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Teaching – Jesus’ followers are the salt of the earth

Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve 2016

 “Jesus’ followers are the salt of the earth”, is in response to disturbing compromise and significant falling away of some church denominations over the past decade in allowing sinful practices into the church. I personally prefer to teach on positive subjects, but just like Winston Churchill, and the Allies, stood against, fought, and condemned the evil of Nazism in the second world war; so we have to resist the attack of homosexuality being accepted within the Lord’s church. 


Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men

Matthew 5:13


Jesus taught His disciples that they are the salt of the earth. Salt is very strong and distinctive, is an extremely important mineral for life, and has antibacterial and preserving properties. When you apply salty water to a wound it stings and hurts, it is not pleasant. However, the salt can assist to, deter bacterial proliferation and, bring healing. In this regard, salt is good medicine. Christians are to be like salt to the corruption in this world.


Jesus’ disciples, and therefore the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, are to be ‘salt’ to the people of this world. The church is to be distinct, extreme and different from the world. The church is to represent truth and holiness which is distinct from the unholy worldliness, lies, and corruption which permeates the world; as this world is dominated by evil, devil spirits (2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2).


Hold to the truth of Scripture

To be the salt of the earth is to hold to the truth of Scripture:


The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth

1 Timothy 3:15


A primary responsibility of the church is to represent the Lord Jesus Christ in truth. The church is to hold dearly to the holiness of the Lord, and the truth of Scripture which is inspired by the Lord.


An important measure of the success of the church is not only how popular it is, how many people attend, and how much money it has; but more importantly how well it has preserved its saltiness, how pure it is, and how loyal it is to upholding the truth of Scripture.


To hold to the truth of Scripture will sometimes mean the church has to go against the flow, culture and trend of the world, which maybe unpopular. Jesus, knowing this, said the world will hate the church:


If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you

John 15:18-20


Jesus said the world will hate and persecute the true church. A reason for this hatred from the world is because when we preach Christ we declare the condemnation of this world and its need for repentance unto salvation: repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). Jesus said, he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).


To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life

2 Corinthians 2:16


The work of the church is not to try and be culturally similar to the world, and try and win the world by being inoffensive and ‘worldly-friendly’. That would be to lose our saltiness and become good for nothing. Rather, the work of the church is to keep pure from the corruption of the world and to preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23)! The Scripture says he who is a friend of the world is the enemy of God:


Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be the friend of the world is the enemy of God

James 4:4


Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever

1 John 2:15-17


Deception in the Church

I recently read a statement from the senior pastor of … church, which has significant global influence: “So if you are gay, are you welcome at … Church? Of course! You are welcome to attend worship with us, and participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted within our community. But (this is where it gets vexing), can you take an active leadership role? No… we are a gay welcoming church.”


A church is a public place, and in that context all people should be welcome to attend a church service, gay, sinners and saints. The deception in the above statement, however, is that it doesn’t distinguish between the born-again believer, and the unbeliever, in being able to participate in all aspects of the church service; and whether born-again or non-born-again people are included and accepted within the church community. For example, non-born again people should not participate in the Lord’s supper and should not be fully included and accepted within the church community, as participation and acceptance implies church membership, which should be exclusively for born-again Christians. The statement, therefore, implies that it is OK to be gay and that being gay is not sinful, as gays can be included and accepted within the church community. However, the statement is somewhat contradictory as gays are ‘reluctantly’ prohibited from being in church leadership. The statement is a compromise, a half-hearted condoning of a gay lifestyle, which is a deception, or corruption within the church.


A ‘practicing gay’ includes a male who practices anal, homosexual intercourse with another male, or males. This practice is clearly described in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures as an abomination, disgusting, defilement, evil, unclean, impure, shameful, indecent, against nature, and sinful (Leviticus 18:1, 22, 20:1-2, 13, Romans 1:1, 18, 24-28). Romans chapter one also includes lesbianism in this description. In other words, Jesus has already judged homosexual, gay practice as evil.


thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination… if a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them

Leviticus 18:22, 20:13


God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickednessdeceithaters of God, despiteful, proud… inventors of evil things… without understanding… they which commit such things are worthy of death

Romans 1:26-32


The above Scriptures clearly indicate that the Lord God, our Creator, has already judged the act of homosexual intercourse as a severe, moral transgression. The church of Jesus Christ, therefore, should not welcome, accept and include, as congregation members, males who are actively engaging in anal, homosexual intercourse, and also practicing lesbians. This would cause the church to lose its savour… and it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men (Matthew 5:13).


This teaching addresses the issue of homosexuality, as there is there is much contemporary discourse around this subject. However, the underlying principles of the need for repentance to be accepted within the church congregation holds true for many sins. A gay is someone who openly embraces the sin of homosexuality. A gay is not someone who may have had a homosexual encounter, and has subsequently repented, and turned away from homosexual sin. If a Christian habitually goes to brothels and commits fornication, or habitually worships idols, or other sin and is unrepentant concerning their sinful behaviour, and proudly identifies themselves as one who does these things, then they need to be disciplined by the church (1 Corinthians 5:8-13). Imagine if a person comes to church and says I am a murderer and I can’t help being a murderer as I was born a murderer. If they claim to be a Christian yet insist they are proud to be a murderer you are not going to welcome them into the church congregation as a brother, as they must first repent from being a murderer. The same is for someone who habitually practices paedophilia or any other sin, repentance must come before acceptance into the church membership.



To think that Christian fellowship can be real, or successful, when the church does not insist upon repentance (in this case the sin of homosexuality) is lacking understanding. The Scripture says: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another (1 John 1:7). Notice the emphasis on walking in the light. A person who is gay (a non-repentant prideful homosexual) is not walking in the light, as is any person who holds sin in their heart. There can be no true, Christian fellowship with a non-repentant practicing gay.


Lord’s Supper

Before taking the Lord’s supper Christians are instructed: whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let him examine himself, so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). When Christians come together they share the Lord’s supper which is the remembrance of the poured out blood and broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus poured out His blood to remit the sins of the world. It is imperative upon the Christian to examine his heart and repent of all known sins before taking the cup. Otherwise we take the cup unworthily. A gay is someone who has not acknowledged and repented of being gay, or practicing homosexuality, which means they should not be allowed to share in the Lord’s supper with other Christians, lest they eat and drink damnation to themselves.


Church Discipline

In the early church there was an example of a congregation member who was engaging in the sexual sin of incest, where he was having unrepentant, sexual intercourse with his father’s wife (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). (It could be argued that homosexual, anal intercourse is a worse sin than this as it is against nature). The apostle Paul’s response was to cast the non-repentant, offending, church member out of the church. The reason for this church discipline was to preserve the holiness, or savour, of the church.


Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump… put away from yourselves that wicked person

1 Corinthians 5:6-7, 13


The principle of this teaching, from the apostle Paul, is that if the church allows a non-repentant, wicked person to be included as a member of the church, this will have a corrupting influence upon the whole church, just like a little leaven permeates the whole lump of bread. The sinful wickedness of the one person will spread through the whole church. Therefore, to protect the purity and holiness of the church the wicked person (the leaven) must be removed.


It is clear from Scripture that non-repentant, practicing homosexuals should not be allowed to fully participate in the congregation of the church, and should not be fully included and accepted within the church community, as they will corrupt the whole church. If you attend a church which allows practicing homosexuals to be members of the church you should withdraw yourself from that church (unless the church repents), so that you will not lose your savour and your Christian life becomes good for nothing. The church of Jesus Christ is to maintain certain disciplines and standards. One of those standards is to maintain moral purity in the church membership congregation, which necessitates the expulsion of non-repentant members who practice, anal, homosexual intercourse and, lesbianism. If a church welcomes, accepts and includes people into their congregation membership who are non-repentant and are actively engaging in lesbianism and anal, homosexual intercourse, it makes the church no longer distinguishable from the moral corruption in the earth, it has become a fallen church which has lost its savour and is good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under the foot of men.


Church Forgiveness and Mercy

It seems from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians that this incestuous man in Corinth later repented from his sexual sin and subsequently the apostle Paul extended mercy, love and forgiveness. The man was lovingly welcomed back into the congregation as he was now repentant and obedient to Scripture (2 Corinthians 2:7-9). In a similar way, those believers who have previously engaged in homosexual, sexual intercourse are to be welcomed into the church, provided they are repentant from their sinful actions of homosexual, sexual intercourse.


We need to view this issue from a larger, church perspective, rather than just looking at the sinful individual. It is not love to welcome a person into the congregational membership of the church who is unrepentant and continuing to practice lesbianism and homosexual, anal, sexual intercourse, because this will cause the church to lose it saltiness, become corrupted, and the church will become good for nothing. If the church becomes good for nothing multitudes of people will go to hell, and this is not love. In other words, by (so called) ‘loving’ the unrepentant ‘gay’ and including them as congregation members, the whole church becomes corrupted which causes the church to become good for nothing which stops the church from its primary function to offer eternal salvation to the world. As a result of the corruption in the church, and the loss of the churches’ savour, multitudes will go to hell. From a church perspective this is not wisdom, nor love.


If, however, there are people who have struggled with the sin of homosexual, sexual intercourse, and are genuinely repentant from participating in a ‘gay’ lifestyle, and have turned away from the practice of homosexual, sexual intercourse; then these people can be warmly and lovingly welcomed into the church and helped to grow in discipline and holiness.



The church is to love all people, including all sinners and gays. The church, by definition, is the congregation of the saints, those who are separated by God unto holiness (1 Peter 2:9). When it comes to gays, we must distinguish whether they are born again, or not. If they are not born again, the church should love them the same way they would any unbeliever and encourage them to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. But unbelievers cannot be church, congregation members.


The church is comprised of those who have repented, believed in Christ, and are born again. If a ‘gay’ confesses to being born again and would like to become a member of the church, they must first repent and renounce a gay lifestyle. If the ‘gay’ holds to ‘gay pride’ and refuses to repent from participating in a gay lifestyle they must be refused admission to the membership of the church, or cast out of the membership of the church, until they repent. This church discipline is to protect the Lord’s church from becoming corrupted. This is the job of all true pastors and shepherds of the Lord Jesus Christ, to protect the flock from wolves. This is love, as it protects the Lord’s people from the evil corruption of homosexuality. It is also love towards the deceived ‘gay Christian’, as it makes it clear to the ‘gay’ that they are living in rebellion and dangerous sin, and that it is in their best interests to repent.


Conclusion - First loyalty is to God and not to man

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I pleased men, I should not be the servant of God

Galatian 1:10


The first responsibility of the follower of Jesus Christ, and the church, is to please God, and not man. This means maintaining holiness and purity of Scriptural doctrine. It is clear from the Lord Jesus that the world will not like this, and the church will suffer hatred and persecution from the world. This may mean loss of members and less money. However, the savour of the church is vital to the saving work of the church. If the church loses its savour it is good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under the foot of men.



Dear Lord, thank you for this teaching, “Jesus’ followers are the salt of the earth”. Please strengthen pastors and church leaders throughout the world to not lose their savour. Strengthen church leaders to read the Scriptures, which are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16), that the church of the living God continues to be the salt of the earth. Strengthen church leaders to please you, and not men. Strengthen church leaders to exercise church discipline, with love and wisdom, to preserve the savour of the church. Strengthen church members who are in a corrupted church, which allows unrepentant gays to hold membership, to leave that church to maintain their purity, as the followers of Jesus are the salt of the earth. We pray this in Jesus Christ name, amen.


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