17 Apr 2016
In Love? or In Church? Pastor Paul Choo 17 April 2016 God is love. And the Great Commandment is to love God with all our heart soul and mind Yet most Christians satisfied to be in church rather than in love with God. There are five common reasons why we have been hindered from being in love with God. Let's be aware of these hindrances and fall in love with God! Slides Audio **Right Click to Do
God is love. And the Great Commandment is to love God with all our heart soul and mind
Yet most Christians satisfied to be in church rather than in love with God.
There are five common reasons why we have been hindered from being in love with God.
Let's be aware of these hindrances and fall in love with God!
So today I want to talk on a topic, ‘in love or in church’. Now, I thank God that all of you are in church - I am thankful for that. Otherwise, I'll be standing here preaching to nobody, but thank God for that. But do you think God is satisfied that you're in church? You think God says, “Oh, great. My guys are in church today.” I don't think so. God is a God of love. The Bible tells us God is love. When you love someone, you want a relationship with that person. When you love someone deeply, you want an intimate relationship with that person. So the God of love wants a relationship with us. He doesn't just want us to be in church today.
In fact, very early, we see Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Everything's fine there but yet God comes down to walk with them, not that He needs to help them, or do anything for them, or protect them from, you know, problems and depression and all that. Nothing of that sort but God comes down and walks with them. He wants fellowship. And we know the story: Adam and Eve rejected God, and then, you know, the rest of the story. But two thousand years ago, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ. He walked among men. You know, a lot of Christians will say, “Aiyo, if I were in that time, how amazing! Imagine, we can dine with Peter, we can walk with Jesus, we can hear what he's teaching. He can give us counseling. He give us encouragement, role modeling. He can do so many things! Wow! It's so wonderful to live in a time where Jesus was on Earth.” A lot of Christians say that; almost all Christians say, “Haiya, imagine we were in those times!” But Jesus says something else. Jesus said, “No, I tell you something. It is good for you that I go away because if I don't go away, the Helper will not come” (John 16:7). And it is your to your advantage that I go away and the helper comes. Because the word ‘helper’ there refers to, in the King James Bible, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Okay, we know that every Christian, you're the temple of the Holy Ghost. Every one of you; the Holy Spirit lives in you, right? You say, yeah, you know, the Holy Spirit... That's not Jesus. That’s not quite the same as Jesus.” Well, the Bible also says, Christ lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16). Spirit of Christ - Christ! Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Three in One; the Three are One. If the Spirit of Christ lives in you, Christ lives in you. You know, when I preach this verse, I've preached this verse hundreds of times, literally tens of thousands of people, usually in churches. You know, I always am amazed at the reaction when I preach this verse, Galatians 2:20. Christ lives in you - the one you claim to love, the one you say is amazing. You sing wonderful songs about how wonderful Jesus is, how great He is, how amazing He is, and the one you love comes to live with you. And you know, the usual crowd, just like the crowd today yawns and says, “Yeah, Christ lives in me. Amazing.” You know, it always boggles my mind. How is that so? If the girl you love, the girl of your dreams, wants to spend the rest of her life with you, you fall in love. You go like, “Wow, amazing!” And many of you have fallen in love, right? And those were the best times of your life. There's nothing like that time when you were in love. Probably humans falling in love is, soon you realize, the one you fell in love with is no more the angel you thought she was; or that hero on a white horse is no more the hero, he is a coward. And you know from Cloud Nine, you will fall down to Cloud One - hopefully still on a cloud. But you know with God, we all sing, “God is amazing, God is unchanging, He is perfect.” Wow. And you have this life partner who is perfect, and this is your reaction (referring to yawning). “Tell us more.” Yes, yes. All the notes all ready. I can see so much sparkle in your eyes. I'm looking for one. You know, I always wondered, how is that so? How is that so the one you love says, “I'm living in you! I will never leave you!” And our reaction is so bla. How's that so? How does that tie up? What went wrong? Is this a fact the Christ lives in us? Is it a fact that Christ is wonderful? And all of you say, “Yes, yes, I believe that. Yes.”. Then why? Why are we not in love?
Five reasons why Christians are not in love
Let me give you five reasons why we're not in love. I hope at the end of this sermon, we can walk out and say, “I'm in love and I want to be in love with my life partner for the rest of my life, and for eternity.” And you know, to be in love for eternity, that's an amazing thing. And it's yours, folks. Why is it we don't have that?
First reason: we are too religious. A lot of people say, “What? Isn’t it good to be religious, Pastor?” Do you know who invented religion? Check Google, alright? Check Google. Google has all the answers, but I couldn't find one. Who invented religion? Let me make my guess: Satan. And I will give you a story, all right. This is a story. Please don't take it too seriously. Don't say that the pastor said this is true. All right, this is a plausible story. Long, long ago, before religion was invented, Satan was getting very, very jealous, and very upset that people wanted to worship God all the time. People were concerned about God. People were aware of God's presence. People were conscious of God all the time and Satan is getting extremely jealous. And Satan said, “Wow. What can I do to stop this?” And so he called his council of Advisors, all right. You can’t find that in the Bible, right? And he asked his council of advisors, “what can we do to stop this?” The first satanic advisor looked very wise and said, “Satan, just tell them there's no God.” Satan looked at him and said, “You moron! Everybody knows there's a God. That's the stupidest statement I've ever heard. Of course, everybody knows there is a God. Get out!” He's not a nice guy to work for ah, though some of us may be on his team. “Then, is there any other good advice? Good one, please.” The second guy put up his hand and say, “Sir, sir. Why don't we just tell them there is a God? We know, and eerybody knows there's a God. But we tell them there's no need to worship God.” Satan went, “Oh my goodness, you're more stupid than the first one.” He is a perfect moron. “If there is a God, people want to worship God! Don’t you know that? Wow, is there anyone who has brains in my council?” Third guy says, “Agree, people know there's a God. People want to worship God. But why don't we tell people that you need to worship God in a building. And you can worship God in this building only at special times of the week and only when there's a special program. And the rest of the time, they will forget God because they have already done the job. They have already become religious!” Satan said, “Wow, this is amazing. What shall we call it?” His advisors said, “Call it religion!” And today we have thousands of religions with different buildings; some like that, sharp, sharp; some round; all different buildings suiting different cultures. Some different times; some Friday, some Sunday, suiting different people. Some they like to sing, some they like to bow, some they like to cut themselves, whatever. But you can only worship God during those special programs. Wow, brilliant this guy and he is probably the inventor of religion. Right? And today, all over the world, in different buildings at different set times, with special religious programs, people worship God and rest of the week they forget God. Wow, isn't it true? You all look so religious today that I can almost put a halo on most of you. So religious. Your shirt is nice. “How are you?” “Okay, Pastor.” “Everything well?” “Yes, Pastor”. Tomorrow; that guy is from GLCC? Please don't tell anyone that he is from GLCC. Wow, goodness, the rest of the week, I hope many don't tell people they're from GLCC. Their lives are so different.
Some of you say, “Pastor, this is not fair la. We are not that type la. I also ah everyday have quiet time; not only in the building ah but outside also I have Bible study. I have all kinds of study groups. I'm not just in a building on a special time in a special program.”
A second problem is that all of us are too studious. You say, “Alamak, study also wrong ah?” I’m not against studying. I think I study more than most of you. I study every day. It is my favorite hobby. But don't be studious! It is two different things. All you want to do is study. Your end goal is study, analyzing things, learning things. Imagine the girl of your dreams come into your life then you look at her and analyze her. Wow, her nose is so so so sweet. It is 13.2 centimeters exactly. Then you measure her nostrils - wow, the two holes are exactly symmetrical. Wow. Beauty is about symmetry, you know? Then you count the eyelashes. This side has a thousand and eight; the other side has 1734. You analyze the girlfriend and analyze her and study her and study her, and she will leave you and she say, “Please la, just love me la.” Are you all analyzing God to death? There is nothing wrong with studying the Bible; you need to. But what's the end goal? So you know more? So you are smarter? So your brain has got a lot of facts? The end goal of studying the Bible is to love God more - that is the bottom line. All Bible fellowship and Bible studies you go to, your bottom line is not how big your head becomes. You will become a Pharisee that looks down other people who don't know the doctrines, never reaching out to the lost because you're so busy, so studious. Is that a problem with us? All the Chinese here have to say, ‘Amen’ to that. The Chinese make a god of studying; whether you will be a better person or don't be a better person, study. All right? So you know more. What's the purpose of all this studying? What's the purpose of your Bible studies? At the bottom line in it all, after you learn something, you ask yourself something: when this (referring to the mind) grew, did this (referring to the heart) grow? Is God going to be impressed with you about knowledge? Satan has more knowledge than all of you. He knows a lot of stuff. The problem is here (referring to the heart).
Alright, so, number one, we are too religious. We love to study, study, study and we never ask ourselves this question. You know when I ask people, “how are you doing?” “Good.” “How's your life with Christ?” “Good, Pastor. I have a lot of Bible studies. I do this, I do this, I do this.” Very good. And then you ask the next question, “Are you in love with Jesus?” And he looks at you like, why do you ask that question?
What's that got to do my Bible studies? It's like, this guy is funny, this Pastor. In love? Study and love, we got to do it together? You know what, for us, studying is not fun. You know, as Chinese people, studies have nothing to do with fun, right? It is pain, you know, but die die must study. And you know, we bring that into the church. They are not related - studying and pleasure are not related in our mind. Studying more and loving God more are not related. “What kind of Pastor are you? Your ask stupid questions.” You study and I encourage you to study but don’t forget to always ask yourself, “So what after you read this?” Is God more amazing? Is God more merciful, more wise, more this, or more that? And then you love him more?
Number three: spirit-phobic. People in this church, a lot of people are very scared of the Holy Spirit. Because they see the people claiming that you know, that babbling is from the Holy Spirit. “Oh, I don't want to be a babbler” or that one, the Holy Spirit, where you fall down and you got epilepsy. I don't have to have epilepsy. I don't want to bark like a dog. I don't want to cry like an insane person. I don't want that. And we are scared of the Holy Spirit because these people claim that the Holy Spirit is the cause of all these things. So we run to the other extreme. They claim the Holy Spirit causes all this so we don't have anything to do with the Holy Spirit. Two wrongs don't make a right. They are wrong and you are wrong. The biblical position: the Holy Spirit is our helper, our partner, our lover. He loves us. He lives in us. He's amazing! Embrace him, not run away from him. What's your reaction this morning when you woke up? When you look in a mirror, what do you see? Yourself? Or do you see Christ living in you? Do you see yourself with a partner? Wow! A day with my lover, the lover of my soul. He loves me so much, he went on the cross and died for me, and now he lives in me because he loves me. Wow! Blows our mind. It should blow our mind but it doesn't. We are scared of the Holy Spirit and don't want anything to do with it. We study the Greek, the Hebrew, the everything. And we have a new Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Bible. That is the trinity of many churches. The Holy Spirit is kicked out and replaced by the Holy Bible, a book to study, not a Holy Spirit to partner with. Relationships are about partnership. What can be more intimate than a partnership of the Holy Spirit living in you? Christ living in you. Your greatest love one can only be with you by your side. God can be inside. Jesus was on Earth. How many hours can you spend with him? Sometimes he goes here, sometimes you go there, sometimes he's sleeping, and you want to talk but he is sleeping, sometimes you listen to him say something and there is a crowd around him. You can't even be close. How close can you be? But with the Holy Spirit living in you, amazing! Why are you phobic? We should love this! We should be so excited. We should be quivering that Christ lives in me. The one I sing about is not some faraway being but it's in me.
Next, is supernatural-phobic. The whole world has become de-supernaturalised. Everything that you can see and touch becomes real. Everything you can’t has become in the background. You know, people who are less educated, people in the past, they had a sense of the supernatural. They were aware that this world is not all that it seems to be. There more to this world. There is a being and there is a God, even those who don't know the true living God have little gods here and there. They're aware of this other-world. But for most people in church, that's pushed to the fringe.
Typically, I see a husband and wife discussing, discussing, and discussing how their children must go to this school, that school, and study this special project but you ask them, “Hey, it is great you guys talk about this and do all the research about what school, what class, what's the best class for your kid to go to. Do you just have a prayer together for your kids?” And they look at you and say, “He prays on his own and I pray on my own.” You talk about it all the time and the two of you discussing, this Chinese class better, this drama class, whatever and you talk and talk and talk, two of you, husband and wife, but when it comes to praying, “Ah, whatever, whatever lah.”. Because it's not important; it's fringe! Prayer is just like a little pepper you put on your food; it is not even vital. People say, “Ah, you are a doctor. Tell me if this food is good or that food is good.” Everybody is an expert on food. I say, “You know, how I make food good. Whatever God gives you to eat, you pray and ask God to sanctify and bless it.” They look at you and go like, “Huh? What kind of pastor are you?” Which is more important? What do you eat? I can tell you God feeds people with ravens that take the bread and the meat and for years they can survive. Why? Because God blesses that food! That's the issue. It is not what you see, folks. This world of the unseen is the real world. This world is temporary, a little bit that will pass. But do Christians think that way? No, not anymore, not anymore!
Do you believe Satan is walking around like a roaring lion seeking people to devour, walking up and down the aisle looking at you guys and seeing who he can distract, or make you have strange thoughts today? You say, “I know, Pastor. I read it in 1 Peter, chapter five, verse eight. Satan is a roaring lion walking about to see who he may devour. I know the verse!” Do you believe it, that right here, he is walking up and down? The Bible didn't say Satan's walking up and down but the moment he came to Furama, he stayed outside because it is so religious here. You know, do you believe these things?
I tell you most people here don't even believe in heaven. You know that? I hear people say, “Pastor, I must travel before it's too late.” I say, “What? When you go to heaven, what do you think you will do? Sit at home ah? On your rocking chair ah?” What is this number? What is this number? Thirty zeros; what is this number? That's a scientific number of the observable universe, the number of stars. I don't know how you call this, octillion or whatever, gillion or whatever. That's the number of stars. The average size of each of these stars is the size of the sun. And for the record, the sun is 1 million times bigger than the Earth. And around those, each of them, are their planets. And one day you and I will zip up and down. There is no need to buy budget airline tickets. No need to go on the internet and book and hope you get a promo. It is free, man. “Pastor, before my legs break down, I better travel and see the world.” I said, “You know, you won’t need legs later. You will travel at the speed of light and see all this, the lakes, the moons, the stars, the mountains, the whatever, including this earth, renovated for you.” You know, I talk to people and it is like, “This world will end and and after that, that's it folks. I better travel before it's too late. I better see the world.” My friend, you will see the world, God's world, and not this tiny little Earth. Do you believe that? Do you believe in the supernatural? Otherwise, why are we here? We should be at a seminar and not in church. What an amazing, awesome God! We have been so washed away of the supernatural that I don't even believe Christians believe in it.
What about hell? 99% of Christians will tell you describe hell to you that it is dark and it has got a fire that never ends, and it is a worm that gnaws at you, bla, bla, bla, whatever they will tell you. But you know their lives? They don't believe there is hell. They have never even shared the gospel to anybody. Do they really believe it? No. We come to church to study, folks. To look smart, to look religious. I am sorry but this is my observation, not just of this church but of hundreds of churches.
The last reason is the prosperity gospel. You know, for people who believe the prosperity gospel, they want the blessings. They want the gifts, but they don’t care about the giver. What's the point? Why bother with the giver? Just give me the goodies, man. It is like a girl who comes up to you and says, “I love you. I love what you can give me; a diamond ring and those five Cs but you I don't care about you.” How long do we want that girl around? Do you think God wants us to just hang around Him so we get the goodies? Is He Santa Claus? This is the God of love. He wants to love us and He wants us to love Him and enjoy Him. Of course, there are not many with the prosperity gospel here. I think it'd be a strange place, if you follow the prosperity gospel, to come to GLCC. But it's a problem.
Alright, so we see this kind of thing. What have we got now? What's left of our faith? It is a religion and every Sunday there is a decent crowd with decent people. Hmm, we hardly talked about it. You didn't wake up in the morning and say, “Wow. The Spirit of God lives here.” Look in the mirror before you shave and say, “Wow. Amazing. Awesome. Blows my mind! How can it be that the God of the universe wants to live with me?” It is mind blowing. How can it be that I'm gonna walk out today with a partnership like no other partner? Christ lives in me! Wow. I hope at the end of this little introduction, we can say, “Lord, it's true. The great commandment is this, very simple, “thou shalt love your Lord thy God and not just know him” (Matthew 22:36-38). But love Him as He loves you, and keep growing in this love. This is the first commandment. This is the bottom line. Nothing else would satisfy the God of love. Even if we are dodos and can’t even remember one verse. Even if we struggle to remember John 3:16. God didn't say, “Thou shalt have knowledge and that's what makes me happy.” Love; the bottom line is love. How's your bottom line today? What is it?
You love God? Are you keeping His commandments (John 14:15)? No issue. I love someone. What's the problem? You know, when you love, it is an amazing feeling. When you love, you got no money to go and have a decent meal, you eat one pack of keropok together, “Woah, heaven man.” And then you got nowhere to sit, very hot sun ah, 37.6 degrees ah, very shiok ah because you're with the one you love, right? When you're in love, all the other things fall into place. Everything tastes good, smells good, looks good, and everything is wonderful. You know, falling in love is an amazing thing and that's what God wants for you - an amazing life in love, not in church! How many people can say, “Pastor, I'm in love with Christ.” Not some faraway God. All religions have a faraway god, you know that? What's special about us? They have a faraway God too. They say that God is up there. My God is here (referring to the heart). How can a God of love be far? How can you want to be far from the one you love? He loves you and he wants to be close to you; not by your side but inside. And it doesn't amaze you? When you love God, the rest will fall in place.
Missions - what's the problem? For God, as long as God is with me! Inconvenient? No problem. Dangerous? No problem. Anything also no problem because I'm with the One I love. When you are with the one you love, the rest are immaterial. Circumstances are immaterial. Today, missions is like this, “Pastor, don’t be so hard la. You know, I also like to go and help people.” Let me tell you, that is the heart of humanity, that's not Christianity. Everybody wants to help the poor. Tell me which guy does want to help the poor. Other religions help the poor too, you know that? Gangsters also help poor gangsters, you know that? What is the difference? The heart of humanity is very different from the heart in love with God. What is missions today? Go for five days, give some candy. That's missions? No friends, that's just plain, basic humanity. Sometimes curiosity to see something new, some adventure. In this church, we're not in the Ministry of Tourism. We're not in the Ministry of Humanity. I want you to fall in love with God and your life will never be the same. I knew this God of mine for thirty six years. He is an amazing God. Every day is better. Cloud Nine I started and it is, I don't know, Cloud don’t-know-how-many-zeros already. This God won’t fail you. The one you love, the supreme being you love on this earth has to leave you one day and you have to leave her. They will never be that perfect person you thought he or she will be. This God will never fail. Thirty six years with my God and it is sweeter as the days go by. How can we do missions? Why are we talking about missions if we don't love God and fall in love with Him? When you're in love, the rest is no issue. “Pastor, just send me anywhere, as long as I'm with God and as long as I enjoy my journey with Him.” That's the same with anyone in love. People in love will climb seven mountain, swim seven rivers, piranhas and all, man. Because they love that person. What's missions? It is about love and nothing else. It's not humanity, folks. It's not pity. It's not mere charity. It's something that comes out.
Alright, so that's my thing I hope you leave with today. I don't have time to talk about Galatians 2:20 about the life I shall now live I live in the Son of . By just hope you live to study and say Amazing, amazing. I cannot believe it and start talking to him. Start talking to God. In your thoughts under your breath, start talking relationships about talking we call it prayer prayer sounds like so. So religious. Pray without ceasing is about talking to God. Start a posture is not a position is not a particular time of the day, pray without ceasing. simple words, talk to Jesus. And that relationship when it begins you begin to be aware. Someone is here. He loves me. And it's amazing. I can walk everyday with him.
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Episodes from other sermons:
26 Nov 2023
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12 Mar 2023
25 Dec 2022
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