In his follow-up sermon on the Holy Spirit, Kong Hee explains how everything the Holy Spirit does is out of love and results in love. He also taught how one can invite the Holy Spirit into his life.
“God is love,” Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church began his sermon over the weekend of Mar 5 and 6 with this simple yet powerful statement. He explained that love is the essence of Who God is and the greatest of all virtues.
“Love is the atmosphere for the Spirit’s healing,” the pastor preached. Love is the power that stands behind all the miracles that Jesus performed in His earthly ministry. In Matthew 4:14, the word “compassion” is defined as love, kindness and gentleness. It is through love that Jesus ministered healing to those who needed it. “Faith works through love; without it, your faith will never be released to its full power,” he said.
Love is the atmosphere for the Spirit’s deliverance. In the absence of love, fear abounds, and fear is what the devil uses to enslave people. The good news is, “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 Jn 4:18). In the presence of God, there is love, freedom and joy—every demon must flee in the presence of God, the pastor reminded the church.
This explains why whenever Jesus walked into a room, those who were demon-possessed were set free. “This is how you want to be,” Pastor Kong urged. “You want to be so full of God’s presence that everywhere you go, you are oozing out the love of God. In the purity of this love, every demon trembles.”
Next, he declared that “love is the atmosphere for the Spirit’s revival.” Acts 4 records that although the early church went through a challenging period, yet they grew bountifully. Pastor Kong pointed out that revival seldom happens in easy times, but in the most difficult seasons. Despite hardships, the believers loved God so much in Acts 4 that the entire building shook when they prayed and worshiped.
The pastor likened this to the earlier days of CHC when church services were held at the Hollywood Theatre and at Jurong West. “Hollywood Theatre and Jurong West literally shook when we praised the Lord,” he recalled.
Going back to Acts 4, Pastor Kong noted that the early church was united and every believer lived selflessly (Acts 4:32-33). In that atmosphere of love and unity, the Holy Spirit moved and the early church experienced a great revival.
“Love is what opens the door for the Holy Spirit to come,” the pastor explained. With this, he taught three things that enable a Christian to welcome the Holy Spirit into his life.
1. ZERO ANGER
“Every time you get angry and act in an unloving way, you grieve the Holy Spirit,” Pastor Kong said. “When the Spirit is quenched, He lifts His presence and power away from you.”
Saul was an example of this. The Holy Spirit had anointed him mightily to be king. But instead of allowing the love of the Holy Spirit to change him, King Saul hungered for power, success and admiration of the people; that turned him into a competitive individual.
“If you want to be Spirit-filled, you’ve got to rein in your competitive spirit,” the pastor advised. “Too much of it is going to drive the Holy Spirit away.” Saul’s competitiveness became so uncontrollable that the Holy Spirit departed from him.
In 1 Sam 16:14, Saul became so jealous at David that he grew angry and wanted to kill him. “Don’t become a person who is easily angry with people,” Pastor Kong urged. “Only God has the ability to get angry and not sin. For the rest of us, we lose our heads 99.99 percent of the time when we are angry.”
In 1 Sam 18, Saul was so angry that even when he was worshipping and prophesying, he had a spear in his hand, waiting for the opportunity to kill David. “How can you praise God, prophesy and move in the gifts and yet be so full of anger and hatred?” Pastor Kong asked. He urged the church to deal with their anger before it destroys their soul and drives the Holy Spirit away.
2. ZERO GOSSIP
Ephesians 4:30 reads, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…Let evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Evil speaking is any form of gossip, spreading rumours or repeating a scandal—these are things that will drive the Holy Spirit away.
Pastor Kong shared that years ago when he was a young pastor, he would share stories of other leaders and churches to his disciples, using these accounts to teach them to avoid making mistakes.
One day, the Holy Spirit’s convicted him and told him to stop gossiping. He repented and the Holy Spirit led him to his mentor, the late Dr Yonggi Cho, the founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church who never spoke ill about another person. “I believe this is one reason why he’s the senior pastor of the world’s largest church in history—because he was so full of love,” Pastor Kong reflected.
3. ZERO RESENTMENT
Ephesians 4:30-32 reads, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
“The Holy Spirit is very forgiving because love and forgiveness are synonymous—they are two sides of the same coin.” The pastor explained. “And because there is no limit in love, there should be no limit on forgiveness.”
He went on to illustrate his point using the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981. The Pope was shot four times but survived the attack. His attacker was arrested and was sentenced to life imprisonment. After the Pope recovered, he paid a visit to the gunman and offered him forgiveness. The Pope went one step further to seek pardon from the Italian President for the man who had harmed him.
Forgiveness is not a natural thing to do. Simon Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive and Jesus answered him, “Seventy times seven”, which is a Hebrew idiom that means “always”.
To forgive is to let go of one’s anger, judgment and the desire to take revenge. It is the trademark of Christians because Jesus forgave all His enemies and He teaches his believers to do that every day in the Lord’s Prayer.
In Acts 8:18, there was a mighty outpouring in Samaria. When a man named Simon Magus (Simon the Magician) witnessed the Holy Spirit is given to those whom the apostles laid hands on, he offered them money for the power of God.
Upon hearing this, Peter warned Simon Magus that his heart was not right, for he was “poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:23). Despite being converted and water baptised, the Spirit could not move in Simon Magus’ life due to his deep-seated bitterness and resentment. Church history shows that Simon Magus eventually lost his salvation and became known as the Father of Heresies.
“Please don’t let this be your story,” Pastor Kong pleaded. He reminded the church that it is the Holy Spirit that gives them the grace to repent and forgave their sins. “Now, He wants you to do the same.”
“You must make Him feel welcome in your life, cell group and church by focusing on His love, receiving His love and allowing the love of the Holy Spirit to move you closer to God,” Pastor Kong said in closing. He urged the church to make a decision to let go of anger, of idle gossip and resentment in their lives.
CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS: REACHING THE CANCER PATIENTS, EX-OFFENDERS & FOREIGN WORKERS
Earlier in the service, Pastor King invited the representatives of three Church Without Walls projects to share their experiences as well as new initiatives for 2022.
The congregation watched the testimony of Michelle Chiang and her 16-year-old daughter, Ariel, who shared about volunteering in the Cancer Care group. Michelle was tasked to do escort Madam Low—a cancer patient with no living dependents—to hospital daily for nearly a month for radiotherapy sessions. It was not easy but Michelle is thankful that her family and cell group jumped in to help.
After the treatment was completed, Michelle continued to visit Madam Low. In a video testimony, Madam Low shared how grateful she is to Michelle and to have had Christians surrounding her during her most difficult time.
Pastor Edmund Tay, who oversees this initiative, shared that the group has ministered to 50 cancer patients. He hopes to recruit 10 volunteers to befriend and offer practical help to another 15 cancer patients.
Next, Eric Soo and Isaiah Kuan shared their experience working with Prison Care which conducts outreach to ex-offenders. They befriend former inmates and help them to look for work. Isaiah shared how he reached out to Ah Zhen and his girlfriend, and they recently joined their very first cell group meeting in the church. Prison Care is looking for eight adult cell groups to reach these ex-offenders.
Finally, Johann Sim and Ian Chong shared how they served the foreign workers through another Church Without Walls initiative, My Fellow Workers. Last year, they managed to reach out to 1,800 low-wage migrant workers over a span of four months. Most of these workers were not able to return to their home country due to the pandemic. They conducted a successful Christmas carnival where 1,100 workers joined them for a day of games and Christmas gifts.
Another initiative under the MFW is meals with love, where female volunteers connect with low-wage female workers through fellowship over meals. They are thus looking for 80 volunteers to help with outreach events and 20 female volunteers to connect with foreign workers over meals.
If you would like to volunteer, please sign up via www.chc.org.sg/cww.