Introduced myself. Optional (Experiment) – Start by saying what not to do when leading worship. Glad to share the last bit, because if there is anything that should get Christians EXTREMELY excited, this is it.(Read the creed out)We can be confident in proclaiming this as the apostle Paul puts it eloquentlyFor if we have become united with Jesus in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5)This is the HOPE all children of God longed for, the HOPE that millions of Christians hold dearly, the HOPE that is assured for us in Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). If you have been a Christian for many years and you know of these truths, but if you are not excited about this prospect, if you’re unmoved, then no words could describe just what you have missed. And since I have a reputation in Southampton of misplacing my foot, usually in my mouth, I will go further to say that if you are unmoved by the prospect of eternal life, then you probably have not understood the true value of God’s gift of salvation to mankind.
Let’s hear what the prophets have to say on eternal life! The saints celebrated & rejoiced in the hope of eternal life with God. But what about us here in WH? What comes to mind when you hear of (read the creed). Always be ready when people ask you to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). (I was also called cheonghei. Simple questions, simple truths)(Story of me asking Malaysian and Singaporean Christians in Southampton on why they believe in God during bible studies)I’ll share mine.
A place where God will be dwelling among men, and a place without mourning, crying or pain. This means a lot to me. We don’t need to think hard why this is so. I’ll use Paul’s colorful vocabularies to describe just one of the aspects of why this in not the world where we should put our hopes and dreams in(Romans 1:29-32) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.(Rom 8:22) Creation groan and suffers the pains of childbirth. That is why I only put my hope in God and things eternal.When I was given the sermon topic to share, I wanted to share something relevant to three things: resurrection, eternal life, and something that most of us could identify with, and, struggle with as urban dwellers.By an large, most of us at WH can be considered middle to upper middle class citizens with stable careers. Scouring through the bible, I found Luke 18:18-30.
Ruler, in Luke, a term too broad to permit precise identification of the man’s background. But we can certainly identify with the social status of this person, and his outlook on God’s plan for His people. In this passage we see a sincere young man, who was already rich, desiring to discover if any deeds has been overlooked in qualifying for eternal life. Jesus answered with a reply that puzzled many scholars. And we see Jesus doing that very often.Remember Nicodemus? Or Nathanael who was skeptical about Jesus being the messiah? “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” What was Jesus’ answer? “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you”. As if the right switch was pressed, Nathanael’s responded “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel!” (Use an example of a similar situation in a modern day setting. Skeptical seeker perhaps?)It is He is able to discern man’s thoughts through the Holy Spirit, and He uses it to correct, rebuke, teach, or exhort others as required. In this passage, the young ruler probably had several assumptions that are not correct. Those were deemed serious enough for Jesus to correct it immediately. The young ruler probably thought that there are actually many good teachers. By good I mean good enough that they themselves already inherited eternal life and are able to point others to it. The young ruler probably thinks that he already have most of what it takes to be considered good himself.BAM! Like a smack in the face, Jesus corrected him with the truth “No one is good except God alone!”
Jesus moved on to address the young man with the usual standard of righteousness most pious Israelites would already know. The man, just like Saul before his conversion, was faultless in keeping the law.
Jesus now homes in to the heart of the second and tenth commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods”, “Thou shall not covet”. Before Jesus could show the young ruler the way to eternal life, He first dealt with the rulers attitude towards his possessions.If he wants to be perfect, then he must put God first and trust in Him. (Genesis 15:1) Do not be afraid. I am your shield, your very great reward. It is obvious that, in the young ruler’s point of view, his shield and protection comes from money, for he was extremely rich.
Jesus’ statement is not only applicable to rich people. Even the disciples were shaken! Hearing for themselves Jesus’ interaction with this ruler probably realized that they too will probably might be in the same boat. A man so sincere in seeking God ended up very sad. What about them? Did they put their trust in something else too? It is no wonder they uttered (read verse)
Luke 18:18-30 was chosen because I wanted the opportunity to invite everyone to examine their hearts. Even when I read the passage, I see myself exhibiting the same anxiousness & inability to entrust God with my life. (Jeremiah 17:9) “The heart is more deceitful than all else. And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?(Proverbs 21:2) Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.All may seem well to us, but the opposite might be true.Just like the rich young ruler, some of us don’t even realize that God has been relegated down in the list of our priorities. (Read the creed)There are serious implications to those who truly believe with the statements of the creed, implications that many of us will struggle with. Have we taken things for granted? (2x)There are 3 groups of people I pray to reach out today
- But are unwilling to take up their cross and follow Jesus.
And put off carrying their cross until it is more convenient for them.I am too poor to serve God. I need to establish my career first. There are other more important priorities. All these are life’s worries. If you have these thoughts, let me warn you, do not be deceived by the father of lies. Serving God only when everything is going well for us is just another way of saying to God that He has no place in our hearts. Period. If you do not serve God when you are poor or struggling, what makes you think you will serve Him when you are rich? Are we trying to say that with more money, we will suddenly love God? No, you will be choked by life’s pleasures instead. Unless you can manage to shove a fully grown camel through the eye of the needle. But let me tell you one thing. If you are poor. If you are struggling. If you are small. This is the best time to serve the Lord! (Mark 12:41-44) Poor widow’s offering greater than all that have donated in the treasury.
Do you find it impossible to serve God in whatever conditions you are in?
Knowing fully well the God should be the priority in their livesWho seek righteousness and to do what is right before GodEven now, God will not shortchange you as you give your life to Him. And rejoice, because your crown and the gift of eternal is secured in Christ Jesus.
Am I advocating the everyone sell away their possessions and your car to give to the poor? Quit your jobs and become missionaries? No. We don’t barter trade with God. I give you this and you give me that. For some will be called to positions of great responsibility & leadership, some to manage great wealth, some even celebrity. God is not interested in materialistic wealth. He owns the universe anyway. What is another Audi to him? It is our hearts that he is concerned about.
My prayer for all“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)(Prayer for the congregation)Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
112512 resurrection and eternal life - lee chong yew
The Apostles’ CreedI believe in the resurrection of the body And the life everlasting Amen!
The Apostles’ CreedYou who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy! (Isaiah 26:19)O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? (Hosea 13:14) … to live is Christ and to die is gain! (Philippians 1:21)
My Hope in God “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men,and He will dwell among them, and they shall beHis people, and God Himself will be among them,and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes;and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelations 21:3-4)
The Rich Young RulerA ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
The Rich Young Ruler You know the commandments, „DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DONOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.‟” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
The Rich Young RulerWhen Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shallhave treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
The Rich Young RulerAnd Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it isfor those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom ofGod! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
So how is the passage relevant?I believe in the resurrection of the body And the life everlasting Amen!
(1) Those who only pay lip service to God Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; They believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. (Luke 8:13) Not everyone who says to Me, „Lord, Lord,‟ will enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
(2) Those choked by life’s worries and pleasures The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast .(Matthew 22:2) But the people paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business (Matthew 22:3)
The Rich Young RulerBut Jesus said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
(3) Those who are walking with the Lord And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”
(3) Those who are walking with the Lord Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)