In the eighth instalment of his series on the Kingdom of God, Pastor Kong Hee expounded on the Holy Spirit’s role in the life and experience of Jesus.
“Many think that the Spirit had very little to do with the Gospel stor; that He didn’t show up until after Pentecost in the book of Acts, but that is wrong,” Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church, said during his sermon on the weekend of Aug 28 and 29. “It was the Holy Spirit that makes Jesus the ‘Christ’—Jesus the Anointed One.”
He started his sermon highlighting that the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ key to the Kingdom of God in His earthly ministry. “Most people don’t realise one thing: How is the kingdom of God in the Person and mission of Jesus Christ? It is through the Holy Spirit.”
JESUS MADE THE DECISION TO DEPEND ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit was central to Jesus’ life. Jesus was born and lived by the Spirit, preached (Acts 1:2) and worked miracles by the Spirit (Lk 4:18 and Mt 12:28). At the end of His ministry, it was the Holy Spirit that gave Jesus the grace to suffer and die on the cross (Heb 9:14).
“This tells me that the Holy Spirit will make you very strong, make you very bold and very brave when you go through suffering. You will have the grace to go through hardships and difficult times,” Pastor Kong encouraged the congregation.
It was also the Holy Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead. In Romans 1:4, Paul refers to Jesus’ new resurrected body, which in Greek means the “Spirit body”. “One day, all of us who are believers in Jesus Christ, will be resurrected with a new Spirit body,” he taught. It would be in vast contrast to one’s earthly body as it will not be plagued by tiredness, depression or illness.
Pastor Kong also noted that every teaching Jesus gave was not from His own intellect but was given by the Father through the Holy Spirit. After His resurrection, Jesus ascended to Heaven by the Spirit (Eph 1:17), and now, He baptises all the believers in the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul says that believers need to have a revelation that this same mighty strength that raised Christ from the dead and carried Jesus to heaven dwells in all believers.
Jesus intentionally lived His life in a way such that believers may understand that they too can live like He did. Despite His divinity, Jesus was human when He came to earth. The tiredness, hunger and temptations He experienced were just as real as what any human being experiences. Yet Jesus remained sinless because He made the radical decision to depend on the power of the Spirit and live a righteous life. Pastor Kong preached, “Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure. This is the gold standard that you and I must aim for every single day.”
In contrast, believers have the Holy Spirit in measure. Hence, they need to be filled every single day. “To the degree we can obey God—that is the same degree the power and the presence of the Spirit will flow through us,” the pastor explained.
HAVING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT WITHOUT MEASURE
Pastor Kong gave a few examples of the things Jesus could do by the power of the Spirit. Firstly, Jesus walked on water not because He was divine; this is evident because Peter, who was not God, also walked on water, even if it was for a brief moment. “Jesus walks on the water by the Holy Spirit, leaning on the same power that is dwelling inside you,” the pastor taught.
Momentarily, Peter too was able to do the same when he had faith in Jesus’ words (Mt 14:28). However, Peter began to sink due to his “little faith”. This “little faith” refers not to size or amount—since all that Jesus asks of believers is to have faith “the size of a mustard seed”—but it talks about the duration of Peter’s faith. “There was no staying power. It couldn’t last the distance,” said the senior pastor.
Similarly, Jesus’ ability to calm the storm was not through His divinity. Elijah had the same power over nature, controlling the rain for three and a half years. “Elijah was a human being, but he was a man of the Spirit. He had faith and prayed fervently. Because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer, miracles happen when we pray,” he added.
Pastor Kong recalled an open-air evangelistic rally in the Philippines almost 30 years ago. Due to a heavy thunderstorm that continued for many days on end, it seemed like the rally could not go on. During the church prayer service, one of the team members prayed in faith and commanded the rain to stop. Almost instantly, the rain ceased, and the skies cleared. The microphone in the church happened to be connected to the sound system and her prayer was broadcasted over every loudspeaker in the barangay, allowing the entire town to witness this miracle. This led to an overwhelming attendance that night during the service.
“The disciples were amazed because Jesus prayed, and spoke to a fig tree and overnight, the tree withered and died,” the pastor continued. Jesus’ response to them, found in Mark 11:22-23, was that they could do the same thing if they had the faith to believe and speak it out.
“The Holy Spirit is very powerful, but faith works through love,” Pastor Kong continued. In Mark 11:25, Jesus told the disciples to forgive others in prayer. “If you want to have mountain-moving faith, your faith has got to be marinated and overflowing in love. You’ve got to develop a faith that’s full of God’s love.”
God’s love should overflow out of believers to touch others. Luke 14:15-21 emphasises that Jesus cares deeply for the poor, crippled, blind and lame. The moment a person stops loving and forgiving others because of his hurts and grievances, that life of the Kingdom and the power of the Spirit start to dry up on the inside. “But the more you love people, the more the Holy Spirit overflows like a never-ending stream, like a never-ending River of Life,” Pastor Kong said.
EXPRESSING THE LOVE OF GOD
Church Without Walls is an avenue for the congregation to express the love of God. The church watched a video testimony of Kong Yun Rui, who shared how her parents’ divorce led to strong feelings of rejection from a young age. Her studies deteriorated and she even had bouts of violence against her classmates.
In 1996, a family friend invited her to City Harvest Church—that was during the early days of CWW. The patience and kindness of the church teachers helped to shape these young impressionable years and helped her through the financial difficulties that her family was facing at that time. “Now I desire to shine for Him and make a difference in the lives of others.” Today, Yun Rui is married with a family of her own and serves in Harvest Kids, helping children with learning difficulties.
Another CWW outreach is to youth-at-risk. Jeffrey Ho is one such individual who benefited from this outreach. Through the persistent efforts of several City Harvest Members, Jeffrey went from a life of gang fights and violence, and even his lowest point of being locked up in the Taiwan Detention Centre, to dedicating his life to Jesus. This allowed him to relinquish all his vices. Today, the School of Theology graduate is gainfully employed and serves in the Jesus for All Minds (JAMs) ministry to the intellectually challenged.
The revival of CWW has already begun bearing fruit. Pastor Maria shared with the congregation that in the past three weeks, 50 volunteers from eight cell groups have given out elderly care packs and engaged in grocery distribution for 284 elderly persons. These volunteers also spent time cleaning the houses of the elderly, understanding their needs and praying for their needs, along with accompanying them on errands such as buying groceries and banking. Because of their efforts, some of the elderly have come to accept Christ.
Pastor Lee Yi Lun then shared with the congregation on the Tuition Programme for students preparing to sit for their GCE ‘N’ and ‘O’ Levels. She herself benefited from the program when she was a student, scoring eight distinctions for her ‘O’ Levels. At the moment, the Tuition Programme is looking to recruit 15 volunteers to serve as tutors the next three months.
In these next four months, CHC has a goal to reach out to 185 poor and needy children, 380 elderly folks, 432 persons of special needs, and 15 at-risk youths. While the target has been achieved for 182 cell groups’ involvement in CWW, there is a still a shortfall of 140 volunteers for the whole project.
In closing, Pastor Kong prayed for the congregation that they would continue to live conscious of the Spirit’s leading, allowing the Kingdom of God to dwell within them.
If you wish to be part of Church Without Walls in CHC’s outreach to the needy, please contact your cell group leader or sign up via www.chc.org.sg/cww.