I enjoyed both the Good Friday and Easter services at Calvary Church last weekend. The Good Friday service was especially moving, depicting the passion of Christ and sending home the message that Jesus Christ paid the price with his life for us. Drama, music and a background video were well-integrated into the service to keep the mood spiritual and sombre while making the message impactful.
What particularly caught my attention was the message by Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church, Singapore. He was the guest preacher. He made a very interesting statement that the Jewish custom at the Passover was to drink three cups. Jesus did the same at the Passover feast before He was arrested. But He adds as is stated in Matthew 26:29: “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Pastor Khong said that there is a fourth cup — He will drink it with us when we meet up with Him! When He drank the third cup, it was followed by His crucifixion. But, when He drinks the fourth cup, it would be a celebration with His Church. That’s a good thought to keep before us as we live the Christian life here on Earth! That life will end in celebration!
The Easter service was as good. Again, the message got my attention. It was delivered by another guest speaker, Rev Delmar Guynes, the honorary pastor of Calvary Church. He was a pioneer of Calvary Church and although it is now led by Malaysians, the church is close to his heart. He spoke on the power of the Resurrection — which is what Easter is all about.
He preached on how the Resurrection makes redeeming grace possible. When redeeming grace takes hold of us, we can change. I like that thought. I think that’s what Romans 12: 2 means: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The resurrection of Jesus means He is alive and He will help us in all our circumstances. When we believe Him and His resurrection, we have power through faith in Him to live a life consistent with His teaching. It is not easy to live such a life but when we apply His truths to our lives, change takes place — for the better. When we change, others will change, too. That’s redeeming grace at work. And, it goes on an on!
I suspect, though, that not many understood the message. This could be because we are a charismatic church, and new, and are used to always going to the altar and praying and by the power of the Holy Spirit seeing the miracles happen. That’s the charismatic tradition, and that’s great. But, I believe, the Holy Spirit also wants us to assume personal responsibility because He can’t initiate change in our lives, unless we are willing by faith to take small steps of faith daily to conform to His ways.
It was a great message! Both messages, I believe, are connected. The preachers may not have been aware of it, but I made the connection. Between drinking the third cup — which we do at communion — and the fourth cup with Him when He comes again, there is a life to be lived in Him. It is not going to be an easy life, but redeeming grace will enable us to persevere and empower us to cope well, overcome or transcend the hardships ahead.
The work of our Lord Jesus is redeeming grace. It is powerful and flows from Him, in the fellowship of His Church, in the power of the Holy Spirit. When our natures are redeemed by His grace, we will be better equipped to live our lives as He would want us to and we will persevere no matter what.
What do you think? I’d like some response!