This is the third and last part of Hope Church’s “Losing My Religion” series. Unfortunately, I didn't attend the second part. A friend has written the first part and the summary of the series, so go check her blog before continuing reading. I know her blog is nice and all, but please, please come back here and read the rest of this post :p
Losing My Religion - Part 3
Summarized from a sermon by Pastor Jo on 18 Sep 2011 at Hope Church Singapore
Christianity is beyond what I do
You go to church very week, attend cell group meeting every week, attend prayer meeting 3 times a week, serve as worship leader in every service, and you think you're Christian. People think you are a truly devoted Christian. Your family or loved ones think you spend too much time at church — just kidding. But do you know or care what God thinks about you?
The heart is deceitfulGod does not just see what's appeared from the outside. God does not just see what you do. God sees beyond it. God sees your heart. And your heart can be deceitful. Even you, yourself, can be deceived by your own heart.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)David was deceived by his own heart that God sent Nathan to rebuked him:
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.”In the parable of the lost son, the older son claimed that his father didn’t treat them equally, disregarding all his service and hard work.
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’” (2 Samuel 12:1-10 NIV)
But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ (Luke 15:29, 30 NIV)Nevertheless, the father showed his wonderful love:
‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’ (Luke 15:31 NIV)Without a changed heart, you will not be able to do good things, even if you want to.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18 NIV)Stop whatever thing you do. Stop praying, stop going to church, stop serving God, stop everything if you don’t know the truth of your heart. Don’t do anything without the right motives. Ask for a change of heart. Ask from God.
God can change our heartOnly God truly knows our heart and He alone can replace our deceitful heart.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26, 27 NIV)After you receive a new heart from God, obedience will come automatically.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12, 13 NIV)
Do God’s worksEveryone can do “good” works. Non-believers can also help others, do noble things, and speak wisely. So what separates the good work of believers from the non-believers?
God doesn’t want us just to do good works; He wants us to do good works to destroy the devil’s works. We don’t have the power to do it, therefore God sent the Holy Spirit to empower us.
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (Mark 16:17, 18 NIV)Without the Holy Spirit, you cannot do God’s work. If you have not received the Spirit, ask and wait before going to work.
I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49 NIV)And after you receive the Holy Spirit, let God use you. Do not restrain the power of the Holy Spirit. God wants to use you for His great works. Let Him.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:31 NIV)
Do not quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV)So, brothers and sisters. Lose your religion and get a change of heart.