16 Jun 2021
Ordination- a time of joy, envy and fear! JOY - 1. To see that God has taught GLCC to disciple another generation to be its pastor. 2. To be given the privilege to produce many spiritual children through the simple but powerful evangelism/discipleship process. ENVY - 1. To serve God in a very unique time in history when the last victory lap of the “Gospel relay race” will be run. 2. To be provided with a super-spreader evangelistic tool (the smart-phone), a internet-ready generation and people made receptive by a pandemic. FEAR - 1. To be seduced by good ministries that (a) maximize the use of an expensive building, (b) continue the traditions of the church, (c) respect the feelings of important men, and (d) increase the numbers of members & programs; rather than 2. Grab the unprecedented possibilities of the “last-lap” to complete our Lord’s Great Commission worldwide!
Morning everyone, this is a rather unusual ordination service. Never seen ordination service like this, with so few people in the presence of the person going to be ordained. And similarly, the topic today is not the typical ordination service topic. You see the word ‘joy’, that makes a lot of sense. I think that they have joy to see someone who is going to be ordained. But then ‘envy’ that comes pretty strange for an ordination and then ‘fear’, right, so let's look at this message today in these three points, and I hope it will bless our dear brother Yu Fei, and also all those who are present and going to listen to this message.
First, let's talk about joy. Now, obviously, today is the day of great joy. I mean, there's nothing more wonderful to know that God raises up people to pastor us. Now, it's unbelievable that God has raised up good men, one after another, to pastor us. And we are thankful that God is raising up Yu Fei, right from our very midst. Now, for many churches, they don't have this privilege of ordaining someone to the ministry or having a new pastor that has grown up in the church. So we are so thankful for Pastor Yu Fei, who's been with us since he was something like, I think 16 or 17 years when he was a young teenager, came in into the church heard the gospel for the first time, I believe, through the preaching of our dear brother, Simon. Simon used to be the head of our Sunday school. And Yu Fei heard his preaching of the gospel and a couple of months later, God worked in his heart to be saved. Then after that, God used some very wonderful young people, like he mentioned, I said, “Yu Fei, tell me who are these people who disciple you.” And he said it was, this is rather unusual. And he said that it was pastor Ian. And then he mentioned Eric Koh. He mentioned I think it was Shawn Vasoo. And he mentioned four people who mentored him as he grew up as a very young believer. Now, I wish I could say I had a hand in Yu Fei’s salvation, Yu Fei’s growing up as a believer, but I had nothing at all in his life, in a sense, because you know, someone like Simon, I never even disciple Simon or Eric Koh or Shawn Vasoo, people like that, because they were discipled by others in the church.
So, in a very real sense, Yu Fei is spiritually speaking, not my spiritual child. He is not even my spiritual grandchild. In a very real sense, he is a great grandchild. Now, that is quite amazing. You know, I'm an old guy, I don't have any great grandchild right now, biologically speaking, who is going to be ordained as a pastor. In fact, I don't even have a great grandchild and my oldest grandchild is, like, 18 years old. By the time she gets married and has a kid who grows up and maybe one day become a pastor. That will be like 40 years from now. But how wonderful to see that I can be a great grandfather, in a sense to a pastor today. Now, that's what I call spiritual speed. You know, things in the spiritual world work a lot faster than things in the biological world. And even better than spiritual speed is spiritual mathematics. I have four kids. And the four kids so far have produced six grandchildren for me. Now, for many Singaporeans, that's very productive, my goodness, you got four kids. But you know spiritual mathematics, I just thank God that I believe I have 1000s of spiritual children. My gut feel is, I don't know, I will never know until I get to heaven, I probably have many 1000s of spiritual children who heard me preach the gospel, who somehow were touched by the Spirit of God, trust in the Lord. And those many 1000s of spiritual children have probably produced many, many more 1000s of spiritual grandchildren. And by the time is great grandchildren, I don't think I can imagine what numbers they are. So, you know, the joy we have today is one, is to see Yu Fei grow up and be one of our pastors here. But in the great joy we have is, we can be parents of 1000s, and parents of grandparents of 10s of 1000s, and maybe great grandparents of hundreds of 1000s. It's available for all of us. How many of us could think of that, biologically speaking? You know, there's a great joy to be a parent, the great joy to see a baby born, it is a great joy to see a grandchild born. I just feel it's so wonderful. Like, can you imagine you, every one of you can have the joy of seeing 1000s of children, 10s of 1000s of grandchildren.
And I'm not saying something impossible, sharing the gospel, the wonderful, good news that the world needs to hear now. Is it so difficult? It's a good time, to bring joy to the world, and to have joy as you see them get saved, and the joy eternally when we are in heaven. And see not our six grandchildren, or 10 grandchildren, but literally hundreds of 1000s of grandchildren that will be around you in the new heaven and the new earth forever. Will that be a joy, you want? Certainly, a joy I want. Nothing like being surrounded by our children and grandchildren. Why limited biologically when we can have a joy unspeakable.
So, for me today, I want to encourage all of you, not just today to be joyous at seeing Yu Fei ordained but be joyous that you and I can just share this simple gospel and see a child born today. And you know how amazing the gospel is. It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. Salvation is God's work, but sowing the gospel is so easy today. And I want to encourage all of you grab this joy, like never before. We've grabbed all kinds of little temporary joys that just evaporate from us in a moment. When you can have a joy that lasts for all eternity, will you grab it? So today, let's just say this, we always look at it like a great commission. Oh, my goodness, I got to go into all the world and share the gospel and make disciples and our disciples then share the gospel and make disciples. It's like a duty. Can I tell you, this is the greatest way to have joy. This is the command that God gives us to bless not just the world, not to glorify His name alone, but to bless you with joy when you do this. Joy unspeakable, joy eternal. Don't look at this as a great commission. This is the great advice of God. It is a command but it's also a great joy to obey this command. So many of us look at this in the light like oh no, I have to do this. Say oh yes today! This is the way to live, this is the way to have joy. And I hope you'll see this command in a new light.
Now let's move on to envy. Maybe for some, the idea of envy is like alright, maybe PC is going to say about how some people envious that Yu Fei is going to be ordained, why not me and so on. You know there are some people like that, they just don't like to see others get promoted. They are envious and that's not good. Let me tell you this envy actually is not from some other people. This is exactly how I feel, as I stand here today. I envy you. I know that's not a good spiritual virtue to envy. I want to tell you honestly, in my heart, I envy Yu Fei today. You say why? Why do you envy Yu Fei? How's that so? Aren’t you supposed to be a spiritual leader put aside envy? I can tell you honestly, I tried to, but I struggle with it today. You say, “why pastor?”, because I believe Yu Fei is being ordained at a very special time in human history. A very unique time, which I wish I was born in Yu Fei’s generation. “How is that so pastor? This is a terrible time. This is a time of great tragedy. What is so great about this time? Why are we envying Yu Fei who is going into ministry at a time when we are going through a horrible pandemic?” Well, first to tell you Yu Fei, this pandemic won't be the last one you face. This is just me, in my belief, and I believe we are in the last days, it’s just a rehearsal for many more pandemics to come. I want to warn you this. Don't say, “Oh, when we get over this because the Bible tells us very clearly.” You know, when Jesus was asked, what are some of the signs of the last days. And we see, “he said to them, nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There'll be great earthquakes in various places, famines, and pestilences. There'll be terrors and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:10-11) These are the signs of the last days, and I believe we are in the last days. Some of you may not agree, that's fine. But I believe we are in the last days, and there are going to be many more horrible terrors that will come in your ministry Yu Fei. And then how does that tie with envy? Why envy a guy who is born at a time who is going to face all this when PC and Pastor Paul didn't have to face all this? Why are you envying him? Let me just say, at the same time, when Jesus talked about these signs of the last days, Jesus also gave some other signs for the last days. And this one makes me envy this man. This gospel of the kingdom, sign of the last day, at a time of the pestilences and the terrors and all that, alongside all that. “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14) Wow. This man is going to be ordained at a time when a 2000-year gospel relay race is ending. And my dear brother Yu Fei, will be taking the baton and running the last lap of a 2000-year relay race. And if you've been in athletics, your dream is coach, let me run the last lap. That's the victory lap. This is not a last lap to lose, this is the last lap of victory. You know, your team's is going to win. You know, you're going to be the last relay runner running this race and you're going to win. Yu Fei, you're going to run this race, 1000s have ran before you, this is not like 4 men, 100 meters times four. This is times 1000s. passing the baton, passing the baton, passing the baton and you will take the baton and I believe you'll be running in the last lap. The victory lap when the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a witness to all people and then finishing line. Wow. Amazing. I envy you for this. I'm thankful and joyful, but I can't help but seeing how wonderful to be able to run the last lap. You know, we shall tell you some ridiculous figures about missions. I tell you; you know what, the world is 30% Christian, you know that? Well, if you say Christian means it is on your ID card, then you're a Christian. Maybe that's true 30% of the world are “Christian”. The names of John and Mark and Luke. But really, how many percent of the world today know the gospel, this gospel of the kingdom? That Christ, Son of God died for you, died for all your sins and said it is finished and rose from the dead for your sins? How many people know that gospel today after 2000 years? My gut feel, less than 5%. Many are Christians from different groups, Christians for centuries, from generations have a clue of the gospel. But you know what Yu Fei? You're going to run this race, declaring the gospel to all the world. These times when hearts are open, when people are looking at cell phones and zooms, you know what, you have a chance to declare the gospel plainly and clearly. And you know, the gospel can be declared so plainly and clearly in a few lines, religion and we've multiplied the rules. The gospel is about the love of God shown in the Son of God on the cross, who paid the price for our sins, rose from the dead, and whosoever believes in him can have everlasting life? Is that a long message? Can that be preached to all the world at this time? Yes, it can be. And there's no better time than this. You know, when God puts pressure on men, he forces men to look outwards. There's no pressure I tell you, what everybody would like to do is come to this beautiful hall, sit down here, preach to all these comfortable people, standing on this beautiful stage, you know, and then go down for a nice meal together. But you know, when God wants his gospel to spread, he puts horrible things: persecution, pandemics, pestilences, whatever.
In Acts Chapter 8, there was great, great persecution in the church. (Acts 8:1,4) And you know, what? They were forced to scatter. And as they scattered, they preach the Word of God. Without their persecution, would they scatter? Would they leave this beautiful place called Jerusalem? Would they leave the beautiful temple, and all the rituals and all the traditions that were carried down for hundreds of years? No way. When persecution came, they scattered. And God made a way for the gospel to go. That's a picture of Roman roads. One thing the Romans knew how to do that is still existing today. You can see this in Europe, plenty of Roman roads, and I wish our Public Works know how to build roads like this that last 2000 years. Everything else about the Roman Empire is forgotten. Latin is dead. Everything is dead, the roads are still there. What is this a reminder of? It is a reminder when God wanted that Gospel to leave Jerusalem, God made the roads. And he left them there for us, as a testimony. See the roads that God made. Before those roads, these were not made for the gospel. These are made by Romans for the army, for the military. They have an empire; how do you control an empire if you can't get there to control them? So, they build beautiful Roman roads. So that the Roman army could go anywhere there was trouble at top speed. In those days, top speed 20 miles an hour is super top speed. God made this. Before this, you want to walk from your village to the next village? A road? Are you dreaming? Dirt tracks! Would you even dare leave your village? Somebody is going to rob you on the way. Rome is the one who build the roads that give peace We call it Pax Romana: Peace of Rome, so that people could travel on beautifully built roads, in the peace that Rome made for the Empire. And who went on those roads? Those guys who were scattered, including the Apostle Paul. They went everywhere, preaching the word. Wow. When God makes the problems, God makes the way through. And then when the word was preached everywhere, thankfully for men who knew there was a provision from God, they grabbed it, they went and preached. But after that, the gospel game gets all messed up by men who love religion, who love traditions, who love the pride that comes with religion, and the power and the possessions. And after a few 100 years, the gospel got all messed up. And then if you study history, you know, it's called the dark ages in Europe, where the gospel was totally buried. And the church was elevated with all its forms and rituals. And then God said, “I'm going to make another way for the gospel to go out.” And he made something so amazing. It's called a printing press. Today, you and I take it for granted. Get a book, big deal? Until this time, 1453 or something like that. You want a book? You want a Bible? It had to be hand copied. It took years to copy the Bible. But when this guy, Johannes Gutenberg invented this movable printing press, he could print at those days again, top speed. Today, you will say that is snail pace. But then the guy who saw this, who saw the potential of this, was not the profiteers who tried to sell stuff on it on pamphlets and advertisements, was not the peddlers of pornography. It was not the politicians trying to get votes through pamphlets. There was a guy called Martin Luther. Many in the churches now have Reformation Day, Martin Luther. Reformation Day. Every year for 500 over years, we celebrate Reformation Day. They forget Luther was a revolutionary tool. He used the ideas. He grabbed this when he was warned, all the people in the world warned don't touch that horrible machine. It can produce stuff. Satan will use that machine. Be careful of that. He grabbed it. Today who grabs that? Our means of media and spreading, the Christians? People said Luther is the one who caused the Reformation. I said Luther without the printing press would have preached to 800 people in the church in Wardenburg and that's it. Nobody else would have heard his message. It was this machine that allowed Luther to open his eyes to the gospel, to sola fide, saved by faith alone, not the church and its rules.
He used that machine. People hated him for it. People said this is a wicked man, using a wicked machine. How dare you use that to promote the things of God? He didn't care. And thank God, because of that machine and Luther, we got to hear the gospel. We are children of that reformation and that printing press. Today my dear brothers and sisters, you and I have in our hands. I see a lot of you holding something a million times faster than the Roman road, a million times better than a printing press. It’s called a cellphone you hold to. Amazing, it gets anywhere at lightning speed. It didn't have to be like Apostle Paul, walking and walking for days, going on a ship, going shipwreck. You didn't have to be like Martin Luther boys hiding pamphlets in their pocket to distribute, at the risk of their lives. Today on that cell phone of yours, you have a God-given machine to bring the good news. Yu Fei, I envy you. You have a machine that can reach the world like that. Well, you can preach. But today because of COVID, everybody's staring at that box. People who never heard of zoom today are all familiar with zoom. I've been to the poorest refugee camps in the world. And you know what they have? They have no toilets; they have no regular source of food. They have nothing but you know what they have. A cell phone. If they can't get to eat, it's okay. We'll survive. But don't take my cellphone. That's my lifeline. The poorest refugee has a cell phone. Wow. Who's using it today? Businesspeople? They know how to use it. They don't sell everything on that. Grab, Uber, all these people, Shopee, they know what to do. Perverts know what to do with it. Profiteers know what to do with it. Politicians know what to do with it. Terrorists know what to do with it. They can teach you how to make a bomb, they teach you how to be a terrorist, they teach you how to be radicalized. Everybody's using it, except the church. Oh, it's not traditional. Oh, where is the pulpit? We need to come on Sunday. As if the Word of God is dead on Monday to Saturday, as if the Word of God is like a religious place, can only come alive in this religious building. Oh God help us. Yu Fei, I envy you. You know I spend my years; I can't even remember how many, every week traveling on a plane on Friday, Thursday. Go somewhere. Gather 100 pastors at great costs, spend three four days with them. Come back Monday, Tuesday, left a widow at home for years, 10 years over maybe, to preach to a few people. And you can only do it once in a while, you can't disrupt people's life to come to a training program every week. You can't. Once or twice a year taxes their resources just to come to be trained. Thank God for technology, thank God for COVID. Today, these very same people. I sit in my room; I can meet them every week.
How many more years have I got? Almost 74 years. This is the end of my ministry and I watched Yu Fei and I say, “Yu Fei, I envy you young man.” And I hope you will be thankful to be in the last lap with the great tools in your hand, to reach a world that is ready, waiting for a message not from a pornographer, not from a peddler but from a proclamation, proclaimer of the gospel. Will you do that? Will you be good at using this technology? Or will you want to come here and preach to 1000 nice people, the same people every week until you reach 74 years old, the same people. And maybe you will expand that, instead of just two services a Sunday, 3, 4, 5. Is that what you want? God has given you a special tool my brother and may God help you to use it.
Alright, I come to the last one, fear. While I envy you that you will have all the prospects to reach the world. I honestly fear Yu Fei honestly. This is not for sermon. This is not to make it nice, a three-point sermon. I fear you will fail. I fear you will fail miserably. Because Satan is a Great Deceiver. Greater than you will ever know. He will weave things around you, subtle, seductive sins make you fail. And some of you thinking, “Whoa, what sins are these? Is he going to fall into like, addiction? Alcoholism, drugs, pornography? Is he going to fall like many pastors into adultery?” Well, I hope not. And I don't think so. I pray not. Is he going to fall into heresy? Like some people say, oh you guys are turning away to heresy. I don't think so. Is he going to fall into some radical crazy ideas? I don't think so. But I tell you, Satan's a lot smarter than that, much smarter than that. You're going to fall into a disease, so horrible. Our Prime Minister hasn't even named it, he calls it Disease X. I say there's something even worse than Disease X for servants of God. And it is CZ2021. This is a disease, my dear brother. I fear you will fall into it and you will fall into it because it's so seductive. It is so subtle. And when you fall in it, everybody is going to cheer you on. Everybody in this church is going to say, “Good job Yu Fei, keep it up!” What, you're going to fall into sin, and the people of God are going to cheer you, yes? What is this CZ sin? Right now, we have like COVID virus D1617. This is far worse my friend.
This is a comfort zone. I tell you, Yu Fei, this is the part of the sermon I want you to hear. You have every likelihood of falling into the following sins, I'm going to just name four which all fall under the CZ category. And you will be cheered on by the church as you do it. As you go deep into the seduction of Satan, you will fall into those sins.
Number one. This is the first sin you'll fall into: a comfort zone of this beautiful building. Oh my goodness, you are going to be a pastor of this church, my brother. This beautiful church. I'm proud of it. Maybe too much. You're going to be a pastor of this church, wow. You're going to have an office. Everybody's going to go, “Pastor Yu Fei.” Everything's going to be nice in this place. Very comfortable. You can run your youth groups in nice rooms. You can move on to big auditoriums, nice ones to preach. Everything is perfect. Come on in Yu Fei, come on in. Build an Old Testament Church. What do you mean by Old Testament church? Make this Jerusalem. Get some people in, get some proselytes in. You know the New Testament churches go out, go out, go out. Equip saints, go out. The Old Testament was come on in, come to Jerusalem. See the beauty of the temple. See the beauty of our ritual. See the beauty of our traditions. Yu Fei, be careful. CZ1.You know coming in is much more comfortable than going out, everybody knows you. You go out, who are you? The further you go, the less they know you. The more places you need to go, the more they hate you because you bring a gospel they don't know. Will you be tempted to stay here? Of course. Who doesn't like comfort? I like it. But you must know the danger. We're not saved to be comfortable. Whenever churches say come, this church will make you comfortable. God help them. This church equips you, trains you so that you can go out into the world. This is not a country club, this is a training camp, not a CC, it is a TC. And Yu Fei, be careful, be very careful. Ask yourself at the end of the day, how much time you spend in this nice place? I don't have those slides.
Number two, the traditional practices. Okay, we've done youth group this way. It's been done forever. Just continue, man. Nobody will criticize you. You just do what everybody has done. Just do it a little harder, a little better. Everybody applauds, wow, our youth pastor is so good. Used to be 100 kids in youth group, 200, now it's 300. Hallelujah. Oh, yes, a bit boring. Now it's less boring. Oh, wonderful. All the practices just continue. Just continue it and you will have a comfort zone of practices around you. Once a week, come here and stand here and preach. See, I’m ego once a week and teach. Just continue, what's been done. And you'll be praised. Try to break anything, change anything and there will be voices all over, “Who does this young guy thing he is? What is he trying to do to our church? What's up with him?” I can guarantee you that Yu Fei. There will be voices. You change anything that's so nice and sweet in this church. And there are a lot of good things in this church. You try to change them. Even if your heart says there's a better way to do this, a fresher way to do it, to reach my generation not Pastor Jason's generation. You try that and bang, things will come fast and furious.
Fear of men
Fear number three. Fear of men. You know, in every organization, there are a few men that matter. They are generally richer, they're generally more respected and they're generally older than you. And you know what? You will naturally fear them. What would they say? And if they said anything, chances are, you will obey them. The voice of God will be secondary to the fear of men. I'm telling you this from my experience, Yu Fei. I'm not preaching this as a sweet ordination sermon. I'm telling you the truth. You tell me you don't fear respected people. You tell me don't fear older people. You tell me you don't feel powerful, rich people. Will you fear them? Or will you fear God? All your best intentions, one voice from the right place, the right person. I've seen too many men kowtow to the rich and powerful. Be careful.
And lastly, point four, comparative numbers. What do you mean by comparative numbers? Oh, we have benchmarks. I just need to increase it a little bit. And I'll get assessed as a good pastor, guarantee you that. We have assessments in this church for performance. Oh, and before this man was Yu Fei, youth worker, 200 youth, young people. Now he is pastor Yu Fei after one year. Oh, 300 young people. Wow, your assessment, guaranteed to be good. You see the numbers, the benchmarks. My friend. God doesn't work that way. God gives you opportunities. And if you can reach 100,000, you will be benchmarked against your opportunities, not against the past. If you can raise a million youth and you say, I have 300. God help you, my friend. I hope you remember this, Yu Fei. May mean nothing to you today. I hope you remember. There are many dangers. And it's not drugs. It's not heresy. It's not pornography. Those are dangers when you try that everybody says, “Yu Fei, stop it.” But when you do these four, come to church every day, nine to five. Good worker. Wow. Keep up the tradition. Good worker. Wow, respect all the big guys in the church, the chairman of the board, elders, Paul Choo, good worker. Keep the numbers moving up. Good worker. Guaranteed you get all the praises, and the good appraisals and increased salary and respect. Be careful, my dear brother, fear these things. Satan doesn't use the same traps for everyone. He uses different traps. I know you're sincere. I know you are serious. I know you're hardworking. He's going to use a new trap. May God help you, Yu Fei.
Today, can I say to all who are here. Let's rejoice. Rejoice for Yu Fei, rejoice. We are also born in this wonderful time when we can make disciples. We can produce spiritual children that will be by us for eternity.
Grab the opportunity Yu Fei, grab it with all your heart. Don't be afraid.
And then go in the strength of the Lord, led by the Spirit of God. Go. If nobody will go with you, that's fine. If PC is too old and too senile to understand you, that's fine. If PJ is too slow and have another generation, that's fine. I'm not telling you to be a non-team worker. I say the best team is you and God. Go, go in the strength of the Lord, led by the principles of the Word of God. Not the traditions of Gospel Light Christian Church. You please God, and God will use you in ways I cannot imagine. In these last days, none of us can imagine what's going to happen tomorrow. Let alone what's going to happen in the life of our brother, Yu Fei. So, at this point, I hope this message not only for Yu Fei, but for everyone. Let's rejoice. Let's envy him because he's in this generation. But let's also thank God we are also in this generation. And let's fear that the comfort zone will swallow all of us, not just Yu Fei. All of you will be easy meat for the comfort zone. God bless you.
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Episodes from other sermons:
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