SAVE THE DATE! Day of His Power • 8 Aug • 8pm
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2024
Day 02 / 02.07.24 / Rt Rev Lu Guan Hoe, Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Singapore

Day 2: Preach the Word, sow the Gospel

2 Timothy 4:1-5 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

I believe we hope to turn Singapore Godward. However, according to the Singapore Census of Population 2020, we can see that the proportion of non-religious residents has overtaken the proportion of Christians, and it has reached one-fifth of Singapore’s resident population.

Such a trend is worth our attention. Firstly, the dramatic increase in the proportion of the non-religious shows us that this age of the last days is like what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

People love to hear only what their ears want to hear. Therefore, they are not very interested in the Gospel that we preach. Nevertheless, Paul tells us to take heed in all things. Endure every kind of suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Preach the Gospel faithfully and actively fulfil the duties entrusted to us by the Lord.

We need to be like the farmer in the parable of the sower in Luke 8:5-8. We don’t have to worry too much about the condition of the soil, the strategy or the timing. Our most important responsibility is to seize the opportunity to sow the seeds of the Gospel as soon as possible so that they may bear fruit.

A few years ago, when I first attended a gathering with my pre-university classmates, a junior came up to me and said: “Do you remember me? You used to always evangelise to me in class. I have now come to faith.”

Thanks and praise to the Lord, after many years I am finally seeing the fruit of the Gospel!

Be prepared to preach the Word

Secondly, among the 20% who claim to be non-religious, half of them come from the younger generation and are aged between 15 and 34.

So, I can’t help but ask how many of these are the young people in our church? Not long ago, I heard a sharing by a staff who is involved in campus evangelistic ministry. I found out that many young people in the church do not receive proper shepherding and they have quietly disappeared from the church and left the faith.

Endure every kind of suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Preach the Gospel faithfully and actively fulfil the duties entrusted to us by the Lord.

What can the Church today do for them? Brothers- and sisters-in-Christ, the Church should not only actively sow seeds and preach the Gospel, but should also shepherd the Lord’s sheep, strengthen their faith in the Word of the Lord and prevent losing these young people through the back door of the church.

Turning Singapore Godward is not something that we can do by our own human ingenuity. It is entirely through the Word of God.

Just like Martin Luther said when the Reformation was spreading like wildfire in Europe, he said: “I simply taught, preached and wrote God’s Word. The Word so greatly weakened the papacy. I did nothing. The Word did everything.”

Just as Paul said: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

So let us preach the Word and always be prepared, regardless of whether the time is right.

Let us pray together:

Lord, help us to preach the Word. Help us to be prepared, whether in season or out of season, to have great patience and use careful instruction to correct, rebuke and encourage others, and to do the work of an evangelist to fulfil all the duties of our ministry so that we can turn Singapore Godward.

We pray all these in the holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

/ Reflect
  • Reflect on 2 Timothy 4:1-5. In what ways do you see these predictions coming true in our world today?
  • What stops you from sharing the Gospel with your family, friends and colleagues? What can you do to overcome these obstacles?
  • Why do you think youths are leaving the faith in increasing numbers? What part can you play in shepherding the youths in your circle?
/ Pray
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to equip you with the words and the ways to win each soul to Christ. Ask for the Gospel to take root in the heart of each person you share the Good News with.
  • Pray for the Singapore Church to be lit by an urgency to sow Gospel seeds among our people and even beyond our shores. “Live as if Christ died yesterday, rose this morning and is coming back tomorrow.” (Martin Luther)
  • Pray for our youths, that the Spirit will turn their hearts away from the foolish distractions of the world to find an anchor in the Rock of Salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit to raise up leaders among the youths who will model purity of heart and righteousness in behaviour.