Salt of the earth and Light of the world

Sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded sermon of Jesus spanning from 5th to 7th chapter of Matthew. This is the manifesto of the kingdom of God. These chapters indicate the lifestyle of a person who follows Jesus and lives in the kingdom of God.

Jesus starts His sermon with beatitudes. Beatitudes are the attitudes that every follower of Christ should have. For the past few weeks we have been talking about the beatitudes and the lifestyle of a person living in the kingdom of God.

Jesus starts off saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Kingdom of heaven belongs to those who admit that they are spiritually bankrupt, there is no goodness in them and they cannot earn their way into the kingdom of God.

He follows that with “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” People in the kingdom of God are those who mourn for their sins. He goes on to describe these people will be meek, they have thirst and hunger for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers. He then says that we are blessed when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Our lifestyle will inevitably result in persecution. As Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

In other wards Jesus was saying that we should expect persecution when we live the lifestyle that He calls us to live. When the world falsely accuse us, calls us by names, idiots, bigots, fanatics, we are to rejoice. The world hated Jesus and they hate us because of Jesus. Jesus said, “Your reward will be great in heaven.”

In this context, Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth”, “You are the light of the world”. A Christian ought to be like salt and light, the elements that are in the world, but never compromise with the world.

In the ancient world, salt was very valuable. As there were no refrigerators, they used salt to preserve the meat. Salt acts as the preservator for the food. It retards corruption.

Salt brings healing. In 2 Kings 2:19-22, we read the story of Elisha healing water with salt. The water in that village was undrinkable and he threw salt into the spring and the water became pure.

We also see salt covenants in the Bible. When the enemies come together and compromise, they will have a covenant with each other, called salt covenant, which symbolizes that they will take care of each other.

Salt create thirst. Salt adds flavor to the food. It is hard to eat food without seasoning with salt.

Jesus compared us to the salt so that we will retard corruption in this world, we will bring healing to this world, we will reconcile and have covenant with each other, we will create thirst for righteousness in others, add flavor to the lives of people. Colossians 4:6 says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Are we living as salt of the earth? Are we bringing healing, adding flavor with grace, stopping the corruption in the society?

Jesus said “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”

Salt, losing its saltiness is like compromising with this world and losing our influence. Once we compromise our standards, we can no longer impact this world.

Jesus also said “You are the light of the world”. Light is essential for the survival of life in this world. Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” He is the source of light and we reflect His light in this world, just like how moon reflects the light of sun.

Light exposes darkness. It reveals what is hidden. Our sin will be exposed in the light of God and His word.

Light gives hope. Person living in total darkness will be in hopeless condition. The moment he sees a tiny light at a faraway distance, he will get some hope.

Light gives direction. Ps 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” God’s word directs our steps.

When Jesus compared us to light, He wants us to dispel the darkness of this world, expose the depraved, darkened minds of people and lead them to repentance.

As Christ followers, we are the only hope to this world. We are the salt and light in this world. We need to impact the world. Salt removes the negative effects and light gives life in positive way. We need to stop corruption, through our lives and shine God’s light in this world to lead people to Him.

May God help us to be the salt and light in this world!


Lent Season

crossLent means fortieth (Latin: Quadragesima). Lent is a season of 40 days that starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter day. The purpose of lent is self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. This season is symbolic of the 40 days Jesus spent in prayer and fasting in the desert before starting His public ministry.

On Ash Wednesday, ashes are applied to the foreheads symbolizing repentance.  It also symbolizes our mortality. The season of lent gives us an opportunity to realize that we are sinners and repent of our sins.

Fasting is a common practice during the lent season. Many Christians practice fasting for 40 days during the lent season. It is not for weight loss or even for self-control.

In Matthew 6, Lord Jesus taught us about the acts of righteousness – giving to the needy, prayer and fasting. He taught us that when we give, we should not announce and the Father who sees us in secret will reward us. He also taught us how to pray, which we call the Lord’s Prayer. Then he taught them about fasting. When we fast, we should not look somber and disfigure our faces, but should be happy. Our Father, who sees us in secret will reward us.

In the standard form, fasting is abstaining from food. Some people fast whole day, some fast part of the day, foregoing one meal a day. Some abstain from meat. Fasting and prayer go together. As we fast from food, it reminds us of our hunger for God and of the millions of people around the world who are forced to fast because of their poverty, those who are being denied of the basic needs due to the injustice done to them.

For some, food may not be a temptation. They can easily fast from food, but it might be hard for them to fast from Technology. For some it could be TV or social media, etc. When we fast from the material thing which we are most attached to, it helps us to wean from it and depend on God for that need. It also helps us to focus on God in prayer.

The last week of Lent, known as Passion week or Holy week begins with Palm Sunday, a week before Easter. Palm Sunday is when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem by riding on a donkey. The crowds welcomed Him with palm branches, saying,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday is the day Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples. Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Even though it is the day of His death, we call it Good Friday because His death brought us the good news that we have forgiveness of sins because of His death on the cross.

The following Sunday is the Resurrection day, which is also called the Easter. We celebrate the resurrection day because that is the day death was defeated and we got new life because of His resurrection. We have a hope that we will rise again and will live with Him forever. That is the blessed hope that we, the followers of Christ have.

May God help us to repent of our sins, spend time in prayer, and come closer to Him in this lent season!



Entering the New Year

Every year during the last days of the year, we look back and try to recount what all happened in that year. Just like every year, 2015 has brought some good and joyful moments and some bad and sad moments in most of our lives. So we end the year with mixed feelings. As we enter the New Year, we start off the year with goals, excitement and determination. We anticipate that the New Year will bring good days of prosperity, joy and happiness to us. But some will fear and worry for what the year might bring.

Ephesians 4:16 says “make the best use of time because the days are evil.”

We look forward to good days ahead, but the Bible does not promise good days. In fact it says the days are evil. We have seen how evil kept on increasing in this world. From the beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christians to indiscriminately shooting innocent people in Paris to shooting at the Christmas party in San Bernardino to displacement of millions of people, we have seen horrible acts of violence around the world. These are the days of evil.

But that does not mean we should lose hope. God gives us direction of how to live in this world full of evil and hatred. It says that we should live carefully, not as unwise, but wise, making the most of every opportunity, understanding what the Lord’s will is. We ought to live our lives carefully, using the time wisely, finding and obeying the Lord’s will. Now, what is God’s will? There are few places where we read explicitly about God’s will.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 says it is God’s will for us to be sanctified, to live morally pure lives. Even though sanctification could mean either separation of moral purity, the context here suggests moral purity. God’s word tells us to avoid sexual immorality and control our own bodies in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5)

In the culture where sexual immorality has become the norm people treat that as an expression of individual freedom, God’s word still calls us to be pure and blameless. In 1 Cor. 6:18-20, we read our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are bought with a price, the price of blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we enter the New Year, let us do the will of God by being sanctified.

Secondly, 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 says us to give thanks in all circumstances and that is God’s will for us. It is easy to give thanks and rejoice in Him when everything is going well. But the Bible teaches us to be thankful even in sickness and painful situations, even in our sufferings and losses. How can we be thankful when we are sick and suffering? We need to remember that God is in charge. He knows what we are going through. He feels our pain. In Romans 8:28, we read “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We ought to be thankful in difficult circumstances because He will make those circumstances work for our good. He teaches valuable lessons through those circumstances. Let us obey God’s will and be thankful to Him in all circumstances.

Thirdly, in 1 Peter 2:15 we read that it is God’s will for us to do good and that will silence ignorant talk of foolish people. As the children of God, we need to be good to those who hurt us, look down on us, and insult us. Jesus has setup a great example for us in this regard. Romans 12:14-21 is a great passage teaching us how to respond when we are persecuted and mistreated. It concludes saying, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” In this New Year, let us be good to those who hurt us, disagree with us, insult us and persecute us.

Finally, 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God wants all people to be saved. It is God’s desire that people should be saved and come to His knowledge. If people have to be saved, we need to proclaim the good news. We need to go and make disciples of all nations. In this New Year, let us proclaim the good news and make disciples of all nations.

May God bless this year for us as we live carefully, following God’s will in our lives!





Advent, a season of anticipation

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. The season of advent focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ. It starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is a time of anticipation, excitement, preparation and longing. Unfortunately we lost the meaning of advent because of the busyness of this season. As we enter this season, we tend to focus on shopping, decorations, gifts, goodies, etc. than to have a sense of anticipation and hope.

For the Israelites, who lived in slavery for long time under many oppressive regimes, it was the hope of Messiah the redeemer that kept them alive. They longed for redemption from the oppressive regimes. The prophets prophesied, people anticipated with a sense of longing to see a redeemer, who one day will free them from the oppressive regimes. After a silence of 400 years, when the time is right in God’s sight, God came into this world in the form of a baby. God became human. Incarnation is a mystery. But it happened in the history of mankind.

Today, living two thousand years after He came, we are grateful for His first coming and we worship Him for the marvelous grace He has shown to us. As the priest Zachariah prophesied,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” – Luke 1:68-69

We also anticipate His coming again (second coming). It is an anticipation of judgment of the evil world and punishment of the wickedness that we all face in our day to day life. In fact the whole creation is groaning for this redemption.

As we celebrate this advent season, let us have the anticipation of His second coming as the great hymn says:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Leave the past, move ahead

New Year is a time for fresh start. At the close of the year, we would like to review the things that happened through out the year and see what is in store for the new year.

Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 writes “… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” As we enter the New Year, it is a reminder for us to forget the things of the past and move forward towards the goal. What are the past/former things?

Fruitless deeds of darkness: Ephesians 5:8-11 compares our former state with the present state – darkness vs. light. Once we were darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. He goes on to explain the fruitless deeds of darkness and fruit of light. Paul does not say that we were living in darkness, but he says that we were darkness – we ourselves were part of darkness. It indicates the depravity of human beings. Without Christ in our lives, we were personification of darkness, even though it might not always shown outside. Paul talks about this life of darkness at length from 4:17 to 5:7 in the Book of Ephesians. Some of the phrases he uses to describe are

  • Futility of their thinking
  • Darkened in their understanding
  • Separated from the life of God
  • Hardening of hearts
  • Lost all sensitivity
  • Full of greed
  • Speaking lies, stealing, cheating,gossip, bitterness, rage, anger, malice, slander, sexual immorality, impurity, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking

The list goes on. He even says it is shameful even to mention what they do in secret. This is the life style of a person who rejects Christ, who is not willing to come into His light. Paul contrasts this life to the life in Christ, living with fruit of light which is goodness, righteousness, and truth. It is unfortunate that so many people who say they follow Christ still live in this lifestyle of darkness. That is why Paul says that we need to expose that darkness in the light of God so that they will be clearly visible. When we expose them before God and realize that we have so much darkness hidden in our hearts, repent of our sins, then God will forgive us. In Ephesians 4:17, we were commanded to “no longer live as the Gentiles do”. This is possible when we expose the darkness in our hearts and ask God to search our hearts as the Psalmist says in Psalm 139:23-24.

We need to leave behind the darkness in our hearts, expose and repent of the sins.

Identity: In Philippians 3:7-11, Paul mentions that all that was gain for him, he considers them as rubbish and garbage for the sake of Christ. His Pedigree, his religious perfection, his knowledge, his education, fame, his identity as a zealous Pharisee, Hebrew of Hebrews, etc., he wants to treat all of that as rubbish for the sake of Christ. We need to learn the lesson to losing our worldly identity. Lot of times we have our identity in our jobs, properties, family name, popularity, beauty, power, social status etc. It is time for us to leave our identity and move forward towards the goal.

Paul wants to move forward with a goal of knowing and experiencing 3 things regarding Christ.

The power of His resurrection: Power of resurrection is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. Resurrection is the difference between death and life. Only because of the resurrection, we have hope that we will be raised one day. The word for power was “Dunamis”, from which we get Dynamite. When the dynamite was used to crush the rocks and hills, the power will be felt. In the same way, when we experience the power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives, we will see the effect of that victorious power in our lives. Paul had this desire to experience that power of resurrection.

Participation in His sufferings: We want the blessings from Christ, but here Paul was saying that he wants to experience the sufferings of Christ. It is in the suffering, we become closer to Christ and we know Him more intimately. No body likes suffering. We don’t want to take any risks, inconveniences, leave alone suffering and persecution. Romans 5:3-5 says “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” There is a purpose for God allowing suffering in our lives. In order to become mature and develop godly character, we need to go through the suffering. Romans 8:17-18 says that the sufferings of this world are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.

Becoming like Him in His death: Paul’s desire was to imitate Christ’s character that was displayed in His death. Forgiveness was personified in Christ when He said the first sentence from the cross “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. We learn the forgiveness that was extended to the enemies, those who hurt us. We learn God’s unconditional, sacrificial love that was exhibited in a marvelous way on the cross of Calvary.

We need to desire these three things in our lives as we press on towards the goal of winning the prize was set before us. This New Year, may God help us to leave the sinful areas of our lives, leave the worldly identity behind and move on towards knowing Him intimately day by day!


Lessons from Christmas story

Christmas story teaches us many lessons. There are particularly 3 lessons that we can learn during this season.

1. Sacrifice: During this Christmas season people setup nativity scene decorations in and around their houses. The decorations around nativity scene actually distort the real picture of Christmas. The Christmas story is full of insults, pain, suffering, difficult situations.

Mary was a peasant girl, a virgin who had a visitation of an angel one day and he conveyed the news that she will be with a child. Mary asked the question, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” It has never happened and it will never happen again. The angel answered her concern saying “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” For Mary, carrying Jesus was a life and death situation. In that society, it is not an easy thing for a woman to get pregnant before marriage. She will be stoned to death. That was the punishment for adultery. Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to me be fulfilled.” What an obedient heart! Mary took those insults, condemning looks, gossips. She probably might have lost her friends, living lonely life. More than friends, she could have lost her husband to which she was betrothed to, but for the intervention of God. Mary chose to obey God, even when it could cause her life. She had to travel for about 80 miles on a donkey on those rugged roads as a full-term pregnant. Mary sacrificed her life to bring the Savior into this world.

Joseph was an ordinary carpenter. He must have had dreams and aspirations for his wife Mary. But all of those dreams were shattered by the news that she was pregnant. How can he accept a pregnant wife? What would his family think and when people come to know that Mary is pregnant before they come together, they will punish her by stoning. He contemplated a divorce, a private divorce so that Mary’s life could be spared. But when an angel appeared to him in his dream and said “… do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”, Joseph obeyed God and decided to endure the insults, pain, suffering. He owned the responsibility of protecting both Mary and Jesus. The Bible does not record a single word uttered by Joseph, but his character really stands out. He took his pregnant wife Mary all the way to Bethlehem and then from there to Egypt, back to Nazareth. He traveled hundreds of miles on those rugged and treacherous roads, to protect Mary and Jesus, and worked hard to provide to them. Joseph was not obligated to marry Mary. He could have easily cited the pregnancy and get a divorce, but he chose to obey God and go through the insults and pain. What a sacrifice!

The wise men traveled hundreds of miles to come and see the king of the Jews. Their journey  all the way from the Eastern countries to see the unknown child is a matter of sacrifice. They must have endured the harsh desert weather and cold nights, danger from robbers, traveling long distance. That was a sacrifice!

The Christmas story is a real-life story and God came to humanity in their own situations. It teaches us that we should be sacrificial. Today’s culture encourages us to be selfish. We don’t like to do anything inconvenient for us or anything that does not benefit us. If Mary and Joseph would have thought like that, they would have lost the blessing of receiving Jesus into this world. Romans 12:1,2 says that we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices and we should not be confirmed to the pattern of this world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind. God does not want a dead sacrifice. A living sacrifice is something that dies everyday, but still lives. What it means is that we should kill our selfish desires and live a life that is pleasing to God. That is why Jesus said, “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me daily”.

2. Humility: Christmas story is the story of God humbling Himself to become a man. No one has shown greater humility than Jesus Christ. He, being God, chose to become a human being and died on the cross like a criminal, even though He knew no sin. He who owns the entire universe did not have place on this earth when He came. He was laid in a manger. The most high God took the lowliest position. Phil 2:5-11 clearly portrays the humility of Jesus Christ. He did not consider it a privilege to be equal to God but emptied Himself to become a man, and became a servant. “He became obedient to death – even death on the cross.” He being the master, washed His disciples’ feet and said that you should also do the same. What an example of humility! In today’s world people look for a position, a prominent place, and praise. We think we deserve to be popular, famous. We think we deserve all the name and fame. But Christmas teaches us to be humble.

3. Love: Bible declares, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” Christmas story is a story of love. John 3:16 also can be interpreted like this: “God thus loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” In other words, God demonstrated His love by sending His only Son into this world. He loved you and me to the point of giving His own Son to die for us on the cross. And God wants us to love one another with the same kind of love. Jesus said, “love your enemies”. Humanly it is impossible, but with God nothing is impossible. When we accept Him as our Savior and Lord and establish a relationship with Him, His Spirit lives in us and enables us to love even our enemies. That is the purpose of Christmas. God showed His love and wants us to show the same love to one another.

May God grant us the life of sacrifice, humility and love this Christmas season.

The Pentecost day

The Pentecost day comes after 50 days after Passover. It is also called the “Feast of weeks”. In the Old Testament, we read about the Feast of weeks that has three purposes:

  • Commemoration of giving of the Law to Moses
  • Thanksgiving to God for the harvest
  • An offering of the first fruits

When Jesus was killed, all the disciples ran away and were afraid. But after Jesus appeared to them and have been with them for 40 days, He told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. So the disciples were praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit. On the Pentecost day, God sent the Holy Spirit on the apostles. Holy Spirit came all of a sudden. There was a sound like blowing of the wind. They saw tongues of fire coming on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other languages as the Spirit has enabled them1. People from various countries living there in Jerusalem at that time were astonished that these people were speaking in their languages.

Speaking in tongues has become a big controversial subject in today’s Church. Tongue (“Glossa” in Greek) means language. They spoke in the languages that they have never learned. Tongue does not mean blabbering with some unintelligible words. Those people from other countries have clearly understood what the Apostles were saying. Speaking in tongues is not a norm in today’s Church, but God will give that gift when there is purpose for it.

Peter seized the opportunity and preached his first sermon. We see the boldness in Apostles when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter explained them how they were able to speak in different languages and quoted the Old Testament prophesies. He explained about Jesus, His life, death and resurrection. He showed them their sin and called for repentance. They were cut to the heart and followed what Peter told them.

Baptism followed their repentance. We don’t see unbaptized believers in the first Century Church. It was norm to get baptized as soon as they repented of their sins and accepted Christ into their hearts. You don’t go to heaven because of baptism, but baptism is a command of God. It is how we testify to the world that God has saved us.

Three thousand people were added to the Church that day. That is the power of the Holy Spirit.

We see four essential components of a believer’s life – Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. We need to follow the Apostles’ teaching. We should not deviate from the orthodoxy. It is very important to meditate on God’s word daily. It is the spiritual food. Fellowship is another important aspect of our spiritual growth. God gave us the Church family for us to depend on each other, encourage, and comfort each other. As Heb 10:24-25 says, we should not neglect to meet but spur each other for good works.

Taking part in the Lord ’s Supper is another important aspect of a believer’s life. When we come to the table, we realize that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and it is by His grace, He has given us this privilege. Also we realized our sinfulness and unworthiness. It is just because of His grace, we are able to approach Him and call Him as “Abba Father”. We also realize that we need to proclaim the death of Jesus until He comes back.

Prayer is another essential component of a believer’s life. It is like breath. We need to have constant communication with the Lord. When we pray, God does miracles. We need to pray individually, as families and also as a Church body.

The believers were together and kept everything in common. They sold their possessions and gave to those in need. They all enjoyed oneness and the Lord added new people every day. They had kingdom of God as top priority than their own personal preferences.


Have you repented of your sins? How about Baptism? It is the first step after your salvation.

Are you being filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you witnessing?

Are you devoted to the right teaching, fellowship, worship and prayer? How is your prayer life?

Do people notice the difference in your life?


You can listen to the entire message here.



1. Acts 2:1-4