“The promise of the Father is His presence with His people,” Bobby Chaw, executive pastor of CHC said as he preached about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Fifty days after Jesus resurrected, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the Upper Room. Last weekend, Jun 3-4, Christians celebrated Pentecost Sunday in commemoration of that event. Bobby Chaw, executive pastor of City Harvest Church, expounded on the significance of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In the weeks following Easter this year, Chaw has been preaching a series of messages surrounding the events after the crucifixion. In his last message, he preached about the disciples’ persistent prayers resulting in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
“The outpouring of the Holy Spirit has been mentioned all throughout the Old Testament and it is called the promise of the Father,” Chaw taught.
WHAT DID GOD PROMISE HIS PEOPLE?
God told Moses that He will “circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants…” (Deut 30:6) The prophet Jeremiah said it more explicitly, “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jer 31:33)
When the Israelites came into Babylonian captivity and lost the presence of God, God sent word to Ezekiel to encourage the people. Ezekiel 36:27 says, “I will put My Spirit within you…”
“The promise of the Father is His presence with His people,” Chaw preached.
The Israelites have always seen themselves as the people of His presence. At the burning bush, God first showed Himself to Moses and Mount Sinai became the Mountain of God. Moses then brought the Israelites out of Egypt so that they can meet with Him at Mount Sinai.
“The purpose of God bringing them out of Egypt—and us out of our troubles—is for them to enter into the presence of God once again,” said Chaw.
However, the Israelites did not appreciate and were too afraid to go up the mountain. God then came up with another plan. He instructed Moses to build a tabernacle so that He can dwell among His people.
“God was willing to move from the mountains to a small tabernacle just to be with His people,” Chaw noted. “When the tabernacle was built, the presence of God traveled with the Israelites wherever they went.”
When King Solomon built the temple, Jerusalem and the temple became the dwelling place of God. The Jews to travel to Jerusalem every year to pray and meet with God. They understood that God’s presence distinguished them as His people.
However, the Israelites rebelled against God repeatedly and eventually forfeited God’s presence. The Babylonians took captive of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. The Israelites lost the place they could meet God, essentially losing the presence of God.
Even then, God remained faithful to His promise and sent people to rebuild the temple. The glory of the latter temple, however, was nothing compared to that of the former.
“The Old Testament ended abruptly with Malachi. For 400 years, there were no revelations, no glory,” Chaw said. “Until Jesus came. The Israelites saw God’s glory through the work Jesus did and wondered if He could be the one who would restore God’s glory in Israel. They followed Him for three and a half years, but He was crucified, died and was buried. After three days, He resurrected. But after 40 days, He said bye to them again and ascended to heaven!”
The good news is, just before Jesus left, He gave His disciples a promise. Acts 1:4-5 says, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which He said, ‘You have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”
THE CARRIERS OF GOD’S PRESENCE
“We are now the carriers of God’s presence,” Chaw said. “God is with us wherever we go.”
In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Apostle Paul called Christians “the temple of God”. Chaw went on to read 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
He taught that there are things Christians should not do even though the Bible does not explicitly say not to. He gave the example of unmarried couples sleeping on the same bed or viewing adult content on Youtube—there is no law against either but it is not helpful.
1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
“God bought us at a high price, so what do we do?” Chaw said. “That is why in CHC, we say the pursuit of God is the whole purpose of our life.”
The pastor told the story of how a girl he was once interested in gave him a Bible and invited Him to church. He was so intrigued by the Bible that he decided to attend a cell group meeting led by Kong Hee, who eventually founded CHC. Even though he could not understand the sermon, he felt the presence of God and that changed his life. Since then, Chaw has led a life in pursuit of God.
Chaw concluded the sermon urging the congregation to build a church full of the presence of God. He encouraged the church: “Let’s build a place of prayer, and a place of encountering the presence of God.”