Monday, 20th December 2021
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Hebrews 10: 25 “And let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Since the beginning of December 2021, I have been praying about what two important devotions our Lord would want me share with our brothers and sisters in the Lord, as PBC’s daily devotions would end on 31st December 2021.
And that was the reason I wrote “Will We Be Seeing Our Loved Ones In Heaven?” on 6th December 2021. Will we be truly happy in heaven if our loved ones will not be there with us to enjoy all that God has prepared for us for eternity? What will heaven be without our loved ones to enjoy heaven with us – may they be our spouse, our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters and our best friends?
Remember that Rich Man in the Parable of “The Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 6: 19-31), when he cried out to Abraham, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to his place of torment.” If this rich man who cares for no one but himself, not even that diseased beggar Lazarus who was daily at his door steps, now in torment, would not want his five brothers to come to suffer with him; how much more, when we will be in heaven enjoying all that God has prepared for us would also very much want our loved ones to be with us to also enjoy all the blessings of heaven. So while we still can and our loved ones are still around, let us not spare any effort to bring them to the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour – especially this Christmas season.
That was the first message the Lord had put in my heart. The second is this devotion – to remind ALL brothers and sisters in the Lord NOT TO NEGLECT GOING BACK TO CHURCH while you are here on earth. It is truly sad and tragic to know that there are thousands of Christians who had once professed to be Christians and have even served in different capacities in the church but now for whatever reason are no longer going to church – church leaders and even Pastors among them.
Maybe the Church they were attending had failed them in some ways, even neglected and hurt them or their loved ones. I think the first thing we need to understand is that there is no perfect church this side of eternity. There is no church with no problems, big churches will have big problems and small churches will have small problems as they are led by imperfect people like you and I. The most “spiritual” church this side of eternity is the first church with 12 apostles and 7 deacons (Acts 6) and yet they had their problem. But they solved that and “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6: 7).
My wife and I have always reminded our children, apart from never leaving God no matter what happens in their life and serving God with whatever spiritual gifts God has blessed them with, they are to find a church to serve Him. Rick Warren in his best seller “The Purpose Driven Church” gives 5 benefits for joining a church:
1. It identifies a person as a genuine believer (Eph. 2:19; Rom. 12:5).
2. It provides a spiritual family to support and encourage them in their walk with Christ (Gal. 6: 1-2; Heb. 10: 24-25).
3. It gives them a place to discover and use their gifts in ministry (1 Cor. 12: 4-27).
4. It places them under the spiritual protection of godly leaders (Heb. 13: 17; Acts 20: 28-29)
5. It gives them the accountability they need to grow (Eph. 5: 21).
A Christian without a church is like a football player without a team; a soldier without a platoon; a tuba player without an orchestra; a sheep without a flock. But the most understandable (and biblical) picture is that of a child without a family – a spiritual orphan!
So my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, no matter how long you have been away from church, our heavenly Father has always been waiting for you, just like that father in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Not necessarily to go back to the Church you left, but find a church where you can grow spiritually and serve Him with all the spiritual gifts God has so graciously bestowed upon you. Stop becoming a “floating believer.” Finding that Church then would be the greatest Christmas present you can give yourself.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we want to pray for all our brothers and sisters out there who have left church for some time, for whatever reason. Heal their hurts and bind up their wounds and restore them to the fellowship of believers they once enjoyed and cherished. May the Holy Spirit continue to remind them of your love and sacrifice for them. Help and guide them to a Church whereby they will find spiritual growth, love and acceptance. In Jesus most precious Name we pray AMEN.
从 2021 年 12 月开始，我一直在祈祷，我们的主希望我与我们在主里的兄弟姐妹分享哪两个重要的灵修，因为班底浸信会（PBC）的每日灵粮将于 2021 年 12 月 31 日结束。
这就是我在 2021 年 12 月 6 日写下 “我们会在天堂见到我们所爱的人吗？” 的原因。如果我们所爱的人不与我们一起享受上帝为我们准备的永恒，我们在天堂会真正快乐吗？如果没有我们所爱的人与我们一起享受天堂，天堂会是什么 – 他们可能是我们的配偶、我们的孩子、我们的父母、我们的弟兄姐妹和我们最好的朋友吗？
记得在 “财主和拉撒路” （路加福音 6:19-31）比喻中的那个财主，当他向亚伯拉罕呼求： “我有五个兄弟。让他警告他们，免得他们也到他受苦的地方去。” 如果这个只顾自己的财主，甚至连每天在他家门口的患病乞丐拉撒路也不顾，现在他在受苦，也不想他的五个兄弟来和他一起受苦；当我们在天堂享受上帝为我们准备的一切时，我们岂不更希望我们所爱的人与我们在一起，也能享受天堂的一切祝福。因此，趁我们还可以，我们所爱的人还在身边，让我们不遗余力地让他们认识我们的主和救主 – 尤其是在这个圣诞节。
那是主放在我心里的第一个信息。第二个是这篇灵修 – 提醒所有在主里的弟兄姐妹，当您还在世上时，不要忽视回到教会。知道有成千上万的基督徒曾经自称是基督徒，甚至在教会中以不同的身份事奉，但现在出于某种原因不再去教会 – 其中包括教会领袖，甚至牧师，这真是令人伤感哀痛。
也许他们所参加的教会在某些方面辜负了他们，甚至忽视并伤害了他们或他们所爱的人。我认为我们首先需要了解的是，在世上没有完美的教会。没有任何没问题的教会，大教会会有大问题，小教会也会有小问题，因为他们是由您我这样不完美的人领导的。世上最 “属灵” 的教会是第一间有 12 位使徒和 7 位执事的教会（使徒行传第6章），然而，他们有他们的问题；但他们解决了那问题，并且 “于是上帝的话语传开了。耶路撒冷的门徒迅速增加，许多祭司信从了这道。” （使徒行传第6章7节）。
我和我的妻子一直提醒我们的孩子，除了无论在生活中发生什么都不要离开上帝，用上帝赐予他们的任何属灵恩赐事奉上帝，他们还要找到一间教会来事奉上帝。瑞克沃伦（Rick Warren） 在他的畅销书 “目标驱动的教会” 给了加入教会的 5 个好处：
- 它表明一个人是真正的信徒（以弗所书第2章19节；罗马书 12章5节）。
- 它提供了一个属灵的家庭来支持和鼓励他们与基督同行（加拉太书 6章1-2节；希伯来书 10章24-25节）。
- 它将他们置于敬虔领袖的属灵保护之下（希伯来书 13章17节；使徒行传 20章28-29节）
一个没有教会的基督徒，就像一个没有团队的足球运动员；没有队列的士兵；没有管弦乐队的大号演奏者；一只没有羊群的羊。但最容易理解（也符合圣经）的画面是一个没有家庭的孩子 – 一个属灵的孤儿！
所以我亲爱的主内的弟兄姐妹们，无论您们已经离开教会多久，我们的天父一直在等着您们，就像浪子的比喻中的父亲一样。不一定要回到您离开的教会，但要找到一间您可以在灵性上成长的教会，并用上帝厚赐予您的所有属灵恩赐事奉祂。不要成为 “漂浮的信徒” 。 找到如此的一间教堂将是您能给自己的最棒的圣诞礼物。