NEW Today’s AMI QT Devotional is written by Pastor David Son who pastors the Thrive Church in Taipei. He is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley (BA) and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Stay up to date with the church plant by following them here: https://www.instagram.com/thrivechurchtaipei/
Devotional Thought for This Morning
2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
After living in Taipei for two years, I feel like I have finally acclimated to the weather, food, and way of life in this island country. But one thing I have only just begun to grasp is the complexity of the relationship between Taiwan and China. For those of you who are well acquainted with this situation, you also know that this is a topic that is loaded with political baggage. My intent for mentioning this subject is not to proclaim one political view over the other; rather, I would like to present two humble observations, and a general application.
Observation #1. It’s only a matter of time before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will take some form of action on Taiwan. It’s no secret that the CCP wants to claim full authority over Taiwan. A major deterrence to this has been the presence of the United States, who have promised to come to Taiwan’s defense should any military action be taken by the CCP. However, with the recent events happening in America (e.g. COVID-19 outbreak and the upcoming presidential election) and in light of what happened in Hong Kong, many experts believe the timeline for a CCP takeover of Taiwan is shortening. Some reputable sources even suggest that a military advance is imminent as early as January 2021. Regardless of how we feel about it, this is the reality we are facing here in Taiwan, and we certainly feel the tension.
Observation #2. The time is ticking for our church. Up until this point in my life, I’ve had the blessing of being part of churches that will probably outlive me. Growing up in the States, I have never once thought about my church as something that had a time limit. To me, my church would always be around; but there is in fact a time limit. Yes, the churches in Taiwan are currently enjoying the freedom to gather, to evangelize, and to make disciples without any external hindrance. But all of this could change. Of course, we don’t know if we have 1 year, or 50 years. But one thing is for sure: the clock is ticking! We don’t have forever to accomplish our mission.
Application: We must use the precious time we have (whether it’s 1 year or 50 years) to raise up as many kingdom-minded disciples as possible. We need to train Christians who are ready to preach the gospel, in season and out of season, in persecution or freedom; believers who love God’s Word and can reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. This is not just for churches in Taiwan. The truth is that all of our churches have a time limit when it comes to our mission, because Jesus could come back at any time. We might have 1 year, or 50 years left; no one really knows. But one thing is for sure: the time for casual Christianity is over – nay, it never existed. The question that remains is: how will we use this precious time that we have left?
Prayer: Jesus, give us a sense of urgency regarding the mission you have given us. Would you remind us all of the reality of the coming Kingdom and give us a refreshed perspective as to what you are doing in our cities. Please raise up more workers for the harvest and encourage those who are currently running the race for you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 3:17-21: Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Questions to Consider
- According to this passage, what are the characteristics of one who walks as an enemy of the cross of Christ?
- What does Paul encourage the Philippian church to do?
- What hope does Paul encourage the Philippian church to cling to?
- “Enemies of the cross of Christ” is one of the most extreme titles Paul assigns to someone. Paul is most likely referring to the Judaizers (those who went around forcing Christian converts to practice Judaism as a requirement for salvation). In this passage he describes them: “Their god is their belly”. They overemphasize the physical aspects of faith (e.g. eating laws). “They glory in their shame.” They boast about the things they ought to be ashamed of. “They set their minds on earthly things.” Paul makes a sobering judgment upon these people: “Their end is destruction”.
- Paul encourages them to imitate him and those who walk according to Christ’s example. Previously, Paul, in his letter, had mentioned Timothy and Epaphroditus as outstanding examples of Christ-like humility and service. Paul urges the church to look to these examples and imitate them. Who are you imitating? Are you a person who lives as an example of Christ?
- During the time when Roman citizenship and Caesar-worship was mainstream, Paul reminds the church that their citizenship is in heaven, and their Lord is Jesus Christ. In the midst of our (broken) world, let us cling to the assurance of hope that we have in Jesus Christ!
Spend some time praying for a sense of urgency in your church. Let’s pray for more Christ-like examples, the kind that we can look and imitate. Finally, let’s remember that our ultimate citizenship is in heaven.