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忠心事奉,愛神愛人 Serve and Love Saints Faithfully

「凡在亞西亞的人都離棄我,這是你知道的,其中有腓吉路和黑摩其尼。願主憐憫阿尼色弗一家的人;因他屢次使我暢快,不以我的鎖鍊為恥,反倒在羅馬的時候,殷勤的找我,並且找著了。願主使他在那日得主的憐憫。他在以弗所怎樣多多的服事我,是你明明知道的。」(提摩太後書1:15-18)

保羅在他的傳道生涯中,面對過各式各樣的危險,有旅途的危險、有曠野的危險、環境的危險(林後11:23-26),最令人痛苦的危險,卻是被同族的人背叛,被假弟兄離棄。這段經文中,描述了保羅最艱難的光景,凡亞西亞的人都離棄他。保羅在羅馬獄中最孤獨淒涼的景況中,卻有一位忠心的真弟兄阿尼色弗,從他的榜樣可以學習忠心事奉,愛神愛人:

1. 屢次使我暢快、多多服事我:弟兄姊妹當常常彼此服事,風雨同舟,同負一軛,安慰幫助有需要的人。「當我們作在弟兄中一個最小的身上,就是作在主身上.」(太25:31-40)。正如兩週前暴風雪來襲,許多家庭遇到困難,弟兄姊妹伸出援手,接待有需要的家庭,教會也開放提供溫暖。

2. 不以鎖鏈為恥:信主的道路不一定平順,黑暗是拒絕光的,教會必定會面對世界的敵對、逼迫、傷害、羞辱,弟兄姊妹要堅守信仰,信心成熟,並至死忠心,就必得著生命的冠冕(啟2:10)。

3. 反倒:一般人遇到鎖鏈被囚之事都避之猶恐不及,「反倒」表明與一般天然本性相反的行動,不順從肉體情慾的反應,反倒順服聖靈。

4. 殷勤尋找:這是一條遙遠、不容易的路。但他卻忠心、迄而不捨的尋找。殷勤是一種急迫的心態,不是可有可無,因此,我們要殷勤尋找真理,殷勤讀經,殷勤禱告,殷勤事奉;殷勤與弟兄姊妹連結同工,殷勤幫助有難的弟兄姊妹,殷勤傳揚從主得來的真理,殷勤尋找事奉機會。殷勤事奉必須有所放棄,殷勤事奉也不一定得到贊同。因此要棄絕很多私慾,才能殷勤服事主。

5. 祝福:保羅的兩個願是他對忠心弟兄的祝福、禱告與肯定。忠心者的家庭會蒙祝福,他自己的生命也會在主再來時得著憐憫與冠冕。

保羅用阿尼色弗的見證,鼓勵年輕的傳道人提摩太,不要因為孤獨而失去了事奉神的信心。服事路上有溫暖春天,也有寒冷冬天,神會差遣安慰的使者,願我們也成為安慰的使者,彼此鼓勵,忠心事奉。

15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:15-18)

Paul faced all kinds of dangers in his ministry, including the dangers of journeys, the dangers of the wilderness, and the dangers of the environment (2 Corinthians 11:23-26). The most painful danger was being betrayed by his own people and abandoned by false believers. This passage describes Paul’s most difficult situation. All the Christians in the countries of Asia turned away from him. In the most lonely and desolate situation of the Roman prison, Paul had a faithful and true brother, Onesiphorus. From his example, we can learn how to serve and love saints faithfully:

1. Comfort often and help in many ways: Likewise, we should always serve each other, stay in the same boat through storms, share the same yoke together, comfort and help those in need. Jesus said if we did it to one of the least of the brothers, we have done it to Jesus (Matthew 25:31-40). In the snow storm that hit two weeks ago, many families encountered difficulties, brothers and sisters stretched out helping hands to host families in need, and the church was open to provide warmth.

2. Don’t be ashamed of sufferings: As Christians, we can’t expect things to always go smoothly. Darkness rejects the light. We will definitely face the world’s hostility, persecution, harm, and humiliation. We must hold on to our faith, grow to maturity, and be faithful even to death. Then we will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

3. On the contrary: Most people avoid being imprisoned in chains. "On the contrary" indicates actions contrary to our nature. Do not follow our flesh and lust, but submit to the Holy Spirit.

4. Search hard: This is a distant, difficult road. But he searched with loyalty and perseverance. Search in a state of urgency; it is not optional. Therefore, we must also search diligently for the truth, study the Bible diligently, pray diligently, and serve diligently; connect and work diligently with brothers and sisters, help brothers and sisters in need diligently, diligently spread and live out the truth we learned, diligently looking for opportunities for ministry. In order to serve diligently, we have to give something up. Sometimes you don’t necessarily receive praise. Therefore, we must put down many selfish desires in order to serve the Lord diligently.

5. Blessings: The two “may’s” show Paul’s blessings, prayers, and affirmations to this faithful brother. The family of the faithful will be blessed, and his own life will be blessed when the Lord returns.

Paul used the testimony of Onesiphorus to encourage Timothy, a young preacher, to not lose faith in serving God because of loneliness. There are warm springs and cold winters on the path of service. God will send angels for comfort and help in difficulties. May we also become ambassadors of comfort, helping one another and serving faithfully.

Rev. Benguang Du 都本光牧師

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