In his sermon last weekend, Pastor Lin Junxian delved into how brokenness can draw the believer closer to God.
On the first weekend of September (2 and 3 Sep), Pastor Lin Junxian preached about the power of brokenness. He opened his sermon by reiterating CHC’s senior pastor, Kong Hee’s message from the previous weekend on how suffering manifests in the life of Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, Paul wrote that Christians carry within them the power and life of God.
“So how do we constantly walk in this power?” Pastor Junxian asked the congregation. He revealed that the key is in being broken before the Lord.
THE POWER OF BROKENNESS
Broken things are typically discarded and quickly replaced. While brokenness is often viewed as a weakness, it is part of the human experience. Pastor Junxian shared three types of brokenness one would experience in life: inherent brokenness, imposed brokenness and invited brokenness.
Inherent brokenness exists within this fallen world that is filled with sin and evil. Imposed brokenness is caused by the actions of others, which leads to disappointment, bitterness, and resentment in life.
However, invited brokenness is deeply personal and spiritual, in which one can find God’s transformative power. It is a type of brokenness that causes one to be aware of how they are inwardly crushed by their sin and eventually find God’s overwhelming love.
“It is in this brokenness that we allow God to enter into our world to heal us and lead us into a life of complete dependence on Him,” the pastor preached. Every Christian will experience this tender process if they want to grow and mature in their walk with God.
Brokenness is a daily experience of self-humbling in response to God. Coming into fellowship with God allows one to reflect on their inner weaknesses to crucify those areas and release them to God. It is a very costly and painful process, but it is in the constant yielding and dying to self that the life of God is able to flow out of a Christian’s life (Gal 2:20).
Reading from Matthew 12:20, Pastor Junxian assured the church that God always responds to brokenness with love and mercy. He encouraged those who are bruised in their soul to allow God to heal and restore them so that they can be fruitful in their lives again.
He shared his own experience from the time he went on a Silence and Solitude retreat with Pastor Kong and the staff of CHC. As he came to the Lord in contemplation, God showed him his insecurities and struggles. He invited God into His brokenness and experienced the love of God washing over him. That encounter healed his heart and he found new strength and joy to live and serve God again.
HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Drawing from how Jesus addressed the disciples’ attitudes in the Sermon on The Mount, Pastor Junxian explained that a person’s attitude is the reflection of his true self. “It is in our attitude that we submit our self-will to Him so that He can shape us to become useful vessels in His Kingdom,” he said. God begins to work when one willingly surrenders all to Him.
Pastor Junxian focused on two beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-4. He explained that to be blessed is not simply to enjoy prosperity or to be successful. True blessedness is having the presence of a loving God in all circumstances.
Jesus listed two important attitudes, the first of which was to be poor in spirit. In the Greek language, to be “poor in spirit” is translated as “prochos”, which means to be begging desperately because one has come to the end of self. “It is to recognise that God is the source of everything in our lives,” the pastor said.
The greatest obstacle of a Christian’s union with God is not the devil, but pride and self-sufficiency. When a Christian starts to think that he or she can live without God and become busy with selfish pursuits, his or her heart moves away from God (Jer 17:5).
The next attitude is godly sorrow. 2 Corinthians 7:10 writes that godly sorrow leads one to repentance. While God wants to give His people joy, there are moments when they need to mourn over their own spiritual condition in their walk with Him.
Pastor Junxian warned the church against falling into a comfort zone trap, especially when it concerns their spiritual life. While one has to be content with what they have in God, they also need to yearn after more of God (Eph 3:19) because God wants His people to grow into the full stature of Christ.
Reading from Psalms 34:18, he said, “When we recognise our deep need for Him, our brokenness becomes the doorway through which we pass from superficial Christianity to a deep intimacy and maturity in God”.
Pastor Junxian elaborated on three qualities concerning brokenness.
1. Brokenness allows God’s presence to touch us
When a believer is not broken on the inside, he carries a hard outer shell that blocks out God’s presence. It becomes difficult for him to be touched by God’s presence.
The Bible describes this as a callus heart that has grown multiple layers of hard skin. A person with a callous heart is usually very proud of his own achievements or has been hurt so many times that he puts up a wall in front of others, including God. As a result, this person cannot encounter God.
Pastor Junxian encouraged the congregation to not harden their hearts to Jesus but to bear their heart to God and allow the Holy Spirit to soften the hardened areas of their lives. As the heart is softened, the presence of God heals and restores the person to make them whole again.
2. Brokenness releases the presence of God within us
In John 12:1-8, Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with very costly fragrance oil. The jar of oil she used was worth one year of wages. As she broke the jar of oil, her worship filled the entire room together with the fragrance, and the anointing was released into the room.
Only when a believer is genuinely broken before God, can the fragrance of Christ flow out of him. “Are you carrying the fragrance of Christ in your life? God wants us to be carriers of His fragrance,” the pastor said.
God wants His people to yield to Him their gifts, talents and abilities so that through them, God can diffuse the fragrance of Christ into the world.
The pastor shared the story of Kathryn Khulman, one of the greatest evangelists of the Pentecostal movement in the 20th century. Her meetings were filled with the tangible power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and many were healed. She lived a life fully aware of the Holy Spirit and did everything she could not to grieve Him.
However, in the midst of her ministry, she fell in love with a married man. She married him after he had divorced his wife for her, and they lived happily together. Yet, she never had the peace of God in her life.
One day, she came to the end of herself and fully surrendered herself to God. She turned to God in obedience and only then could God use her mightily. Kathryn was one who lived a life of brokenness and surrender to the Lord. In her lifetime, it was estimated that 2 million people were healed in her meetings.
Towards the end of her ministry, she said, “God is not looking for gold vessels or silver vessels. He is looking for willing vessels.” Pastor Junxian noted that while the world discards broken vessels, God restores them and uses them for His glory.
3. Brokenness positions us to reign with Christ
The Greek word for “endure” in 2 Timothy 2:11-12, is “hupomenó”, which means to remain behind, to wait, and to stand one’s ground. To reign with Christ therefore means to live an overcoming life in spite of challenges because God’s grace allows Christians to stand their ground and live in victory in Christ.
Yet there are days when one does not feel victorious, and God is silent. When that happens, one would wonder if God is still in charge. Pastor Junxian reminded the church that when Jesus was hanging on the cross to bear the sins of the world, God the Father was silent.
“Does that mean God has stopped working?” he asked. “On the contrary, God was watching intently at what was happening at Calvary.” He loved Jesus deeply, but He knew that this was the process and the only way that salvation could happen for mankind.
God’s silence does not mean that He is not interested in His believer’s life. Jesus’ broken body already revealed God’s solidarity with them, identifying with their brokenness.
Pastor Junxian encouraged the church saying that the cross is a place of new beginnings. The same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead will heal the brokenness of His believers and raise them up to rule and reign together with Christ.
This is the hope given to every Christian so that they can rise above their pain, disappointments, defeats and any circumstances because God is always working with them and through them. Reading from Isaiah 57:15, he encouraged the church with the fact that God is always close to those who are lowly in spirit.
In closing, Pastor Junxian reminded the church that Jesus identifies totally with them in their brokenness and is waiting for them to invite Him in so He can heal them. he encouraged them to bring their brokenness to God so that He can use it for His glory.