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Pastoral Letter - 18 Feb 18                                                 

Dear Calvarians,        

What can we do to ensure that the generation after us will hold on, proclaim and defend the Christian faith? 

How can we make certain there will always be a remnant of the faithful in Calvary?

 

What must we do besides praying?

 

These are questions that sometimes keep me awake at night. It is not that there is any doubt in my mind that our Sovereign God will be able to keep the church that He has established. I believe that He will. After all, our Lord Jesus did say to Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). I certainly do not want to be the predecessor of the "generation...which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel (Judges 2:10).

 

While we can trust that God will preserve His church, at the same time, I am also reminded that the Apostle Paul did leave the future of the church to the providence of God. Paul certainly did not just let things be. On the contrary, he told Timothy, "Put the brethren in remembrance of these things... nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained" (1 Timothy 4:6). Paul adds: "The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).

 

And Asaph in Psalm 78 writes:

 

1.   Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2.   I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

3.   Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

4.   We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

5.   For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

6.   That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

7.   That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: (Psalm 78:1-7). 

There are two aspects to maintaining this generational faith - the present generation and the next generation. The phrases in bold speak to parents and leaders in the church. They speak of deliberate actions that we must do to ensure that the Christian faith is deliberately passed down from one generation to the next.

 

The underscored phrases speak to the younger generation (sons and daughters). And I am directly addressing young people - you must hear, learn, know, obey, do, and set your hope in God.

 

The Present Generation

To the parents and church leaders, there is no greater evidence for the veracity of the Christian faith and the Holy Scriptures than your life. There are several periods in my life, the experiences of which are deeply etched in my life. One of these was my years in Bob Jones University, where I saw examples of Christians that I wanted to be. I observed their lives. I saw how they dealt with adversity and opposition. I listened attentively to what they said and how they said what they said.

 

I always remembered what Dr. Bob Jones III said to us - "Give the first few years of your life after graduation to serve God." I followed his advice, and I guess I can say, I never looked back. I remember Pastor Roger Dickinson, who was my colleague at the University print shop. He pastored a small church. He was a bi-vocational pastor who supports himself. We were making plates used for offset printing (This was long before digital printing came on the scene). I learnt from him faithfulness and determination. I admire Dr. Edward Panosian, my church history professor, for his intellect, but more so for his humility and godliness. I have always wanted to walk in his footsteps. I remember my friends - the late Pastor Elbert Lim and Pastor James Phoa.

 

It is always helpful to have these role models and mentors in my life. They taught me how to prioritize my life, how to have a vibrant spiritual walk, how to make my life count for God.

 

I want to urge parents to encourage your children to be mentored by godly men and women in the church. Our young people need to hear voices and see the examples of God-fearing men and women. These will bolster their faith, strengthen their commitment, and reinforce their convictions that living for Christ is worth it.

 

The Next Generation

To young people, my advice is - look for godly mentors. Follow men and women not just because they are successful in their careers, but because they are godly. Do not just look at titles and paper qualifications, look for character. Like I said, you must hear, learn, know, obey, do, and set your hope in God. You must rise up to the occasion - be the man/woman of your day. Be the one who will stand in the gap and make up the hedge.

 

What We All Need

In the end what we - parents and young people - need is a heart adjustment. We all need to submit to God because He alone can transform us. We all need to pray earnestly because only God can do for us what we desire for our young people, which is to have them remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ in the community of believers.

 

Lovingly in Christ,
Pastor Isaac

 

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