1 Sept 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
On 24th of August, the New Life Community Church (NLCC) celebrated its eight months of being ‘released’ from its mother church in FGA KL. Started in 1996, the church had been growing steadily to more than 400 church members this year under Sr Pr Dennis Balan.
A lively worship kick-started the evening, followed by a heartwarming performance by the children ministry. The performers were at ease on-stage, showing an apparent camaraderie with the congregation. You can tell that the church members were tight-knitted with one another. Perhaps, this unusual light-hearted culture comes from their Senior Pastor himself, who exuded a relaxed and humorous manner.
Pr Harvey Walker, missionary from New Zealand who had spent most of his life in Indonesia, was the guest speaker that evening. His message was simple yet profound- the immeasurable love of Christ.
Citing Karl Barth, a brilliant and intellectual theologian who had published numerous books, Barth was asked, “Of all the theological insights you have, which one is the greatest?” He answered, “The greatest insight is that Jesus loves me because the Bible tells me so.”
“That’s where it starts; the love of Christ for all mankind. And everything else hinges on that love,” Harvey said.
God is love (1 John 4:8) in everything He is or does. Love is not what God chooses to give but He is love, the very essence of it. Called as the agape love, it is an ‘incomparable good will, always seeking the highest good for everyone and never seeking anything in return.’ Now, that’s what we call as true love, the type of love the young people should know.
Let us look at the biblical definitions of love.
1 Cor 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
“That (1 Cor 13:4-8) is the description of who Jesus Christ is and also what Jesus wants to create in us,” said Harvey. “The love of Jesus Christ is manifest first of all in his coming to earth (Phil 2:5-8). He was equal to God and he didn’t think it was difficult for him to come down as a flesh of man and as a servant, to die on the cross.”
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
“Christ did not sin but He paid the penalty of sin,” said Harvey. “Because he overcome sin due to his marvelous love, he also gave us strength to overcome sin.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
And no greater man has a greater love for his brothers than He who gave out his life (John 15:13), which is Jesus Himself. His love is manifested when he washed our sins away (Rev 1:5), so that we can go to Heaven.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood
This salvation is based on His love and mercy, not our worthiness.
“His love bring assurance, security, transformation, acceptance, identity, purpose… many of the those you’re struggling with today,” said Harvey.
Jesus came and in Him, we have all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3). He chose us before the foundations of the world (Eph 1:4)! Now, that gives us plenty of reassurance.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
“How do we know that? We call that foreknowledge. In his foreknowledge, He already knew everything about you. But what if I don't want to accept Him? God already knew the decisions you made,” said Harvey. “There nothing or new information He needs to understand. And that gives me a tremendous sense of assurance and confidence.”
How do we become holy and blameless before God if waking up being grouchy and annoyed with a burned toast one morning is a sin right where we started our day?
“The key is ‘in Christ Jesus,’ Jesus took away all of your sins on that cross. He took that righteousness and imputed it on you. You are therefore justified. No longer are you guilty,” said Harvey.
Every man is a sinner when they come to Christ, yet when they receive Him, they take Christ’s righteousness and stand holy before God.
“So, if you feel condemned by the enemy, don’t let him was over you and affect you. The devil has not authority over you, as long as you don’t give way to his lies and deceptions,” said Harvey.
In fact, we are predestined to be adopted as his children through Christ Jesus (Eph 1:5).
“Though I’m not that keen on the word ‘adopted’ because that means I am taking a child from another family. But it’s not the same way. When I go into God’s family, I am a new creation (2 Cor 5:17); that doesn’t sound adopted,” said Harvey, adding that Jesus is not our ‘big brother.’
2 Cor 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
But how would we like if we were to be ‘adopted’ into Bill Gates family? That means we would inherit everything that Bill Gates has. Likewise, when we are ‘adopted’ in the family of God as His children, we are predestined to be joint heir with Jesus Christ. In other words, everything that Jesus has, we are sharing with Him from now on. What an amazing inheritance!
“He made us accepted into the Beloved. For those who face rejection with your friends and family, God has never turned anyone aside in the Bible. In Him, through Him, by Him, we are always blessed,” said Harvey.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
“During Christmas, we buy a sleigh and what we pay for it as a ransom to redeem the sleigh. Likewise, Jesus took our sins and paid our ransom by his blood. Sometimes, we don’t understand that tremendous power, force, and expression of love,” said Harvey.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit
“In the past, parcels or letters were sealed with a seal unique to the master. The seal speaks of ownership by the Holy Spirit, which is our salvation. It is like a down payment to pay for our sin (while we are living on earth),” said Harvey.
The goal of God’s love is to have a relationship, whereby Jesus seeks to have intimacy with you. Before Jesus went up to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to have a relationship with us. The more you grow with a person in a relationship, the more you know and understand the person, and finally, the more you have faith and trust the person.
“If you have a relationship, you will communicate with God. It’s not a monologue but a dialogue. When you’re praying, talk to Him, seek Him, thank Him, and praise Him. After you’re done, stop for awhile and wait for God to talk to you,” said Harvey who thought that it would be rude to leave a normal person we know, right after we stop talking.
“You and I need to be deeply rooted in the love of God, which is how His love come out from us. The greater the foundation, the greater the building. Whatever you’re building on, make sure it is the rock because the storm would reveal what you’re building on,” he added. Storms or trials and tribulations rattle us and expose us of thing we need to store up and learn in the future.
His love is so deep that He can reach the depth of our hearts and extract our issues and problems. You may not be the best person or have done the greatest thing, but God loves you unconditionally and it never changes even though you may walk off your church.
“God loves you no matter what you do. He loves you but He hates the sin,” said Karl. “Maybe some of you have never experienced that love of Christ which gives you freedom.”
“May we comprehend the love of God. His love encompasses the whole world. It’s wide enough to complete every individual on earth,” said Harvey.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people
Ending his speech with by encouraging NLCC to demonstrate the love they received from God to the community, Harvey made a prayer that NLCC would be a shining light for the people in Subang Jaya! The service ended with more worship followed by a buffet dinner, where the congregation could order food from various hawker stalls. An utmost friendly church, feel free to visit them in 1, Jalan TS6/10A (Taman Industri Subang) Subang Jaya, Selangor 47500.