Introduction - Boy, are we all different! The world is colored by a vast array of personalities, opinions, and interests. Aren't we glad we are not all the same--dull...
Jesus left us with a powerful challenge: we are to be salt and light.
We hear a lot about the light. Everybody likes light. It's warm and glowy and helps us see. Not a lot of negative things to say about light. But notice how we don't hear a lot today about being salt. Jesus warned us not to lose our saltiness or we are no good to anyone. So what does it look like when we lose our saltiness?
Salt is a necessity of life. Remove it and nothing tastes right. Food rots. Bodies stop functioning properly. Animals go crazy to get a taste of salt when they've been without it. But salt isn't always wanted. No one wants it on their chocolate cake. Or in their hot tea. And too much on anything makes it unpleasant. It is also an irritant. Get it near a wound or open sore and it feels like the enemy. The salt never changes its properties. The difference is in how it is received.
And therein lies the problem. We shy away from being salt because above all, we fear not being received. We avoid any possibility that we may be misunderstood, disliked, or unwanted. We claim it is for the Gospel's sake, but we're not fooling God. In order to be true representatives of Christ, we cannot base our saltiness on how we think our message will be received. Jesus certainly didn't and His saltiness got him crucified. Was He wrong?
When the salty message of Jesus gets too near sin, it becomes an irritant. Most people don't want to hear that they are sinners in need of saving. That's irritating. They don't want to hear about hell, judgement, and absolutes. There is danger of being rejected in proclaiming such truth. So we become bland, insipid, watered down, and inoffensive. We call it positivity, encouragement, or love. But when the whole counsel of God has been reduced to a Bible-tainted religiosity designed to make people feel good about themselves, we have lost our saltiness.
Satan never tires of finding ways to divide and conquer the members in the body of Christ. Jesus' greatest desire for His followers was that we be one. Unified. As He and the Father are unified. Yet, within Christianity there is a never-ending drive to divide. Right-fighting has often replaced sound teaching. Mud-slinging and insistence that one ideology is the ONLY correct understanding of God's Word is drawing more attention from the world than our real message of hope and salvation.
The most recent enlisted man in this flesh-induced battle for supremacy is none other than well-respected Bible scholar John MacArthur. It grieves my heart, as it must grieve the heart of our Lord, that he is so driven to demolish what he believes are wrong teachings that he loads a sawed-off shotgun and fires without aiming. His intended target may be the radical wingnuts who claim to represent a different ideology. But with his self-named "Strangefire Conference," Dr. MacArthur mows down some pretty stellar brothers and sisters such as R. A. Torrey, A. W. Tozer, D. L. Moody, Dr. John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Dr. Jack Hayford and thousands more. Strangefire seems an odd name for his conference, since thousands who disagree with his stance see the strange fire as coming from his camp, aimed at taking out millions whom he professes to love.
I discovered the following article and found it to be a respectful challenge to Dr. MacArthur's conference. It also includes some facts the distinguished doctor wants to overlook in his zeal to defend his position. While we are all disheartened at the extremes that some take in the name of the Holy Spirit, there have always been extremists in every camp. That doesn't mean that anyone who agrees with them on any point is as wrong as they are. I'm surprised a man like Dr. MacArthur doesn't know that and it makes me wonder:Has spiritual arrogance replaced a teachable heart?
Try this article and see if you agree: Is John MacArthur Right?
The woman who broke her alabaster jar of expensive perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus is only identified in the Bible as an "immoral woman." But this was not the only immoral woman in town. This was not the only woman with an alabaster jar. How many others had heard about the famous Rabbi who may actually be the promised Messiah? How many hearts had skipped a beat as anxious hands clutched their own jars more tightly? Had there been others lurking In the shadows, hiding in the alleys?
Only one thing set this woman apart from every other needy heart in town: she went in. She dared to shoulder her way through the disapproving frowns and all the way to Jesus. She had no way of knowing how she would be received. He could reject her gift. He could reject her. But with this plan, there was no going back. She brought everything she had and cashed it in.
No one else was willing to take the risk. Fear, shame, or self-loathing was a stronger god. Others kept their alabaster jars tucked safely away, assuring themselves it was not enough. He wouldn't want what they had--- broken promises, failures, the angry shouts of a past they could not silence. So they kept a tight grip on their jars and watched as others found hope and freedom. They watched an immoral woman go in to Jesus and emerge as the pure Bride of Christ. She was minus the jar, but would forever carry the fragrance of its contents poured out.
Here's the secret of the jar....it's your safety net. You may loathe its contents. It may smell horrid to you; that's why you refuse to break it. You cannot image Someone like Jesus would want such a thing. But the fragrance only comes when it is offered. It will continue to reek, held captive in your hands. Poured out on the feet of Jesus, it becomes a sweet fragrance fit for a King.