30 Sep 2012
It takes a village to raise a child
Maybe a week or so or two ago, our Minister of Education said these words, “It takes a whole community to bring up a student.” And he was, I think, defending the system, the education system. He was defending the work of teachers for doing their best and he said something that makes a lot of sense. I mean, the result of a kid, whether he turns out good or bad, is not totally dependent on what they learn in the classroom. He was actually quoting from an African saying, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” and that is such a true statement. Today, I want to speak on how it takes a whole church to raise a Christian. Let's go back to that African saying, right, “it takes a whole village to raise a child”. Now I think this is a thing we can all say, “Wow”. It's so simple. It's so obvious. And it's so profound. I mean, we are all results of the village we grew up in, the family we grew up in, the grandmas, the helpers in the house, the neighbors. You know, that's where we learn language. I mean, there's no better language school than the school of the kampong that we grew up in. That's why we speak our mother tongue so well. We know how to use it. We know the accents, you know, perfect. No linguistic school can ever teach us how to speak as well as the village taught us. I mean, hey, everybody, almost 99.999% went through that village school and we can all speak our native dialects or languages. No sweat. We learned our basic skills. We learned social skills. We learned who was auntie, who was uncle. We know how to talk to auntie, we know what is the respect we show to Granny, and so on. We learn how to communicate and we learn life skills. We learn how to wear our clothes because we saw some brother, an older guy, actually put one arm in and then another arm in and then you know, and we learn all those skills. We learn to comb our hair, brush our teeth. And so in that village life, we learn all the foundations for the rest of our life.
I was very blessed to be living in what in those days were called government quarters. Government quarters were where government servants stayed. There was a rule of law single-storey terrace houses, and these terrace houses surrounded a big field - as big as a soccer field. My parents were both teachers and they went to work. And for as long as I can remember, I hope my memory has not failed me, as long as I could run, I ran out of my house straight into this field. It was like the original condo, right? Except there were school teachers, nurses, postman, policemen, everybody lived there. All races, all kinds of social strata, every kind of people. And every day I run out there and play and then at 1:30pm my parents would come back and I will have to go back to my house. In this environment, I learned a lot of stuff. I learned the different languages. Today if you want to scold me in almost any language in Singapore, I know what you're saying because they scolded me in those languages. Indian, Malay, Telugu, Tamil, everything, right? We went into each other's houses and the mothers would scold us, they would all kinds of things. I knew how different races ate, how they sat, how they slept. I ate their food sometimes. It was one entire amazing village and I grew up in that. I learned all my basic skills there - some good, some bad, but they were skills I learned. I never knew that in later life that was called EQ. I learned how to survive. With those skills, I went through school. I was not a very good student, but I always knew how to make friends from other classmates, from teachers, so that I always got kindness from them, help from them. Right through medical school, I needed all that help. It helped me become a doctor. I knew how to treat different patients, different races, different cultures. I could read them. I never had a problem understanding them because I grew up in the village. I understood them. I knew when they look at you a certain way, they were not happy, they were angry, whatever. When I became a pastor, it helped me - huge amount of help. I understood people, all kinds of people, older people, younger people, everything, different races, and different socio-economic backgrounds. When I went to missions, wow, this is like, foundational. I understand and I am sensitive cross-culturally.
Then when I reached the age of five, wow, this is serious. I remember my parents sat me down and said, “time for kindergarten”. Now I want to say this. My parents were both teachers. They were educators. But they were real educators. I take my hat off to them to today. They were not educators in a theoretical sense. They were real educators. And my dad probably said something like this to me, alright? “Time to go to kindergarten. Your sister is going through and everybody goes kindergarten, it's time for you to go. Do you want to go?” I think, I have never asked him, but I figured he knew I was thriving in the environment. I was probably picking up useful skills. And he was kind of, wasn't going to force me to go to kindergarten. So he asked me this question. Of course, the answer is very obvious, right? No, why should I go to kindergarten? What do you learn there? And probably he said something like, “ABC 123”. And I said, “Can’t I learn that in school?” And so, very kindly, my parents continued to let me have my village education. So I never went to kindergarten, I went to primary one and I couldn't spell my name and I did not add one to one. But it didn't matter. I had a foundation. My parents never let school get in the way of my education. They were true educators. They were not school teachers. They were educators. And so with the benefit of that, today, I look back and say, thank God for real educators who understood the value of these things. I never asked my dad. But why would he, I was going to enter his school, you know, I'm going to embarrass him, because I'm going to be primary one in his school and he was the principal of the school. And I can't spell my name. Right? But he knew there was more to life than just being able to spell your name. Today, such educators are probably rare, if non-existent. Today, classroom has replaced community. Learning from books has replaced learning from people. Learning from structured programs has replaced learning from real life. It is so pervasive today that I believe it has choked out the community. And I think our government, I believe they have sensed it. I believe they realize the classroom can only do so much and now they're trying to turn the clock back. I wish them well. They are working hard at it. I believe they will do what they need to do.
Classroom can never replace community But I believe that classroom can never replace community. If it could, all right, we will all be strong Christians. You know, I think this idea has ever come into our church today. I know, I know that, alright? When our song leader starts to lead at 10 o'clock, he is basically leading the AV team and a few, one there, two there, three there. But by sermon time, lesson time, it's pretty full. I don't know how your minds are, I have never done a survey and ask you what do you think is important in church? Probably the answer is “the message”. It is very obvious based on our behaviour, right? When a message comes, it's pretty much full and everybody's ready already. Why? Because you think, “This part I cannot miss. If I miss this part then I lost everything.” Now, if knowledge from this message, from the sermon is what builds you up as a Christian, then you should all be very strong Christians because this generation has more knowledge of the Bible than any other generation. I say that almost without reservation. Previous generations, most people couldn't even afford a Bible. Until the printing press came up, no individual had a Bible. Today in my little iPad, I don't know how many Bibles I have - corrupt versions, good versions, bad versions, all languages. I have Bible dictionaries, I have Bible commentaries, I have everything in that thing. And if it's not there, the internet will get it for me. Today, you guys are inundated with knowledge. You are saturated with knowledge. Has it made you a better Christian? You want my opinion? No. I think Christians today are as weak, if not weaker, than any other generation. They are more miserable, more empty, and more confused, in spite of the knowledge. How's that so? Doesn’t make sense, does it? More knowledge, according to the theory of education today, according to what we believe today, that if we can cram this in more, we will be better people. Honestly, today, it's very hard to tell a Christian from a non-Christian. In the past, it was easy; not difficult. Today, it's near impossible. Almost got a shock, “Eh, you're a Christian?” and you know that you have worked 30 years with this guy. There is no difference. But if you were to open their head, you will find out he knows a lot of verses. He has read a lot of the Bible, more than any previous generation. Probably he knows more Greek and Hebrew, more commentaries, blah, blah, blah. Something is wrong. I mean, the Bible is a powerful book. Hebrews 4:12 says it is quick. It's a life, it is a living Word. It's powerful. It's sharper than any two-edged sword. Come on, it is not anything wrong with the Bible. The Bible is an amazing book. We have to begin with it. We have to learn it but we cannot end with it. If all we do is keep learning the Bible, the head will get bigger. Let me tell you, the Pharisees know the Bible very well. Satan knows the Bible by heart. Did it make him any better? Knowledge gained from reading, knowledge gained from listening, and I'm thankful for all you who are listening carefully. I mean, this is a good crowd to preach to. You actually look like you're listening. You fool me. All right, you take notes, you scroll up and down, whether it's your game on your iPad, I don't know. But at the right time, you look very attentive. And I'm thankful nobody disturbs me, you know? Not at the right time when they try to stay awake.
The missing link is God’s way of teaching But if the Bible is quick and powerful, and if you have been attending class time after time, why has your life not really changed? Why are you still feeling like there's something missing? There is an emptiness in my life. There is a confusion in my life and I don't know what it is. What's the missing link? A Bible? Wonderful. Good preaching? We're thankful for that. Good resources? How wonderful. But let me tell you, the missing link is God's way of teaching. God's way of teaching is not classroom. How do I know that? God's way of teaching is not sitting down there and listening to a message only. I'm not saying this is wrong but I'm saying if all you do week after week is come and listen to me or Pastor Jason or whoever, and every day you read your devotionals and take notes and study and memorize, and that's all you do week after week, I can tell you 50 years from now you're still a weak Christian. Because God's way of teaching is very different. We have to learn from the perfect teacher He sent. The perfect teacher, the master teacher, is Jesus Christ. And let's see how Jesus taught the first group of Christians. He was going to start the process. He was going to train Christians. He was going to teach Christians.
Jesus’ way of teaching
1. Use our eyes What was his process? Let's look at it in the Bible. All right, Matthew, chapter four, verse 18 to 22, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightaway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” Alright, that is the Jesus method of teaching. It is very simple - it's in two words, “Follow me”. Let me ask you a question. How do you follow someone? With your ears or with your eyes? He says, “Follow me.” “Okay.” What is your main tool when you have to follow somebody? Your eyes, right? Now when you tell someone to be a good student, what do you tell him? “Son, go to school. Don't talk so much. Listen to teacher, all right?” Eyes can sleep, never mind, but can listen. Jesus did not say that. He said the best tool, the best sensory organ to learn is your eyes. “Follow me”, not listen to me. These eyes are given by God to learn the most precious lessons in life - those are called “life lessons”.
2. Follow me Secondly, Jesus did not say follow the syllabus, follow the book, or follow the course that I have for you. He said, “Follow me”. A person, all right. How do you study? You look at your book. Most times you don't go to class, you don't care who's teaching. You just say, lend me your notes, okay? And you go home and you look at the notes. What did Jesus say? Follow a person! And then he gathered 12 of them and he said, “You learn from me and learn from each other.” And three years later, he graduated them. They were cloned. They had learned precious truths, not in their head but they looked like Christians, they lived like Christians and they behaved like Christians. It is not that they knew like Christians. You see, the formula is so obvious – “Follow me”. Can you imagine this? Peter and Andrew, James and John following Jesus on the first day. They say, “All right, it is getting dark. We need to have a place to rest.” And straightaway their mind is like, “Where's he going to stay?” Worry, worry, worry. Go mosquitoes or not? Can flush that toilet or not? Got hot water or not? And then Jesus said, “Wherever we see, we will stay. Whoever offers their stay, we will stay.” “Wah, then how to sleep tonight? I am not used to it, you know. I like my pillow - got curve.” And then they watched Jesus just slept, not because the pillow was nice, not because the environment was nice, but they learned that sleep doesn't come from the environment, but sleep comes from a heart at peace. Wow, this is a nice lesson. Or next morning, they said, “Let's have breakfast!” Oh, who's going to cook breakfast? Hygienic or not? Worry about the nutrition, worry about the hygiene, worry about everything. And then Jesus said, “Well, we eat what we have, what is available.” “Oh, but… but…” “Let's just give thanks and sanctify the food.” Oh, the way to make food hygienic is pray ah? I thought anti-mosquito or fly cover! Wow, no fly cover in this house ah? Dirty, you know, the food. No, it's not about hygiene. It doesn't come from sterilizers. It comes from giving thanks and asking God to sanctify, make clean the food. Oh! Then are we going to eat? I don't like this. I don't like. I like bacon, you know. And then they realize that taste in food doesn't come from the food, but it comes from our gratitude. When we're thankful, food does taste nicer. Oh, these are precious lessons! Very precious. And then around the meal, they learned that wow, meal is not about time to talk about food but it's time to talk about life. Wow. Not only “This one like this” or “You finished your homework?”, “You bathed or not?”. No, no, no, it's about sharing life. Wow, they will learn a lot from him. Just watching him, how he reached out to people, how he made friends with little ones and lepers and rich and poor, how he handled those who hated him, how he handled those who loved him, how they handle those who praised him. They watched it, they watched it. Their eyes were soaking it in. You know after three years, 12 clones, or 11, one fell, were left behind. Cloned! You know, here we preach every week, you come back every week, take notes diligently, don't fall asleep, and when we preach 50 years later, Pastor Jason will still be preaching to you exactly as you are, only you got more knowledge here. Now you know more Greek and Hebrew. Your homes will not change, your life will not change, your families will not change. But your knowledge will expand. And you know what that will make you? Proud and resistant. You see, as far as you know, Jesus never had a designated classroom. It's interesting. He was a master teacher! You know, teachers must have a classroom, right? And as far as we know, he never had a syllabus. He never gave a timetable. As far as we know (this is interesting), he never even went to the synagogue and say, “Let's open the Bible and do an exposition of this.”. Can you imagine all the 12 disciples going to the synagogue? Wow, wow, Hebrew. Wow! As far as we know, he never; I'm not saying he didn't do it, right? Don't get me wrong. I'm saying it was not even important enough to record it in the Bible. But it said they followed him. They left their nets, they committed to follow him and they followed him for three years. Well, that's the master teacher! Now are some of you will say, “If Jesus was here, I also will follow him.” Wah, the master teacher come, why would I not follow him? All of us will follow him, right? But there's no Jesus. No, just humans. If you follow me, you will follow a lot of mistakes. If you follow Pastor Jason, maybe there are less mistakes, but still a lot of mistakes. So who is there to follow? There's nobody, there's no perfect example to follow.
1 Corinthians 4:14-16 Let's see what Apostle Paul did. This is Paul writing, all right? “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have gotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16. What did Paul say? Paul said, “Follow me. Follow me. I'm a human, you know, but you follow me.” In fact, in another verse, it's even nicer. All right, “Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ.” You don't have a chance to follow Christ, so why don’t you follow me? 1 Corinthians 11:1. So we all as Christians should say the same thing. You be followers of me even as I am a follower of Christ. You're a Christian, right? A Christian is a follower of Christ. So what should you say to others? “You follow me!” because I'm a follower of Christ. You say, “Come on la, pastor. Don't stretch it. Apostle Paul is there you know. Super Christian. Me? Ordinary, you know. People follow me and die you know. Learn all the bad habits.”
Romans 7:24-25 Well, let's see what the Bible says. This is Paul writing in Romans chapter 7, verse 24 to 25, “O wretched man that I am!”. You are? No, ‘that I am’! This is Paul writing this, all right? “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” This sinful body that I live in. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (with my body, what does he serve?) the law of sin.” Hey, let me tell you, Paul was struggling too. He knew what was right but he didn't always do right. You think he's writing this as a drama? You think he's a drama-mama? No, he's writing truth. He's a sinner saved by grace, like you and me. He struggles, like you and me. He's not perfect, like you and me. And yet, he said, “Be followers of me.” because there's no other way to teach life, then through life. Paul knew that - Paul was a great writer, he could easily have written instructions to his people and said, “Don't follow me ah, my life not good. Follow my instructions.” A lot of times, as doctors, that is what we say – “Don't do as I do, do as I tell you.” All right? Doctor is smoking cigarettes, right? “Don't do as I do ah. You do as I tell you ah.” Okay but you know, Paul could easily have written instructions. He was the master writer. He was the main author of the, humanly speaking, of the New Testament. He could easily write, it was his gift. In writing, you don't have to follow my force, I can write the precise instructions for you to follow. And yet he did not say that. He said, “Follow me”, not “follow my instructions”. Follow me. Why? Because Paul knew life; how to live our life as a father, as a husband, as a brother, as a son, as an employer, as a friend. The only way I can learn to live life is by watching another life. Imagine Paul gave instructions, you know, instructions. Let's say the words, “Be kind.” Instructions ah, so Paul gives instructions. This is how you be kind: look humble. When you see a poor man, make eye contact and then approach him. When you get near, stretch out right hand, then shake hand warmly three times, and then say, “How are you?” You know, when you try to give instructions on life, you produce robots. You know how robots look like when they try to look like humans? I do not know, science can overcome a lot of things. One day, robots will look more humanlike. But you know, trying to teach a robot life skills is very difficult. That's why the best way to teach life skills is not by giving instructions, steps to do. It is by simply showing a life.
Christianity is about lives touching lives You know, I have people tell me, “I really struggle on how to love my wife. I bought books on how to love my wife.” I say, “You die la. You die la.” Your wife come in ah, she'll see a robot. “Hi dear!” - she'll run out. Sure die. How do you like to come to your house and be greeted by a robot? All the right instructions. R2D2 came to the door. You don't learn life from books. You can learn principles from books. You can learn tropes from books, but life? You have to learn from another life. That's what the bible tells me. That's how God made things. When I was a young Christian, sorry, young man, I was a young Christian (I got saved late), I joined a church. It was a very poor church, a slump church. I was by far the richest guy there and almost the oldest if not the second or third oldest in entire church; everyone was teenagers mostly. And yet, I said I didn't understand all these. I didn't understand these principles clearly but somehow to me it's “I want to be a Christian. I need to know and watch other Christians.” So I'll go out with the young guys, young enough to be my kids. Imagine the scene, you know, this guy on a bicycle, young enough to be my son and I come in my car, chauffeur-driven, come out and say – I won't mention his name, he is well-known pastor today – “Can I follow you?” “Wow. Follow me ah? Make me shy only la.” Wow, so embarrassing ah. I mean, he's young enough to be my kid. But he was evangelizing. I wanted to learn how to. I couldn't learn from a book. I had to learn from him. There was a lady who was very good with old people, sick people. Some of you know this lady. She used to help us in the early days of our church. I don't think she ever finished ‘O’ levels but she was just so good at touching the lives of sick people and old people. And I would follow her. I say, “You teach me la, you teach me”. She would say, “No la, paiseh la, paiseh”. But you know, just watching her week after week, every week I followed her, I learned how to reach a poor, old person. I could never learn that in any book. I told my pastor, “Pastor, can I follow you?”. He said, “Yes”. He didn't know how bad that was. It was bad. I followed him everywhere. He was not a perfect man. His house also, I go his house and sit down. Eh paiseh you know, they had to feed me. You know, my old boss, he was not a perfect man. The church was not a perfect church. But I said, “Pastor, when you travel, I follow you. Can?” He said, “Yes” and sure enough, I followed him wherever he went. You know something? In those three, four years there, I got my Bible training. I didn't know the verse. I didn't know the analysis of the verse, what it means, but I knew what a Christian should be. Christianity is not about theory, folks. It's about life. It's about life touching lives. And so I was blessed. I learned many, many precious things. Till today, I struggle to teach. The better-halfers ask me, “Pastor, can you teach us how to do a devotional?” I say, “Die la”. I honestly don't know how to do it. I just read my Bible. And then I try to live it out. And if I do not live it out, I watch somebody else living it out.
Who’s teaching you?
So question now, who's teaching you? Who is teaching you, all you guys? “Aiyo, Pastor, this is a no-brainer la. You are the pastor and I am taking notes what.” Last week, Pastor Mike teach right? I take notes what right. Next week, Pastor Jason. I take notes what. You're all teaching me what. Then I sometimes listen to the devotional lor, Pastor Jason's five minute thing. Oh, he's teaching me what! Let me tell you, all right, if you think we're going to teach you by this way, dream on! 50 years from now, you will still be listening to us (I'll be dead by then), Pastor Jason, hopefully. But your life will not change. No way. If that was possible, God would not have sent His Son down to live among men, to example to man. He would send a book to us. He would have sent notes to us. I tell you who is teaching you, all right. I tell you who is teaching you here: the village you're living in; the community you're living in. These are the people teaching you whether you knew it or not.
Life as a Singaporean If you are living a typical Singaporean and your friends are typical Singaporeans, let me tell you what you're learning today. I'll tell you what you're learning. You're learning how to be like a typical Singaporean. Whether you know it or you don't know it, it is going to impact the way you live. You're going to be super materialistic. I'm telling you that. You go out with your friends? You will talk about money, talk about the latest thing, the latest iPad, the latest car, the latest latest. If you're not the latest, you're useless. That's Singapore. We got to be number one, not be happier, not be better but number one. It is a world of difference, let me tell you that. It's night and day. I don't want to be number one. I want to be what God wants me to be. God wants me to be 999, I will be 999. You will be materialistic. I guarantee that this is your life. You spend your time in the village called Singapore. Lunchtime with an average Singaporean. Your gang is the average Singaporean. Every time you go out, you go with a Singaporean, a typical Singaporean. This is your life - the love of money (1 Tim 6:10-11). Whether you know it or not, they are your teachers, not the guy standing here today and not the guy standing here next week. We are not your teachers. We think we are and you think we are but in reality, the village you grew up in, the community you spend your time in is what you will be. You know parents are always afraid that kids have bad company? You know that even they go to good school and the syllabus is right and they know the teachers are good, the kid’s parents are terrified of the company the kids will mix with because they know even the best school and the wrong company gets kids in trouble. You say, “Pastor, we're not kids. We're adults.” Well, let me tell you the disciples of Jesus were adults and they could be influenced. You know the advertising industry? It is not for kids only, you know. It influences everybody. We are all easily influenced. Don't be arrogant. Don't think you can sit with people day in day out, hear their nonsense, their empty lives, their meaningless lives and think you can have a meaningful one. Don't kid yourself. Let me tell you what else - if you spend time with typical Singaporeans, right? You will be fearful – kiasu, kiasi, kia everything. Alright, kia means be afraid of, alright? If we have foreigners. They say there are three kias: kiasu, kiasi, kiabo. Alright, bo is wife.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing” – the word ‘careful’ is anxious. Let me tell you the typical Singaporean is anxious for everything. Wow, my kid; he might fall! Anything might fall. My kid, he might get sick! He might not do well! He might be influenced! He might this, he might that. Hey friend, do you know there is a God? Do you know that God is called my protector? Haven't you been taught that in church before? I mean, if the unbeliever believes that he has to protect his children 24/7, do you believe that? Why? God goes to sleep? I believe with all my heart. I bring up my children in partnership with my God. I do my part and He does the rest. I'm not asked to be Super-mom. No, I'm just asked to be ‘partner mum’ with God. How can you learn that in the village called Singapore? Everybody's anxious. It is normal. It's normal to be worried. What does the Bible say? Be worried for? Nothing! Not some things. I mean, if you sit with people who are godless, you will behave like godless people. No use to come and sing, “God protects. God is great. God is almighty.” You think you sing half an hour in church and it is going to clean your mind out? Don't kid yourselves. Worry about nutrition, worry about hygiene, worry about everything. You think you can fight the whole world? You think you're super-dad or super-mom and you can protect every one of your family, your children? Come on. Wake up. Wake up. Why would Jesus live in my heart if I can do it on my own? You mean he has nowhere to go and he has come to live in my heart? Because he wants to partner with me. As Christians, we just do our part. Some of your part is only that much. Some is that much. But you know something? God takes care of the rest. We are complete in Christ. Complete in Christ. We're not half complete. Well, that's your life. Spend time in the Singapore village and that's your life. Live in fear and live in constant discontentment with what you have. Grabbing and grabbing and never having peace, satisfaction or anything else.
Let's look at if you're not Singaporeans; maybe you live in the global world today. The last days - 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Right, these are the last days crowd/ All right, we all in the last days. This is a crowd that you are probably having lunch with, spending your time with, playing golf with, whatever. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous (Is that new? Every age we will have people who love themselves, but in this age, the graph shoots up excessively.), boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy”. The word ‘unthankful’ is very interesting. I was in a taxi like three or four days ago. As usual, I will chat with taxi drivers. Taxi drivers are huge sources of information. If politicians will sit with taxi drivers, we will solve half of Singapore's problems, all right. They seem to have wrapped it all up, all right. They get collective wisdom, all right. So “uncle”, it begins with “uncle” and later we know he is Mr. Lee. We chit chat and he said, “Ah Singaporeans are very unthankful.” I drive on Sunday. My two kids, one in Polytechnic and one in high school. I still come and drive on Sunday. Then when the people enter the car they say, “Alamak, why have to wait so long for taxi?” I say, “You think I have no family ah? Be thankful I am driving today you know.” And then he went on to say, “Oh, terrible ah. Lee Kuan Yew do so much for Singapore, people also not happy. National Day and they say they wish he died.” I said, “What?”. I was away so I didn't know that. He said, “Wah national day ah, I got SMS you know! MM Le die you know.!Wah I was shocked. He's so good to us. He make so much…” and so he goes on and on about how unthankful Singaporeans were. Anyway, it's all in the Bible. Then I said, “Eh Mr. Lee, you Christian ah?” He said, “No la, I freethinker!” He was bringing me to 360 Dunearn Road, by the way. And so anyway, we chat. I say, “You talk like Christian you know. At least you know how to be thankful.” You know in the last days, it is very rare. Whatever people do for you, if there are a thousand good things and one bad one, they will remember that. This is life today. This is life. We will focus on the bad things. We are champion complainers. Even cannot find a bad thing, we will find. All right? A thousand good things? Don't thank. No need to thank. It is my right because I am a lover of myself. That's what it is. We are lovers of ourselves.
When you read this, you get depressed. But anyway, “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded. lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” – I want you to see the last phrase – “from such turn away”. Hey, this is your crowd man. You sit down and you're part of this crowd. You choose this village over the church. You choose these friends over Christians. If I tell you this today, if I tell you this, I said, from such people, the Bible says what? Don't listen to them? No, it's not about listening. It's about mixing with them. You say, “Pastor, I know what I want to listen. I don't need to believe what they say.”, it's got nothing to do with that. “From such” what? Don't agree? No, turn away! Turn away to what? Turn away to things that are good. Turn away to company that is good, all right. One problem. Look carefully at verse three. Look at the last phrase in 2 Timothy 5:3 “despisers of those that are good”. You tell a person that you need to turn from this kind of weird crowd to good people, to godly people, you know what they say? They say “eee…”. You know why? Because today we have despised the good. “Wah Paul ah, you so goody goody now ah?” This is very common that people say to me now. I say, “Better goody than rotteny, right?” What's wrong with being good? When is good no good? Why are we so afraid to be good? You know something, for most of you, you're scared to be good! When people call you goody, you say, “No la, No la”. Hey, I cannot be good you know because people despise the good! Don't be afraid of being good. Wah so holy ah. I am holy and happy. Are you happy?
You know today if I tell you as a church, and I know most of you, you choose that village. You choose to live in that village. That's your choice. That's your gang. And I will just tell you, “turn away to that which is good”. It's kind of creepy, kind of weird. You know why? Because this generation despises those that are good. What amuses this generation? What do you think it is? It is the weird, the perverse, the fringe. You put anything good on YouTube? Nobody watches. The show just put for yourself only. When you put something weird or aweful, woah a million views and it goes viral. So cool! Weird is cool! Bad is cool! Pervert is cool! Good is despised. Get that straight in our head. Don't let the age impact you, folks. Goody, goody - what's wrong with that? I still cannot get it. I always like good things. I thought the word ‘good’ is something beneficial. Today? Sorry folks. It's something uncool and sissy.
What should I do?
Finally, what should I do? Always, a message must end with “what should I do?”. Well, if you're not a believer yet and if you say, “What are you guys talking about? Why are you getting so passionate about this? What's this song about Jesus forgiving or about this pray about God died for our sins?” If you do not yet know Jesus as your Savior, now is the time. Settle your problem. It's a sin problem. If I tell you that you got cancer, you will want to settle it. If I tell you that you got sin, you better settle it. We know we all have sinned and there's only one solution. If you today receive Jesus who died for your sins and then you will taste forgiveness and peace of sins forgiven. But “what should i do?” is also addressed to Christians. What should you do? You who have chosen the village you live in. We choose condominiums. We choose our housing estates. We think it will impact our lives greatly. Sorry, not much. You go in, you lock your door and you don't care about your neighbor. Not much impact unless they're very noisy, they quarrel, they fight then maybe. But you know who you choose as your friends, who you lunch with, who you go out with, who you spend time with. What should you do? If you are God's child, then I say, if you're God's child, is that sentence an amazing truth? “God’s child should commit to be a part of God’s family!” If you're a child at the home of the Tans, I hope you don't keep running away and just come back once a week to ask your father, “What’s the instructions for me?” and the rest of the week you spend your time with Wongs or the Alis or whatever. It's obvious, if you are God’s child, spend time in God's family. When I first started this church, there were several things I said, that are fundamental to me. One of it was, the day GLCC ceases to be a family, I'm out. I cannot accept that a church is not a family. If God is a Father, a father leads a family. And the day GLCC becomes a place we come and take notes for one hour and do our Bible study, then it's no more a church. Don't kid ourselves. You did not attend church if you come once a week, take a little lesson here, go home, even if you studied the notes that you took. I say you attended a class. But you know, God said He made a family. The first thing God invented was the human family in the Garden of Eden and then a spiritual family, which is the church. So today I say, commit. If you're a Tan, commit to the Tan family. If you’re a Wong, commit to the Wong family.
Some of you will say, “Pastor, the church so big! Very hard to get in.” I agree. “Pastor, I'm very shy type. Wah church people all very high class and I'm a simple guy.” Agreed, some of you may feel that way. Again, the principle of life is very simple. You must grasp this principle, please grasp this principle or you will never be able to live a Christian. The principle is, you do your part. God will do the rest. I'm not asking you to be like, wah go around today after church, shake hands with one thousand people. “Hey, I'm john! Hi!”. You can’t do that. Maybe commit to stay back five minutes. And maybe you're shy? Eye contact with one person. Just do your part, your widow's mite, and God will do the rest. For me, the Christian life is amazing because I'm never asked to do the whole job whether it's missions or whether it is regarding our church. I'm just asked to do my part.
What's your part? Commit! I will do my part, God. I don't know how it will pan out. I don't know how it would go or what it would lead to. That's not your business. Your business is say, “Lord, you spoke to me and I'll just do my part. I will pray and do my part the best I know how.” God will take care of the rest. God will take care of the rest! Believe me, He's God, all right? Maybe you hear a fellowship group – join it. Maybe you hear later Pastor Jason say the mooncake night for better-half. I think we can all eat moon cakes. I don't like moon cakes – that to me is a terrible thing, all right? Sweet and sticky. But nobody's forcing you to eat the moon cake. Just come, all right? Nobody asked you to be King Joe and say “Hi everybody!”. Just come! And you know something? When we take a simple step of faith, God does the rest. How wonderful to serve this God! Do you know what the other steps will be? It's not a business. Take your step and commit. Take your step. Whatever activities, there is a whole host of them. Everytime, this church has all kinds of activities. What is it for? So they we can come in. And who knows what God will do?
Let me end with this, 1 Cor 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”. It sounds very funny ah, this kind of English. It sounds like communications company or whatever. No, tt means evil company; no good friends corrupt the way you think. This is paraphrase; Paul Choo’s paraphrase. Don’t deceive yourselves! Don’t say, “I will not be corrupted! I am corruption-proof.”. Nobody is. Who you mix with will affect you. Don’t be deceived! And then, Proverbs 13:20 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of foold shall be destroyed.”. Christians shall be more Christian-like, more Christ-like. It is so simple! Christianity is for everybody. It is not for guys who can understand the complex preaching, the analysis of a verse, the subject of the Greek tenses, all of those stuff – it has nothing to do with that! It is simple! If you walk with Christians, you will be more like Christians. Choose your village – it will decide your future. You want to choose to be like the average Singaporean – miserable, fearful, never contented? Make your choice! Spend time with them! You want to be like people in the last days – lovers of selfs? Make your choice! They come to church and they want everything to please them because they are lovers of themselves, they are lovers of pleasure! They want the church to fit them. Hallelujah! No friends, you commit to the church. You make the adjustments. There is nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian. There is nothing more unchristian than a solitary Christian – there is no such thing! God saved us to be part of a family, not to be solitary.
May God bless you and may you commit to whichever church God leads you to. No perfect church. No perfect people in this church but as a body, you will learn some good things from Tommy, don’t learn some bad things from Tommy, something good from Frank that Tommy does not have, don’t learn the bad things. When you learn from the church, God will give you a complete education. God will complete your training. May God bless you and use you.
More Episodes from Pastor Paul Choo:
12 Mar 2023
27 Nov 2022
20 Nov 2022
24 Dec 2021
16 Jun 2021
20 Sep 2020
13 Sep 2020
06 Sep 2020
Episodes from other sermons:
28 May 2023
07 Apr 2023
12 Mar 2023
25 Dec 2022
20 Dec 2022
11 Dec 2022
04 Dec 2022
27 Nov 2022