Agonizomai: Sermon of the Week<br>Gospel-Faithful Mission in the New Christendom

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sermon of the Week
Gospel-Faithful Mission in the New Christendom
Sri Lanka is very much in the news here in Canada at the time of writing. What has most people's attention is the war between the government there and the Tamil Tigers. The ins and outs of such a conflict I leave to better men than I.

But here is Ajith Fernando, a Sri Lankan pastor, speaking at the Gospel Coalition in April 2009. People like this often scare me. I get the same feeling when I hear Roxylee sing - or when she writes a gracious note to me. That feeling of fear has less to do with the people themselves than with the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit in them. My fear is actually awe - awe at the presence of God in His servants. And, as an aside, that is why God's children are all called "saints" or hagios (ἅγιος) in the Greek. It means "that awe-full thing". Sacred, set apart, the temple of the Holy Spirit and a manifestation of the glory of God. Whenever I glimpse this, I am abased, humbled and, yes, afraid.

In this sermon/session pastor Fernando steers a precise line between gospel contextualization and delivering the essential gospel message. He explains how the objective is first and foremost to deliver the message and that any flexibility shown towards the culture is for the sake of getting the message to the hearers as clearly as possible, as soon as possible.

Here is a man not only preaching but also living the gospel. Now you can tell from this blog that I like theology - but here is a man who applies that theology to the real world in the hard places. As Paul would say, "Listen to such men."

And perhaps the best single point in here for me was when he spoke about the increasing tendency of Sri Lankan government to marginalize and criminalize Christian evangelism. I was in tears when he told of his son (or son-in-law) cheerfully saying that they should get busy in the prisons, preparing them to get up to speed to hear the gospel, which would soon be preached there by imprisoned Christians.

What a wonderful, Biblical, positive attitude. While watch bloggers here in North America are warning that such things are coming here (and I don't doubt them) - over there it's not "Batten down the hatches, boys - we're in for a rough time" - no, it's "We had better get to work because God is about to provide a great opportunity!" Stunning. Humbling. Uplifting. Enjoy...

Gospel Faithful Mission in the New Christendom - Ajith Fernando


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony, if you knew how much I'm learning from your blog and podcast, you'd be afraid of yourself!

Thank you for such uplifting words. That you see the Holy Spirit manifesting in me is humbling and will keep me smiling all day. Thank you. :-)

9:59 am  

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