Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Someone Unworthy——Testimony from Brother Michael J.C. Liu (II)

Translated by Sean Kwong

By the time I was about 15 years old, I read the Bible and I went to church regularly. It felt good to do these things. At that time, people from my youth group were practicing how to apply Four Spiritual Laws. Before this, I did not understand what it meant to be a Christian, but when the gospel was preached to me, I was converted. Even the person who preached to me was surprised at my conversion. Since then, I have identified myself as a Christian.

Later, I talked to our pastor in church. I asked him, “How could I repay God since he is so good to us?” That pastor answered, “Everything belongs to God.” However, I still did not know how to repay God. Nonetheless, up to this point, everything looked great on the outside. After all, a new Christian was born, right? But little did I know that there was an underlying problem at the very beginning of my spiritual journey.

I loved to read the Bible, and I loved to study Bible verses. In fact, I was hoping to be like that tree in Psalms chapter 1: “It is planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season. Its leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalms1:3). This reveals my underlying problem: I loved the idea that the Lord could bless me, but I did not really love the Lord, Himself. When I accepted Christ, I did so in order to escape from punishment in hell. However, this did not mean that I loved Jesus. I always wondered, “Did I accept Christ because I love all the benefits from Jesus, or because I feared the punishments?” I even brought this question to my mentor.

Even when I was 17 years old, that question continued to trouble me, which made me getting weird. Later, someone gave me a tape from Pastor Stephen Tong, titled, “Let us Eat and Drink Happily”. Because of his teaching in this tape, many of my questions were answered and I earnestly desired to preach the gospel. But in hindsight, I see that my motivations were still wrong.

When I was 19 years old, I began to preach the gospel. I also handed out evangelical leaflets. However, what I really wanted was to become like Pastor Stephen Tong. As time went by, I became self-righteous. I felt superior to my peers. I thought I was more familiar with the Bible, and was more courageous to hand out leaflets. I judged others by the Laws from the Bible. I thought to myself, “How come those people could be saved? They did not even follow God’s law!”

From when I was 19 to 21 years old, I was active in the church. I joined fellowship and attended prayer meetings. I even invited many people to church. However, I did not love others out of God’s love. Everyone thought that I was very devoted but secretly, I was always wondering whether or not I was a real Christian. It was very painful. I knew what was good, but I did not cling to what was good. I knew what was evil, yet I acted out of evilness. At that time, I struggled exactly like what Paul described in Bible.

When Jesus Christ is truly the King of your life, your life will be in a good order. Otherwise, your life will be in chaos. At that time, I was living my life without any clear direction. Even though I was a Christian and believed in Jesus, my life was meaningless. From when I was 21 to 23 years old, I felt totally lost when I was in church. I actually felt better when I was not in church. When my friends and I were pursuing worldly things, I felt my life was fine. But when I went to church on Sunday, I felt my life was just grey. Then one day, when I was 23 years old, I finally decided to stop attending church. I finally felt relaxed. Just like those verses from the Bible, “Why do the nations conspire and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.’”(Psalm2:1-3) I untied bondage from God; I found relief in my life. Pastor James from my church called me. He asked me why I was absent on Sunday. You see, he had thought highly of me and treated me like his own child.) I replied, “Pastor James, I need to take a break. I will not return until I need to. However, I will go back one day, I promise you.” However, once I left, I did not go back for many years. I knew that Jesus was God, but I left him. I did not dare to see Him. I indulged myself in sins.

A few years later, my mom came to United States. She stayed with me for a year. During her stay, I often went out at late night. I would not come home until next morning. I smelt like cigarettes and alcohol. Although I received my mother’s unconditional love, I also felt pained because I dishonored my parents. I tried to recall when last time that I felt truly happy was. When I realized that it was at the prayer meeting, I went back to church.

When Pastor James saw me, he was very happy. He told me that he had prayed for me during these past few years. Soon after, I attended prayer meeting. We always read Psalms before praying. The scripture we read on that day was Psalm 32. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him (Psalm 32:10). I experienced the woes. According my knowledge at that time, Gentiles who forget God were wicked. I thought I was a Christian, but what I had done did not match what I read. I prayed, “LORD, I am willing to return to church. I am willing to read the Bible. I am willing to study your words.”

After some time had passed and I was home alone, I kneeled down before the LORD. I told him: “I want to repent. Heavenly Father, I beg you, do not look at my sins. I beg for your forgiveness. Look at me: I have nothing; I deserve nothing but your anger and punishment. I deserve to be punished, but I beg you not to judge me based on who I am. Please judge me according to what Jesus has accomplished in heaven, and on your faithfulness and love. Please? I beg you to forgive me so that I go back to your presence. I am not only begging you to be my Savior, but I also ask for your guidance. What do you want me to do? I do not want all these things on earth. Everything in this world will pass away. I do not want these things. Heaven and earth will pass away, but those who obey your commands will remain. Who am I? I am a wretch. I do not deserve anything. However, I believe in You because what You have done. You are the only one who I can believe in. I believe my LORD Jesus Christ!! I come back to You”. 

When I was seeking God’s guidance for future direction, I read the book of 2 Timothy. Here, Paul commanded Timothy in God’s and in Jesus’ name to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). This command caught me by surprise. I questioned God, “Must I preach the word?”, I asked. Others questioned me as well, because they knew I had been struggling over the past two years. I asked myself, “Me? Should I preach? If I began preaching, many of my friends would know of my shameful past. I had, after all, abandoned the church. If I began to preach, wouldn’t I tarnish the name of Christ? Wouldn’t Christianity receive a bad reputation because of me? What kind of testimony could I bring? I am such an unworthy man. Who am I?” However, I knew the response to all of my questions: “Is there a requirement to preach the word? Do you need any qualifications?” All I need to know is that GOD has saved me. I remember one day as I was handing out evangelical leaflets at New York City Subway, I was wiping away my tears. Why? It was because LORD’s love filled me. What did He say?

I asked the LORD, “Would you allow me to serve you? May I serve you? Can You still use me?”

He said, “Wherever you go, my love follows you. ”

I said, “I turned away from You.”

He said, “You may change, I never change.”

I said, “I am such a wretch.”

He said, “Do not look at yourself; look at my Son Jesus Christ.”

So I continued to hand out leaflets. I preached the Word to whoever was around me. I went home and thanked God with a grateful heart. In the end, I discovered I had to step out of my comfortable zone to preach. So I ask you this question tonight, why do I need to preach? If my Lord had already saved me, why is it necessary? Why should Christians preach at all? There is only one reason. This reason is that our Lord has saved us from sins. He has saved us from darkness. We were all disobedient. We were totally depraved. All of us deserved God’s wrath. However, our LORD has saved us from these sufferings. We are called to witness His name to the ends of earth.  We are all called to baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. We are called to be a living testimony for our LORD, and He is with us until the end of the world.

Today, it is our privilege to be here as Christians. Many unbelievers around us need attend an enjoyable event, such as this. But how do they know they need Jesus? They can know it through your salvation and your witness for Christ. You are an example of someone who was once lost in sin but now saved by grace. Because of your salvation, you are in a better position now. They need to be where you are. I am saved. So are you. You should preach the words and praise our Lord’s name on high. You understand. You know. Our LORD saved us so that his glorious grace will be praised.

May His glorious grace be praised.

May God bless you all.


The End


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