06 Sep 2020
If Jesus Christ visited Gospel Light Christian Church on a typical pre-COVID-19 Sunday, he will have a difficult time recognizing it as his church! Today’s church (with its emphasis on Sanctuary, Sunday, Service & Sacraments) is very different from the churches in the Bible. GLCC aims to be an Acts Church for today with people centered on the Savior, filled with the Spirit, rooted in scripture, faithful in supplication, genuine in sacrifice, effective in soul-winning and joyful in suffering, not a mere Sunday gathering in a beautiful Sanctuary enjoying a well-run Service and partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Thank God for the disruption caused by COVID-19 that will help us to re-look, reboot and rebuild an Acts church for today!
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Today, we're going to begin a short series of just three messages. And all three are inspired (I almost used that word) – inspired by Covid-19 pandemic.
The first message is, ‘Today's Unrecognizable Church’. Now, for many of us, we know our life has been so severely affected. Our health is threatened by the virus, the economy is damaged, our lives are disrupted, and our church is scattered. So, when I go to the prayer meetings in church – through zoom, of course – I hear a lot of people praying what I would consider discouraging prayers; prayers of discouragement, like, “God, you know how we are all separated?”, “God, you know how we want to gather together.”, and “God, we pray that you will help us to get back.”. You know, it's like we have been exiled for a while, you know, not Babylon, but into our beautiful, comfortable homes. And so, there's this prayer that “God bring us back to the normal situation where we can enjoy the good things that you have given us all these years as Gospel Light Christian Church.”. And so that's the prayer. But yet at the same time, we hear this prayer, like, there's a concern. If we do get back, there'll be a new normal, and you know, the new normal is not going to be the good old days. The new normal will be something like this, like, “Oh, we're going to have fewer people, you know, Pastor. I believe fewer people will come back because you know, many of them got used to the comfort of worshipping at home. And some, you know, Pastor, some are actually sermon-shopping. And you know, they go to other churches and they listen, and you know, I'm sure there are a lot of good preachers around. And I'm sure some are pretty bored by our verse-by-verse, you know, take three years to go through Matthew kind of thing. They need something they feel is more motivational or whatever. And, you know, Pastor, many of those will never come back. And you know, our church will not be the same. In other words, even if we do get back to normal, it won't be the good old days.”. Well, this morning, there was a scripture reading from Acts, chapter eight. And let's look at this scripture reading. We won't go through all of them; there were so many verses that we read this morning. But we will just look at the first verse. I think 2000 years ago, a group of people felt exactly the same way. These were the early church. In Acts, chapter eight, verse one, it says, “And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”. Wow, that's a lot worse than pandemic! That's a persecution. Well, a pandemic, you just huddle in your house. You know, hopefully the virus wouldn't fly into your house. In a persecution, they look for you. They enter your house, they take you, you know. So, they were going through a lot worse than we were and they weren't just scattered into their houses. They were scattered throughout the regions. They needed to run for their dear lives. Now, how do you think these people felt? Well, when we read the scripture reading this morning, just verse 4 of the same chapter says, ‘and they that were scattered, preached the word everywhere’. And if you have time to read further, and I believe most of you in Gospel Light have read the book of Acts, and you realize, contrary to what these people felt, that “Oh my goodness, we were this wonderful church. We were growing day by day. We are multiplying every day. People were added daily. People were coming to the church. We were thousands in Jerusalem. And now look at us! We are scattered everywhere!”. Whoa, that's not good. And you know, I can imagine their minds. This is the end of this amazing church that God raised at Pentecost. But you know, if you read the book of Acts, this was the beginning – the beginning of the church. Before that, it was a little church within the four walls of Jerusalem. It was a local Jewish church. But after Acts, they moved on to Judea and Samaria, and if you just read a couple more chapters, they went beyond that to literally the uttermost parts of the world. And before you know it, three generations later, they had literally filled the whole Roman world, from east to west, from top of society to bottom of society, with believers. Wow. They needed that persecution to scatter them. You see, by nature, we like to gather. We are social beings. By nature, we feel comfortable and secure when there are large numbers. You know, remember the story of Babel – the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). Great Flood – the world was depleted. Noah and his few children came out of the ark. And God said, “Go, fill the world; fill the earth.”. What did they do? They did the opposite. They went to the plain of Shinar (Genesis 11). They built a tower so that that tower will be the rallying point; so that people would gather together; so they would be huddled together; so there would be a lot of people in one place. And what did God do? He didn’t send a persecution that time. He sent a confusion. He confused their languages. They began to babble. In other words, nobody knew what the other guy was saying. That's the beginning of this confusing world we live in where everybody speaks a different language. So, it's the same deal. After that, they went to the world and they filled the world and the world was filled with human beings. In Acts chapter eight, same story: man wants to gather again in the four walls of this place called Jerusalem; hear the great apostles preach, “Wow, we can hear them!”. And God scatters them throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. And that was the beginning of a new normal – the worldwide church; the international church of Jesus Christ.
Today, are we discouraged that the pandemic has scattered us from the four walls of this building into our homes, or are we seeing something from the Bible which we say is our foundation? Alright? Or are we praying to go back to the good old days? And now let's take a few moments and look at the good old days. Today's church, or can I say, maybe the pre-pandemic today's church: what was the pre-pandemic church like? What was it characterized by? I can tell you, when you talk to the average Christian, and I'll say nine out of 10, when they you mention the word ‘church’, what do they think of immediately in their mind? A building! You know, they will say, “Oh, my church is in Punggol.”. Wow. Your friends would say, “Wow, that's a nice church!”. You know, what they meant was, ‘my building is in Punggol’ and ‘my sanctuary is in Punggol’. Let's use a sacred word because building sounds too secular. And “Wow, you have a nice church!” – what they meant is, they have a nice building. You know, so when people talk about church, they think of the sanctuary. Nine out of 10. Don't pretend to be so spiritual that you don't think of church that way. I know that because I hear you talk. Right? And that's what you say. And I understand that. Many of you prayed for this building. You paid for this building. You're proud of this building. You love this building and you want to get back. I understand that.
The second character of today's church is ‘Sunday’. It's a Sunday thing. What is church? Church is a Sunday thing, man. Imagine trying to do church, trying to have church on Friday. People will freak out. How come? That's not church! Don't even think of Thursday or Monday. Saturday, you know, I got emergency work. I'm a doctor, I can’t come on Sunday. You know, I work in a hotel, I can’t come. Okay, okay, just come on Saturday. But you don't feel like it's church. It's not a Sunday thing. So, for many people, church is a Sunday thing. That's the way we operate. That's the way we've been brainwashed.
What else about today's or the pre-pandemic church that many want to go back to? It's about a service. You know, when you go to church, things must be done properly alright, Pastor? Make sure the wardens are at the gate; make sure the parking is orderly; make sure the escalators work; the lifts are all on time; everything's good. And when you come up, there are people welcoming you – a welcome committee all set, all already. And then you come to the hall, the ushers are all there. Wow. And then when you sit down, everybody looks very proper because it's a service. You sit down. And then you know what we need? A worship leader. He's got to come up and preferably with a whole bunch of instruments behind him so that he can lead us in worship. Pastor, it's a service, you know? And then what else? Well, we need a qualified man to preach the Word of God to us. It's a service, Pastor. We can't just have anybody come and preach. He must be qualified. And then you know, the offerings must be taken and the whole deal makes the service because without that, how can it be church?
And lastly, possibly this one not so commonly, but I've noticed this even during this time we're scattered is, “Hey, Pastor, we can't take the Lord's Supper! You know, there's no ordained man to give us the Lord's Supper. My CG leader is not ordained. He's not the right Reverend.”. You know, so, church must have the ordained guy so that he can hand out the plates and the cup so that it's proper.
What is wrong with today’s church?
So, you know, these are the common things that characterize the church. And you say, “What's wrong with this, Pastor? Isn't this what church is all about?”. Well, certainly, in today's idea of church, this is church. No question. You question this at the risk of sounding crazy. Whether you are a Bible school president or whether you are anyone, you don't question these things. These are sacred cows! You must never touch these cows. So, what happens now? This COVID virus has ruined all this. We lost all this. So, have GLCC lost its vision? The dream, the GLCC dream; this beautiful sanctuary which we contributed to; this Sunday which we all come in great inconvenience from different parts of the island to gather here; this wonderful service that has evolved over the years; the worship is better, and the ushers are better, and everything runs better. And Pastor, it's gone because of this virus. Have we lost the GLCC vision? Well, I believe from the prayers I hear, it does sound that way – that we have lost and we will never get this back. But really, what is the GLCC vision? The GLCC vision is to be an Acts church for today; not a today's church for today. Now there's a world of difference. The Acts church doesn't quite look like the today's church. You say, “What do you mean, PC? What do you mean, Pastor?”. Well, this is all from GLCC. If you have been a Gospel-Lighter for many years, you should know this by heart. This should be like, you know, like the national anthem we sing. This is our church’s dream. How can we all dream together if we have different dreams? So, this is the dream. This is all on our website. This is all in our talk. We dream of being like the Acts 2 church in the book of Acts. Let me tell you a little bit about the history of this. The history of this is very, very simple. When we moved to this building, we were concerned that the building would dictate what we would be. So, Pastor Jason very wisely said, “Let's all gather and figure out what our church should be. And let's study from the only church manual in the whole Bible, which is the book of Acts.”. Let me I repeat that – the only church manual. You can't use the Gospels – at the time of the Gospels, the church was not yet. Jesus hadn't died and risen from the grave. The church was not yet. You can't take it from the epistles because by the time of the epistles, the church was already established. There were churches in Colossae, in Philippi, etc. The letters that Paul wrote, the epistles, were written to already established churches that had certain problems. And Paul wrote those letters. So, the only church manual we have, as Pastor Jason very wisely said, is Acts. And so, let's look at the book of Acts. So, we studied Acts two. And the leaders of the church came up with the seven characteristics of the Acts church. And let me go through them just for refresher purposes, if you're a Gospel-Lighter. We should be centered on the Savior, filled with the Spirit, rooted in Scripture, faithful in supplication, genuine in sacrifice, effective in soul-winning and joyful in suffering. Now, if you look carefully at this, I can't see a building there. I can't see a sanctuary there. I can't see a Sunday there. I can't see a church service there. And to be honest, I don't see ordained men there giving out the sacraments. Oh, okay. Did the COVID virus steal away our vision? No, it didn't. The vision is totally intact. There is not one of these seven things you can’t do in your home, in wherever you are scattered this morning. In fact, I'll be honest with you, if you look at the seven and have a quick look at them. Honestly the COVID virus has helped you. In the past, you came and you sat here. Did you have to be rooted in the scriptures? No. You just need to be listening to the scriptures. Did you have to be faithful in prayer? No, the pastor prayed for you. Did you have to be genuine in sacrifice? What sacrifice? You take a bus here. Did you have to be effective in soul-winning? Let the pastor do it. Next Easter – Easter is coming; let's invite them. Christmas is coming; let's invite them. Let the pastor do it. Do you need to be joyful in suffering? What suffering? This is comfort zone! This is beautiful. You see, to be very honest with you, the Coronavirus took none of these things. In fact, to be honest, it helped set the stage for you to be more effective in these seven things. Hey, you got to start praying. Because your kids didn't go to Sunday school for a while. You got to be one that knows the scriptures. You got to lead your family. Hey, buddy, alright? Hey, you got to lead your kids to the Lord, you know that? The Sunday school teacher is not here. You know all these seven things are far more pressing thanks to COVID-19. Let's go on and just see. You know, Pastor Jason's a master at making things simple. This is seven; that's a lot to remember and a lot of you can’t remember this. But hopefully, you can remember this: the GLCC mission is ‘Leading generations into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.’. Simple. Plain. It's not about a building; it’s not about a service; it's not about a Sunday. It's leading people. It's not a place-centered thing; it’s not a program-centered thing; it’s not a priest-centered thing. It's you, alright. So, we see here, Pastor Jason’s mastery. You can't even remember those two or three lines. He gives you three words. What is the GLCC mission? To know your Savior – hear the gospel. To grow to be more like him – that's called discipleship or sanctification. And then to go make disciples. Wow, I hope we can remember these three words. Now, I don't see a sanctuary there. I'm sorry, I don't see a Sunday. I don't see a service there. So, what have we lost? Nothing! So, what is the church? Is it those four S's that seem to be embedded and tattooed on our brains? No, the church is people! When I come on Sunday, in the good old days (we always use the word ‘the good old days’ even if they weren't so good), and what do I see? Do I see a building? Frankly, I don't care about this building. Neither does God, I'd be honest with you. Christ never died for a bunch of dead bricks or steel or chairs; but every soul is precious. What is church? Church is people! People; not sanctuary, not Sunday, not service, and not sacrament. People! Life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. What is church? You! You lost your church? What do you mean? You died? No, you are church. When people say, “Where is church?”, your answer as a Gospel-Lighter should be, “Here. Hey buddy, here!”. Alright? Point the finger at yourself because we are church. We are the church. Let me give you the Greek fancy word for what we call ‘church’. In the Bible, over 100 times, this word is used – Greek word, ‘Ekklesia’. Every time a church is mentioned or God's Church is mentioned, it is called ‘Ekklesia’ in the New Testament. ‘Ekklesia’ comes from two words. Again, I don't want to confuse you. The ‘Ek’ comes from what you and I can see on a door – exit; the ‘ek’ means out. The ‘klesia’ comes from the word, ‘to call’. Basically, the church is a group of called-out people! You, wherever you are! You are called out from a world of sin, a world of emptiness, a world of hopelessness. You are called out to a great future. You are called out to a meaningful, satisfying life; to be more and more like your Creator, your Savior, like Jesus Christ. Wow.
So, what have we lost in this time? Nothing. All right, we lost a comfort zone. We lost a misconception. In fact, I can say we lost a satanic deception. You say, “Wow, Pastor. You’re hard. You're harsh.”. Then people will say, “Pastor, how come? How come all of us, when you say church, we think of those four things? How come? How come you're so different? How come you're so smart? Are you a smarty pants?”. No. Let me tell you how I think those four S’s came about, alright? Let me give you a story. This story is imaginary. It's a story in my brain. It doesn't and probably never took place. But it tells you a good lesson. Alright, so this imaginary story. Long, long ago, somewhere, Satan was fuming mad. Again, this is a story – don't ask me which book or which part of the Bible it came from. Satan was fuming mad. And of course, what is he mad about? He's always jealous of God. And so Satan says to all his advisors. You know, he has a board of advisors. He said to them, “I am so sick. People always want to worship God. What's wrong with them? How do we stop people from worshiping God?”. And you know, his first advisor in his board of demons, the number one advisor said to him, “Satan, it is easy. Just tell these people that there is no God.”. Whoa, Satan really fumed even more – smoke came out of his years. He said, “What? Are you stupid? Everybody knows there's a God. You look at the world. You look at the creation. Who made it? Came out from dust? From evolution? Are you stupid?”. And so, he told the first advisor of his, “Get out, you idiot.” and looks at the second advisor, “I hope you have something better and smarter than that idiot that I kicked out.”. The second guy said, “Satan, I am not as idiotic. But let me tell you what we can do. We tell people there's a God, like you said. Everybody knows there's a God. But tell them, “Don't worship God”. Satan nearly fell off his chair. He said, “Are you madder and stupider than the first guy? If there's a God, everybody will want to worship him, right? Get out!”. Then he looked at the third guy and said, “Hey, you better come up with something smart. I'm tired of all you idiots.”. And then the third guy said, “Satan, so easy. You’re right; tell them there is a God. You’re right; tell them there is a God and to worship God. But Satan, just tell them to worship God in a particular place, at a particular time, only when there's a particular program, and only when there is a particular priest, then you worship God.”. “Ha!”, Satan said, “You’re brilliant! Brilliant. What shall we call it?”. He said, “Religion, instead of relationship. You know, God wants a relationship with people. We give them an imitation. We give them a religion.”. And Satan said, “Whoa, you are a genius.”. And that's a story. But it's plausible. It's plausible that this whole thing, these four S’s that we have made sacred as if it came from the Word of God, actually came from the depths of hell. The deceit! Today, there are different buildings, different shapes – some tall spires, some like onions on the top, some gold, some ornate. People go to a particular place at a particular time for a particular service conducted by a particular priest (or call him whatever you like). He has special robes, he has special titles – he is kind of like the emcee for these things. And so, the whole world swallowed that. You know, we always think “Oh, Satan deceives our kid with pornography; deceives this guy with alcohol; deceives this guy with drugs.”. Let me tell you, Satan's too smart. Not all of us will fall into pornography. Not all of us want to smoke. Not all of us want to go into drugs. But all of us are easily deceived when it comes to religion. And why waste time with frills? Get to the core. Hit the church. Hit the core. Hit the people of God, right between the eyes. So, it sounds so hard. It sounds so harsh but I hope you will think this through. You say, “PC, that's a story, man. That's a story.”. Let me tell you. The church in the book of Acts was nothing like the four S's. The only church manual we have, church-planting manual, the book of Acts, describes nothing like the four S's of sanctuary, Sunday, service, and sacraments. None, nothing like that. Wow. Then you say, “How did it become like that? How come people were deceived?”. Let me tell you a bit about church history and this is not a story; these are facts. But let me summarize it. The early church that was the book of Acts, for 300 years, they were scattered and persecuted by the Roman Empire. The Romans believe Caesar is God, not Christ. And how dare you bunch of people say, “Christ is king”. The Christians will say, “How dare you say Caesar is king? Wake up.” And so, whenever there were Christians, they were persecuted because they would not acknowledge Cesar as God nor king. And so, they were scattered as we saw in Acts chapter eight, verse one. And so, they were scattered, really persecuted and scattered, or if they were in big groups, they got caught. It's hard to catch people when they're here, there and everywhere. But when they gathered in big groups, they were caught and they were martyred for their faith: thrown to the lions, beheaded, impaled on a stake, oil was thrown them, lit them like fires – for 300 years! But you know what? As they scattered more and more because of the persecution, they grew more and more. But in the year 312 (this is history; this is not a story), roughly 300 years after the death and resurrection of Christ, a Roman general who later became Emperor Constantine, was in a very severe battle. And in this battle of Milvian bridge, he said he saw a cross in the sky and the words in this sign, “conquer”. And so, he won the battle. And you know what? This Emperor became a Christian and the persecution stopped. And the church, over time, became part of the Roman Empire; not persecuted but very much a part of the Roman Empire. Now, you know, the Romans were the most organized guys. They had very impressive buildings, they were very well-organized. They had very structured hierarchy in the military. They wore uniforms. They were very organized. And slowly, the church, from a family, people with a relationship with Christ, became part of an organization very much like the Roman organization. And that's the church today. So from 300 AD till pandemic 2020, that has been the church. And nobody would say a word about it. Because it's too sacred. It's too sentimental for people. But I dare say this in my own church, in Gospel Light, because we believe the Bible. Our vision is not to be the biggest today's church, or the best today's church, or whatever. It is to be an Acts church. And so, what is the Acts church that we aim to be? Well, simple. Jesus modeled it. Jesus, the master teacher, said a few things. And whatever he said was a story but most of all, he said, “Follow me”. And for three years, he preached to thousands. He discipled a handful. Can I repeat that? A handful. He never had a classroom. He never had a building. He said, “foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”. He never had a place to sleep, let alone a place to worship. And what he do? He led these men. He said, “Follow me”. And after three years, he went on the cross and rose from the dead. And he left a model for the coming church in Pentecost. A small group. You know, these men, these handful of men were discipled by him. They saw his life. They learnt what it meant to invest their life into another group of people as he (Jesus) had invested his life into their lives. Right. And so, Jesus left that model. But of course, Constantine had to be so kind to the church that he stopped the persecution and he invented a new church that we like. Let me tell you that. Constantine didn't give us something we didn't like. Our human nature loves that comfort zone. Not Christ-zone. And so, what happens is, “You say, oay, okay, PC. That's the early church. It can’t work today. It doesn't work today. We are all used to big things.”. Really? Okay. Let me tell you about the fastest growing church in history. A church very near here. You know, in 1976, at the end of the Cultural Revolution, the West or the world, rather, said, “There are no more Christians in China. Can't find a single one. They have disappeared.”. All the years of cultural revolution. It wasn't Cesar; it was Chairman Mao that fixed them. Missionaries were thrown out. Bible schools were closed. Churches were closed. Everything was closed. Roughly a million believers before the Cultural Revolution became zero, as far as the world could see. You know what? There were men and women who couldn't go to the four S’s that they had gone to from the time of the early missionaries who built nice, beautiful churches for them. The four S's were taken from them and they were forced to be house churches (the terminology sometimes would be ‘underground church’). And over; the four S’s were over, and people thought the church was over. Today, there is an estimated number of 100 million Christians in China, from nothing. Hey, 1976 is not a long time ago. I was already a doctor at that time. It's not ancient history like Constantine. My friends, before our eyes, a 100 million Christians came up without the four S's. Today, the problem is the four S’s have come back to China and again, say forget that church now. But maybe the new chairman has plans to help the church again by scattering them. I don't know. Now, this is a real picture. This one here. The man there is a man who introduced me into China. I saw these things. I said, “Wow, amazing.” Just huddles of people. And you know how they spread? Whoa. mind boggling. So, next question. “Oh, my goodness. Pastor, are you saying that this is the end of Punggol? Pastor Jason would have no more work. All our pastors will be out of a job. You know, we will all be in our CGs, growing and multiplying from one CG to two, two to four, four to eight.”. Well, not so fast. Not so fast. You mean this bill is going to be useless, Pastor? Not so fast, alright. Ephesians, chapter four, verses 11 and 12. On the one side, we see the ESV version which I think has helped me a lot because I used to read KJV and it had really messed me up a lot on this verse. Alright, it says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (shepherds are pastors; that is another word) and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”. So, our dear Pastor Jason, and all the pastors here have work to do. They have to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Now, very quickly, look at the KJV version, the King James Version, and you see a comma at the end of the first line of verse 12. Would you follow me? At the end of verse 12, first line, you see a comma, “For the perfecting of the saints,”. Comma! And that comma messed me up for years. I wanted to be a pastor. And I said, “What's my role, Lord?”. Well, I am to equip the saints; perfect the saints. Number two, I have to do the work of the ministry. You see the comma broke up that sentence, verse 12. In the ESV, it says, “to equip the saints for the work”. The saints are to do the work. Pastor, you are the training man. You are the SAFTI, the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute. You train man. But because of that silly little comma, which is totally unnecessary, it looked like I had three duties to do as a pastor. I had to equip the saints, I had to do the work of the ministry, and to build up the body of Christ. But thank God. One day, I realized, that's ridiculous. People in the book of Acts did the work of the ministry. They didn’t sit down and ask the pastor to do the work of the ministry. So, our pastors are not going to be out of a job. Relax. It is going to be busy for him, alright? First Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?”. We didn't lose the sanctuary. We are the sanctuary. We are the temple. Not this brick here. Alright, we are the temple. Don't you know that? Wow. What an indictment. What is the New Testament age? You ask me, “What is the New Testament age?”. I say it is the age of the Holy Spirit; that's what it is. We are so blessed that every other religion, you go to the temple to worship but in our wonderful New Testament faith, God comes to us. Whoa, just as on the cross, other religions try to find a way to God, but Christ came down to the cross for us. He came among man and died for man. What a God. In the Garden of Eden, right at the beginning, God walked in the garden. And in the last days, in the new heaven and new earth, God will dwell among man. That's our God and yet, we want to follow other religions. We want to have a place of worship, so we can go and meet our God. My friends, God meets us. He dwells in us. We are the sanctuary of God. Alright. So, our pastor Jason only has to do this: he has to help us understand (which he did last week in the message). We have one rule. He's going to train us on how to make disciples of all people (Matthew 28, verse 19). The job is ours. He is the trainer. Alright? And this is our training center. These four walls are our training center. You say, “But pastor, isn't it hard to make disciples? Sounds so difficult!”. Ask mother duck, “How do you make ducks like you? What school did you go to, mama duck?”. And mama duck will say, “No school. They just follow me. They spend enough time with me and every one of these ducklings one day will be like me.”. Jesus said, “Follow me” and mama duck said, “Follow me”. And all the world has understood discipleship except the church.
So, what have we got? Are we going to come back after the vaccine is discovered? The silver bullet has come; hallelujah! We're all free to go back to Satan's trap. Is that what you are aiming for, Gospel-Lighters? Is this place beautifully provided by God going to be a trap for you and me? Hey, it seductive! It is air-conditioned. It has soft seats. It has beautiful music. It has great fellowship. Is it going to trap you? Or at the end of the pandemic we will say, “Yes, thank God for this building but it's going to be God's training camp for all of us.”. Wow. The choice is yours to make. Alright, God has given us this sacred freedom to make choices. As pastors, as preachers, we preach truth. We hope truth will set you free. But it's up to you. Do you want to be seduced back to be a comfortable Christian sitting in the pews, looking so good in your Sunday best? So sacred? Not a whisper during the service? Or do you want to be enrolled in God's training camp? You decide your future. You want to be this? Happy, happy, we all retire with our friends. We have been in the same CG for 30 years. We have prayed for one another's children till they have grown up and their grandchildren. We have a good life and we can now, in our old age, all gather together and fellowship and sing just as you do in most retirement homes? Is that what you want for Gospel Light? Or is this what you want? You decide. Pastor Jason is willing to train. All the leaders of this church understand this. But you know, we thank God for COVID that helped us. Just like Acts chapter eight, verse one. It is hard to move people who are comfortable, but the pandemic made us uncomfortable. And so, this could be you being trained to go out and reach the world for Jesus Christ; not to come in here and retire here. My friends, our retirement is forever, in eternity; our rest is in the new heaven and new earth. And that's the third message for this sermon. You know why many Christians always want rest now? They don't even know what the new heaven and new earth is like. They haven't a clue. They think you go up there in the cloud all by yourself and twang your little harp. “I better have my bucket list now and do all the things that I want to do before I go, man! I better be comfortable, enjoy things, eat things I never eaten, see things I've never seen, climb mountains I’ve never climbed. You know why? Because one day, I can't do it anymore!” Really? Says who? Alright? And so, the choice is yours today. Are you going to moan or are you going to say, truly Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together”, including this virus? I know it brought pain, it brought suffering; it bought a lot of disruption; it damaged the economy and it killed some of us. But you know what? It brought a new church. A church that can change the world. The church is measured by sending capacity, not its seating capacity. Now let me just say this, and I end with a figure. If pastor Jason has his way and you all say, “Here am I.” Let me look at this. Pastor Jason is about 40 over years old. He will be my age 30 years from now. If our church has hundred converts a year, every year, we will add 3000 more after 30 years. After 30 years, we have 3000 more. But if pastor Jason disciples one disciple-making disciple, after 30 years, when he's my age, he will have 1 billion over converts. Check me out on this. Check me out on this. I got an engineer with his calculator and said, “I want to figure.”. Dead on. Accurate. I believe he's correct. Do you know that pastor Jason, when he is my age, could have a church of 1 billion disciple makers? The next generation would be 2 billion after one more disciple-making group. Just imagine that! If every disciple made one disciple in one year. Now, my friends, do you think God understands Mathematics? Yes. That's how he put two animals out of the ark and they filled the world. Because each one multiplied. It wasn't one multiplier. It wasn't one pastor bringing in 100 converts a year. It was each one multiplying. You've seen rabbits multiply. You’ve seen viruses multiply. You know what it means to be viral and when every virus multiplies itself. You know how fast it moves. So, my dear brothers and sisters, COVID is rebooting. It's just a reboot that we could not do without God's intervention. And so, may I encourage you wherever you are, that this is the beginning. If you will be a disciple maker, you can disciple your kids at home. If you know the government doesn't allow you to have a single guest at home, you got kids. You got your mom. You got your sister. And you begin right there. Make disciples. And you know what? God will do the rest his way; by multiplication. So, may God bless you.
Let's now bow for a word of prayer. Our Father, we thank you for this time. Thank you for this simple message. Too simple. Thank you, Lord, that You know what's best for us. We don't have the strength. We don't have the wisdom. We're easily deceived. And yet, God, today by your great mercy, open our eyes and speak to us. Make us the Acts church for today. Thank you, God. You can do amazing things. For those who are discouraged, Lord, encourage them. For those who are confused, clarify these things. And Lord, we know as we come into the center of your will to seek your kingdom and your righteousness, all these things, our daily needs, will be added unto us. So, God, hear our prayer. Answer our prayer. We pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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More Episodes from Pastor Paul Choo:
26 Nov 2023
18 Jun 2023
12 Mar 2023
27 Nov 2022
20 Nov 2022
24 Dec 2021
16 Jun 2021
20 Sep 2020
Episodes from other sermons:
26 Nov 2023
23 Jul 2023
18 Jun 2023
28 May 2023
07 Apr 2023
12 Mar 2023
25 Dec 2022
20 Dec 2022