After I was saved, my spiritual life was not all the way growing without any trials or testings. The influence of the world and temptations of the devil did cause my faith to waver. But God is merciful to me, and He did not give up on me. He directed my path to a Christian School, ie Ark School. It was not a Bible College, but rather a school which teaches basic Bible knowledge, Christian principles, and other subjects which will help people to find a job in the society (and to share the gospel to the people around them). Many of my classmates went to work after graduation, but I desired to serve God. The principal Miss Wang introduced me and a few others to a Christian International School in Guangzhou to teach the children God’s Word. Over there, we could not find a good church to worship on Sunday. Therefore, we gathered together to listen to sermons downloaded from the internet. But there were contradictions in the sermons we heard. Our own spiritual life was starving. I felt a great need to study God’s Word. I prayed constantly for the Lord’s guidance to study the Bible systematically, so that I might be able to rightly understand the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). Meanwhile, the desire to serve God full-time grew stronger.
Thank God for answering my prayer. Through the principal of Ark School, I heard about the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). After I discovered that it is an English Bible College, where all the classes will be conducted in English, and all the textbooks are in English, I was very worried. This is because I was rather poor in the English language. I once got less than twenty marks upon a hundred in my school days. I had always desired to study God’s Word full time, but I never imagine that I will be studying God’s Word in an English Bible College. It was unthinkable. That I could complete my seven years of theological studies in FEBC is truly and purely by the marvelous grace of God.
At FEBC, I was so amazed and enlightened through the systematic study of God’s Word under knowledgeable and faithful lecturers. The difficulty of studies often makes me kneel in prayer. I have truly tasted the goodness of God in helping me through the years. Many times, I told the Lord that “I cannot do it, and I am insufficient for it.” The Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). When I look back, I cannot help but to say “Thank you, Lord!”
The Lord is so good and faithful to me. He not only provided me the finest theological Bible College to study His Word, but also sent me to a Bible-believing and Bible-defending Church, ie True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (TLBPC) to learn to serve during my studies. Thank God for giving me the privilege to preach in the Chinese service, Chinese Sunday School, Chinese Fellowship, and to serve in other areas. I am thankful to God for all the opportunities to serve Him, and to preach His Word. Through these years of service, the Lord taught me many spiritual lessons, and kept me growing in Him.
I must not forget to thank God for another unexpected great blessing that God has blessed me with, that is my dear wife Katharine. While I was serving in the English Choir, the Lord opened our eyes, and brought us together in love. Thank God that she is a woman of faith, love, and willing to submit. She is thankful and joyful to serve God together with me. The Lord also blessed us with a lovely daughter, Jia En. Thank God for His bounteous blessings.
During my studies, I have been praying for a specific place to serve. In my mind, I had always thought that I would be going back to China to serve. Man proposes, God disposes (cf Prov 19:21). In one of the Chinese Fellowship meetings, Elder Tai Mern Yee asked me whether I have the burden to be a preacher in the Chinese Service. I did not rush to give an answer. I wanted to seek the Lord’s will. My constant prayer to the Lord is “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). God used one hymn that our Chinese Choir sang to speak to me, namely “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.” To serve God is not to go where I want to go, but to go where He wants me to go. My heart was very concerned about my parents back in China, not willing to submit to Him. But, the Lord rebuked me in one of my daily devotions through Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” After much prayer, I surrendered to the Lord, and replied Elder Tai that I will obey the Lord and serve Him here. I was further assured after the conversation with Pastor.
The Lord has evidently shown His will towards me. Indeed, God’s ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts than my thoughts (Isa 55:9). I pray that God may keep me strong and courageous in His work, and to serve Him effectively and faithfully for His glory and honour alone.
Why is ordination important to you? This was a question posed to me in my ordination examination. The word “ordain” means “choose,” “appoint,” or “set apart.” Thus, ordination can be understood as an act of the church, by the guidance of the Spirit, in choosing, appointing, and setting apart through the laying on of hands of spiritually qualified men to perform certain tasks in the church. The concept of ordination thus implies official recognition by the leadership of the church and a public announcement of setting men aside for special ministry. In Acts 13:1–5, Paul and Barnabas were ordained to be missionaries sent out by the church to preach the gospel and plant churches. They were recognized as leaders of God’s churches by all apostles and believers. This was the pattern of Paul’s ministry, “when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23) Here, we see Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every church. Ordination is the recognition of God’s calling for these elders to lead God’s people, and setting them apart for this special ministry with prayer. Titus was commanded by Paul to appoint elders in every city on the island of Crete (Tit 1:5). Timothy was specially reminded of his ordination in 2 Timothy 1:6, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
Ordination is important because it is God’s way of appointing or setting apart spiritually qualified men to special ministry in God’s Church. Through ordination, I am authoritatively commissioned to declare the gospel of Christ, to counteract false teachings and teachers, and to safeguard the sound doctrines entrusted to the Church. Through ordination, I am officially affirmed in my calling to the full-time ministry of preaching and shepherding God’s flock. It also signifies of total devotion of my life to the Lord’s ministry. Through ordination, I am approved to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word authoritatively. I should be constantly reminded to be more careful, faithful, watchful, and diligent in the Lord’s vineyard. Through ordination, I am officially authorised to administer the sacraments: “There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ in the gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord; neither of which may be dispensed by any but by a minister of the word, lawfully ordained.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 27.4). There are many churches (especially Chinese) which do not have a pastor, and are unable to partake of Holy Communion regularly, or need to invite pastors from other churches to conduct the Lord’s Supper. I pray that I can be more useful for the Lord in ministering the church ordinances, especially the Lord’s Supper.
How can I contribute to the advancement of the gospel and the church in Singapore? I am only a servant of the Lord. With my own strength, I am nothing and can do nothing. However, I earnestly desire that the Lord will use me according to His will for the gospel and His kingdom. I trust that the Lord has been using me to do His work in the church, and I pray that He will continue to help me be more effective in ministering to His people through His Word, and to spread the gospel far and wide, so that many souls can be added into God’s kingdom. By preaching and teaching the Gospel of Christ and declaring the whole counsel of God, more souls may hear the good news of salvation, and be saved, and believers can be grounded in God’s Word. The regular preaching of the gospel truth over the pulpit is one of the most important ways to advance the gospel and the church. I always include the gospel in my messages so that those who are in church for the first time might hear the gospel, and those who have not truly believed in Christ might hear the gospel once more. May the Lord prompt their hearts, and lead them unto salvation.
Besides public preaching, I do try to engage in personal conversations with visitors to church, or those who have any query about the gospel or my sermon. I pray they may find answers from God’s Word for the good of their soul and be saved. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim 4:2). May the Lord give me more opportunities to preach His Word.
The writing ministry is another effective means to advance the gospel and the church. I write articles for our Chinese Weekly. Many of the gospel truths are presented in the articles. When people read them, they can find the gospel presented, and many other important doctrines explained. Pray that the Lord will use the Weekly to advance His gospel and His church.
Last but not the least is prayer. Church is the work of God. No ministry is to be carried out without prayer. I constantly pray to the Lord to help me in my ministry, that whatever I do may please Him, and edify His people. May the Lord Jesus use me to serve Him faithfully, to save more souls, and advance His kingdom, till He returns.
[Pr Zhu Jianwei is a BTh, MDiv, ThM graduate of FEBC. He has been the preacher at the Chinese Service of True Life BPC for the last 2½ years. Having passed his ordination exams set in May last year, he will be ordained this morning at the Chinese Service by the laying on of hands of Pastor Jeffrey Khoo, Rev Clement Chew, and Rev Dr Jose Lagapa.]
Physical worship resumes at the RELC Auditorium. There are three services—9am, 10.30am, and 12pm. Register through the church website. For those unable to attend, the service will be live streamed at 10.30am (go to church website at truelifebpc.org.sg for the link).
You may join our Filipino brethren at Godhill, 10.30am if you wish. Attendance is limited to 50. They have about 30, so there is vacancy for 20. Email Rev Dr Jose Lagapa (email@example.com) if you wish to join them.
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