Canon J. John brought his humor-filled salvation message to City Harvest Church last weekend, leading many to Christ.
By Dawn Seow
What is Christianity?
“Think of it like an invitation. We appreciate an invitation even when we can’t go, because it’s nice to know that someone thought of inviting us,” said Canon J. John in his introduction to a message on salvation.
He spoke at City Harvest Church’s weekend services over the weekend of Feb. 18 and 19. John, who hails from the United Kingdom, is a creative Christian speaker who has completed thousands of speaking engagements at conferences, towns, cities and universities in 54 countries on six continents. He is also the founder of Philo Trust, a ministry that focuses on reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ. On top of that, he has authored over 50 books. Using dry wit, simple illustrations, and a crisp British accent, John demystified Christianity and led many to Christ during the two worship services.
John said the three things most people want to know about an invitation are firstly, who is it from? Secondly, who is it for? And thirdly, what is it about?
Drawing from the famous piece of Scripture, John 3:16, the speaker told the congregation that the invitation is from God, delivered to all of mankind through Jesus Christ.
“When I say, you’ve been invited by Jesus Christ, most people would simply nod nonchalantly. But if I say the Queen of England is inviting you to tea at Raffles Hotel, I’m sure you would try to slip that bit of information into any conversation you are having.
“But I tell you, there will come a day where every queen, every king and prime minister who had ever held office will bow before Jesus Christ and say to Him ‘You are King’, because He is the King of Kings. Your invitation is coming from Him today!”
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus gave an invitation to all who are weary to come to Him. John paraphrased it for today’s people: “Come to Me if you are burned out, stressed out, sick and tired or sick and tired of being sick and tired!”
At a lecture he once gave, a student challenged John with this: “Isn’t Christianity just a crutch?” John replied, “Yes, it is—because we are all broken.”
Having established what Christianity, or salvation, is, John went on to explain that “there are 800,000 words in the Bible but we can summarize all of it into three statements: forgiveness from the past; new life in the present and hope for the future.”
Forgiveness from the past
“Many people have great ideas to solve the world’s problems. Unfortunately they are all busy cutting people’s hair and driving taxis,” the Canon joked, referring to the talkative barber and taxi drivers that often bombard customers with their “solutions” to social issues.
To solve the problems in the world, one must first look at the root of all the problems. “The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. It’s the heart disease that produces the seed that pollutes the world and cause problems in our marriages, our culture and the world,” John explained.
He then gave an illustration of the “Judgment Theatre” to talk about the sins of commission and omission: If every second of our life is made into a film, what rating would it receive? Would it be suitable for family viewing?
“Many of us don’t realize that many things that we do in our lives cause us to be disconnect to God. Jesus Christ is the only one who can connect us back to God! It works a little like having an overdraft in our bank account. All of us are overdraft, we can’t help each other, and we need someone with credit to help us. That someone is Jesus Christ.”
“If we remove Christ from the word ‘Christian’, we are left with the letters ‘i’, ‘a’ and ‘n’, and Ian can’t really help us,” said John earnestly as the crowd burst into laughter. “We need to be connected to Christ. If we don’t have Christ, we are just a friend of Ian’s.”
Having Jesus in our life is like inviting Him into our car. “If He is already in your car, good, but where is He sitting? Is He in the boot, passenger seat or the driver seat? And if He is in the driver seat, are we backseat drivers?” From the many oohs this illustration drew, it was clear John had the congregation reflecting on the place Jesus holds in their lives.
Using the acronym FIRST, John explained that if Christians put God first in five key areas, they are on the right track: finances, interest, relationship, schedule and troubles.
Hope In The Future
“A lot of people’s lives are like a hospital gown,” said John. “You aren’t quite as well-covered as you hope.”
It’s all about our destiny: “When we follow Christ, our destiny will be in Him.”
With that, John asked what everyone in the room had done with their invitation from Jesus—had they RSVP’d? “If you accept, you become the invitation. You become the Bible to people—are you good news or bad news?” he challenged.
John’s simple and funny but deeply provoking message opened the hearts of many non-believers in the service. When he invited them to receive Jesus, many streamed to the front. A total of 114 people accepted Christ’s invitation to heaven on the weekend.