Monday, 22 March 2021
What It Means to Be ‘World-Class’?
Ong Hwee Soo
John3:17, 17:18, 20:21.
A key word in the Gospel of John is ‘world’, which is used 78 times in the book. Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible in that it is the most recognised, most memorized and most cherished verse is John 3:16.
The first text in our Devotional today is the verse following, which shows us the reason God sent Jesus into the world.
John 3:17 , “ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ”
While Jesus was accomplishing His mission on earth, He prayed to God, the Father, for His disciples, knowing that He will shortly return to heaven, “ As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. ” ( John 17:18 ). Later on, after His Resurrection and before His Ascension, Jesus spoke directly to His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” ( John 20:21 ).
If you came across a title in a bookshop or online site, “How To be A World-Class Christian”, what would you reckon the book is about?
The entertainment world parades to us ‘world-class’ actors/actresses as well as musicians and singers. Sport networks acclaims ‘world-class’ athletes. MNCs compete in the global market by attaining the elite distinction of being ‘world-class’.
The adjective ‘world-class’ now describes architecture, automobiles, computer technology, cuisines, fashion, lifestyle etc.
If the business, sports and entertainment world endeavour to compete on a ‘world-class’ scale, how would we describe a ‘world-class’ Christian? Should we too be striving for ‘world-class’ excellence in our obedience to God’s call?
The author of the above-mentioned book, Paul Borthwick gives his definition in the book:
“A world-class Christian is one whose lifestyle and obedience are compatible, in cooperation, and in accord with what God is doing and wants to do in our world.”
Apostle John continues his theme on the ‘world’ in his First Epistle. 1 John 2:15-16 , “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world.”
We are called not to be ‘Worldly Christians’ but rather to be ‘World Christians’. John Piper in his book ‘Let The Nations Be Glad’ puts it this way:
“Not every Christian is called to be a missionary, but every follower of Christ is called to be a world Christian. A world Christian is someone who is so gripped by the glory of God and the glory of his global purpose that he chooses to align himself with God’s mission to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory as the waters cover the sea ( Hab.2:14 ). Everything a world Christian does is with a view to the hallowing of God’s name and the coming of God’s kingdom among all the people of the earth.”
The world Christian is one who is ever ready to bring the John 3:16 verse (which is perhaps the greatest text in the Bible to encapsulate the Gospel in a few simple words) to the world around us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
If this is the first time you are reading this verse, let me encourage you to read it over again a few more times. However, reciting or memorizing the verse would not save you. You must believe word for word what the verse says and you will receive everlasting life.
Mark 8:36 stresses “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”
Come, believe in Jesus Christ and live the abundant life.
For those of us who know John 3:16 by heart, let us have the heart to share it with the peoples around us.
Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) who predicted the World Wide Web almost 30 years before it was invented, also foretold that our world would become a ‘global village’ which is now a reality.
Air travel, international trade and industry as well as trans-border networking have shrunk the world. Globalization and mass migrations have simultaneously brought the nations to our shores.
The world-class perspective challenges us to focus on a global God who calls us into His team, as Christ has sent us into the world. He invites us to join Him in His world-class action. How will we respond?
The endeavour of becoming world-class propels us into a world where we must trust God. Whether it means praying for more funds for an international mission project/partnership or reaching a migrant community or to foreign students, an outward orientation of our faith encourages us to trust God in direct and practical ways.
What would you do this week that has eternal implications for yourself as well as for others around you? How can you use your earthly treasures as investments in God’s Kingdom?
Let’s Live the Life, of A World-Class Christian.
Father God, as You have brought peoples of the world to our doorstep, help us Lord to bring Your love to them, in practical ways, yet having everlasting impact upon their lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
约翰福音3:17, 17:18, 20:21
约翰福音中的一个关键词是 “世界/世上”，在书中使用了78次。约翰福音3:16 也许是圣经中最为著名的一节经文，因为它是最为人所知、熟记，且最受珍视的一节经文。
娱乐界向我们展示了 “世界级” 的演员、音乐家和歌手；体育网络盛赞 “世界级” 运动员；跨国公司通过获得 “世界级” 的精英称号，在全球市场上展开竞争。
如果商界、体育界和娱乐界都努力在 “世界级” 的规模上竞争，我们将如何形容一个 “世界级” 的基督徒呢？我们是否也应该在顺服上帝的召唤中追求 “世界级” 的卓越？
使徒约翰在他的第一封书信中继续他关于 “世界” 的主题。约翰一书2:15-16 “不要爱世界和世界上的事。人若爱世界，爱父的心就不在他里面了。因为凡世界上的事，就像肉体的情欲，眼目的情欲，并今生的骄傲，都不是从父来的，乃是从世界来的。”
我们蒙召不是要做 “世俗的基督徒”，而是要做 “世上的基督徒”。约翰·派珀(John Piper)在他的书《万国欢呼》中这样写道：
“不是每个基督徒都被呼召为宣教士，但每个基督的追随者都被呼召成为世上的基督徒。一个世上的基督徒是一个被上帝的荣耀和祂的全球使命的荣耀所吸引，以至于他选择与上帝的使命对齐，让祂荣耀的知识充满遍地，好像水充满洋海一般 (哈2:14)。 一个世上的基督徒所做的每一件事，都是着眼于上帝的名被尊为圣，上帝的国度降临人间。”
一个世上的基督徒总是准备好把 约翰福音3:16 (这也许是圣经中仅以几个简单的词概括福音的最伟大的经文)带给我们周围的人。
对于我们熟记 约翰福音3:16 的人，让我们有一颗与我们周围的人分享的心。
赫伯特·马歇尔·麦克卢汉(Herbert Marshall McLuhan，1911-1980)在万维网被发明之前近30年就已预言了它，他也预言，我们的世界将成为一个 “地球村”，如今这也已成为现实了。