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Don’t deceive yourself: Receiving, practicing, and being true to the Word (I)

 2022.05.14/15

From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

In preparing for the sermon (James 1:19-27) last week, I came across the commentary on the passage by Warren Wiersbe with the title: Quit Kidding Yourself, which I thought was brilliant as it summarized the whole passage so well. I like to recap some of his insight here in this article to share with you all.

The Bible tells us that “The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9, NET) I was struck by the translation that “deceitfulness” is “incurably bad”! James in addressing his Christian readers talks about this deception twice: “deceiving your own selves” (1:22) and “deceiveth his own heart” (1:26) Wiersbe states: “If a Christian sins because Satan deceives him, that is one thing. But if he deceives himself, that is a far more serious matter.”

“Deceiving” is from a verb found here and in Col 2:4, meaning “to cheat or deceive by false reasoning.” “The deception comes from thinking they have done all that is necessary when actually listening to the Word is only the beginning.” (BKC) Sometimes Christians, even those who have been Christians for a long time, can fool themselves that they are walking with God and serving Him, when in fact they may be walking in the ways of sinners and serving themselves (cf. Rev. 3:17). Again, Wiersbe says, “Spiritual reality results from the proper relationship to God through His Word. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), and if we are rightly related to God’s truth, we cannot be dishonest or hypocritical.” So, the critical question here is are we truly walking with God and guided by His Word. The true follower of God has the following responses towards God’s Word: receiving, practicing and being true to the Word.

  1. Receiving the Word (19-21)

Drawing from imagery of the Lord’s parable of the sower (Mt 13:1-9, 18-23), James describes the Word as “the message implanted within you” by God Himself, the Word that we should  “welcome”, or “receive with meekness.” Often when we have become Christians for a long time, we think that we already know it all. The “seed” is the same, it is the hearts (soils) that are different, either “hard,” “shallow,” “crowded,” or “fruitful.” Today, there are many reason why our hearts are hard, shallow, and crowded, but I believe the most common problem is we are “dull of hearing” (Heb 5:11) because our spiritual life is in fact decaying.

Therefore, James teaches us that if the seed of the Word is to take root in our hearts, we should “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (1:19) Our personal behaviour and interpersonal relationship must reflect this obedience to His Word. I often apply this verse to communication skills which of course are totally applicable, but I was again struck by the reason behind this verse is much much deeper as explained in verse 20: “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” The goal is ultimately not just building human relationship, but producing lives that reflect the righteousness of God. This also means “put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness.” (1:21)

It is my prayer that we are all hearers as well as doers of the Word. Let’s “Quit kidding ourselves”!

(Next: Don’t deceive yourself: Receiving, practicing, and being true to the Word (II)  

Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Simon Lee

不要自欺欺人:領受、實踐和忠於主道(上)

2022.05.14/15

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

在我準備上週(雅各書1:19-27) 的講道時,我參看到了聖經學者維爾斯貝(Warren Wiersbe) 對這段經文的詮釋,標題是:別自欺欺人了,我認為這很有見地,因為它一針見血地總結了整段經文。我想在本文中再思他的一些見解,在此與大家分享。

聖經告訴我們:“人心比什麼都詭詐。是無可救藥的腐敗。誰能測透呢?”(耶17:9 英文新譯本)“詭詐”是“無可救藥的腐敗”的翻譯令我震驚!雅各在向基督徒讀者發表講話時兩次提到這種欺騙:“欺騙自己”(1:22)和“欺騙自己的心”(1:26)。維爾斯貝說:“如果基督徒犯罪是因為撒但欺騙了他,那就是受到欺矇。但如果他是自欺欺人,那就更嚴重了。”

根據維爾斯貝(Wiersbe )的解釋:“欺騙”一詞來自本段經文和歌羅西書2:4 中的一個動詞,意思是“用錯誤的推理欺騙或矇騙”。“欺騙或矇騙來自本身錯誤地以為已完成了所有必須的事情,而實際上聽道只是起點”。有時基督徒,即使是那些已經成為基督徒很長時間的人,可能會自欺欺人,以為他們是與神同行並正在事奉神,而實際上卻可能是走在罪人的道路並為自己而行事(參:啟3:17)。維爾斯貝繼而指出:“屬靈的實況在於透過神的話語與神建立適當的關係。神的話語就是真理(約17:17),如果我們與神的真理建立正確的關係,我們就不會不誠實或虛偽。”所以,在這裡的關鍵問題是:我們是否真的與神同行並被祂的話語所引導。真正跟隨神的人對神的話語有以下反應:領受、實踐和忠於主道。

1.領受主道 (19-21 )

雅各很可能從主所講撒種的比喻中汲取靈感(太13:1-9, 18-23),將神的道描述為神自己“植入內心中的信息”,我們應該“敞開心田”或“溫柔地接受。”許多時候,在我們成為基督徒年日已久之後,我們會誤以為對很多經文已知道了。其實“道種”是一樣的,只是在於心田土壤的不同,分別在於“硬土”、“淺土”、“生長被擠住”之土、或是能“碩果纍纍”之土。今天,讓我們的心變得堅硬、膚淺和擁擠的,有很多因素,但我相信最常見的問題是在於我們“聽而不聞”(來5:11),因為我們的屬靈生命實際上正在腐朽。

因此,雅各教導我們,如果要讓聖道的種子在我們心中生根,我們就應該“快快地聽,慢慢地說,慢一點動怒”。(1:19) 我們個人的行為和人際關係必須反映出對神話語的服從。我經常把這節經文應用在溝通技巧上,當然這完全適用,但我再次被這節經文背後的原因所震懾,正如第20節所解釋的意思:“因為人的忿怒並不能成全神的義。”最終的目標不僅僅是建立人際關係,而是在生命中反映出公義的神。這也意即:要“擺脫一切污穢和所有的邪惡”。(1:21)

我所祈求的就是: 願我們都成為神的道的領受者和行道者。讓我們不要“自欺欺人”! (下期:不要自欺欺人:領受、實踐和忠於主道(下))

 主僕,
李耀全牧師

A Long Drive Through God’s Word

May 7/8, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Alex Poon

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Have you ever been on a long drive? It’s wonderful, of course for those of us who aren’t affected by motion sickness.

Going on long drives reminds me of James’ exhortation for the Church. “Be doers of the Word, and not just hearers only” (James 1:22).

How do we become doers of the Word? First, it involves the deep and consistent work of understanding the Word of God. Before we may respond to Scriptures, our minds must first comprehend the Scriptures.

And to do this, long journeys in a car remind me of three similarities between a road trip and meditating on God’s Word to us.

Both, ask us to (1) slow down to soak in the scenery, (2) be intelligent to understand the task at hand, (3) grow in patience, so we may find joy.

Slow down and soak in the scenery.

Slow down on your road trip so you may shift your gaze from not only what is in front of you – but all around you. Like a drive through the deep forest – did you see that birds nest way up high? Did you notice the bright sun in how its light hit the treetops?

Slow down as you receive the Word of God. Scriptures doesn’t only give us words of comfort, or the words we are longing to hear… it gives us an argument, a reasoning, a logic – how can we understand the train of thought when we don’t take time to ponder?

Did you notice the nuance of the Biblical authors, in how they used the most descriptive expressions to call attention to this one specific aspect of our glorious Creator? Did you see the fine-tuned word that is written to tune our hearts to His? Did you pace yourself – just enough – to see the majestic detail hidden in the author’s language?

Did you give yourself time to admire, to be mesmerized, so that your heart may be moved?

Be intelligent to understand the task at hand.

The pathway towards worship in our hearts begins first with our minds.

On the Emmaus Road, when Jesus finally revealed himself to those he was walking with, the men asked each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” (Luke 24:32). Every disciple of Jesus wants to feel something with God. And to light their hearts ablaze; Jesus opened the Scriptures to them, interpreting it all for them. Their touched hearts started first with their minds.

So, follow the logic behind each thought. Bring your intelligence into the task of reading Scriptures, and let the reason evoke your mind.

Grow in patience so we may find joy.

Patience is a virtue we all need. When we prayerfully and thoughtfully take lingering step after step towards the heart of God, we will know what He says to us, and how He says it.

And with the aiding of the indwelling Spirit who proclaims the truth of God to us, we will feel His presence so near to us, and joy in worship will arise.

His Servant
Pastor Alex Poon

透過駕駛領會神的話語

2022.05.07/08

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

你曾否試過長途駕駛?對於那些不受暈車浪影響的人來說,過程是精彩的。

長途駕駛讓我想起雅各對教會的勸勉。“你們應該作行道的人,不要單作聽道的人”(雅各書1:22)。

我們如何成為行道的人?首先,需要努力不懈和深入理解神的話語。在回應前,必須首先要領會經文如何對我們說話。

長途駕車就讓我想起駕駛和默想上帝的話語之間的三個相似之處。

(1)放慢腳步享受沿途風景;(2)敏銳並領受;(3)並有耐性,透過過程找到喜樂。

放慢腳步享受沿途風景
駕駛的時候,你會留意到四周圍的事物嗎?穿過茂密的森林的時候-你會否看到在樹上的鳥巢?或者是燦爛的陽光照射到樹梢上?
聖經不僅給我們安慰的說話,或是我們渴望聽到的說話……神的話語可能會給予我們一個論據,一個論證,一個邏輯-如果不用心思考,不能心神領會?
聖經作者會運用不同的表達,希望我們體會神的心意?我們有留意到嗎?
我們有否用時間去欣賞,以至自己的心被感動?

敏銳並領受
我們敬拜的心首先始於我們的心思意念。
在以馬忤斯路上,當耶穌最終向與眾人顯現時,他們彼此說:“我們的心不是火熱的嗎?” (路加福音24:32)。我們有否有這種敏銳的心呢?我們需要全人的投入,才能夠感受。

並有耐性,透過過程找到喜樂
耐性是我們都需要具備的美德。當我們全心全意一步一步地走向上帝的時候,我們就會知道祂向我們說什麼,和如何對我們說。
同一時間,聖靈會幫助我們,明白神的真理。當我們慢下腳步,全人投入,並有耐性去讀神的話語的時候,我們一定會感受到神親密的與我們同在。也因為有了這種感受,我們的敬拜就會體會一種喜樂。

你想要體會這種關係嗎?你需要(1)放慢腳步,(2)敏銳並領受(3)並有耐性。願神祝福你。

主僕
潘啟華傳道

Christ Our Sanctified – Sermon Series

April 30 /May 1, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

What a joy to witness on Easter Sunday this year 10 persons were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! This follows 19 persons baptized last October on Thanksgiving Sunday. I am totally amazed by the work of God Himself amidst the COVID pandemic, that after almost two years of the Church being locked down, altogether there are still 29 new members through baptism. Yes, it is all the grace of God!

At the baptism, each baptismal candidate is asked two questions. First, do you know you are a sinner, and you accept Christ as your Saviour who washes away all your sins? The second question is will you from now on follow Christ as your Lord, obey His teaching and grow in your faith daily? It is so exciting each time to hear each candidate answers very affirmatively “I will!” The whole congregation all reacts with joy to witness that, just like the angels in heaven!

But all of us as Christians struggle in our faith after we put our faith in Christ. It is part of the growing process when we face all sorts of trials in our daily lives. At such time it is important to remember that Christ is not only our Saviour, but also our Sanctifier. Christ will help us grow as Christians so as to conform to His image. Peter teaches us: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peters 1:14-16, quoting Lev.19:2) So for the next two months, we are going to look at the theme of “Christ Our Sanctifier.”  We will do this by studying the Book of James.

The Book of James is most probably written by James, the brother of Jesus. James, together with Peter and John, were the pillars of the church (Gal. 2:9). He was the recognized leader of the Jerusalem church as we can see in his speech at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15).

The purpose of the letter of James is to encourage the early believers to grow in Christian maturity and holiness of life. James teaches young Christians how to achieve spiritual maturity through “a confident stand, compassionate service, careful speech, contrite submission, and concerned sharing.” (BKC) It deals with every aspect of our Christian walk.  James emphasizes “practical holiness,” how faith and conduct must come together when we walk with Christ, in all situations of life. The series is as follows:

Christ our Sanctifier 1: The testing of your faith (1:1-18)
Christ our Sanctifier 2: Hearing and doing the Word (1:19-27)
Christ our Sanctifier 3: The danger of prejudice (2:1-13)
Christ our Sanctifier 4: Faith without work is dead (2:14-26)
Christ our Sanctifier 5: The taming of the tongue (3:1-18)
Christ our Sanctifier 6: The challenge of worldliness (4:1-12)
Christ our Sanctifier 7: The challenge of the wealthy (4:13-5:12)
Christ our Sanctifier 8: The prayer of Faith (5:13-20)

Brothers and sisters, please read ahead and wait for a word from Christ our Sanctifier. Shalom!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Simon

基督我們的成聖者 – 講道系列

2022.04.31/5.01

列宣家親愛的兄弟姊妹:

繼去年10 月感恩節主日有19位弟兄姊妹受洗後,我們十分歡喜快樂地在今年的復活節主日一同見證10 位弟兄姊妹奉父、子、聖靈之名接受洗禮!在新冠病毒大流行中,神自己的工作讓我感到非常讚嘆驚訝,在教會被封鎖近兩年後,總共還有29位新成員藉著洗禮加入教會。無可置疑的,這全是神的恩典!

在施洗過程中,每位準備受洗者都會被問到兩個問題。首先,你知道你是一個罪人,你願意接受耶穌基督為你的救主,赦免你所有的罪嗎?第二個問題是,從今以後,你願意跟隨基督,尊祂為你的主,遵守施的教導,每天在你的信心上成長嗎?每當聽到每個受洗者都非常肯定地回答“我願意”,真是令人感到興奮。就像天上的眾天使一樣,全會眾也滿懷喜樂地一同見證他們對主的確信!

但是,在我們相信基督之後,所有作為基督徒的我們,當我們在日常生活中面臨各種考驗時,都會在信仰歷程中經歷過掙扎。這是成長過程的一部分。在這時候,重要的是要記住,基督不僅是我們的救主,也是我們的成聖者。基督會幫助我們成長,為能在生命中反映祂的榮美形象的基督徒。彼得教導我們:“你們作為順服的兒女,就不要再效法從前無知的時侯,放縱情慾的生活。那召你們的既是聖潔的,你們在一切所行的事上也要聖潔,因為經上記著說:“你們要聖潔,因為我是聖潔的。”(彼前1:14-16,引用:利19:2)因此,在接下來的兩個月裡,我們的講道信息將集中於“基督是我們的成聖者”這主題之上。我們將透過研讀雅各書來一起學習。

雅各書的作者一般認為由耶穌的兄弟雅各所寫。雅各與彼得和約翰同為教會的支柱(加2:9)。正如我們從使徒行傳15章,他在耶路撒冷會議上的講述中所見,他是眾人所公認的耶路撒冷教會領袖。雅各書的寫作目的,是為鼓勵早期的信徒要在基督徒的邁向成熟和聖潔生活中成長。這些教導涉及我們基督徒生活的每一方面。雅各強調,“實際的活出成聖生活”,就是要我們學習如何在生活中的所有情況下與基督同行,信仰和行為必須一致。基督是我們的成聖者講道系列如下:

1: 信心的試煉(1:1-18)
2: 踐道於行(1:19-27)
3: 偏見之危機(2:1-13)
4: 信心缺行為是死的(2:14-26)
5: 舌頭的馴服(3:1-18)
6: 屬世的挑戰(4:1-12)
7: 財富的挑戰(4:13-5:12)
8: 信心的禱告(5:13-20)

在此謹請各位弟兄姊妹預先抽時間來細讀經文,並讓基督我們的成聖者,藉著神的話語向我們說話。願您們平安!

主僕
李耀全牧師

RCAC @ Tsawwassen

2022.04.23/24
From the Pastor’s Desk: Pastor Mark Liu

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Hello brothers and sisters, it is by God’s Grace that I have the opportunity to share with you some of the thoughts I have received from God.

This week’s theme is about the Great Commission. This was commanded by our Lord Jesus before He returned to the heavenly home. This is our mission. As for the Mandarin Ministry, thank God for giving us the opportunity to participate in this great commission.

I remember that in February of this year, I talked with my wife about whether we could carry out some gospel work in Tsawwassen. Afterwards, we prayed, and we felt that this was a good opportunity for our ministry to go out and directly participate in the work of the gospel. I shared this idea with Pastor Simon and gained his support. I also learned that in his heart, he had always hoped to have the opportunity to bring the gospel to this place. I believe this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Carrying out the work of the gospel requires the partnership of a local church. I was reminded of Pastor Matthew Wong, because he told me before that he wanted to take me to visit Tsawwassen Alliance Church (TAC), hoping to build a relationship with the church. With Pastor Simon’s encouragement, I called the church and contacted the church’s senior pastor, Pastor Cory Anderson. I shared with him the vision and expressed the wish that Pastor Simon and I could visit him. Coincidentally, Pastor Cory mentioned to us that he also has a vision to encourage brothers and sisters in his church to participate in the Great Commission. However, what he did not expect was that a Chinese Alliance church would take the initiative to contact him about the ministry of evangelism. God’s work is truly beyond our imagination.

With the support from Pastor Cory, I immediately discussed the details with two interns (Reuben and Phoebe), and at the same time, shared this idea with Pastor Ming. What a surprise is that a couple who participated in Pastor Ming’s church also planned to move to Tsawwassen. They were contemplating about whether God’s intention was for them to participate in evangelism work in Tsawwassen. All of these are prepared by God. We participate in it and find that God has already prepared everything we need well in advance, and when the time is right, everything will be revealed to us. It is not what we can do for the Lord, but the Lord invites us to experience Him so that we can taste the joy of working with Him.

We will hold a Mother’s Day event at TAC on 5.7, hoping to attract the Chinese living in the local area. Through origami and calligraphy, we hope that we can get in touch with the Chinese living in the local area. You’ll find a poster for this event at RCAC. RCAC is a blessed church, and we need to bring this blessing to the place where God leads. Hope you can pray for this event. I would also like to express my special thanks to the Board of Elders for their support. May the name of the Lord be exalted and be glorified.

His Servant
Pastor Mark Liu

RCAC @ Tsawwassen

2022.04.23/24
劉展權傳道

親愛的列宣家弟兄姊妹:

弟兄姊妹大家好,是神的恩典,讓我能夠透過文字和大家分享我從神領受的一些想法。

這一週的主題講到了大使命。這個使命,是我們的主耶穌在還沒有回到天家前吩咐我們的。這個就是我們的使命。而對於國語事工來說,感謝神給予我們機會能夠參與在這個大使命當中。

記得在今年的二月份,和太太言談間講到了是否能夠在Tsawwassen這個地方開展一些福音的工作。之後我們禱告,都覺得這個是一個很好的機會,能夠讓我們的事工走出去,直接參與傳福音的工作。我就把這個想法和李牧師分享,獲得他的支持,也得知原來他的心中,一直都希望能夠有機會把福音帶到這個地方。我相信這個是聖靈的工作。

開展福音的工作需要有一個地方教會的配合。我就想起了王允志牧師,因為他曾經告訴我,要帶我去探訪Tsawwassen宣道會(TAC),一個純加拿大人的教會,希望能夠建立關係。在李牧師的鼓勵下,我就打電話到這個教會,聯繫了教會的主任牧師,把我們的理念和他分享,也提出希望能夠允許李牧師和我拜訪他。沒有想到的就是,這個想法獲得了這位主任牧師的支持。他更告訴我們,就在我們還沒有與他聯繫前,他就有異象,希望鼓勵教會的弟兄姊妹參與大使命。但是,他卻沒有想到的就是會有一個華人教會主動聯繫他關於傳福音的事工。神的工作真的是遠超過我們的所想所求。

獲得了TAC的主任牧師的支持,我就立刻和兩位神學生(鐵漢弟兄和Phoebe姐妹)討論細節,也把這個想法和黃明揚牧師分享。卻沒有想到的就是黃牧師的教會中有一對說國語的夫婦計畫要搬到當地居住,他們還在思考是否神的心意,讓他們在當地傳福音。這一切都是神的預備。我們參與在當中,發現神早就已經預備了,當時機成熟時,一切都會展現在我們的面前。不是我們為主做什麼,而是主邀請我們親身經歷祂,好讓我們能夠嚐到與主同工的喜樂。

我們將會在5.7在TAC舉行一個母親節的活動,希望能夠吸引住在當地的華人一起來。我們希望透過摺紙和書法,接觸到住在當地的華人。你們會在列宣家中看到這一次活動的宣傳海報。列宣家是一個蒙福的教會,我們要把這個福氣帶出去。希望你能夠為這一次的活動禱告。我在這裡也要特別感謝長議會的支持。謝謝長老們支持我們這個活動。願主的名被高舉,願主的名得著榮耀。

主僕,
劉展權傳道

The first and last temptations of Christ (3): The last temptation and the final victory

2022.04.16/17
From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

Easter is here! Christ is risen, He is risen indeed! On this day, we celebrate the complete victory of Christ, over death, over sins and temptation, and ultimately over Satan.

When I first started this series of article on “The first and last temptations of Christ,” I was struck by the fact that three times in the last days of Jesus was “tested” on politically sensitive, theological and ethical issues, by the religious leaders of the day, trying to put Him to death. Jesus was able to answer all these “tests” with divine wisdom. I then remembered that Jesus when He began His ministry was first tempted by Satan three times also. As I re-study these temptations, I realized that were not like the cunning traps that the religious leaders laid for Jesus, but that they were challenges of much greater cosmic significance. Satan wanted Jesus to listen to him and demonstrate in Satan’s ways that Jesus was the “Son of God,” and so not follow the plan of God the Father, which was the way of the cross. But Jesus did not fall for Satan’s craftiness and rebutted him every time with the Word of God. I finally realized that the three first temptations were but one, whether Jesus as the Son of God would follow Satan or follow the will of God.

Therefore, in this final article of the series, I would like to change the focus instead to Christ’s final real “test” (temptation), the one that He faced in His spiritual struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-46).  The crux of the trial was expressed in Jesus’ prayer to His Father, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt 26:39)

Jesus was not afraid of death or the pain He knew He would suffer, that was not the test. The “cup” referred to here is the cup of suffering due to sin and eventual death. Jesus knew He would be separated from the Father (Mt 27:46) and He would bear the sin of all humanity (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). The Father has never forsaken His Son before. A cup, figuratively in the Old Testament, refers to wrath. The wrath of God was on Christ because of the sins of all humanity now were borne by Him.

Indeed later, at the ninth hour on the day Christ was crucified, “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46, quoting from Ps. 22:1) Therefore, in Gethsemane, Jesus was exceedingly grieved or sad to the point of total distress.  This distress was not helped by the fact Jesus’ most trusted disciples: Peter, James and John, were not able to stay awake, and watch and pray with Him.

The last and final “temptation” of Christ was not wrestling with or resisting God’s will. As perfect man, Jesus felt the heavy burden of repelling sin. Yet as the Son of God, He was ready to yield to the will of God and fulfill the mission that the Father sent Him to accomplish. This “struggle” comes from the mystery of His humanity and deity, the fact that Jesus the Son of God was at the same time the Son of Man. Christ was already victorious when He rose after the prayers in the Garden to face those that were going to betray Him and crucifying Him on the cross.

Before Jesus yielded up His spirit and died, he shouted, “It is finished! Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Jn 19:30)  It was a shout of victory, as Jesus the Son of God had obeyed fully the will of the Father. Jesus was triumphant over Satan and all his deceptions. His mission was accomplished.

We read that on the day Jesus rose from the dead, in the early morning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb…, an angel of the Lord said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…, So …with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (28:1-9)

Yes, Christ has risen. He is victorious over all temptations, sin, death and Satan. Let us all come and worship Him, for He is indeed the Son of God. He had died and rose from the dead to make us all children of God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

Your servant in Christ
Rev. Simon Lee

基督的首次和最後的試探(三):最後一次試探和最後的勝利

2022.04.16/17
李耀全牧師

列宣家親愛的兄弟姊妹:

復活節到了!基督復活了,祂的而且確的復活了!在這一天,我們慶祝基督完全戰勝死亡、戰勝罪惡和誘惑,最終戰勝魔鬼撒但。

當我第一次開始撰寫關於“基督的首次和最後的試探”文章系列時,令我懾服的是,耶穌於在世的最後日子裡,當時的領袖和宗教人士,企圖置祂於死地,曾三次在政治敏感問題、神學和倫理問題上 “考驗” 祂。耶穌均能夠以屬神的智慧一一應對所有這些“考驗”。我也記得,當耶穌開始祂的事工時,祂亦曾三次受到撒但的試探。當我重新研究這些誘惑時,我才意識到這與末後宗教領袖為耶穌設置的狡猾陷阱截然不同之處,是先前的試探含蘊著具有更大「超宇性」(cosmic)意義的挑戰。先前撒但希望耶穌聽從牠的獻計,不要遵循聖父上帝的計劃而走上十字架的道路,並以牠的方式來證明祂自己是“神的兒子”。但耶穌並沒有中了撒但的詭計,而是每次都用神的話來駁斥牠。我終於明白,先前三個試探實為三連於一,要耶穌選擇跟隨撒但的意思或跟隨神的旨意,以表明神兒子的身份。

因此,在本系列最後的一篇文章中,我的重點轉到關注基督最後的真正“考驗”(試探),即祂在客西馬尼園的屬靈爭戰中所面對的考驗(太 26:36-46)。試煉的癥結關鍵在於耶穌對天父的禱告 “我的父啊,可能的話,求你使這杯離開我;但不要照我的意思,只要照你的意思”(太26:39)

耶穌的考驗不在於畏懼死亡,也更不在於畏懼祂自己知道將會遭受的痛苦。這裡所說的“杯”是指因犯罪而受苦和最終死亡的杯。耶穌知道他將會與父神分離 (太27:46) ,並且他會承擔全人類的罪在祂身上(林後5:21; 彼前2:24)。父神從未離棄過祂的兒子。“杯”,在舊約中比喻為忿怒。神的忿怒傾在基督身上,因為現在全人類的罪孽都由祂承擔了。

事實上,接著,在基督被釘十字架那天的第九個小時,“耶穌大聲喊著說:以利,以利,lema sabachthani?意即,我的神,我的神,你為什麼離棄我?” (27:46,引自詩篇22:1)回顧在客西馬尼園,耶穌極度悲傷及傷痛,甚至到極度痛苦的地步。事實可見,連耶穌最信任的門徒彼得、雅各和約翰也無法保持清醒,與祂一起守望與祈禱,門徒並沒有分擔減輕祂的痛苦。

基督至終並最後的試探不是與神的旨意鬥爭抗衡,也不是抗拒神的旨意。作為完美的人,耶穌感受到驅除罪惡的沉重負荷。然而,作為神的兒子,祂已經準備好完全順服神的旨意,完成天父差祂來成就的使命。這種掙扎來自於祂的人性與神性在於一身的奧秘,即神的兒子耶穌同時也是人子的事實。當基督在客西馬尼園祈禱後站起來,正面面對那些將要出賣祂並將祂釘在十字架上的人時,祂已經得勝了。

耶穌在將祂的靈魂交付於神,斷氣之前,他喊道:“成了!父啊,我將我的靈魂交在您的手中!” (約19:30)  這「成了」是勝利的呼喊,因為神的兒子耶穌完全順從了天父的旨意。耶穌戰勝了撒但和牠所有的詭計。主的使命完成了。

我們讀到,在耶穌從死裡復活的那天,清晨,抹大拉的馬利亞和另一個馬利亞去看墳墓……主的一位天使對婦女們說: “不要怕,我知道你們尋找被釘十字架的耶穌。他不在這裡,已經照他所說的復活了。你們來看安放他的地方吧。快去告訴他的門徒,他已經從死人中復活了……,她們又害怕,又十分歡喜,跑去告訴耶穌的門徒。忽然,耶穌向她們迎面而來,說:你們好!她們就上前,抱住他的腳拜他。(28:1-9)

是的,基督已經復活了。祂勝過一切試探、罪惡、死亡和撒但。讓我們都來敬拜祂,因為祂確實是神的兒子。祂已經為我們贖罪死了,又從死裡復活,使我們成為神的兒女。

神愛世人,甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們,叫一切信他的,不至滅亡,反得永生。因為神差他的兒子到世上來,不是要定世人的罪,而是要使世人藉著他得救。信他的,不被定罪;不信的,罪已經定了,因為他不信神獨生子的名。”(約3:16-18)

主僕,
李耀全牧師