Volume. XXXVIII, No. 20
Sunday, 17 November 2013


Evangelism and Holy Living


Introduction

Despite many technological advancements, the twenty-first century has entered frighteningly dark times. The threat of global terrorism, the chaos of unimaginable criminal activities, the disintegration of traditional marriage, confusion of gender roles, the future of the global economy, etc. People are helplessly disillusioned in fear, confusion, frustration, uncertainty, and even isolation.

As Christians, our hope is anchored in Jesus Christ, we are immoveable, steadfast, and strong. Our eyes are fixed on the Word of God, a beacon that stands out like a "light that shineth in a dark place" (2 Peter 1:19). As we move toward that light, God changes our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. The message we preach and the life we live guarantees we will stand out in the present culture. That is because holy, righteous lives are the backbone of the gospel we proclaim. The great apostle Paul understood that. This is why he wrote to Titus, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12).

As we meditate on the words of Paul, there are a few lessons which we can learn in relation to our Christian walk. And each point has little to do with benefits that come from godly living, though there are benefits (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6). Rather, Paul sets forth evangelism as the motive for holy living.

Holy Living Honors God's Word

In Titus chapter two, Paul instructs Titus regarding different age groups in his congregation. The young women, he says, are to act in such a way, "that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:5). The Greek word translated "blasphemed" also means "dishonored." We cannot allow unbelievers to mock, ignore, or totally reject God's Word. Yet, how we live will directly affect how non-Christians feel about the gospel we preach.

Paul is saying that no matter what their station in life, Christian men and women who are not what they ought to be will give people reason to blaspheme God's Word and His Holy Name. By the way, the world doesn't judge us by our theology; it judges us by our behavior and conduct. The validity of Scripture in the world's view is determined by how it affects our lives, not how much doctrine we know. If unbelievers see that our lives are truly transformed, separate and distinct from the world, they might conclude that Scripture is true, powerful, and life-changing! Because they could see that in us!

The credibility of the Christian gospel, therefore, is inseparably linked to the integrity of the lives of those who preach it. That's why it is so devastating when well-known evangelists or Christian leaders are caught in some gross sin, immorality or scandals. How do you think unbelievers would react when they see such hypocrisy? They laugh at it, thus blaspheming or dishonouring God's Name and forfeiting any opportunity we have to tell them about its power to transform their lives. Thus, the impact of the lives of men and women who bear the Lord's name is vital to the credibility of the faith and the effectiveness of personal witness and preaching.

Holy Living Silences the Opposition

Paul's second reason for living holy lives gives us the essence of what he wants to communicate: "Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you" (Titus 2:8). The Greek word translated "may be ashamed" literally means "to blush," emphasizing the opponent's utter embarrassment over having no just criticism.

Opponents of Christianity love to make it a big deal when Christians cause a scandal. Don't you think some of the unbelievers in your sphere of influence would love to see you fail so they can justify their unbelief? They don't want to see God transform your life — that would stand as a rebuke to their sinful lifestyles. But that's exactly what some Christians do — we want to embarrass them when they criticize us because there is nothing for them to justifiably criticize.

So, the issue is evangelism. The proper strategy for our evangelization is not just methodological. We reach the world through our virtue, godliness, holiness, and a purity of life that makes our faith and God's Word credible. The apostle Peter understood the way believers have impact on the godless world. He wrote, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Peter 2:11-12).

Therefore, it is important for unbelievers to examine us. They may come initially to criticize, but if our behavior is excellent, the criticism of some might turn to a positive kind of curiosity. And if that curiosity provides a way for evangelism and eventually conversion, they will glorify God because of their salvation! Then we have done our part in bringing God glory! Yes, it is God who saves, it is the Spirit of God who changes hearts, but God can use our testimony to lead people to the credibility of Christianity and ultimately to conversion by the virtue of our lives. So, we need to stay away from fleshly lusts and maintain excellent behavior so that we may shine as light in this dark and sinful world!

Christians, it's imperative to conduct ourselves, "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). 

... to be continued

Preacher David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Raphael Ng

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Christmas cards available at reasonable prices.

*This afternoon’s Adult Sunday School has been cancelled. It will resume next Lord’s Day.

*Please note: Fellowship Lunch on the 4th Sunday of every month will be catered, and every 5th Sunday of the month, only Coffee/Tea & Biscuits.

*Reminder: Fellowship Lunch Next Lord’s Day is catered.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Melb); Sisters Xandrea Cai (Adl), Xiao Hui Chye & Shu Ai Cho (Syd); & others who are travelling. 

2. Completion of repairs to Church Library.

3. Church Activities, in the past week.

4. Session Meeting last Lord’s Day.

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

6. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward (post-op recovery) & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong, Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Sylvia White & Sis Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Bro Yaw Chiew Tan (Chemotherapy):  Sis Margaret Pearson  - healing, rehab & health, Sis Nita Chong’s cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing) & Sis Iris Surman’s brother (healing).

3. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.

4. Cambodia Missions - Khmer pastors & families.

5. Batam Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

6. New Life BPC (London) - new Pastor & God’s guidance for the future.

7. Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng. 

8. Journey mercies: Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Sisters Shu Ai Cho, Xiao Hui Chye & Peng Ha Yeo (Adl); & others travelling.

9. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

10. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Xiao Hui Chye, & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.

11. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Kerrie Lam, Monica Tan & Susan Weng.

12. Australian PR Visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Sharon Ying (Perth).

13. Hope BPC - God’s wisdom & encouragement for Session Meeting & congregation.

14. Year 12 & Uni students: for strength & encouragement in their studies as they prepare for exams.

15. Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines): God’s comfort for those who lost loved ones & property. People to turn to the Lord Jesus for salvation.

16. Christmas Concert preparation: organizing committee, Sis Sally Teng, choirs & instrumental groups.

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063