July 6, 2016

A Man in Christ is a New Person

Passage: Acts 20:24

Bible Text: Acts 20:24 | Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me– the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

For five generations before her, Wong Su’s family had been Christians, but she didn’t believe in God. Living in China, when the turbulence of Communism changed the face of that country, she did what almost all other youths did in the ‘60’s: she joined the Red Guard. Yet Wong Su also knew that what she was hearing—that there is no God and that Chairman Mao was the one who would meet their needs—wasn’t what she had been taught as a child.

One day Wong Su had a dream, and in her dream, her grandmother had died. If there was anyone in the world that she loved, it was her grandmother. “I must go see my grandmother,” she said as she awakened, quite certain that it was only a dream.

But when Wong Su went home to see grandmother, strangely and beyond human explanation, reality was exactly the same as her dream. Grandmother had died. Meanwhile, Wong Su had married her sweetheart, Wong Yu, an outgoing young man with a big smile who was committed to the revolution. When Wong Su came home and told her husband that she remembered how God spoke to people through dreams in the Bible and she thought God was speaking to her, he didn’t like it.

“This could upset our lives,” he undoubtedly thought. By this time, Wong Yu, the husband, had become the General Secretary of the Communist Party in the city where they lived. It takes no brains to realize that in a Communist country, a man with a wife who wants to serve God has a big problem.

Two years later, Wong Su announced that she wanted to go to seminary and enter the ministry. That was it. “She had to go,” thought her husband, and he filed for divorce. Wong Su, though, hadn’t given up on her husband. She prayed and her friends prayed.

When she became ill, her former husband, feeling guilty and yet torn because of the affection he still had for her, went to visit her, and as the result of seeing God working in her life and being confronted with the reality of the cross of Jesus Christ, he, too, became a believer.

There are sixteen levels in the Communist party and Wong Yu had already reached level number ten. He was climbing the political ladder, step by step, and now his life had changed.

I met this man for the first time in 1998 when his wife had become the pastor of a growing, thriving church filled with men and women who were committed to Jesus Christ. When he mentioned that he was a Communist, I asked the obvious question, “Can a man be a Christian and a Communist?” He said, “Yes, there are more than 20 of us in the church.” He explained that he had tried to resign from the party but they wouldn’t let him.

“Why do you want to resign?” he was asked. “Because anything a Communist can do, a Christian can do better,” he replied, meaning that the church better ministered to the needs of the hurting, the helpless, and the homeless, and then he added a stinging rebuff. “Besides, Communists do things a Christian won’t do.”

Wong Yu is out of the party, having lost his retirement but having gained a purpose in life.

Jesus told His followers, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another,” and by that standard, there is no question as to how the hardened heart of a former Communist has been touched and changed by the love of Jesus Christ.

Yes, God is still in the wonderful business of changing lives.

Resource reading: Acts 9:1-19