Through the Word in 2020 #172 – Dec. 14 / Christian Troublemakers


In Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, He used 2 powerful terms describing Believers in His economy: Salt, and Light. Two word pictures pregnant with implications.

In order to be salt and light – we must uncompromisingly live as those who know our blessedness does not come from this world – but rests in being citizens of Christ’s Kingdom.

Salt loses its “saltiness” only one way – mixture. Salt crystals never lose their essential property. But when salt becomes mixed with other substances, the salt no longer does its work. The question is, what are we mixing with our devotion to Christ? When we value what the world values. When we fear what the world fears. When we reason the way the world reasons.

God is light and life. All things left to themselves are decay and darkness. As His, Christians bring His light and life giving presence into this world. We are this way because He is this way. He alone stands contrary to sin’s entropy. He alone brings light. Apart from Him – all is darkness and deconstructing chaos. But when we fail to live as salt and light, it isn’t just that we fail – we actually bring trouble to the world around us.

We’ll catch a glimpse of that today on Through the Word in 2020.

I’m Reid Ferguson.

Revelation 12:7-13:10, John 16:5-24 and Obadiah 19-Jonah 3:5 form our reading list today. And it is Jonah’s refusal at first to be salt and light that captures my attention.

Jonah used to be someone I really disdained.

Whiny. Cowardly. Running from God. Shirking responsibility. Uncaring for the souls of others. Placing his own comforts, desires and opinions above the needs of those God called him to.

Booking passage on a boat to get as far away from obeying God as he could – in his rebellion, he brought the life-threatening storm that would have consumed the others in the boat with him. But at that point, he didn’t care if he was salt or light to a bunch of pagans. He just wanted to serve himself. No one else.

As the account progresses, among others, I note these things:

We are all responsible for the Word revealed. To make its “light” known. Before anything else, how do we respond to what we KNOW God has said?

It is costly to run from God’s commands. The text implies he booked the entire ship to get away as quickly as possible.

God’s presence is neither situational nor geographical. He cannot be fled from.

How God arranges providences to deal with us

.In rebellion, we become grossly insensitive to truth. Even to the point of missing what the unsaved see. Look at how the crewmen were more merciful and compassionate to the one bringing them these hardships, than Jonah was to the Ninevites.

And note how graciously the Lord uses even our failures in bringing others to Himself.

And the key point? We must consider the effect our disobedience has even on the unbelieving souls around us. We put them in the path of great harm in God’s having to deal with us strongly. Who knows how much of the World’s troubles flow from the Church’s failures?

Read the Old Testament and count how many wars, famines and other disasters were the direct result of God’s dealing with His people’s rebellion.

So as I said, I used to disdain Jonah.

Until.

Until I really studied the book.

Until I came to realize that the only reason we know so much about Jonah, his weaknesses, sins and follies, is because he is the only one who could have related all the details.

He wrote the book, telling on himself.

In the end, he was more interested in bringing to light the unfathomable riches of God’s mercy and grace than how he looked to anyone.

And I want to be like that too.

God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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