Jan 18, 2005

Participator or spectator

Participator or Spectator

Participator = Doing the Works
Spectator = Watch & See what’s going on.

E.g. at Commonwealth Games:
- participator goes through the motion, the tension, the excitement, the blood rushing through your whole being – a different feeling when a participator said “I did it” compared to a spectator who say “Malaysia did it – Malaysia Boleh”
- The volunteers amount to 16,000 people from all walks of life. Why? They want to be part of the action.

The hands on experience.
They want to participate in the action and spirit of the Games as close as possible.

E.g. at Chow Kit Road: - a sad kind of spectators
- a snatch thief robbing a woman and walking coolly away
- the bus stand was crowded – but people are contented just to be spectators
- sad view of the kind of progress that our society is having

E.g. Jesus – never let an opportunity passed Him by
- accepts the circumstances surrounding Him as the Father’s will for his life
- He participated in all circumstances
- He went to the temple as a small boy and participated in sharing the scriptures
- Jesus was driven into the desert – and came out victorious from the desert
- Peter invited Him to his house to have a makan. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick. Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, I guess we will come back another more convenient time”. Jesus stood in front of her and rebuked the fever. Jesus was a participator.
- The people brought all kinds of sick people to Him. Jesus didn’t say “clinic close, come back tomorrow”. He laid hands on everyone of them and healed them.
- Jesus was teaching half way, when the roof opened and all the dust fell on Him. Jesus did not say “Oh let’s move to another room, this is too dusty, and too much distraction”. He stopped his teaching and said, get up be healed and go home – to the sick man on the bed.
- In Luke 7, Jesus was going into a city, a son of a woman had died, and they were going out of the city. Jesus saw her and had compassion. Jesus did not stepped aside and be a spectator – and say pantang! – let’s step aside, don’t look. He stopped the procession, raised the young man – and the whole procession about turn the other way!
- In John 4, Jesus was going from Judea to Galilee. He was tired and passed by a well. He sat down by the well and then a woman came and draw water. Jesus participated in a conversation that resulted in the woman bringing a whole town to Jesus. What an opportunity; what a potential; How many times we failed to hear the voice of God – even when we are physically tired. But Jesus – No…He is a participator, not a spectator.
- In Matt 19, children were brought to Him to be blessed. The disciples rebuked the people. But Jesus said, “No, do not stop them, don’t hinder them, let them come to me”. Jesus saw it as an opportunity that God had allowed into His life. Jesus participated in it.

E.g. Story of the Good Johorian who is a participator and not a spectator (From the good Samaritan in Luke 10)
One fine day a man was riding his motorbike from Masai to Ulu Tiram. As the day was a windy day, more so with the coming of the La Nina rains, his Honda cub C70 begin to sway a little bit. And eventually he even came out to the center part of the lane, because he was trying to avoid the holes in the side shoulder of the road. However, in his eagerness to avoid the obstructions, he didn’t notice a flashy Honda Civic behind him and trying to overtake him but couldn’t due to his swaying. The car was packed with 4 youngsters who were also going the same way to Ulu Tiram but going to look for some fun. After the driver became frustrated at the motorbike, he was instigated by the rest to knock him down to teach him a lesson. So as a result, the biker fell to the side of the road with bruises all over his legs. Thinking that they did not really do enough harm, the car also stopped in front of him and with a few hockey sticks and baseball bats, the boys began to hit the man all over the body including his motorbike until the poor man was in pain and semi-conscious. The motorbike was completely destroyed.
It so happened that an assistant cell group leader was walking along the same road to attend the cell group meeting that evening. And when he saw the man groaning loudly in excruciating pain, he began to say “Oh poor man, what bad luck to be involved in an accident at this time of the day. Well, I hope someone will notice him before the sun set, so that he could be brought to the clinic as soon as possible. Anyway, I am already late for my cell group meeting, and I am supposed to prepare the refreshments tonight. God, please bless this man I pray, thank you”.
Not long after that, a manager of the local supermarket, who is a Christian also, was driving along the same road and nearly banged into the twisted piece of motorbike at the roadside, until he applied the emergency brakes. Oh what a grotesque sight! I don’t think I can help this man. I am not a doctor, besides my head office gave me a big problem today, and I haven’t even answer them. Maybe some kind soul who is not so tired can help him later.
But, a little later than that, a van salesman who had just finished some late deliveries spotted the victim. He had compassion on the man, thinking who can do such an inhuman thing to another human being. What is this world coming to? Is life full of such rubbish everyday? Immediately, he stopped his van at the roadside, put on his emergency lights, dragged the motorbike to the side, and then tended to the injured man. He took down his first aid kit, applied yellow solution to all the open wounds, gave the poor man some water to drink and fetched him to the nearest clinic. He paid for the treatment and medicine and even bought some economy rice for the man. As the man gained consciousness from the proper medical treatment, he fetched him back to his home and promised to check up on how he is the next day.
My question is: “Which one of these 3 is a participator, and which is a spectator?
In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said to the lawyer, “Go and do likewise”.

Question: Why do we need to be a participator? And not a spectator?
A participator is One who is Doing the Works of God.
A participator fulfils God’s plans and purposes for his/her life.
God has revealed His Purpose and Plans for this church – to the church leadership.
God has placed you here in this church to do His Works. To release your talents and gifts to this church – so that as a result, His Purposes and Will shall be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
The Bottom Line: Serve God through His Church.
In your case, Serve God in this church and through this church.

Serve God = Participate = Doing the Works.
When you serve, you have a sense of belonging; a sense of comradeship; a sense of teamwork; a sense of marching in rank.
When a person does not serve, all kinds of potential problems can occur especially in a church. (Gossiping, criticizing, disunity, etc. – all not healthy to mention).

1. Doing the Works – brings the presence of Jesus
John 14:21
“He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Manifest: reveal, show. I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him. (Amp B)

Mark 16:20
“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.”

Matt 28:19-20
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…baptizing…teaching…AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS…”

a. God is interested in His Works; His Church; His Kingdom.
When we build our works, our own club, and our own kingdom – He leaves us alone.
But if we obey His Purposes; His Plans; His Vision – He reveals Himself – to guide us, to comfort us, to deliver us, to fight for His Church, and if God is for us who can be against us.
God is no respector of persons:
He can use anyone who is open to Him.
E.g. my son in Sarawak longhouses – brought 33 children to receive Christ; pray for the sick, those with sight problems, bedridden and let God bring healing.

b. Jesus manifest Himself in His own marvelous ways.
Some of His manifestations can be seen with the physical eyes.
- Acts 6:15 “And gazing at Stephen, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”
- 1980, as I was leading worship one morning, some people say a huge figure 7’0” of Jesus behind me. I did not see anything.
- Uncle Tey who passed away: his wish was that his son will become a Christian. At his death bed, Vincent Tey (from Kuantan), saw a vision of Jesus holding his father’s hand and ascending up to heaven. He saw that vision 3 times. Then he gave his life to Jesus after that.
- Ah Meng, who died of cancer, gave his life to Jesus as he was coming to a terminal stage. Alone with his wife at the old hospital, he saw many men standing around the bed but his wife told him only 2 of them. Then after a while, the wife felt a comforting hand, and a tremendous peace coming upon her, a hand just comforting her arm. The manifest presence of Jesus Christ.
- 1985, driving an old Morris car along the old Kepong Road (where the present One Utama is), our left rear wheel tyre burst and burnt rubber smell filled the inside of the car. My wife ask me what can we do, I said just pray. I don’t know whether we have any spare tyres, and any robbers along that dark road. Just pray and drive. As we do that I was half thinking, Lord we are serving you, we were leading a house fellowship group in Kepong Baru, Lord we are serving you.
As we prayed and drive, the car floated just as if we have 4 tyres – until we reached to our house front porch.
The fulfilment of Psalm 91:32 “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

2. Doing the Works – leads to Greater Works
John 14:12
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.”

a. Do the Works first, then God will call us to the Greater Works.
Do not imitate the others’ works, which are greater than ours.
Others may have TV ministry, orphanage, bible school, radio stations, drug rehabilitation, etc.
But what are we called to do, then do it faithfully.
God’s principle is Faithfulness in doing the works as in Matt 25:21 “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.”

b. Don’t be a block to a greater move of God.
God bless us with Gifts and Talents for His Work.
He will only bless us with additional gifts when we use the gifts we have already received to bless others and for His kingdom.
When we remain selfish, it blocks a greater move of God.
Like a picture of a water hose. We are only a channel. We become stagnant when we block the blessings of God – by not participating and serving God.

c. As our capacity and potential increases to do greater works, our spiritual dynamics (our life, faith, holiness, conversation, thoughts, wisdom, character, strength) changes to a higher level correspondingly.
Spiritual dynamics is a heart relationship issue.
e.g. - we are strengthened as we do – not by watching others do
- our faith increases to a higher level when we learn how to hear God’s Word for every small victories in life.
- God enlarges our heart to be able to handle a greater anointing, a greater power, a greater authority. (God never gives powerful guns to small boys; small boys handle smaller authority).

3. Doing the Works – Humbles you and draws you to Pray
2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Cor 13:4 “For He (Jesus) was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in Him, but in dealing with you we shall live with Him by the power of God.”

Paul was one of the most active ones for Jesus. He was travelling on missions, planting churches everywhere, preaching in every town, discipling and counseling the churches.
Paul was a participator not a spectator. He served a living God. He willingly gave his life, lay down his life for the gospel. Yet Paul wrote of his humility and dependence on God’s strength.

We all hear about Billy Graham – one of the greatest evangelists in the world today. But have you heard about Franklin Graham – his son. Franklin started Samaritan Purse Ministry: a Christian social work that contributes humanitarian aid.
Franklin goes to Rwanda – to tend to the war torn country and diseased stricken country (Ebola virus is there; and this is supposed to be more than 70% Christian country) – looking after Aids children, children murdered under planned genocide, boys mutilated beyond description, girls raped not a few times but hundreds of times, two-thirds of all the Rwanda children in a Unicef survey had witnessed people being massacred, half the children had watched a member of their own family being killed.
20 % witnessed rape and sexual abuse, and 56% saw family members being killed. These traumatized children must find some way to express the horrifying scenes they have witnessed, rather than suppress them.
Three years after the Rwandan genocide that claimed the lives of more than one million people, Rwandans continue to bury the remains of the victims countrywide.
In an interview with Charisma magazine, Franklin was asked why don’t he come and head the Billy Graham Association as a continuation of the big ministry that his father had started. He replied, God has called him to a different work and he had to be faithful in this work.
They asked, are you not afraid of the Aids virus (as he was holding an Aids child), and he replied if I die from Aids while serving God in this ministry, SO BE IT!
So be it!
Franklin Graham - A man totally given to be a Participator – and not a Spectator.

4. Conclusion
a. Sunday School
Don’t be a spectator. Be a participator.
Serve God in the Sunday School. It is your ministry – not Lai Ngarn’s but the FGA Church ministry.
Bus ministry – be a bus captain
Be a teacher, be a helper, Be a Papa, Be a Mama
- we have kids who are abused, grow up in immoral environments, violent homes
- Be an uncle or auntie to them

b. Missions Department
Don’t be a spectator. Be a participator.
- Be Praying
- Be Giving – God always supply through us
- Be Going – local teams to Sarawak: cheap, exciting, God confirming His Work.

c. Youth Department
Ask yourself: What can I do to participate? To Serve God? To contribute?

Message preached during the early days of the church.
Steven Wong

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