Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bring Lost Ones Back to God

This is my personal summary of the expository preaching of Rev.Dr. Stephen Tong on James 5:19-20 on 4th June 2006. Note: This is the last session on the book of James.

Pietism is a movement that came sometime after the Reformation. They emphasized on the things that were not emphasized during the Reformation. They believed that every Christian must have meditation and holy lifestyle, i.e. no habitual sin. Christians must search themselves and have a rich prayerful life. And Christians must be evangelical.

The Reformation placed emphasis in systematic theology after moving out of the Catholic Church. Because they were more focused on restructuring faith, they were not yet emphasizing on the spirit of evangelism. The negative effect was that this neglect caused a split within the Protestant churches later on.

There is no conflict in the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the need to do good works. Those who had been truly made righteous by God should be able to live lives in such a way as to be considered righteous before men. This is the special importance of the book of James in the Bible that expound on the relationship true faith and good works. Every Christian is to express their lives of faith so that their actions will glorify the Father before the pagans.

The last verse in the book of James exhorts us to bring back the backsliders. We need to preach the gospel to capture all men who are created by God but who are now in the midst of destruction. This is evangelism. But there are those who have received the Word of God but have already wandered from the Truth. They are now moving in their own way, no longer treasuring God, are sick of pulpit ministry and are now only interested in the world. We need to bring them back to God. This is revival.

The important part of our work is to bring back the lost sheep. Bringing a sheep (who is already a Christian) back is as important as preaching the gospel.

The Bible tells us that we should not forsake the assembly of the saints (Heb.10:25). Those who leave the flock can have a lot of reasons to cut themselves from the group, thinking that they are better than others. They could come back to God in the end, but would have wasted their life which could have been used to partake in God's purpose.

A person turns back because he is awakened. Psalms 23:3 says that God would awaken us to the path of righteousness (orthodox faith) for His name's sake. He opens our eyes to see how far we have wandered from the truth and with His love, He moves us to Himself.

People are made in the image of God but many of them are spiritually dead. Christians have been redeemed by Christ, but many of them are now living in sin. We need to bring back all these people.

When a person comes back to God, not only his soul would be saved, but this would also cover a multitude of sins. If he does not repent, he will become harmful to the society. Both righteous people and sinners have great influence in history. If we bring people back to God, a lot of opportunities for sin would be reduced and a lot of good works will be added to the society.


At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Meijina,

Thanks for your summaries. I also access the discussion board of elder Yong's summaries. However, of late, am unable to do so. Pls advise.

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Mejlina Tjoa said...

Hi anonymous,

Thanks for dropping by. I've asked Elder Yong but he said he doesn't know of any issue with his website and has no problem accessing it. I'm puzzled too because I also cannot access his discussion board.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Benjamin Ho said...

yup. i've told Elder Yong about it, but he says that there is no problem. We should update him again, after all, he's paying to host this website.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank for the summary... it true many reformed church day focus on theology and forget about evangelism, which is very sad condition. Personally, I have heard from Pastor Stephen Tong say more than one time of the weakness of John Calvin which is in mission and evangelism, but i find it not true. During Calvin's life Geneva, there are so many missionaries send out from Geneva, even as far as to Brazil.


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