How can we be the salt and light that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5? We are called to influence culture and bring the Kingdom of Heaven to the communities we live in. Bill Johnson and Bethel Associate Pastor and Dean of BSSM Dann Farrelly discuss how the church can be salt and light in today’s culture. This is from the final episode of the series. Watch the full episode and series here:

i grew up and probably you too

only hearing the go of the gospel going

to all the world huge part my whole

family missionaries and i mean it’s a

really big deal for us that i i really

contend for and fight for the go of the

gospel but there’s another part of the

gospel it’s the come of the gospel that

we become something in community we

become something in

in the breakthroughs in life where we

learn how to do family life we learn how

to do business or community or whatever

it might be that actually attracts those

who are who are stuck in the valley of

darkness somewhere and they see this

city this community of the redeemed and

they’re attracted to a place of health

and life


so we are all it’s fascinating to me

that christianity is is gone for two

it’s gone on for 2000 years you know

it’s earlier roots in in judaism

um and it’s it’s survived and thrived in

various sorts of um governments

you know cultures

uh it’s you know probably in rome in in

the early church it was the

disenfranchised it was the poor that

were probably flocking to the gospel

more quickly than the rich

there was more to lose by becoming a


in status you know in those early days

and and yet and you have you know nero

uh i think paul wrote writes uh chapter

13 nero’s there now again nero’s an odd

duck because he was actually probably

okay until he went super bad you got to

take history and take a look at that so

there’s a season under nero when things

were like going okay


we tend to think from the very beginning

but from there was the season was all

right all that to say that i think being

salt and light is

is this call on us and yet it might look

different in communist china

in you know

quasi-capitalistic hong kong you know uh

in india what how are you understanding

salt and light in a way that’s not

simply american or american democracy we

can get there but maybe in the larger


well any kingdom truth

will work in any setting it will work in

communism it will work in

democratic society it will work in you

know in the

major corporation it will work in the

home it works in the church the problem

is is when the church creates its own

government if you will that is not

kingdom it works in that local church

but it won’t work outside of that church

so when we look at salt and light and

leaven which is actually three there

those those talk about the impact we’re

supposed to have on our surroundings


is adds flavor

and i know it’s used as a preservative

but in jesus’s

uh instruction

he says

salt without flavor

is tossed out trampled under

the feet of men so just the fact that

assault isn’t helpful

if it’s if it can be salt but if it

doesn’t have flavor it’s not helpful no

it’s useless exactly so salt then is

supposed to enhance the flavor of


so if you think about the church that

way as being a people

you know when we have a nice meal we

don’t unscrew the salt shaker pour all

the salt in the corner of the plate it

does us no good there it has to be

evenly sprinkled throughout the meal

that’s what enhances flavor

it’s interesting because you’re so

you’re not emphasizing salt’s


components because

of his accenting flavor was the issue

he’s trying to highlight yeah i i would

call the preserve preserving part a

secondary truth there are layers to

truth always but the initial thing that

he addressed don’t apply don’t go for

the second until you get what he said

yeah what he said was it adds flavor

it enhances the flavor so uh the concept

is that we are our business people our

school teachers our political people all

these people are sprinkled throughout

society to bring the reality of christ

into that place of influence the reality

reality of the kingdom of god into to

enhance the flavor of whatever the

the city is doing maybe it’s the

symphony of san jose symphony or

something and somebody is a violinist

and they become a part of that group and

just their their role of influence is to

enhance the flavor and the quality of

that artistic expression

and it’s such a bigger picture than

than simply going to church on the

weekends trying to get your neighbors

saved and so they can join the church

yeah and and or i got to be in charge of

everything to refer to any good yeah and

that’s that’s that’s horrible too

that doesn’t work our strong suit is

serving but yeah yeah so the salt salt

and light

light i always thought was to expose so

if if uh if salt is to preserve and

light is to expose which are secondary

truths if i can use that terminology it

would be true but it’s not the initial

truth jesus addressed he said flavor and

then when he spoke of light he said a

city set on a hill

cannot be hidden that’s how he

illustrated light so when is a city on a


observable that’s when it’s dark

so it’s in darkness i see a place of



nourishment yeah community

i’m attracted to something and my

upbringing perhaps i can head to the

light exactly i’m going to be drawn to

something so here here’s the deal

i grew up and probably you two

only hearing the go of the gospel going

to all the world huge part my whole

family missionaries and i mean it’s a

really big deal for us that i i really

contend for and fight for the go of the

gospel but there’s another part of the

gospel it’s the come of the gospel

that we become something in community we

become something in

in the breakthroughs in life where we

learn how to do family life we learn how

to do business or community or whatever

it might be that actually attracts those

who are who are stuck in the valley of

darkness somewhere and they see this

city this community of the redeemed and

they are attracted to a place of health

and life they may not come to me because

of their hunger to know god they may

come to me

because they see my children respect me

and that may be the

the attractant the light element they

may come to you because they see your

business works well and how did you

survive covet 19 with your business in

the middle of such hellish situations

and so they’re not coming to know jesus

they’re coming because the light of the

kingdom expressed in your life has

attracted them and that’s that’s the

that’s the initial truth of of salt and

light yeah that’s a beautiful picture

because we

uh jerusalem on a hill would be and

you know the the devout jews would

travel three times a year uh potentially

for festivals either from the galilee

area or from around and of course those

that lived around could could uh could

see it so that that picture would be

very uh evident like they’d all they’d

all kind of go oh yeah i get that

completely and there’s the festival of

lights when jerusalem would be lit up in

even a cooler way and so that

attractiveness would be quite powerful



sorry for my point so just a minute



forget where that’s going take it

oh that’s right okay

so and then chris has that profound deal

where he says you’re the light of the

world not the light of the church uh

which is always so fun when he says

because i always think like of course i

know that but i wasn’t quite living that

that we really had this idea that

just keep this church full of light you

know rather than actually be engaged and

be out in the environment and be

connected with other people

and influence that way

so in this i think we’ve said in other

talks but servanthood servant leadership

modeled by christ

yes that’s the key to the salt and light


i didn’t know if you’re gonna talk about

lebanon as well because i think you had

mentioned the levin

jesus says that we are salt we are light

and then he says the kingdom is leaven

but i i think they i think they work in


themes 11 is is fascinating because

um it’s such a

tiny amount

of leaven

leavens an entire lump of dough and once

the leaven is worked into the dough you

can’t get it out

but it doesn’t show immediately

when we lived in weaverville we had wood

heat and that was all we had and benny

would make bread and you know she would

work it and it rarely would rise in the

winter it would rarely rise in the in

our kitchen so we put it next to the

wood sole

and the heat the fire

ignited whatever leaven whatever

influence was in the system was in the

was in the bread so sometimes the leaven

of our lives the the kingdom way of

living with with jesus as king he has

dominion over our lives his lordship

becomes evident in pressure in heat and

difficulty and so that’s it’s just


uh metaphor uh illustration on how we

impact and affect the world around us so

and again

all of these things require a thinking

christian to

come in and go what does it mean to be

leaven in this environment yeah um and


and i think there’s different ways you

have sometimes you have a john the

baptist who’s kind of like here’s what

levin looks like i’m just robbing you

know molotov cocktails at uh herod you

know about about his immoral marriage

you know you’re just on the out you’re

an outsider kind of you know you know

thrown there and then you’ve got guys

like joseph of arimathea or nicodemus

who are being 11 as they’re trying to

figure out who jesus is and that walk

which is like in in kind of the in the

religious system of the day and you get

an idea from some of the trial accounts

that they were a little bit trying to

speak up like what what are we doing

here guys so you can have these folks


you can have deep insiders you’ve got

the you’ve got the uh you know the

collaborator the tax collector uh you

know who kind of comes matthew who comes

out of that system and

begins to be a disciple you know the

guys who are fishermen uh the zealot

you’ll see that interesting deal of

jesus ability to like bring folks


um and again they didn’t quite go back

to their systems but they were kind of

in all these different places yeah in

environments some of them stayed in

those environments and ministered there

but it takes a thinking christian to

kind of go like what and i’m probably a

listening christian right like yeah

what’s my what’s my

experience of being 11 and light’s

supposed to look like here yeah exactly

is it like nope i’m not doing that i’m

not saying that line in the movie can’t

take that part is it i i will take that

part in the movie and

so yeah

i think there are standards that we’re

supposed to maintain you know daniel

daniel was one of the greatest examples

of being leaven in a system but he also

had personal standards i’m not gonna eat

this food i will do this and it was

known to everybody that’s interesting

like he wasn’t in disguise like his

first day is like could we not eat this


and the guy’s like i’m afraid you’re

going to look tiny and i’m gonna have to

explain to the king why you look tiny

and he’s like not trust us

we’ll be good but yeah he was from the

outset saying

yeah almost like i’m going to make you

look like a genius to the guard that’s

in charge of him


please let me keep my

my personal standards exactly have my

expression in my faith

yeah we have these we have these

examples in scripture that are

meaningful to us in our world would be

joseph would be daniel would be esther

would be these these kinds of

individuals that were in the system and

brought change from within and then

there’s a lot of ministries you use the

example the molotov you know

throwing the spiritual bombs over the

wall and the people yeah and it i just

our approach has been we’re supposed to

be in the system to to bring influence

and not be on the outside pointing to

what’s wrong yeah and uh and that’s been

the role that we’ve taken and and that’s

why these salt light 11 have become so

meaningful uh

illustrations to us and there’s places

all along the spectrum for the

grassroots activists you know it’s all

the way up to you know the president

united states like anywhere in there you

can be salt or light uh and leaven but

there’s a lot of different places to

kind of bring the impact of the cr of

the kingdom yeah into those environments

and then the way that we do that might

look a little bit different because we

do see it modeled some are overtly

calling sin out you know and others are

working with nebuchadnezzar

or pharaoh like that dude you know and

being numbered amongst the wizards of

you know the the the magicians of

nebuchadnezzar you’re like i’m actually

not that but okay

it’s it’s a it’s a it’s a tough one to

figure out you know it’s a tough one to

figure out but if you

if you love people daniel’s thing that

rocks me so much is that he was given

this dream that was really for

nebuchadnezzar’s judgment

and when he interpreted the dream he

said to nebuchadnezzar you have to

remember nebuchadnezzar was his personal

assignment and he said oh i wish this

dream were against your enemies not

against you and this is the guy who

would destroy jerusalem and the temple

totally uh builds the statue of himself

kills anyone who doesn’t bow down to

worship so he’s he’s got issues he’s got

issues yet and daniel easily could have

said you know i’ve been telling you this

for years god’s about to judge you for

what you’ve not paid attention to and he


his loyalty was a part of the

stepping stone for what i think was one

of the greatest conversions in scripture

the way his life ends is he’s giving

praise to god you know daniel got flack

for that right i mean just it’s not in

the scripture but

there had to be a bunch of jews that are

living in the poor parts of the city

like sure i can’t stand how you are

in that system and how you’ve been

compromised in that system and now

you’re eating you know delicious food

daniel could go like hey it’s water and

vegetables but yeah there had to be just

a great deal of dissonance you know in

that for some but i imagine other people

would be like hey one of our guys is in

a position of power so

it’s kind of interesting how the body of

christ maybe has that same deal when

you’re looking at

empowered people and and what places

they get to and yeah opinions about them

now we put them on social media and just

you know try to

there’s a storm around them so

social media existed before it just was

chatting neighbors i guess on a smaller

venue exactly

yeah it’s true it’s true

the the dissonance the contention that

there is

when you don’t have the whole picture

you know it it it happens and somebody

with integrity in that position

is not going to show their hands so to

speak so that so to make people feel

better yeah to make you feel better this

is what i told the president this is

what i told but you know not not going

to do that to preserve my image i’ll

just let you run with it

uh if god doesn’t defend me i’m not

worth defending yeah wow so

it’s complex

the insult

not for the weak and feeble exactly