This post is derived from the book Becoming A Contagious Christian (BACC) by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleberg.
It’s been said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” You can make him thirsty… with a little salt. And you can shine a little light to help him see how good the water is to drink. That’s how Jesus described sharing the message of salvation.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
Salt is the love of God lived out with thankfulness.
Light points towards him.
Salt testifies to the eternal hope found in Christ, and encourages all to seek him.
Light correctly handles God’s word, not going beyond what it says, to reveal beneficial spiritual truth through the Holy Spirit to whomever God chooses to reveal it.
Splitting the Veil
In the dark, no one can see. Even those who have Christ inside cannot understand God’s truth without the Spirit revealing it. A wayward, unbelieving heart casts a shadow across scripture, even for the redeemed. Trust and obedience are required to carry the gospel message with the Spirit’s power.
Salt is testimony. It must be authentic or it loses its saltiness. Light shines by putting God’s word into practice. No amount of scripture reading, preaching, or meditation breaches the veil of spiritual blindness without actions that honor God and reveal his love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
The kingdom of God is a kingdom of love in its purest form.
Jesus: The Model
Jesus modeled how the spiritual kingdom of god should be shared.
Jesus Had High Potency
Jesus was salt because he lived his message. There was nothing false in him. His actions showed his love and faithfulness. He was selfless, without fault, even though he was accused and persecuted constantly, and eventually crucified. His life backed up his testimony. Even Pilate, who did not believe and handed him over to be crucified, said “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” His words have potency 2000 years because he was true.
Integrity is the basis of credibility. Christ’s followers must be true in the heart like he was; true to God, true to others, and true to self; even if we are far from the perfection of Christ. It should be clear that God is first and we follow him with humility, to the best of our limited ability and understanding. We must be like Christ to have potency in the world.
Jesus Practiced Close Proximity
Jesus put himself out there and hung with the people, all people, including those who opposed him. He earnestly cared for their welfare. He made himself available doing two primary things for others:
- He used what he had to serve them. He healed people, fed large crowds, and blessed others in enumerable tangible ways.
- He openly discussed spiritual matters and shared the message of salvation with anyone who would listen. He reasoned with people. He was personable, but not a doormat.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
Jesus Communicated Clearly
“They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” Mark 1:21-22
Jesus was prepared with his message. He handled scripture correctly, revealing God’s invisible kingdom through examination and explanation of it. He used parables to illustrate his points to those who were willing to look beyond the surface. He stayed on focus, never straying from what’s critical. He separated truth from error and didn’t get side-tracked by deceptions and worthless arguments. In scripture we see that even the Devil used God’s word to his own ends. Correct handling of scriptural truth tears down everything that sets itself up against it.
Christ is the source of truth. And though we are not, by seeking and learning what scripture means, we grow in our ability to communicate it clearly. It takes special effort to avoid the traps of preconceptions and false teaching. Christ followers must allow themselves to be challenged in order to grow more effective. To be firm in understanding requires spending time studying it; growing in knowledge of what it means; and correcting our own misconceptions. It’s impossible to share what you haven’t learned and digested.
“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31
Clear communication is the effective sharing of a truth that can set someone free. In most cases, it’s truth we learned when it first set us free. It is a joy and benefit to share freeing truth and equally to receive it. Life is a struggle and sin is a burden. There is so much grace to find in God.
“Sharing Christ is like one hungry soul telling another where to find bread.” – Unknown
Bread can’t be forced down the throat. It can only be offered. If it’s not moldy and gross, people generally appreciate it. Through prayer and constant offering, some go for the whole meal. Most do not. It’s unwise to speculate on who may or may not ever receive Christ. The Apostle Paul was a man bent on murdering followers of Christ until he became one himself. He called himself “the worst of sinners” and thanked God for the mercy he received. All we really know is that somehow everyone gets a chance.