Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
It’s interesting to note how many will say, “I know Jesus!” or “I serve Him” but in turn Jesus says, “I never knew you”. It’s like me saying, “I know Lee Hsien Loong, my prime minister… I serve my national service and pay my tax”… But I’m sure, he will say, “I don’t know who is Andrew”.
There is no personal relationship.
I’m concern how many of us, the Church especially in this day and age have equated our attendance or involvement with church events, activities or programmes as having a relationship with Jesus.
The reality is our relationship with Jesus is forged and deepened mostly out of the four walls of the church and in real life, not sheltered (but not apart from His Church).
For ie. How we obey Him in our sufferings? How we are surrendering to His will in challenging circumstances? How we remain faithful in the mundane humdrum of life? How are we extending grace to those around us?
However today, we people pay a lot of attention on the form and not the power. We want to DO more, we look for what to DO next, and we are engross in what we can DO. We are missing the plot.
Doing doesn’t mean you know Jesus. You can do a lot and accomplish a lot but find out that you do not know Him a lot or none at all. And that’s a horrific reality. You know that you know Him or He knows you when you bear His fruits; you BECOME like Him. Now that’s power!
We become like Him only because we are communing with Him. When we bear His fruits, it’s evidence of His life living and working in us. So today, don’t confuse form with power, and pursue His power and not the form.
My friends, Jesus came to draw us into a RELATIONSHIP and to destroy RELIGION which cannot save us from the dark influence of sin. Only through CHRIST, do we have the power to overcome sin in our helplessness.
So how do we know we are in a religion called Christianity and not in a relationship with Christ?
One word- FEAR.
1 John 4:17-18
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Are you living or practicing your Christianity out of fear or out of love? For ie. do you feel fearful or guilty when you do not pray / read the bible / evangelise / attend your church service / tithe?
I’m not saying we should not have these practices in our walk with God. But the question is “why do we do what we do?”. We are saved by grace to do good works. We do not do good works to receive grace to be saved.
The good works that we do ought to flow from the grace of God in our lives. And that produces faith and TRUE obedience that has power and not just the form.
How do you and I keep our relationship with God strong?
Seek to know the truth (through the bible) as it reveals the character, thoughts and plans of God. With the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints, He puts the truth into an encounter to experience His tangible love and know His GRACE. This takes place from glory to glory.
As you grow deeper in His love, what you do won’t be determined (or coerced) by rules or law as you understand the principle and flow with His spirit. What you do will be driven or compelled by His love for you.
Religion is cold. It’s about following rules and presents a false sense of salvation and righteousness. What you do (including the good works or church work) is driven by fear. There is no life in religion but death. More importantly, you won’t find LOVE in religion. And certainly, you won’t experience GRACE in religion.
This day, choose CHRIST. Experience His love and know His grace for you.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
There can be NO consecration without sacrifice. In the Old Covenant, blood was required to be shed in order for someone or something to be consecrated to be used by God.
A sacrifice is always REQUIRED to be consecrated- cleansed and fit for use as an instrument for God. And now in the New Testament, the good news is Jesus Christ is that sacrifice. He is the Lamb and His blood alone cleanses and consecrates you and I as His people.
But even in modern day Christianity, when we hear or speak of consecration we think the sacrifice is about us… “I must do more”…. “I must give more”…. “I must serve more”. This is not the truth.
Consecration is NOT about you and I doing good works. It is also NOT based on our performance. And trying to be worthy or to achieve spirituality. Consecration is not trying to be perfect cos we are not.
Consecration is about Jesus and Him as a sacrifice that makes us perfect and He alone qualifies us to be worthy to be used. You and I only need to believe wholeheartedly and be willing to follow Him unreservedly.
Today as a New Covenant follower, you ARE worthy and you ARE spiritual IN CHRIST even if you do not do any good works. It is entirely based on Jesus and His righteousness in you. It is He through the power of the Holy Spirit that will work in you to bear His fruits resulting in good works.
So when we speak about consecration, it is a life of rejoicing and living out of gratefulness of God’s grace of His sacrificial gift in Christ. Now, we do good works because we WANT TO, and not because we have to… c.f. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Living a consecrated life
Finally, consecration is about the BEING, not the doing. It is not to do more for Him and to be successful (defined by the world) for Him. It is simply to know Him and make Him be known with your life.
You and I need to always remain focus on following (study His life and teachings) and becoming like Jesus (living out His life in us).
Although I had been expecting the RULING PARTY to retain dominance, but I wasn’t expecting that their overall popularity would bumped up to 69.9%.
With the benefit of looking from the GE trend from 2011 and now, it is more clear that the people wants the PAP as long as they are listening and are for the people.
This tells me that majority of Singaporeans would stick to the one-party rule system as long as it’s the PAP and it’s working. They aren’t looking for change in terms of a more democratic system as most of us thought so from GE2011.
After GE2011, PAP responded in an effective and timely manner before GE2015 and they made sure we knew they listened. And I must add that their move to take full advantage of SG50 and NDR to appeal to our hearts look to have paid off.
PAP went all out
It’s interesting to note that Vivian Balakrishnan and Lim Swee Say were singled out and praised by PM Lee during NDR before the elections and they were both in the hotly contested GRCs. So that shows PAP was well ahead in preparation for the elections.
This GE, the PAP did not just go for the minds and hearts of the people, but also went all out against their contest. A stark contrast to last GE2011 where they displayed complacency. A good example is how they have used social media to engage voters. A lesson they learnt from GE2011.
So despite the gerrymandering, that already gives them an advantage, I fully commend them for the great effort poured in to earn our mandate. Congrats!
Reflect and regroup for the opposition
For the OPPOSITION, there’s a lot more work needed to be done in becoming a credible party. For a start, do not position yourself as an anti-PAP party. Please la… Winning by hatred votes won’t get you far. Work harder on finding credible reasons for Singaporeans to want to trust you.
Also please be more strategic when you field candidates. It has to be more than just credentials and heart. Study and understand the demographics of the voters in the area you are contesting, and put candidates that voters can easily build affinity to.
If you lack candidates, please aim small la… Focus on winning on a SMC first then gradually work your way up. Get a seat first better than no seat right?
We know the political conditions are not favourable for the opposition. Hence, there’s an extra need to do more and show more substance in how and what the party can contribute in a tangible manner to Singapore. No more lofty ideas and hot air talk.
The trend and results show that Singaporeans won’t vote for the opposition for the sake of opposing.
Thirdly, please harness the power of the social media to engage more with voters to discuss and sell your ideas. Do capitalise on this platform to gain credibility by showing what you are doing on the ground. Learn from LHL and his team.
They learnt from GE 2011, but some how (with the exception of SDP) you did not.
Moving forward as a people
To us VOTERS, PAP is not = Singapore. No party is bigger than Singapore and we cannot keep looking at our past and not aspire for a better future. Playing safe does not keep us safe.
On the contrary, it is more dangerous to play safe as we won’t evolve and become relevant (while retaining our values) in an ever changing world. But of cos, if the incumbent party is able to produce progressive leadership, then that’s alright.
Also do know that “opposition” does not mean anti establishment or anti PAP. But I understand this notion is further reinforced by the sort of opposition candidates that are borderline crazy or psycho.
Standing on the opposition camp means having an alternative view or philosophy. However, the goal is the same of that to make Singapore better and stronger.
So it would do well for us if we respect a diversity of views and move to a collaborative stance where we do not leave any Singaporean behind.
Lastly, its easy to forget that Singapore is considered young as a sovereign nation at 50 years old. There’s still a long way for us to grow.
Borrowing a line from Deputy PM Tharman, one thing is for sure we are growing and building from a place of strength and not weakness. There is hope for our future!
So let’s continue onwards and United as one people. Majulah Singapura!
This morning I was at an “all churches in Singapore” gathering to worship our Father as one. I left the place moved and changed! There had been 2-3 testimonies, but I will just share one encounter…
Most of you might know I became one year older recently. I had my usual chat with God just reflecting and thanking Him for the journey this far. And at where I am today with God, I have arrived to a position and place of REST.
That REST is that of being secured of His love for me; that He will never forsake me or fail me. After all the trials and past experiences with Him, I am confident of His everlasting and unconditional love.
That REST is also founded on His grace; that I’m saved and fully accepted in Christ. There’s nothing more or less that I could do which would affect my position in Him. That’s the truth. It’s the cross and His precious blood.
So I was pleasant surprised but encouraged when a brother gave me a prophetic word of encouragement. Nothing bombastic but simply these words: “God takes great pleasure in you. He is pleased with you.”
Wow… Those words were like God Himself talking to me and finishing off the conversation or chat I had with Him 2-3 days ago! Simply amazing!
I hope my less-than-spectacular testimony would encourage you to find your place of REST in Christ; to know how much He truly loves you and the richness of His grace lavished on you.
If you have found that place, guard it tightly. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you out of it no matter what. Amen.
Today, I was at the Jubilee Day of Prayer for Singapore with more than 50,000 from the Body of Christ.
It was definitely an appointment from God for my wife and I to be there, especially it being shortly after our return to Singapore. And the tickets were given to us!
As the session started, I was constantly welling up with tears of joy and thanksgiving.
Who are we?
Singapore is but a small nation, a little red dot. Despite this, look at what we have accomplished?
Our small in size and lack of resources have not prevented us to be overachievers and to grow in affluence.
Today, we are able to punch above our weight and stand tall among the other giant nations in the world.
But make no mistake, we are where we are because of His grace alone.
As a people, the Church must never forget that our success is because of His grace. It’s by His grace. And we must continue to stay strong in His grace.
The peace and prosperity that we are enjoying is because of God’s grace and mercy.
Where we are?
Sitting there before Him and in the presence of 50,000, I am grateful that I can be part of God’s Church at this defining period of the Jubilee.
I’m grateful for those spiritual leaders who have gone before us. I do not know them, but we are where we are today because they paid the price in standing in the gap.
I wish I could thank them personally, but I’m grateful for the pioneering generation of the unsung heroes of faith who have took up the role of ‘watchmen’ for our nation.
Their lives spent on bended knees cannot be left unrecognised or ignored. Today, the Church stands tall now on their shoulders.
Without them trail blazing His kingdom, we would not have a spiritual heritage as a Church in Singapore and to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
What are we to do?
I believe the Church is flipping the page towards a new era for Singapore in the year of jubilee.
The torch of the pioneering generation is going to be passed on to the next generation. And that generation has to step up to grab that torch to lead this nation as the next custodian and watchmen for Singapore.
What we see today of Singapore after 50 years is nothing in comparison to what lies ahead. Because each generation goes further than the generation preceding it.
God is not finished with His plan and purpose for this nation. And the Church is the reason.
It is my desire to be counted and be part of whatever He’s doing in and through Singapore, for I believe this is the reason He called me back!