Pastoral Perspectives

Something supernatural happened last Sunday

Just last Sunday, our church was given the tremendous privilege to rejoice with the angels of God in heaven (Luke 15:7,10). The reason is that three persons have indicated that they have prayed to put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. While our focus is not on the numbers, it is certainly encouraging to know that God hears our earnest prayers. In accordance with God’s pleasure and will (Eph 1:5), God has sovereignly rescued these individuals from the kingdom of darkness and given them the joy of being called his beloved children (John 1:12-13).

On this occasion, we also give glory to God as we are reminded of His compassion and mercy. In spite of God’s transcendence and power, God cares for individual human beings one at a time. Each of us is precious to God and God is this good shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine behind in search of the lost sheep (Luke 15). Even before any of us stepped into a church, we were already on God’s mind. God did not leave us alone to seek for Him. Instead, it is God who has graciously taken the initiative to reach out to us and to change our hearts so that we will desire to follow His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.    

For those three individuals as well as others who have put their trust in Jesus, we would have experienced one of the greatest miracles in life. It is arguably a miracle of greater significance since the walls of hostility that we have set up against God are far more stubborn than those of Jericho’s. Likewise, the enemy of our soul is no mere mortal in comparison to the mighty Goliath with his javelin.

Therefore, even though their decision to believe in Jesus was not accompanied by much fanfare and they may not personally recount their encounter in church as anything spectacular, the truth is that something supernatural has occurred! It is supernatural because the problem of humanity is ultimately a spiritual problem. It is a problem rooted in our ruined relationship with God rather than just a matter of our intellectual ability to comprehend truths, need for emotional wellness or lack of goodness to carry out good deeds.

Furthermore, Scripture teaches us that there is nothing in this world apart from God’s redemptive grace that can help us to be reconciled with God whom we have sinned against. Without the sacrificial death and supernatural resurrection of Christ, there can be no forgiveness for our sins (Heb 9:22). There would also be no victory over death since we would remain condemned under the holy wrath of God (Col 2:13-15). But thanks to God’s great love, those who are described as being dead in our transgressions are now born again and made alive with Christ (Eph 2:1-5). Because of God’s mighty Spirit, their eyes are now opened to spiritual truths (1 Cor 2:12-15) and are set free from the bondage of Satan (2 Tim 2:26).

However, even though God is the one working supernaturally in the heart of a new believer, we know that he uses ordinary means to bring about his divine purposes. Before someone decides to turn to Jesus in humble repentance, we often hear about how God uses the different people in a person’s life to draw him towards Christ. It could be the listening ear of a colleague, the generosity of a neighbour or the fervent prayers of a relative. Indeed, when we learn to commit our relationships to God in prayer, we will be amazed by how it can have a positive and eternal impact on others. Undoubtedly, the Gospel seeds that are sown through our prayers of faith and acts of love are never in vain. When Christ comes again and we stand in his presence, we may be pleasantly surprised to learn that we were just as instrumental in someone’s faith journey as the evangelist who preached the sermon. 

Although not all of us may be eloquent in sharing the Gospel or theologically astute enough to answer objections against Christianity, it does not mean we should leave evangelism to the “professionals” or simply settle for inviting people to evangelistic events. Instead, if we lack the confidence or think that we do not know the Gospel enough to share it, the way forward is to be intentional about our spiritual growth and to take practical steps to strengthen our biblical conviction. Whether it is equipping oneself through an apologetics workshop or gleaning insights from Christian books and speakers, the key is to build upon what you already know and to reach out to others with sincere love.  

Finally, we are mindful that we are not left on our own to live out God’s call of discipleship and evangelism. If you think about it, it also requires something supernatural before people of diverse background, age group and interests would find delight in worshipping and serving God together. We should certainly treasure the good work that the Spirit has begun at True Way. And if we desire to see more coming to believe in Christ, let us continue to give of ourselves heartily in helping and encouraging each other to know God and to demonstrate the reality of the Gospel in our lives. Sometimes, all we may need is an open door to invite someone to consider believing in Christ. After all, God never said that we need to wait for another evangelistic event before we get to celebrate with the angels in heaven.

Rev Edwin Wong

August 6, 2017