Eleventh Church Anniversary

Last Sunday we did not celebrate, as we usually do on the fourth Sunday of April, the church eleventh anniversary due to Covid-19. Last week, I was heartened to see that some from the Chinese and English congregations remembered this day. The church committee had hoped to postpone the celebration to a later date this year. Judging from the situation, however, this would not be possible. Still, we want to remember God’s goodness. First, we thank God for giving us salvation—eternal life. Some of you, I believe, are especially thankful because you found salvation here in this church. I hope you will not stop here but progress to be a blessing to God’s people. Second, we thank God that many of us here have grown spiritually, in knowledge, holiness, and above all, in our relationship with your Saviour. I hope you will progress by helping to build other lives. Third, we are thankful for Christian fellowship through which we receive comfort and strength to press on with life difficult race. I hope you will progress by being an encouragement and comfort to God’s people. Fourth, we are thankful that we could serve our Saviour in various ministries. It is a privilege to serve the true and living God. I hope you will never stop serving your Lord because your Saviour has given you his life. Truly, God has been good to us. God through his church has given us life, spiritual life that lasts eternity and is powerful to bring us eternal salvation. What makes the church so special that she is able to do so? There are several important factors. I will mention only two.

First, God’s church, that is, God’s people is “the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The church exists to guard and support God’s truth, especially the gospel. Hence, if the gospel to which a church holds on is erroneous at its core doctrines, it is not a church but a dwelling place for Satan. If her doctrines are incorrect, it cannot be a good church but is a deficient church. If instead of preaching God’s Word, Sunday sermons only seek to please human beings to make them feel good instead of building them in holiness and faith, such a church is deficient and is not a good church because it is not the pillar and foundation of truth. Where truth, namely, God’s Word is not correctly guarded, taught, and preached, this church cannot build lives because only God’s Word can save souls and build lives: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Pet 2:2). Hence, this church can only truly build lives when the gospel she preaches and the doctrine she upholds are correct. Hence, we guard against Arminianism, charismatism, health, wealth and prosperity false gospel, and other liberal teachings. This church subscribes to Reformed theology whose theological system can be simply called Calvinism (we do not agree with the erroneous system of hyper-Calvinism). As Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “Calvinism is nothing more than a nickname for biblical Christianity.” God’s church must do right many things. But first and foremost, God’s church must be right in its gospel and doctrines.

Second, God’s church can build lives because Jesus promises us that “the gates of Hades [or Hell] will not overcome it” (Matt 16:18). Hence, there is safety in God’s church, that is, Christians (“church” never means the physical building), because she will be victorious over death and destruction. Thus, Christians who do not fellowship regularly with God’s church, that is, Christians, are putting themselves in harm’s way, namely, death and destruction. If you neglect the friendship of Christians of God’s church, you enter the realm of Hades, namely death and destruction. There is safety when you come for Sunday Worship, Sunday School, and fellowship meetings.

As we remember God’s goodness to Tree of Life Christian Church for the past eleven years, each of us must personally thank God for giving us salvation and spiritual growth. But growth is possible only if you do your part by being active in church. Then you will surely grow and thank God, and God will get the glory.