To enter God’s rest is to work together with God and to trust in His Word, says Kong Hee in the third instalment of his series, Entering God’s Rest.
Over the weekend of May 21 and 22, Kong Hee, the senior pastor of City Harvest Church continued his series on entering God’s rest. He began his message by reading from Genesis 1:26: Man was created in God’s image and likeness and was given dominion over all living things. In Genesis 2:19, God gave Adam the job of naming each living creature.
“This was the partnership Man had with God,” Kong said, “Adam had to have the mind of God to be able to name and tame the animals that were stronger than him.”
Kong illustrated the power of modern man working in the same sort of partnership with God, using the story of botanist and inventor Dr George Washington Carver. Carver came from a line of slaves, but his faith delivered him from a poor fate. He asked God to reveal what he could do with a peanut, and God gave him over 300 ideas using the humble crop. Kong told the congregation the tale of how Carver would go into what he called “God’s little workshop” where God would download ideas for what he could make with the peanut. The result was over 160 products spanning food, medicine, cosmetics and general products like lubricants. Kong cited this as a great example of what it’s like to work in God’s rest.
God’s original purpose for Man was to live and work in His rest but when mankind fell into sin, it was separated from God. The Bible says that mankind now walks “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of god, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:17-18).
Working without God is toil, which means hard, exhausting, continuous labor marked by strife, weariness and pain. Ecclesiastes 2:23 describes it this way: “For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.”
When a person works without God, he would not be able to find good success, Kong said. They may be successful and be at the peak of their career, but it might be at the expense of their health, marriage and even their consecration with God.
“Many people ask me how to find balance in life,” Kong continued. “The answer is simple, we need to learn to work with God and to enter His rest. We will never find balance by relying on our own strength.”
Genesis 3:17-19 says, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
Sweat and toil are the result of sin and disobedience and “thorns and thistles” are the evidence of the curse. Before Adam’s sin, there was “no sweat”, Kong said. God wants to His people to live life “without sweat” especially when they are serving Him. Kong encouraged the congregation to set aside all their worries and come to the House of God without any anxiety.
The senior pastor also reminded the congregation that Jesus was crowned with thorns and thistles on the Cross—He took the curse of mankind so that His people can live free of toil forever.
Kong pointed out that Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The responsibility of His people will be easy and work becomes pleasurable again.
“If we overwork, we leave no room for God to move,” Kong says. “God wants us to keep on multiplying, growing, increasing and taking dominion in His rest.”
One of the reasons why Jesus came to earth was to tell His people that the kingdom of God does not involve toil. This means that God will do the heavy lifting and His believers can enter His rest by trusting in Him. Quoting from Romans 14:17, Kong reminded the people that “The kingdom of God is full of righteousness, peace and joy.”
How does the toil-free Kingdom of God work?
Jesus explained in Mark 4:26, “And He said, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.”
This seed is the Word of God. When there is revelation of the Word, all the worries and struggles will go. That is why Satan wants to keep God’s people cut off from His Word. When they are ignorant of what the Bible says, their minds will remain futile as described in Ephesians.
Kong told the story of Luke 5:1-5 where Simon Peter “toiled all night and caught nothing” but when Jesus told him to cast out his net, he caught a great number of fish. He explained that the world system of Satan is to toil and get nowhere but God provides another way for His people.
“We need to get out of the kingdom of the world and enter the Kingdom of God,” Kong encouraged. “And the entrance to God’s Kingdom is the seed of the Word.”
Working with God is to believe in the Word—when the people of God trust in His Word, they are working with God. Reading several verses of the Bible, Kong challenged the congregation to trust in the promises of God.
In closing, the senior pastor shared a story about Suwartono, an Indonesian restaurant owner. When he was 17, he contacted a rare case of skin cancer that no medication or treatment could cure. For eight years, he suffered excruciating pain. One day, he came across the Scripture in Isaiah 53:5: “And by His stripes we are healed.”
Suwartono started meditating on the Word. After a month, he decided one night by faith not to take his pain medication. That night, he was in tremendous pain but he refused to give in and instead, kept confessing that he was healed. The next day he woke up and found the bed covered with his skin. He walked to the mirror and found that he had “moulted” and his face and body was now covered with skin like a newborn baby’s. He was totally healed.
“There is nothing too hard for God,” Kong said. “We are only limited by the extent to which we can believe in His Word.”
Kong encouraged the congregation by saying that God wants to provide for all their needs so that they have the energy to fulfill His Kingdom purpose; He wants His people to prosper without sorrow and toil. Kong encouraged them to cast all their cares on Jesus and to spend their time and energy on things of the Kingdom.
The message was a powerful encouragement for Joyce Tan, 23, a marketing executive. “I felt the Word is in season for me. We are so busy with our lives that out of seven days in a week, we only have one day that we can fully spend with God. It’s good to find rest in His presence, being assured that when we do our best, He will do the rest.”