Thursday, January 31, 2013

Overcoming Racial Barrier in Worship

27th Jan, 2013
Written By Rev Law Hui Seng
Posted By Teresa Han
John 4:1-26

Main Idea: Jesus overcomes racial barrier

a. To empower disciples of Jesus to overcome racial barrier to reach out to the indigenous people of Sarawak.

b. To teach the significance of worship.

A. Introduction

- The book of Revelation has great teaching about how we should do mission. It is a book which we Christians believe about eschatology, how our future will turn out to be. It is a beautiful picture of the future of God’s people. Therefore, when we live our lives on earth, we want to do mission, we need to bear that end picture in mind. This end picture or final picture must affect how we do mission on earth.

- Therefore, if you are expecting to see only Chinese when we see Christ in judgement or in heaven, we really miss the end/ final picture in Revelation. Revelation15:4 “Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” All nations will worship God. The Greek word for nation here is ‘ethnos’, it is also race or tribe. So, the final picture of people worshipping God in heaven is made up of different races.

- As I serve in the area of indigenous people evangelism and mission in Sarawak, as Board of Evangelism put in efforts to mobilize SCAC churches to do mission among local indigenous people, I find all kinds of excuses, prejudices, lacking in vision, and reasons for Chinese Christians reluctance, indifference, and inaction not to make disciples among the indigenous people of Sarawak. Some of us felt it is the ministry of Sarawak Iban Annual Conference because of Iban language; some feel it is difficult to do because of language and cultural barrier; some even feel they cannot be helped as it is very difficult to transform them; some say there is no manpower to reach out; some say they do not know how to preach to them; some honestly say they do not have the burden to reach out to them.

- Could all these excuses or reasons be due to our Chinese superiority mindset and our clannish identity? We subconsciously look down on other races or the indigenous people.

- I look to the Bible to find answers to answer all these challenges. In light of the word of God, all these so called reasons cannot justify their claims.

- So, here locally, in Sarawak, if we do outreach, evangelism and mission, we only focus on Chinese, we have totally missed the big end picture of nations, and we get our Missiology wrong. Jesus has a very teaching about overcoming racial barrier in evangelism. It is a very direct passage urging us to reach out to people of other tribes and races in John 4:1-26. Can you and I follow His example?

- Let us examine the context of the passage to bring out a message today for you. I entitle my sermon/message today as ‘Overcoming racial barrier in worship’.

B. Context and Brief Exegesis

- Traditionally for many centuries, Jewish Judeans of the south were in enmity with the Samaritans in the north. The Samaritans are the descendants of a mixture of two groups. (1) The remnants of the Israelites who were not deported at the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 772 BC. (2) Foreign colonists brought in from Babylonia and Media by the Assyrian conquerors of Samaria (2Kings 17:24ff). The Samaritans (northerners) and the Jews (southerners) were in theological conflict because the Samaritan refused to worship at Jerusalem. After the Babylonian exile, the Samaritan blocked the Jewish restoration of Jerusalem. In 2nd century BC, the Samaritans helped Syrian monarchs to war against the Jews. In 128 BC, the Jewish high priest burned the Samaritan temple on Gerizim.

- Jesus was aware of such hostile background and He went to the North to engage in this powerful conversation with the Samaritan woman. Jesus rested at Sychar, Samaria (verse 5). He was tired after the journey, sat down by Jacob’s well when it was very hot, at the sixth hour, midday (verse 6). Into such conditions, the Samaritan woman came to draw water. Her arrival at this unsociable hour (because of the hot sun), tends to lead to the suspicion that she was an outcast. What caused her to be an outcast? Suspicion she has earned, for drawing water under the hot midday sun was not a consequence of her personal sin (sexual or otherwise) but of racism, that had isolated her and her people (of whom she was a representative) from their rightful place at God’s messianic banquet.

- Jesus totally disregarded the woman’s protest at the impropriety of the situation. He offered her a role reversal: if only she knew who she spoke to, she would ask Him for living water. From then on, Jesus tried to direct her to understand who God is. Jesus used the metaphor of living water to direct her to a knowledge of God. In verse 10, Jesus responded to her protest, “…If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” At this pivotal point, Jesus turned His request for a drink into an offer of living water for her. He engaged her in very deep theological talk, along the lines of living water. She did not understand the metaphor of the living water, as she was still stuck thinking of ‘physical living water’ in verses 11 and 12.

- To help the Samaritan woman to realize what the living water was, Jesus explained that He is the source of living water and a receiver of it would never thirst again. This living water would lead a person to eternal life (verses 13 and 14). Jesus had successfully stirred her to desire this living water so that she answered Jesus in verse 15, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” This positive response to Jesus also reflected her willingness to disregard cultural codes regarding men and women; and Jesus’ success in drawing her closer to God. Jesus was in the midst of His mission to reconcile both the Judeans (Jews) and Samaritans, and direct both ethnic groups towards God, through Himself.

- How did Jesus do it? He boldly created new systems, to break down cultural codes that limited opportunities for the sharing of resources between different groups of people. The new systems here referred to is the open interaction between men (it started with Jesus Himself) and women in a conservative society; and the metaphor of living water which leads to eternal life.

- How did Jesus try to reconcile Judeans and Samaritans? He did not do it directly. The answer probably lies with “Jesus’ Johannine mission: to call people away from commitments to man-made systems of identity and into rebirth as children of God.”

- On the surface, Jesus and the Samaritan woman may have shifted from one subject to another subject such as from the well and water to husbands, prophets, places of worship and the Messiah but below the surface of this narrative, lies a consistent thread: Jesus the ‘prophet’ knew the underlying Samaritan history of hostility with Judean Jews (cf. 2Kings 17:24-41; Ezra 4). Jesus’ mission in going to Samaria (John 4:4) was to offer an alternative to both Judeans and Samaritans to end their endless struggle over ethnic identity. In His effort to draw them to rebirth as God’s children, He urged them to disregard the racial barrier (man-made identity).

- He subtly broke down this great barrier of ethnicity by answering the woman’s question of dispute on the presence of God, in the choice of place of worship (this mountain or Jerusalem). He answered, “neither place”, in verse 21, “…Believe me, woman, a time is coming, when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” God is present where worshippers worship in spirit and truth (verses 23 and 24). Jesus told the woman that God is not concerned with which race worships where, but He is concerned about all worshippers (all ethnic groups) worshipping Him in truth and spirit.

- The build up of insights from the metaphor of living water to the Messiah had enlightenedthe woman’s spiritual blindness, overcoming racial hostility and boundaries. The woman (regardless of the shame of living with a man and not being married) responded by being the first ‘apostle’ (in the sense of being sent forth), rushing back to her people and becoming a messenger for the Messiah, causing many people to drop what they were doing and follow her to see Jesus (verses 28-30). As the woman shared her testimony with her own people, many of them believed in Jesus (verse 39). Jesus had successfully reconciled some Samaritans with Judean Jews (starting with Himself). SCAC churches need to follow Jesus’ example, in regard to the Iban, and start with themselves. This Samaritan woman belonged to another race and another identity. She was a woman difficult to transform.

-The Samaritan woman belonged to a different race from Jesus, and was thus a social outcast. The Iban belong to another race, and some are marginalized economically. If Jesus, a Jew bridged the racial barrier to reach out to a Samaritan woman from another race, and a social outcast, He has set a precedent for SCAC Chinese (a race) Christians to do likewise to the Iban.

- The story of the Samaritan woman is used only to serve as a biblical response to the SCAC Chinese Christians mindset and identity barrier, the main reason being that through this story Jesus calls His disciples in SCAC to move away from a commitment to man-made racial identity and turn to help another race, such as the Iban to be reborn as children of God. A secondary reason is that though the woman was an outcast and marginalized, Jesus disregarded her status and still reached out to her. This should challenge SCAC to reach out to marginalizedIban who are weak socially and economically.

-Biblically, according to the Apostle Paul’s teaching, SCAC Chinese Christians need to be like Christ. In Christ-likeness, we need to be like Him in bridging racial barriers.

- Jesus, out of compassion for the lost, in His mission to direct other race, the marginalized and the social outcast to the kingdom of God, reached out to the Samaritan woman. Jesus rejected any excuse to avoid her. This move of Jesus must challenge SCAC Chinese Christians to change their superiority mindset towards the Iban. All races are equally accepted by Jesus Christ: He loved the world (John 3:16).

C. Applications

-Firstly, one fundamental implication of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman is that SCAC Chinese Christians can no longer say that the socially and economically marginalized and outcast Iban are not related to them.

- Secondly, SCAC needs to change its clannish mindset to teach Iban the word of God; and accept them despite their race and economic and social status. SCAC cannot make excuses such as ‘the Iban are difficult to transform’, ignore the need to reach them, or leave the ministry to SIAC.

- Thirdly, since the Iban are another race, SCAC needs to overcome cultural barriers to bring the gospel to them in terms they can understand and accept; if they do, the Iban will own it.

D. Conclusion

- 1st January, 2011, I joined a brother in sending a piece of furniture to a poor Iban family. In fact, the next day, 2nd January, I flew to KK for 2 years of theological studies. We were faced with a self-accident Iban with his motor bike lying on the road. We stopped our pick up and upon examination, we found it must be drunk driving as smelt alcohol. He was unconscious and his skull had a hole bleeding profusely. I thought to myself if I did not save him he would die of blood loss as I learnt in first aid. I quickly press my palm on this small size Iban guy and we carried him up and put him at the back of the pick up with me holding him and put my on my 2 thighs, while I sat.

- I kept my palm at the bleeding skull with much blood on my shorts, shirt and hands. Jesus spoke to me in a very deep manner in this encounter. As I looked at the blood on the head, it doomed on me that every human blood is red in color. My mind at the time thought of the white and black skin people (especially African), their skin can of different color but there is all red. Chinese blood is read, Iban blood is red, Penan blood is red. All the human beings are red. The powerful conviction comes when God told me as long as we are human being with red blood we deserve to be saved by Jesus. Jesus shed blood for all the human beings with red blood.

- Therefore, by no means practicing the bad theology of allowing racial barrier to prevent us from preaching the gospel to the indigenous people.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Resolutions

Dear disciples of Jesus,

This is a very rare opportunity of my life to have a sabbatical year. I have resolved to do the following 3 things in their order of importance. Please pray for me.

1. My number one mission is my family. I shall spend more time with my wife and children. For th children, I shall play games with them and coach them in studies at night.

2. Writing a book about my 18 years of ministry as a pastor. It will be a reflection and lessons learnt in view of the Bible.

3. Doing short term mission to Ulu Belaga, long houses and if opportunities arise, I will go overseas. I hope to use my spiritual gifts, language abilities like Malay Language (BM), English and Mandarin to bless the local people and beyond.

Thanksgiving for 2012

It is one of the most fruitful year in my life. I would like to thank God in the following areas:

1. My wife needs not go through a major heart surgery. She just needs medication and once in three months follow up at Kuching Heart Specialist Centre.

2. My wife and four children survived the last two years without me supporting them most of the time as I studied at Sabah Theological Seminary, Kota Kinabalu

3. I graduated with Master of Theology, and equipped to make disciples of all nations (especially, Iban). With this, I hope to train more BM speaking pastors.

4. I had a chance to minister at a few Sabah Methodist churches in English and Mandarin. I built up close relationship with pastors and lay people there. They bless me very much with their life testimonies.

5. I was able to spend more time with my wife’s family members. I could pray for them in person. I reach out to my mother’s relatives.

6. I had sharpened my skill of deliverance after participating in a fiercely fought spiritual battle. I was able to apply my deliverance and spiritual warfare skills. If you want to read my testimony about it, you can email to request for it.

7. Despite my studies, my monthly trip back to Miri enabled me to spend quality time with my wife and children.

8. I establish close relationships with STS lecturers, staff and students. I learnt very much from them.

9. Wonderful disciples of Jesus throughout Sarawak and in KK who cared and support my family.

Prayer Points:

1. Discipline to execute my new year resolutions. To train my children to be disciples of Jesus.

2. Jesus will bless my family with good health to make disciples of all nations.

I pray that Jesus protects all of us from the harms of the devils, accidents, and diseases; and empowers us to make disciples of all nations. I pray that we love ourselves, our husbands, wives, children, parents, fellow disciples of Jesus, and the needy people out there. I pray that we as disciples of Jesus will take all life crisis, challenges, failures and needs as mission for Jesus. I pray that we will face all the challenges head on in Jesus’ name and we are all winners at the end of 2013. In Christ, we are always winners.

A Faithful disciple of Jesus,

Pastor Law Hui Seng

Posted By Teresa Han

(2nd January, 2013. Miri)


Dear faithful disciples of Jesus,

Jesus’ ministry on earth as we learn from the four gospels is about teaching the word of God and revealing God the Father and the Holy Spirit; performing miracles, healings and deliverance. As a faithful disciple of Jesus, with my limitations, I have always learnt to be like Christ. I am very far from being like Him but He has always empowered me to do what He commanded me to do. That is to preach His word, to perform miracles, to heal and to do deliverance. Especially the ministry of deliverance, I only did a few minor cases of demonic possession in my last 19 years of ministry. However, praise the Lord I have always been commissioned by Jesus to do it and I am always prepared to do it. I had equipped myself to do it. I read books (both in Mandarin and English, e.g., books by Neil Anderson) about it. I learnt from Baptist and charismatic lay people on deliverance in the early years of my ministry. I am not gifted in deliverance but I believe I am authorized by Jesus to do it. Before this deliverance in December, 2012, I even equipped some forty disciples of Christ to do spiritual warfare and deliverance in October, 2012! Eventually, one of them even joined me in the just concluded deliverance. Here is an account of it.

Demonic Manifestation

Many demons entered this Christian’s body! Actually before I came in, a team of pastors and lay people had done the deliverance. He is English speaking and I came in to participate (using English) in delivering the remaining demons.

On 25th December night, I only meant to interview the English speaking parents concerning the upbringing of their son and to find out unhealthy life habits and any bad relationships among them. Before this, I was warned that my style of interview might cause the demons to manifest. I told my fellow pastor and team members to be ready about it. The purpose of it was to prepare the demon possessed person for the deliverance the next day.

We interviewed the parents successfully. They were very cooperative and even confessed their sins before God and together we asked for forgiveness and prayed against all the curses and cut off all soul ties with the possible spirits. My one strategy of spiritual warfare in this initial stage is the teaching of Jesus, the truth will set you free. This fundamental principle requires all parties concerned, including the demon possessed person to be honest and open and tell the truth.

Then, we requested to interview the son. Using the same strategy, especially when I asked about if he had any anger, hatred, and unforgiveness in his life; he confessed to them. I asked if he could identify the person and there was no need to tell me the name. After I reminded him about his identity as a child of God, he should forgive the person. Then, he was not able to suppress the demons though he wanted to. In a matter of seconds, the demon manifested. I have not seen a serious possession like this before!

He lost control of himself. His eye balls turned white. The demon caused his whole body to become stiff; his face turned weird, mouth became lopsided and made strange noises; eyes opened and closed and not looking at you straight and most important of all, he was unusually powerful. When we called for his name, he could not respond. He was no more himself. Another power took over. We spent the next three and a half hour to do deliverance. The parents participated with us.

We sang the chorus, “In the Cross” for quite a few minutes and we prayed for God to direct us what to do. My fellow pastor being more experienced was our commander; we all listened to her instructions. She is experienced and gifted in deliverance. As part of the preparation, we confessed our sins, and I made sure all team members had no bad feelings or anything bad about one another. We asked for Jesus’ forgiveness and cleansing.

He was demon possessed seated. He continued to manifest despite our worship. We asked for the names of the demons in the name of Jesus. Demons spoke, “I am legion, legion, legion, many, many, ha, ha,…I am anti-Christ, I am the judge, I am the judge, ha, ha, etc”. A demon even spoke in some kind of tongues which we did not understand. It even sang in a foreign language. He was seated and we commanded the demon to come out in the name of Jesus for many minutes. Our effort was fruitless when we did the deliverance with him seated. We stood almost all the time.


Then, the Holy Spirit led the commander pastor to instruct us to lie him down. We did it in Jesus’ name as the demon refused to do it. Eventually, the demons gave way as we overpowered them and laid him on the floor. For many minutes, he was not aware of himself. But, praise the Lord, when he was on the floor, he seemed to be more calm and came to his sense. The biblical principles we used are: to affirm his identity in Christ and he belongs to Jesus; and to get himself to resist/ cast out the demons. This is part of the truth encounter strategy.

On the floor, when he came to his sense, we get him to say, “I belong to Jesus; and in the name of Jesus, demons out”. In this way, each time we identify a demon, we told him to repeat the phrase, the demon always struggled and he vomited and we believe some demons had come out. We always asked if there were anymore demons inside in the name of Jesus. If he did not answer, we always assumed there were some more and we asked for the name of the demons as they manifested. Sometime the demons pretended all were out by going to sleep and kept quiet. Our commander pastor would open his eye lids and noticed that the eyeball still moved about. It is a sign that the demons are still there. So, we did power encounter by commanding the demons to come out again and repeat the process. He vomited at least six times on 25th December 2012 night.

There was one time he made hissing sound. Our commander pastor discerned that he was possessed by snake spirit and he himself resisted it and it came out. He visited the snake temple when he was eight years old!

Towards the end process of the deliverance, we felt he was becoming better. I got him to follow my prayer on sins, about the gospel on the death of Jesus and how His blood was shed for his sin, died, resurrected, showed to 500 disciples and ascended to heaven to be with God the Father; and he belongs to Jesus… If the demons were still inside they always struggled and were vomited and cast out. In the end, I led him in a long prayer on the gospel, his identity in Christ and victory over the demons. There were no manifestations after a long prayer. I ended the prayer in Jesus’ name. I asked him if there were any more demons, to this he happily said there were no more demons inside. We were so happy and we reached home at about 12.30am the next day.


The next day, 26th December, both morning and afternoon, I did follow up and gave him biblical teaching on Christians inhabited by demons and how we can overcome the demons. Throughout the 5 hours of teaching and some prayers, there was no sign of demonic manifestation. In the morning, we plan for a thanksgiving prayer and testimony session at night.

At night, we began our thanksgiving by singing a few Christian songs. His parents also participated with us. There were about 40 brothers and sisters who were there who wanted to listen to the testimony. Eight BM pastors were also present. I was very happy to see them there as it was my wish to meet them in person. I will be preaching to their congregations in May and June, 2013.

Then, it was followed by my preaching on the demon possession and how we Christians could overcome the demons in Jesus’ name. I even proclaimed victorious battle over the demons. Then, it was followed by his testimony. He was brief and shared about how he heard demonic voices that told him to do harm things including taking his own life and he had overcome the demons in Jesus’ name. He thanked God and the deliverance team. Everything went well so far.

Then, our commander pastor called for prayer of blessing for him. As we laid hands and surround him in prayers, BM pastors also laid hands on him, demons began to manifest again! His hands started to shake and eyes looked abnormal again. Finally, he lost control of himself and his whole standing stiff again. In front of the congregation the manifestation happened. We were deceived by the demons when he said there were no more demons inside.

I quickly asked the congregation to stand and worship God in singing “In the Cross.” He was very powerful, I command in the name of Jesus to lay him down but it was a tough job. Four persons had to hold him and laid him down. This time all the deliverance had to do with the spirits of the computer games which he downloaded from internet.

The Spirit of Jesus led our commander pastor to request him to bring his laptop for cleansing purpose as she suspected there might be something not right with it. True enough it contained hundreds of computer games where a lot of them are about ghost, violence; and some horrible movies. As we asked him to delete the movies and computer games, demons manifested a few times. He used his finger to show to shoot and shouted “Bang, Bang.” One BM pastor received revelation from God he was fond of quotes and when we mentioned the word quote, demon manifested. I sensed the word violence, and demon manifested. We commanded the spirit of quote and spirit of violence to come out. He cooperated by declaring that he belonged to Jesus and he cast them out in the name of Jesus. There was one time, when he tried to delete a computer game called “Supernatural” demon manifested and he was not able to delete it. We went ahead to delete on his behalf.

He confessed he still had the external disk which contained the harmful computer games and movies. But, they were all not with him at that moment. We had to ask him to go back and took from home and we delete them in his presence. He actually felt sad and cried after he let go of the computer games and movies which were dear to his heart! He confessed it was hard for him to do it. But I kept telling him, if he did not let go, then, the demons still had a foothold in his life and the demons still remained inside. He had to make a choice. Praise the Lord he chose to delete them.

Meanwhile after he left to go home to take the external disk, we also ask some church members to go back as we expect to do deliverance until late night again. Only those who were keen to pray and learnt stayed back.

After the thorough delete where he only left a few games which are healthy and he promised to keep those games with the pastor. He would come back to take for the pastor when he fully recovered. I led him in a long prayer and the demons did not manifest again. This time when he was asked if there were anymore, he could not give a clear answer! A few days later, I called him to check on him if there was any recurrence, he said no and he did not hear any more voices also. We also arranged for a pastor to do follow up on him.

Lessons Learned

1. Demons really submitted to the authority of the name of Jesus Christ. Demons have to answer and give us their names when we ask in Jesus’ name. Demons have to come out when one resist them in the name of Jesus.

2. Demons are all lying all the time. Whatever they say is all lies or half truth. No wonder the bible called demons the father of all lies. Each time a lie was thrown at us, we countered it with God’s word and revealed their lies.

3. Demons’ tactics include lies and deception, teasing, criticizing and scaring us. They kept laughing at us. They even spit at our face to humiliate us. A demon said we blasphemy God more than it. A demon said it was the judge. Another said we lost, it won. A demon even called the lady pastor, “You are my princess.” Praise the Lord we are not scared, not humiliated and not give up on the deliverance. All of us who were involved had strong faith, including the parents.

4. Our application of biblical principles on affirmation of Christian identity and resisting the demons actually worked.

5. When we submit our willpower to the demons, example, by playing computer games, we can be demon possessed. We need to submit our willpower to Jesus, then, we can overpower the demons.

6. To fight the demons, both power encounter and truth encounter are very important.

7. Preparation of the deliverance team is very important. We agree to listen to our commander pastor and take instructions from her. We were united in trusting Jesus Christ to do the deliverance.

The whole process was really a great testimony of Jesus Christ our Lord, who was so faithful in empowering us to do the deliverance. Some brothers and sisters who listened to the testimony and saw the deliverance went back home and deleted their computer games. There was definitely God’s purpose in the whole process though we were deceived.

Prayer points:

1. Let us pray that Jesus is glorified in deliverance ministry.

2. Pray that disciples of Jesus are well equipped to do deliverance as the need arises.

3. Pray that disciples of Jesus do not give demons a foothold in their lives by playing computer games of all kinds.

4. Pray that the above testimony awakens the churches of the work of the demons and we must live holy life to avoid the demonic attack.

A Faithful disciple of Jesus,

Pastor Law Hui Seng

(Miri,Sabbatical, 1st January, 2012)

Posted By Teresa Han