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22 Dec 2019

I Lack A Gift [James 1:5-7]
  • Topic: BIBLE PROPHECY, PRIDE AND HUMILITY, THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, The Gospel, THE INCARNATION

Overview

This is a special time of remembrance as we recall God’s love when He gave His only Son to us, in fulfillment of His promise in Genesis 3:15. May we present a birthday gift to the Lord as a token of our gratefulness and appreciation of His love. What is a meaningful and precious gift to God; the Lord of lords and the King of kings – One who has everything, needing nothing. James 1:5 brings to a realization that there are things that we can give to the Lord. It would please Him when we each come before Him and acknowledge our lack, not only wisdom, but also other areas in our life. The world teaches us to be confident, to act like an expert and talk like one who knows much. James 1:5 seems to bring us to the other end of the spectrum. Do we have to admit that we lack before God? What about towards our leaders, teachers, our parents and friends. Wouldn’t this put us in a position of vulnerability when we want to be someone of significance? Follow the sermon and let the Lord speak into our hearts….

Slides

Sermon Transcript

Well, I guess all of us love the Christmas season. Because in Christmas itself, December is a very special month. You will realize that December is a month that is very different from all the other 11 months in the year, because it's a month that everyone is going for holidays, a bit more relaxed; even the workload has cut down, you know? And, and the whole atmosphere is just different. It is a time whereby we are planning to even get together as a family, spend time together, and a string of many other things. Even the climate itself is much cooler in December, than any part of the month [year]. So it is a very special, special time.

Now, during this special time itself, you'll see many of these similar billboards are being pasted all over Singapore, especially in Orchard Road, because that’s a place where the focus of the activity will be taking place. You will see pictures of Santa Claus with the reindeer, the Christmas tree, the lights, and the word “Merry Christmas” being splashed in different parts of the billboard. And we rejoice, because it is a message to the world.

 

The Truth of the Christmas Story

But how did Christmas actually come into the world? Christmas came to the world because of a promise that the Lord made to each one of us here many, many years ago. It is found in Genesis 3:15, and this is what He says here.

In Genesis 3:15, you will realize that although it is just a single verse, the significance of this verse itself is a lot. First and foremost, if you look at the word “enmity”, it tells us of a war, something is taking place, you know, and this something that is taking place has actually taken place at that time when this promise was made to all of us here. And in the years that follow, it will still continue, continue, and all of us are aware, it will not end until the end of time.

And in here, you will notice when God made a promise like this, after experiencing and seeing how Adam and Eve sinned, it only illustrate thing: why would a person, or why would a God want to do something like this, when His own creation have done wrong to Him? He could have just said, “Forget about the whole thing, I can start all over again.” It is within His jurisdiction, and within His power to do things like that.

But no. It expressed instead, within this verse, God's love for mankind. He doesn't want the whole thing to be dissolved, but He wants to go back into the whole picture and salvage whatever He can. And that is His love.

And finally, of course it is the victory. Some people say, “How can you see a victory there?” Well, if you look at the bruising of the head and bruising of the heel, who bruised the head and who bruised the heel, you will understand - whoever stands there will be the victor; the one who bruised the head. That is why there's tremendous significance in this one verse.

And of course, as you carry on with life itself, every generation is waiting for this - Christian generation, I’m referring to - wondering, when would this come to pass? It took a long time in the history of mankind, but a very short time in the history of God's time. But the Lord had made promises in the Word, from then onwards in the Old Testament, along the way, reminding us, telling us, in case some of us forget, that He has made this promise. He reminded us, “Yes, I'm aware of this promise. It will come, it will come.” And at the right time, at the appropriate time, in His time, it came to pass, and a child is born. And when the child is born, that's where we have Christmas.

You might, you would be aware that this is actually the first Gospel message of salvation that is given to all of us here. It is not by a person, but by God Himself. He gave the first salvation message. And He is the one who tells us of the virgin birth, because it is “her” seed, and not “his” seed (Genesis 3:15). So, when you look carefully and study the Word in this verse itself, it tells us a lot of things. And so, Christmas came about.

The truth about Christmas. The word “Christ” is centered in “Christmas”. And over the years, a several things takes place. One – it started off as “Christ” in “Christmas. Then the Greek felt that probably: “You know, we shouldn't have to, need to write so much. Why don't we use the word ‘X’ there, which in the Greek is ‘Christos’, which is Christ, too.” But on the other hand, when it goes to other parts of the world - we realized that in our part of the world, do we see “X” as Christ, or we see “X” as unknown?

The subtlety of trying to remove the word “Christ” from – visually, from all of us. To me, I find that it's very subtle, but it's apparent. And when this “X’mas” existed for a long time - you see, only a few people would understand this Greek representation of Christ. How many of you actually know Greek, or understand that “X” stands for Christ? Not many. If I go to Philippines, I go to Indonesia, I go to Malaysia, and I ask a crowd of people, “Does ‘X’ stand for Christ?” Many of them will not think that “X” stands for Christ, because they are not schooled in that area. People who are linguistic, like a lady here, who reminded me, “Hey, ‘X’ actually stand for ‘Christ’!” And I really appreciate her. Because only people like that would understand that “X” actually mean Christ. But to many other people, the majority of people, do not know that.

So when it doesn't really work very well, the next thing they do is – “Why don't we get someone to represent a body, which we cannot see, that took place so long ago?” And that's where they use the word “Santa Claus”. And as the story goes, Santa Claus reminds us of a man, St. Nicholas; a man who is very giving, a man who is very kind. As a young man, when he passed - when the parents passed away, the parents gave him all their inheritance. And he did not use it for ill gains, but rather he gave it, and he use it to help people who are poor, help people who are sick. And he did many great things, and wonderful things. That man is deserving to be called a kind, generous man. But to replace the word “Christ” is a bit strong. But they say, “Well, let's make him the modern Christ.”

And that brings back a story that I'm aware of, at a time when Moses has to go up to the mountain, and get the 10 Commandments. When you were [he was] absent for a few days, the people told Aaron, the high priest then, they said, “Why can’t we have something, you know, that's more visible? Because we have not seen God, and now Moses is not in our midst. Can we have something more visible?” And the golden calf appeared. And God did not like that.

And so, over the time, as Santa Claus became to be more accepted by society, there were people who questioned the word. What has “Santa Claus” got to do with “Nicholas”? The name is so far apart. And they did a research, and they say that there’s a possibility that they're using his nickname. This nickname is “Sinter Klaas”. And probably you know, that's why “Santa Claus” – it sounds something like that; “Sinter”, “Santa”.

But I want you to look carefully at the word “Santa”. Do you see something there? If you remove “n”, the letter “n” to the end, what does it spell? What does it spell? Genesis 3:15 – there will be enmity between you and the child; one of you, you will bruise the heel of the child, and that child will bruise your head. The war is always there.

So, along man’s history, good and bad has always been moving in tandem with one another. Where Christ is, Satan will be there. When there's such a thing as the Holy Trinity, there will also such a thing as the unholy trinity. And these have existed, and even recorded in the Book itself. And we have to be very sensitive, and be very careful what Christmas is all about.

 

What It Means to “Lack”

Christmas is a time whereby there's a great celebration. And we always enjoy it, because of the gift that is given to us. Now, a lady would wrap the present in this manner. They take very, very careful - choosing the paper, even the ribbon. And the gift that they gave to their spouse, to their children, each children, are very different. The father, the mother, their friends, they will take the pain to choose the right gift for that person, and that person alone. That is the gifting of a woman. And we, many of us, - and even younger people, you know - I'm sure you like to receive a gift from your mom, because that means something.

But when it is a man giving the gift, you’ll probably end up getting this. Okay? It’s always chocolate, sweet, cakes, biscuit. That's it, you know. Because it is so difficult, you know, to choose – “What I'm going to have for my oldest son, my second one, my third one, my fourth one? Ah, just get the two boxes of chocolate and all of you share.” And that ‘s it, you know. So that is a man. We think that way is not wrong. But I always enjoy the gift of lady.

Now the other thing about giving gifts, is it’s very difficult to give gift to one who doesn't need anything at all. If you come across to an elderly person, who have been bedridden for the last 3, 5, 7 years, and you want to give something, it is very difficult to find a gift to give to that person and say, “Oh, I think you need that gift.” Extremely difficult.

The other group of person, people that is very, you find it very difficult to give to, are people who are extremely wealthy. Bill Gates from Microsoft, Jeff Bezos from Amazon, they are wealthy, wealthy, wealthy people. What kind of a gift can we give them, that means something to them? And the idea of giving gifts is so that you mean something to that person. It is very difficult. And I cannot think of a gift that neither of these men would ever need, because they basically can buy everything.

But I think the most difficult gift, that we do have sometimes, is giving something to the Lord. Because the Lord owns everything on this earth. The Lord needs nothing from any one of us, and so it seems. So when it comes to a time whereby I have to find something for the Lord - instead of thinking of getting gift from the Lord, getting gift from the Lord, getting gift from the Lord throughout the year, because Lord, I need you to take care of me - is there a time whereby we feel we can give a gift to the Lord?

Yes, the Lord doesn't need anything. But what about if you can give it as a token of appreciation of what He has been doing in my life? A token of thanksgiving to Him, to tell Him, and to thank Him. Isn't that meaningful? And I cannot think of a better time, than a time at Christmas, when the child is born. What can I bring as a birthday gift to this child? We will think, we will think, we will think. And probably some of us will end up – “I lack a gift”.

“What can I possibly give the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Himself? I lack a gift.”

This verse, “I lack”, is taken from James 1:5. And he says: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,…”. You will notice that the word “lack” is used instead of more nicer word, “want”. If any of you want wisdom, let him ask from God. But I feel that the Lord intentionally used the word “lack” for a very, very special reason. Because the word “want” seems to imply possessiveness, greed, you know? There are children who really have four toys here. And when you see the younger brother or sister playing with another toy, they will go up and snatch the toy – “I want, I want, I want”, they will say. “I want” - everything they want; already they have three or four. So a “want” may imply that. So to make sure that is not a possessiveness, or a greed on our part, we must “lack”.

And when we lack, it means this thing - it means there is deficiency, there is a need; we have inadequate of, or we are short of. Sometimes you have been told by your boss, or your superior, to handle certain thing. I think: “I don't think I have the experience to manage this project. I lack the experience. I lack the time, because I have two other project that is ongoing. And the deadline that you're going to give me is just a week from now. I will not be able to manage it. I lack the resources to be able to manage this. Maybe you would like to give it to someone else.”

And “I lack” could also mean “I do not have at all”. It goes to that extent - I don't even have. I don't even have any experience, I don't even have any resources to manage it. So it put us in a different position as a person who say, “I want, I want, I want, I want.”

Before going further in the word “lack”, you will notice that the Lord have said in James 1:5, if any of us lack wisdom, let him ask of the Lord. Does it mean that the only thing you can ask from the Lord is wisdom, and nothing else?

If you tell your children, and you say, “Son, or daughter, I know you want to go abroad to study and you are applying for scholarship. I know it's difficult to get a scholarship, but let me do this for you. You apply for the scholarship, and if you do not get the scholarship, let mom and dad know, and we will try to help you.” Now all of us know a scholarship, abroad especially, will require quite a large amount of money. It ranges anything from 100,000 to 250,000. That is why insurance company nowadays, you know, have all these endowment funds. It is very costly.

But does it mean that along the way, while waiting for the results of the - to get - I mean, for the scholarship, does it mean if your son or your daughter come to you and say, “Mum, Dad, I need a pair of jeans, you know, my jeans is broken.” Or “I need a computer because I'm still working on this project, and I think my computer is giving, is giving way.” Does it mean that you say, “No, I won't be giving it to you. Because I only tell you that if you lack, need help in scholarship, I will help you. But not any other things.” Does it mean that?

I'm sure as parents you will help. You will make sure that your children, whatever needs that they have, you will still continue to supply, even though you make a promise as far as a scholarship. Why? Because you know in that area, your child, other than the scholarship, if he doesn't get, there is no way for your child to achieve it, to be able to do what he or she wants to do.

In the same way too, God have chosen a very high quality of attribute, wisdom, that many of us want but we do not get. And it is not an easy thing to get. And if we do not ask of God, many of us will never get His wisdom. That is why the Lord say, “You can ask anything. I have brought this up.”

And if you think carefully, the gift of salvation, what do you need to do? All we need to do is acknowledge our sinfulness and ask the Lord, you know, that “I want to be saved”. And the Lord will give it to us. Another very special gift that none of us will be able to get, if we do not ask.

So these are the two very special gift that the Lord have used in His Word to explain to us – “Even to this extent, I am willing to give it to you.” What about smaller things in our life? You mean, the Lord would say, “No, only these two things”?

 

The Posture of One who “Lacks”  

So, when we go into a posture of “I lack”, it brings us to this.

 

(a) Acknowledge that I Need Help (Dependency)

First and foremost, a person who is in a posture of “I lack” means he need to acknowledge, he will acknowledge that he need help. He need to depend on God. That's why you went, you go to the Lord, and you asked the Lord, “I lack, I lack this.” And when you began to lack, and there are many areas, I'm sure all of us are aware of that we lack - what about the person who have offended you six years ago? You have never been able to forgive the person. Your desire has not been there to forgive the person who have offended you. You hold it very closely to your heart. And each time it stir you up and you get angry with the person. Would you want to come before the Lord and say, “I lack the strength to go and ask to forgive the person.” Or you have offended someone, you going to ask for forgiveness.

What about that nature of sin that I have been involved in, for the last 1, 2 years? And I'm still doing it? And I know I cannot get out of it. I just don't seem to have the desire, the ability to get out of it. “Lord, I lack. I lack the ability and the passion and the desire to want to get out of this sin.” Would you want to ask the Lord for that?

What about the time when you got to know the Lord many years ago? And when you know the Lord, you know, you do many things for the Lord. You're on fire for the Lord. You talk to people about the Lord, you want to bring people to Christ. You serve in this ministry, you serve in that ministry, and, and, other ministry, because you want to do great and mighty things for the Lord. 8 years passed, 10 years passed, and you look at yourself, and you ask, “What is happening in my life? How come all the ministry I’m serving, I've dropped every one of them? The passion that I have for the Lord, no longer burns in me. I lack the passion of my first love.”

There are many things that we can lack. And when we depend on the Lord, we are claiming something from the Lord. You see, there's one thing I always find about Christian. There's so many promises in the Word of God and we fail to claim it. Claim it not for ourselves, but claim it for ourselves for the benefit of others. And that's why the prayer of Jabez is such a wonderful prayer, where Jabez asked from the Lord different things. He asked. He know what he lacked, and he asked. And when he got it, he made sure it is used for honor and glory of God. And that is Jabez.

And the Lord had clearly told all of us here - He says, “I am the vine.” We are the branches. If we abide in Him and He in us, we will be very fruitful. We can do many things. And He also added - “Apart from Me”, you, me can do nothing. So isn't it wonderful if you can depend on the Lord? Acknowledging that I lack, and I need help from the Lord.

 

(b) Attitude of Humility

What about the area of humility? When a person comes before another person and say, “I lack”, it is a posture of humility; he humbled himself. Because in our society, it is taboo to be able to come before the Lord and tell the Lord, I mean, tell someone else, especially our boss, and say, “I lack, I lack.” The boss will say, “Then get out.” You won't want to do that. We are afraid.

So we are brought up in this culture. And when we come before the Lord, we don't have that kind of humility to tell the Lord, “I lack”. But if we can come before the Lord and tell the Lord, “I lack”, it speaks very well of every one of you. Because you're moving into the realm of the heroes of old. And the heroes of old, one of the great qualities that they have, is they are always humble. They are humble people; the degree of humility is astonishing, in all the heroes of old. Because they rather trust God, than to trust themselves.

And there was one man in the heroes of old, who thought for a moment that he's better than God. And God has to send a prophet, Prophet Nathan. He said, “Nathan, you go and tell this man that I took him out of the sheepcot. And I put him to where he is now.” And when David heard that, David was reminded - stay humble, be humble for the rest of your life. And because he was humble, he continued to walk with the Lord, despite challenges that he faced along life's way.

 

(c) Ashamed of My Inadequacy

A person who lacks also can be ashamed of their inadequacy. They find that they're not able to do many things, they can be embarrassed by it. But then on the other hand, the Lord had promised us, and He says, you know, in 2 Corinthians 12, the Lord says, He says, “My strength is perfected in weakness.”

The Lord is mighty. He does not deny His strength. He said, “My strength is always there.” In other words, when He said that – “My strength is always there, but if you really want to see the perfection of My strength in our [your] lives, then it is in the moment of our [your] weakness.” That's where you will see the perfection of God's strength in our life.

 

(d) Absence of (or Having Low) Self-esteem

So when we have a posture of “I lack”, is there anything to be embarrassed about, ashamed about? The absence of, or having low esteem, can also exist for a person who lacks.

And sometimes we are afraid that people will think that we are incapable, we are useless, we are good for nothing. And I want you to turn to Matthew 5 for that.

And in Matthew 5, the Beatitudes, what did God say to those people? And if you run your finger through the verses, in those, in that chapter, you will notice many, many of them are people who lack. The poor in spirit, those who are mourning, in pain and in suffering, those who are persecuted, those who are reviled by others - these are the people who are lacking. And God said to this group of people, He said, “Blessed are you.”

That is the position that we put ourselves in, in the presence of God.

 

(e) Acquire What I Lack

And also, a person who lacks will have the desire of seeking what he lacks.

That means you'll be very teachable. You will want to learn from the Lord. And when you open the Bible during those moment, the things that you get from God, the “rhema” (Greek word for utterance or thing said) that you get from God, the gem that you get from God's Word, will be very different than you're going through it because “I've heard those sermon before”, because “I was brought up in the Sunday school”, because “my father and my mother, had been a Christian for the last 20 years, and I have been a Christian also, for so many years, so it’s just another thing you know, I just kind of read through because I'm supposed to do devotion” - it become very different.

And all of us are aware of that. We are matured people. We know when we approach something with the right mind, with the right posture, we will learn much more, than a person who is doing it “because my father mother wants me to do it”, “because my father and mother demands of me to do it” - it become different. And that is the posture of one that lack.

You see, if you remember the young man that Pastor Jason spoke about several weeks ago in Matthew 19:20, this young man is also a very rich man. And he came to the Lord, and he asked the Lord, you know, he say, “Lord, how can I have eternal life?” And the Lord mentioned a few things. If you look carefully at the things that the Lord mentioned, He mentioned six things. Again, a second look at it, you will realize that the six things is from the 10 commandments. It was the last six commandments that he mentioned – five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. He did not mention the first four commandments, which relates to his relationship with God. But he mentioned the six commandments is the relationship with men.

And the young man was very proud to say, “I have done it. Since when I was young. What lack I yet?”; “I have no lack at all. Do you think I would have lack now? What lack I yet?” He asked the Lord, but he was asking, also telling the Lord, “Is there something I'm lacking that I'm not aware of?” And the Lord gave him the answer. He says, “Sell everything you have, and give it to the poor.”

And that is not the important part of it. The important part of it is what follow. And He says to this young man, “Come and follow Me.” You see, because the Lord know that this young man, if He is going to give him a 10, a 10-minute sermon, or even an hour’s sermon, it will not suffice. Because what this man thought he does not lack, he is lacking in many, many other things that he is not aware of, that the Lord felt that for this young man to be saved, and really come into the presence of the Lord, he needs to follow Christ, and spend 24 hours with Christ for a good two to three years before He die on the cross. That is what the young man lacked. That is why He said, “Sell everything, come and follow Me.” But what stands between him and following Christ was an idol. He was not willing to let go of that. And he walked away very sad. And so was Christ.

 

A Personal Lesson – “I Need to Lack, and I Need to Ask”

You see, in 1983 - when I came to know the Lord, two years earlier, in 81, in 1980 or 81, two years after that, the Lord sent me to Canada. I say the Lord because one day I was passing a church, and I saw something written on the church and I said, “Wow, that is very bad communication. How can a poster like this? What does it communicate? It communicates almost nothing at all.” And the Lord took it upon Himself. And He asked me, “Then why don't you go for your graduate study?” - or rather, my university; I was not a graduate then, I joined the army.

So the Lord impressed upon me, and finally I went there, again, with the prompting and guidance from my wife. Both of us went there with my oldest son, and we were there in Canada. And we were in Canada - after about seven, eight months, the Lord one day, one night, appeared to my wife. And He spoke to my wife in the dream, and He told my wife, “Start a Bible study group.” That's all He says. And of course, when my wife heard that, you know, he [she] spoke to, the next morning he [she] talk to me about that. “Start a Bible study group.”

And I was so quick, you know, because - straightaway when He said “Start a Bible study group”, so many answers came to my mind. One of the answer is: we lack the fund. Because I was survive, surviving month to month, renting my house to get my tuition fee from the rental itself. There’s no way we can spend much more. And why funds are needed to start a Bible study? It’s not because we are paying anyone, it’s because like Gospel Light, you know, there'll be food, right? There's a lot of food. At the end of it, I just cannot tell the people, you know, after the Bible study, “Okay, everybody go home!” We need to have drinks, then a bit of snack here and there. And this will go on for a period of, and I was looking at it, “Wow, maybe two and a half years, man.” So that will take a chunk of my finances. I lack finances.

I lack the time. I was having my oldest son with me. At the same time, I was studying. When would I have the time to prepare for a Bible study, to lead a Bible study? I lacked the time. I lacked the experience. I had been attending, I think, Bible study a few times when I came, when I came to the Lord; I would say more than a few times. But I have no experience leading one; I do not know how to lead a Bible study. So I lack the experience.

And of course, the classic of all is I lacked the knowledge. As a new Christian, and I hope it doesn't happen to anyone of you - I was two years, two or two and a half years as a Christian. I know this – now, don't laugh at me, ah? - the Bible is very thick. Okay, it's a very thick book. And I know there are 66 books in the Bible. And I know there's Old Testament and New Testament. I did not know the division of 39 books and 26 books, you know, but I just know that Old Testament, New Testament. And I am so proud, I know the first book, the title of the first book, Genesis, and the title of the last book, which is? Revelation, that’s right. And I also know the title of the four Gospel. And they are? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Yeah, that's right.

I know the title of six books, that's all. And there are 66 books. And I told my wife, “How can I ever lead the Bible study like that? You know, there's so many things, you know, every chapter, there's so many verses, I can't possibly have time to study all these, I do not know what it means. We cannot lead a Bible, we cannot lead a Bible study.” So my wife understood, and so idea was dismissed.

That night itself, or the night after, the Lord spoke to her again, with the same word – “Start a Bible study group.” She came to me, and he [she] say, “The Lord spoke to me again, and He asked us to start a Bible study group.” And I told her, I said, “Wow, if the Lord tell you, in the same dream, twice, and after we discuss and we say “No”, what can we do but to follow?” I do not know what came over me - I was so adamant of not doing it, but suddenly, you know, I just say, “Okay, let's follow.”

So we did. We started Bible study group. And we told a household of three young ladies - because it's a university, they are there, about 18, 19 years old, three young ladies, and one or two other young student, student, we told them, “Come to the Bible study, we're going to start a Bible study next week.” And we know what to do, in the sense that we know that food is important. So we will plan the meal, we spend a lot of time planning the meal, make sure the meal is so good that people will come again and again, again, if not for any other thing, at least for the food. And then you will do activities and games, you will spend a lot of time doing that, you know, so to attract the people.

One week passed. Two, three, four, five. And after the sixth week, I told my wife, “Nothing is happening. At the very most it’s only these three girls, plus the two of us - five.” Sometimes there are four, sometimes there are three. And it just rotate – three, four, five, three, four five – for six weeks. So I say, “I think we got to stop this whole thing.” And then I told the Lord, I said, “Lord, You know what we are lacking. And now You know that it is not happening. We do not know what to do. We have to drop the whole thing.”

And one of those very rare occasion that the Lord spoke to me - that night itself, the Lord spoke to me and He say, “Focus on My Word.” That’s all. He did not address any of those areas that I lack, that I asked Him, but He just say, “Focus on My Word.” And the next morning, I spoke to my wife. I say, “What we going to do now? He say ‘Focus on My Word.’” She say, “Well, you say, since the last time He tell us to start a Bible study, we start, now He say ‘Focus on the Word’, you focus on the Word lah.”

So then from that time onwards, we don't plan menus, although we provide refreshment, we don't plan games and all that, we just focus on His Word. The number grew to five, 10, 20, 30. From a one-bedroom apartment, which we rental, we rented, we have to change to a two-bedroom apartment that we rented. And there we stayed for another six, seven months before we have to rent a house to accommodate all the people that come for the Bible study.

See - at that time I lack. And I asked. It is important that we know what James 1:5 says - “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,…”. And that was my first lesson. A very important lesson that I need to ask from the Lord; that I am always lacking.

And after when I finished my university, I came back to Singapore. And as the days passed, I forgot. I forgot this lesson that the Lord have taught me. And I always wonder, you know, why people can forget the 10 miracles in Egypt. When the Jews, the Israelites, asked the people, I mean asked the Lord, you know, to bring them out of Egypt, 10 miracles took place; the parting of the Red Sea took place. But so fast, they forgot all the miracles. I understood, because it happens to me; I forgot.

Do you know that when a person is educated, and a person has no wisdom - what does that mean? What you call those people? You don't know. They call them “educated idiots”. Yes, I was an educated idiot. You know, I've been taught so many things by the Lord, I forgot. And so fast, this educated idiot forgot. And so I carried on with life as if nothing happened.

And the Lord, in 14 to 15 years after walking as an idiot, He spoke to me again. And this time, He brought in a passage of God's Word. And He brought in the story of Solomon - a very wise man. And God has planned for this wise man, but this wise man to be wise, he needs to be prompted.

If you read the story of Solomon, Solomon did not straight away ask God, and he feel that he has a lack. But the Lord spoke to Solomon first, and He asked Solomon, “Solomon, what would you ask? What would you like to ask from Me?” Remarkable. And Solomon, probably, you know, because he's already quite smart, he picked it up. And he say, “Can I have an understanding heart? So I know how to judge people, and so that I can be fair.” (1 King 3:9-12) And the Lord say, “It will be given to you.” That is in 1 King.

But in 2 Chronicles, he added two other things. He says that Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:10-12). And these three things are very important to have wisdom - if you don't, if we think we have wisdom, and we don't have understanding, and we don't have knowledge, it is what you think you have – wisdom - it is not wisdom. For wisdom to exist, the knowledge from the Word of God is important. At the same time, understanding is important. Only then, the highest level of wisdom will come about. And these three things was combined together when God gave it to Solomon.

And Solomon has the greatest wisdom, because God said to Solomon that “No one before you is, is wiser than you. And no one in today's society, as you exist, is wiser than you.” And God even went a step further. And He made a declaration to Solomon. And He says, “Solomon, no one that comes after you will be wiser than you.” What a tremendous gift the Lord have given to this man, Solomon. Because Solomon realized he lacked something, and he did asked from the Lord.

You see a person who lacks, and asks from the Lord, is one who can get hold of God. And that is very, very special. And James indicated, as a reminder to us, he says, “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) So if you have anything lacking, have no fear to ask the Lord. Otherwise you will not get it. Not because the Lord doesn't want to give it to you. He's always ready to give it to you. It is not because the Lord doesn't know that is a need. He knows. But He wants you to acknowledge your own lack, and ask from the Lord, to position yourself in a posture of a person who lacks. And then the Lord will answer you.

“You ask, and receive not” – why? – “because you ask amiss….” (James 4:3). You ask for the wrong thing. You ask for thing to satisfy your greed and satisfy your wants. That is not the Lord’s intention, to grant our – what, what He wants to give us. But He wants to give us things that will continue to be used by us to honor and glorify Him. So I learned a lot from Solomon.

 

Arthur Malcolm Stace – Eternity and a Man who Lacked

But as if it is not enough, the Lord also brought another story into my life. And this is by a man named Arthur Malcolm Stace. Do you know who is this man? What is he famous for? Anyone? Raise your hand. You do not know, okay. You don't Google, I'm going to tell you. Okay.

He is a man who lacked. And these are some of the things that he lacked. He has no education at all. He doesn't know how to write. He doesn't know how to read, but he just know how to speak because he hear people talking, and he just follow people, and he just speak according to how, what he learned, when he hear what people speaking. That's the only thing he knows.

He's a petty criminal. He's a thief. And he steals a lot of things. At 15 years old, he was imprisoned. And after that, he came out, he went back in again, and after a while he came out, he went back in again. And he goes in and out, because he's a petty thief. He drinks a lot. He has nobody to guide him. So every time when he has nothing to do, whatever little money he has, he will just buy liquor and he get himself drunk. And he went into the army thinking he can find a career there, but the army found that he was of ill health, and after two years, he was asked to be discharged. And he went out, and he was always broke, because he can never hold a job. His attitude, all wrong. His mannerism is just astonishing. Nobody wants him for long.

This is the man, who is in his 70s at the time when this picture was taken. He died at 83 years old. Now, do you know who he is? Besides knowing the picture here? You know what is he famous for? No. For two-thirds of his life, he was just running around, doing things, very insignificant, doesn't really matter to him. And finally, after that, two-thirds of his life gone, he heard a message, and that message touched him. And he told the Lord, “I want to be a servant of Yours. I want to do things for You.”

Two years after he was saved, he heard another message, by a man called John Ridley. John Ridley is an Australian. And he took a passage from Isaiah - Isaiah 57:15. And from there, he took one word, and John Ridley said, “If I can just shout this one word, you know, to the whole of Sydney, to the whole of Australia, it'd be wonderful because I want to save many, many lives! And I just need to shout this one word, and let them understand what it's all about.” That message, that message, touched Stace, very, very much. And from that day onwards, he purposed to want to do that. He want to be able to shout that one word, so that many other souls will be saved for the Lord.

And in his lifetime, 30 over years after that, when he was, when he knew Christ, he did precisely that. He gave at least 500,000 over sermons - at least half a million sermons. How long was the sermon each time, any idea? Five minutes, 15 minutes, an hour, two hours, half a day? Less than a minute. Because his sermon was just one word. He gave a one-word sermon for the rest of his life. And he asked the Lord to give him the ability. And the Lord knew this man, because he came before the Lord, and he told the Lord, “I lack in so many things. But can You give me this ability to be able to give this sermon.”

And one day, he found a chalk in his pocket. He took out the chalk, and he wrote that one word. And what is the one word? Can you see it? That one word was “eternity”. This is the exact handwriting that he wrote. He tried writing other things – God, love, sin, Hell, Heaven - he just couldn't. He could not write any other words, except for this one word, which he wrote very beautifully, from the very beginning. And the Lord just impressed upon his heart, “You don't need to write any other word. Just one word for Me.” And he did faithfully, 500,000 over times. Chased by the police because that’s graffiti, but after a while, the police gave up, you know, on him. Because he, he was using chalk, you see. So after one or two rain, the word just got kind of erased by water. So he write again, and he will come back to the same place, he will write again. And he did that. And everyone in Sydney, and in many other parts of Australia, know this young, this man. He died, he died in 63, 64.

But after that, in the year 2000 - do you remember year 2000? It is a very special year. It is a very special year because that is the turn of 1999 into 2000. And they call it the “Y2K”, because they say that is the end of the world. The computers are not able to work on 2000, that’s finished. Planes will crash in mid-air, ship will just do not know where to go, delivery will not take place, all the markets and all the departmental stores, the grocery all will have no stock of food, and a lot of news went out about the Y2K.

But Australia said, “Since it's going to be the end of the world, why don't we just have a big bash. Let us create the biggest firework, you know, and if we happen to have time to release the firework, let's do it before the end of the world come.” So in that year itself, there was the biggest fireworks as we were going to turn into the year 2000. And the first country that always have it, is in Australia, before it - where it turn to the next day, and before it goes to the rest of the year.

So in that year itself, when it turned, everybody still alive, they let go the fireworks. For 15, 20 - for 10 to 15 minutes, the firework was there. And everyone was rejoicing - the greatest firework. And after, when everything settled down, there was quietness. The darkness enveloped the sky again, and the harbor and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the lights went on, and this word was seen – “eternity”.

The Lord honors this man to such an extent, not only Sydney and Australia knows about eternity. But it went to other parts of the world; it was telecast to other parts of the world. And as if that is not enough, if you realize - if you are a sportsman, you will know the Olympics took place in Sydney in the year 2000. In October - September, October 2000, the word “eternity” was broadcast again; telecast live at the - I think it’s the open - I can’t remember it’s the opening or the end of the Sydney game, the Olympic games. And it is said that that telecast reaches at least two billion people in the world. So in total, between two to three billion people in the world have received and heard what Stace had wanted to do, to let the world know. A man who lacks.

 

What Can We Give to the Lord?

What can we give to the Lord? Isn't there things that we can give to the Lord? I know that for me, until today, I still lack a lot of things. And I still need to ask the Lord. And for me, what I intend to do is: “I lack” - that will be my gift to the Lord.

What about each one of you? Are you still looking for a gift to give to the Lord? Please don't go to the toilet after this, and say, “I lack money.” Okay? Because the Lord is not interested in finances. You know, the Lord never talked about finances. I mean, not in the sense of making finances a very important thing in His ministry, in His life.

But there are many other things that all of us lack. Let us give, and ask from the Lord what we lack.

Let us pray.

Father it is a time that we are reminded of the gift that You have given to us. A gift that is going to put an end to everything, the bondage that we have, through Your Lord Jesus Christ, through Your only begotten Son. And You see each one of us worthy to be presented with this, so precious a gift, so that all of us can come back into Your Holy presence.

And now, we just want to ask that You search our heart and ask ourselves, what is a gift that we can give to You as well? I lack many things. And I want to ask of You, Lord, in the areas of where I lack. Give me the strength to forgive. Give me the passion that I have lost. Give me the ability to leave the sin that I've been committing all these years. And there are many more areas I still lack.

So Father, speak to me, search my heart, and make this Christmas a very special time where I can present a wonderful gift to You. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.