Jesus. What he talked about was mainly ourselves.
He quoted a passage from 2 Timothy 4:16-17 where Paul said, “But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety..” But then Pastor Warren didn’t preach the “Good News” and especially not in its entirety (the whole counsel of God).
Then, he said that Paul “focused on others because he knew everyone needed to hear about God’s love.” He said, “He looked at what he could do to help others. It kept him from being lonely, even when he was alone.” Wow! Pastor Warren then went on to talk about loneliness and how we need to “build bridges of connection to others.”
He mentions praying to God for help in connecting with others, and then he gave an example prayer: “Father, help me be a friend to people who need a friend.” He talked more on loneliness and then said we need to look for creative ways to connect with others.
[Quotes taken from “Empathy Is an Antidotes to Loneliness” 9/30/2021]
But, then there is more. Next he quoted from Habakkuk 2:2 (GNT): “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance” (I don’t recommend this translation). So, then Pastor Warren suggested that if we want to hear God speak to us that we should ask Him what he wants to say to us and then write down God’s responses.
Then he talked about journaling our prayers and writing down the lessons we have learned. And then he talked about the Psalms and how David meditated on the Torah and then he wrote down his thoughts and they’re called psalms. He suggested that David, in many of the Psalms, started by writing his feelings and then ended up writing down what God said.
[Taken from “Try Writing Down Your Prayers” 9/29/2021]
And in this third one Pastor Warren quoted from Psalm 119:18 (GNT) “Open my eyes, so that I may see the wonderful truths in your law.” And then he named several people mentioned in the Bible who received visions from God. And he went on to talk about “visual thinkers” vs those who are not.
And then he asked, “How do you get God’s vision if you’re not a visual thinker?” He mentioned reading our Bible and praying and afterwards asking God some questions to see if there is anything God wants to say to us. And then he quoted James 1:5 about asking God for wisdom, which he said stated that God won’t correct us for asking. But he left off this part:
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (vv. 6-8).
Pastor Warren did say this about God’s word: “Every answer to every problem you have is in that book. But you’ve got to read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it as you seek God’s vision—for your life or even just for today.”
[Taken from “Open Your Eyes to God’s Vision” 9/28/2021]
What’s the Takeaway?
So, what is the takeaway from all of this? Well, for one, Pastor Warren quoted Scriptures out of their context and/or he used them out of their context or in an incomplete thought which could possibly be misleading. Or else the Scriptures quoted were not really discussed, but he used them as a springboard to teach what he wanted to teach.
Even though some of the Scriptures he quoted mentioned preaching the Good News in its entirety (the whole counsel of God), or looking into the wonderful truths in God’s law, and even though he said Paul’s goal in life was for other people to know about Jesus, Pastor Warren didn’t teach the “Good News,” nor did he look intently into God’s commandments, nor did he help people to know about Jesus.
Although he did mention reading the Bible and praying and seeking God’s wisdom and counsel, and he did say that every answer to every problem we have is in the Bible, and even though he mentioned “God’s love,” he mainly focused on humanistic solutions, such as “building bridges to others.”
Do you know what “building bridges” means? To build bridges means to cross over all barriers that stand between people groups, which means we have to compromise our faith and convictions and not try to win people over to the true gospel, for the true gospel truly does divide (saved and unsaved, those bound for heaven and those bound for hell, those still trapped in their sins and those walking in freedom from slavery to sin).
And he mentioned that Paul looked at what he could do to help others and that it kept him from being lonely, which is not true to the Scriptures, and how we should ask God to help us be a friend to people who need a friend, and how we should look for creative ways of connecting with others, which is also not biblical. And then he implied that God is the second way to get God’s vision but the first is if we are “visual thinkers.”
But we are to be the salt of the earth. The messages we speak are to be clear, well-defined, definite, in focus and biblical. They are not to be mixed with the world and with humanistic philosophy or so generalized that no piercing to the division of the soul and of the spirit takes place, and to where there is no discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
If all we do is give out feel good messages which tickle itching ears, then we have lost our saltiness, and what we talk about has no eternal value. If we mention “the gospel,” but we don’t ever teach the gospel, or if we mention looking into God’s commandments, but then we don’t talk about his commandments, or if we mention making it our life goal for people to know about Jesus, but then we don’t teach them about Jesus, what good is it?
Or, if we give them a generic “Read your Bible and pray,” and then tell them that the Bible has all the answers to life’s problems, and so we tell them to ask God what he wants to say to them, but we don’t give any direction on how to do this or demonstrate how to do this, what good is it? Especially if we are then coupling this with humanistic philosophy, what valuable purpose does it serve? Are we even concerned if they even know Jesus first?
So, don’t be wishy-washy. Be definite, precise, and in focus when you teach or share the Scriptures. Teach the Scriptures in their context and make them practical to our lives today, but not in a worldly way, and not in a way that mixes God’s word with the culture and with humanistic philosophy and worldly thinking. Be true to the word of God and you won’t lose your saltiness, and God will speak through you to human hearts.
Draw Me Close To You
Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend
You are my desire
And no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else can take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace
Help me find a way
Bring me back to You
Bring me back, oh Jesus
You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know You are near
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