September 15, 2010

Ministry in Word

Sufficient Courage
足够的勇气



Philippians 1:20-21
腓立比書 1:20-21
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
照着我所切慕、所盼望的,没有一事叫我羞愧。只要凡事放胆,无论是生是死,总叫基督在我身上照常显大。因我活着就是基督,我死了就有益处。

Apostle Paul expected and hoped that he will not be “ashamed” in the above scriptures. But in Romans 1:16, he said “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.” So Paul must be concerned of being ashamed of something else other than the gospel, maybe he was concerned with the fact that he was in chains. In the early church some might be ashamed of the gospel because the cross was an execution tool for criminals. It would mean that they could have doubted the true meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion or the reality of his resurrection. Today the cross has become a fashion statement so it is no longer a stigma, yet in the mind of many, there is doubt concerning the reality of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. They are ashamed of identifying with such “myth.” Or some may be ashamed of the apparent weak position they are in, like Paul, that in the eye of the world casts a negative testimony to the power of God. Just like the thief who chided Jesus, “if you are Christ, save yourself and save us,” or, “Paul, if the God you believe is true, then why are you in chains?” Of course God is able to deliver us from any circumstance, but our faith and allegiance in Him should not be hinged on that, for our God is sovereign and His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. He will cause everything to work together for the good of those who love Him. We should be like Daniel’s three young friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who refused to worship the image Nebuchadnezzar made, saying, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Dan 3:16-18) This is faith in the love and righteousness of God. God is love, so He has our best in His mind. He is righteous, so everything he does is right.

在上面的经文中使徒保罗切慕和盼望他没有一事叫他「羞愧」,而他在罗馬書1:16说,「我不以福音为耻。」所以保罗一定是担心一些与福音无关的事叫他羞愧,也许他关心他被囚禁这一事实。早期教会中有些人可能以福音为耻,因为十字架是当时处死罪犯的刑具。这就表示他们有可能怀疑耶稣被钉十字架的真义和他复活的真实性。今天十字架已成了时髦的宣言,所以它再不是忌讳之物,但在许多人的心中仍存有对耶稣被钉十字架和复活的怀疑,他们以认同这些「神话」为耻。又或者有些人以他们所处明确的弱势为耻,就如保罗,在世人眼中对神的能力投下一个负面的见证。就如那个嘲笑耶稣的强盗,「如果你是基督,救你自己和我们」,或者,「保罗,如果你信的神是真的话,你为何会被关在监狱里?」当然神有能力把我们从任何光境中救出来,但我们对他的信心和忠心不应该关键在这个上面,因为我们的神是有主杈的,而他的意念和道路比我们的高。他要使万事互相效力,为了使爱他的人得好处。我们应效法但以理的三位年青的朋友,沙得拉、米煞、亚伯尼歌,他们拒绝敬拜尼布甲尼撒所立的像,说:「尼布甲尼撒啊,这件事我们不必回答你;即便如此,我们所事奉的神能将我们从烈火的窑中救出来。王啊,他也必救我们脱离你的手;即或不然,王啊,你当知道我们决不事奉你的神,也不敬拜你所立的金像。」〔但3:16-18〕这是对神的爱和义之信心。神是爱,所以他为我们的好处作打算。他是公义的,所以他做所有的事都是对的。

Then Paul prayed for sufficient courage. It means even Paul, the great apostle of great faith, felt his courage was sometimes insufficient to continue to exalt Christ in his life or death situation. If courage is a burst of passion and energy for a brilliant moment of supreme dedication, it would be easier for Paul. But he was in chains, day in and day out contemplating his imminent death. This would require a steady sort of courage with perseverance in living out Christ in the daily grind of little things. If I were imprisoned with pending execution like Paul, would I still be courteous to the palace guards to testify for the gospel? (Php 1:12-13) I would either be too focused on my fate and scared stiff or I would be irritated with hatred toward the guards. I know this because even in slightly adverse circumstances I could become incapable to love and I turn my friends into enemies in my mind with my impatience and insecurity. Like Paul, I need sufficient courage to exalt Christ in my body in any circumstances. I pray that my living may be like Christ living in me, expelling all fear of losing myself because by losing myself I will gain myself.
跟着保罗祈求有足够的勇气。这就表示什至保罗,这位大有信心的伟大使徒,感到他有时候不够勇气在生死关头继续使基督显大。如果勇气是在光芒的一杀那热情和能量的发散,那对保罗而言就比较容易。但他被囚禁,天天在思想他快要面对的死亡。这就需要一种平稳的勇气,在每天小事的磨铼上活出基督的毅力。如果我像保罗一样被囚等候处死的话,我会不会对宫庭侍卫仍能以礼相待来见证福音呢?〔腓1:12-13〕我会不然就是太注目在我的命运而极度惊慌,不然就是烦燥恨恶那些侍卫。我知道这个因为甚至在小小恶劣的环境中我可能娈成无法去爱,而因为我的不耐和害怕我在心中把我的朋友看成敌人。就如保罗我需要足够的勇气来在我身上在任何境况中使基督显大。我祈求神让我的生命如基督活在我里面,排除所有失去自己的惧怕,因为因着失去自己我要得着自己。

May we receive sufficient grace from God for sufficient courage to exalt Christ in any circumstance.
愿我们从神得到足够的恩惠而得足够的勇气在任何环境都使基督显大。

Tom and Tehwan Tso
仲谋与德菀

“The outcome of your faith is the salvation of your souls.” 1Peter 1:9
信心的果效, 就是灵魂的救恩” 彼得前书1:9