Keeping the Flame
Pastor Eugene exhorts us to keep the flame of the gospel lit through time and space by passing it on from generation to generation.
At every Olympics since 1928, a fire is lit as a symbol of the Games. The flame is first lit in Olympia, Greece then brought to the site of the Olympic Games via a torch relay. For the 2008 Games in Beijing, the torch was carried by almost 22,000 torchbearers over a whopping 137,000 km on a journey that took 130 days. This ceremonial relaying of the Olympic flame symbolises how the spirit of the Games is passed on through time and space to encompass the nations.
The Olympic torch relay illustrates how the gospel has been passed down through countless generations, across cultures and nations to reach even to us. The fact that we can know Jesus and His word bears profound witness to the unchanging faithfulness of God. He has been utterly faithful to preserve and propagate His truth throughout the ages.
God has sovereignly ensured that His gospel endures. But His sovereignty does not mean that God’s people can afford to be careless with God’s truth. God has graciously entrusted to us a stewardship of His gospel. We have the responsibility to be faithful.
Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. God used many faithful men and women to recover the gospel, which had been obscured by centuries of false teaching and neglect. Thanks to them, this precious deposit has been preserved for us. And thanks to many other faithful men and women from the Reformation until now, including men like Dr E. N. Poulson, the gospel has come to us. It is now our turn to run the next lap of the relay, to pass the torch on to others, and to ensure that the flame of the gospel is not extinguished.
How shall we accomplish such an awesome task? Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2 are for us as well: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Our strength is not our own; it comes from our gracious and faithful Lord. Let’s therefore lean hard into Christ and ask him for help.
Having been strengthened by Christ’s grace, Timothy is to do this: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Paul urges Timothy to faithfully pass the gospel on to others.
This is a vital part of being a disciple-making church. Each one of us has received a stewardship from the Lord Jesus to guard and grow His gospel. How can we do so?
- Know the gospel well. Scripture says the riches of Christ are “unsearchable”. We can easily spend a lifetime to plumb the depths of the gospel and still never exhaust its glories. So continually seek to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- Speak the gospel to others. Parents, disciple your children to know and love Jesus. Help them to see the beauty of Christ through your affection, words and actions. Teach the gospel to children in Sunday School. Share the gospel with someone else, so that they come to behold the glory of God in the face of Christ. Meet up with another Christian, in order to give and receive encouragement in Christ. Help another believer to treasure Christ more by speaking the truth of the gospel into his or her life.
- Pray for the leaders of the church. Ask God to strengthen the elders, deacons, ministry leaders, care group leaders and Sunday School teachers. We all need Christ’s grace in order to remain faithful to His gospel. Pray that we will be faithful to pass the gospel on to others, who can continue the work of making disciples.
This Sunday, Pastor Ian will be preaching from Acts 20:17-38 on how the Apostle Paul entrusted the gospel to the elders of the Ephesian church. Reflecting the character of the God whom he served, Paul was faithful in passing the baton on to other believers. Let’s prepare our hearts to hear and learn together from God’s word!