10 Apr 2022
"The grass is greener on the other side" is the belief many people hold, even when it comes to serving God. This sermon is meant to help you if you had thought "maybe I can only be an effective Christian if I'm. . . " Paul, in this passage, shows that we can serve God right where we are, regardless of whether we are married or single. Learn principles about 1. Placement. God has "assigned" us right where we are- instead of rushing in to change, may we recognise how he has placed us in life. 2. Purpose. We are called to be "doulos" of Jesus Christ. May we seek to obey Him and do His will. And our Master will surely take care of us. 3. Priority. We can serve God right where we are today.
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This morning, we are going back to our passage in 1st Corinthians. So if you have your Bibles, it will be great if you could open to 1st Corinthians and chapter 7.
And today's sermon, or today's passage is like what I would say, "A Big Mac". When the AV Team kind of switched on the slides, they said, "Wah!" They're very amazed at the Big Mac, and it's maybe a reminder of lunch that is to come, whatever that may be, but I think it's a familiar picture to all of us.
Why is the passage like a Big Mac? Well, if you look at a Big Mac, you have three layers of buns and two layers of patties, alternating with one another. And today's passage is something like that.
Well, it's a big chunk, a lot of words, looks confusing, but I want to tell you that this is like a Big Mac because you have three statements [verses 17,20,24], like the three layers of buns, and then you have two examples [verses 18,22], like the two patties in between. So don't be overwhelmed by the eight verses or so we're going to look at, long verses we're going to look at, it's not that complicated, it's like a Big Mac.
So, these three sentences or three statements are what the two examples seek to explain or exemplify. And the principle is really quite simple, Paul is saying in this passage that, "Each one of us, called to belong to Jesus, should continue to lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him or to her." [1 Cor 7:17]
Verse 20, "Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called." "So brothers in whatever condition each was called there, let him remain with God." [1 Cor 7:24] So the principle is really quite simple - Stay Where You Are.
Now, some clarifications. Is this saying that there can be no growth, no change or no progress in a Christian's life? I don't think so! So let's be clear, this is not saying that, progress or growth is prohibited by Paul or by God in this passage.
Now, God is not saying, "If you are called to be a Christian at seven years old, that you should always remain in primary 1." You don't tell your teacher, two years later, "Teacher, I want to stay in primary one because God tells me to remain." That will be quite ridiculous, don't you think?
I don't think this is a verse that says you cannot progress you cannot change whatsoever. Moreover, you must understand that this is a passage that follows right after Paul's teachings on marriage and singleness.
And Paul earlier has already said, "If you do not have the gift of celibacy, and you're single right now, by all means get married." So Paul is not saying, "Be right where you are, with no change whatsoever." Also, if you have noticed the example of circumcision, Paul himself performed ... not performed but had Timothy, his protege go through circumcision. There was a change!
And then later on, another example of being a bondservant, would be something that Paul says, "You could get out of, if you have the ability to do so" So, all that's to say this is not a principle that means none of us could make any change in our lives. You cannot move house, you cannot change job, you cannot study a new course, that's not what this passage is saying.
This is also not a passage that says, one should continue in sin. I'm stating the obvious! "Remain with God" doesn't mean stay in your state of carnality or in your state of sinfulness. Clearly not! Because everywhere else in the Bible tells us, we should become less sinful by the grace of God and be more like Jesus.
So what is this — "Remaining with God, remaining in the condition" referring to? Well, the best way of understanding this, is that Paul is encouraging the Corinthians that one can serve God right where one is today.
Because bringing it back to the context, he is answering this question - Do I need to change my marital status in order to serve God better? Well, Paul here argues, "One need not marry, if you're single, and you're called to singleness, then don't force yourself to marry in order to serve God. Neither should one divorce because he thinks that it is better to be single to serve God. Paul is saying, "You can remain right where you are."'
So, this is important because we must not lose track of what Paul has been saying in 1st Corinthians 7. One thing when we read the Bible, we don't take a passage out of the context and say whatever we want. We must honor what that passage is dealing with in the context, in the situation, in a larger scheme of things that the author is speaking about.
So, this whole big Mac is situated in this bigger environment of marriage and singleness. It all started with the Corinthians writing to Paul saying, "It is better to be unmarried, to serve God, isn't it, Paul?" [1 Cor 7:1]
Well, Paul replies them and says in verse 8, I'm skipping a lot of verses, as you know, we've dealt with them before but Paul is saying, "Well, if you're single, if you're unmarried, if you are a widow, well, it's good for you to remain single. But if you cannot exercise self control, because you are not gifted with celibacy, then you should marry." [1 Cor 7:8-9]
"To the married, I give this charge, not I, but the Lord, the wife should not separate." [1 Cor 7:10] So don't think that your hypothesis that it is better to be unmarried, better not to touch a man or a woman, not to be involved sexually means that you must now divorce your husband or your wife. No, you should not separate!
"And even for someone married to an unbeliever, if she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her." [1 Cor 7:12] "So, it's better to be unmarried to serve God," the Corinthians say.
So they asked, "Must I then divorce to serve God?" Paul replies, "No, you don't have to! You can serve Him right where you are." "Then, must I be married to serve God?" Similarly, Paul says, "No, you can serve Him right where you are!"
And it is after this that we come to this Big Mac, that Paul says, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, don't you ever assume that you have to now change your status before you can serve God!" "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him." [1 Cor 7:17]
"If God has assigned you marriage at the time of your call to salvation, stay there. If God has assigned you singleness, at the time of his call to salvation, stay there unless you know you're not gifted with celibacy and you desire to be married, go get married. But don't get married thinking that, that means you can serve God better automatically." So that's what Paul is saying, and he's saying, "This is my consistent teaching across all the churches. Nothing really new!"
Now, these statements reaffirm Paul's principle and these two examples prove again, that one does not need to change his status, just thinking that doing that alone would enable him to serve God better.
So let's look at this first example of circumcision. Circumcision is an external religious ritual. Every Jewish male had to go through because it serves as a reminder to them about Abraham's promise or God's promise to Abraham. But it's not a ritual that is done to save a soul. That ... that I think the Bible is very clear.
I think it's like a wedding ring, We always talk about the wedding ring example. A wedding ring that I put on does not make me married, but the wedding ring I put on reminds me that I'm married, and it tells people that I am married. It's an external ritual! Putting this ring on a three-year-old kid does not make the kid married, alright.
So, circumcision is like a wedding ring, It does not make you a child of God, it does not save you, it has no power to save. But if you are someone who follows Abraham in his faith, in God's Messiah, then that circumcision reminds you that you inherit the same promises Abraham has received from God.
The question now is - Does one need to be circumcised in order to serve God? That's the question! And that's the example Paul wants to highlight. So Paul says, "Was anyone at the time of his call ..." [1 Cor 7:18] Now, 'the call' here refers to the time they come to faith in Jesus Christ.
At the point of time you came to Christ, at the point of time you believe in Jesus, were you already circumcised? Many Jews, many Jewish males came to faith in Jesus Christ, and he's saying, "If you were already circumcised when you believed in Jesus, then you don't have to remove the marks of circumcision." [1 Cor 7:18]
By the way, I think it would be quite a complicated surgery anyway. But even if you wanted to, or you could do it, he says "No need to do it, if you are called to be a Christian when you are already circumcised, so be it, nothing wrong. It's not better to be uncircumcised."
The flip side is also true — "Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision." [1 Cor 7:18] So Paul says, "Is cool! If you are a Chinese man and you come to faith in Jesus Christ, you don't have to circumcise yourself before you say, "God, I can now serve you."' He says, "It's okay! Lead the life God has assigned to you, you are saved as a Gentile, uncircumcised, continue to be in that state. Nothing wrong with that, you don't have to change!"
Aren't you glad, all ... all the guys here? I am glad! I'm sure many of you are glad, you don't have to go to GA and go for surgery and tolerate pain from recovering. You don't have to! Remain right where you are.
So neither circumcision or "Neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision but keeping the commandments of God." [1 Cor 7:19] It's fine!
So he's saying, "Circumcised people can serve God, if they believe in Jesus, uncircumcised people can serve God if they believe in Jesus. Likewise, single people can serve God, if they believe in Jesus. Married people can also serve God, if they believe in Jesus. Neither positions are superior to the other. It's totally fine! Remain right where you are."
Now, I come to this question - Is it wrong for a Christian then to be circumcised? He says, "Remain ah, so if you don't remain ah, you go circumcised, is it sinful?" Well, I don't think so, because you must understand the context, this is not forbidding anyone to change their status, if there are other factors to consider. It's just addressing that fear that if I'm not like that, I cannot serve God.
You see, Paul, like I said, allowed his protege Timothy to be circumcised. Now, Timothy was a Gentile, his father was a Gentile, so he was never circumcised. But it ... because he was going to serve the Jews, it was advantageous Paul felt that he should be circumcised, that there will be an affinity. He was like being all things to all men. So Paul, allowing Timothy to be circumcised was not sinful.
Maybe there are medical reasons why people need to be circumcised, Nothing wrong with that, per-se. So again, the principle is not that God is against change or progress or growth, but it's against that mindset, "I have to do something to be like them before I can serve God."
A second example is that of a bondservant. A bondservant is what we will call a doulos, in the Greek. It refers to a slave, but when you think about the slave, we always think about the kind of slavery we are familiar with, in our recent days, that kind of exploitative, abusive kind of slavery.
But that's not the kind of slavery that, that is prevalent during those days. It is said that in those days, up to a third of the population in a city can be made up of slaves. And these slaves work for their masters, not in a terrible condition like maybe what we are familiar with those in Africa and so on, but they are reasonably well-paid.
Now, they are low in the social order of things, that ... that has to be admitted, but they are generally provided for. And a lot of slaves willingly stay on as slaves, because they have security, employment and provision and protection from their masters. So it's not a terrible kind of status, although if you can, of course you wouldn't want to serve others. But there are those who are so well-taken care of that they're willing to be there.
Now the question is this - If I am a slave and I came to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I ... I ... I believe in Jesus, must I then say to my boss, must I say to my master, "I'm now a Christian, I don't want to serve you, bye bye." And you run and you escape from your master, even though you're supposed to stay with him, Thinking that running away is a better proposition to serve God than staying there.
Well, Paul explains it this way, "Were you are bondservant when called, when God saved you? You ... you were a slave." [1 Cor 7:21 "... then do not be concerned about it." [1 Cor 7:21] Don't worry about it! It's quite alright!
Well, he caveats it by saying, "But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity." [1 Cor 7:21] He's not saying "Running away from your master, but if you have earned enough or by some way, you have gathered enough money to pay your release, because your master had to pay to get you to be his slave. But if you have gotten enough money to pay him back, well, if you have the opportunity, you can go, no problem. But if you don't, it's also not a problem, if you remain as a bondservant, when God saved you from your sins."
You say, "Why?" "For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freed man of the Lord." [1 Cor 7:22]
Well, this speaks about how we are free. Free from sin, free from the penalty of sin, free from the curse of sin. We are free because Jesus paid it all on the cross to set us free.
"Likewise, he who was free, in other words, he who is not a slave, he who is not a bondservant, when called is now a bondservant of Christ." [1 Cor 7:22]
So the idea is this - You are freed from sin, to be a slave of Jesus. It doesn't matter your earthly social status, you can be a slave in the master's house, or you can be a master, both are actually people set free from sin to be slaves of Jesus Christ. So you can serve God right where you are, you don't have to be overly bothered you must be free, or you must be bond.
That's the idea! "You were bought with a price, do not become bondservants of men." [1 Cor 7:23] The idea here is even when you are serving after a master, earthly master, earthly human master, do not make him your ultimate master, your ultimate Master is the Lord Jesus Christ.
"So, brothers in whatever condition each was called there, let him remain with God." [1 Cor 7:24]
So as a recap again, this is a Big Mac passage. A Big Mac that centralizes on the theme of remaining with God in whatever condition He has called us. The context here is about marriage, actually.
Do I need to be married in order to serve God?
No, you don't have to! You can serve God in your singleness.
Do I have to be single in order to serve God?
No, you don't have to. Don't divorce, stay where you are, you can serve God.
"Are you sure, Paul?" "Yes, because I have two examples for you. You don't have to be circumcised to serve God, as long as you believe in Jesus. Neither should you be uncircumcised to serve God as long as you believe in Jesus."
"Likewise, if you're a slave, don't worry about it, stay where you are. You can serve Jesus, even in your master's household. And your master serve Jesus, even if you're free, because He bought you with a price, you belong to Him."
So that is really what we have been looking at. And I think that's the intent of Paul in this passage, in whatever condition He has called you, remain there. This is not that you can't change, not that you can't go to primary 2, not that you can't marry, not that you cannot change your job, you can. But don't do it just because you think that will make you fit to serve God, you can serve God right where you are.
And this is not that one should not continue in sin but one can serve God right where one is today. And again, tying it back to the idea of marriage and singleness. I ... I labor to say that because after today, next week onwards, we are going back to the subject of singleness, marriage and so on. So, this Big Mac is to explain this concept, that's all.
Well, I know that's hard going, right? It's like wah, hard hitting and explaining the verses, it seems to be so dry. Well, let me try to give some applicatory thoughts before we end.
 Principle of Placement
The first thought I want to help you with is the principle of placement.
God has assigned us a particular place in life, and you are exactly where God wants you to be. I think about this, when someone gets saved, when someone comes to church, when someone believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, there's always this assumption that, "Well, I'm now a Christian, I need to quit my job, stop my studies, go to Bible School, go to Seminary because that's where God wants me to be."
I don't think that's an automatic choice. Now, I'm not saying that you cannot do that. There may be some people who should do that, but I'm saying that we need to respect this principle or recognize this principle that wherever you are that God has called you, that's where God wants you to be.
Not too long ago, someone from another church spoke to me, he found me online and wanted to ask me my thoughts. And he said, "You know, I've been tidak apa [in Malay] Christian, a kind of half-baked Christian, but recently I've come to read about such and such doctrines, come across these preachers. I've listened much and now I am on fire, I want to serve God, I'm serious as a Christian."
I ... I say, "I'm glad." He says, "I'm not sure if I should go full-time to serve Him. I've spoken to my pastors, I've spoken to many people and ... and they all tell me that I should go." He asked me what should ... what I ... what I think about his position. When I asked him further questions, heard what he said, I said to him, "It seems like you're not that clear God wants you to do that, right?"
He says, "Yah, I'm not so sure." Then I say to him, "Based on 1st Corinthians 7, maybe just stay where you are for now. Be the best whatever occupation; worker you can be, and see how the Lord leads. Don't rush, don't jump to conclusions, don't act on the spur of the moment, if you are not that clear."
I'm not saying he can't change, but I'm warning against that quickness to change. You see a lot of us we always have this mentality — the grass is greener on the other side. "Aah, now that I'm a Christian, I look at him, he's in Bible School, he's a Pastor, I want to be like him." Well, sometimes that may be true, but respect the fact that God has called you to be right where He wants you to be.
So again, I'm not saying, one cannot change, I'm just cautioning against the quickness to change, because maybe there's some difficulty in life, unpleasant boss, difficult work environment, and we can have a knee jerk reaction and forget that perhaps rather than changing your situation, God wants you to change your perspective of your situation.
This is just one factor to consider. I know seeking guidance from God is a multi-factorial matter. You need to consider many principles, but don't ... just don't forget this one principle in 1st Corinthians 7.
Some of you today are in difficult positions, and you wish to change that position. You wish to get out of this sickness, you wish to change your job, you may even wish to get out of your marriage, because it's so painful. Now, sometimes we can change our situations. You can change your job, you can't change your wife, but you can change a lot of things.
I'm saying not that you can't change, alright, I ... I ... I think, emphasized that over and over again in the exposition of the text already. It's not that you can't change your situation, but sometimes we need to take a step back and consider - Is it that God wants me to change my situation or He's ... or is He wanting to change me, and change the way I look at things?
So, just one little applicatory thought for you from the word, 'assign'. God's placement for our lives.
 Principle of Purpose
I hasten to point to or the second applicatory thought, and it's about purpose.
And the thought revolves around this word, 'doulos'. The Bible contains many descriptions, descriptive terms for Christians. God has called his people — sons and daughters, children of the Living God. God has called His people — sheep, ambassadors, salt, light. Many descriptive terms!
One of the descript ... term, descriptive terms is the word, 'doulos'. Now, we are God's children but at the same time, he calls us, doulos. Slaves, bondservants of Jesus Christ. When Paul wrote his letters, when Peter wrote his letters, often times they called themselves — slaves of Jesus Christ. Oh, you say, "That's such a derogatory term!" Not to Paul, not to Peter, not to many Christian authors, it is a privilege I think, they must have felt to be a slave of Jesus Christ.
When you call someone a slave, or when I call myself a slave, the idea here is that - I live to serve my master. I'm not looking out for my own interests, I'm looking out for my master's interests. I do His will, I obey His commandments, I fulfill His desires. And that is the proper attitude and purpose of a Christian, we are here to serve God.
I think modern Christianity has got that terbalik [in Malay]. You know terbalik, right? Upside down. We've gotten the wrong way round, let me try to illustrate this for you. Many people go to church today, not because they want to serve God but because they want something from God.
They come to church thinking that, "Oh, when ..." Just very interesting yesterday, someone was saying that she was speaking to another person about Gospel Light and they happen to hear about Gospel and say, "Oh, I heard about Gospel Light, wah, very good church ah, I heard very 灵." [líng]
What? Yah，很灵啊！[hěn líng ā] For those who are not Chinese or not acquainted with these terms. '灵' is, what many other religions would use that when they pray, "Wah, it really happened!" "Gospel Light 很灵! Wah, that is ... that is really something, I've ... well, we are not a church that I think falsely preaches prosperity gospel or ... or "name it, claim it" kind of thing, so I was really puzzled!
But anyway, it highlights the point that many people approached church or think about church or about the Christian faith as a means to get what they want. Pray enough and somehow the deity up there will give you what you want. We have conceptualized the Christian faith, like many other religions, that our deities or deity is here to do my bidding.
"Huh, he's here to do what I tell him to do!" We've got it the wrong way around. We are the doulos to serve our Jesus, our Lord, and our Master. Isn't that true, in the way we pray? People often ask, "Eh, pastor, how to pray ah? Very scared of prayer, how to pray?"
I mean, if you want to be taught how to pray, it can take many, many sermons, but in a nutshell, I say, "I can recall three simple principles because I've only one minute with you." I say ,"Pray sincerely, pray scripturally, and pray singularly."
"What do you means singularly?" "Pray singularly for the glory of God." I think if you can hold these three principles together, not too bad lah, of course, we can all grow better, learn better to pray, but I say, "Pray sincerely from your heart, don't fake it. Pray scripturally, that's why we need to grow in the understanding of the Bible to pray more in the will of God and then, pray singularly for the glory of God."
I can't emphasize the last point enough. Prayer is not asking God to do my will, but prayer is asking God to do His will. Thy will be done.
Jesus, He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He's saying, "If it be possible, let this cup of suffering ..." We're entering Holy Week, He's going to face unimaginable agony and toil and pain on the cross. He's saying, "If there be any way possible, let this cup of wrath and suffering pass from Me ..." But He quickly also adds, "... nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
The essence of prayer is not asking God to do what I will, but asking God to do what He wills. It's always for His glory! Didn't Jesus exemplify that, when He taught His disciples how to pray? The disciples say, "Lord, teach us how to pray." And Jesus says, "Well, after this manner, you pray, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done."'
What are the first three things? My bread? My wish? My wants? No! Your Name. Your Kingdom. Your will.
My friends, what is your prayer about? What do you pray for? What is the underlying goal of your prayer? So that you can retire earlier? So that you can start traveling, going to Tokyo or San Francisco? So that your children will be scholars in Harvard and MIT? What is the motivation underneath your prayer?
If my prayer cannot be connected to the glory of God, I'd rather not pray because I understand, I'm a doulos, I'm here to do my Master's will, to fulfill His desires, to be faithful to Him.
That's why we read the Bible! Most of us we read the Bible because we feel sad, we feel depressed and we want some encouragement from God. "It's about me! God, meet me!"
Has it ever occurred to you that the Bible is so that you can serve God better? So that you can be more like Jesus and do His will? Have you ever thought why you go to ... go to community group, CGs, DGs, "Oh, because my CG always listens to me when I pour up my sorrows, I feel so comforted!" Well, it's great that your CG is loving, and I'm glad that the fellow CG members are so loving.
But I'm encouraging you as well, besides receiving needful support and encouragement, to think about how you can be a doulos to Jesus in the midst of community. It's not about grabbing, it's about giving. And I hope that's the mentality when we come to church, where we are with God's people, that when we are gathered as Gospel Lighters, not because we want to be consumers, but because of Jesus, we want to be contributors. We want to give, we want to be a blessing, one to another.
Therefore, if we understand doulos, then 1st Corinthians 10:31 makes sense, "Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, you do all to the glory of God." You employ your talents, your time, your treasure to His Kingdom.
And let me tell you something about doulos, alright? Yes, you dedicate your life to serving your Master, but I tell you, it's the best way to live. Like I said, there are many people in ancient cities, where a large population of people willingly stay on as doulos. Why? Because they have security, they have provisions, they have protection, they have the assurance.
And let me tell you, the best way to live your life on this earth is to be a doulos of Jesus. Didn't Jesus say, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you."
I see so many stressful people, oh, not stressful people. Well, they've stressed me sometimes but I see so many stressed out people. You are so uptight! They can't sleep, they have no peace!
Well, they still come to church by the way, but I tell you why you have no peace even though you're part of the church, because you're not living a life of doulos. You have no confidence that your Master is going to take care of you because subtly in your heart, you may not admit it, because subtly in your heart, you know you're not serving Him. You're building your empire, you're accumulating for yourself, you're preparing for your retirement, as if your Master will not take care of you.
It's so stressful to live that way, because you're going to be living like everyone else in the world! Didn't Jesus say, "Take My yoke upon you. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
It's not that serving God does not have its challenges, there will be! But it is so much easier than having to worry about yourself - Where is my next meal? Or what's going to happen to me? Your Master will take care of you. If you're the doulos of this rich and powerful family, you think they have nothing to provide for you. I serve the Greatest King, the Greatest Master, He must provide. It's a privilege to serve God because as His doulos, He will take care of you.
 Principle of Priority
The last thing I want to say is that, if God has placed you right where you are, so that you can be his doulos, if you understand the principle of placement and the principle of purpose, then maybe it's time for us ... for us to think about our priority today — learning to serve God right where we are.
Too many Christians think that you can serve God only when you become a full-time Pastor, like this guy standing here. "Oh, I cannot serve God because I'm stuck in my job at Grab and Ya Kun or IBM and Changi Airport." "I can't serve God because not like Pastor, he can stand here. I ... I ... I have to clean here, I have to file the papers, I have to key in on my computer, I can't serve God."
I think the point of this passage is, regardless of whatever station you're in — single, married, servant, slave or master. We are all bondservants of Jesus and we can serve God right where we are. You can be a CEO or you can be a janitor, you can serve God right where you are. You say, "How?" Well, in your job you can serve God.
The Bible says bondservants ... I'm using the example of the most difficult kind of employment possible — a slave. A slave who is supposed to save ... not save but to serve his earthly master. Can this guy who is supposed to serve his earthly master also serve God?
Paul says, "You can!" "Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters." [Col 3:22] So first of all, don't run away from them, don't cheat them, don't take advantage of them, obey them."
"But when you obey them, obey in such an attitude and posture not by way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do work heartily as for the Lord and not for men." [Col 3:23]
So stay where you are, do your job in IBM, do your job in Ya Kun, do your job in Changi Airport, whatever that may be. But do it with such a wonderful spirit, attitude and ethic, and in that you're serving your God.
Now, let me tell you, your job then becomes extremely well-paying. "You know pastor, my pay no good." Pay, very good. If you serve God in your job, it will be very good pay. I do not know how much lah, don't ask me. When we all get to heaven we know, but I can tell you it will be way worth it, and you're not just working for your earthly boss - UOB or SGH. No, no, no, no, you're serving the King of kings!
You can serve God in at home, you say, "I'm a homemaker! I'm stuck at home with this three brats." Well, you're serving God. They don't look like God. Okay (laughter). "I'm serving God by serving them." That's service to God! Serve God right where you are.
I hope you'll serve God in church too. Church is entering the new norm, many ministries in the past we have had to not do many things because people are not gathered. But now we are gathering and we need workers and I ... I ... I think it is such a sad thing when we have to appeal for people to serve. I think we've got it the wrong way around! It's a privilege to serve God.
Count it a privilege that you can do something for God as we gather. I ... I hope you'll feel kao way [Hokkien dialect]. You know kao way? You feel awkward, really uncomfortable, if you're only coming to consume and you're not serving God. I ... I don't think a true Christian can stay in that state for too long. So, serve God right where you are.
Oh, we don't have to wait for next time, "When I retired then I serve God." "Oh, next time when I go Bible school then I can serve." You can serve God right where you are today because you're bought with a price.
Well, I've said a lot, but I just want to end by saying for those of you who are not Christians, you're here with us for the first time, it may sound like Christianity is demanding so much from people. "Wah, you got to do everything for the glory of God even when you eat char kway teow, you got to eat for the glory of God?"
But the reason why we are gladly willing to do all that, is because God first gave His Son to die and to save us from our sins, we are bought with a price. And the price is something none of us, something that even if all of us, added together could ever pay. The price requires the life of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who shed His blood to wash away our sins.
We're entering Holy Week, we are marching towards Good Friday. Why is it good? Because the eternal Son of God gave Himself to save us from our sins. We serve because He first gave His life for us. I pray your faith, your Christianity would reflect such a devotion to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
Father, we thank You this morning, we thank You for Your love, for the Gospel, for salvation so rich and free. And we also want to thank You for the way and the place You have placed us. So often we think about our predicament as a misfortune, or even for some of us who may admit it, it's like bad luck. But this morning, we are reminded there's no such thing as misfortune or bad luck. You are sovereign and You're wise and You've placed us exactly where You want us to be.
And so, I pray instead of being too quick to have a knee jerk reaction to get out immediately, help us to maybe take time to pause and to have a renewed mind, the scriptural mind with regard to our predicament, that we might react and respond more biblically.
This morning, I want to pray that God's people will recognize our call here, is not that we might fritter away our time or build ourselves our empires, but that we may one day hear Jesus say, "Well done, you good and faithful servant." Help us to be that faithful doulos indeed. I pray that Your people will be excited in our jobs, in our homes, in our relationships, in our church, to serve You right where we are. So, help us all!
And Father again, we pray for friends, guests tuning in or are seated here. May they see the amazing love of God demonstrated on the cross of Jesus Christ, may they repent and believe in Jesus that they might be saved. So thank You, we pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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