20 Sep 2020
Even a casual observer will recognize that today’s Christians do not live Christ-like lives. The vast majority of Christians in the world are nominal Christians by birth or unregenerated churchgoers. Even in GLCC there are some unbelievers who have made a mere profession of faith - which is common in this age of “easy believism. ” Thankfully the faithful preaching of the Gospel in GLCC has led us to have many born-again believers. However, the over-reliance on Bible teaching has resulted in a lack of disciple-making. And this lack of disciple-making is further compounded by a lack of understanding of the eternal glorious future that awaits us in the New Heaven and New EARTH! Until we recognize these problems we will continue to produce unrecognizable Christians who will shame the name of our God!
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Today, we continue on our mini-series, the ‘Today’ series. We started with ‘Today’s Unrecognizable Church’ – that was like two weeks ago. And we realize that satanic deception has given us an inferior version of the church: the four S's, rather than we pursuing the seven S's of the Acts church, which we want to be. Satan is so wise; he is a great deceiver. He gives us, you know, it's like the guy who sells you a fake Rolex watch. You're so happy with it. I just heard this story. Recently, somebody died and they took the watch. They were so happy that this person left a Rolex watch, they brought it to the Rolex shop, and the guy opened in and said, that's a fake. You know, for years, this person had been owning a fake without even knowing and that's our situation. Satan is the great deceiver. It is not to say that a sanctuary is wrong, or Sunday worship is wrong, or service is wrong. We're not saying that – it's inferior. He gave us something inferior and we bought it, we believed it.
Then we talk about today's unused Bible. You know, many people said, “Oh, Pastor, do you mean that we shouldn't read it this way?”. No, that is not what I'm saying. I'm saying we should see that the Bible is a masterpiece, not a book of mystery to us. It's like, God, you give me something I cannot understand. And God, is it all half stories, myths? Or is it God, this book is so messed up? What's the chapter here for? What's this book here for? I wish at the end of the series, we could look at the Bible and say, “Whoa, masterpiece! Amazing book! God wants to talk to me. God wants to reveal himself to this book to me.”. You know, some people ask me, “You mean you shouldn’t read commentaries?” – No, no, no, no, no. My point is, when you see a commentary and the Bible, you should look at the Bible and say, “Whoa, God's masterpiece.”. Rather than look at a commentary and think, “whoa, this book is so amazing.” And then the Bible is pushed aside. So it is all about the devil deceiving us and giving us inferior for the real thing. That's what I was trying to get across the last two weeks. Let's not settle for satanic, inferior, imitation products. Nothing wrong with commentaries. But it is not the masterpiece from God; it is a great writing by somebody. There's nothing wrong with that. But don't let that be ahead of the masterpiece. What's wrong with the sanctuary? What's wrong with Sunday worship? Nothing wrong, but don't let that push out the seven S's of Saviour, Scripture, Spirit, Supplication and so on. Alright, so I hope we get everything in context.
So today we want to speak on today's unrecognizable Christians. And as I said, after the sermon on today's unrecognizable church, if Jesus were to walk into the church, he would probably have a hard time recognizing this as his church, which he had left for us a blueprint in the book of Acts. Today, if the Lord was to see Christians in your office, in your homes, and even downstairs eating lunch, he would probably have a hard time recognizing the Christian from the non-Christian. How did we come to this stage? Well, after 2000 years, the Great Deceiver has done it again. Right? And so today we're going to study three things that we have been deceived.
Many of today's Christians are not believers. Number two: many of today's Christians who are believers, are not disciples. And number three, many of today's Christians who are believers, who want to be disciples, are not eager to be discipled. Right. So I hope today you'll see that because Satan has done this amazing work again, he's not called a Great Deceiver for nothing. He's not been asleep for 2000 years, right? He has done his job diligently. And be honest, he's such a Great Deceiver that we often don't know we are deceived. As I said last week, the church, the four S’s – who was the guy who started it all? This guy here, alright, and I never believed I was deceived by by the devil. Right? And yet, because we think the Bible is kind of a myth, it's hard to understand so we don't see clearly anymore like, “Whoa, the blueprint is in Book of Acts!”. We don't say that anymore. We explain things away. You know, it could be just a moral lesson. You know, it's some mysterious teaching; it is very hard to be so black and white, so clear, you know, and that's what happened. So slowly, the blueprint doesn't look blue anymore and doesn't even look like a blueprint anymore. It looks like “Oh, interesting, Acts chapter two.” and then we do our own thing. Right? So please don't get this idea that wow, PC is one not deceived – not true at all, pastors are also deceived. Satan's obviously a smart guy; he has been around a long time. So today, let's look at this situation. And let's look at the first one.
1. Today’s Christians are not believers
Many of today's Christians are not believers. Okay? I say that and again, people will say, “Ah, you are hyping it again. Are you exaggerating? Do you want to be controversial?” Well, let's just see what the Bible says in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day (the day we have to stand before God) many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Look at verse 22. On that day, many will say to me – my goodness, these are people who really believed! They were believers. How can you stand before God and say ‘Lord, Lord’, you know, if you knew you're fake, and even claim ‘I did this, I did this’, you know? Many have been teaching Sunday school and teaching CGs or whatever. They prophesied in Your name; the word prophecy is to speak forth in Your name. We cast out demons in Your name. We did many mighty works in Your name. My goodness, I tell you a lot of projects in this Christian world, amazing projects, could be done by people with natural talents. And if you use the name of Jesus, the demon runs anyway. But were they believers? What does Jesus say? “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”. Now, how did we come to this situation? See, this picture is a cartoon. But it's a very sad picture. There are lots of people marching into church every Sunday. And then we see them falling out of the back end of the church. Picture of them being deceived, thinking all is well. Only on that day will you know the ones who are standing on the rock or the ones who are standing on a concrete floor that is going to crack on that day and they go down. Only on that day will many realize they were never believers. Okay, so I hope this will give you some idea of today's church. How did we get to this stage where there are so many people going in believing and thinking they are believers? I think there are many different reasons for this. One of it is this doctrine of ‘easy-believism’. And I think the devil probably deceived us somewhere along the line in some brilliant tactical way, and probably suggested to us as leaders, “Why you want to reach people one by one? Do you know discipleship is very slow process; takes a long time? Why don't we do things the modern way? Mass produce! So let's have a rally. Let's get thousands in. Let's get a persuasive preacher. Let's get a good song leader. Let's get the right music. And then the preacher can preach, you know, thousands can get saved. What is this nonsense about one discipling one, discipling one; do you know how long it takes? And this devil honestly tells us, “I can help you do God's work better man.”. And so these mass rallies come in and you know, it's like, they preach about hell and tell you there's a way to get out of hell; “raise your hand if you believe and if you raise your hand, now walk down the aisle.” and then the music starts and first one hand goes up, then people look around, oh, the other hand goes up, the guy next to me hand goes up, my hand goes up too. You know, there's something called crowd psychology. We always love to be part of the crowd. That's part of life, alright? And then hands go up. And then the persuasive preacher says, “Come down, come down, walk the aisle, show your commitment.” And then one guy stands up (maybe planted, not planted, don't worry). He walks down and the rest come down. And you know, before you know it, they're all up here in the front. And we tell them “say the sinners prayer and God will save you.”. It's done over and over again. Whoa, many got saved! Really? According to this picture, I don't know! Many came into church thinking they were saved. You say, “Pastor, you're too hard again. You always come up with this kind of stuff. Last week, you speak against Bible schools. You talk about this.”. You know, my point is always: I use the Bible as my lamp, my light. Do you see in the Bible raising of hands? Do you see asking them with music to walk down the aisle? Do you see them standing before the altar and saying the sinner’s prayer? You have to show me a verse. Maybe you can pull one out from somewhere but I'm not convinced. Just as someone asked me today about Bible schools, “Didn’t Paul also have a little class where he taught people in the classroom of Tyrannus?” I said, “Yeah but that's not a Bible school.” You think Paul just gave a lecture like a Bible school? And then when the lecture is over, give out some notes and says, ‘See you guys next week.’. You think Paul did that? As in a Bible school where you see your lecturer giving a lecture and then he goes off? I don't believe Paul did that. I believe Paul taught and then Paul said “Come on, follow me. I'll show you how to do it.”. Now I don't call that a Bible school in today's context. Paul was the guy who discipled Timothy and Titus and all that. Of course, he gave instructions. But he didn't say, “See you next week. Please check your notes. I'll come back next week.”. So, you see, there's a deception that there's something in the Bible that does suggest we are the mega profession, but don't over read in and pack it together and make a pretext out of it. You see, people will say, “Pastor, you're very harsh. You know, during a mass rally, hundreds of people hear the word.” I say, that's true. You know, in a mass rally, churches unite and pray; that's good, that's true. I'm not arguing it. “Do you know that actually my cousin got saved, my auntie got saved, my grandfather got saved?” I know. I'm not arguing. But I'm coming from the viewpoint of not experience or anecdotal. I'm coming from the viewpoint of the Bible. Right? If you show me from the Bible, and even if nobody gets saved, I say “Do it!” but if you show me something that you pull out from here and pull out from there and then you know, hundreds got saved, I’m not impressed. I'm sorry, because I have a guide and it is not called experience. It's not called logic. It's called the Bible. Right? And so, I don't see that in the Bible and then many many come. And when a profession is made, “Wow Pastor, 50 got saved today.”. Really? You can see their hearts? You said 50 made a profession. It’s okay, but you know, you have to check profession. The Bible tells us “You recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:20) and not “You recognize them because they made a profession.”. Look at the fruit of their life. Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit – when you receive Jesus as your Saviour, when you really believe that I'm a sinner, I'm headed for hell, and Jesus died for my sins. He paid the price for my sins. Thank you, Jesus, I trust you as my Saviour. When you really believe that, you receive Jesus. You don't just receive a promise, you receive a person: Jesus. He comes into your life, the Bible calls that born again. You have the DNA of Jesus. You know, it's just like, I have the DNA on my father. People see me, and they know my dad – I walk like him now, I talk like him. Why? They can see. They look at my life and if I say I'm Thomas Choo’s son, they say “I know, I can see.”. But you know, when many Christians say “I'm a Christian”, can you see Christ in them? By their fruit, you will recognize them. So today, we have many people coming in because the key performance index is not the fruit of their life; it is a profession they made once some time ago and affirmed by some well-known preacher or counsellor or whatever. Alright. And therefore Matthew 7:21 says many shall say to me so confidently. Why? Because the preacher affirmed that I made a profession and I'm now a believer. Check your salvation. By your fruit, by your change. We say, leading generations into a life-changing relationship with Jesus – not into some lesson, some creed, some profession, but a life-changing relationship. Have you got a life change? If you have, God bless you, I believe you're likely to be born again. Right? So, we see that when we get people in from easy-believism: hand-raising, walking down the aisle, standing at the altar. Worse still, today we have people who preach another gospel. Instead of Jesus came to save you from your sin, Jesus came to save you from your sickness: health and wealth. And thousands come in. It's cheaper than seeing these expensive doctors in Mount Elizabeth. Right? And they promise you it is far more effective than the cancer oncology department there. And people come to Christ for their sickness and health and wealth. Prosperity gospel comes in and say, “Whoa, God promises you prosperity on Earth!”. Who doesn't want that? And hundreds and thousands believe that, believing that they've received Jesus’ gospel. No, Jesus’ gospel is not prosperity on earth, alright? It is peace with God for eternity and a lot of trials on this earth. So, you see, people are lured into the church by the thousands. So, what happens? People come into the church unsaved but vaccinated against the gospel, because they already say I profess and yet you see the life has no change. But you can never share the gospel with them because ‘I profess already’ and they have enough vaccine in them, so the real gospel cannot go in.
Secondly, the church is filled with unbelievers, it brings shame to God's name. You know, people outside don't read the Bible, they read Christians, you know that. And many people say “how can I believe Christianity? My boss is a Christian, look at his life. My colleague is a Christian. Look at his life. My classmate is a Christian. Help me, I wish there were no Christians in my class. People don't read the Bible, my friends, they read us. And when you have the label Christian and your life is the opposite of that, you shame God's name. And you know another thing, when you have all these people in the church, it clutters up the church. He said, “What do you mean? What do you mean?” You know, it's a lot of energy as a pastor to mentor someone, to try to get him to be a disciple. But if he's not even a believer, you try this, it doesn't work; you try that, it doesn’t work. You spend tons of energy on a guy who has no desire to be a disciple, trying to make him a disciple. Wow, that is tough. But to make a born-again believer a disciple, that's not so hard. Hebrews 8:10 says, “For this is a covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts,”. You see when a guy is already a believer, moulding him to a disciple is not such an impossibility. But when you get unbelievers in, packing your church, and then you try to do discipleship, you try to get them to be like Christians, it is impossible. It's almost like the Singapore army. When we don't have enough conscripts in our army, what do we do next? Let's go to the poor countries and say, “Be a Singapore citizen. You can be a Singapore citizen, alright? All you have to do is join the army, the Singapore army.”. I tell you, you will get 1 million recruits tomorrow and your army will be full. But full of people you can’t train to fight for Singapore, because their heart is not with Singapore. They will come in, they will sap up all the energy of our armed forces to train them. And when the battle comes, not one of them will fight for you. Because it's not written in their hearts or their minds. Nobody does that with their army, but the Christian army is packed with people like that. Okay, so number one, many of today's so-called Christians are not believers.
2. Today’s Christians are not disciples
Number two, many are not disciples. Now, you know the Bible describes us, us who have trusted Jesus, as disciples. You find the word ‘disciple’ hundred over times; only three times the word ‘Christian’ is used. Only three times. Hundreds ‘disciples’ – the word ‘disciple, disciple, disciple, disciple’. I tried to count; I gave up. But you type the word ‘Christian’, only three times. And it was not Christians who named themselves Christians. They were called Christians by others. Let's look at the last line in Acts 11 verse 26, and in Antioch, what did God call His people? The disciples. That's what He called them. We’re first called Christians by whom? By the outsiders. Right, so the word ‘Christian’ was never really used by God for His people. You see the word; what does the word ‘Christian’ mean? Right, another time here, Agrippa, this guy who doesn't believe in God, a godless king, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian? (Acts 26:28). What does the word ‘Christian’ mean? It sounds like the word ‘Singaporean’. What does it mean ‘Singaporean’? You have an ‘a’ ‘n’ at the end. It means you got a Singapore citizenship. That's all. You don't have to want to be a Singaporean. You can be a Singaporean. That's possible. And a lot of people in Singapore, who are Singaporeans, have no intention to be like Singaporeans, to follow the way of Singapore, to follow the lifestyle, to follow the mentality, to follow the dreams – zero, none zero. I'm not against foreigners, but I'm just trying to show you the word ‘Christian’ simply means you join this new club, this new group, that's all it means. Alright. The other time is, if anyone suffers as a Christian (1 Peter 4:16), that means when you join this group, people will start saying things about you. Alright, only three times you find this word. What does the Bible want us to be? Christians or disciples? So today, we always say, “Wow, so many Christians.”. Are you happy with that? I'm not. We want to see disciples. Why? Because that's what God wants. Right? You want your country full of Singaporeans, all of them who don't want to have anything to Singapore, don't want anything to be like a Singaporean? You want that? I don't want that. I hope in due time, they have the same dreams as us, the same desires as us. Alright, it may not happen overnight, but it must if they want to really be followers. So, let's look at Ephesians Chapter two, Verse 8-10, “For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”. You know what a disciple is? Someone who is created in Christ, in the mould of Christ, the DNA of Christ. Right? It's not just a changed name, a changed IC from blue to red, or whatever it is. He's now a new creature. For what? For good works, the works of Christ, to love others, to sacrifice for others, to give. No more me, but God and others. So that's what God wants from us. But today, we're happy to have more Christians. God's not. Alright, so we have been nicely deceived. Ephesians 5:1, “be imitators of God”. Alright. It's not about joining a club, changing IC. It's about changing your life. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” – that's discipleship. It is not about learning something. It's not about saying the singing Majulah Singapura flawlessly. No, it's about a new life. Okay, so I hope today, when you ask yourself, “Am I a disciple?” I'm not asking you whether you attend every class, whether you memorize every verse. There's nothing wrong. Please don't get me wrong when I say these things. But that's not it. Let's look at Revelation Chapter two. Alright, the last book of the Bible, and we see in Revelation Chapter two, and Chapter three, God's telling these churches, His seven churches that are found in Revelation Chapter two, and Chapter three, how does he look at us? Look at verse 2, “I know your works”. Look at verse 19, “I know your work”. Not I know how many verses you memorize, not how many times you went to Bible study. Your works, alright. Verse 20, “he who keeps my works”. Revelation Chapter three, verse 1, third line, “I know your works”. Revelation Chapter three, verse 8, “I know your works”. Revelation Chapter three, verse 15, “I know your works”. How does God measure you, folks? A changed life that does different types of work. Before you work hard for self, how I can get more, more prestige, more power, more prosperity. Now, my works are to glorify God, to bless others. Is that how we are measured, as Christians? No! As Christians, you are not measured this way: your attendance, your attention in class, what you can remember. Hopefully, there's a test quiz, you top it, then you go out. Works? Zero. Okay, so I hope you see here, what God really wants from us. It's very plain, very simple, I know. Your works, Your life. So, I hope today, you and I, who are believers in the house of God, you say, “God, I know I'm a believer. I feel like I am a new creature. I never loved the Bible. Now, I believe it's true. I never prayed for others; I only pray for myself. Now, I pray for others.”. Can you now have works added to the knowledge in your head? I always teach this: head is where information goes in; heart, where you want a passion to do what you learn; and hands when you express it. The world can see your hands, they can’t see head or heart. They see your hands. And interestingly enough, that's how God's going to measure you on that day – “I know your works”. You reached out to this poor person. You reached out to that one who nobody cared for. You reached out, you fed them, you cared for them. How many of us can say that? Alright. So first, not believers. Secondly, not disciples. Now why is it that we are satisfied with just attending classes? Let me tell you something which I call (it's not unique to me) the Greek curse. We have all been cursed by the Greek curse without realizing. You say, what in the world is that? I know COVID but I have not heard of the Greek curse. The Greek curse is this: the Greeks had a very clear line in that philosophy; drawing a line between what was spiritual and secular; what was mental and physical. They drew a clear line. It's called dualism, right? Two. Then what happens was, the mental and the spiritual is lifted up high, and the secular and physical is despised. That's the Greek curse. So, all of us are the same today. We're all being cursed. None of you want your child to be a carpenter. I'm pretty sure of that, alright? None of you want your child to be a tailor; so intense. All of you hope your child is a scholar. The Greek curse! Because this is looked up to as superior. So, what's a good Christian? Not disciple; a disciple is very easy, just follow and become like. What's a good Christian? Know a lot, study a lot, remember a lot. Alright? It's all up there. What about Jesus, Son of God? How did he come down? Carpenter. Very hands on. The greatest theologian in the New Testament, Paul. What was he? A tent maker. Basically, he knew how to sew pieces of leather to make tents. He was like a tradesman, right. A tailor of tents. Oh, my goodness, that is very low in our mindset but not in God's mindset. This head and hands are important, equally important. But the moment we have the Greek curse, we can attend all the classes, never lift a finger to help a poor man, and still be a good Christian. But sorry, can't be a good disciple because Jesus reach down. He helped. In fact, his most important teaching was on the night before he was crucified. He demonstrated his teaching. He washed feet, dirty feet. Now that's not very spiritual. No Greek teacher would do that. No university professor would do that. And probably no good Christians today would do that. But even the lowest disciple would do that. Alright, so the Greek curse has made Christianity a very intellectual pursuit. Okay? And discipleship looks too physical: follow me, do this, see this, touch this, right?
3. Today’s Christians are not eager
The next one, not eager. Some of you will say, “PC, I really want to be a disciple. I really want to.” and I know a lot of you are like that. And I'm thankful for you. But you know, what's your problem? You also are infected by the Greek curse. You say, “What are you talking about now? What new controversy are you bringing up today?”. Let me just say this, okay. Many of you want to be disciples. But discipleship takes a process of time. A lot of time is taken. A lot of energy is taken in discipleship, whether you're a discipler or a disciple. It's time consuming. And you know, we're always short of time. And you know, what is the average Christian? We don't have time. And you know what people will say? “Pastor I cannot be like; I am not so radical, Pastor. I still want to see the world. Pastor, I still want to experience the things in the world. I still want to enjoy my good food pasta.” You know, they talk that way to me honestly. And I like that kind of talk. “I can’t go discipleship, it takes time. I don't have time, Pastor.” “Oh, how much leave do you get at the end of the year?” “I got three weeks, but you know I need to see the world man. I got a bucket list I haven't finished seeing.” And then I have to say, “Excuse me, you have to see the world now? What's your hurry?” “Pastor, one day I will be old, and I cannot walk.” “Are you a believer?” “Yes.” “Do you believe you're going to live forever?” “Yes.” “But there's heaven, Pastor.” You know the idea of Heaven is the Greek curse! It is one white cloud, little one. You get a bit chubby looking like a cherub. You carry a little harp and you sit on your little cloud and you sing for eternity. That's people's idea of heaven. Horrendous. I can't even sing. I can’t play a harp. And I can’t sit still. My goodness, that's heaven? That sounds like hell to me. Alright. But for many Christians, the Greek curse has made their heaven the eternity God has prepared for them sound scary and the only heaven they're going to have is here. So, we better rush and taste this food, try this experience, see the scene we never seen. Wow, cursed brain we have. What is Isaiah 65: 17-19 say? “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth.” Whoa. God's going to make an earth? You mean, something totally new? It's Earth. Understand English? It's Earth, but it's new. “Oh, okay. So, there's going to be an earth? You mean I’m going to walk around in it?” Yes, yes, yes. The earth is the earth, get it? There is Mount Everest on Earth, the new one has Mount Everest, except Mount Everest wouldn't be polluted with old tin cans on it. You can climb the new, you can climb Mount Everest on the new earth except you don't have to pay visa fees and all that kind of stuff. Why? Because you have a new body but it's still the earth. Get it? Earth, right. Romans 8 verse 20-21, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”. This earth, this earth, we want to see so urgently before it's too late. It's going to be better, not gone. Better, right? Oh, okay. I think we read Romans (most of you). Okay, and then we look at Revelation. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life.” This is the new earth. “Bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves were of the tree were for the healing of the nation.” Does this look like the Garden of Eden Chapter one? I mean, Genesis Chapter two? Does it look like Revelation 22? Man, it is the same. There's a river too. There’s a tree. There are fruits. Whoa, okay. And then let's see what we're going to do. In verse five, “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light.” And they will play their harps forever and ever, sitting on a cloud – is that what it says? Oh, my goodness, “they will reign for ever and ever”. Who's the ‘they’? I hope it's you and me. I know I am going to be there. I'm going to reign; not over a little patch called the Garden of Eden. But a new earth, which will be united to a new Heaven, the galaxies. And you know how many galaxies people they think there are? Check Google (I just checked it). More than the sand on the seashore. Number of suns? Sun, right, the sun is the center of our galaxy. The sun is estimated at the moment to be more than the sand on all the seashores of the world. Google. My friend, you and I are going to reign, not over a patch of garden like Adam did, but over a new earth. You know, you think Satan stole the Garden of Eden and Jesus lost round one and that's it? Knockout blow in round one in Genesis? No. Jesus wins big time in Revelation 22. You take the Garden of the Garden of Eden away from man? Ha! That's what Jesus said to Satan. I'll give them the earth a million times bigger and the galaxies, a new heaven and a new earth, for them to reign. Whoa, okay, you have a bucket list. Let me tell you. You have eternity to fulfil. You want to climb Everest one million times? Do it in eternity. You want to see a lake somewhere? The lake is going to be cleaner and nicer when this corruption of this world will be cleaned up by God. And you and I will be there. Bucket list? Are you going to hell? I am going to the new heaven and new earth. I am not going to play a harp and sing like a cute little angel. I am going to be PC, Paul Choo. You say, “Really? You’re going to have a body?”. Of course! Like Jesus, he was the first fruits of our resurrection. What’s Jesus’ resurrected body like? Luke 24:38-39 “And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” You know when they saw the resurrected Christ, they were scared. You know, because you think he’s dead; it is his spirit. You know, if you see a spirit, you shiver. I would shiver; I am not used to; I have never seen spirits. Jesus asks, ‘Why are you troubled?’ “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see.” You know when you touch a spirit you tremble because there is nothing to touch. “Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have”. “And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.” (Luke 24:40-43). My friend, you’re worried you won’t eat something on this earth? You better rush to the fancy restaurant before you lose your teeth and your taste? My friend, when you are in heaven, you have eternity to eat like this. You know why Christians are too busy to be discipled or be disciplers? Greek curse. Woah, heaven, sit up there, ‘Hallelujah God’ all the time? “I better enjoy life now, Pastor!” Matured Christians tell me this! Leaders tell me they have a bucket list to do before it is too late. I say, “do you ever read Revelation?” They look at me like, ‘Of course I read Revelation’. It is not a mystery book. It is plain. New heaven, new earth. River, you get it? River, water, crystal. Tree, fruits, leaves. Get it? Yes. You will reign, okay? “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). He said, ‘Touch my hands, my feet’. Flesh and bones. My friends, we will be flesh and bones. Up there, I am going to see you. You are not going to be some spirit floating around like an angel. I am going to see Derrick, I am going to see Willie, I am going to see all these people. I am going to say, “Hi Willie, you look so much more handsome now. Woah.” And you are going to say, “Pastor, you don’t have that limp anymore.” But it is still me, flesh and bone. My friends, this life is not to finish your bucket list. You’re not going to kick the bucket. You are going to have a new heaven and a new earth. This earth is time to prepare to be Christ-like through discipleship so that you can take your rightful place in Christ’s kingdom. Life on earth is not to finish your bucket list; it is to be as much like Christ as possible while we can and then we go into the eternal state and we will reign with him. You’re more like Christ? You reign with more and you reign over more. You’re less like Christ? It’s like, you want to prepare for a future in a company – if you have enough Masters degrees, PhD degree, you get a big job, get it? If in Primary School you don't want to work hard, you just learn a little bit, one day you go to a company, you will be the cleaner, get it? So, life on this earth is not to finish your bucket list; it is to get as well prepared to be like Christ, so we can take our rightful place in Christ’s kingdom – that is called discipleship. Discipleship is not a giving process (one-way) but it is that we can be ready for this eternal state. Woah. You know, when you try to explain this to ‘matured believers’, it is hard! We have been so indoctrinated by the Greek mind. My friends, Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them. And God said to them ‘Be fruitful and multiple and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” That is called the cultural mandate given to man. God makes a beautiful creation and calls us to magnify, potentialize, make this beautiful creation wider and greater. That is that mandate given to us. And that time, it was a garden. In my time and your time, in eternity, it is called the universe – the new heaven and the new earth. Are you looking forward to that day? If you are as Paul was – Philippians 1:21-24 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” Are you eager like Paul? My desire is to see this glorious day and be with Christ forever, in the new heaven and the new earth. Eager. Satan makes us not eager. Eager to stay as long as we can because we are going to this funny place called heaven, which is so … I don't know how to describe it – spooky? Floaty? Who looks forward to that? I don’t look forward to being a floaty being. I wasn't made for that. I was made, my body and my spirit as one. Adam lost it for me; Christ won back the garden for me and multiplied it a million times. I hope today, all of you will be eagerly looking forward. The gospel light logo, the gospel light thing: know Jesus, grow to be like him, go make others more like him and then look forward to that amazing day when you are prepared for your future. Eternal future. Bright future. We always tell our kids, ‘prepare for your future’. But how long is your future on this earth? 50 years in a company? Long; then you get a super long service award. But we don't prepare for eternity? As a church we are not preparing our people for eternity. You know, we have been so deceived. Revelation; very few Christians read the book. Very few. It is mysterious. I can understand new heaven, new earth. I can understand river, I can understand fruits, I can understand tree, I can understand a lot of things. Isaiah says, ‘Behold, I create a new heavens and new earth’ – I understand the word ‘earth’ and I understand the word ‘new’. Nothing mysterious. So, I hope today God will help us. Everyone in this ecclesia, church. Be a believer, discipling and being discipled, and eagerly waiting for that eternal future – that bright, glorious future that we have been preparing for. May God bless all of you. Today’s Christianity should be like this: Know, Grow, Go. And go where ultimately? To this eternal home we have been eagerly waiting for. God bless you.
Let us close in prayer. Our Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you that we can come. Thank you for Your word. It is true some parts of the bible are very hard to understand but many parts are so easy. Lord, help us to believe. The bible reveals God to us, reveals God’s will to us, reveals God’s eternal plans for us, reveals God always wins. He did not lose round 1 to the devil. He won big time. Thank you, God, for all these things. Our prayer today is that there are people listening today who have not heard the gospel, that they will realise we are all sinners and thank you, Jesus, for dying for our sins, paying the full price for us on the cross and saying, ‘It is finished.’ And promising that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Lord, for all those who are churched, in this church for some time, Lord, we pray that we would encourage one another, disciple one another, be discipled and disciple, that we may all prepare for this future you have prepared for us. Help us, God. Hear our prayer and Lord, in the week ahead, help us to ponder these amazing truths that can change our lives. We thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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