Sermon #40††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††† Series: Mark
††††††††† Title: ††††††††† The Salt Of Hell And The Salt Of Grace
††††††††† Text:†††††††††† Mark 9:38-50
††††††††† Readings:† Office: Paul Harries Auditorium: Merle Hart
††††††††† Subject:†††† Instructions From The Master
Date:††††††††† Sunday Evening - January 18, 1998
††††††††† Tape #†††††† U-47
I. The first thing to be learned from these verses is THE PROPER PLACE FOR RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE (vv. 38-42).
††††††††† The Apostle John said to the Lord Jesus, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.Ē The man was doing good. He was casting out devils in the name of Christ. But he was not numbered among the Lordís disciples. He was not a member of their little band. He was fighting the same war, but with a different battalion. That did not set well with John. Therefore he rebuked the man.
††††††††† However, Johnís rebuke did not set well with the Master. He said to John, ďForbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.Ē
††††††††† I grant that it was a strange thing for one who cast out devils in the name of Christ who was not numbered among his professed followers and publicly identified with his disciples. I also acknowledge that it was strange that one who cast out devils in the name of Christ was not associated in any way with the apostles of Christ. Perhaps this man was a disciple of John the Baptist. Perhaps not. We are not told. However, we are told that our Lord Jesus rebuked John for rebuking him. There is a reason for that.
The sad fact is, we are all so proud that we are all prone to think that nothing good can be done unless it is done by us, or one by those with whom we are identified.
A. †We must never be tolerant toward those who oppose the gospel of Godís free and sovereign grace in Christ.
††††††††† There is absolutely no place for compromise with regard to the gospel of Godís free and sovereign grace in Christ. That is the cursed way of Balaam. We must never yield to it. Those who do not believe and preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are not with us, but against us. They are not the servants of Christ, but the servants of Satan. They do not do good to the souls of men, but ruin them. With regard to such men, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke very plainly in Matthew 12:30.
B. However, here in Mark, our Lord Jesus teaches us to bend over backwards and always to be lenient with those who preach the gospel but, for some reason, do not identify themselves with us.
††††††††† Sometimes good men are divided. There came a time when Paul and Barnabas, both faithful men, had to part company. That is sad, but a sad fact. As was the case in Elijahís day, so it is today. God still has his thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Many of them are simply not known to me. But if they preach the same message I preach and serve the same Master I serve, they are my brethren. Even if they act out of envy, jealousy, and strife, if they preach the gospel of Christ, let us never be found fighting against them.
There are two relevant passages we should look at, which will help us in understanding our Masterís proverbial statement here in Mark (Num. 11:27-29; Phil. 1:15-18).
C. Let us never be found opposing Christ (vv. 41-42).
1. Those who serve Christ in any way, no matter how insignificant it may seem to be, shall be honored by Christ.
2. It is better that a person had never been born than that he be found persecuting and opposing the Lordís children.
††††††††† With those things in mind, let us learn always to be lenient and tolerant toward those who profess to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. We simply do not know who belongs to Christ and who does not. We do not have the ability to discern between sheep and goats, or tares and wheat. Remember, ďHe that is not against us is on our part.Ē
II. †Immediately following his instructions about the proper place for religious tolerance, our Lord Jesus shows us THE NECESSITY OF RIGOROUS SELF-DENIAL (vv. 43-48).
††††††††† In these verses our Savior tells us plainly that we must willingly give up anything and everything, which stands between us and him. The hand and foot which are to be cut off, and the eye that is to be plucked out, if they offend, if they keep us from following Christ are idols which we must destroy with our own hands. Though they are as dear to me as my right eye, my right hand, or my right foot, anything that stands between me and Christ, anything that keeps my soul from him, is to be cut off, no matter how painful and costly (Lk. 14:26-27, 33).
Illustration: We all have to go to the cemetery. There we must bury our idols. The sooner, the better.
††††††††† At first sight, our Lordís teaching in this regard seems hard and rough. But there is a reason for it. Compliance is absolutely essential. If we do not tear every idol from its pedestal in our hearts, the idol we most cherish is sure to drag us down to hell.
††††††††† If we would follow Christ, if we would be his disciples, we must consecrate ourselves to him day by day with deliberate, unyielding determination.
III. The third things plainly revealed in this passage of Scripture is THE REALITY OF EVERLASTING HELL (vv. 43-49).
††††††††† I get calls fairly often from people who talk almost glowingly about ďhellfire and damnationĒ. While I abhor the attitude of those who seem to gloat in the fact that some people are going to hell, faithfulness to your souls demands that I warn you plainly about hell and eternal judgment.
††††††††† I do not know what hell is, or where it is. I do not know what the fires of hell are, or what the blackness and darkness of hell are. But I do know this - The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, warns us repeatedly of a place of torment reserved for the damned, a place where the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched.
††††††††† These are awful expressions. They call for meditation more than exposition. Ponder them. Consider them. Reflect upon them. Think about them. It matters not whether you regard the language as figurative or literal. If they are taken figuratively, the worm that never dies and the fire that is never quenched are figures of real things. This much is certainÖ
A. †There is a real place of eternal torment called Hell.
1. In hell, the gnawing worm of a guilty conscience never dies or is, to any degree, silenced.
2. In hell, the fire of Godís wrath is never quenched.
††††††††† The torments of the damned can never satisfy the wrath and justice of the holy Lord God for sin. Therefore, our Lord makes reference to the sacrifices of the Old Testament, in which God required every sacrifice to be salted with salt. In verse 49, he says,Ö
††††††††† If you die in your sins, if you perish without Christ, you will be cast into hell to suffer the everlasting, indescribable horror of the wrath of God. There the worm of your tormenting conscience will relentlessly gnaw at your soul. There the fires of Godís wrath will burn forever.
††††††††† Here, our Lord Jesus tells us that the fires of Godís wrath in hell will do the same thing that salt does to the flesh of slaughtered animals. As the salt preserves the flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, while burning, torturing, and tormenting you, will preserve your body and soul in being. In other words, the very fire that burns you will keep you from being consumed. Your soul shall never die. Your body will not consume away. You will lose none of your powers, faculties, or senses. Rather, they shall all be intensified! That is what our Lord means by you being salted with fire and the fire being unquenchable!
B. In hell there will be no mercy for your soul.
∑ No Blood Atonement!
∑ No Repentance!
∑ No Mercy!
∑ No Christ!
∑ No Hope!
IV. Now, in verse 50, our Lord Jesus speaks about THE SALT OF GRACE AND PEACE.
A. †Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.
††††††††† Let us make certain that we have the salt of Godís grace in us, that salt of grace, which will preserve us and sanctify us in Christ. Do not be satisfied with a mere profession of faith. Make sure you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not be satisfied with a religious experience. Be sure you have the salt of Godís grace.
B. Children of God, be sure you have peace with one another.
††††††††† In the Old Testament the covenant of peace is called the covenant of salt (Num. 18:19; 25:12). Here our Lord Jesus takes opportunity to admonish his disciples, who had just been disputing about who should be greatest, to promote and maintain peace among themselves. It is the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace which is the strength and preserving quality of Gods church in this world. If we would truly promote peace, we must always season our speech with the salt of grace.
OLD YELLER -The only thing you can do with a mad dog is kill it.