One MCS - Annual Conference Highlights

Congregation’s ‘pew rights’

May 2012    

RESTORING PASSION

“The speaker affirmed the power of the resurrected Christ in reviving our waning faith, recovering our lost hope, and restoring our passion for the Lord.”

I ATTENDED THE Easter Sunday service at one of our local Methodist churches. Its Pastor-in-Charge delivered the sermon, “ The Risen Christ on Sunday at Patmos is Alive”, and the Bible passage was taken from Revelation 1:9-18. When the sermon ended, one could sense the congregation’s response and their appreciation of the pastor’s presentation.

The sermon’s content included an elaborate survey of the historical background of the Bible text and its religious and cultural setting. In its explication, the passage was placed in context and cross-references were made with other similar Bible verses. Individual words in the passage were not highlighted for further interpretation, as it was not necessary.

The verses (9-18) were arranged in two parts. The first part, verses 9-11, gave an account of the author of Revelation, together with the backdrop of the persecuted church during the first century AD.

The most interesting segment of the sermon followed this part – verses 12-18. The congregation heard what happened on the island of Patmos on that first day of the week, and what John saw and heard.

The speaker’s incisive exposition showed his in-depth study of the passage and his thorough preparation. Illustrations from moving real-life testimonies further enhanced the sermon’s effectiveness in conviction.

In conclusion, the speaker affirmed the power of the resurrected Christ in reviving our waning faith, recovering our lost hope, and restoring our passion for the Lord. He extended a warm and impassioned invitation to the congregation to respond to the call of the resurrected Christ to walk closely with Him every day.

If it had not been for the fact that the next worship service was due to begin, I think many would have chosen to remain for a few more moments to relish and to absorb fully the invigorating message that they had just received. “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

With our heads held high, we will face the world and life, its challenges and difficulties.

I thank our Lord for the preacher. From the sermon he delivered, I could appreciate the respect he had for me as well as those who attended the Sunday service faithfully every week.

Our congregation is entitled to sermons that are conscientiously prepared, and delivered with zeal and conviction. ese are the “pew rights” of the congregation.

The Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung is the President of the Chinese Annual Conference.

“So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more perfectly.” – Acts 18:26.

How to win souls

THEY PUT THEMSELVES in a position to win souls (Acts 18.26).

Apollos was speaking in the synagogue; where were Aquila and Priscilla? Where are good prospects to be found? Anywhere! But there are some places where they might be more likely found: visiting our assemblies, attending community Bible studies, and volunteering for charitable organisations.

They knew where their prospect stood and what he believed (Acts 18.25). We can be so eager to share what we know that we have no idea what others believe, understand, or need.

They listened (Acts 18.26). Notice this preceded teaching him.

They apparently were not timid or easily intimidated (Acts 18.26). Apollos was no slouch in his level of knowledge, but they were not afraid to talk with him (1 Peter 3.15; 2 Timothy 2.15).

They knew how to use common sense in evangelism (Acts 18.26). They understood that “taking him aside” would neither embarrass him nor put him in a defensive posture. They were tactful.

They clearly communicated (Acts 18.26). They explained. We must avoid assumption or presumption when we teach.

They undoubtedly possess the grace of patience (Acts 18.26).

In Bible studies, we will inevitably have to “explain” God’s Word “more accurately”. It is easy to forget that what we know we acquired over a long period of time. It takes “prospects” time and teaching to attain to it. They might not “get it” immediately or the first time they hear it.

They had vision. They saw a man with many assets and passion for the Lord. They might have thrown up their hands and given up, but instead they led him to the truth and the church gained one of its most eloquent preachers!

– Neal Pollard, e Evangelistic Approach of Aquila and Priscilla.

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