How I Came To Know the Gospel in CERC
17 Jul 2021
At CERC we’re engaged in God’s great mission to gather a people for Himself through Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). In this article, you will find individuals from our congregation that by God’s grace received the gospel through the preaching of His Word, and who are now living for this same mission as Christians serving Him. We hope you’d be encouraged by their stories!
I came from a non-Christian background. Although my family practiced a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and ancestor worship, I never really bought into it as it felt like a mere adherence to tradition. Besides this, I wasn’t exposed to nor did I go on to explore other worldviews until my university years. Because I didn’t hold to a particular worldview, I felt completely lost in life as I didn’t know why I existed. Life, the way I saw it, was just “you’re born, you study, you work, you retire, you die”. I felt as though I was blind and lost without a compass to guide me through life, and it was empty, purposeless, and meaningless.
It was at this point in my life that I heard the Gospel from someone I met in Monash Christian Fellowship, Jordan Hidajat, who also attended CERC. I was intrigued by the Gospel message because it was unlike what people usually would say about religion, that it teaches us to be a good person in order to be saved. However, the Gospel presents a completely different message. The Gospel message actually deals with reality where we as humans can’t ever be good because all of us are rebels against God. Thus, we can’t possibly ever, by our own goodness, get into heaven and save ourselves.
At first, my interest in Christianity was just intellectual, it was not personal. It was only after I attended all the sessions from Geddit in 2014 and recognized the fear of God’s judgment that it hit me — I was guilty. I didn’t worship God as He deserved, despite knowing Him. The very purpose I was searching for in life was the very thing that I had been rejecting. I knew the only way I could ever escape God’s judgment was by trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ, who not only died on the Cross, but more than that, rose again to rule as King. The very next day after the last talk of Geddit in 2014, I committed my life to following this Christ.. As I continued to read and study the Bible, my understanding of the Gospel deepened and I now see that it is more than just about Jesus dying for my sins so that I can get to heaven. It is part of a bigger reality of God’s grand plan of gathering a holy people for Himself where Jesus will rule as the Saviour King over the people whom he has saved through his work at Calvary. It is this understanding of the Gospel that has kept me going as it reminds me again and again that I’m saved to be a part of the community of God that serves the cause of Jesus.
Ang Wei Jie
Ang Wei Jie (front centre) at his baptism in 2019
As a typical guy who grew up in a Malaysian Chinese family, I used to think that God is a creator who sends His messengers through different religions, in order to teach men to be good and behave decently in relation to the world and the people around us. I failed to see that humanism, a man-centered way of looking at the world, would naturally lead people to different and even conflicting ideologies and values in life. I now think that God should be a God who delivers only one truth with one definition of who He is, and what is His will and purpose for men.
Although I was baptized 2 years ago, exploring Christianity wasn’t a short journey for me. It took me a few years to slowly understand Christianity and be convicted to become a Christian. I am thankful to God that I was able to hear the Gospel and learn about Christianity through CERC. This included many hours of faithful sermons, Bible study and discussion in Growth Group, edifying conversations with brothers and sisters in church, continuously thinking about the meaning and purpose of life, and considering Christ as the true Messiah who is ultimately the centre and truth of life.
I pray to God that this ministry in service to our Lord Jesus can continually benefit those who indeed need to hear the Gospel in Klang Valley and Malaysia. To quote one of my favorite Bible verses from the Matthew sermon series, She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table”.(Matthew 15:27) Indeed, we humans need to realize that we are unworthy sinners and beggars in life who were created and were given life and resources by God, and granted salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Haley (front right) with some of her fellow sisters in Christ
I used to call myself a Buddhist and Taoist back in high school, even though I didn’t know much about my own religion. One memory however, still stands out in my mind. It was from when I was 17 and attending a talk on Taoism. I remembered the speaker preaching on the eight virtues of Taoism, and that all virtues must be obeyed or the consequence will be hell. At that very moment, I was struck by the realisation that I had not obeyed even one virtue out of the eight, some of which included principles such as “do not lie”, “be honourable”, and “do not disobey your parents”. I thought to myself, “Well, I must be going to hell, alongside everyone around me because none of us have obeyed even one of these commandments, much less all of them!” So what does it mean for us to live if we are heading straight to hell anyway? These questions stuck around for a while, but I couldn’t find the answers, nor did I really find help from anyone around me.
Enter 2015. My brother saw an opportunity to introduce me to Christianity and connected me with a fellow sister in CERC. This sister, Lee Joo Hui invited me to a Bible study and I remember the main text that day being Luke 16:19-31. In the passage, Jesus speaks of a parable of a rich man who did not spare any of his food for a poor man, Lazarus, who only desired leftovers from the rich man’s table. Soon after, Lazarus died and went to heaven while the rich man went to hell. I remember learning that there is a great chasm between heaven and hell, and none may pass from one side to the other. The reality of death and hell became extremely vivid to me. In hell, the rich man was in anguish to the point he asked for Lazarus to provide him what he himself had refused to give to Lazarus while he was alive and living the good life. In short, his unrepentance in his lifetime meant an eternity in hell, and it was too late for him. For me, that was when I realized my own unrepentance.
Joo Hui and I also read the book of Romans together. I was astonished at how the Jews, who had the commandments of God, continuously failed to obey God. The answer was right in front of me! The reason why none of us perfectly obey any of the commands we are so often given and taught, is because we are all rebels and sinners against God. Our sin shows us that we never truly obey anything but ourselves. We’ve made the world in which we live a world that serves only us. Alas, we have all fallen short of God’s commandments and virtues. We are not for God, but for ourselves. We are against Him. Is it not only befitting that our sin would rightly deserve consequence, even hell, from a just and righteous God?
Yet! God in his immense grace, while maintaining his justice, gives us a gift we do not deserve. He sends his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ to atone for our sin, so that by faith in Him, we would come to God in repentance and obedience. Without this perfect sacrificial Lamb, we can never be rid of a life of sin, much less approach God in His full glory. The reality of sin became clear and I saw that before God, I stood as a sinner deserving of His wrath (Romans 1:18-32) and rightly judged, for I had been actively suppressing the truth about God all my life (Romans 3:1-20). This is the Gospel, the good news of God’s grace in light of a sinful and rebellious humanity. It is why the church preaches this Gospel. While it is not an easy thing to hear nor is it music to our ears, the Gospel is about Christ, the obedient Son of God, who died for our sin so that He would be able to bring us sinners, now made blameless through his sacrifice, before a holy God! Only this Gospel can rescue us from a life of eternal condemnation and from our own slavery to sin. Only this Gospel can save.