Volume. XXIII, No. 5
Sunday, 03 August 2008

From The Pastors Heart: Conversion Opened Up

We talked about the Philippian jailor’s conversion story in Acts 16. Paul told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This story gives us lots of biblical teachings of Christian conversion. I am going to talk about two of the most important aspects of this story. One is about the Lord and the other is about Jesus Christ. Let me begin with the former point.

We often say that we must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Of course, it is true, we know that Jesus Christ is the only name we must believe for our salvation.  When a person is converted to the Christian faith but does not believe in His name, he misunderstands the Christian faith and salvation. However, Paul says to the jailor that he must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lordship of the Savior is emphasized here. I have met lots of professing Christians who claimed to believe in Jesus Christ. However, the way of their life was not that of Biblical teachings. The only reason that I could know of their Christian religion was that they said so. Is biblical conversion a license for a care- free type of lifestyle? What does it mean to be converted? Does Christian conversion mean only to confess of our faith in Jesus and there is no other subsequent transformation in our life?  Is it a fruit of Christian conversion?  Paul says that believing in Jesus Christ is also to receive Him as the Lord, the Lord of all. It means that conversion will lead us to follow and obey Him. Even though a person may be able to give an eloquent speech of his conversion, if he is not interested in walking with God and obeying His commandments, his conversion possibly is not genuine. Or, possibly he has misunderstood the meaning of conversion right from the beginning. It is very clear that biblical conversion leads us to follow Christ as our Lord. The Lordship of our Savior Jesus will rule in our hearts and lives. Jesus says in Matthew 12:33, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” He also says in Luke 3:9, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” 

To cleave unto God through conversion, or to become a child of God through faith, is not to be separated from obedient life. In other words, conversion encourages the converts to obey God and follow Him. Besides, God requires our obedience. There are many verses in the Bible teaching us about obedience.  Exodus 19:5 says, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (cf. Exodus 23:21; Deuteronomy 13:4). In fact, obedience is better than any sacrifice according to 1 Samuel 15:22. The apostles of Jesus were determined to obey God rather than men, even though it meant to lose their lives in Acts 5:29. In fact, Hebrews 5:9 identifies God’s people as obedient ones to Him; “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Therefore, the first fruit of conversion is demonstrated by an obedient life. 

Besides the Lordship of Jesus Christ shown in the life of the converts, the second part of Paul’s reply to the Philippian jailor was to believe in Jesus Christ. Here is a unique nature of Christian conversion. It is focused on one person, Jesus Christ. It inevitably leads us to consider Christian conversion to be evaluated objectively. It is because one’s understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ is the very ground of his conversion.  Thus, we have to know and believe in Jesus Christ. Where can we find anything about Him? How do we possibly know of Him? In order to answer to these questions, we cannot but go to the Bible, which is the source of the objective truth of Christian faith. It also provides a reason why stories about our life experiences alone cannot be proper Christian conversion testimonies. The reason why we have to search the Scriptures to know of Christ is very obvious. Jesus Himself says in John 5:39 that the Scriptures are the testimonies of Him. Therefore, we do not have to search different sources in order to know Him. 

Though it sounds like a simple statement, it is a very important presupposition. For example, there are people who claim to be Christian, but do not believe in the testimony of the Bible. There are people who do not believe in His deity, humanity, miracles, resurrection, virgin birth, ascension, second coming, sinlessness, or other attributes, but claim to be Christian. Or, there are people who do not believe the Bible as God’s Word, but talk about their Christian faith. If they claim that they had a Christian conversion, what would be our thought of their conversions? I have said that conversion must be based on the Scriptures. Christian conversion must be grounded first on the basis of the objective truth, which is the Bible. If a person denies the Bible but still claims to be a Christian, he must have been converted in subjective way without objective criteria. And his conversion may not be Christian. Likewise, conversion stories about strange dreams, events, and some spectacular happenings are not necessarily Christian, either. 

Christian conversion must be grounded in the truthful testimonies of Jesus Christ in the Bible. Romans 10:8-13 says, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” According to verse 8, the word of faith is related to the preaching.  Verse 9 states the importance of personal confession of Jesus Christ. The Scripture is the surety and guarantee of our salvation according to verse 11. Verse 13 repeats the same teaching again. 

Christian conversion begins with the preaching and hearing of the Word of God. Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Preaching and hearing the Word of God are two sides of one truth. The Word of God must be heard and believed for salvation. The major problem that the children of Israel had was not believing in the Word of God they had heard.  Paul testifies in Romans 10:15-16, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” Then, Paul seals the truth in verse 17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Conversion without God’s Word is not permissible. I’ll continue on this subject. 


Your Pastor


More Lively Hope




At the ACM held on Sat, 26 July 2008, communicant members have voted unanimously for Pr David Weng to be the next Pastor. For further details please speak to any Session member.

Please note: Next week’s fellowship lunch is communal. If you can, please bring a dish or two for sharing.

Kitchen Rosters today - Team under Sis Suzane Lim on duty.

New church van needed to replace our ageing 1989 Toyota van: Price around $60,000.

Sis Josephine Wong has been appointed Sunday School Superintendent. For anything concerning Sunday School, please contact her.


Looking Ahead

Special Lecture on “Creation and Evolution” by Dr Carl Wieland on Friday, 17 Oct 2008. Please keep this date free for this important event.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Perth); Bro Jonathan Liaw; Sisters Yuet Sum Chai & Judy Li (Adl).

Church activities: BBK & Bible Classes; E-Ministry;  Ladies’ Fellowship Meeting; BSAG, Joy & Maranatha; Sparks4Christ; & YAF Share & Prayer.

Messenger for last Lord’s Day: Rev Edward Paauwe

God’s mercy, protection & help for us


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Hans Ziegelmann; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Auntie Oei, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others in affliction.

Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry in Phnom Penh & Kandal Province.

Laos Missions - Believers in Laos.

India/Pakistan Missions - Pastors & Believers.

Kuching Missions - Teo family.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pr David Weng as he prepares for his ministry in Hope. For smooth & trouble-free visa application & migration.

Journey Mercies - Sis Joyce Chen (S’pore/Japan); all those who are travelling.

Overseas study: Sis Joyce Chen

Salvation of Mrs Van and her family.

Job - Bro Cong Pham

Sister B-P Churches in Australia: Faithful to the Word of God.

New church van by end of 2009.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041