23 Jun 2019

Rebuking Jesus! [Matthew 16:21- 23]


Peter rebuked Jesus when he was told Jesus must suffer and die. He had thought Jesus must have been mistaken. We see then that God's will is often a surprise to us- it comes with an unexpected packaging of pain and suffering and even death! God's will is often a struggle for us- if not careful, we can easily slip into the flesh God's will is always superior to our will- obedience to His will always give better results in eternity

  1. God's will is often a surprise to us- it comes with an unexpected packaging of pain and suffering and even death!
  2. God's will is often a struggle for us- if not careful, we can easily slip into the flesh
  3. God's will is always superior to our will- obedience to His will always give better results in eternity


Sermon Transcript

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A very good morning to all of you. Welcome to Gospel Light and our first English worship service, this morning. Before I proceed with the message, I just like to make a correction for a mistake I made in the last sermon. Last sermon, I mentioned Acts 8 was an occasion where tongues were spoken. Actually, it was not.

It was at least not explicitly written there. But the gift of the Holy Spirit was nonetheless, given also to the Samaritans in Acts Chapter 8. So, the point is still true I think that God used Peter to open the doors of ministry to the Gentiles, to the Jews, and also to the Samaritans. And that's why we all today, can receive the Gospel.

Well, we had a wonderful time - four days, three nights in JB, Thistle Hotel. And it was great for us to focus on the theme of unity. As we grow numerically as a church, I thought it's of utmost importance that we should also develop relationally. And I think we are united in the Gospel and for the Gospel.

And I trust that God has blessed all of you who were in the camp. And we pray that today will be the start of living that reality out. That we will love one another, that we will bear with one another. That we will do so with humility, with gentleness, with patience. So that, the world will know we are His disciples. And perhaps next time if you have the opportunity to, if you did not get to join us this time, you will be able to join us in camp once again.
1]. The Revelation
Well, today, let's go right in to the passage before us, Matthew chapter 16. When I was young, I was scolded quite a bit. I was scolded by my parents, I was scolded by my teachers and I was also scolded by my army superiors. But never once did I imagine myself scolding my parents, scolding my teachers or scolding my army superiors.

Yet, in the passage before us today, we read of a disciple scolding Jesus. You say, “What happened? Why did he do that?” Well, that's what we going to study today. Verse 21, that's where we begin. “From that time, Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” [Matthew 16:21]

There is a word that must have raised alarm bells and that is the word, ‘killed’. Jesus would be suffering and He will be killed at the hands of religious leaders. I think this came like a, like a bolt out of nowhere. Out of the blue, Jesus said, “I will be killed.” I mean, remember, Jesus was just revealing to them that - He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus had just said that, “I will build My church.” Jesus had just given to Peter, the keys to the kingdom of heaven. But now He tells them, “I am going to die. I'm going to be murdered.” Well, that took them, I'm sure by quite a surprise.

How many of you have been to Changi Airport, Jewel recently? Can I see by a show of hands, how many of you have been to the Jewel? Let me see, let me see. Alright, how many of you have not been there yet? Okay, so about half of you have been, half of you have not been.

Now, I was there. I'm one of those who want to find out what happening. So, I was there this week or the past week. And I realized something about Changi Airport, I've never realized before. Now, the next time you go to Changi airport, do me a favour, go there and take a deep breath. Do that and tell me what you think about the smell. I'm not sure if you do realize but if you go to Changi, you will realize that there's this unique aroma about Changi.

Now, I know you can't figure what that is at this time because smell is something not so strong. You've got to be there to experience it, to recall it. But when I got there, I … I went to the Changi Experience Studio and I read about something about the smell of Changi. There's this intentional pumping out of this aroma and scent throughout the airport.

This smell is called the … ? It can't get more boring than that but it's so true. The smell is called the, 'Changi Scent’. It really is called the ‘Changi Scent’. It's a special concoction of orchid flowers and Asian spices. So, every time you go to Changi, you will smell the, ‘Changi Scent’. It is part of their intentional marketing. It is part of helping you create this wonderful experience.

So, when I read in Changi Experience Studio that this is the intentional marketing effort of Changi, I suddenly realized for so many years, I've always taken in that familiar aroma but didn't realize it. And so, when you come to the words of Jesus here, you must realize that the Bible has this familiar aroma of death, but it is not so obvious until Jesus reveals it.

You see, all along throughout the Bible, there's an aroma of death, right from the Passover Lamb. That there will be a sacrifice. That there will be someone who will die and to pay for the sins of Israel. And then you see that enacted day after day, after day in the nation of Israel.

Sacrifices are being brought to the temple. And then, you have clear explicit statements like Zechariah 12:10 that says, “When they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced.” So, the Saviour will be pierced. The Saviour will be suffering. There's this aroma of pain of suffering and of death.

And of course, that aroma is strongest, perhaps in Isaiah 53:5, where the Saviour is said to be, “Pierced and crushed and chastised and He will suffer wounds.” If you read the messianic Psalms, for example Psalms 22:16, I did not pull out all the verses there, about the sufferings of the Saviour. But just one verse was sufficed, “They have pierced My hands.”

So the reality is - the Old Testament is filled with the smell of death. And when Jesus was with us on earth, He regularly gave hints also of His death. For example in John, chapter 3, chapter 2:19, He said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Obviously, we all know, He's not talking about the temple of Herod - that architecture. He's talking about His body. He's talking about His impending death - “Kill Me and in three days I will rise.”

Remember, how Jesus said, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them and then they will fast.” [Matthew 9:15] There will be time of mourning. And perhaps, you might remember how Jesus said, “That the ultimate sign that I am the Son of God is when I fulfil the sign of the prophet Jonah, that like Jonah. I will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” [Matthew 12:40] This obviously referring to His death.

So, there's always from the Old Testament - this smell, this hint of death of the Saviour. But now for the very first time in Matthew 16, parallel passage in Mark 8:31-32, “Jesus said this to them plainly.” So Jesus as it were, brought them to Changi Experience Studio, open up that page and say, “Here you go, that familiar smell you have always smelt is going to take place. I am going to suffer and die.”

So verse 21, I suggest to you gives us the revelation of His suffering and death, Jesus now plainly reveals to them about His death.
2]. The Reaction
Verse 22 then takes us to the reaction. There's a revelation and now we look at the reaction of the disciple of Jesus. “Peter took Jesus aside …” took Him by His hand, that's the Greek word. “Took Him aside and began to rebuke Him…” Scolded Jesus, reprimanded Jesus, charged Jesus. “…rebuked Him saying, “Far be it from You Lord! This shall never happen to you.”” [Matthew 16:22]

“Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This can't be true! This can't happen to you! You must have made a mistake.” So, it's interesting that Peter said, “Never happen to you.” When Jesus earlier on said, “I must go. I must go.” “Oh no! You have made a mistake! It shall never happen to you.”

You know, from this, we have a little insight into the minds of the Jewish people then. We have a little insight into the minds of the disciples. Yes, God has given many messianic prophecies, many prophecies about the 'Christ', about the 'Messiah'.

I think from the passages of the Old Testament, they could all see that they will have a conquering Christ, an everlasting King, a cosmic King, who will do good, who will destroy all that is bad. So they are very clear, the Saviour will be a conquering Christ. But I don't think they are clear that the Saviour will be a suffering Servant.

You say, “Why? Isn't it in the Bible?" It is. In the lamb, in Zechariah, in Isaiah, in Psalm. It's there! But they just won't see it. They only focus on the good thing which is the conquering Christ. And they conveniently forget the difficult thing - He will be suffering Servant.

Let me show you an advertisement. This is an advertisement many years ago, remember? So you are as old as I am, alright. Only hear the good stuff. Somehow we are very good at tuning out to the bad stuff. We like to hear nice things, good things and we sort of forget or ignore the bad things. And I think that's why false churches, false teachers are influential, because people like to hear good stuff, nice stuff and not the tough stuff.

And I think that's exactly what's happening right here for the Jewish people. “Oh, we want our conquering Christ! But don't remind us that He's going to be a suffering Servant.” So, when Jesus reveals that - I am the Christ, and I'm going to suffer and die, Peter says, “No, no, no, no, no, no! That's not what I understand from the Bible!” Because it's so hard for us to be mindful about the difficult stuff.

It is so difficult that Jesus not only revealed it here, Jesus continues to reveal it to them for many occasions after Matthew 16. Now, I'm just going to speed through these verses, you can jot down the references if you want. But I just want you to know, that the death of Jesus is spoken many times plainly after Matthew 16.

Matthew 17:9, we read of it - Matthew 17:22-23. Again almost the same words, “He will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day and they were greatly distressed.”

And then, we read that more details are poured in. “Now He will be delivered over to be mocked, to be flogged and crucified.” [Matthew 20:18-19] The way he dies is also exactly spell out right here. In Matthew 26 and verse 2 again, “He will be crucified.” Verse 12 of Matthew 26, “She has done it to prepare Me for burial, I'm going to die.”

Matthew 26 verse 31, “Strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” Jesus will be struck! And then, Matthew or Luke 24:6-8, this is after the resurrection the death and resurrection of Jesus, He had to explain, “That the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men.”

The point is this - the death of Jesus is prophesied of old, hinted by Jesus, spell out clearly, repeated many times. And yet it's so hard for the disciples because after He died, they were so depressed. They were so upset. They were so disappointed. They were saying, “Oh no! All hope is lost!” They couldn't believe that Jesus had to go through that suffering.

They have not seen him come as a conquering Christ. And so, they were shocked that He would now suffer. So, in the Picture Bible, I read with my kids, the author put it very well - "What happened?" "Why did Jesus have to die?" "Wasn't Jesus God's forever King?" If He is the forever King, how could He die?

And so, according to Luke 24, we read of Jesus teaching two men on the road to Emmaus. “He opened up God's holy book…” At that time, they only had the Old Testament - Moses, the Psalms, the prophets. “And He started from Moses, the prophets, the Psalms and showed them everything that was written about Him.”

What was it that was written about Him? Starting from the Passover, "In it were many word pictures that proved He must die to pay for sin." So, it was so hard, it was really hard for the people then to absorb this difficult reality - the Messiah must die. In fact, it was so hard that during the days of the early church, the Jewish people could not come to Christ, because they said, “He had died a cruel death.”

I know that because, 1st Corinthians 1:22-23 tells me, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.” To us, that's a saving message, but to the Jews, this is a stumbling block. Why stumbling block? They could never accept that the Christ would be a suffering Servant.

So, they say, “If Jesus was crucified, if Jesus looked like a loser on the cross. If He was so helpless on the cross, He can't be our Messiah because our Messiah is a conquering King.” So hard for them to take in these hard truths.

So, in Matthew 16, we see first a revelation. Jesus plainly saying, “I will have to suffer and be murdered.”

Then they came a reaction. The reaction is actually very understandable because they have by and large blocked out those tough teachings about the Messiah. So, Peter began to rebuke Jesus and said, “Far be it from You Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

3]. Reprehension
And then thirdly, in verse 23, we then read of the reprehension - the scolding back the … the rebuking again of Peter. “Peter you scold me, I scold you now.” And Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan! You are a hindrance to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” [Matthew 16:23]

I've run through the verses, now I just like to focus on some learning points and applications.

A]. The Surprise in God’s Will
The first thing I can learn from this passage is that - God's will contains plenty of surprises. The surprise in God's will. You know, we often think of God as a good God and He is a good God. In fact, when you sneeze, "achoo", what do people say, “God bless you!” We, we don't say, “God curse you.” We, we believe in a God who blesses people.

And the Bible does talk a lot about how God is the Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift comes from. The Bible talks a lot about God's blessing of the nation of Israel, blessing of His church and blessing this world with rain and sunshine and common grace. The Bible talks about how we are bless with every spiritual blessing in high place.

So, God is a good God - super generous, super gracious. He gives to people who don't deserve anything from Him. But at the very same time whilst we know that God is a God who blesses - is good, is generous, is kind. We also see that God's will is not always easy and God's blessings can come in very surprising packages. And that includes suffering and pain and death, like that of the cross.

The surprise in God's will is that it must be accomplished through the cross. We would have thought, I would have thought, if it's left up to me that if God wants to bless this world and save this world, all he needs to do is to just declare, “All forgiven.” But no! God's will involves pain and suffering and the death and crucifixion of His Son. God's blessing must come in the packaging of pain.

Recently, I was taking a bus with my kids and we got a ride, past National Museum of Singapore. How many of you have been to National Museum of Singapore in the past six months? Wow! Some artistic and cultured people here. The rest, like me, not cultured, never go.

Well anyway, I … I got past and I saw the advertisement that, for this year the theme is about …? Those who have been, I want to test you, anyhow raise I … Kelvin, Wen Yang, I won’t put you in the spot. But when you go past. what is the theme for National Museum right now? Very good, spot on! You all should be ashamed, this little boy got it right .

He is spot on! The theme right now is - Packaging Matters. They are displaying Singapore's food packaging story from the early 20th century. I thought it's amazing, very interesting. I thought that's a very good take on what a Museum should display rather than some, someone that died like 5000 years ago, whatever. Something more relevant, something I, I think the common population can be interested in.

You remember big Mac that looks like this? How many, how many lived in the day that you saw big Mac that look like this? Reveal your age, time, alright. And then the and then the A1 peanuts, remember those ‘Thye Hong’. These are just nostalgic stuff. Packaging Matters - and the these are things that you see years ago.

Now, God's package however is rather surprising as I've mentioned. God's package comes in the shape of pain and of the cross. So, we all know that God is good, Israel knows that God is good. God is powerful. God is able. God saves. But they didn't realize that God's salvation will come in the package of the cross, that His Son would have to suffer and die.

You know we all believe that following Jesus means ultimately blessings, isn't it? Let me say this, “The reason why we would repent and believe and follow Jesus is we believe ultimately He will bless.” We know that, but the surprise about following Jesus is that following Jesus often results in pain, sacrifice, suffering and death. That's a surprise!

I thought that following Jesus means a life of self-fulfilment - I'll be very bless. I'll be very happy. I'll be very rich. I'll be very successful. No, no, no, no, no! Following Jesus comes in the packaging of death. In fact, that's what we are going to look at in greater detail next week. Verse 24, right after verse 23. You must see the link.

If Jesus fulfils God's will by dying, then we follow Jesus in His dying. “If any man would follow or come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross.” [Matthew 16:24] The cross is the instrument of suffering and shame and pain and death.

Oh yes, I believe following Jesus means - I will have ultimately real blessings, but that comes through pain and suffering and death. You see, the Christian life is - I'm afraid doesn't come in beautiful packaging. It comes with quite difficult packaging, ugly looking packaging of death and a Saviour who's more marred than any man.

But that's what Paul said, Paul said that, “My goal in life is not that I will enjoy a good life here - the high life here on earth but my goal in life is, “To know Jesus and the power of His suffering …” or "the power of His resurrection" and to share to have fellowship in His sufferings, “… becoming like Him in His death.” [Philippians 3:10]

“I mean, Paul is a weirdo,” you say. Who would want death? But Paul absolutely understands that God's will comes in the surprising package called suffering and death. Death to self, a denial of self.

Today, we are familiar with Job 1, verse 21. “The Lord gave, and the Lord gives, blessed be the name of the Lord.” You say, “Pastor, you typed correctly or not? I … I'm glad you guys are sharp people. “The Lord gave and the Lord gives”. That's not what the Bible says, but I tell you, that's what many people think.

“I follow Jesus because he gave. And I believe when I continue to follow Jesus, he will continue to give.” But the Bible doesn't say, “The Lord gave and the Lord gives.” The Bible says, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, but still blessed be the name of the Lord.”

See Christians, even Christians followers like Peter, we can be stuck in this track of wanting to hear only the good stuff, and we don't want to hear the bad stuff, but the Bible puts them together. Yes, my God gave, but my God can also take away. And in all these circumstance, in both cases - blessed be the name of the Lord.

In fact, I think I agree with Paul. It is often in suffering that it calls out the highest worship. In fact, I said this before, “God calls out the highest worship in our deepest pains.” It's amazing that the conformity to Jesus, the following of Jesus is often best seen not in prosperity but in adversity. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Heroes of faith in time past have obtained great victories. “They've conquered kingdoms. They've stopped the mouths of lions. They've quenched the power of fire. They've become mighty in war.” [Hebrews 11:33-35] Is this the will of God for them? Yes, absolutely! Is this the will of God for everyone? Not exactly, because you just read on and it says, “Some were tortured, others suffered mocking and flogging and chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn.” [Hebrews 11:35-37]

How do you like that? “They were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They were destitute, afflicted, mistreated.” Is this the will of God? Yes! Yes! But you know what, in churches today, we skip verse 35 to 37, don't talk too much about this because people will leave church. Preach more, about 32 to 35, 34, because that will bring more people to church.

That's humanistic psychology, because we all love to hear the good stuff and are not prepared for the surprise in God’s will. Let me say this to you, “You may feel abandon and forsaken by God because you're going through pains. But it is a surprise, that God in the very mysterious way achieves the greatest good out of your pains. And in a wonderful mysterious way, God's greatest good is achieved through the cross. That's the surprise!”

That's what Jesus, I think was rebuking Peter for, “You don't understand this. You set your mind on the things of man. But let me tell you the things of God - I must suffer and die."
B]. The Struggle for God’s Will
The second thing I learned from this text is - the struggle for God's will. There's a tug-of-war. There's a tug-of-war between the things of God and the things of man. During church camp, we had games time and of course we had tug-of-war. Unfortunately, the tug-of-war was not much of a war, it was so one-sided, it was so unfair. Ready, one, two, go. There was no battle, it was that quick.

When I look at this passage, I … I think of how quick it is for Peter to fall. You know, it's remarkable! Sometimes, when you preach isolated sections of verses, you, you lose the bigger picture. So, let me bring you back to helping you realize, just a few verses earlier, what did Jesus say to Simon or Peter? “Blessed are you, Peter! You are a blessed man, God has revealed this realities. Good, you're blessed. Wonderful!”

And then, just a few seconds later, maybe a few minutes later, Jesus said to Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” You know how quick is that crash. How quick is that fall. Amazing! Just reminds us of how easy it is for us even though we may be walking with God today, to crash the very next.

You know in your car, you have this cruise control, some cars have, some cars don't. But I think in Singapore nobody uses cruise control because you always drive from traffic light to traffic light anyway. But some people think that in the Christian life, we can do cruise control.

“Oh, I've, I've been a Christian for so many years, I studied my Bible, I memorized the Scriptures. I'm now mature and equipped, and so I can just chill.” No such thing as chilling in the Christian life, because you may be blessed at one time and you may be cursed the other time. You may be revealed spiritual things by God, but you can be an agent of Satan the very next.

So, the Bible reminds us that we are to be sober, to be vigilant - 1st Peter 5. The Bible reminds us that we are to not trust in ourselves, but to acknowledge God in all our ways - Proverbs 3. The Bible reminds us, like, how God spoke to Joshua, “To observe, to do according to all that is written in the law.” That there is no time we should resort to our own humanistic logic, but we must always hold tight the very Word of God.

Remember how Jesus defended against the devil's wiles. When Satan first came to Adam and Eve, his strategy is simple - "Have God said?" And because the couple was not holding on tightly to God's Word, they fell. But when in the worst of circumstances, in the wilderness Jesus replied the devil, “It is written. It is written. It is written.”

It's easy for us to crash, if we are not holding on to God's Word, if we are not walking in the Spirit moment by moment. There's a tug-of-war that goes on in your life all the time, folks. There's a real struggle! The only way you can prevent yourself from falling is to be vigilant, to be sober, acknowledging God, looking to His Word, walking in the spirit, moment by moment every day.

There is no let-up in the Christian life. We're to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. There really is no slacking. That's what's hard, but that's what's needed. In contrast to the quick way, Peter fell, I just want to highlight to you the determination of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was resolute in all His ways. He was clear He must go to the cross.

Now, you must understand this is extremely difficult. It was not easy for Christ. We know that because of the garden of Gethsemane story. He was in … in terrible agony. This was not easy at all for Jesus. It was excruciating for Jesus. But at the very same time, we are amazed at how resolute He was, to do the Father's will.

He says, “My satisfaction, My meat, My food is to do the Father's will.” He was obedient to the Father even unto death. And He will not let-up and even when a close one, disciple Peter would say, “Oh, don't do that! You don't need to do that! This must never happen to you.” He replied in no uncertain terms, “Get behind Me, Satan. You are a hindrance to Me.”

That is the superiority of our Saviour. That's our Jesus. When we break at the slightest of temptations, He remained faithful to His Father. And that's why He is worthy to be our Great High Priest and Saviour.
C]. The Superiority of God’s Will
The last thing I want to say from this text is not just the surprise of the struggle, but very simple point - "the superiority of God's will." That God's ways are indeed higher than our ways. Simple verse, simple passage, Isaiah 55:8-9 - "That God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts and ways are higher than ours.”

Can you imagine with me on that day, if Peter said, “Jesus, Lord, you don't have to die. You don't have to suffer. You don't have to be killed. You are the King, you can bypass all this.” Can you imagine what it would be like if Jesus listened to the suggestion of Peter. No death. No cross. No pain. No suffering. What would the world be like? What would your future be like? What would God look like?

Well, we are thankful Jesus didn't listen to Peter, isn't it? And that's why you and I today, may know of salvation, because if not for Jesus, we would never be saved. If not for Jesus, Satan will be the god of this world forever and ever and ever. If not for Jesus, God will not be glorified and His name will be dragged through the mud, because Satan reigns. But because Jesus chose the will of the Father, we see the superiority of God's will.

God's will is not easy. It comes with pain. It comes with suffering. But I say to you, “It's far, far, far better for you to follow Jesus and obey God and His Word than for you to disobey.” Maybe today, you are struggling in your life, you are struggling with a choice you need to make in your life. You're tempted to have an affair. You're tempted to take revenge. You're tempted to lie. You're tempted to quit on God. You're tempted to forsake Christianity and follow the dreams of the world.

It looks nice and the way of God is so painful. It's so difficult because it costs me to die. But I tell you that is far better than if you should lose your soul and live for this world. My friends, God's blessings come in this unusual package called, "pain and denial and death". But I tell you, it will be worth it all. That's what it means to believe in Jesus. That's what it means to follow Christ. Will you?

Let's bow for a word of prayer together. My friends, the way of the cross leads home. That’s the grand surprise in God's will. Left up to us, left up to humanity, we would never ever conceptualize salvation plan to go through the cross. The Bible tells us that, "None of the princes, none of the wise men of this world would ever have figured that God's will must be executed through the painful cross."

But that is precisely the very will of God - "that through death, He would kill death." My friends, this is the amazing wisdom and power and love of God. That He would send His Son to be the lamb, that He would give His life to take away your sins. It might be a surprise to some of you here today because you thought that Christianity is about doing good and earning my way to heaven.

But the surprise of the Bible, the grand surprise is that - "No, it's not about you doing good, it's about Jesus dying, so that He may give you His good, that He may take away your sins." My question to you, if you're here with us for the first time is - "Will you believe in Jesus? That He is indeed the conquering King even though He came first as a suffering Servant."

Would you believe that, that man that was hanging on the cross, some 2000 years ago was there not by an accident, but it's the very intention of God. That, that is the very wisdom of God, that through this one sacrifice, all who believe on Him will be saved. My friends, I pray today you will repent of your sin. You will repent of your own helplessness and look to this Jesus, who is the Christ, the King to save you from your sins.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, maybe you are going through deep pain and hardship today. When we go through these dark valleys, it is so easy for us to think this is not God's will - “I'm forsaken by God. He doesn't love me. Why me?"

But can I remind you, that the Bible is still true when it says, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” It says, “All things…” It includes difficult things, painful things. And my friends, my brother, my sister in Christ, I assure you, I believe so with all my heart that when we go through our sufferings, whilst we may not understand why and how it all works, but one day when we meet with our Father, it will be so clear.

And maybe the very pain you go through today will be the very reason you pour out your thanks and praise to God. And say, “Thank you God. I thank you for those times when I struggled, I thank you for those times I went through the deepest pains because it is in those times that I have seen the highest worship. You are God who gives and God who takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Rejoice in the Lord, my friends. Rejoice.

Some of you today, you want to be more committed in your discipleship to Jesus. Let me say this, “Discipleship is not about a group of people gathering together just to study the Bible, because ultimately, discipleship must result in obedience in following Jesus.” And if you know everything about the Bible, but you're not willing to deny yourself, you're not willing to say, "No", to the flesh, you are not a disciple.

Maybe there's a choice you need to make in your life today. God is calling you to obedience, to surrender, to giving your life, not to your own ambitions here in Singapore but your life for the kingdom. Oh, it's so easy to choose the way of the world, isn't it? It's so easy to live for a bungalow, a title, one more zero in my bank account. It's so easy to go there. It's nice. It's pleasant. It's comfortable. It's convenient. It fits my flesh. But following Jesus means - "I will deny myself and take up the cross. Will you do that today?"

Father, we thank you for Your Word. Thank you for the instructions and admonitions that flow from the text. But more than that, we thank you for Jesus, Your Son, how He was unwavering and committed fully to do Your will even though it is the way of the cross. Thank you for His love for us. And may that love, fill our hearts and fuel our obedience and discipleship to Jesus. Bless each one here today, we thank you and pray all this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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