by Ong Eng Boon
As you walk into a Christian bookshop, chances are you can see the following writings carved on a nice piece of wood that reads “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” All of us loved this scripture, because it reminded us to serve the Lord with our whole family. The background to this scripture is as follows:-
During Joshua’s farewell speech to the Israelites, he gathered all the tribes of Israel and their leaders to remind them how God had lead them out of Egypt and kept them alive in the wilderness for 40 years. At last they crossed River Jordan and God helped them to chase out the inhabitants in Canaan and finally they have the promised land. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your father served on the other side of river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourself these days whom you will serve, whether the gods of Amorites, in whose land you dwell. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:14-15). Further down in verses 24 to 25, Joshua wanted the Israelites to make a covenant in front of him that they together with their family will continue to serve the Lord
“And the people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.” (24-25)
We see a very important principle here. Joshua wanted the Israelite’s elders, heads, judges, and their officers to assume the role as head of family to lead all their family members to serve the Lord. No option! No option meaning it is “mandatory!”
I believe besides the head of the family, each of us as a Christian has the responsibility to share the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ with our loved ones, especially our family members whether immediate or extended. After Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and before His ascension to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), He gave the Great Commission to His apostles which is also applicable to each and every one of us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; But he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk.16:15, 16).
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matt. 28:18-20).
Many of our family members, immediate or extended, have yet to know Christ. Maybe among you today are living with either a spouse or child who has yet to obey Christ. Others may say that they have extended family members with whom they have close relationships, who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. So what does this tell us? Nearly every Christian has a family member who has yet to know Christ.
Two Sundays ago after the bilingual meeting in Subang Jaya where I was invited to speak, Sis Chong Har Meng (third eldest sister of Margaret Chong from Kuantan) was baptised into Christ for the forgiveness of her sins and to be added to His church (Acts 2:38, 47).
I have known Sis Meng a few months back as we had bak kut teh together with the Chong sisters (there are five sisters altogether and four of them were present during that occasion). After that she came by to the Klang church building for a visit and I gave her a copy of the Chinese bible. Sis. Margaret has been wanting her to hear the gospel and PURPOSELY ARRANGED for her and the rest of the family to come together and have a meal with me. We can then get to know each other in order for me to preach the gospel to them. (The other sisters live in Kota Kemuning and Bandar Utama.)
I got an urgent call from sis Margaret three weeks ago as sis. Meng was warded in Pantai Hospital, Bangsar where she was undergoing a few medical tests. After my assignment in Subang Jaya followed by another preaching session in TTDI, I dropped by to visit her and took the opportunity to share with her on the subjects of evolution versus creation, why we believe the bible is from God and why we believe Jesus is the Son of God.
She came back a few days later to get her test results and another study was arranged in the Subang Jaya church building. In this study, she discovered she had a soul in her as all this while she was of the opinion that at death, life is just extinguished and that’s it.
I am sharing this with all of you as we may take for granted at times that everyone believes there is a soul in them but not in this case until this question was posed to her: “Do you know where you’ll go after you die?” I shared with her the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 which accurately depicts the states of souls after death : the cursed state of those who are lost and the blessed state of those who are saved was presented to her. Only Jesus has the authority to accurately speak and in this case, illustrate about spiritual matter of what happens after death as He is the pre-existent One (Jn..1:1,2).
Another study was subsequently arranged and I had another 11/2 hours study in bro Kuan’s home in Kota Kemuning after my Monday class at the KK church building with bro Roger Campbell. Many points were reinforced especially the need to be baptised for the forgiveness of her sins and also the promise of heaven once this life is over. In short, we have HOPE while we are on this earth and eventually REUNION with our loved ones never to be separated again and to be together eternally with God, Jesus and all those who are in Christ after judgment.
It was a day of full emotions during sis. Meng’s baptism on that Sunday as four of her sisters, one brother and also nieces were around to witness the event. Tears of joy flowed freely (I have not seen so much tears and crying except during funerals) and many hugs and well wishes were exchanged.
Thanks to sis. Margaret Chong who is ever ready to share the gospel with her family members whom she loves so much and she strives to find ways to enable the gospel to be preached to the people around her, especially her family members. Evangelism includes preaching to your family members!
I am overwhelmed by all the emotions but most of all, I rejoiced with the angels in heaven (Lk.15:7,10) over one sinner who has repented.
Baptism of Chong Har Meng (third sister of Margaret Chong from Kuantan)
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase (1 Cor.3:6). Glory be to God! Amen.