In the third instalment of his teaching on The Easy Yoke, senior pastor of City Harvest Church Kong Hee taught three important things about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Members of the body of Christ are endowed with different gifts, but God’s greatest gift of all is the Holy Spirit. Every gift given to believers is for them to experience His love, because true love gives of itself. God gives the gift, but He never demands service from the recipient.
This stood at the heart of senior pastor Kong Hee’s message to the church last weekend (17-18 Sep). Prior to his message, the congregation watched a video update on the Church Without Walls initiatives that were launched last year, many of which bore encouraging testimonies. (See box story below)
Pastor Kong opened his sermon by explaining that two years ago, the rebuilding of CHC began, but Covid slowed things down. Now that most of the restrictions have been relaxed, CHC can pick up momentum in its rebuilding efforts. One of the first and most important efforts is reigniting Church Without Walls. But he emphasised that before believers could reach out and begin the works, they have to get their priorities right.
God comes first: it is the goal and priority of the church to seek after Him. Out of that the believer will grow in the fruit of the Spirit, taking on the character profile of Jesus. Prioritising God also leads the believer into theosis, coming into spiritual intimacy and union with God.
After God comes family and the importance of covenantal love, even for singles. Through family, believers learn to offer grace, to be merciful and to forgive. Mutual empowerment is given to one another and they experience intimacy.
Following family are work and ministry, where the triangle of love, holiness and power comes into play. Without love and holiness, a believer will strive in his human efforts to serve in ministry. “Don’t lose the joy of serving,” urged Pastor Kong, adding, “It is only when our priorities are right that we can start rebuilding.”
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Going to Luke 11:11-13, Pastor Kong reminded the church that every good gift comes from the Lord, but the best of these gifts is the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 12:4 elaborates that there are different kinds of gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit that gives them to the different believers.
“All these gifts are meant to be used to serve others,” he declared, reminding the congregation of Mark 10:45, where Jesus said “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”
The pastor went on to list three key aspects of the gifts of God that belivers must understand.
The gifts create unity
God’s gifts are meant to be enjoyed together and used relationally. The gifts are meant help believers to love one another and to relate to one another better. The more united Christians are, and the more their gifts work, the more it will create unity and bonding.
Hence, different people are gifted with different gifts so that they can rely on one another. He gave the example of how, when he preaches, he needs the help of all the various ministries—from the CityTV crew to the visual communications and the CityWorship musicians and singers—and the congregation, to deliver the message. God’s gift cannot work alone in a single person, as Christians need each other to work together, he added.
“The place of agreement is a place of power,” Pastor Kong said. “The moment you become angry and offended, and you don’t want to work with others, then the gift becomes a burden.”
The Holy Spirit is a spirit of love, he reminded the people. “Decide you are going to stop being upset,” he said, explaining that forgiveness will allow one to enjoy serving again. The greater the unity among believers, the more joy and power they will experience.
The gifts develop Christlikeness
Pastor Kong recognised that some gifts are not easy. He quoted Mother Teresa who once said, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle, I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”
But every good and perfect gift comes from the Father, he said, quoting James 1:17. Even if it is a hard calling—for example, the gift of singlehood which may be challenging for some—it is designed to draw a believer closer to Jesus, the greatest treasure.
“You never need to serve,” said Pastor Kong, “but when you do, the Holy Spirit forms Christlikeness in you.”
The gifts have eternal significance
All the money that you have earned and the physical riches you have accumulated cannot go to heaven with you. What does have eternal value is the Kingdom of God.
Pastor Kong brought the church to Matthew 25:35-40 where the King rewarded those who helped people in need—feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, looking after the sick, visiting those in prison.
Even if nobody sees what you do, God sees, he said. “Jesus will remember what you have done out of love for others, and those works will endure for all eternity.”
He closed the service reminding the church members to serve out of love.
CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS: SERVING OUT OF LOVE
Earlier in the service, testimonies were shared by different Church Without Walls beneficiaries shown in a video. Pastor Kong invited representatives of three CWW projects to share their praise reports from the past year of efforts.
Pastor Teo Meng How and Pastor Lee Yi Lun shared about a CWW tuition programme beneficiary “Mary” who was taking her ‘N’ Levels but could not have tuition at her home because it was too messy. When her tuition ministry teacher Gavin brought this up to Pastor Yi Lun, she went with Pastor Meng How to Mary’s home. The house was filled with plastic bags of items that were stacked up to the ceiling, and the front door could hardly be opened.
Pastor Meng How was prompted to help the family to clear out and renovate their home. When Mary’s family attended the Easter service earlier this year, both Mary and her mother received salvation. The following month, 50 volunteers gathered to work on the flat for 20 hours over two days. The home was completely cleaned up and spacious, transformed into a proper living space.
In June, Mary brought her brother to CHC’s Emerge youth camp and he too gave his heart to Jesus. To think it all began with her teacher who wanted to help her study for her N Levels!
My Fellow Worker is a ministry reaching out to migrant workers and domestic helpers. In the past year, heads of this initiative Johann Sim and Ian Chong organised activities reaching out to 1,916 low waged migrant workers with 120 CHC volunteers. First they were treated to a meal of nasi bryani, before going on an excursion to the SEA Aquarium where they enjoyed a guided tour. The migrant workers took many photos and some even video-called their families to share their experience. MFW also organised a carnival, an evangelistic outreach and a talent competition to engage the migrant workers.
The ministry to Youth-At-Risk, headed by Kelvin Tan, shared a wonderful testimony of a 21 year old Malaysian living in Singapore. Due to financial difficulties, he borrowed money from loan sharks and ended up working for the loan sharks to repay his debt. He wound up in the reform training centre. Kelvin reached out to him, and invited him to an Emerge camp in June where he gave his heart to Jesus.
Each of these ministries is looking for volunteers to bring the love of Jesus to the lost outside the church. If you feel love for others and wish to serve, do sign up at www.chc.org.sg/cww.