二○一九年四月六日／四月七日 Click here for English version
Amazing Encounters with God
Rev Arnold Chow
I remember a contemporary Chinese hymn which goes like this: "Can we talk to God?"
Can we communicate with God? Of course, yes. The world came into being because of God's Word. God created everything through His Word. Talking has always been a distinctive part of communication. And throughout history, God has time and again revealed Himself and talked to man. Old Testament stories are really about encounters with God. God and man can talk. God not only reveals Himself but He also makes himself clear in writing that man can understand so we know He is God. Through His Word in the Bible, we come to know the truth about the world. We come to know God and man.
During the last quarter, we followed the descendants of Levi and read from Genesis to Kings. That must have enhanced your understanding of God and the Old Testament. In this quarter, we take a different approach. We will "Read the Old Testament with the Lord Jesus."
Why this approach? We may sometimes think that the Lord Jesus has been critical about the Old Testament Law championed by Moses. But you will also remember that the Lord said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17). How do we interpret the Bible where the words of Jesus depart from Old Testament assertions?
A theologian has likened the Bible to God's talk about Himself. Beginning from the Old Testament, the Bible is about God. In the Bible, God talks about the salvation He has planned for humankind. He talks about His execution of the redemption plan, who will do it, and how it will finally be achieved. How, then, can we not read the Old Testament?
On each of the 13 Sundays, we will read an Old Testament passage that the Lord Jesus has referred to, or is related to Him. We will also compare it with what the Lord Jesus said in the New Testament. That is, how God comments on His own words which have been gathered and affirmed and put into the Old Testament Scripture.
It is like a movie director using images to record a story he wants to tell. The audience gets the message from the video story. But sometimes you get the wrong emphasis and miss the message. That is why it is good for the director to introduce the story and its details personally, explaining the use of the camera, lighting, music and the purposes of his treatment, which helps you to grasp his intended message.
The hymn above continues like this: "Amazing encounters with God – He sees our hearts." Scripture reading, Bible study and listening to sermons are really encounters with God. God will explain to you personally so you get the correct message from Him, and you can "see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you" (1 John 2:24). 1
1 Our sermon theme for this quarter is taken the New American Standard Bible (NASB) – “… let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:24)