The Truth About Salt & Light

I believe there are some essential descriptions of Christians given by our Lord Jesus Christ that’s crucial for us in deciphering how we’re to respond in an ever-changing world. I’m certain that the Lord foresaw the days of every generation right up to the days of His Second Coming, and gave us keys to understanding how we’re to thrive in it.

Two of those descriptions given to His followers are that we’re the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt 5). These are two very interesting descriptions, because each functions quite differently. On one hand, salt functions by quiet influence. When added as a seasoning, only a small quantity is required. It buries itself in the dish that it’s being used to season, but its impact on the flavour of the dish is immense.

On the other hand, light is confrontational. Light works instantly. When we switch on our lights, darkness is dispelled immediately. In the same manner as believers, we’ve two tools that we can use. We can act as salt and seek to influence and flavour our surroundings with the qualities of the Kingdom of God; yet at the same time, we can also be the light in our environment by confronting dubious actions that are contrary to righteousness and integrity. When we use which application is very much a matter of wisdom.

What’s interesting in Matt 5:13-16, is that we’re told our function as salt and light can be nullified. What nullifies our effectiveness as believers is never something external, but always has to do with ourselves. An interesting statement made by Jesus with regard to salt is that if salt should lose its saltiness, it becomes useless and can only be discarded. Chemically, this is not possible. Unless we change its chemical composition, salt cannot actually lose its saltiness. 

What happened in the days of Jesus, was that dishonest merchants would sell salt that had been mixed with other things. This was not uncommon because of how valuable salt was. Should you have bought such salt that had been compromised, there was no way to separate the real salt from the rest of the mixture. Hence the whole bag of salt became useless. The lesson here is poignant. Salt loses its value when there’s mixture in it. In like manner, a Christian loses his effective witness when there’s compromise and mixture in his life. This is the mixture of sin. This is also the mixture of worldliness.

The verses that preceded the Lord’s description of believers as being salt and light are the Beatitudes. I’m not sure if you’ve read the Beatitudes carefully. If you have, you’d know that those qualities are not the easiest to abide by. If the truth be told, the Christian life is far from a walk in the park. In fact it’s strenuous, difficult and challenging, to say the least. It’s a call to walk in a manner just as Christ did during His earthly sojourn. It’s a call to humility, to accept injustice, to not seek self-justification, to love sacrificially, to forgive, to return evil with good, to be a peacemaker, to seek God and not self – and the list goes on. This is what the seed of God in us looks like when it’s fully grown and matured. It doesn’t require us a lifetime of practice, but it does require a constant willingness to surrender.

When the world seeps into our lives, so does compromise. We stop striving for the higher call and we become distracted and consumed by the present day pleasures on offer. The result is that the seed of Christ within us never matures. It never comes to fruitfulness. We become salt that has lost its saltiness. What about light? How does it lose its effectiveness? Well, the Lord tells us that when we hide a light underneath a basket, it will not be able to shine through. Here’s the challenge – are you an undercover Christian or are you all out, unashamed of Christ in you? When we seek acceptability and respectability more than we desire after being a witness for Jesus, our light becomes diminished. When we’re unwilling, afraid or ashamed of our faith, we’re effectively placing the light beneath a basket and covering it up. 

One of the essential qualities that we must develop as Christians is to not fear rejection. There’s a certain stigma that comes with being a follower of Jesus Christ. There are things within our faith that are misunderstood and ridiculed. Let’s take heart that these things are placed there intentionally by our Saviour. Christ was Himself rejected by those He came to lay His life down for. He was ridiculed and mocked, and yet He loved to the very end. This is the divine example left for us. That is why Christ is also called the “Light of the World” in John 8:12. He was bold and unafraid to announce to the world that He is the only Begotten Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, who lays His life down for all mankind. Salvation comes only through believing in Christ. There’s no other way.

As we end 40 days of prayer and fasting for our nation, I pray there’d be a genuine awakening amongst believers. May we rise up to become what God mandates for us to be – the salt of the earth and the light of the world; and make a difference wherever He has placed us.

Pastor Lim Lip Yong

The Grace of Yielding

Last weekend, we wrapped up an exciting Cell Month campaign for the month of July. Here are some follow-up thoughts in line with the theme of Discipleship, taken from Derek Prince’s book entitled, “The Grace of Yielding.” We’re often taught concerning the price of discipleship; but there’s also grace and reward in responding to God’s call.

1. The Test of Yielding
The more willing we are in yielding our all to the Lord, the easier it becomes for Him to reveal His will and ways. It’s possible to maintain a firm grip on activities or position that results in having a work for God, rather than an all-consuming focus for God Himself. As Corrie Ten Boom puts it, “We must not grasp things too tightly, lest our fingers get hurt when He prises them from us.”

Sacrifice, surrender and read more…

The Gift of Home

This week, we hosted our pastors from 17 nations for the annual Cornerstone Global Network (CGN) Summit. We had fun and wonderful fellowship in the midst of serious Kingdom business. God did an amazing work in all our hearts – vision renewed and sharpened, the hungry were fed, those struggling were strengthened, the weary were refreshed. Such camaraderie was forged over the four days that we were reluctant to say goodbye. There was never a dull moment.

There was a notable shift in this year’s Summit – a greater intensity and resolve to advance the Kingdom of God, and a greater intention to align and extend the work of God in the nations through Cornerstone churches. The Summit’s atmosphere was one of like-mindedness and authenticity. One pastor who had just joined us for the first time said to me, “I read more…

Motion vs Progression

We want to specially welcome the pastors from our Cornerstone Global Network for our weekend services. The Cornerstone Global Network (CGN) family covers 21 nations and every year we’ve our annual CGN Summit. This year, 80 of us will be spending four days together, communing, praying and walking in the revelation of His Word. 

The Summit is a key gathering and has always been a time of re-calibrating, sharpening and envisioning for the global family. It’s important to communicate and translate what the Lord has spoken so we can move with the same purpose and do the work He’s given us to do. We learn to take the lead from the Holy Spirit and to communicate the tribal anointing to the CGN. It’s also very fun-filled with lots of bonding time, and the test of these read more…

The Creation of Boundaries

The Creation account is so full of wisdom and understanding, but so few people pay close attention when reading through it. Our focus is often on the content of what was being created on each day of Creation, and we gloss over the process of creation and pay even lesser attention to what it says about the Creator.

For one thing, Creation is punctuated by a principal word – “order”. God laid out order on a planet that was without form, void and in chaos. At the same time, essential to establishing order on earth is the need to bring about a separation or division. In fact, the very first act of creating light was and an act to bring about a division between light and darkness. The next act of creation was to divide the heavens and the earth. read more…

It’s Better To-gather!

In the month of July, we launch our annual Cell Month campaign. It’s a month of celebrating cell groups and encouraging members to be part of one. Cornerstone is a cell church and one of our core values is that life change happens best in cell communities. At the same time, we inaugurated the 40-Day Solemn Assemblies on July 1, a nationwide campaign to mobilise churches, leaders and believers in our nation to fast and pray.

Cornerstone had the privilege of anchoring the first week of prayer and fasting in the Central Zone. Tremendous momentum has been building up and there’s been much grace for prayer and fasting. 

When we think about prayer, we tend to think of it primarily as a solitary and private activity. Yet, the Bible tells us to pray “at all times” and with “every read more…

I Hear, I Obey

Our modern western culture, which is influenced by Greek philosophy, segregates the words “listen” and “obey” into a mental and a physical activity respectively. First, we hear, then we evaluate to gain understanding and then make a choice based on our evaluation. But in the Hebrew language, there’s no word for “obey”. The Hebrew word for “listen” and “obey” comes from a singular word, “Shema”, which means to hear AND to follow through what you’ve heard with tangible actions and commitment.

Observant Jews will recite Deut 6:4-5 every day, “Hear (Shema), O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” By saying this, a Jew would remind himself of his commitment to love God, to dedicate himself to following God and read more…

Timeless Eternity

Discovering why we were created and knowing our purpose on this earth are the two things that will significantly alter the way we live. It’ll change the way we approach life, view life, and live life.

Perhaps one of the most affirming and transforming passages in the Bible is found in Ps 139:15-16. The psalmist declares, “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all are written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

We were conceived in the mind of God long before we were born. All our measurements, each intricate detail of our lives were then written in a Book and at the time read more…

Thriving in the Culture

Quite recently, I heard a message from Pastor Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands and he was preaching from the book of Daniel. The message got me thinking quite a bit. While this is not a reproduction of his message, many of these thoughts were catalysed by that sermon and I want to give due credit to that.

Daniel and his friends were captives in Babylon and they were placed in a culture and system that was diametrically different from Israel’s. If a parallel could be drawn, it’d be that of the culture of the Kingdom of God and the culture of the world. In many instances, we become the product of the culture that we’re immersed in; but for Daniel and his friends, not only were they not sucked into the culture of Babylon, they thrived and succeeded read more…

Examine Our Hearts

Over the last couple of weeks, there were several things that deeply concerned me about God’s people. These are not new problems, but somehow, I sense the Holy Spirit placing an urgent emphasis on them.

The first concern is about our ability to hear from the Lord. As a pastor, my job is not to be an intermediary between God and His people. My office as part of the five-fold ministry is to train the saints and equip them, and that includes training believers to hear from the Lord for themselves.

Unlike traditional concepts of priesthood, where the priest or spiritual leader is the channel of communication between the people and God, Christianity does not hold to such a concept. God’s will is that all His people are able to hear from Him. His desire is that all should prophesy.

read more…

Theology of Work

We spend more time at work – whether paid or unpaid – than at any other waking activity. If God cares about our lives, He must care about our work. No matter what your profession or occupation, whether you’re a parent, bus driver, artist or engineer, God cares about your work.

1. Work of God
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:10

The Apostle Paul makes clear that we’re God’s workmanship, created for good works. The work of God is us and people. I propose recalibrating the Christian idea of work by placing our focus on people. This is biblical, seeing we’re to love both God and man. Many Christians define the doctrine of vocation around their gifting, work or place in the world. Believers read more…

The Manna Test

I’m always fascinated by the supernatural provisions of God, especially when the Children of Israel were in the wilderness. The feeding of the entire nation of Israel of at least 2 million people, was equivalent to providing food for about half the population size of Singapore, every single day!

And what about that super food called “manna” which literally means “what is it?” in Hebrew (Exo 16:15, 31). It looked like coriander seeds and tasted like wafers made with honey; equally agreeable to all palates and sustained the whole nation for 40 years. It came each morning, and couldn’t be kept overnight, except on the sixth day where a double portion could be collected and be miraculously preserved so that there was food on the seventh day – the Sabbath.

I want to draw two lessons from what I call read more…

Book your tickets