Sunday, 24th July 2022
Sister Sonia Wong
Open the Eyes of the Blind, Turn Immediately
Acts 9:1-30 talks about how God called Paul from an anti-Christ to the follow of Christ. Paul was also called Saul. Verses 1-2 says, ‘Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.’ Saul was against Christ, and he even shared in his testimony that he was taught to prosecute the followers of Christ. As he mentioned in Acts 22:3-5 ‘I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.’ So how could a person like Saul became the great follower of Christ, Apostle Paul?
God called Paul in Acts 9:3-4, ‘As he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”’ A lot of us were called to believe Jesus Christ, all our experiences are different, but God called each one of us individually. Saul did not prosecuted Jesus, but he prosecuted the followers of Jesus. When he was called, he turned immediately and changed his way. Today, we have already known Jesus, and have experienced many miracles of Jesus, but are our lives still staying in the world? I John 1:9 says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ If we can be like Saul, turned immediately to God when He called, then we will also have our lives renewed.
Follow to the End, Testify the Truth
In Acts 9:20, Paul was called and started to preach the Gospel for Jesus, ‘immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.’ A lot of people, who heard Paul, but still did not believe in Jesus. Even the Jews plotted to kill Paul. Acts 9:29 also says, ‘and he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.’ There may be challenges along the way, as we walk in the way of the truth, but we must persevere to the end. Paul knew who he was, and what his mission was, he was born to preach the Gospel. There may be difficulties in our lives, we may doubt in God, and we may want to give up, but there is always a way out. Because God’s love for us never changes.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:35-39, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ When we really know how much God loves us, and how important we are in the eyes of God, then nothing will stop us to move forward.
In Unity, Glorify the Name of God
Acts 13:1-5 says, ‘Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.’ Paul was learning together with other people, and after they were trained, he was sent out together with Barnabas. Later we know that Paul also served the church together with Silas and his spiritual son, Timothy.
In Paul’s life, he spent a lot of time serving with other brothers and sisters, in his letters, we also see a lot of greetings to the brothers and sisters in church. Paul’s journey to build the churches was not easy, he had to walk a long way, travel by the land and by the sea. He was willing to work together with others in unity, so the Gospel could be preached. Paul was zealous to preach and teacher the people at the time, and he also left many letters, which become the Word of God for us eve today. Paul was willing to humble himself, to serve together with other brothers and sisters, and at the end, to glorify the Name of the Lord.
Paul wrote in II Corinthians 4:17, ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ He really believed in it, and he had done it; from the time he was called by God, he lived a life glorified God. When we are called by God, we must also learn from Paul, to live a life of the resurrected Jesus.
Pastor Kathy Poon
Saul was also called Paul. The name, Saul, meant to deal with the flesh and become 100% obedient to the law of Moses. The name Paul is his name in Greek, and Paul was preaching to the Gentiles, therefore he wanted people to call him by the Greek name. He also wanted to stop striving for righteousness through law but through faith. When we continue to follow and never give up, seek then we will find, knock and the door will be opened to us.
Rev Daniel Poon
We need to have the relationship with God, and we also need the Word of God. The teaching from the Word of God will guide us the way, without the teaching, people will go astray. To become like Paul, we must hold onto the Word of God. God is a merciful and righteous God; He continues to call us to turn back. Before we become lost and before we become corrupted, God will speak to us with the truth. Jesus also spoke to us with the truth, so we also should speak to others with the truth. When people come to us with their problems, we don’t need to make decisions for them, but we should give them the Word of God.
Paul and Barnabas had different opinions about Mark. Paul could not take Mark because he ran away, but Barnabas was willing to give Mark a second chance. Paul and Barnabas went separate ways because of Mark, who decided to turn back to God. At the end, Mark wrote one of the four Books of Gospel. No matter how our lives were in the past, Jesus already died for us, He shed His blood for us because He loved us. Therefore, let us return to God, let Him change our lives and be renewed by Him. Let go of the past, and believe Jesus already saved us. Have the heart of Mark and see the New Covenant established by Jesus. The old has gone and new has come.
主日信息 – 2022年7月24日
保罗经历马可楼、生命得翻转之后，就谦卑跟随教会、与弟兄姐妹同心合意的服事，最终荣耀神的名。神选召他为要让他在外邦人和君王面前宣扬主的名（9:15），神的选召是不后悔的，虽然这个过程很艰辛，保罗为主的名经受了很多苦，但他轻看地上的这些苦难，因为看重天国永恒的祝福。我们信主的人是属于神的，让我们谦卑跟随耶稣，至终能像保罗所说的：“那美好的仗我已经打过了，当跑的路我已经跑尽了，所信的道我已经守住了”（提摩太后书 4:7 ）。
马可楼的季节是让我们明白耶稣是谁、我们是谁，明白我们为什么在这里。“扫罗”和“保罗”是同一个名字两个不同语言的翻译 – 扫罗是希伯来语，保罗是希腊文，扫罗在经历马可楼之后改称为保罗，因为他的呼召是对外邦人传福音，他不仅让人知道自己要对外邦人传讲神的话，也表明自己从原本靠遵行律法成义的扫罗变成因信称义的保罗。保罗曾跟其他犹太人一样不相信耶稣是弥赛亚，但在大马士革经历瞎眼得见之后，他真实的知道神是谁。神是使我们经历神迹奇事的、是丰盛的供应者、是信实的主。我们刚开始时候，可能会因为看到信主的人有很蒙福的生活就觉得信主很好。然而，无论我们当初信主的目的如何，跟随耶稣的原因又是如何，我们可能糊糊涂涂就信主了，但是只要我们持续的跟随，寻找的就必寻见，叩门的，神就为我们开门。当我们更多谦卑跟随、持续参加晨祷，才会从原来的错误中醒悟过来。凡出与神的，一定会长长久久，但若不是出与神的，终将被摧毁。神的意念高过我们的意念，神的道路高过我们的道路。我们或许还没有完全清楚前面的路，但我们只要紧紧抓住神的话，持续跟随他，就能从糊糊涂涂的开始走向清清楚楚的未来。Sonia的生命见证最感人的地方不是因为她已经得着，而是她没有放弃跟随神，正如林后 4:17所说，“我们这至暂至轻的苦楚，要为我们成就极重无比永远的荣耀”。