Last Sunday Dr Mika Sulistiono from Tyrannus Bible Seminary in Indonesia visited us and shared particularly from Acts 1:8.
He began by asking us a very important question: “What is the main reason we are still alive?” The answer is found in John 15:26-27, that is, we are to testify about Jesus. The next question then is how do we testify about Jesus Christ, that is, how do we become his witness?
The strength of becoming a witness is through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 speaks to the disciples then (and also to us today): “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Every believer is a witness of Christ due to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Witnessing is the main responsibility of the church and not only for specific individuals, that is, not merely the task of pastors and leaders, but of every member. Becoming a witness is to be able to do so skilfully and dynamically. Jesus has already empowered us to do so skilfully and dynamically through the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Dr Mika shared two illustrations of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to be creative in witnessing; one involving himself and the other his student. For himself, when he was put in a tense and tight situation, he was prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask his invitees the question “what is most important in our lives, that is, if I die now, where am I going, heaven or hell?” This allowed him to share about Jesus as the only way to heaven when one dies.
For his student, the student picked up a Christian tract in Sunda language, and asked a very religious non-Christian to translate the content of the tract to him. When the content of the tract was translated, the student replied that he believed the content of the tract and asked his translator whether he also believed! The two illustrations demonstrate that it is the leading of the Holy Spirit that enabled both Dr Mika and his student to become creative and effective witnesses.
Dr Mika also pointed out that Christ’s disciples were mostly uneducated and many of them were stubborn. Yet, when the Holy Spirit dwelt in their hearts, they were changed radically. They were transformed and they in turn transformed the world.
We too can become creative and effective witnesses of Jesus when we rely on the leading, prompting and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah and God bless!
Pastor Boo Teong
Last Sunday we revisited Revelation 1 to 5: Rev 1 on Jesus as the risen and glorified Lord over all, Rev 2-3 on the Church’s earthly struggles, and Rev 4-5 on the heavenly awesomeness of God. We then covered Revelation 6:1-17 on the wrath of God.
The awesomeness of God as revealed to us by the vision of the throne of God, and Christ as the only one worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals (Rev 4-5) prepares us for God’s judgments (Rev 6). Revelation 6 concerns the opening of the first six seals and is divided into two parts: first, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Rev 6:1-8) and second, the sins of men with consequences (Rev 6:9-17).
The opening of the first four seals are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. They are horses of a particular colour with a rider who executes judgement. The first four seals are preliminary judgements (before the second coming of Jesus) happening simultaneously throughout history rather than judgements in a chronological order. The four horsemen symbolize the depravity of humankind; sin is allowed to run its course and destroys many in the process. Briefly, the white horse represents war and conquest, the red horse represents bloodshed, the black horse represents economic ruin and the pale horse represents death. These events have happened throughout human history and will continue to happen until the second coming of Christ.
The opening of the sixth seal shows us the souls of martyred believers under the altar of God in heaven crying out for justice. God’s enemies have and will continue to kill God’s people who have testified for him. The primary activity of martyrs is to witness for Jesus, not dying. Dying was simply the result. Christians are not immune from the wrath of Satan which befalls both Christians and non-Christians. To the martyrs, God gives a white robe and tells them to be patient for the coming wrath of God against God’s enemies. Believers are thus enjoined to endure, rather than escape.
The coming of the wrath of God will happen with the opening of the sixth seal. There will be cosmic chaos and all who are not Christians will face the wrath of God. The wrath of God however has been satisfied for Christians by Jesus dying on the cross for us. At the cross, Satan has also been defeated. Hallelujah and God bless!
Pastor Boo Teong