Speaking of Our Faith
Yanadi shares how reading Galatians has prompted him to reflect on and share his faith struggles with fellow Christians. Learning about the centrality of the gospel in Galatians also encourages us to speak to those beyond the church.
This past week, our church interns were discussing their response papers on John Piper's book: Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions. During that discussion, the topic of assurance of salvation came up. I shared my personal struggle with that topic. I believe that our good works confirm (and prove) our calling and election. My struggle is that I sometimes feel that my good works are either not truly good or not good enough. And as I zoom in more into the possibility that my good works may not be truly good or good enough, the more I doubt that I have actually been called and elected in Christ.
I am thankful for the brothers and sisters in that discussion who pointed to me that I may be focusing too much on myself rather than on Christ. Certainly, none of us will ever be good enough by God's standard because God's standard is perfection! Meditating on how much we fall short of God's standard will only crush us. Instead, we need to meditate on how much Christ has saved us from the depth of our shortfall, in spite of us.
Speaking of Our Faith to Fellow Christians
What is peculiar about this topic of assurance of salvation in the interns' meeting is that it has less to do with John Piper's book and more to do with our Faith Alone sermon series from Galatians. Paul's letter to Galatians is written to fellow Christians and speaks so much about topics such as justification, legalism, freedom, and the gospel. It is no wonder that such topics that are related to salvation and the assurance of salvation are close to our hearts in recent times.
Isn't it amazing how what our preachers speak of our faith from the pulpit influences and affects the conversations as well as the convictions that we have in the life of the church? I myself have heard, and been involved in, good conversations with fellow GBCers especially on the topic of legalism. Some of them include: The feeling of gratitude for the free but costly justification; how can legalism creep into GBC; our personal and unique tendencies for certain kinds of legalism; what is biblical freedom like; and great discussions as to what constitutes the gospel.
The speaking of our faith from the pulpit by our preachers cultivates at least two things. As it was the objective of Paul for his Galatian audience, the speaking of our faith from the pulpit by our preachers aims to draw a response of full trust in the person and works of Christ on our behalf, instead of trusting our own works, merits or achievements (or lack thereof). Other than a direct response mentioned, it also aims to cultivate the speaking of our faith in the life of the church among the congregation. Indeed, the good conversations and discussions among fellow GBCers mentioned above are a result of the faithful speaking of our faith from the pulpit by our preachers.
Therefore, as members of GBC, we ought to be intentional in utilising the speaking of our faith from the pulpit by our preachers into our Care Group (CG) and personal conversations. Our sermon series has been intended by our leaders to be a means for us to regularly evaluate our lives and constantly repent and trust in Christ alone. It is timely for us to reflect upon and be grateful for the freedom from the slavery of sin and the Law that Christ has freely and unconditionally bestowed upon us.
Speaking of Our Faith to Non-Christians
The book of Galatians is actually a Basic Christianity, or Christianity 101, letter for Christians. This is because it emphasises the gospel and rehearses it for the Christian recipients. Paul opens his letter by making a point that there is only one gospel of Christ. This one gospel is the only one that justifies. All other news that claim to be "the gospel" are not only counterfeit, but also accursed (Gal 1:6-9). While there are things in Christianity that Christians can get wrong but still get saved, the gospel is an essential that Christians simply cannot get wrong.
Every single Lord's day, we are grateful that our preachers faithfully point out the gospel in the passage and also the call of the gospel from the passage to both Christians and non-Christians. As we are reminded weekly of the gospel from the pulpit and daily from our church life, it is a special season for us to be strengthened and refreshed in the thing that actually matters, namely, the gospel. This clarity on the gospel shouldn't be helpful only for us internally—for ourselves and our community. Instead, it should also be helpful in our evangelism as well. This should be a season where we are more senstitised in identifying potential legalism, not because we are better, but exactly because we ourselves are not immune to it. In doing so, we generally have some ideas on how people are enslaved by various sins, or by a law that seems good on the outside. It then becomes a golden opportunity to lovingly proclaim the bad news of legalism and slavery and the gospel of Christ that frees us from slavery into freedom to worship God and love others.
Our own Dr Bryan Tan has developed a very helpful summary (based on Sam Chan's Evangelism in a Skeptical World: How to Make the Unbelievable News About Jesus More Believable) on how we can share the gospel coherently based on our understanding of where the recipient is spiritually:
(Bryan shared this in October 2022 CLOBS and the 4th and final session of EQUIP: Living the Truth)
In order to EQUIP us to be able to share the gospel effectively, we have 4 sessions of EVANGELISM TRAINING lined up starting this Sunday from 11 am to 12 noon:
- 06 November – Speaking of Jesus: What is Biblical Evangelism? with Thomas in Room 512-515 (level 5/Attic)
- 13 November – Hope Explored with Ps Oliver in Room 516-519 (level 5/Attic)
- 27 November – Speaking of Jesus: What Must be Communicated in Gospel Evangelism? with Thomas in Room 310CD (level 3)
- 04 December – Speaking of Jesus: What Now? Dealing with Barriers and Common Objections with Thomas in Room 310CD (level 3)
Do come and benefit from evangelism practitioners whom we have in GBC. We hope that through this training, we are able to utilise the gospel that has recently been fortified in our minds and hearts recently as well as opportunities such as Hope Explored and street evangelism that are happening among GBCers to encourage us to actually share the gospel with non-Christians. Christmas season is coming. It is a time of the year when many of our non-Christian friends are willing to give us ears. Let's steward this favourable season faithfully.
More in Church Blog
March 29, 2023Installation of Elders (March 2023)
March 28, 2023Together in the Truth (Part 2)
March 21, 2023Partnership with First Baptist Church of Bandung