Saturday, April 21, 2007

Humanity in Sin Part 8 - God's Judgment: The Flood

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 25th March 2007 in GRIIS. It was preached in Indonesian and I personally translated to English. Newton Life has it preached in Mandarin with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 6:8-22

Note that I did not include some of the content of this week's sermons because it overlaps with the previous week's transcript.

God is merciful and God is righteous. These two attributes of God are parallel and never clash eternally. They are harmonious in a paradoxical way. There is mercy in the midst of judgement and there is judgement in the midst of mercy. If we understand this, we will enjoy God’s mercy carefully in fear of Him.

In one generation, only one man, Noah, pleased God. The Scriptures said that Noah walked with God. What does it mean to walk with God. Micah 6:9 says to act justly, to love mercy, to be humble and to walk with God.

A person who walks with God must walk at His pace, not to rush ahead or to be late behind. With the same lifetime, the same resource, there are those who just walk around in empty dreams and there are those who work hard and partake in God’s eternal plan.

Noah worked on the ark for 120 years. He preached for 120 years without any soul repenting. God had given him a very tough work to do. In order to do God’s will, we need to have a sacrificial heart. We need to learn the attitude of giving all to God when He wants it.

The annual spending for military use worldwide is enough for mission work for 250 years. Men use up so much resource to kill and wage war. The money used for cosmetic in a year is far more than the money used for evangelism. If we say we love the Lord, that is nonsense. We can use a lot of our resources for ourselves but we are very stingy when it comes to God’s work. But Noah has a right heart. He gathered all the necessary resources to do God’s will and persevered to the end. Not only did he need to bring all the animals in, but he had to provide the food needed as well. How long would they be in the ark? He was not told. The Scriptures later showed that they remained in the ark for 1 year and 10 days. Imagine the hard work Noah had to put in. Doing God’s will is not easy.

The Scriptures say it was God who closed the door of the ark. Opportunities will not always be there. While we still have opportunities, we need to make full use of them. All our time, talents, youth, etc. should be surrendered to God. Once God’s mercy has been withdrawn, man has no more power to create another chance or another beautiful day. Opportunity is the grace of God.

The ark represents salvation. In the midst of the sinking world, there is a place where people will not perish. That is the salvation of God in Jesus Christ in this sinful world. The Church is God’s redeemed people who escape damnation through salvation in Christ and led by the Holy Spirit to fulfil God’s eternal will.

5 Comments:

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mejlina,

Did you take the note in English or the translation took place later on ?

I'm not sure if the following was misinterpret (due to translation) or you really meant like that or it's just my misunderstanding.

Quote from sermon summary:
The Scriptures say it was God who closed the door of the ark. Opportunities will not always be there. While we still have opportunities, we need to make full use of them. All our time, talents, youth, etc. should be surrendered to God. Once God’s mercy has been withdrawn, man has no more power to create another chance or another beautiful day. Opportunity is the grace of God.

Shouldn't it be: .... man has no power to create another change or another beautiful day anymore...

Such that God did not just provide the opportunity and then left it totally up to man to either take advantage on it or waste it. But man's choice was also part of God's providence. I'm not saying man not responsible for his choice but that his choice only partially determine the future.

Whether we saw it as everything depends solely on our decision/actions or everything is part of God's providence; that we might have ill decision but God brought good out of it; will determine how a Christian response to adversity.

If one believed that an adversity was solely consequences of an ill action, then one will only learn how to avoid the future adversity.
But if one believed it's part of God's plan, then one will learn from/in the adversity. As the old saying: "Adversity introduce a man to himself."

Real example:
In the past due to my ill decisions/actions, I have caused adversities to Christians friends and myself. For sometime, I thought (they thought too) that I was the only one to be blamed. ( I still think I should be responsible).
However God gave me understanding that the adversity was necessary to bring 'real me' and 'real them' to surface.
Which otherwise would be hidden and made us hypocrites. I could only hope and pray that one day, they will have the same understanding too.

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger Mejlina Tjoa said...

Hi there...

Thanks for your feedback!

I scribble notes in English (i.e. translate on the spot), and later on type the transcript in English in proper sentences. So there are bound to be variation and even mistakes in my transcripts -- since I have no chance to listen another time. Sometimes I check my transcript with the Indonesian transcript as well.

Personally, I do not sense too much difference between:

Once God’s mercy has been withdrawn, man has no more power to create another chance or another beautiful day.

and:

... man has no power to create another change or another beautiful day anymore...

Correct me if I understand you wrongly.

You seem to interpret that the former might imply a deistic view of life where God gives men chance and they work on it themselves, so if bad things happen it must be men's fault...

While the latter would imply God's providence which includes the instrumentality of men, hence we cannot simplistically conclude adversity as the result of men's faults.

I certainly agree with the latter view and reject the former view.

But I think when Rev.Tong mentioned regarding having no more chance to create another beautiful day, it is in the context of His judgement when all opportunities for repentance is already over. It's not so much about God's providential work through man's actions, which could include adversity for men's good... but more on the reality that when God's judgment day has come, life that is taken for granted can't go on as usual anymore and nobody could escape Him.

That is my understanding. Might not be accurate, so I am open to more feedback and correction. =)

Indonesian transcript says: "Ini semua melukiskan bahwa manusia tidak bisa menciptakan kesempatan baru, tidak bisa menciptakan hari yang indah bagi diri sendiri jika anugerah Tuhan sudah berhenti."

Translate directly: "All these express that human cannot create a new chance and cannot create a beautiful day for himself if God's grace has stopped."

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous nobuseri said...

Hi Mejlina,
I should admit that my comment was intentionally an overshoot. =)
And you have described it properly.

Not all visitors of your blog might came from reformed background. (some might even those who hated Rev.Tong).
Thus, the slight difference between:

Once God’s mercy has been withdrawn, man has no more power to create another chance or another beautiful day.

and:

... man has no power to create another change or another beautiful day anymore...

Could potentially cause misinterpretation for others.
First one imply, as if, man has his own power to create changes or beautiful days during the 'grace period'.

That's what I thought, but I could be wrong too. =)

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger Mejlina Tjoa said...

Hi Nobuseri,

Yeah I agree with you that people from different background might understand the same sentence differently, so change of expressions can be very helpful sometimes, although there will always be limitation with the use of language.

That's why I think such comments and feedbacks can be helpful to clarify, since visitors might read them as well.

Thanks again for your regular visit and constructive comments.

 
At 5:04 PM, Anonymous nobuseri said...

Hi Mejlina,

It's true that there will be limitation with the use of language.

Aside from that, different audience would require unique way to deliver the message.
For example if Rev. Tong is to explain to New Yorker that pre-marital sex is wrong, he might not be as effective as Tim Keller who lived in New York city itself.

Check this: (it's free)
TIM KELLER'S Q&A SESSIONS

btw. the way he explain doctrine of Election is quite interesting too.

 

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