“As a new tree today, we should be producing a different fruit. But if you and I are producing the same fruit – you are still a very hot-tempered person, you are still a greedy person, you are still a materialistic person, you still don’t know how to apportion your finances for God – you are still the same person in your life before Christ,” said Rev Lawrence Yap, Senior Pastor of Charis Christian Centre in Cheras on 10th of January, 2015.
Nothing changed because of the error in our understanding. We want the healing but we do not want the Healer. We want the comfort but we do not want the Comforter. We want the blessings but we do not want the Blesser.
Even the evangelist Billy Graham noted that only 0.1 per cent of the thousands who received Christ in his evangelistic events, return for discipleship.
“It’s not because God is not real but people went there for His benefits, without realizing that God actually calls us for sacrifice instead of only benefits. Unless there’s surrender, there’s no fruit-bearing business.”
How do we know that God has transformed our lives? The people around us would be able to see a visible change in us.
“When our old classmates see us in our reunion, some of them would say, ‘You really changed. You know, you were a rascal in class before. How come you’re so gentle now?’ Then you say, ‘I thank God, He changed my life.’
“Congratulations to all of you when your old classmates or relatives gave you that remark. Not that you’re doing better on your own. But by the grace of God, we have been transformed. Let us not fail to realize that what we are is the result of God working in us.”
The work of God starts from within. Although we are good-looking in appearance, the Lord looks at our heart.
“I’m sure you have encountered many beautiful women and handsome men. But after you know them, you know them as ‘the dark force.’ We are supposed to change after believing in Jesus.
“You may have all the charisma in the world. But charisma without character equals to catastrophe. I’m sure you have seen enough – whether one is a celebrity or a world leader – without character, there is no support. And they end up becoming a catastrophe.”
Some world-class athletes for example made hundreds of millions, yet a few still fell in bankruptcy. Without character, their lives became a catastrophe.
“This reminds me of the Old Testament… God is a God of Details. He gave very detailed instructions on how the robe should be designed.”
At the hem of robe, we will see a bell and pomegranate alternating all around the hem. (Exo 28:34, Exodus 39:26)
“A person may have all the charisma in the world – likened to the bell with lots of noise – but without the fruit of the Spirit, without love, he is like a loud clanging cymbal.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1)
“You and I have to ask ourselves, ‘Since I become a Christian, how have I been changed?’ The true us is not who we are during Sunday worship. Because entering the sanctuary, we as humans know how to use the right lingo and posture to come to church.
“But the real us comes out when somebody blocks your car or when you come, the guard tells you not to park there. That’s our true self , when hot water is poured into the tea bag.”
Pastor Jarrid Wilson shared, “It’s true. I’m proud to be a Christian… But… I can honestly say that the way some Christians act breaks my heart. It’s something that keeps me up at night. This is my struggle.”
Wilson cited examples of how we should not take our critical judgment of other people’s actions to the social media.
“Don’t jump to your own dogma and proclaim whether some people are going to hell… Sometimes, we can be the worse critic and the most arrogant person. We have come to the state of being self-righteous and began to bring down judgment to other people,” said Pastor Lawrence.
Where is the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Fruit also means the good works that God has prepared us to do. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
In fact, James made this statement even clearer. James 2:14-17 says, “What good it is, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it. In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
“I have this conviction, that the Christian faith is not about walking into the church but walking out of the church to bless others. So many people have the notion of walking into the church – ‘That represents our Christian faith.’
“But it’s how you walk out of the church and what kind of person you are, which represents your Christian faith. Your Christian life does not end on Sunday, but church is out there from Sunday to Saturday, when you are out in the community.
“I pray that you will capture the statement I am making here. It is what happens when we walk out of there. Have the Word of God challenge your action plans? That is the bearing of fruit that we want to emphasize, especially when there’s a fair bit of hype in religious conformity.”
Divisions happened in the church over petty arguments such as if we should give out Angpow or if we should participate in Lou Sang (a Chinese New Year tradition of mixing food ingredients of a dish), to name a few.
“No point arguing about small matters like these. But are we doing things that will forge out unity and bring out the Love of God?”
A recent news told how a good-natured doctor called the ambulance and stayed with an elderly wounded man, despite him hurling racial remarks at her.
“I mean… is that what your religion is about? We argue what to touch, what not to touch, what to abstain, and what not to abstain. There’re so many believers arguing about rights and rituals that they don’t focus on discipleship.
“It’s not only about being knowledgeable in the Word of God. But it’s about living it out to walk the talk. It’s time where Christians walk the talk. People do not need religion. They need care, love, concern, and understanding, which should be the fruit of our religious beliefs.
“Let me ask this question: What acts of kindness have you done to display the love of God? What changes have taken place? I am not saying an overnight change. Since you become a beliver, have you brought the fruit of soul into the Kingdom?
“One of the things in God’s heart is to bring souls into the Kingdom. I want to challenge you to bring at least two people into the Kingdom of God. Our fruitfulness does matter to God. It’s not God’s intention for you to just float through life. He has given and commissioned us uniquely to bring forth fruits.”
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