Message from the Bishop


Bishop Rt. Rev. Lu Guan Hoe

Prepare for the Lord’s Use

Jeremiah 15:19-21 Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, over the years, we have been concerned about the shortage of pastors. This is not only a concern of the Lutheran Church in Singapore, but also a common concern of other denominational churches. What kind of congregation members should we encourage to respond to God’s call to serve God full-time? Are we to encourage new school graduates, or young adults who have been working for some time and have some experience in ministry to come out and shepherd his flock? What kind of training will best prepare them to serve the Lord and His church in public ministry? These aspects are still in discussion.

But in the Old Testament Jeremiah 15, the Lord tells us through the prophet Jeremiah what is the best preparation for those who are going to serve God and preach the gospel in his name? His concern was to solve some of the more fundamental problems. These words are valuable not only to Jeremiah, not only to those of us in public ministry, but also to Christians who are willing to dedicate themselves to full-time ministry, especially at a time of great pastoral scarcity today. Let’s see how God prepares those who will serve Him.

First, we need to recognize who we are and have a repentant heart. Each of us is born in sin, and as long as we do not acknowledge this fact, sin will dominate us in our lives, as the Apostle John wrote in 1 John and in the liturgy of the Sunday service: ” If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. ” (1 John 1:8 NIV). He who denies that he is a sinner is living in a lie. Therefore, any attempt by him to serve the Lord will likewise lack integrity. Whether we like it or not, sin – mine, yours, and others’ sins – has been committed against the holy and righteous God. We can’t just cover up these sins and expect this righteous God to pretend not to be aware of them. If we want to be used by the Lord in His kingdom, we must confess and deal with our sins.

We all know that it is not easy to confess our sin or transgression, but it is much easier than dealing with it. As Christians, we don’t have much difficulty confessing our sin (especially when we are confronted with evidence), but neither you, nor I, nor anyone else can solve it perfectly. We can try to hide it, we can make a lot of excuses for it, and we’re good at blaming it on other people or things. But no matter what we do, we can’t get rid of it. Only God Himself can do this – He has done it in the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. In Christ, God Himself has put our sins behind us, as Psalm 103:12 says: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” This enables us to be used by Him, to serve Him, and to serve our brothers and sisters. We and our efforts to please God are accepted only by Him in His redemption through His accomplishment in Christ. With the completion of the work of salvation, the greatest obstacles to our worship and ministry are removed.

Second, we need to recognize the truth of the message. When we preach God’s good news for man, the message of sin and grace, we need to know what God’s message is. The content of the message we share with others, in the name of Jesus, is far more important than how skillfully we can speak eloquently to others. In the circles of the church, there are all kinds of preachers who preach all kinds of religious messages. Many of them sound great and resonate with a lot of people. But that’s not our whole purpose. This is not what we are called to do. If our message is just what we ourselves wanted to say, nothing more, then we might as well keep it and just say it to ourselves. Because all these are just “worthless” words. We cannot provide people with what they really need on our own.

The only valuable message we must share is God’s message – the message He conveys to us in His Word – what Jeremiah calls a “worthy” message in the scriptures. This is the double message of the Law and the Gospel – a message that exposes us as sinners, condemns our sins, but at the same time declares us “innocent” because our Savior, Jesus Christ, bore the punishment we deserve for us. It’s an ancient message that never gets outmoded or obsolete – it’s always relevant – because wherever there are people, there is sin and guilt, and therefore his pardon and forgiveness are needed. Although the situation may vary from person to person, or from time to time or situation, and the specific application may vary, the problem is ultimately sin, and the only solution is to rely on Jesus. If we are willing to serve God, then we need to recognize this.

Finally, we need to recognize the call of the mission, “Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.” That is, as we strive to preach and witness to others, we must be vigilant so that the message we preach can impact the world, not let the world influence us. Are we preaching a message that panders to what others want to hear, or is it preaching a message that God wants them to hear? When we tell people something they don’t want to hear, it’s not easy to get their approval and support. In fact, it’s an impossible thing to do. That’s why God has given us the Holy Spirit so that He can do through us that we can’t do on our own. By the power of the same Holy Spirit, we can move boldly in the Savior’s name because we know that by recognizing ourselves, recognizing our message, and recognizing our mission, He has properly prepared us for the ministry in His kingdom.

May our brothers and sisters respond to the Lord’s call to devote themselves to full-time ministry, to become the mouth of God, to proclaim the good news of his redemption, and to turn people’s hearts from all unrighteousness to a righteous and loving Lord. It is true that the road of ministry is not easy, especially full-time ministry, but we want to thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to be with us and to strengthen us to overcome our enemies. God promises us, saying, “I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you.” (Jeremiah 15:20-21)

Brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit always be with you all. Amen.

February 2024


耶利米书15:19-21 耶和华如此说、你若归回、我就将你再带来、使你站在我面前.你若将宝贵的、和下贱的分别出来、你就可以当作我的口、他们必归向你、你却不可归向他们。我必使你向这百姓成为坚固的铜墙.他们必攻击你、却不能胜你.因我与你同在、要拯救你、搭救你.这是耶和华说的。我必搭救你脱离恶人的手、救赎你脱离强暴人的手。



首先,我们要认清自己的身份,有一颗悔改的心。我们每个人都是在罪孽里生的,只要我们不承认这一事实,罪孽就会在我们的生活中辖制我们,正如使徒约翰在约翰一书中所写的,以及我们在主日礼拜的礼仪中所说的那样:“我们若说自己无罪,便是自欺,真理不在我们心里了”(约翰一书 1:8 和合本)。否认自己是罪人的人就是生活在谎言中。因此,他事奉主的任何尝试同样会缺乏正直。不管我们喜欢与否,罪–我的、你的和其他人的罪–都得罪了圣洁公义的上帝。我们不能只是把这些罪给掩盖起来,指望这位公义的上帝假装没有意识到。如果我们想在主的国度里为他所用,就必须承认并处理我们的罪。

我们都知道,要承认自己的罪恶或过犯并不是一件容易的事,然而比起处理它便容易得多了。作为基督徒,我们都不会有太大的困难来承认自己的罪(尤其是当我们面对证据时),但无论是你、我还是任何的人都无法完善解决它。我们可以尝试把它隐藏起来;我们可以为它找很多借口;我们也擅长于将它归咎于其他人或事物。但无论我们做什么,都不能把它处理掉。只有上帝自己才能做到这一点–他在他儿子耶稣基督的降生,死亡与复活中已经做到了。在基督里,上帝亲自将我们的罪抛在脑后,正如诗篇103:12所说的: 东离西有多远,他叫我们的过犯离我们也有多远。这使我们能被他所用,事奉他并服事弟兄姐妹。我们及我们为取悦上帝而做出的各种努力之所以被他所接受,都仅是因为他通过他在基督里为我们完成的救赎。随着拯救工作的完成,我们敬拜和事奉的最大障碍才得以被解除。



最后,我们要认清使命的呼召,“他们必归向你,你却不可归向他们。” 也就是说在我们努力向他人宣讲与见证时,我们必须保持警惕,以便我们所传讲的信息能够影响世界,而不是让世界影响我们。我们是在传讲迎合别人想听的信息呢,还是传讲上帝要他们听到的信息呢?当我们告诉人们一些他们不想听的话语的时候,要取得他们的认同与支持并不是一件容易的事情。事实上,这是一件不可能的事情。这就是为什么神赐给我们圣灵,以便他可以通过我们做那些靠我们自己做不到的事情。靠着同一圣灵的力量,我们可以奉救主的名勇敢的往前行,因为我们知道,通过认清自己、认清信息和认清使命,他已经为我们在他国度中的服事做好了适当的准备。