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二○一八年八月二十五日/八月二十六日                                                                                    Click here for English version

離開自我中心的靈命追求

孔桂芳牧師

剛在月初舉行的港九培靈研經大會中,見到很多弟兄姊妹參加,有些更相約一同出席領受靈筵,我實在很為弟兄姊妹渴慕認識主而欣慰。

誠然,不少弟兄姊妹很重視自己的靈命成長,會報讀主日學及外間的神學聖經課程,然而,可能因為時間難以分配或其他的原因,上課往往佔了信徒生活的很大部分,因而忽略了與其他信徒一起的實踐,以致知得很多,但卻缺少信仰的經歷,成為頭大心細、甚至頭重腳輕的基督徒。弟兄姊妹選課程許多時會從個人的喜好出發,甚至會看課程老師的風格及學歷而作決定;考慮是否參加教會、團契或小組的時候,也會很計較:付出的時間能否有相對的得著?對靈命是否有幫助?信徒緊張自己的靈命成長是可喜的,但我們必須明白,靈命成長成熟不能只靠個人的追求,卻是需要有其他的信徒在一起。

我們所敬佩的兩位改革宗神學家馬丁路德及約翰加爾文,都強調靈命成長離不開信仰實踐。馬丁路德認為祈禱的目標是要指向生活實踐,他更指出信徒皆祭司,要活出基督徒在世的召命。約翰加爾文強調信徒要在稱義、成聖生活中榮耀上帝,而屬靈生命成長不是個人的事,我們是要與教會弟兄姊妹一起成長的。

上帝呼召我們進入的群體,就是基督的身體。身體每部分都彼此息息相關,若只有個別部分急速成長,而其他部分追不上,整個身體都不會健康發展。教會的群體就是我們實踐信仰、學習具體操練愛神愛弟兄的地方。「不愛他所看見的弟兄,就不能愛沒有看見的神。」(約壹四20下)透過群體,我們不但可以彼此服事,更可探索和實踐個人的召命及群體的使命。

教會今年的主題「投入小組團契年」已經推展了大半年,期盼弟兄姊妹真的能在團契/小組中找到屬靈同伴,一起追求靈命的成長和信仰的實踐。求主幫助我們離開安舒區,願付出時間、心力,與弟兄姊妹建立關係,一同長進。






Pastor's Sharing
Spiritual Growth is Not Self-Centered
Rev Hung Kwai Fong

The Hong Kong Bible Conference held earlier this month saw a huge attendance. Many brothers and sisters grouped together to enjoy the spiritual feast. I am much encouraged by their enthusiasm and desire to know the Lord.

Many brothers and sisters are keen to grow spiritually. They enrol in Sunday school and outside Bible and theological courses. Nevertheless, due to shortage of time or other reasons, the courses often keep them almost fully occupied, leaving no time for actualization of faith together with other believers. As a result, they may know a lot, but do not have adequate experience putting their faith into practice. It is like having a big head but a small heart – a top-heavy Christian. The courses are often selected based on their personal preferences, or the styles and qualifications of the course instructors. They may even be calculating in considering church, fellowship or small group attendance: Is it worth the time I put in? Is it helpful to my spiritual life? While the pursuit of spiritual growth is heartening, we must also understand that growth and maturity is not the result of individual endeavor alone. If you are concerned about your spiritual progress, you need to be together with other believers.

Two highly respected Reformation theologians, Martin Luther and John Calvin, have stressed the close links between spiritual growth and the practice of faith. To Martin Luther, prayer really targets actualization in daily life. He put forward the doctrine that all baptized Christians are "priests" in the sight of God and that they are required to live out the Christian mission on earth. John Calvin emphasized the need for believers to glorify God in justified and sanctified daily living. He added that spiritual progress is not a personal effort. We need to grow up along with other brothers and sisters in the church.

God called us into the Christian community, which is the body of Christ. All parts of the body are inter-related. If only one part grows but other parts cannot catch up, that is not healthy growth. The church community is where we practice our faith and receive concrete training in loving God and our brothers and sisters. "For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen" (1 John 4:20b). In the Christian community, we can serve one another and at the same time explore and realize our personal calling and collective mission.

We are now more than half way through this Fellowship and Small Group Participation Year. It is my sincere hope that brothers and sisters can really find a spiritual companion in their fellowship or small group and that they, together, can seek spiritual growth and realization of faith. May the Lord help us to leave the comfort zone and be prepared to spend time and effort to build up a relationship with brothers and sisters, and together grow up spiritually.