In the second of a two-part teaching titled “Faith, Trust And Rest”, the senior pastor of City Harvest Church taught the church how to develop their faith into trust, and how to enter into rest with God.
“Trust gives us the commitment to keep the confidence and faith inside,” said Kong Hee, the senior pastor of CHC on the weekend of Nov 14 and 15, 2015.
In the second instalment of his teaching, Kong took the congregation deeper into what it means to trust God. He opened with Jeremiah 17:7 which reads: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord.” In the Amplified Bible (AMP) the verse is expanded to say “believes in , trusts in, relies in”. Trust, said Kong, goes beyond the elementary level of faith.
Preaching out of 2 Chronicles 16:12, the senior pastor relayed the story of Asa, the third king of Judah and reminded the congregation of whom we placed our trust in. Asa was a king who worshiped and praised God but when he fell ill, instead of seeking his healing from God he turned to human physicians. Asa appeared to have faith in God, noted Kong, but the king did not trust the same God with his healing. A believer must grow beyond his or her initial faith and learn to the One Who is behind all the blessings.
Elaborating on this from 2 Chronicles 16:9, Kong explained that trust gives us empowerment and releases a blessing into our lives. God’s plan to bless us began all the way in Genesis where God blessed his creation and empowered them to subdue the earth and multiply.
“To be blessed means to be empowered to succeed,” Kong said. Psalms 34:8b reads, “Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”. The verse speaks of the tangibility of God’s blessing where our trust in the Lord will bring us there. Often, the distraction of the world filled our mind with stress, anxiety and keep us from sleeping but Kong encouraged the church with the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:25-33: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Kong told the congregation about Leong Yan Chee, who used to serve as an assistant pastor at Chinese Church. Leong went to the US with his wife and son to pursue further theological studies and has now started a church. Kong recalled how Leong and his wife came to him many years ago when they received news that their unborn child was likely to be born with Down syndrome. Given two medical reports that said as much, they were under pressure from their family members to abort the baby. But instead they believed in God’s Word, continued to pray, fast and proclaim their trust in God daily. The baby was born totally healthy and normal, to God’s glory.
Kong went deeper with 2 Corinthians 2:14 – “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” Kong emphasized that the word “always” always stands for “God never fails”. Even if our prayers go unanswered—as even Jesus’s prayer Luke 22:31-32 was—he reminded the congregation to stand firm and trust in God. He urged the church not to “cast away your confidence” (Hebrews 10:35), their outspokenness, and their confession in the promises of God even when times are tough but be like Mount Zion, immovable but abides forever (Psalm 125:1).
The familiar story of three young Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego in Daniel 3:17-27, shows the trust they placed in God. Captured and threatened with death, the three told King Nebuchadnezzar: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)
Out of faith, the three declared God would deliver them. Out of trust, they declared that even if God didn’t, they would not worship Nebuchadnezzar anyway. They were immovable in their commitment to God, because of the trust they had in Him.
“Faith may fail, but trust is eternal,” said Kong.
The test of trust is longsuffering, said the senior pastor. In Romans 8:35-39, Paul describes this:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Christian life may take believers through much hardship, as the verse says. But maintaining their trust in God will carry Christians through every obstacle.
And when the believer has reached that understanding of God’s truth, Kong said, it brings upon him a deeper trust that commands rest in God. As as the believer rests, it provokes God into divine intervention. (Exodus 14:14 and Mark 4:26 –27)
Wrapping up the two-part series, Kong read Psalms 20:1-9 as a personal word of encouragement to CHC, exhorting them to grow in their faith, to progress to trust in the Lord and to learn how to enter into the rest of God.