洗禮勉勵 4/15/18: 李牧師
Baptism Exhortation 4/15/18: Pastor Lee
受洗不是你們信仰旅途的終點。不是說一句：“Yeah！我到了!” 就結束了。相反，這只是一個開始，值得你們一生去追求的激動之旅。最近執委會弟兄姐妹正在讀陶恕牧師（A.W. Tozer）寫的一本書《渴慕神》（“The Pursuit of God”），我想從中引用一句話來教大家如何追求神：
Dear brothers and sisters who are getting baptized today,
I am so happy to be able to formally call you my brother and my sister in Christ! Because now we call God our heavenly Father, and that makes us a family of God.
Last Baptism Sunday in November, we had 0, and today we have 9. Why? I asked myself. Was the church (or I) lazy last time? Or did we work harder this time? Were we less faithful last time? More faithful this time just because the number shows up? I don’t think so. I believe it is God’s timing. Some planted the seed, some watered it, "but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Cor. 3:6-7) God forbid that we let the worldly, result-oriented approach creep into the church. The miracle of life requires time, process, patience, perseverance, and above all, God’s grace—unceasing grace!
Prior to today, I had the privilege of reading your testimonies and was touched by how our gracious Lord guided you step by step till today. As Christians, we don’t believe in luck. You are not lucky—you are blessed, blessed by God’s electing grace in Jesus Christ even before the foundation of the world. God doesn’t want anyONE to perish, but everyONE to come to salvation. (2 Pet. 3:9) Each one of you is created, redeemed, and loved by our Father like the apple of His eyes. That’s why His only begotten Son, Jesus, came for you…
Baptism is not the end of your faith journey, like, "I arrived!" No, it is only a beginning—an exciting journey that is worth a whole life of pursuit. I can’t describe it better than a quote from a book that our Council members are currently reading together called "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer:
We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread, And Long to feast upon Thee still: We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead And thirst our souls from Thee to fill. - St. Bernard
In your spiritual growth, go deeper, go higher, go wider, keep going—you can NEVER exhaust the love, the grace, and the truth of God. Read and receive the Word, obey, experience, and live it out! The Bible is not intended to merely inform our heads, but to transform our lives.
A cross is a symbol of God’s salvation, and it also represents His help to us today. There is both a vertical and a horizontal aspect to it:
I. Vertically, it represents God’s relationship to us through Christ by the Holy Spirit. You received Christ’s love in His crucifixion and resurrection, and He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us. He is called the Spirit of Truth—He will teach and lead us into the truth. Experience Him more and more to grow in grace and truth like Jesus. “For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
II. Horizontally, the cross represents the relationships among us in the church. Brothers and sisters in the church are God's help in your growth in grace and truth. We will love you, we will teach you, we may even correct you in the Lord. Learn from your big brothers and big sisters in Christ. Humbly receive their ministry to you. If you have 10 siblings like me, you will understand that even though it sometimes seems like they are bossing you around, they love you.
In the Apostle Paul’s writing to Corinthian church, he said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) I believe we ought to apply this principle as well. So imitate me, imitate him, imitate her, imitate all of us, but only as we imitate Christ! How do you know in which areas of your life you ought to imitate Christ? Pray and the Spirit will give you discernment along the way. But do not only imitate good examples—BE a good example for others to imitate also. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12)
Be a believer of Christ, a disciple of Christ, a follower of Christ. That’s what a “true Christian” means! Make Him proud.
Let us, the whole church, grow in maturity like Jesus ! Christ is the head, we are members of His Body, we are ONE in the Lord! Welcome to the Body of Christ, my dear brothers and sisters! Welcome!