It has been an exciting year for our church life. The decision to go back to basics by studying the book “Discipleship Essentials” by Greg Ogden has enabled us to focus again on what it means to be a disciple of the Lord. But really, there should not be any distinction between a Christian and a disciple. Elder Kelvin Chen, in his sermon last Sunday (“Follow me, as I follow Christ”) reminded us that when we accept Christ as our Saviour and Lord, we not only become a Christian, we also become His disciple. So we can’t say we are Christians, but we are not ready to be His disciples.
It is not easy to live the Christian life, but it is the best way to live. We may feel that we have to give up a lot to follow Christ, but God is no man’s debtor. The blessings we will receive from Him will far outweigh whatever ‘sacrifices’ we may have to make. (The word ‘sacrifices’ is in inverted commas because when we consider what the Lord Jesus has done for us, nothing we offer Him can be considered a sacrifice). I believe in the Lord when He said that He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10).
Being in a Cell Group (CG) helps us to live the Christian life. I thank God for my CG. I am encouraged knowing that despite and in spite of their very busy and hectic life – balancing work, family and ministry – everyone in the CG is committed to set aside every Friday evening to study God’s Word, to encourage each other, to build one another up in the faith and to enjoy fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is impossible to be a ‘lone-ranger’ Christian. We need each other, because that is the way God intended it to be. Hebrews 10:24-25 says “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” One important aspect of being a Christian is that we will prioritise the things of God. We will prioritise church life, because that is God’s family, and that means our family.
PSPC needs to learn how to care for and love one another if we are truly to be God’s family. Because that’s what a family does – it cares for and loves one another. The best way to do this effectively is in cell groups. Therefore, I urge everyone to join a cell group next year, so that we may experience the love of God and the warm fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ and help one another live a life that is worthy of our calling as children of God.
I believe many of us desire to bear good fruit for the Lord. We desire to be the good soil in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13). In explaining the parable to His disciples, Jesus said in verse 23, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Isn’t it wonderful if every time the Word of God is taught (like the scattering of the seed) whether over the pulpit or in CG Bible study, it falls on good soil? Will you be the person who hears the Word, understands it and be obedient to the Lord and produce a crop many times what was sown?
Some of us may identify with the 3rd kind of soil – the one that ‘fell among thorns, that grew up and choked it”. Jesus explained this in verse 22, “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful”. Brothers and sisters, are we unfruitful for the Lord because of the “worries of this life” and the “deceitfulness of wealth”? Has life so overwhelmed you that it does not matter whether you are growing in Christlikeness or bearing fruit for the Lord or not?
Jesus knows the difficulties, trials, temptations and worries of this life. That’s why in Matthew 6:25-34, He tells us not to worry but to trust in the goodness and provision of our loving heavenly Father because “He knows that you need them” (v.32b). He instructed us not to be like the pagans who “run after all these things”. If our hearts and minds are so preoccupied with worldly concerns and our lives are so full of “running after all these things”, how then can we be fruitful for the Lord? “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
I thank God that being in a cell group, I receive the encouragement, support and prayers I need to help me in my spiritual journey. My cell group members have truly been a blessing to me and I thank the Lord for them. If you are not in a CG, will you pray and ask the Lord to lead you to one that is suitable for you? You will find that in cell groups, we can care for one another, help each other understand the Word of God and encourage one another to grow spiritually and bear fruit for Him.