“去我要給你看的地方”

創 12:1 耶和華對亞伯蘭說:“你要離開本地、本族、父家,往我所要指示你的地去。

當上帝告訴亞伯拉罕去他要指示他的地方時,上帝沒有告訴他任何關於地址或方向或國家名稱或土地名稱的信息。 然而,亞伯拉罕應該服從。 因為神應許他要使他成為大名,大國,並蒙福,成為地上萬族的福。

然而,我想提出創世記第 12 章第 1 節中“去往我要指示你的地”這一方面。 你知道上帝要我們去的地方是我們的應許之地。 當上帝對亞伯拉罕說要去那地時,他會告訴他,上帝的意思是那是亞伯拉罕和他後代的應許之地。

本質上,上帝在呼召我們去我們的應許之地。 現在這比我們所看到和聽到的任何事情都要大得多。

現在應許之地是什麼? 應許之地是上帝要我們興旺發達、養家糊口、享受上帝平安的土地。 現在,Shalom 不僅體現在物質、物理術語上,而且真正首先體現在精神上的繁榮生活中。 因為我們在這個世界上,但不屬於這個世界,所以我們進入的土地必須是我們可以進入安息的土地。 就像在希伯來書中一樣。 我們進入我們的安息日。

現在,當我們說應許之地是我們在這個世界上的時候,這意味著我們正在進入塵世之城和上帝之城之間的緊張之地。 這就是為什麼我們在世界上,這是世界之城。 然而,我們在世界上,但不屬於世界,如果我們不屬於世界,那麼我們屬於誰,或者我們屬於哪裡? 答案是我們屬於上帝之城。 正如奧古斯丁有力地寫到這一點。 上帝之城,我們可以看到。

奧古斯丁在上帝之城和懺悔錄中帶出的最大的東西就是“愛”這個詞。 當上帝說“我會告訴你。,去我會告訴你的土地”。 他裝備我們、改變我們、塑造我們,使我們愛他和他的國度,真正擁有應許之地。 上帝要我們進入的土地。這是一塊充滿對上帝充滿愛的人的土地。 就像亞伯拉罕一樣。 在這個世界上,當他還活著的時候,他從未見過樂土。 他們只是憑信心從遠處看見。 他們從未放棄。 他們在信仰中堅守上帝的應許。 這就是上帝對我們的呼召,即使我們可能看不到今生應許的實現。 我們將在來世看到上帝呼召我們的應許之地。 真的是一種心境,一種精神狀態。

因為上帝希望我們在這個世界上真正追求上帝之城。 神的城充滿了神的榮耀、公義和愛。 以及神和他子民之間的愛的關係。 我永遠不會說上帝之城是一座充滿法律和秩序、懲罰和正義等等的城市,這可能是真的。 然而,最重要的畫面是與我們在基督耶穌裡的創造者上帝的關係和親密關係。 這就是上帝呼召我們展示的東西。 在我們的行走、與上帝、我們彼此的關係、我們的談話、我們的著作、我們的閱讀、我們的工作和我們的事業以及這個詞的每一個意義上的一切中,展示與上帝的親密關係。 神之國。

神要給我們看見的地,就是神所應許的地。 這是上帝之城。 我們是寄居者,外星人。 我們在這個世界上是陌生人。 應許之地是新天新地,現在我們正在朝著那個目標前進。 我們將在這個新天堂和新地球上。 現在我們必須建造那片土地。 這片土地顯示了上帝的榮耀和上帝的愛。 神在我們生命中的大能。 上帝正在呼召我們到這片土地,那片土地將展示上帝之城,在那裡每個人都願意進入上帝之城。 否則他們會因為基督而憎恨上帝之城。 中間不會有。 這個世界上不會有城市。 影響。 這是一個艱難的決定。 這就是為什麼我們需要上帝的聲音呼喚我們。 上帝在呼喚。 你準備好了嗎? 你願意嗎?

事實上,這個問題更像是:“跳進去。 當你準備好時,它會變得如此非凡”。 我們每個人都需要有一個夢想。 要有遠見。 要有希望。 進入應許之地的希望讓我們每天都在努力前進。 阿門。

為什麼我們不考慮永恆的家園?

今晚在寒冷的天氣裡,我們在 1 月份的 Costco 步行去我們的車。 天又黑又冷,我可以看到從好市多出來的購物者都試圖回到車裡,帶著所有的購物回家。 在這寒冷的天氣裡,沒有比回家更溫暖舒適的了。

然後我想到了永恆之家。 我們人類真的渴望回到一個溫暖的家,為我們準備好休息、放鬆、聽音樂和吃晚飯等嗎?你看到我們注定要回到的永恆家園了嗎? 是永恆的; 不是那種我們真的把所有積蓄都投入的房子,我們每個月的積蓄都用於房屋抵押貸款,特別是在紐約市這樣的地方。 生活中完全具有諷刺意味的是,我們將所有積蓄都投入到一個非常臨時的家中,而我們幾乎沒有將任何東西投入到我們永恆的家中。 如果你知道有一種叫做永恆家園的東西,這個問題會讓我或任何人感到困惑。 走過這寒冷的夜晚,走到Costco停放的車前,讓我想,有多少人嚮往、渴望、希望能到達那個溫暖舒適、永遠永恆的家?

如果我們不去想永恆的家園,我們將是世界上最可悲的人。 所以問題是,我們要怎麼做呢? 認為事情太多是理所當然的。 目光短淺,我的意思是完全短視,將是未來人生中最遺憾的事情。 如果您從耶穌所說的關於與燃燒的硫磺一起被扔進火湖的故事中閱讀聖經。 這可不是鬧著玩的。 就像在啟示錄 21 中一樣。耶穌在許多地方也談到了地獄。 現實是人們不想談論地獄。 並且不想去想。 這是一件非常可怕的事情。 而人們寧願認為這只是模糊的人類想像。 很多人也質疑為什麼一個充滿愛、憐憫和仁慈的上帝會把人送到永恆燃燒的火中? 對此,答案是為什麼慈愛、關懷的上帝會派他的兒子耶穌基督公開地死在十字架上? 被羅馬人羞辱。 和猶太法利賽人。 為什麼? 答案是:

上帝的公義和公義要求如此。 人類所有的罪惡都要被償還。 否則所有人都將面臨永恆地獄之火的前景。 如果有人開始質疑上帝將任何人送入地獄之火,永遠被焚燒的智慧和正當性,他需要看看十字架。 為什麼? 上帝榮耀的兒子會被公開折磨嗎? 2000年前死在十字架上。 原因是。 為了拯救世界,他必須為世界的罪孽付出代價。

所以這是一個非常簡短的解釋。 而這些地獄火的正當性? 來自聖經。 問題是,人們相信嗎? 人們願意認真對待它嗎? 問題是,人們忽略了它。 人們會忽略它。 埋葬地獄火的概念。 人們認為。 不去想它,它就會消失。 但事實並非如此。 任何有理智的人,我們都同意這一點,只是因為你不想去想它,地獄之火不會消失。

現在如果是這樣的話,這不應該成為每個電視和新聞媒體上最大的新聞嗎? 今天? 當然應該! 所以對於那些相信這一點的人來說,當我們對永恆的前景、天堂的幸福和地獄之火的永恆譴責感到緊張時,保持沉默是生命中最艱難的事情。

首先,如果你與人們分享這個天堂和地獄,他們會把你拒之門外。 有趣的是,這個世界的王子的力量如何強大地控制了這個千年的哲學宣傳和人類思想。 任何人質疑或談論永恆都將被視為落伍甚至站在歷史的錯誤一邊。 這必須要處理。 嚴重地。 然而,如果你不與任何人分享,這個問題將在你的靈魂中燃燒,因為看到你的朋友和親人在地獄中永遠燃燒的前景,不是一個月,也不是。 兩年。 不是 50 年,而是永恆是可怕和令人生畏的。

我們正處於社會的這個關頭,任何關於永恆、長期的想法都被認為是過時的,因為我們應該有科學的頭腦。 事實上,有科學頭腦的人其實對永恆沒有任何答案; 為了這個世界上生命的創造和開始。 我們要開始承認缺點了! 這個世界上傑出的科學頭腦是軟弱的,對此根本沒有任何答案。 說死去的人最終會變成肥料是完全愚蠢的想法,在最高級別上是最不人道的。

擁有耶穌基督永生信息的基督徒:我們必須屈膝。 定期向豐收之主大聲疾呼。 差派收割莊稼的工人收割莊稼,正如耶穌所說。 今天。 我們確實站在精神救贖的最前沿,站在這個世界從未見過的永恆規模的最前沿。 我們必須迅速採取行動。 並充滿激情地行動。

“Go to the land I will show you”

Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

When God told Abraham to go to the land he would show him, God did not tell him anything about the address or direction or the name of the country or the name of the land. However, Abraham is expected to obey. Because God promised him to make him into a great name, a great nation and be blessed to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

However I want to bring up the aspect of “Go to the land I will show you”  in Genesis chapter 12, verse one. You know the land that God wants us to go to is  our promised land. When God spoke to Abraham go to the land, he would show him, God means that’s the promised land for Abraham and his offspring.

Essentially God is calling us to go to our promised land. And now this is far bigger than anything that’s what we’ve seen and heard.

Now what is the promised land? Promised land is the land where God wants us to flourish, raise our families, and enjoy God’s Shalom. Now that Shalom is not only expressed in material, physical term, but its really first and foremost in the spiritual flourishing  life.  Because we are in this world, but not of this world, the land we enter in must be the land we can enter into rest. Just like in Hebrews. We enter into our Sabbath.

Now when we say the promised land is ours in this world, it means we’re entering into a land of tension between the earthly city and the City of God. That’s why we are in the world, which is the city of the world. However, we’re in the world, but not of the world, if we are not of the world, then who are we of, or where are we of? The answer is that we are of the City of God. As Augustine has powerfully written about this. City of God, we can see.

The biggest thing that Augustine brought out in the City of God and also in Confessions is the word “love”. When God says “I will show you., go to the land I will show you”. He is equipping us, changing us, and molding us so that we have the love for him and his Kingdom, to be actually possessing the promised land. The land that God wants us to enter in. It’s a land full of people who are full of love for God. Just like Abraham. In this world, while he was still alive, he never saw the promised land. They just saw from a distance by faith. And they never gave up. They held on to the promises of God in their faith. And that’s what God has called us, even though we may not see the promises fulfilled in this life, perhaps. We will see in the next life the promised land that God has called us. It’s really in a state of mind and a state of the spirit.

For God wants us to really pursue the City of God in this world. That city of God is full of the glory and righteousness and love of God. And the love relationship between God and his people. I would never say the City of God is a city full of law and order, and punishment and righteousness, etcetera which may be true. However the overriding picture is of one that is of relational, intimacy with God, our creator in Christ Jesus. And that’s what God has called us to exhibit. To exhibit that intimacy with God in our walk, with God, in our relationship with one another, in our conversations, and also in our writings, in our readings and our job and our career and everything of the every sense of the word. The land of God.

The land that God will show to us is the land promised by God. It’s the city of God. We are sojourners, aliens. We are strangers in this world. The promised land is the new heaven and new Earth and now we are in the journey towards that goal. We’ll be on this new heaven and new Earth. And now we got to build that land. The land that shows the glory of God and the love of God. The power of God in our lives. God is calling us to the land, the land that will show forth the city of God, where everyone will love to come in to the city of God. Or they will hate the city of God because of Christ. There will be no in between. And there will be no City of this world. influences. It’s a tough call to go. And that’s why we need the voice of God calling us towards that. God is calling. Are you ready? Would you be willing?

In fact, the question would be more like: “Jump into it. When you’re ready, it is going to be so phenomenal”.  Every one of us needs to have a dream. To have a vision. To have a hope. The hope of entering the promised land keeps us going and pumps us every day. Amen.

Sunday preaching

My wife and I attained a Sunday preaching service in a local church in New York today, it was one with a lot of verses. Generally it’s exhortation from the Bible however there was the repetitive nature of some of the obvious points. The high amount of Bible references scripture brought into the sermon makes it impossible to expound them sufficiently and neither do people have the energy to keep tag of them. It therefore can get a feel of “touch and go” kind of a sermon without the deep exposition people are looking for. This is problematic because it’s sort of giving you a mixture of all kinds of spiritual feeding without a direction of in-depth exposition from the text passage.

 

I think preaching requires substantial time of meditation and reflection on the scripture to bring out the depth of the word of God as per the revelation of the Holy Spirit. And that revelation and the reflection you got will have to sync with the needs and the fallen conditions of the modern contemporary society that we live in. Without all these things we will be finding ourselves doing a technical theological discourse without feeling and connection to the modern time.

 

Also exposition will require us to exegete the text from which we preach based on the context and the culture and the historical background of the passage when it was written. Without knowing the background of such it will be not accurate exegesis. Once we execute the context the real meaning of the passage at that point of time, we are able to move forward to project that to the modern community today and saying what it means. That kind of exegesis will really require a good commentary to help you to bring out the original meaning original historical context.

 

I don’t think you will need highly technical commentary to achieve that purpose. Or else you’ll find yourselves being too  immersed into the technical highly  theological thinking which is not suitable for the congregation.

 

In conclusion after learning from preaching lab one in my MDiv hybrid class preaching lab 1 in RTS Orlando, I discovered that I myself have a tendency in bringing a lot of verses to expound on the message but insufficiently in depth. Although mine is deeper exposition with the side verses. Actually my problem is expounding the sidekick versus too deep that overwhelms the main passage. This is this is actually the exact words or almost exact words of my professor.

Case in point I was preaching from the text of genesis 12 about Abraham’s obedience at one point, and I quoted Hebrews on Jesus struggling and with loud cries of tears in prayers to God the Father to save him, and Jesus learned obedience through suffering. That exposition impacted my professor more than the actual passage of Genesis 12. I learned a big lesson. I think I need to go back to Martin Lloyd Jones book preaching and preachers. Lloyd Jones is such an expert in exposition message preaching. Thank God for his servant like Martin Lloyd Jones and others like Tim Keller etc.

God will show you the way when He calls you

Al Ngu, Orlando, January 11, 2023

When Abraham was called by God to go to a new land he would show him, God promised he will bless him make his name great, make him to a great nation and all the families of the earth shall be blessed through him. The tricky part of it is that when God called Abraham God didn’t tell him where he was going, he just told him go and I will show you. Is a bit like us today a lot of times God doesn’t give us a details by God.

He stirs in our hearts to go somewhere and/or to do something for the Lord based on his calling but you don’t have the exact idea itself what to do or where to go. Very much like Abraham. Though there is a huge difference though because God appeared personally to Abraham and God spoke audibly to Abraham to call him and give him instructions and give him all the promises for him and make him so sure that it is God. In a sense this call is so emphatically important and significant because this will impact the entire humanity because Abraham’s call is to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. The blessings does not just rest on Abraham but on the entire humanity in the entire whole world, and it’s not just through Abraham but also through the offspring of Abraham.

That offspring is a is a singular noun not offsprings. It only one person that is included in that and that is that is Jesus Christ the son of David the son of Abraham God who will bless the entire world. And that blessings come through the promise of God to Abraham and all the way down to all believers. It was fulfilled 2000 years ago in the son of God who became a human himself. And through him and through his death and resurrection as a redemption substitute for our condemnation and our sins when he conquered death. He defeated the devil and death.

God has called all of us because we are children and offspring of Abraham by faith in Christ also similarly to be a blessing to the entire generation entire world. We are all called, we are all In it. The call is clear we have no doubt, however some of us may be called specifically to be pastors or engineers doctors or deacons elders or musicians or worship leaders or Sunday school teachers or whatever vocation.

It doesn’t have to be some vocations in the House of God but they can be in the community we live in. But the overall goal remains the same – to be a blessing to all the families of the earth period now between the call and the fulfillment.

How does God empower us God’s sake to Abraham leave your country leave your homeland leave your tribe and families and go to the land I will show you. The four words “I will show you” is the empowerment of God. Similarly God promised us he will show us. He’s not gonna leave us groping in the dark fumbling on the way. But at the time of calling he’s not telling us. And you know why? Because that’s the way to build faith in us; that’s a way for us to completely thrust ourselves to trust him and put our faith in him to make a better you in this conversation in this story. So God will show us:  I myself personally am transitioning my ministry from pastoral to nothing, I’m awaiting for God to show me. And based on that I know in my spirit God will show me. You know why because this is important to him because the calling is to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey everything I’ve taught you. And because it is so important so significant he would definitely tell you tell me tell us. So that is so important period : the guidance of the Lord, the leadership of the Lord, the direction of the Lord and they are all in the book of psalms, “ lead me or Lord, direct my path of God, command me the way I should go I should walk.” I rejoice in the fact that we have a God who promised to show me the way.

I hope you’re going to continue to put your trust and your faith in him as he leads you into the next chapter of your life Your ministry.

Or you may be seeking for a soul mate marriage partner in your life and you know that God has called you to live a life that is pleasing to him, glorifying his name in other words to be equally yoked with a spouse they’ll raise a godly family pleasing to him glorifying to his name. But as you looked around your environment you may find that there’s a lot of eligible women in the House of God but very few eligible young eligible men as is the case usually as there are more brothers than sisters in the house. There are more sisters than brothers in the House of God. Then as a woman who loves the Lord seeking a soul mate life partner what do you do? All I can say as God has called you, he will show you. And he must keep his words and he will as he’s a God of integrity ,of immutability, of the God of covenant with us. Nothing will change his mind and he will never break his word.

Or you were in the middle of difficult decisions as going through business or going through marriage or going through children’s lives struggles etc, you cry to the Lord and you asked Lord “show me your way”. I will not say the words he’s duty bound to show you the way but I will say his love is bound to show you the way.

However sometimes it may seem that we are not getting much direction, and it seems to be so quiet. Never doubt because he’s in the process of making things happen preparing you for greater things, shaping and molding you. Just like the way he matured Joseph who was thrown into the pit with 1001 questions with anger boiling on his mind and his anxiety and fear in his spirit. He was sold to the Egyptian army captain. And incredibly God was with him even in the pit and through the pit process. Its amazing how the entire journey through the pit, through the slavery, through the slavery as Egypt’s captain’s house, he eventually rose to become the Prime Minister of Egypt miraculously with God’s providence clearly. This all happened in the midst of apparent failure of his life and the silence of God. That is so powerful.

That is indeed as God says “I will show you.”

Baptism of Water & Receiving the Holy Spirit

Al Ngu.      January 8, 2023.      New York

Acts 8 describes a phenomenally interesting and strange event that took place in Samaria after Philip had gone there to preach the gospel. Philip did great signs and wonders the many were amazed and believed in Christ and they were baptized in the water by Philip. And the news got to Jerusalem headquarter the eldership the apostles ship the supreme council, they heard that people and Samara had received the word and being baptized in water.

Acts 8: 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,

They said something very intriguing and very revealing. The Apostles said the believers in Samaria had received the word of God, they have not received the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit had not fallen on them but they had only been baptized in the name of Jesus. So they decided to send Peter and John to Samaria to lay hands on them so that they may receive the Holy Spirit. Now this is becoming even more intriguing now: this is precisely what the charismatics and Pentecostals are doing, laying on hands on the folks for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Note the words “to receive the Holy Spirit” is highly confusing because theologically and in all other instances in the Bible a believer received the Holy Spirit the moment he believes in Christ Jesus. And this is also recorded for a number of cases in the Bible too.

Now what is the difference is the fact that it is clear on the two baptisms, the baptism in the water and the baptism of the Spirit. The fact that the apostles said, “ the Holy Spirit had not fallen upon them but they just received the baptism in water so let’s send John and Peter down there to lay hands on them so that they may receive the Holy Spirit.” What is that telling you? That is saying baptism in water does not make you receive the Holy Spirit in itself.

Well you have to believe in Christ Jesus first so you can be baptized in water, and yet not received the Holy Spirit, that is so contradictory in theology of the gospel. Now the only way I can interpret that is they have received the Holy Spirit however they have not received the Holy Spirit in terms of baptism of the Spirit. Almost in all cases, baptism of the Spirit is manifested as speaking in tongues as recorded numerous times in the book of Acts. The book of Acts gives us a blueprint on a lot of things for the church life for the doctrines of the church and of God, and the receiving the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit, the filling in of the Holy Spirit is clearly demonstrated in this book. So I interpret that when the apostle’s council in Jerusalem decided to send top apostles Peter and John to Samaria to help Philip to to get them being filled with the Holy Spirit in order to receive the Holy Spirit in terms of baptism or Spirit, I wish there were instances after that they all started speaking in tongues but it was silent. But this is sufficiently clear to me that receiving of the Holy Spirit refers to this second experience that baptism of the Spirit. To say this is a not not the normative pattern in the book of Acts because it is a book that records the formation of the church and advancement of the church as I read from Carson and ESV commentary is hard to substantiate. Carson writes, “The period of Acts is a time of transition, and the book’s purpose is to show the gospel’s relentless advance, not to establish normative patterns for church life and polity.”[1]

There is also the argument saying that because Samaria is hostile to Jerusalem and now some folks in Samaria believed in Christ so they sent apostles from Jerusalem to them so that they receive the Holy Spirit so that they feel that it is really one church not two churches that united in  Christ.[2] But what they said in the apostlilic council does not reflect that. The apostle’s council is as clear as it is you can read into it, but what is clear is that they are concluding they’ve received Christ they have been baptized in the water they need another one for receiving the Holy Spirit . Not that they don’t have the Holy Spirit, they do. However the need for the baptism in the Spirit because Apostles were actually using the words they had only been baptized in the water, what does that tell you?

And if you synchronize & harmonize that with a number of scriptures other places there are talks about baptism of the Spirit like the Lord Jesus himself said you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit when he was saying that the folks already been baptized in the water in his name. Bcause he has not ascended to heaven yet the Holy Spirit was not give, was not poured out yet and that’s why he said you will be baptized. Now now guess what? In the book of Acts chapter two of the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down, the Spirit of God came down in tongues of fire and rested upon upon them and they were all being filled and being baptized with the Holy Spirit and they all spoke in tongues. Immediately that tongue at that time are known language of other tribes but not known to the speakers themselves which also amazed a lot of Jews that came from other countries. They were amazed to find there Jewish brothers and sisters in Jerusalem praising God in their languages which is not known by the Jewish people in nearby cities.

But proceeding from the first Corinthian 11 onwards the gift of the Spirit you can see clearly Paul said, “ I wish that you all speak in tongues even more I wish that you all prophecy.” What is he saying?  Paul has never for one second downplay tongues or prophecy as the gift of the Spirit. Paul said “earnestly desire the spiritual gift”.  Earnestly means don’t be a lame duck arguing the mind theologically and given up the the spiritual gift simply because doctrinally a lot of denominations have written off tongues and baptism in the Spirit etc. And that’s so sad that is actually going against what Paul says earnestly desire the spiritual gift. And then he said when you speak in tongues in church you should have an interpreter. And if you prophecy in church take turn. The gift of the prophecy reveals the secrets of the hearts of the man and woman who come to church and they will be convicted by the Holy Spirit as they hear the Lord speaking. That is prophecy. I know this is a hard spiritual gift to really operate well but the bigger question is and the bigger problem is most churches have given up on that or dropped that because of the constant battling about the theology of baptism of the spirit and the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy and the gift of healing by the doctrine of cessation of gift. It’s a matter of interest, doctor Martin Lloyd Jones, a renowned reformed Baptist preacher in London who held such great pulpit and influenced millions and millions of Christians and thousands and thousands of pastors in the reformed world in particular, he believed in the distinct second experience of baptism. He believed in baptism the water and baptism of the spirit. John piper believes in speaking tongues and is asked the Lord for it I recall listening to one of his videos. All right bottom line the apostles the the council say so about the baptism of the spirit receiving the Holy Spirit, churches today should not drag their feet. We must move on to earnestly desire the spiritual gift and lay hands on the people to receive the Baptist and the Holy Spirit Amen.


[1] Carson, D. A. (2018). The Gospels and Acts. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible (p. 1968). Zondervan.

[2] Ibid