Monday 20th September 2021
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
An Encounter with Christ
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
William James, Harvard University’s famous professor of philosophy and psychology, once said that after age 30 we become set like plaster and never change. But he was wrong. We can and do change.
John D. Rockefeller had become the world’s only billionaire. But he was a miserable man who couldn’t sleep, who was unloved, and who needed bodyguards. Then at age 53 he was stricken with a rare disease. He lost all his hair, and his body became shrunken. He was given a year or so to live.
Rockefeller started thinking about eternal issues, and suddenly he began to change. He gave away his money to help churches and the poor. He established the Rockefeller Foundation, which has under-written critical health research. His health improved, and contrary to the doctor’s prediction, he lived to be 98.
Author, pastor, and onetime atheist Lee Strobel said in one sermon: How can I tell you the difference God has made in my life? My daughter Allison was 5 years old when I became a follower of Jesus, and all she had known in those 5 years was a dad who was profane and angry. I remember I came home one night and kicked a hole in the living-room wall just out of anger with life. I am ashamed to think of the times Allison hid in her room to get away from me.
Five months after I gave my life to Jesus Christ, that little girl went to my wife and said. “Mummy, I want God to do for me what he’s done for Daddy.” At age 5! What was she saying? She had never studied the archaeological evidence regarding the truth of the Bible. All she knew was her dad used to be this way: hard to live with. But more and more her dad is becoming different. And if that is what God does to people, then sign her up. At age 5, she gave her life to Jesus. God changed my family. He changed my world. He changed my eternity.
Of course Rockefeller and Lee Strobel are not the only two. As a Pastor, I have heard scores of testimonies and witnessed with my own eyes how God had changed lives that seemed impossible. Someone had said apart from the greatest miracle of our Lord’s resurrection, the second greatest miracle is a changed life. Zacchaeus gave half his possessions to the poor and repaid four times those he had cheated after his encounter with our Lord (Luke 19: 8). Paul turned from a persecutor of Christ to a preacher of Christ. No one, who truly had an encounter with Christ, will not have his life changed for the better.
Of course, we are not talking about a sinless or perfect life. There is no such life this side of eternity for anyone. But, to use a theological term “sanctification”, by putting it in laymen’s words, is to sin less and less and become more and more like Christ as our days go by. It’s a process all through our life until we come face to face with our Lord. If you have not had that encounter with Christ, pray to have one. If you want a changed life – only an encounter with Christ can do that: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we want to thank you for changing our lives for the better since our encounter with you. Help us to live our lives striving daily to be more and more like you. We know we will never be perfect this side of eternity, but like Paul we can one day say proudly: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. For those who have yet to have an encounter with you, we pray you will reveal yourself to them as you did to Paul on the road to Damascus. In Jesus precious name we pray, AMEN.
哥林多后书5章17 节 所以，如果有人在基督里，他就是新造的人；旧事已经过去，你看，都变成新的了！
约翰•D•洛克菲勒（John D. Rockefeller）成为世界上唯一的亿万富翁。但他是一个睡不着的可怜人、无人爱戴、需要保镖。 53 岁时，他患上了一种罕见的疾病。他的头发全都掉光了，身体也萎缩了。他还能活一年左右。
洛克菲勒（Rockefeller）开始思考永恒的问题，突然间他开始改变。他把钱捐出去帮助教堂和穷人。他建立了秉承危急重症研究的洛克菲勒基金会。他的健康状况有好转，与医生的预测相反，他活到了 98 岁。
作家、牧师和曾经是无神论者的李•史特博（Lee Strobel）在一次讲道中说：我怎么才能告诉你上帝在我的生命中所做的改变？当我成为耶稣的追随者时，我的女儿艾莉森 （Allison ）5 岁；在那 5 年里，她所知道的只是一个亵渎上帝和愤怒的父亲。我记得有一天晚上回到家里，因为对生活的愤怒，我在客厅的墙上踢了一个洞。想到艾莉森（Allison）为了避开我而躲在她房间里的时候，我感到很惭愧。
在我将生命献给耶稣基督五个月后，那个小女孩对我妻子说： “妈咪，我希望上帝也为我做祂为爸爸所做的一切。” 才5 岁！她在说什么？她从未研究过有关圣经真实性的考古证据。她只知道她父亲曾经是这样的：难以相处；但她的父亲变得越来越不同了。如果这就是上帝对人所做的，那就让她也加入吧。 5岁时，她将自己的生命献给了耶稣。上帝改变了我的家庭。祂改变了我的世界。祂改变了我的永恒。
当然，洛克菲勒（Rockefeller）和李•史特博（Lee Strobel ）并不是仅有的两个。作为牧师，我听过很多见证，亲眼目睹了上帝如何改变了看似不可能的生命。有人说，除了我们主复活的最大神迹之外，第二个最大的神迹就是生命的改变。撒该与我们的主相遇后，将他一半的财产分给穷人，并四倍偿还他曾讹诈的人（路加福音 第19章8节）。保罗从基督的迫害者转变为基督的布道者。凡真正与基督相遇的人，生命都必会变得更好。
当然，我们不是在谈论无罪或完美的生命；在世上没有任何人有这样的生命。但是，使用神学术语 “成圣”，通俗来说，就是随着我们的日子一天天过去，犯罪越来越少，变得越来越像基督。这是一个贯穿我们一生的过程，直到我们与主面对面。如果您还没有与基督有过这样的相遇，祈求有一次吧。如果您想要一个改变的人生 – 只有与基督相遇才能做到这一点： “如果有人在基督里，他就是新造的人；旧事已经过去，你看，都变成新的了！”