“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
1 John Chapter 2 verses 18 to 27
Download the sermon slides: SERMON-2014-10-19
We come now to the book of 1John and chapter 2. In particular, we are looking at verses 18 to 27, so it’s a rather long stretch, quite unusual because normally, we look at 2, 3 verses at one go, but today, I thought that we should look at verses 18 to 27 of chapter 2, at one shot because it gives a coherent picture as to what John, the writer is saying in 1John. Well a story is told about four boys who are notorious for always playing truancy. They come late for school, they skipped school and one day they came late again. So the teacher got them together and says, “What is the excuse this time?”. The boys says what excuse, it’s true, our car broke down, because one of the tires were punctured, was punctured. The teacher was not very convinced, but as they kept explaining, they sounded, more and more convincing and so the teacher put them to a test. Time stamp in audio 0:01:02.4. Raise up your hands, he says, and they raise their hands and it was spotlessly clean. So, the teacher knows, this may not be quite true, let me put you through another test. He gives to each of the student, a piece of paper and a pencil and he sends them each to the 4 corners of the classroom and he says to them, now, I want you to answer a question. Tell me, which is the tire that is punctured? And of course, all 4 of them gave different answers. You know, sometimes, we need tests to show up what is true or what is false and in the book of 1st John, the apostle is giving us tests to see if we’re really have eternal life, if we really have the Zoe the life from God, are you really a Christian. Because, so often we assumed we are believers of God. We assumed we have a changed, we change our name, we change the way we use Christian words, we change our Sunday morning activities and we think that makes us a Christian. John says no, there are real objective tests by which you can know for sure if you like child of God. He says number one, this is a test, you need to pass and that is the test of obedience. Not sinless perfection but sincere progression. In other words a true Christian will keep growing in obedience, not perfect but he’s growing, but the general direction of his life, is I want to and I do obey God’s Word. That’s what a Christian is all about. He doesn’t obey to be saved but if he is truly saved he will obey. Time stamp in audio 0:02:51.7. Number 2, a second test is that he will love for one another. He will love the people God loves. He will love the brothers and sisters in Christ because his heavenly Father loves his brothers and sisters, so this will be the 2nd mark of a true believer. So someone who is bitter and harboring animosity and hatred against another brother, you really have to ask yourself, are you willing to repent, are you truly a believer. Number 3, you will not just love God and love one another, but you will not love the world. You will not be strickened with worldliness. The world will not dominate your heart, you will love not the world. So, notice, these 3 tests, one is with regards to the Word, two is with regards to the church, three, is with regards to the world, and the fourth which are going to look at today is with regards to time, because a true believer will endure. A true believer through the passage of time will keep on believing. He does not forsake and deny the Lord ultimately. When Jesus was on earth, He was very popular, many people crowded around Him. In particular, there was a time when He performed an amazing miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes, multiplying to feed the thousands that were gathered around Him. They follow Jesus wherever He went, but Jesus came to a point of time when He said “I came to be the bread of life, you must eat My flesh and drink My blood. You must receive Me into your life in order to have eternal life, and when He spoke about these things and revealed that it is not really about the physical bread or physical fish. But the Bible tells us in John chapter 6, all of them except for 12 left Him. Thousands came, thousands left and then Jesus turned to His 12, He asked them, do you want to go away as well? That is a question for you today, would you go away as well? Well Peter, the spokesman for the group, the 1st person to speak, he says, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69 ESV) So, Peter says, even when people will forsake, even if people would leave, we will keep on believing. Today, you are looking at 1John, where the apostle says, in effect, the same thing. He says they went out from us, they quit from following us, following the way of Jesus, together with us, but they were not of us. For if there had been of us, they would have continued with us, but they went out, that it might become plain that they are all, they all are not of us. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 ESV) So John is saying, that the reality in this church, that he is speaking to, there’s some who have left, why? Because, like those who casually follow Jesus, they never really believed in Jesus. What’s true in Jesus’ time and John’s time is true today. Thousands of people go churches this morning, millions, I would say, millions upon millions, go to church this morning. Does that mean everyone is a true follower of Jesus Christ ? Maybe, but most probably not. And this question that Jesus asked the disciples were still, is still very relevant for us today, do you want to go away as well. You see a true believer will say, No I will stay, but a false believer, ultimately, one day, will say to Jesus, I want to go away. Time stamp in audio 0:07:15.4. I share with you about church. When I referred to church today, I’m referring to the external visible church, alright. And in this church in this hall, we just have a few hundred of us, but even in this hall, they are 3 categories of people that can arise, in 1John chapter 2, number 1, in this church, there can be false believers. This is not very positive start, I know, but this is the reality. The Bible tells us there will be false believers because he says in verse 19, they went out from us. These are people who were with us, but now they left the faith, they left Jesus Christ. It is not just leaving Gospel Light Christian Church, but they left Jesus entirely, they forsook their original profession of faith and they went out from us even though they were with us. I mean they looked exactly like the believers, the true believers of God. They have Christian names, they use Christian lingo, they sing hallelujah praise the Lord, grace be to you. They say those things, they dress like a Christian, I mean, they, they changed the way they look, maybe on the outside. They come to church services on Sunday morning, to be part of, they may be part of this congregation, they may join your care group, they may even be serving together with you. But they went out. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 ESV) Time stamp in audio 0:08:40.5. I’ve been in this church for 19/20 years. I remember those days where I had great friends in this church, but now that I look back, I realize some of these friends are no more with us, not that they went to another Bible believing church, but they totally leave the faith altogether. They won’t talk about Christ. They don’t want to talk about God, there is no desire for God, there is no desire to come back to church and that was 19 years ago, it has not changed since then. You say why?, I mean they were, they were attending Bible studies, they join every week, we went out, meet together, we serve. But why, over the past 15 years, they have not been back and each year goes by these verses become more and more real. They went out from us even though they were with us. Ah!, Pastor, I know why they went out, because originally 19, 20 years ago there saved, but somehow in the middle of their journey, they lost their salvation. Now, that’s what people think, that a Christian loses his salvation. I say no, he did not lose his salvation., In fact, I will show you later on, nobody who is truly saved by God ever loses his salvation. But what has happened is that they went out from us even though they were with us because they were not of us in the beginning, they were never really saved, they look saved, they acted like they were saved, they talked like they were saved but their hearts, were never really changed. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 ESV) In Chinese, we have this saying, complete it for me, alright, For all those who don’t understand, it means the stamina or strength of a horse is seen in the distance it travels. The heart of the man is seen best with the passage of time. How do you know a strong horse from a weak horse, how do you distinguish that? Run one step ? No one is ever going to tell, isn’t it, one step, both horses will be the same, but multiplied by 1,000,000 steps, then the strong horse is going to be shown up. The weak horse will be exposed. How do you know the heart of a man ? Some of you date for one day, you get married, you you can’t tell lah, he may be a crook for all you know, lah, but if you date for 10 years, you probably know better lah, but even then, it’s never complete. But with the passage of time, you know a man’s heart. Time stamp in audio 0:11:19.1. You see these people, are with the true Church of Christ, but they were never part of the kingdom of God in a real way. They looks like one of us, but they were never of us. So, with the passage of time, no wonder they would depart, from us. He says, for if they had been on us, they would have continued, they would have. If they are truly changed by God’s Spirit, if they have really received Zoe into their lives, they would have continued. But they went out, because they were not of us, they were false believers. I think John can speak of this experientially. He had a group of close associates and one of them, one of them, turned out to be not of them. He preached with them, he did miracles with them, he learned from Jesus together with them, he was even the trusted treasurer for the group but Judas Iscariot eventually denied the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. Did Judas, lose his salvation? No, he’s shown up that he went out from us because they, he was not of us to begin with. So, in the church today, a 1st category, a scary category is that of false believers, they sing, they raise their hands, they jump, and they cry, they may read the Bible, they use Christian words, but heart was never saved. Can it be you and if it is you, I pray today, it will be the day you will come to Jesus really for salvation and life. This is not a message to condemn you, this is a message to say, there is still forgiveness and hope in Jesus, don’t pretend, because what really matters is, do you have Zoe in your life. Time stamp in audio 0:13:18.9. A 2nd category, in the church. Some of these false believers would move even further and become false teachers. Now I really don’t personally like to talk about these things, but this is found in Scriptures, and we faithfully declare. So I hope you, you realize I’m on a pet subject, oh, I love, to talk about, no, I hate to do that in a sense, but we have to do it because the Scriptures here says, very clearly “Children. It is the last hour and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour, they went up from us.” Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us …… (1 John 2:18-19 ESV) So, actually, John is saying that these false teachers, these,antichrists, where did they come from? They come from the church, the external, visible church. If you think about it, many cults today, I can’t name those cults because of sensitivity, but if you have heard of Christian cults you can Google that, is all over. Most of the religious leaders, most of these cult leaders, Christian cult leaders, where do they come from? From Taoist, from buddhist background, no, they come from the church, they went out from us. Jesus says, or rather, Paul tells us this in Acts 20, he has been with the church at Ephesus for 2 to 3 years. He says he’s been daily with tears, warning them that when he leaves, that fierce wolves, false teachers would come upon them, where do they come from? Some from outside and some from inside. They will be from among your own selves. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30 ESV) He could survey that church and he may not have an idea of who that false teachers would be, but they will come, they will arise from within you. That’s scary, that’s scary that false teachers would come from within us, but that is just another sign of the last days. Time stamp in audio 0:15:32.5. We live in the last days. You say, how long has been last days, about 2000 years, from the time of John to now it’s 1900 over years, we are in the last days, and many antichrists have come. It’s not unusual and John is not saying something strange because his Master, Jesus actually said “Many will come in my Name, saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray.” These are signs of the end times. The reason is because you know that the antichrist is coming, he’s saying to the people, you know that the ultimate super villain, we have studied him in great detail in the book of Daniel. For those who are interested, referred, to our sermons in Daniel. There is going to be the ultimate super villain. He’s called the antichrist, the lawless one, he will destroy, he will mislead, he would receive many people and he is the antichrist, I think with a capital A, but before that antichrist with a A comes, before the spirit of lawlessness is already at work. Satan is already at work and even within the church, he is moving and stirring people to arise as antichrist, antichrist with a small a, who go around teaching falsehood and leading people astray, away from Jesus. And so there are many, will come up, but you say, pastor, I don’t see so many leh?. I thought, just a few, but, how, how, how come it’s many, I don’t spot many. The reason why, it’s because they’re not obvious to you, they are not going to be saying, ” we are the antichrist church”, no church is called the antichrist church, today. Have you ever found in antichrist church, they may call themselves cults openly, but they won’t say, I’m the antichrist church, it’s weird. You see, if you want to cheat, if you want to lie, if you want to lead astray, you don’t come in your red underwear and your horn and your pitchfork and say, I am the antichrist, I will lead you, you don’t do that,, what you do is you disguise. Exactly what’s happening in 2nd Corinthians 11, no wonder, Satan doesn’t come and scare you right in the face. He disguises himself, so no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise, if his servants, false teachers are the servants of the devil. Yes, they serve themselves, they serve their belly, they serve their greed. But behind the scenes. The devil, like a great puppet master is using them and they are serving him and his servants likewise will also disguise themselves. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15 ESV) So they come as the angels of light. Like I said, they are not going to come, saying, oh Jesus, don’t talk about Jesus, talk about some, no, no, no, they say, talk about Jesus, talk about grace, talk about goodness, talk about Bible, talk about these things. Use Christian lingo by all means, graduate from a Christian seminary, by all means. Disguise you see, so that you won’t suspect, so that if you’re not watching for it, you would think family church in the world is a good church, every church in the world and every preacher in the world, is a true preacher of Jesus Christ and when you believe that lie, that’s where he leads you astray. Time stamp in audio 0:19:18.6. And it is so powerful because it is also coupled with great success on the outside. These false teachers don’t assume that they have small followings. The Bible tells us, they have big followings, many will follow. They will have many people going to their church, they have big services, big church buildings probably, if you go to their facebook or their twitter account, many followers, many likes, every statement like, like, like…very popular, very big, they may be very charismatic, very persuasive, very eloquent, very slick, very polished, highly successful and the great titles and credentials, graduated from this, study that, did this, did that and he looks so beautifully disguised on the outside. Time stamp in audio 0:20:13.3. What’s more, the Bible actually tells us, they can perform, some of them can even perform great signs and wonders, now not all signs and wonders are from God, obviously. Back in Moses days, they were magicians in Pharaoh’s court who could perform this similar wonders, but they were not of God. And these false teachers are sleek, successful, subtle, powerful, with great signs and wonders and what they do is that they lead people astray. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24 ESV) How do they do that? They lead by lies, they do all these great things on the outside, you buy into their personality, you buy into their church brand, as it were and they feed you lies. You know, pastor, don’t teach you lies, they teach very good truths. Look at their polls, look at their teaching, wah, very good sermons. Hey, and I know that some little problems, no, no, overall, very good. Of course, it will be very good, of course, it would look generally wonderful. But look at how they actually slip in lies. The Bible says in 2nd Peter, false prophets also arose among the people. Just as there will be false teachers among you, Peter, Timothy, they all understand the same realities, and how they do it is that they secretly bring in is not going to be blatant, is not going to be obvious. If it is obvious, he’s a lousy wolf in sheep’s clothing. No clothing, wah lau, a lousy, I will run away from you. But they’re smart, they are disguised, they are clothed. Time stamp in audio 0:21:53.3. ——————- Secretly bring in. When I think about this secretly bring, secretly bring in I think about my friend, my neighbor are my neighbor’s name is Glenn. Glenn, if you watching, I’m sorry. But we use to play Monopoly together, play games together and whenever, I play Monopoly, I seem I always lose to him, I have no idea why. I thought my properties are more than his property, but I keep losing to him. And then I realize one day, when we were playing and we are all having fun, I saw him (slipped his hand motion) Wah, a few thousand dollars, just like that leh, because he’s the banker, huh, he takes the money and puts it into his pile, no wonder, he never loses, his money is never ending, he secretly brings in money. Time stamp in audio 0:22:43.1. Now of course he doesn’t want me to see it. And, if I’m not watching, I, I would not know. Do you realize that false teachers, watch you and when you are looking there, he takes a lie and inserts into your life. Secretly, it’s not going to be obvious; secretly tell you of something that would destroy your soul, destructive heresies. Not small problems; real fundamental problems and what he does is that he denies that Jesus is the Christ. Ultimately, this is the core, this is the heart of the Christian message, it is about Christ and he tells you that this Jesus is not Christ. This Jesus of the Bible, not Christ, he is not the chosen one, he is not the Messiah, he is not the Savior that God has sent. Let me tell you of another Jesus, let me tell you of another gospel, so they still call themselves apostles of Christ, but they are false. They use the name of Christ. This is the disguise, this is the way they get away with you, this is how they slip into your, your mind, I am a servant of Jesus Christ. Look at my titles, look at my church, look at my teachings, look at my popularity, look at the building, look at how God has blessed me, I am of God and listen to the message I have, this is how he slips right in and what he gives you, is not the true Jesus. What he gives you is not the true Gospel, he gives you another Jesus, he gives to another gospel, and because he is so slick and professional and polished, you put up with it readily. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, …. or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:4-5 ESV) Doesn’t matter if that is not quite according to the Bible, he’s such a charismatic man, he is such a powerful preacher, he has such a big church, so many people following you, he must be right. Can you sense that reasoning? Do you know of friends who right now are in false teaching? This is how it works, it’s the same thing year after year, generation of the generation, the devil uses disguise. Subtly giving you a substitute Christ, not the Christ of the Bible. He uses his name, but is a pseudo-Christ, it is a counterfeit God and it is not the true God of the Bible and what happens is that you deny the Lord Jesus Christ. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV) Yes, you say, Jesus, you claim Jesus, you pray to this name Jesus, but it is not the Jesus of the Bible, I’m sorry. Just because you call it Jesus doesn’t make it that you are praying and knowing and walking with the Jesus of the Bible. It’s another Jesus, you are actually denying our Lord. No one in the last day, people would say, ” Lord, Lord, didn’t we do these things? I never knew you.” It’s not me, and what happens is that people not are now plunged into sensuality, lasciviousness or sinfulness. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4 ESV) The mark of a false teaching church, is that the people of God are not trending toward godliness. They may talk all you want about loving God, grace and God loves me and so on, but their lives will go to the opposite direction. They lead to godlessness, they lead to sensuality, lasciviousness, that’s the word there, sinfulness. By their lives, you can know, by the fruit, you can see the tree. But you see, people who are deceived already, says, no lah, that’s okay just a few of them, God will forgive their sins. No, no, open your eyes, look at the lives of the people, look at the lives of the pastor, look at the lives of the preachers and you will know. Time stamp in audio 0:26:42.9. That’s the end result. You see, they, they, they do that that because false teachers entice you by the sensual passions of the flesh, they know what the flesh wants. ……they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. (2 Peter 2:18 ESV) So, they come up with a great disguise I’m an apostle of Christ, they give you a great message, whereby you can indulge in your sin, you can you can be satisfied with the sensual passions of the flesh. No wonder, they have a big following, no wonder, many people will follow the pernicious ways. And false teachers, do this out of greed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. (2 Peter 2:3 ESV) They are not here to serve you, they are not here to help you, to grow you, they are here to exploit you. Note these words, exploit you. Why? Greedy, they want you and your money. The devil knows, man wants to be rich, be greedy and of course, with this willing partnership between him and a false teacher, he has a successful formula to sway and to lead many astray. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. (2 Peter 2:14 ESV) They entice unsteady souls, they are not learned in Scripture, they do not have the necessary defense, and they are absolutely vulnerable and they have now trained their hearts in greed. It gets worse and worse and worse and worse. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:3 ESV) Time stamp in audio 0:28:27.0. God is still sovereign, even in the midst of great deception in the last days, we know that God is in control, but it is so sad, when we are not on our guard and we fall prey and we allow people to fall prey to false teachers. So they went out from us, sign of the last days, they come from within our churches, they are subtle but successful, they secretly bring in damnable heresies, gives you a substitute Jesus Christ, entices you with sensuality, gives you what you want, gives you what you are excited about, but it leads you to sinfulness, it leads you to deny Christ, they do it, because they are selfish, they do it because they are greedy and their judgment will not be withheld. In the midst of such an environment where we have false believers, where we have false teachers, it’s a very intimidating environment, don’t you think? Time stamp in audio 0:29:29.8. It is a very hostile environment, even in the church, yet the Bible tells us, there is a 3rd category of people, they are the true believers and this is the amazing thing about God’s work in the midst of so many counterfeits, in the midst of so many false teachers, the true believers hang on to truth. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. (1 John 2:19 ESV) He says they went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have continued. It’s amazing, they will continue, they won’t fall out. Yes, they may be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, they may be disturbed for a moment, but ultimately they will continue with us. They will keep believing in Jesus Christ, they will not be ultimately deceived and again, Jesus said, these words for false Christ and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray if possible, even the elect. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24 ESV) How thankful I am for the words, if possible. You take away these two words, if possible, we are done for, isn’t it? False Christ will lead astray, even the elect, that will be horrendous. Thank God for the words if possible, that means it is impossible. They will not be successful in leading astray the true elect, those were chosen and secured by God. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. (1 John 2:19 ESV) They will continue with us. You say, why? Is it because the elected people are very smart, God chooses the smart ones, God chooses the alert ones? Wah is, is that the reason, is it the reason being in us? I tell you the reason is not in us. The reason is in God. The reason why they will continue with us is because John explains in verse 20, But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (1 John 2:20 ESV) You have been anointed by the Holy One. The word anointing is used in the Old Testament of a king who is drizzled? as it were, with olive oil. It’s a picture of God’s anointing, God’s blessing the Holy Spirit empowering him. In today’s day and age of course, we don’t anoint ourselves with oil, we turn greasy and oily, we are anointed today by the Holy One with the Spirit of Christ. And because of this anointing, because of the work of the Holy Spirit in us, if you truly believe in Jesus, you have knowledge. This knowledge in the Greek is not one that is gained by experience, it is the other word that is intuitive knowledge, you know intuitively, you know, because the Holy Spirit teaches you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie (1 John 2:27 ESV) This anointing teaches you about everything, and is true and is no lie. No wonder you will not sway, because that’s the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, leading you at every step calling out to you and establishing you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV) So, the Bible tells us, this is an affirmation of what Jesus has called in John 14. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things. John 15:26, But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:26 ESV) The Spirit of truth, He will bear witness about me. John 16:13, When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13 ESV) The Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth. And this is just an affirmation of the old testament teaching of the new covenant. That there will come a day, when God will take away the stony heart and replaced with a heart of flesh and he will send His Spirit so that we don’t have to ask anyone who is the Lord, we know who is the Lord, because that’s the work of the Spirit, the anointing, the promise of the Comforter of the Holy Spirit in the elect, the children of God. Time stamp in audio 0:33:40.6. And therefore, even in the midst of great deception, they continue with us, they endure until the end. Gospel Light Christian Church, in our congregation, I wish everyone is a true believer. In reality, however, according to the Bible, is that there will be, and they may be false believers. And sadly, some with the passage of time, may turn out to be false teachers, they went up from us and to become liars, they deny Christ and they lead people astray. But, we thank God that they are true believers as well. I want to close with some applicative thoughts. Great Deception in the Last Days 1. We live in days of great deception and Jesus tells us don’t be blur, please, don’t be asleep, don’t be complacent, don’t take things for granted, but be on guard. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:22-23 ESV) You see, some of us, we look for churches without a mindfullness today, now, if you are in GLCC Gospel Light, I hope you will not keep looking around (huh, huh) we hope you will serve and grow together with us. But if you online, if you listening somewhere and you are looking for a church today, what is ultimately most important is, does the church teach, preach, live truth. That’s what really what matters. Does the church live, preach, teach the Jesus of the Bible., You see, so often, people look for churches like this, I am I want, aiyah (colloquial expression) to look for a church that makes me feel good, a church that I like that kind of music I like, that the kind of lightings I like, the pastor, I like, I must, I must go for the handsome type. I am not kidding I’ve heard people saying I like that church, because, pastor very handsome, wah lau (colloquial expression), like that also can. (Laughter in the congregation) Time stamp in audio 0:35:47.2. There are, I like that church because it is just beside my house. I mean, you’re not buying, you are not buying kang kong (a local vegetable ) or vegetables, you are looking for a church. Please, don’t look for things that are convenient, okay if they, if both churches preach the truth, by all means, you can consider secondary factors, but you don’t the secondary above the primary. The primary is number 1, are they faithful to God and His Word. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:22-23 ESV) Be on guard, that’s what it means. I think, a true church must be willing to expose errors, must be, if you preach truth, error will be shown and I think we got to be on guard this way, the church today, the leadership of any church must be willing to expose errors and not play compromise games, just to be popular, just to be accepted. We are called to be loyal to God, not to be popular. Now we must be all things to all men, but number 1 loyalty to Jesus Christ and His Word. I also say that if we live in great deception today, there will be friends and family members, you have that are now in false teaching churches. What you do? What you do? Do you have a responsibility towards them? I think so. Time stamp in audio 0:37:11.4. In Jude, it says and have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire, to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh, you say,what is this all about. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:22-23 ESV) If you read Jude, it is about false teachers again. And Jude is saying there will be people who are in a sense, victimized by false teachings. What do we do? 3 categories of people here. All are deceived or affected, but 3 categories. There are those who doubt, these are people who are confused, not very clear, but they are doubting now, they are being rocked, they are being enticed, that they are right at the door of that false teaching, they are not so sure, they are vacilitating, he says, have mercy on those. I think it means, go help them, save them. But there is a 2nd, 2nd category, those who are in the fire already, these are the people who are convinced. Now quickly go and snatch them. That’s what Jude is saying, so there are those who are confused, those who are convinced and then there are those who are absolutely committed to false teaching. Do we give up on them? No? We can still show mercy, but you have to be very careful with fear. You should hate even the garment stained by the flesh, you should be careful in helping them, in case you yourself get affected, but it doesn’t mean we give up on them. These are days of great deception and right after service, 1st service I have people who tell me, yah, I have this and that and I mean it’s everywhere. There are many antichrist, many will follow, it’s not a small percentage of people, big number. The Bible tells us, to help, great deception in the last days. Time stamp in audio 0:39:14.9. Don’t be Surprised by Defection Number 2, because there is great deception in the last days, don’t be surprised by defection, defection refers to people who depart from the faith, not that they leave a local church but that they leave Christ entirely. Don’t be surprised, don’t be shocked, there can be Judas, there can be the wheat and tares, they look so similar, but eventually they are different, and the Bible tells us Now the Spirit expressly or clearly says that in later times some will depart from the faith. How, by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared. Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, (1 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV) You know, deception is a partnership, it’s a super partnership, it’s a partnership between the devil and a false teacher, it’s also a super partnership between a false teacher and the person who is deceived. Three of them are happy, you know, in false teaching. They are very happy, the devil is happy because people are led away from Christ, the false teacher is happy because he gets his money and then those who are deceived I have the because they love to hear what they like to hear. Time stamp in audio 0:40:31.7. Happy happy happy, but when it comes to judgment, all will be tragically damned. Don’t be surprised that there will be defection because they love to hear these things, they, can we know them in advance, can we know these people who will drift and stray in advance? Is there any advance warning, just like the tsunami before it comes, there is and advance warning, can we have advance warning on, oh because I am not sure whether my family members, they would…is there any advance warning? I think so. And I’ve actually experienced it with dealings with people. It is found in 2nd Timothy 4 where it says “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and were turned away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV) So what is it? Well there will be people who say, Wah, preaching the Bible is so boring. Can you give us something new? You know, you are always talking about the same things? When I hear that I need to improve myself. Number 1, that as a communicator, I need to be, maybe engaging in different ways better, but number 2 I’m a bit concerned because I’m afraid that you may fall into this category, when you cannot endure sound doctrine, you don’t want to hear the same good old truths of the Bible, you want something new, you want something exciting, you want something like a vision and a dream, God spoke to me and I tell you this and and you love these things, you love the new stuff. Time stamp in audio 0:42:13.2. Be careful. Paul tells Timothy “Teach the Word, preached the Word, but there will be people who will not like the word, but you still preach the Word because that’s what people need. But there will be people who have itchy ears not chiu jion (colloquial for each itching hands) how do you call that ears jion (meaning itchy ears) you just want to hear nice things, hoh, I just want to hear this, yes, there, there is something about us that loves to hear lies alright. Am I pretty? Yes, you’re very pretty. I have just used to, even not, may not be true, you also love to hear that lah, just human nature. Just a flash, and so we love to hear things we love to hear and we depart. Now you may not say it, eh no lah hearing this, these are little errors only, it will not cause us to wander. No, no, no, no be careful. It will turn away and ultimately lead you to wandering off into myths. That’s how deception is, it doesn’t start blatantly, it starts subtly, secretly brought in and when your guard is almost down, you are you devoured by the evil one. Time stamp in audio 0:43:41.1. True Believers Hold on to the Gospel Don’t be surprised by defection, but ultimately and lastly, true believers hold on to the Gospel. Real followers of Jesus Christ, even in the midst of great deception, even in the midst of great discouragement when people defect away from Jesus. They hold on to the Gospel. Paul or John says Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. Keep holding on to it, let it stay in you. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. (1 John 2:24-25 ESV) It’s the old, old story of Jesus and His love. It’s the old old story of how He came as God’s Son to be man to die for our sins, He rose again, He finished it all and who will repent and believe, shall not perish but have everlasting life.Let that abide in you. A true believer keeps holding on to this. This is the human aspect. The divine aspect as to why true believers hold on to the Gospel is because God will ensure you hold on, He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. That’s the beauty about regeneration, that’s the beauty about God saving work in a man’s life. Time stamp in audio 0:44:51.3. Absolutely, permanent and life-changing and you must remember Jesus is still praying for you, God holds you, you will never lose that salvation if you are truly saved. So you see, how does God persevere a Christian in that he will ultimately be saved. He perseveres a Christian by working in us, both to will and to do. Do what? Hold on to the Gospel! That’s how He works, it doesn’t work, He doesn’t work independent of you, such that oh, God has secured my salvation so I can anyhow depart from the faith, and I will still be saved, no, no, no. If you anyhow depart from the faith, it shows that you were never saved in the first place, you went up from us because you were not of us, but a person who truly has the grace of God in his life will have the perseverance of God, because he will continue to hold on to the Gospel and the reason why he will continue to hold on to the Gospel is because he has been anointed. It is not apart from God, apart from your perseverance. It is through your perseverance. True Believers Hold on to the Gospel True believers hold on to the Gospel, a an elderly man was about to die, he was sick and he got his family together, he can’t see very well and so he got his family and told them, can you flip the Bible to Romans chapter 8 where it says “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor anything else, shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus”. His family came and place his finger on that verse. He says, are you there, yet? Yes, we have placed your finger on that verse. He says to them, “Now I can go. I had breakfast with you in the morning and tonight I shall sup with Jesus”. And indeed, he died that very time. Here is a man who holds on to the Gospel till the day he dies. My friends, will you hold on to the Gospel to the day you die, because a true believer will do so. The question we have asked ourselves this morning. Do You Want to Go Away As Well? Multitudes say yes, but there will be those who says no, we will stay. To whom shall we go ? You alone have the words of eternal life. Let’s bow for a word of prayer together. I understand this is a very difficult message, never pleasant, never pleasant to talk about these things. I guess it was never pleasant for Paul to speak about these things to the church at Ephesus when he had to warn them with tears everyday. Truth be told, I fear for many of you, I do, I hear what you say, I read what you post, and I’m concerned because not that you leave Gospel Light Christian Church, but that you will leave Christ, that you have itching ears, and depart from the truth. My dear friends, my dear brothers and sisters, true believers and you’re unto the end, they hold onto the Gospel, even in the midst of great tribulation, they hold on. Will you hold on. Would you love truth, would this church be unashamed about saying, we are about truth, it’s not about hype, it’s not about fancy things, it’s not about how impressive we look on the outside, it’s just a faithful following of Jesus and His Word. Nothing more, nothing less. Time stamp in audio 0:49:02.9. Maybe this morning, you can think of your friends, who are right now in cults, in false teaching churches, maybe even your own family. I am not asking you to pull them out forcibly, you can’t, but would you pray for them, would you be concerned about them or would you say it’s fine, they would eventually come back, Jude tells us, save them out of fire. Or maybe today, right here, right now, you have been a false believer. You have been coming to this church, day after day, week after week, year after year, you are active in care groups. You may be even active in serving people. But today, you know in your heart, you’re not a Christian because you don’t see any signs, you don’t see obedience. You don’t see, a growing love for others, you are still loving the world and if there is great trials today, you know you will give up on your faith. Then I tell you, you never have the real faith. Would you humble yourself today, honestly humble yourself and come to Jesus Christ, would you do that? I don’t want to be mean, that’s not my purpose, I am not speaking this message as if I want to push you guys away, no. I really hope you will come to know Jesus. Jesus saves, He can change your heart. He can give you the anointing, the indwelling Spirit, He will, if you humble yourself, turn from sin and come Him. Whatever the Lord is speaking to you, would you make a decision, prayer, a commitment before Him. Would you pray for Gospel Light Christian Church, and for all Bible believing, living, preaching churches in this nation and across the world that God will keep His church pure, to allow His truth to sound out amongst the nations. You see there’s so much deception, there’s so much background noise. I actually think that there is more false teaching than true teaching in the world today. What does the church, the true church do about it? Would you pray, would you preach, would you share, would you live this truth. Don’t be fooled by superficial things folks, don’t be fooled by music and lights and dance and dress and appearance. It’s not about these things, for the Bible, about truth, about the true Jesus, of the Bible. Father, thank You for this day, we thank You for Your Word that still speaks to us today. I pray for those who are deceived, have mercy to draw them back, through Your people, through Your children, draw them back. I pray today that You will guard this church, from falsehood, from lies, from deceit, from insincere liars. I pray, You will guard our pulpit. I pray today for all our friends seated here, Lord, You know all our hearts. We all look like we are following You, but maybe not all yet, and so be gracious to call each one of us truly to that Zoe life, the eternal life of God. Bless Your church, bless each one seated here. I pray that Your love will fill our hearts and draws to Yourself. Thank you for Christ, the true Christ, God’s only Son, who came to be man, God man that He may die for our sins, save us from our sins, not just from the penalty but from the lifestyle from the power of sin. We thank You, we praise You, we thank You for the privilege of knowing You, we asked all this now in Jesus Name, Amen.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John Chapter 2 verses 15 to 17
Download the sermon slides: SERMON-2014-10-12
If you have your Bibles, turn with me therefore, to 1 John chapter 2 and er…that you can look at the verses 15 to 17, in particular once again. Now, let me begin with what happened in my home, in my house. Some months ago, I shared with you that there is a plumbing issue, something was choked up in one of the pipes and water was overflowing everywhere in the kitchen. Well, my house seems to have this problem with plumbing and so this week, I had a problem with a toilet bowl. Er…and this time it’s not just overflowing things, not that it’s not overflowing but there is an overwhelming stench. So there’s a smell that came out of the toilet bowl. I do not know what’s going on. The water level in the toilet bowl was going low and when you flush, it will flush and then it will grgrgrgrrr… there’s a gurgling sound. So something obviously is not right, but I did what a guy usually does – act blur and do nothing about it. So I ignored it, I didn’t deal…deal with it, because it’s my son’s toilet, my wife doesn’t know. (Laughter in the congregation) So I sort of ignored it and passed over it, but the stench just got more and more overwhelming.
And at last, we decided to get the plumber in. The plumber came and he took a mirror and he puts it at the back of the toilet bowl or the unit and he says, “I think I know what the problem is.” He began to dismantle the whole toilet seat, the unit itself. Took about 10 – 15 minutes and he says, “Sir, come take a look.” And so I went and to my horror, I saw something that maybe if you’re not er… prepared, don’t see, alright? Viewer discretion is advised (laughter in the congregation). Because when my helper went in, she saw it, she was ‘eeek’ and this is the picture, alright? Close your eyes, if you didn’t want to see it. Eh… aiyah…okay… (nothing on screen) close your eyes if you didn’t want to see it. Well, it looks like this. (Picture shown) (Exclamation in the congregation) Urrrggggg….the seat is removed and that…that trap at the…on the floor looks exactly like this. So no wonder, my helper shook her head; the plumber when he stepped into the room says, “Wah…什么这样臭啊?” (shen me zhe yang chou a) (Mandarin words meaning what is so smelly?) He cannot believe the smell. And I tell you, even right now, I can smell it. (Laughter in the congregation) Still lingering, I think. 0:02:22.0
Well, when I had this, I thought about the series we are in. We are talking about loving not the world. Why? Because the world is choking up our spiritual life and we don’t even know it! There is that smell; there is that filth, there is that stench that is coming out of us, before the Holy God and we don’t even know it. What’s worse is, we tend to ignore it. We think nothing’s going on, we think we are fine, we think we come to church, we think that we serve God and we do not realize that our lives are actually choked up with worldliness. So we tried to, maybe spray perfume, oh mask that smell. And so as Christians, we mask the fact that we love the world by coming to church, serving God and we think everything is okay. The reality, however, your life is not doing well. You’re choked, you’re blocked, you stink and it’s got to be gotten rid of. That’s why the Bible tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
This three-part series began with an understanding of what this world is all about. What does it mean to love the world? We realized, to not love the world is not to say we cannot live in the world, because the Bible tells us to shine as lights in this world. So it’s not about possessing the world, but it’s about obsessing the world. It’s not that we can’t live in the world, but the world must not live in us. The heart of the matter is that this is a matter of the heart. Love not the world, because if you love the world, there will come a certain devastation in your life. John tells us, the world passes away and the lust, thereof. If you love this world and you live for this world, then you live for a life that has no future. What’s worse? According to CS Lewis, this world is like sweet poison of the false infinite. It kills you spiritually. 0:04:32.5
So, today we come to the final message, which is a needful one, about how you can be delivered from loving this world. This is a message about the ‘How?’ The first message is about ‘What?’ The second is about ‘Why?’ and this is a message about how you and I could be delivered from the power of this world. By the way, this is a command from God. This is not an option when he says, “Love not the world…” It is written in the imperative voice, meaning it is a command, it’s not an option. But we know how difficult this is, isn’t it? I mean, like I say, when you go to a shopping mall and you see the glittering handbags, the shiny diamonds, your heart longs for these things; when a guy goes to a car showroom, opens the car and smells the new car, the new leather, he’s intoxicated with the love for this car. It is so easy to be tempted to go the way of the world when you talk with your friends. Oh, he is now a professor; oh, now he is the CEO; oh, now he is earning big bucks; oh, this is the car he drives; this is the house he lives in. These are the things that appeal to us. So we know we ought not love this world but it’s so difficult.
So how can you and I be delivered from the love of this world? That’s the question we want to answer today. How do people answer this question? Well, some of them answered it this way: Pastor, I know how I cannot love this world. I will give up all my creature comforts. I will sell my bed; I will give away my pillow; I will not eat any delicacy but ‘jiak loti’ (A mixed of Hokkien dialect and Malay words meaning eat bread) and drink water everyday. I will not have lights nor computer or television. I gave all these things away. That’s how I love not the world. But do you realize that, even if you give away these things and you drive a ‘lau pok chia’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning old lousy car), you can still love the world? You can still be coveting? You can still be longing and craving for the things of the world, so removing these things on the outside may not help you deal with a heart problem. 0:06:39.6
Some of us like the Amish people, they withdraw from society. They say, “Oh, love not the world.” So I tear away from this society; I tear away from people. I go to the desert; I go to the monastery; I stay only with Christians. Well, even if you’re staying away from society, it doesn’t mean that the world does not creep into you as well. Some of us narrow it to external practices. Orr… love not the world means I’m not going to drink; I’m not going to smoke. I’m not going to do this, I’m not going to do that. I live by a code of conduct. But again, that is no sure-fire method to cure the worldliness that can be growing in us. So how can you and I deal with this heart problem? It’s not about the outside. It’s really not about the outside. The outside is merely a manifestation of the inside, of the heart. So how can I deal with this heart disease called ‘Loving the World’?
In order for you to understand this, I want you to think about this little difficulty I have. I have this bottle Pastor holds up empty bottle), empty bottle, umm… you could see it. It’s empty, but it’s not empty because there is what inside? There is air inside. It’s sealed, alright? It’s seal real tight. There is air inside. Can you help me find a way to get rid of the air? If I were to give you any device, any machine, anything at all. Even yourself, you can use whatever parts of your body. I give you anything you can. Could you for 10 seconds think and don’t tell anyone yet. Think for 10 seconds, what’s the best way for you to remove this air from the bottle. Don’t tell anyone yet, alright? Think for yourself 10 seconds and locked in the answer in your mind. (After a short pause) Okay, times up! I will ask anyone of you can? No lah, stress you. You become so stressed. Give your answer. What is the best way to get air out of this? Put in a…? (Response in the congregation) Aiyah, all so smart people! This spoils my game (laughter in the congregation) but okay, I still will demonstrate to you. This… this, some of us may think, open it up and… (Pastor suck out the air from the bottle) suck the air. Some of us may attach it to a vacuum cleaner, but yeah I think most of you are right, this is the best way to get rid of air. (Pastor opens another bottle) My…my son’s water bottle. (Pastor pours red-coloured water into the empty bottle) I think, this is the best way to get rid of air in the bottle. And this is a remembrance for this message. 0:09:24.8
How do you drive out the love of this world? The Biblical basis for this is found in 1 John 2:15. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We began by looking at this simple principle. There’s only room for one in your heart. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. There’s only room for one. And there are therefore two rivals for your human heart. There is the world who wants your heart and God who wants your heart. But if you allow the world to occupy your heart, if you love the world, then the love of God is not in you. And therefore, the only power that can expel the love of the world in your heart is when you have the love of God in you.
This principle is what Thomas Chalmers says in his sermon, ‘Expulsive Power of a New Affection’. Thomas Chalmers is an old Scottish preacher known for one sermon, okay? He’s most well-known for this one sermon and the sermon is what we are looking at today – The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. Why new? Because we are never born with the love for God. This love for God is given to us by Him, but once you have the love of God, this is a powerful force that drives out the natural love for God in our hearts. Thomas Chalmers argues, that if you just tell people the world is bad, the world is bad, you got to get out of it, you got to get it out of your heart. If you just tell people that, it will never last. Because the world once driven out for a moment, would easily come back. It’s almost like if I suck the air out of the bottle, when my face turn green, yeah, maybe there is less air but the moment I stop, it flows right back in. Nature doesn’t like vacuum. So Thomas Chalmers says, if you just tell people to love not the world, tell them to do that is bad, they will not be able to sustain that kind of a life. The only way to really do so, is when you’re filled up with the love of God. The red, pure love of God. He says, “We know of no other way by which to keep the love of the world out of our heart, than to keep in our hearts the love of God.” Very, very simple point. How can you and I deal with the air in our life? The vanity of this world in our life? When you are filled up with God’s love. 0:12:08.5
This is very simple and I think even a child can understand that. This is a picture of my son, Matthias. Er…the second one. Matthias is a very cheeky boy and he loves to take photos. He will take…he will pose for you, er… and he’s very strong-willed. My older son is very much like my wife – very gentle, very kind. My second son is like me – stubborn like…like nothing, okay? Matthias is very stubborn and he loves to hold on to…to things he likes. So umm…wherever he goes, he will hold on to something and if you want to take that thing away from him, he will fuss. He will complaint, he will cry, he will make a lot of difficulties for you, so that he doesn’t have to let go.
But we found one method to make him let go happily, willingly, without complaints. We found a new affection for Matthias. You see, if I tell Matthias, “Don’t… Matthias, share the toy, give to your brother, share with friends.” He won’t! But now we have discovered a new affection for Matthias and it all becomes easy. Noticed what’s in his hand? The dinosaur. He won’t…he won’t appreciate if you say ‘dinosaur’, you must be very precise, T-Rex (laughter in the congregation). He knows Diplodocus, T-Rex. He knows T-Rex so…and he has a few T-Rexes. He has an orange one, brown one, this is the green one. The green T-Rex is Matthias’ favourite. Before he sleeps, T-Rex must be beside him. When he wakes up, he says, “My T-Rex! Where is T-Rex?” And wherever he goes, he loves to bring T-Rex around. So now we realize that if Matthias is doing iPad, or he is playing with toys and we want him to leave that, the best thing to do is, “Matthias, T-Rrrex!” And he lets go of his iPad, he lets go of the things that he wants to be playing and he goes for T-Rex. No quarrel, no problems. He’s able to let go because he has an overwhelming passion for T-Rex.
Why would you give up this world? I mean the world is fun, iPad, lots of nice things. Why would you give it up? Simply because someone tells you the world is bad? No, the heart is wired to crave for something. It must search for something and if you say, “Don’t touch it!” You must give it something else and the only power strong enough, for a man to let go of the world, is the new affection – the love for God. 0:14:46.9
Parents, I want to share something. I…I don’t have kids who love to play computer yet, but you probably have kids who are… who play computer everyday. You say to, “Ah Boy, ‘mai shen liao’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning don’t play already). Ah Boy, don’t play already. Play so much computer, you can’t study. You must study. Give up computer, it’s not good… you nag and nag and nag and nag. I tell you what your Ah Boy still do, still play and play and play and play. Why? You…he…it’s not that he doesn’t know he is wasting his time, I can tell you that. He knows it’s a waste of time. He knows it should be spent more profitably. But he can’t let go because you are telling him it’s bad but you’re not giving him anything that really motivates him. There’s no new affection.
For some of you, you are trying to lose weight. People tell you fat no good, fat no good, fat no good. Yeah, I know no good but I…I can’t lose weight. You know why? Because there’s no affection for something else. I know it because I was a ‘Pui Kia’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning fat boy). Er…I was…I was really overweight when I was in primary school, secondary school. I was part of a very famous club called the TAF Club. Heard of that? Trim and Fit Club. Actually not very trim and not very fit lah. All oversize people. I was part of the TAF Club. Never really wanted to lose weight. I mean what’s wrong? I eat all I want, I have all the KFC I like. What’s the big deal? Until…Winnie came into my life (Laughter in the congregation). The expulsive power of a new affection. We all understand this. And when it comes to the world, there is a new affection that changes our life – The love of God. 0:16:27.6
This is what Thomas Chalmers means, and I think that’s what we can learn from 1 John 2. We are naturally born with a love for this world. You tell this world, get out of my heart but the world will creep back in. There’s a vacuum and the only way this world is going to be pushed out in our life is when there is a love for God that fills this heart. That’s the only way. Is this true? Yeah, look at Moses. Moses could be the number 1 man in all the world at his time, he could be. He could have all the glory and pomp and pleasures of this world, but you know what the Bible tells us? Moses didn’t want all that. Amazing! He didn’t want the pleasures this world has to offer. He chose to be mistreated with the people of God. You say why? Why would he let go of Egypt? Why would he let go of this world? Because he has an expulsive power of a new affection – Christ. And even if he were to suffer for Christ, he says, I would gladly go. So overwhelming for this man of faith, that he lets go of this world, because he has a deep love for God and Jesus Christ.
This is exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 13. Sometimes when we read these parables, we don’t get this angle but if you look at it this way. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44, ESV) Basically he exchanged everything he had for this one treasure. He happily lets go of all that he has for this one treasure. This is the Gospel. This is the love of God. What does it means to follow Jesus? It means I’m willing to let go of everything in my life so that I may have God and it is because of God that I happily give up everything in my life. It’s because of Jesus that I would deny myself, take up the cross and follow Him. Is this such a pain? No, because I have Christ! The expulsive power of a new affection. This man is no loser. He has the joy and love of God.
I walk in hospital wards, by and by visiting people. I talked to my friends who are doctors. Maybe now private practice, whatever. Am I a loser? I say, “No, I have Christ.” And I gladly give that all up because I’ve found a treasure. The positive power, expulsive power of a new affection. 0:19:25.9
Sinclair Ferguson, a modern preacher today who, after reading Thomas Chalmers, puts it in simpler English and therefore I share it with you. He says, “You cannot destroy love for the world merely by showing its emptiness. Even if we could do so, that would only lead to despair. The first world-centered love of our hearts can be expelled only by a new love and affection for God and from God. The love of the world and the love of the Father cannot dwell together in the same heart.” There’s only room for one. “But the love of the Fa… of the world can be driven out only by the love of the Father.”
Jesus Christ. He says, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world…” (John 17:15) The cure to worldliness is not taking them out. In actual fact, Jesus wants them to be in the world. To shine, to preach, to bring the Gospel message, but how to prevent the world getting into them? The expulsive power of a new affection. “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them…” (John 17:26, ESV) What they need is the love of God. So what is the cure? What is a true antidote to worldliness in life? You’ve got to be filled up with the red love of God. You’ve got to love God and when you love God you will not love the world.
Let me tell you something however, the bad news – you don’t have the love of God. None of us is born into this world with this red love for God. We don’t. We are all born with a love for the world. So how? I’m filled with air. Where can I get this red love for God? The good news, is even though you do not have the love of God by yourself, by nature at first, there is the love from God for you. So this is the amazing thing about the Gospel, this is the amazing thing about the Bible. The Bible tells us that when we do not love God at all, there’s nothing in us that longs for God, God loves us. He loves us. He made us and he loves us. And the Bible is telling us that God’s love is for you, who has no love for him and this is the direction of life. You see, most of us think that we love God, then God will love me, isn’t that what it is? Every religion says you do this, you do this, you do this to prove your love for this deity and this deity will now love you in return. The Bible says it doesn’t work that way. You can never love God, by yourself, but it starts with God. God loves us when we are totally unlovely and when he loves us and when we feel and we know and we’ve receive this love, the Bible tells us, we now love Him. 1 John 4, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, ESV) I did not love God on my own. It’s because He loves me first and now I have the love from God, that allows me to have the love for God.
How do you know God loves you? Some people today think that God loves me because he healed my disease. He helped my boy get into this school. I earned the 1st million bucks. Wah, God really loves me. Well, maybe that’s true, but I tell you, those are not the pinnacle expression of God’s love. The pinnacle expression of God’s love, according to the Bible is here: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9, ESV) How is God’s love made so clear? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News, that while we were yet sinners God sent his only Son so that we might have life. This is love unspeakable. This is love that is stunning and out of this world because it is… has nothing to do with how worthy we are. It’s all because of God. And that’s why this love from God is experienced via the Gospel of Christ. I think this is what the Gospel is all about. The Gospel is a glorious message that God loves me. And the Gospel is the message that when I receive understanding that God loves me, I now live for him. 0:24:25.5
The world today, Christianity today, has by and large miss this when we neglect either part. Some of us say, “All I need to do is to love God.” And what it produces is religion or works-based religion. We produce Pharisees. Oh, Christianity is a set of rules and regulations by which you earn God’s love. You talk about love for God without the love from God, that doesn’t work. That’s ‘Pharisaism’. That’s legalism. That’s flesh-based religion.
On the other hand, there are people today who says, “God loves me. God loves me. God loves me.” But there is never an expression of love for God, in obedience. That’s really not the Gospel as well. Grace and godliness are together. You take away anyone of them, you do not have the Gospel. True Gospel centeredness is God’s love for me and my love for God, in response to that. That’s why, again, the Gospel says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV)
We’re called Gospel Light Christian Church. Gospel light! This Gospel light is not just for the unbeliever, this Gospel light…this Gospel is also for the believer. Because it’s only when we know God’s love that you and I can live that life that shines for Jesus Christ. It’s only when we understand the Gospel that we can really live out the true life of godliness. And this is what we need: the Gospel-centered life. Not about flesh-based religion, not about indulgent erroneous teaching of grace, that doesn’t lead to godliness. This is the center and the love from God and the love of God are to be held in tandem. 0:26:37.8
See, this is what we are (picture shown). This is you and I and all of us have dreams. Some of us dream of cars. Like I’ve shared with you, I had last time. Some of us dream of houses and money and gadgets, the things of this world but maybe you don’t want material things, you want these things: you want the applause of men. You love it when people applaud you. You love it when people accept you. You love it when your Facebook has a 1000 likes. You love it when you’re the number 1 person wherever you are. This is what you live for. You know why? Because this is from the heart that loves the world. It’s natural. This is very natural. So weird! This is universal because this is your heart.
So when a preacher comes along and says to you, “Don’t love this world, because the world is bad. The world is bad! The world is bad!” You say, alright, the world is bad, I…I’m going to stop thinking about it. I’m going to stop thinking about it. I’m going to stop thinking about it. The next moment it comes back in. It’s like I’m going to suck this air out of this bottle. Suck, suck, suck, suck, herrrr (out of breathe sound)….the air rushes back in. You can’t get rid of the air. You can’t get rid of this er… love for this world because your heart is filled with the love for this world. The only way you can get rid of it, is when your heart is changed. It’s filled with this love for God. And these things will fade in your life. This world will look strangely dim because you’ll be filled with the love of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s the only way. There is no other way. There is no other way, where you can loosen the grip of this world in your heart, until you have experienced and received the love of God in Jesus Christ.
If you today are here and you do not know Jesus, you love this world and you say, you know this world is meaningless, it’s vanity. I… I do not want to live for this world but I found it so difficult. I say to you, come to Jesus Christ. He’s the only way, the truth and the life, for you to know the true and living God for whom you are made for. And find your rest in Him.
I say to all of you who are parents. We who are…majority, many of you here are Chinese and I know how we Chinese teach children. We teach them don’t do this, don’t do that because… or study harder, don’t waste your time, because you’ll be a scholar. You earn enough money and you tell them about these things. Don’t love this world, but it will never work until his heart is filled with the love for God. Our Sunday school ministry, our children ministry, should not be about, oh kids should be filial. Oh, kids should obey. Oh, kids should love one another. Oh, kids should be kind. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying we don’t teach these things but we must not teach these things without telling them the love of God in Jesus Christ, in the Gospel. Because if you tell them to do these things but their hearts is not filled with God’s love, you produce moral children but they are not spiritual children. You are just teaching behaviourism, moral education. Their heart is not changed! So what we need to give our kids? What we need to give your children is that they will know the love of God in Jesus Christ, so that their heart is now filled with God’s love. Then their life will really change. They will really obey their parents because they love God. They will really be kind to one another because they love God. They will be gracious to people because they love God. Why do they love God? Because they know God loves them.
Some of us have youths and your youths have plenty of problems. I think teenage years are the worst years, all the problems surface. Sometimes struggle with this computer addiction, sometimes porn addiction, sometimes relationship issues and there’s so many problem. You say, so difficult to deal with them one by one. You know why it’s so difficult? Because they are merely the manifestations of a heart problem. They love this world. And your cure is to get right at the heart. That they may know the love of God. That’s what Yu Fei’s job is all about. Leading these youths to a Gospel-centered obedience to Jesus Christ. This is what parenting is about. Helping your children see the love of God in Jesus Christ. And when they are really experiencing that, their lives would changed. Some of us, however, we already have this love, we have known Christ, we have believed in him, we’ve turn from our ways, but we find that our journey is lots of up-and-down. Sometimes, we are on fire, sometimes we are cold. Sometimes we love God, sometimes we love the world and we hate to admit that, but it’s true. Well, I think it’s because sometimes, like this bottle of water, if I… if I uncapped this and I leave it in the sun. After a few months, I think the water level drops. I need to what? Top it up! If I don’t top it up, the world comes…or the air comes right back. So how can I grow in this love for God? How can I top up? Because there are times when it runs dry and I begin to be cold in my relationship with God. I begin to love this world and I don’t like it. So what do I do? 0:32:31.6
I end with these 3 things that are practical outworking of what you can do to fill your heart with the love from God, so that you may have a genuine love for God.
Number 1 – I suggest that you need to ponder.
The word ‘ponder’ means to think, to meditate, to reflect, to consider. You see, the Bible already tells us, the love of God is shown in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that’s why we need to be thinking the Gospel regularly, at all times. Not just an intellectual thinking, oh God saves me, but to…to really reflect in Scripture how God has presented His love to us. How we are steep in sin and how amazing His love is. And that’s why you read the books of the Bible, Romans and so on, is it technical theological alone? No, it’s…it’s healing of the heart. It’s love language. That’s why we read the Bible! It’s God’s love letter to you and to me! Some of you, you have BGR problems. You argue, you quarrel with your girlfriend, your boyfriend and…he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t love me anymore. Then you go back and you take out your love letters that he has written to you. Oh he loves me, oh he loves me, oh he really loves me and you look at all the presents he has given you and you look at all these tokens. And you reaffirmed to yourself, he really does love me. Sometimes in this life, we think God doesn’t love me. Or His love is really not that great. Go back and read His love letter. Read the Bible.
I was reading the Bible with my son and that… the picture Bible and we started from the beginning and the Bible… the picture Bible opens with this statement: the Bible is a story…that’s a nice way to start. Story about what? Goes on to say, the Bible is a story…about God. You see, sometimes we think that the Bible is a list of commands and instructions. It’s primarily a story. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. It’s a story of how God reveals himself to sinful man. It’s a story of how God is on the move to redeem and to restore us. It’s a story of God’s infinite, unchangeable love for you and for me. So go, read God’s love letter to you. Ponder, meditate. I say to you: ponder and meditate on God’s love in the songs we sing. Do you know that the Bible commands us to sing to one another, in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? It’s so sad when people come for Worship Service, ‘swee swee’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning just nice) 11:20. I know your timing, very ‘juen’ (Hokkien dialect word meaning very accurate) one, you all. You know when I’ll step up to preach and you just want to hear the preaching of God’s word. I tell you, you miss out on the first segment of singing to God and singing to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Those are opportunities for the Gospel, by the spirit’s help to go deep into our lives and into our hearts. You watch so many movies, you watch so many TV programs, it tells you about the world. Don’t you think you should ponder and meditate about God’s love for you? That’s why we observe the Lord’s supper. Do this in remembrance of Me. It’s a topping up process. It’s getting low, top it up. How? Ponder through Scripture, through songs, spiritual songs, and in the observance of the Lord’s table. So, Number 1, you’ve got to ponder. I guess you can guess the second one, the pattern all ‘P’ one. That’s easy for you.
2. (Number 2?) Pray.
That’s so simple, right? And this is not just because it’s all ‘P’ but because the Scripture says so. In Ephesians 3, one of the great grand passages of the Bible, earlier verse I think in verse 15 or 16, Paul says, “For this cause I bow my knees before God.” So what is Paul praying for? Paul is praying for the Ephesians, for the church at Ephesus, “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth (and) length (and) height and depth, and to know the love of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:17-19, ESV) You say what does Paul pray for? He prays for the church to be filled up with God’s love. He prays for the church to be filled up with the Gospel of love. That’s what he prays for.
You know what we pray for? Orr…pray for my son to get good results, pray for my flu to go away, pray that my job will ‘soon soon lee lee’ (Hokkien dialect words meaning smooth sailing), very smooth. Er… pray that I will have a good day. I’m not saying that you don’t pray for these things or that is necessarily sinful to pray for these things. But the balance of prayer in the Scripture and what we are praying today is just so different. And I’m not saying this in a condemning way at all, I’m just encouraging you to… to think scripturally, what is really important? Here, this heart. This little heart of mine that has room only for one. It was filled with the love for…for this world. Today, it should be filled with the love for God. And the only way it can be filled, is when I know the love of God to me. And I therefore need to meditate on Scripture. I need to ponder, I need to remind myself through the means of grace and I not only must do this on the intellectual level, I must pray that God will bring it really to my heart and fill it up. That’s what you should pray for, for yourself. Because some of you today are tired in your spiritual life. You’re cold, you’re lethargic, you…you feel so weary of living the Christian life. I say, you need to be topped up with God’s love. He goes on to say in Philippians… Philippians 1, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…”(Philippians 1:9, ESV) Again he prays that they will grow in God’s love. 0:39:15.0
Finally, the 3rd ‘P’. Anyone wants to guess? Someone actually gave, I think a better word than what I came up with, so I thought it’s great. But anyway what’s the 3rd ‘P’? Think about it, how can I know the love of God more? Well, scripturally, I know I need to ponder, I need to think, I need to meditate, I need to read. Two, I need to pray. That’s Scripture. Prayer – that’s obvious. The 3rd one? The 3rd one is…
Wah…this kind of word also can ah? (Laughter in the congregation) Yeah, because in Hebrews 10:24, by the way, Hebrews 10:24, in the King James version, I…I grew up on King James, that’s why. “And let us consider how to… provoke one another to love and to good works.” That’s why I have the word ‘provoke’. Actually, someone said, “Participate.” I thought that’s quite good. ‘Participate’ means you are part of this community where you stir up one another. Christian living is never in isolation. The Gospel calls us to community life. The world tells you to live individualistic lives. The Gospel calls you to a community life and this community is necessary for you to be filled up with God’s love and for you to help fill other people with God’s love. It’s a dynamic that Scripture tells us of in Hebrews 10. And I want to encourage this church, each and everyone of you. Are you really serious about living for God? Are you really serious about having your life changed? Are you serious about discipleship to Jesus? Then repent and go back to your first works. What are your first works? Scripture, prayer, community.
And I love the word that you guys used, ‘practice’. Hehe… it is so appropriate today. Because I tell you, I fear that all of us who have heard this message, walk out of this place, “Thank you Pastor. I understand that you use a bottle. I remember the story. I remember this three ‘P’s and thank you very much.” And then for the next year, your life has no change. You’re still as cold. You still love this world. You’re still dreaming about your BMW and there’s no change… you know why? Because you’re not practicing this.
My challenge to you, my challenge to myself, is that we will not just walk out of this place with an intellectual knowledge, “Oh, this is the way to do it.” But we will practically take the bottle of our lives, to ponder, to pray, to provoke and regularly be topping up the heart of our soul, the heart of our life. Would you do that? That’s why we encourage you to read the Scriptures. To…to go for means of grace. That’s why we encourage you to pray for spiritual things. That’s why you need to be in community. 0:42:17.1
The real and only solution to this heart is to have our hearts set on fire by the love of God. That we’ll pray and we’ll sing and we’ll say to ourselves, a passion for you, God, not just to serve but to love you with all of my heart. And this is the beauty of the Gospel. When at the end of life’s journey, we turn up before God. We appear before Him and we could say, “Lord, we kept Your Word, we love not the world.” Why? Because your love has fill up our lives. Jesus is the hero who has captured our hearts and we live for Him because He first loved us. You know, that brings glory to God? And that is the real antidote to the sweet poison of your soul today. Let’s bow for a word of prayer. 0:43:20.4
Love not the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. This is one of the evidence of a life that truly has been changed by Jesus Christ. If you’re part of this church, you’ve attended our services, we want to affirm to you that you are a follower, a disciple, a believer of Jesus not because you came to church, not because you have a Christian name, not because you do this and you do that. You are a child of God and you can know it because you love not the world. Just like John has told us earlier on, you obey His commandments, you love one another. If you in your life today, could not say honestly to yourself, “I obey His Word. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and I love not the world.” If you cannot say that, my friends, this is not a bad time at all, for you to come to God and say I need to be born again. Because I see that there is no glimpse of real life and this may be the most glorious day for you, that you would see your own lack of change. That you’ll see that your heart is still the same heart and you cried to God, “God, change my heart!” And I know you can, because you sent your Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross, shed his blood, to save me from my sins. The best I know how, I would turn from my sins and I will receive, I will believe in Jesus to be my Savior. Today can be the day your heart is changed. Today can be the day your heart experiences the love from God, in the Gospel. But you’ve got to make that choice. You’ve got to say “No” to sin, you’ve got to say “Yes” to the finished work of Jesus Christ. You’ve got to say, “Lord, I want to come to you and Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.” Would you do that? Today, right here, right now?
There is hope for your soul. There is life from the cross of Calvary. There is love you’ve never experienced, that comes through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. Your life that is like the bottle filled with vain air, clutching at anything this world has to offer, can be absolutely filled up with the red love of God, the warm love of God. It can be yours today. I speak today to brothers and sisters in Christ, you have believed. You have repented. You have followed Jesus, but sometimes you follow erratically. You follow a day or two, you drop off a day or two. There are peaks and troughs, there are mountains and valleys in your spiritual journey. You struggle, you are dry, you are tired, you are frustrated. You got to need…you got to have a top-up. You got to have a re-charge. You got to have a filling up again with the Gospel of love. So maybe it’s time for you to stop being like a ‘Martha’. Running around, praying for everything around you, but neglecting the need of your heart – to know His love, to be filled with His love. Maybe, that’s what you need to cry out to God today. It is a time for you to commit yourself to say, “Lord, I’m going back to my first works. I’m going to be like a ‘Mary’ who will sit at your feet. I will ponder the Scriptures. I will sing songs of praise. I’ll be part of a spiritual family. I will… I will consider to provoke one another because I want to be topped up, I want to be filled up with Your love, because that is the only way I can be rescued from the clutches of this world. I want to love You God and I thank You that Your Word tells me how, to go back to the Gospel to be filled up with the Gospel.” Would you make that choice as well today?
Father, we thank you for this morning, and how we could consider, a glorious theme of the Bible. The Bible is the story of God and His love for sinful men. God, this is Your love, this is the power of Your love, not just to save us from hell to heaven, but to save us today from the world unto Yourself. Glorious power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fill our hearts today, answer our prayer. Even as we right here, right now, will sing a song unto You. Hear us, make this church a glorious church, glorious with the love of the Gospel, glorious to bring many more to this same love with which You have love us. So be with your people today, we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.← Older posts