Producing Dying Christians Or Dynamic Christians?

Sermon preached at Gospel Light Christian Church, Singapore
on 17 November 2002

Introduction: The dominant theme of our sermons for 2002 is the Person of the Holy Spirit - and our communion (2 Corinthians 13:14) or partnership with Him. We have learned that Christianity is much more than a religion. It is an intimate relationship with God in the Person of His Holy Spirit, through faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We have emphasized that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal force or power. And since He is a Person who has come to dwell in our hearts (Romans 8:9) we must first welcome Him, daily acknowledge His presence, thank Him for staying with us, trust Him to lead and strengthen us, and confidently surrender our lives to Him. Remembering to do these five "musts," the first letters of each make up the word "WATTS" (which is the unit for electrical power), produces dynamic Christians.

The Holy Spirit is not a mysterious Person but the "Spirit of Christ" (Romans 8:9, John 14:16). In other words, Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20) through the Person of His Spirit. Therefore, we have a more intimate walk with the Lord Jesus Christ than the Apostles! They watched Him preach and work but He preaches and works through us! They struggled to imitate His life but we surrender our lives to Him, so that He can live through us! They could hardly go back to their meaningless "secular" lives after their walk with the Lord, and we definitely will not want to go back to our meaningless, powerless self-lives after we have experienced the victorious, joyous life in "communion with the Holy Spirit."

New creations: 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new." Because of the indwelling Spirit of Christ, the born-again believer has new desires (eg. desire to know God and please Him). He desires to serve others because Christ has a servant's heart (Matthew 20:28 "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister..."). And he desires to evangelize because Christ's main desire is evangelism (Luke 19:10 "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost"). Every genuine Christian has these new desires because every genuine Christiart is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But in most Christians these new desires are quenched, especially the desires to serve and evangelize. Many Christians are misled by their leaders to believe that "real" Christian ministry is for trained ministers and an elite group of believers who are specially trained. In most churches, only those who have gone through a extended membership program are allowed to apply for any type of ministry. Most Christmas have also seen few examples of young believers serving, or worse still they have seen matured believers who are frustrated in their ministries ( because they were "pushed" into the wrong ministry and not allowed to resign thereafter). As they wait for the time when they are ready to serve, they have no outlet for ministry - thereby becoming inward-looking, selfish Christians. Obviously, this cannot be genuine Christianity because Christ is not inward-looking or selfish!

Dying Christians: Every genuine Christian is indwelt with the Spirit of Christ at the moment of conversion. In other words, the desire to serve and evangelism is not something that is the result of spiritual growth in an elite group of Christians. On the contrary, this desire is strong and pure in every "infant" Christian's heart including the three year old and seventy year old convert. Stifled, unfulfilled desires lead to frustration and emptiness - that often seeks satisfaction in other substitutes, eg. tongues-speaking, Bible studies. By the time opportunities for ministry are available, the Christian has already settled for a half-dead unsatisfactory Christianity, and has gone back to the world to find his satisfaction.

Dynamic Christians: When the reality of the immediate indwelling Spirit of Christ is believed, and every believer is expected to be serve and evangelize, then true Christianity can flourish. Church leaders will then know that every genuine believer already has the desire to serve and evangelize - and will therefore encourage every believer to pray about when and where to begin serving. There will be no unnecessary delay in doing so (eg. waiting for them to complete membership requirements and training programs), neither will there be a need to "push" believers into serving (in case they do not have a desire to serve!). There will also be no fear that ministries will be short of workers, and "members don't want to serve and evangelize."

Conclusion: Today's Christianity is basically selfish. But Christ is not selfish and anything selfish cannot be Christian! An immature Christian must be fed with spiritual "milk" and serve in simple ministries - at the same time. Spiritual health can only be maintained when input is balanced with output. Young Christians must also be taught to be Spirit-dependent - and one of the best ways to learn this is to encourage them to ask the Holy Spirit to show them the ministry which they should serve in. (Nobody should be "pushed" into ministries.) At the same time, leadership should trust the Spirit to guide them as they serve. In GLCC, such ministries are often found at the Spiritual Family level, though there are some church ministries which are suitable (eg. food ministry, transport ministry, inviting friends to Wednesday Bible studies, prayer for others).

Saved to serve. Serve to grow.

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