Nope, I am not referring to King Solomon but Rev. Dr. Robert Solomon in the recent Discipleship Series which he delivered on 19th and 20th August. He preached 3 sermons: Savouring God’s Presence, Sharing His Passion, Showing His Person. In this 2nd instalment of my perspective (please read the 1st instalment written on 17 September 2017 if you have missed it), I would like to focus on Solomon’s 2nd sermon ‘Sharing His Passion’. I would like to use it as a spring board to reflect my own thoughts in a bid to reinforce and perhaps expand on what Solomon had spoken to us.
The text for this 2nd sermon was taken from John 4.27-32 and it is about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Solomon contrasted the disciples with the Samaritan woman. As the Samaritan woman spoke with Jesus, she had a growing sense of who Jesus was – Jew, Sir, prophet, Messiah. She was so excited that she abandoned her water jar and went away into town and said to the people: ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ (John 4.28-29). Many went out of the town to see Jesus and put their faith in him because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony (John 4.30, 39). Jesus’ disciples on the other hand were so focused in going into town to buy food that they did not even utter a word to inform the townsfolk that Jesus was in the vicinity.
For those of you who attended last Sunday’s worship service, Pr. Joy from SQ shared that initially after her conversion, she was very happy to know Jesus and contented to keep this good news to herself. Then this same passage from John 4 spoke to her and she realised that just like the Samaritan woman, she also ought to tell the people in her village about the good news of salvation that she had received. That was when she decided to take the step of faith to serve God as a preacher of the Gospel to her own people. If we truly believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one is able to go to the Father except through him (John 14.6), shouldn’t we too have the burden to pray for the unsaved and to reach them for Jesus? Surely this is what loving our neighbours as ourselves entails!
Christ’s passion is to do the will of His Father. The disciples were surprised to hear from him that he had food to eat that they did not know about and he went on to say: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.’ (John 4.34) He later told his disciples: ‘As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ (John 20.21) Sharing Christ’s passion means continuing Christ’s ministry of bringing the Gospel to the unsaved. Salvation still belongs to him; his Spirit must convict before hearts can be turned to him. Our part is to be bearers of this good news and ‘how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation’ (Isaiah 52.7). Do we share Christ’s passion in doing the will of God?
The church leadership has put in much effort to equip you to engage people in spiritual conversations and to share the Gospel with them. We introduced the book ‘Just Walk Across the Room’ by Bill Hybels in 2012 and the DGs did a common curriculum based on that book. It is a book to show us how we can make evangelism our lifestyle and it can be an adventure that we embark with the Lord. Then in 2016, we introduced ‘Becoming a Contagious Christian’ and the DGs completed yet another common curriculum to further equip us to communicate our faith in the most natural way, in a style that suits our character (of course that doesn’t mean we cannot develop other styles). It also teaches us how we can build strategic relationships and where to start, especially if we have no idea who we can touch base with. There is a session on how to craft our testimony in an interesting manner even if we have grown up in a Christian family and do not have a spectacular conversion experience to boast about. There is another session on how to share the important elements of the Gospel in everyday language and how to lead people to cross the line. I personally find the course most helpful in teaching us how we can steer our conversations towards spiritual matters.
The Evangelism Committee has also worked very hard in creating different platforms for you to invite your non-Christian friends and family members to church. Evangelism is personal as well as corporate. We must share the gospel wherever God has placed us. Solomon said the lay people are like lizards while the pastors are like frogs. I am not too sure I agree with him on the latter. Yes, I want you to be like lizards going out into the world to catch flies for Jesus as you personally share the Gospel with people. At the same time, we can also be inviting them to church. We have seekers’ classes like ASK and Alpha, evangelistic programmes like Mid-Autumn Festival, Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols, Gospel Sundays, and activities to help build friendships like Durian parties and Guitar and Ukulele classes. However, the most powerful and effective platform for corporate evangelism is to be the church we are meant to be. A healthy church – united and loving despite the individual differences – is a powerful witness of the Gospel. The world looking in will be wondering how such a diverse group can stay together. Then we will have the opportunity to tell them that it is the love of Christ that binds us together. While events and programmes have their place, we should not hesitate to invite our friends to church on any Sunday because our worship services exalt Jesus and tell of his love, and the welcome and warmth extended to one another reinforce that message of love.
As your pastor, I not only want to teach and exhort you to do God’s will, I also want to equip you to do his will. Though most of the DGs have completed the ‘Becoming a Contagious Christian’ course, we will continue to offer it once a year for those who previously did not have a chance to attend or those who want a refresher. For those in DGs, every year when you have to set your ‘Doing’ goals, do draw up a new Impact List (people whom you want to reach out to) and continue to work on the list throughout the year. Solomon said that in savouring God’s presence, we come to discover our identity as we cultivate our relationship with him, and out of that identify as God’s beloved, we fulfil our vocation, and that has to do with sharing his passion for the lost. Are we able to echo the words of our Master: ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me; my deepest hunger is to finish the work that God has given to me’?
P.S. If you would like to tune into Rev Dr Solomon’s series of messages on 19th & 20th August, please go to trueway.org.sg -> Worship with Us ->Audio/Video Sermons.
Rev Lee Kien Seng
October 1, 2017