Happenings

GETTING STUCK!

Oct 2010    

Share the Gospel – and you will keep the power of the Holy Spirit

As we celebrate 125 years of Methodism in Singapore, it is timely to remind ourselves of the Great Commission. The following is an extract of a sermon preached by the Pastor of Pentecost Methodist Church, the Rev Lai Kai Ming, recently on Acts 1:8.

DO YOU REMEMBER when you first became a Christian? Were you excited about your newfound faith? Remember how bold you were, and how naturally you shared the Good News?

I believe that is the power of the Holy Spirit empowering you to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). That was when you experienced God’s power – prayers were answered, miracles happened, divine appointments were fixed, souls were saved.

Then something happened. The honeymoon ended. The novelty wore off. And we became less and less excited about our newfound faith. For we realised that this relationship required more than we had imagined. We were still thankful for what God has done for us, but somehow, the feeling was not so strong anymore.

Nevertheless, we tried to play our part. We were taught that as good Christians we must:

 Read the Bible. Ok, “tough” but still do-able. We Singaporeans can read very well and very fast. I don’t mind learning more about God.

 Pray. Wow, this is tougher. But I can still handle it. What’s more, when we pray we get God to give us things and help us to do things. A win-win situation. Why not?

 Give. My hard-earned money. Then again, didn’t God say He will pay us back more than we can imagine? It’s worth a gamble.

 Serve in church. Now that’s really tough. But we must play our part. How can we expect the pastors and leaders to do everything? It’s only responsible to help them out. I don’t want to be like those Christians who just warm the pews.

 Join a Small Group. The toughest of all. But it’s really worthwhile. That’s the only real way to grow as a Christian. We need each other for encouragement. Yes, this is the sure way to Heaven. We pray together, we study the Word, and we serve the church. Count me in.

I have fulfilled all these requirements. But why is my life still powerless?

There is one more thing. We are supposed to share the Gospel. Now we really begin to sweat. Evangelism can become “messy”. You never know where it will lead you. It may open a can of worms. Evangelism is not a controlled activity – so unlike praying, Bible study and other “Christian” things.

So we tell ourselves – “But how can I share the Gospel when I cannot get the basic things right, like having consistent Quiet Time, giving, serving, joining a Small Group, etc? How can I point people to Christ when I’m still struggling with my own sins? No, let me sort out these things first, then I’ll be ready to witness.”

But here’s the problem – we will NEVER be ready. We will always be preparing but never prepared. We will never get round to sharing the Gospel, because … in the first place, we never really intended to do it.

Some of us have already decided in our heart (long ago) that evangelism is not our cup of tea. The pastors can do it, the more spiritual ones can do it, but not us. We are happy to do the other Christian things – go to church, say grace before meals and stay clear of sinful places; speak Christian lingo, attend Christian talks, and even go on mission trips. But that is as far as we will go. Don’t ask me to share the Gospel. Not in my daily life.

POWER TO WITNESS

“The power of the Spirit was given for one expressed purpose – to share the Gospel. Acts 1:8 says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This power was given so that we can witness. When we stop witnessing, the power is no longer necessary.”

Can this be the heart of the problem with our Church today?
We were so joyous and excited when we first believed. We were filled with the Spirit’s power as we shared our faith. But then somewhere along the way, we became comfortable and complacent. We got choked by the thorns of the world, the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth and pleasure. We stopped sharing our faith. Soon, we became powerless – for the Spirit also stopped flowing in our life: We “KENA” STUCK by our disobedience and foolishness.

Understand this – The power of the Spirit was given for one expressed purpose – to share the Gospel.

Acts 1:8 says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This power was given so that we can witness. When we stop witnessing, the power is no longer necessary. This power cannot be recovered – no matter how many Bible study courses you attend, how much you fast and pray, how much you give to the church. We have blocked the flow of the Spirit.

So what can we do about our powerless lives?

Share the Gospel. Make it the starting point of your spiritual life. For if you start by sharing your faith, the other aspects of your Christian life will fall into place: You will pray more, you will read the Bible more, you will give more, you will serve more, and you will join a Small Group.

So start sharing your faith, and your spiritual life will flow. The antidote to being stuck, is to share. Develop new friendships. Talk to strangers. Turn strangers into friends. And turn friends into family – God’s family.
Share your faith because you either share it, or you lose it.

Abridged version by Carol Teo Siew Guat, a member of Pentecost Methodist Church.

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