Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,
In my last two updates, I asked “are you worried about missing out on salvation?” Last week, I suggested that if we are worried, we ought to ask ourselves if we are bearing the fruit of salvation. Leaving a lasting impression by building up one another and the church (i.e., becoming the “kin–dom” of God) is one of the strongest indicators that salvation is real in our lives. In last Sunday’s message, I mentioned another indicator, namely, praying for God’s Kingdom to come and yielding to him so that his will can be done on earth (and in our lives) as in heaven. Our good works and commitment to God’s people are the fruit of salvation, not its source.
Some may say, “that’s too demanding! Besides, what’s the big deal about salvation anyway?” I’ll try to address this in this Sunday’s sermon. But for now, let’s assume that true Purpose, Meaning, and Abundance cannot be experienced without salvation in Christ.
For the rest of us who care about salvation, please think about the following set of questions.
1. Do I recognize my need for God’s salvation? Am I anxious about missing out on salvation? Have I called upon the Lord Jesus to rescue me from sin?
2. Have I made a commitment to follow Jesus? Consider these vows that new believers make before they are baptized at Canaan:
– Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world?
– Do you promise to commit yourself faithfully to be Christ’s disciple, obeying God’s words and living in His love?
3. Have I sought personal assurance of my salvation? The following excerpts from Chapter 18 of the Westminster Confession (1647) may be useful:
– [Those who] truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.
– This certainty [of salvation] is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation, the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made, the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God: which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption.
– It is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance.
4. How serious am I about my membership covenant with my local church? Consider Canaan’s membership vows:
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Canaan church family, will you commit yourself to God and to the other members by agreeing to the following promises:
– Will you protect the unity of the church by loving other members, refusing to gossip, and following its leaders?
– Will you share the responsibility of the church by praying for its growth, inviting people to attend, and welcoming visitors?
– Will you engage the ministry of the church by using your gifts and talents, by being equipped to serve, and by developing a servant’s heart?
– Will you support the mission the church by attending faithfully, living a godly life, and giving regularly?
It is my sincere prayer that the fruit of salvation will be increasingly evident at Canaan’s English Ministry. Assured of God’s great salvation, we can then fearlessly join the resurrected Lord Jesus – the first fruit of God’s new Creation – in his march towards establishing God’s Kingdom on earth!
See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries