“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” [Genesis 6:22].
Some years ago I had the privilege of speaking at a missionary meeting in which the late Frances Hancock, M.B.E., from Columbia, was the main speaker. Before the service began I asked her what words of advice she would give to a young Christian starting out in the Christian life. She replied, “Young man, my advice can be summed up in one word: Obedience. Always obey the Lord.”
I am sure Noah would have said “Amen” to the advice she gave. Noah’s life was lived on the altar of obedience. When God told him to build the ark, he did it without question. When he was told to enter the ark with his family, he went in. When he was told to “go forth of the ark,” he went forth in obedience.
Dr. R. A. Torrey was told on one occasion that a minister’s son was to be present in the service that evening and though he professed to be a Christian, there was not much evidence of genuine commitment to Christ in his life.
After the service, Dr. Torrey took the young man by the hand and said, “Good evening, are you a friend of Jesus?” “Yes,” he answered heartily, “I consider myself to be a friend of Jesus.” Dr. Torrey replied, “Jesus said, ‘Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.’” [John 15:14]. The young man confessed, “If these are the conditions, I guess I am not the friend of Jesus.”
Tell me; are you the friend of Jesus? Are you doing whatsoever He commands you? The acid test of friendship with Jesus is obedience. [Rev. Stanley Barnes in Footprints of Faith].
This is a new word for most Canadians. It is the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet and has been applied to identify the latest variant of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is now two years since Covid began. Already a staggering 5.55 million people have lost their lives to it.
At the time few people would have thought it would last so long. But the numbers seem to be getting worse and there is little hope for optimism. Although the omicron variant, while it spreads more rapidly, does not seem to be so severe in its symptoms.
It is good to know that the Lord is in control and that He will bring the pandemic to a conclusion as He works out all things according to His perfect will and time.
THE ANNUAL WEEK OF PRAYER
The annual week of prayer for the Toronto church will be held Monday, January 24th to Friday 28th. The meetings will be held in the church. For those who cannot attend in person, the services will go out also on Zoom. The links will be sent out. A baptismal service is planned for the Wednesday service when a number of people will be baptized. All meetings will be at 7.30 pm.
A NEW NAME
When a person becomes a follower of Jesus Christ he gets a new name. In Antioch, the disciples of Jesus were called Christians for the first time.[Acts 11:26]. Some say it was a derogatory term, but it was a necessary one. The world of the early church was divided into two – Jews and Gentiles. With the coming of Jesus Christ, things radically changed. Jewish people came to Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour. Gentile people likewise were converted to Christ. The old titles of Jew and Gentile no longer accurately described the new converts. So the name Christian was coined.
What is a Christian? Literally, a Christian is a Christ-one. Just as a Canadian is one who belongs to Canada. So a Christian is a Christ-one, one who belongs to Christ.
How does one become a Christian? A person’s citizenship is determined primarily by birth. The great difference in Christianity is that we are not born into faith by birth in a Christian country, attendance at a Christian church, or fellowship with Christian people.
We become a Christian by the new birth that Jesus spoke about to Nicodemus when He said, “Ye must be born again” [John 3:7]. We are born into natural life by one never-to-be-repeated physical birth. We enter into spiritual life by being born again by a one-time operation of the Holy Spirit.
How is one born again? Dr. R.A. Torrey said there were two things to know and one to do to become a Christian. We need to know that we are sinners and that, in Jesus, there is only One who can save from sin and its consequences. What we need to do is call upon Him: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” [Romans 10:13].