Thursday, 6 May 2021
The Twin Pillars of the Church
Ps Mark Tan
As the pandemic continues to prevent the Church from coming together in one assembly, we give thanks to God for His amazing Providence that we can still “assemble and worship” online in a way. In over one year, the Church is now more robust to the situation. Not letting the pandemic slow us down, the Church now reaches out to people online via livestreaming services, online cell group meetings and Bible studies, and a focus on caring for the poor and lonely.
However, with these new opportunities come new threats in the form of “online false-teachings.” These false teachers manifest online either as those who claim to possess a “truer” or “better” gospel than what we receive in church services, “special knowledge” in articles and videos we come across online, and sometimes even posing as “a sincere group of laypeople from different church backgrounds wanting to study the Bible other than what the Church is teaching.”
How do we ensure that we do not succumb to these false teachings? How do we make sure we do not let our doubts convince us to believe their lies? Moreover, how do we continue to bear witness to the true and redeeming Gospel in the midst of all these false teachings? Thanks be to God, through the encounter on the road to Emmaus, Jesus reveals to us “twin pillars” for the church.
The first pillar is SCRIPTURE.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus asked them what was happening in Jerusalem and what they understood to have happened. To which, the disciples began to share about Jesus and how they thought that perhaps he was just a great prophet like those of the Old Testament (vv19-21) and they still did not know what to make of the empty tomb (vv22-24). From their answers, we can see that the disciples were not sure as to what was going on with Jesus’ death and resurrection. In fact, they may not have even believed the women’s testimonies (Luke 24:11), and they were slowly going back to their default Judaism in thinking that perhaps Jesus was just a prophet. Jesus solved this problem by “ beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. ” That was a lot to say, but as the journey was around 11km long, He had plenty of time! The point is this: studying the Scriptures with the Gospel-lenses of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection, the TRUTH is revealed and no falsehoods can prosper. It is sad but clear to see that so many people, both young and old, are being persuaded into false teachings primarily because they are basically illiterate to the Scriptures.
The second pillar is COMMUNION. While the disciples’ hearts were burning within them as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them while on the road, they still did not recognize Jesus was talking to them! It was only when doing His signature-move: he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to the disciples, that their eyes were opened and they recognized him (vv30-31). Not only that, but because Jesus appeared to the other disciples, the disciples assembled together and affirmed “It is true! The Lord has risen and appeared…” The point is this: when we as one faith and one mind come together and commune, i.e. encourage and share our faith with one another, God will not only renew truth in our minds, He will also restore faith in our hearts. Thus, the encouraging mystery of Jesus’ promise: for when two or three are gathered together in His name, there He will be also.
Some practical applications:
- Invest in the Scriptures: Don’t just read it, invest in it. Like a chef who invests in a good quality chef’s knife and uses it intensively in his profession, I would encourage you to invest in a good Study Bible and use it intentionally and intensively. Also, don’t just read it out of habit and without purpose. Challenge yourself. Again like a chef with a good quality knife challenges himself to learn more culinary skills, challenge yourself to see how you wield the Scriptures to reveal God’s truths: What does the Bible say about the Trinity? About the role of women? About the deity of Jesus? About being truly saved?
- Do not neglect to meet together: There is a difference between attending and watching church. Other than gathering together on Sundays to worship, assemble and commune together, either physically or online, and exchange what you have learnt about God and the Gospel that week. In doing so, not only will you learn even more about God through others, you will witness the reality of God’s mighty hand gathering and guarding His flock, and bringing those spiritually dead back to life, renewed in Christ Jesus.
O God, I give you thanks for the good gift of your word. Let my heart and mind be still in thanksgiving for this amazing gift. Every good gift, including your word, is a gift. I thank you for the wisdom you provide. I give you thanks for your love and mercy towards me. Lord, please open my eyes to the truth of your word. I pray for wisdom and clarity as I read your word, and discernment as I apply your word to my heart. Let your word change my actions. I pray the truth I find here will transform my heart and mind to follow you more.
Almighty God, you have given us grace when we gather together in your Name as you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them. We pray, O Lord, as we gather in your Name, grant us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
耶稣通过“ _从摩西和所有先知开始，向他们解释了所有的圣经中关于他自己的事。” 要说的很多，但是由于路程约11公里，他有很多时间！重点是：用耶稣事工，死亡和复活的福音镜头研究圣经，真理才得以彰显，任何虚假都无法昌盛。
第二个支柱是 一起掰饼；“ 圣餐”。