In my last post, I mentioned about my struggles in preparing for my sermon that I was to preach at the Banting Chinese Methodist Church yesterday. Perhaps it is a good thing that I did not manage to read Steven's comments on the Rites for Speakers without a Sermon in my previous post before I left for Banting, else I might just do what he suggested.
Thanks to all who encouraged and prayed for me.
I had a good time over the weekend in Banting. I was invited to do a series of teaching in the Chinese Methodist Church, a bilingual church in the heart of the town of Banting. The topic that was given for me was Biblical Sacrifices and Offerings.
I must confess I was a bit apprehensive at the beginning, as I would be dealing with an area that is beyond my specialisation - Old Testament. (This makes me wonder whether specialisation in theological education is a good thing after all...anyway, this is another topic for a another post for another time....)
But as I reflected on this topic, this is not really an OT topic. It is as much an NT topic as well. In order for one to adequately deal with such a topic, it requires sufficient knowledge spanning both the testaments (hmmm...perhaps like what Tony Siew said, one would need to have a good grasp of OT first before embarking on NT Studies....).
As such, I decided to structure my 3 teaching sessions over the weekend based on the theme of "Jesus: The Lamb of God."
I began my first session on Saturday evening (April 26) by considering the declaration of John the Baptist: Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:26). Then I moved on to consider Jesus, the Lamb who redeems us from slavery (1 Peter 1:18-19). In this session, I demonstrated that the idea of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away sins and as the Lamb who redeems us is rooted in the OT sacrificial system, and how Jesus is the final fulfillment of the OT sacrifices for sins. The emphasis in the first session is what Jesus has done for us as individuals.
In the Sunday (April 27) sermon, I spoke from Romans 12:1-2 on the topic: "Can a Sacrifice be Living?" giving emphasis that our appropriate response to God's bountiful mercies for us is to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to the Lord. I paid special attention to the notion of living sacrifices, and not, dying sacrifices. The emphasis in the sermon is how we should respond as individuals to the mercies of God.
Then on the final session on Sunday evening, I turned our attention to Jesus, the Passover Lamb that has been sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). I made some parallels how the early church perceived Jesus to be the Passover Lamb with reference to the first Passover celebrated by the Israelites in Exodus 12, and how the institution of the Lord's Supper has taken a new meaning for us today by considering some of the background and problems in the Corinthians church (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). The emphasis in this final session is how, as a church, the body of Christ, we are to respond to God's mercies.
Despite my struggles in preparing for the sermon and the sessions, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed spending my time with the church. I hope that they too, would have found the sessions beneficial for their spiritual growth.
Lord, have mercy....