Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Preaching in Church Again

It was a recorded sermon for online service this Sunday. But I was glad when I stepped into the church, first time in 50 days since 17th March 2020. It was surreal. There were only 5 people in church but yet meeting them lifted my spirits. I thought I had to wait but my turn was up and I was asked to preach in front of the camera straight up. I did not feel anything so I asked for the worship song to be played and after listening to it for one minute I felt ready to commence my sermon. I thought it would last at least 60 minutes but I stopped when I reached 52 minutes with the closing prayer and benediction. I preached about the baptism of fire in Malay but perhaps I should preach one in English and get it uploaded or might it be easier to just put English sub-titles? I prepared 20 slides but I touched upon 18 of them over the course of 51 minutes from the preaching of John the Baptist in Luke 3:1-16 and Jesus' first sermon in Nazareth in Luke 4. I tried to explain in God's economy or salvation history, Jesus is to come to earth twice; his first coming 2,000 years was the age of grace or the year of the Lord's favour (Luke 4) but in his second coming it will be the day of vengeance when this baptism of fire plays out in full.
For those who believe and bear the fruits of repentance it will be the baptism of the Holy Spirit but for those who don't produce the fruits of repentance, it will be the baptism of fire. I even felt led to mention a mega church in Singapore where the health and wealth gospel is promoted. I basically said that when times are hard, these churches will fall away because wealth cannot redeem them and they are not prepared to suffer hardships for "it is through many tribulations one enters the kingdom of God" (Acts 14). I mentioned about the false teaching that one can conduct the Lord's communion at home, either privately or for one's family or that taking the emblems promises health. The Covid-19 is a lesson to us all. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, first preached by his cousin, John then by the Lord himself - "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

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