Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Ascension of Christ Jesus

44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Good evening to all of you! I am privileged to be here to join you in the worship. I am sure you came here with a purpose: to commemorate our Lord’s ascension! This is the day when we gather together to contemplate how Jesus had his last words with disciples, issued his commission of evangelism, took the disciples out to Bethany, lifted up his hands, blessed them, and departed into heaven. I could imagine the whole scenario was filled with a sense of awesomeness and the atmosphere was charged with a mixture of emotions among disciples.

From the Gospel we read just now, although Luke did not portray on the disciples’ reactions when they witnessed how our Lord rise in the air, and soon disappear into heaven. It goes without saying that this is a defining moment for Jesus’ followers. Words could not describe the heaviness of their heart when they had to wave their hands and say good bye to their beloved Lord. Today, as human being, we often experience separations and partings with our loved ones. I am curious to know how you handle it? At times it proves our frailty in emotions and more often than not we are overcome by it and eventually broke into tears.    

I can still remember many years back, when God sent me to teach in a government school, something unexpected happened to me. As I was about to leave the school to begin a new career in newspaper office, I struggled myself very much to face the separation with my students. When they came to know my departure, most of them were heavy hearted to say good bye. During a farewell lunch organized by the Board of Directors, they presented me a song entitled The Red River Valley, the lyrics and tune made me feel like crying. These students were very affectionate and passionate, even after my farewell with them they wrote many letters to me for two consecutive years. It took me quite some time to read and reply, the letters carried weight and were piling all over my desk.  
I am not a professional teacher, yet I received so much affection from my students. What more our Lord Jesus who had been a divine teacher for three and half years in the lives of disciples. Surely, Peter and his companions would have controlled their emotions during the separation with their beloved Lord! However, according to the record given by Luke, it says that the disciples worshipped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with a great joy (V 52). It shows that the outcome of disciples’ parting with their Lord ended with a cheerful note. No tears, no crying, and no sadness at all! Why such a response and reactions?           

As you could see from the Gospel, Jesus’ disciples underwent spiritual transformation, their faith had been restored and their minds were opened by our Lord. We must take note before Jesus’ ascension, He had spent 40 days with disciples explaining to them the necessity for his suffering and death, and how the Cross and resurrection were relevant to the Old Testament Scriptures. Just as Luke quoted Jesus as saying “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (V44). From here we can gather our Lord not only enabled his disciples understand the Old Testament Scriptures, but explained further how the promises and prophesies all fit together in his Messiah’s mission on earth.

Dear friends, what a privilege it was for the disciples to listen to Jesus expound the Word, from there they discovered the mystery of Messiahship. Before this encounter, they used to trust Jesus in a flesh and blood manner, but now their spiritual eyes were opened and believed whole-heartedly the resurrected Lord who is above and independent of space and time. Now they began to understand they had a Master from whom nothing could separate them anymore. That was why they were filled with eternal bliss and joy, and they did not leave Bethany heart-broken, instead they departed with gladness, high-spirited, and rejoicing in the Lord!     

Dear friends, do you wish to experience great joy just as Jesus’ disciples did? I am sure you do. As Christians, we know very well our joy is entirely different from the worldly happiness. While happiness in the world is elusive and momentary, our joy in the Lord gives us peace, assurance and eternal security. From disciples’ experience, the foundation of their joy is the Word of God. I believe how our Lord opened their mind before his ascension, the Holy Spirit does the same in our life today. Have you ever wondered how to understand a difficult Bible passage? Of course, you could grasp it through inductive study, consulting reference works, and getting guidance from our clergy. Of all these efforts taken, we must not neglect the role of the Holy Spirit, for only He can open our mind, giving us the needed insight to practice God’s Word in our personal life. May the Holy Spirit come, help us, guide us and teach us!        

Jesus did not confine the heavenly joy to his circle of disciples, he commanded them to share the joy of salvation to the world. In fact, our Lord took his last appearance with them as the occasion to issue a commission of evangelism, as written by Luke, it mentions repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things (V 47 - 48). Yes, they were given a great entrustment by their Lord, to be witnesses of all that he had said and done. The message was focused on repentance and forgiveness of sins, proclaiming to the world Jesus came not to condemn sinners, but showing them the way to salvation, experiencing the real joy in their personal lives.   

Thanks be to God! The disciples did a wonderful work in proclaiming Good News to their community. Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, they preached the Gospel with conviction, courage and assurance, hundreds and thousands of people came to know Christ! When we take a quick look at Acts Chapter 2, we would witness how Peter himself was transformed from a coward during Jesus’ suffering to a preacher with audacity before an immense crowd at Pentecost. All this took place after Jesus’ ascension. Today, we are also the disciples of Jesus Christ, receiving the same entrustment as disciples in the first century. The only difference is that they testified to what they saw personally during Jesus’ ministry on earth, whereas we bear witness to their testimonies, and to our own experiences of the resurrected Jesus. Though the nature of witnessing might differ slightly, the rewards we receive in heaven are the same. May the Lord use us mightily in the areas of our services to Him in this wicked and perverse generation.                

This evening, I could see you came here with a sincere heart, participating in our Ascension service. In some churches today, our Lord’s ascension is not given the prominence it used to be. Nevertheless, you made yourselves available this evening! I can say the time you spent here would not be wasted, and your presence here would be remembered by our Lord. Amen! As for me, Ascension is as important as Easter: celebration of Easter without Jesus’ Ascension is incomplete! This is the day we are reminded how our Lord returns to heaven and sit on the throne of glory! His ascension is the proof that He has conquered every enemy and He reigns supremely far above all. It is my prayer that God will speak to us through the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, how he touched the lives of his disciples through his Ascension message, in the same way our lives would be touched, renewed and transformed. May God bless all of you, let us pray.                  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


经文:约翰福音1925 27







Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jesus Turns Water into Wine

Topic: Jesus Turns Water to Wine
Scripture: John 2: 1 - 11
Date: 29th February 2017
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Christ Church Melaka
Preacher: Rev Lionel Gan.

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Opening Prayer:
Our gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for bringing us together to worship you this morning. As we open your word, pray that you also open our ears to hear your voice, open our minds to receive your eternal wisdom, open our hearts to receive your wonderful love! May the word of my mouth and meditations of our hearts be pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

Good morning to all of you! Today is the second day of Chinese New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to greet our Chinese members and friends a blessed and abundant New Year. May the Lord embrace you with His presence, His peace and His joy as you continue your walk with Him throughout the year and throughout your lives.
The gospel we read this morning is a very familiar text. I believe we have heard this passage being preached many times in our church, even you could share many good insights upon contemplation of the text. As a celebrant of Holy Communion this morning, I am privileged to be here to share some thoughts so that we may encourage one another in the Lord.

Today, as Chinese communities throughout the world celebrate their New Year, or the Spring Festival so called, you could hear exchange of greetings and wishes in a jubilant atmosphere. In fact, Chinese are wonderful and generous people who can give away their best wishes lavishly even though you find it incredible at times.

Why I say it is incredible? Just because the wishes you come across is too good to receive. Here are some auspicious words or phrases which you can hear, “May your wealth come to fill a hall”, “May your happiness be without limit”, “May a small investment bring ten-thousand-fold profits”, “May your happiness and longevity be complete” and many other good wishes.

As you can see, the greetings come in bountiful expressions. In a nutshell, they are focused on prosperity, abundance, fullness, longevity and so on. I am sure all these good wishes are not confined to Chinese alone, they also ring true for the people from all parts of the world. Just ask yourselves sincerely, who do not want prosperity, abundance, fullness and longevity?

I believe all these wishes are the goals of many today who regard it as the ultimate fulfillment in their personal lives! However, in the midst of all material pursuit, have we ever paused for a moment to ponder the graciousness of our divine Provider? He is the One who makes our ends meet under all circumstances, whether it be abundance or deficit we experience in our lives.             

The passage we read this morning is relevant to our daily life experiences. It serves as a kind reminder to us especially when are carried away by the clamor of celebration. At times, we shared the same experience with the host of wedding feast in the Gospel, something crop up last minute at the climax of our celebrations. We are caught by surprise and will find this saying “Nothing is so certain as the unexpected” is always right.

However, from the experiences of many God’s children, no matter what happens in lives, our Lord is ever gracious to let us experience His wonderful provision, just like the host of wedding feast in Cana, because the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not be in want. When we encounter shortage or deficit in lives, the key to His provisions always lies in whether we stand true to God and trust Him enough. May be we could learn some lessons from the host of wedding feast who experienced divine provision when supply of wine was depleted.        

Dear friends, to run out of wine in a wedding was more than embarrassing, it broke the unwritten law of hospitality in Jewish culture. During Jesus’ time, weddings were community events that lasted several days and involved countless details. It takes plenty of time to plan the days for this big event. As such, the host would ensure sufficient supply of food and beverages. Shortage is definitely out of the question. However, the case we studied today, wedding was held in a humble village. Most likely, the host was poor and he could afford only low-budget reception.

I am touched to learn that the host did something wonderful for the Lord.  He invited Jesus and His disciples with open arms, serving Jesus with whatever he had. Yes, this should be our attitude in serving our Lord. Serving God with whatever talent, gift and resources you have today. Don’t procrastinate until the day when everything goes well, only then consider offer yourselves to God. The host never turned down Jesus by saying please join me when the supply is plenty.  No, he just offered Jesus whatever he had, and miracles followed suit.         

On top of that, the host demonstrated humility in serving our Lord. At this moment in time, Lord Jesus just began his ministry on earth. He is nobody in the Jewish community, especially in the eyes of the religious leaders. When Jesus came for the feast, he had recruited only 6 disciples, in the process of getting more. In fact, this number was no match with Pharisees who had 6,000 disciples at that time. The host was willing to usher the lowly and meek, the humble ones…to receive them as guests of honor in his wedding celebration. As for Jesus, our Lord entered into the normal experiences of people’s life and sanctified them by His presence. Wise is the host, the newly-wed and the family who invited Jesus to their wedding.

Today, as we hold celebrations in our personal lives, whether it be your Wedding celebrations, your wedding’s anniversary celebration, New Year celebrations and so on…may the Lord help us to be mindful of the need of others, especially those who are needy, lowly and humble, marginalized by our society. Pray that we will receive them with the love of Christ in the midst of our celebrations. We must be reminded the purpose of Jesus’ attendance in the wedding feast, not for food or wine, He joined in the festivities because they involved people, and Jesus came to be with the people. We pray that our mission entrusted by God could be accomplished even in the  times of joyful celebration with others.             

Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior of mankind. He has accomplished the mission entrusted by you, it is our calling to continue His work on earth. Father, even in the celebrations at this point in time, help us to be the channel of blessings to others, especially those who are needy, lowly and meek, marginalized by our society. May your love, grace, mercy, provision and salvation come upon them through us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen! 

Friday, January 20, 2017









Thursday, December 15, 2016










Friday, November 11, 2016



“申命记”(意思是“律法的重述”)是摩西五经最後一卷的名字。本书的希伯来文卷名是elleh haddebarim(“以下所记的是…… 所说的话”),或简写作 (“话”参11)。事实上,申命记并非第二本或另一本律法书,只是作者将上帝在西乃山上颁布的律法重申,以及再次阐释清楚而已。


壹、前言(11 - 5
貳、历史性序言(16 443
叁、盟约的条例(444 2619
        一、重大的诫命:要求对上帝绝对效忠(444 1132
                1. 按礼仪分别为圣(121 1617
                2. 对政府领袖和一个公义之邦的要求(1618 2121
                3. 上帝国度的神圣,不可玷污(2122 2519
                4. 认明上帝是救赎主、是君王(26章)
        一、领导人交接(311 - 29
        二、摩西之歌(3130 3247
        三、摩西遗言祝福十二支派(3248 3329

申命记可按摩西的讲话分为四个段落,即一、重温上帝在西奈山到摩押平原如何保护以色列人(1 - 4章);二、重申上帝与以色列人的盟约和诫命(5 - 28章);三、重新呼吁以色列人委身,要在生死祸福中拣选生命(29 - 30章);四、委任新的领袖,摩西之歌和他的逝世(31 - 34章)。

本书第二段落是全书的核心,展示古代近东社会里君臣立约的特别形式。摩西以中介者的身份呼吁以色列人,若要得到耶和华的保守,就必须一心遵守祂在西奈山所颁布的律法。摩西先阐述十诫(5 - 10章),然后阐释其他从十诫引申出来的律例和规则(11 - 26章),最后是警告,把祸福摆在以色列人面前(27 - 28章)。




詹逊(Irving L. Jensen):《旧约精览》。中译;香港:宣道出版社,1989

Wednesday, October 26, 2016




在民数记本文内,只有一处提到摩西的写作(331 - 2)。不过,整卷书都可以看见,摩西是领受上帝启示的人,也是全书内容的形塑者。本书以第三人称提到摩西,而非第一人称,但这个事实并不能否定摩西的作者身份,只反映古代文体的惯用模式。摩西在摩押写此书,那时约为主前15世纪末,正值他生命末期。

壹、以色列人在西乃山下,准备向应许之地出发(11 1010
        二、百姓要洁净的诫命(51 1010

貳、从西乃山到加低斯的旅程(1011 1216
        一、旅程的开始(1011 - 36

叁、以色列人在加低斯,因抗命而耽延(131 2013
        八、摩西犯罪(201 - 13

肆、从加低斯到摩押平原的旅程(2014 221
        一、以东人的抗拒(2014 - 21
        二、亚伦之死(2022 - 29
        三、亚拉得遭毁(211 - 3
        四、铜蛇(214 - 9
        五、井边之歌(2110 - 20
        六、战胜西宏和噩(2121 - 35

伍、以色列人在摩押平原,期望攻取应许之地(222 3242
        一、摩押王巴勒雇巴兰咒诅以色列人(222 - 41
        二、巴兰七次作歌祝福以色列(23 - 24章)
        五、对新一代的训诫(27 30章)

        二、划分继承为业的疆界(34 35章)

民数记所描述的历史长达38 从出埃及记的第2年到40年。在开始部分,以色列人仍然停留在西乃山附近,本书10111216记载他们从西乃山到加低斯的旅程。事实上,上帝子民在出埃及记後第二年已经到达加低斯,惟他们误信十位探子所报的恶信,以致灰心丧胆,结果便在旷野漂流多年。


全书可分为三个段落。第一段落描述以色列人第一次预备进入迦南的情况(1-9章)。这是以色列人离开埃及後的第13个月(11),还有19天他们就要起行进入迦南地(1011-12)。上帝指示摩西,统计那些能参与征服迦南地的成年男子(20岁以上)的人数;全数目之大,已表明以色列人是有能力征服迦南地。为准备他们在迦南地生活,耶和华特地给他们严格的指引,使他们从邻近各族中分别出来,过圣洁的生活(5 8 )。

第二段落主要记述以色列人在旷野飘流40年的情况(10 21章)。第一段落的经文描述以色列人的理想生活,而随后的11章彻底暴露了以色列人的叛逆行为。虽然初次入迦南地的探子认为迦南地肥沃,是上帝所厚赐的,但除了约书亚和迦勒外,所有探子和以色列人都认为他们不可能敌过迦南人(10 14章)。以色列人既对上帝没有信心,上帝就不准许他们进入迦南,由此展开了漂流日子。

第三段落描述第二次预备进入迦南的情况(22 36章)。以色列人聚集在摩押平原,为第二次进入迦南地做好各种准备,这包括第二次的人口统计,因为背叛的一代都去世了,其中只有约书亚和迦勒能与新一代的以色列人进入迦南地。此外,上帝亦在此颁布其余的律例(26 30章)。