Part I By Pastor Wu
Part II By Pastor Muriithiiw, Nairobi, Kenya
10 Jul 2011 Sunday
Worship song: All The Earth
||Father into Your courts
I will enter Maker of heaven and earth
I tremble in Your holy presence
Hands that hold the heavens
Glory in Your sanctuary
Splendor and majesty Lord
Before You all life adores You
||All the Earth will declare
that Your love is everywhere
The fields will exalt seas resound
||Hear the trees joyful cry praising You
and so will I
A new song I'll sing
Lord, I will glorify and bless Your Holy name
Bible Verses: Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
God Disciplines His Sons
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off
everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with
perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set
before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God.
Sermon Part I by Pastor Wu
Brothers and sisters, is our Lord great? Yes, our Lord is indeed so great, our Lord is great. Amen! He not only on every Sunday opens the door of the church that we can worship here, worship in His name, and we worship Him because He is the Son of our Heavenly Father. He is with us in this church, He can bring joy to each one of us. Our Lord is great!
Dear brothers and sisters, welcome to join the worship team to be a worship leader if you are gifted with this, if you are also inspired and encouraged by the Holy Spirit.
A few weeks ago, my wife's nephew wanted to get married, it's a good thing happy for him. He has been dating a girl for nearly two years. Apparently they were planning to get married. They were happily planning, scheduling a day they want to get married. They kept talking about how and when...all about the wedding planning things...But all of a sudden, all the plans, all the schedules stopped. Why? Because the mother of the girl wanted the boy to buy an apartment first before the wedding take place. The girl's mother said to the boy: "you cannot get married until, unless you have an apartment". My wife's nephew has just worked just for a few years, so he doesn't have a big saving in the bank, he couldn't afford an apartment.The salary can't catch up with the increasing prices of the housing prices, so he can't afford to buy any apartment.
Anyway we will pray for him or people like him that one day they can get married. Brothers and sisters, many young people like this, recently there is a new fashionable popular phrase, getting more attention from people on the internet. The phrase is called "Naked wedding". To some, "naked wedding" sounds like a couple who want to get married, go to a beach where they will strip off, get married, exchange their wedding rings in front of a big audiance. In China now "Naked Wedding" refers to when a boy wants to get married, he has no car, no house or apartment, no big saving in the bank, even don't have a ring of diamond beyond 20 grams ready for the girl to put on her finger. That's the meaning of the "naked wedding".
Those mothers want their daughters to marry husbands of the kind who has a big car, an apartment, saving in the bank and a big diamond on the ring. They want their daughters to marry rich men so that their future can be guaranteed.
Brothers and sisters, let me challenge you, when Jesus comes to you, when the salvation comes to you, did Jesus ask any money from you? Did Jesus ask you what you can offer to me that the salvation can flow out from me to you? Jesus never asks that. Your salvation requires a house or apartment, diamond ring, big saving in the bank. It's unnecessary for you to trade these things when you come to Jesus' salvation.
What does Jesus require? He does requite something! One day Jesus was on his way to a synagogue ruler, He met a lady who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered greatly and the care of many doctors, spent all she had. The Bible tells us instead getting better, she grew worse, so when she heard about what Jesus did and the miracles that Jesus was doing, she decided to come to Jesus and follow Him. She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of His cloak. For she truly believed, trusted in Him and truly thought if she just touched Jesus' clothes, she would be healed! When she touched Jesus' clothes, the bleeding which lasted for 12 years immediately stopped. And Jesus turned around because He felt the power went out from Him so he asked who touched my clothes. The lady was so fearful and kneeled down to the ground and said: "It's me who touched your clothes." Jesus said to her:"Daughter your faith has healed you."
Brothers and sisters, coming to Jesus and coming to the salvation of Jesus Christ does require something, it's about your faith in Jesus Christ! Jesus does not require a big saving in the bank; Jesus doesn;'t require you to have a car; Jesus doesn't require a ring with a big diamond (you need to give me something valuable that I can pray for you and heal you, and come to you for your salvation. ) Did he require these? No, He simply says your faith has healed you!
About another pagan example, a man's boy had seizure, the father brought the son to the 12 disciples of Jesus in the hope of healing his son. But the disciples could not drive out the demon. So the father took the boy to Jesus. Jesus drove the demon out, the disciples were amazed and went to ask why they couldn't do it. Jesus said to them: "You do not have faith, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain move from here to there! It will move!" Nothing would be impossible for Christians, nothing is impossible for people who have faith and trust in Jesus Christ. This is all our Lord Jesus requires you. If you want the salvation from our Lord, if you need help from Him, our Lord is always ready! All He requires from you is a little faith that is as small as a mustard seed! Faith in Jesus that really counts!
Brothers and sisters today we are so blessed that we have a brother who has been a pastor in a church for 15 years. His church has been growing from one to five churches in Africa, he has great faith in Jesus. Let's join our hands together in welcoming this brother, Pastor Muriithiiw to share his testimony.
Summary by Lois & Stefanie
Sermon Part II by Pastor Muriithiiw, Nairobi, Kenya (from 14'40'' onwards)
Greetings, brothers and sisters! I want to teach you a Swahili phrase this morning, "Bwana Asifiwe"!
I have greatly enjoyed my visit to Beijing, China! Visiting China has always been a dream of mine, I have enjoyed making new friends, tasting new food, and I have also loved meeting Pastor Wu and Haidian church team. And I've never heard of a "naked wedding" before, I think it would mean something quite different back home, but I really resonate with what Pastor Wu shared though. We live in a world that believe you can only get something good if you work hard for it.
I remember when I was 16, meeting a young man called Joe, he was the same age as me, at that time he got a wild reputation though, he was a rebellious teenager involved in alcohol and chasing after girls. One day Joe and I attended a Christian youth camp together, during one of the days, as a preacher spoke to us, Joe raised his hand and made a commitment to follow Jesus!
But guess what I thought at that time? I couldn't understand God, it sounded so unfair to me, how come such a terrible young man now claim to be saved? Was that too easy? If this was all about salvation? You see, there's something about us humans that makes this hard for us to believe that someone could give us something valuable and not expect anything back in return. We live in a performance-based culture, sometimes we rank others based on performance.
The amazing thing in scripture is that God doesn't treat us as we should deserve, He loves us. In Ephesians 2:1-3, " As for you, you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
Paul says that without Christ, we were all dead. "Death" is a form of uniformity. If you visit a morgue, you would find that some died of illness, some from accidents and some of old age, some died more recently than others, some were rich and some were poor. But all are uniformly dead. In English, you can compare people of different heights, "tall, taller, tallest", but you can't say this person is dead - deader - deadest. There is no middle ground; you are either dead or alive. And Paul says, "all of you, before you received Christ, you were dead, that was your true condition!" Sometimes it's easy to think, "Even before I've got saved, I wasn't really one of those bad people; I was obedient and kind; there are others out there much more worse than me!" Paul says that without a relationship with Christ, salvation is completely irrelevant, because you are still dead.
The point is that dead people don't know that they are dead. And dead people don't respond to light, sound, smell, taste, pain, hunger or thirst, they are completely cut off from life and they don't know it. The same is true in the spiritual realm. A person who is spiritually dead cannot respond to spiritual things. He is completely cut off from God, - the true source of life, he has no capacity to respond, and he doesn't event know his true condition. So Paul says, "We were by nature objects of wrath."
By nature, - refers to that which comes through birth rather than that is acquired later, sin is our natural condition, and we pass it on to our children. It's amazing how you don't have to teach a child how to sin. The world teaches us that children come into the world innocent and then get corrupted. We don't become spiritually dead because we sin; we sin because we are spiritually dead. In every culture, the one thing that distinguishes human beings from animals is not intelligence, but spiritual hunger, or we call religion. Humans everywhere sense there is a Higher Being and also sense there's something wrong in our relationship with this Higher Being. Religion is our attempt to solve this problem and appease God. Sacrifices, observing certain rituals, having good morals, etc, but no matter how hard we try, we can't work ourselves back into a relationship with God. We are dead. And there is nothing we can do by ourselves to get saved.
The Bible tells the Good News, " But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raise us up with Jesus Christ and seat us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
At the moment you receive Jesus Christ, the Bible says you become spiritually alive. It's not something you do for yourself; it's something that is done for you. For the first time you become sensitive to God. You now have the capacity to understand spiritual truth and seek God's mind. Things that didn't make sense to you before now begin to make sense. Desires you couldn't have before now you begin to have. The Bible says, "Those who live according to the sinful nature set their minds on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit sent their minds on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5.
Yet we are still on earth, not in Heaven, we still have to reckon with our sinful nature and wage war against it. But the Bible says "We are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness." Romans 6:18. "We now have the ability to say no to sin and to refuse to be ruled by it." Romans 6:11-14. This doesn't happen by our own efforts, not because we're so good or qualified. It's purely because of God's love and mercy.
The Bible says, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it's the gift of God, - not by works, so that no one can boast." I think there is nothing so good you can ever do to make God love you more. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that without Christ, "all our righteous works are like filthy rags". Going to church, being good, speaking the truth, being kind to the poor- none of these acts can make me right with God. There is nothing we can be saved. And even after I've been saved, I still can't please God on my own - I still need His grace CONTINUALLY to help me live well, and to keep serving Him, that's the lesson that Joe taught me. Because of Joe that night, bad boy Joe, I was forced to realize that God is a just God, and I too, was a sinner. I may not have been as bad as Joe, to some degree, but in God's eyes, we were both dead. I realized that I could never earn my way to salvation. There's nothing so good I could ever do to make God love me more. I too needed God's gift of grace. And the next evening, when the preacher asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus Christ, I found myself walking to the front and giving my life completely to Him.
That was 25 years ago, and I 'm grateful because my life has never been the same! God put His Holy Spirit in me and made me alive to understand and respond to spiritual things. He helped me discover and begin to live out my purpose. And I know that He wants to do the same for someone here this morning. There's nothing so good you can ever do to make God love you more. God's eternal plan for all humanity has been revealed, this is the mystery of God, hidden for ages but now made known in Jesus Christ, He wants you to come and have a new life, May God's Spirit fill you and give you a desire for reading His Word and praying to God, so that more souls can be saved by His grace,. May God bless you and save you, in Christ Jesus name, Amen!
Summary by Claire