Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chapel Reflections

This morning in chapel I had the opportunity to hear one of our recent graduates share a message on prayer. He and his wife and young family have just taken up residence in Toronto again and he has become the pastor of a well-established church in the city. As I sat and listened to his warm and clear presentation of the scriptures I remembered that this is one of the reasons that schools like Toronto Baptist Seminary exist. In one of his letters to Timothy, the apostle Paul instructs him to "keep what he had heard from Paul as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:13). And later in the same letter he writes, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2). Our job is not to be novel but faithful to the revelation already given by our Lord Jesus and his apostles. We are not looking for new truth but for new ways of applying the truth in our time and generation.

Sometimes amid the busyness of life I wonder if it is worth the trouble until something happens as it did today in chapel and I get a glimpse of what God can do with his word in the lives of his people. So many churches in Toronto (and beyond) need of spiritual revival and renewal. Too many well established congregations are dying of old age as one by one their members are called home. Fortunately there are church plants and those establishing new works, but it will be a shame if the older works are allowed to close their doors without a serious attempt to resurrect them. And resurrect is the right word! This is what they need and nothing short of resurrection will save them. But this is necessary wherever a church is planted and continues to grow and remain useful. The spiritually dead and insensitive must be brought to life by the power of God. Only then will they thrive and grow and give birth to new congregations of God's people. Fortunately God is able to resurrect the dead and that inspires us to press on in spite of obstacles and discouragements. It is wonderful to be part of the transmission of truth from one generation to another. Who knows what God will today, tomorrow and in the more distant future!

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