End of Life instruction and 2 Pet 3:9

The Lord is …… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

My 82 year old widow sister, childless, was admitted to the hospital for the third time, after spending 12 days and then 16 days in the hospital and then transferred to a community hospital. The community hospital, after more than a week, called and informed that she has to be readmitted to the acute hospital for dialysis as they could not render proper treatment.

For the next two days, I noticed my sister was not on dialysis. I asked, and was told that there was a misunderstanding (by the community hospital?) whatever it meant.

Then a doctor called one afternoon. Mainly she asked what was my ‘end-of-life instruction” for my sister. I asked  – was this about the AMD? – silence. What was the prognosis? Was there something I need to know? No clarification. The silence was puzzling. So I said “let me think about it and pray about it”. She said she would call back for my decision in a few days.

I became unusually alarmed and alerted family members. That evening I visited my sister. She was alert and definitely it wasn’t terminal or life threatening.

The next morning, I was on the way for a meeting requested by a medical social worker (MSW). I prayed – “Lord, what is your leading – as I have to give a reply about the EOL instruction.” The impression was very strong and clear – ‘resist, until your sister believes in the Lord Jesus!’ I told the MSW and another doctor who sought me out and commented that the 1st doctor was not tactful as it alarmed me.

Unexpectedly again the 2nd doctor asked about the EOL instruction as I was only expected to respond in a few days. He explained about withholding resuscitation. So since he asked I replied – “No, I will not concede until my sister believes in Jesus”. Somehow, to the 1st and 2nd doctor, I became uninhibited about my faith. He said “So it is religious?” I asserted, and said a miracle could happen. But he countered that it would be a medical decision. I also countered – No, I know a little about medical conditions and would like to be contacted and consulted when the need arose. He then said something that it would be the ‘decision’ of senior doctors. I stood firm. He then went off.

Fifteen minutes later, he returned, and said that the 1st doctor had already spoken to my sister that morning and my sister gave her consent! “No, I discount that, as you know my sister has Alzheimer, and she could not have understood.” The 2nd doctor again reiterated that it would be a medical decision by senior doctors.

The good outcome was that I became vulnerable. Normally I will reach out to any who asked for help, but would myself refrain from asking for support. I had to humble myself. I turned to the church’s visitation team and my cell group – for prayer, for support and for my sister to trust in Jesus!

That evening, I became disturbed that they might not render proper due care for my sister! I began to write to the hospital, to the Ministry of Health, to my Member of Parliament who’s also the GPC chairman for Health, etc. Many thoughts and promptings flowed through my mind, which surprised me.

To both doctors, I had brought up the Advanced Medical Directive (see – https://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/legislation/legislation_and_guidelines/advance_medical_directiveact.html)

In the absence of an AMD, I believe proper medical care is appropriate and should not be withheld. There are many safeguards e.g.

 You are not being forced into making the AMD.
 You are of sound mind.
 You understand the nature and implications of making an AMD.

 Validity
It is NOT compulsory. The AMD is valid only when it is made voluntarily. No one can force another person to make an AMD.
No one can make an AMD on behalf of another person, whether child or adult (even if the person is mentally incapable of making an AMD on his own)
 Coercion
It is the doctor’s responsibility to fully explain and discuss the matter with the person and to ensure that he/she fully understands what he/she is signing.
Forcing or misleading another person into signing an AMD is an offence punishable under the law.
If convicted, such a person can be fined and imprisoned and disqualified as a beneficiary.

The hospital called me as I had written. I mentioned my concerns. Why was I asked repeatedly for the EOL instruction? It was akin to the AMD which has many safeguards for the sanctity of life. I said my interpretation and impression was it looks like a Trojan Horse to bypass the AMD already in place. (I just googled and that EOL instruction is a type of a medical directive.)

I realized it is so subtle and insidious – the EOL instruction is a Trojan horse, unknowingly and ignorantly promoted to withhold resuscitation before a person comes to faith in Jesus. A work of evil, in this world of evil, dispensing words of evil against our Lord’s words of life!

Jesus said in John 10 “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

HALLELUJAH !!!!!! “The Lord is …… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Church members visited, witnessed (in dialects) and prayed for my sister, members whom I have never met or spoken to! On a second visit, after we prayed, a church sister prompted that I should lead my sister to ask Jesus into her life. My sister did so! All these years she was deep into Buddhism, and had resisted. The next evening, I asked her whether she knew what she did, and whether she wanted to be baptized. She assented!

Coincidence or Confirmation?

Two days after my sister prayed, the church’s devotional reading was titled “The Lord saw her, He had compassion on her,….” Indeed! Thank you Jesus!

I began to share with others how my sister had prayed to receive Jesus!

Oh, how I love to hear His story of Salvation, I like to tell the story … (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lelJPwbuFPQ)

Later I received a posting on the Trojan Horse. (https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2017/07/trojan-horse/).

Yes, for those who have threatening conditions or terminal illnesses and have yet to believe in Jesus, we must pray for their health and salvation, for their health to be extended until they repent and believe in Jesus rather than consider a EOL instruction not to resuscitate.

Make Disciples – but who am I?

 

To begin, an excerpt from Bob Diffinbaugh

“Apart from His sacrificial work on the cross, the most significant thing our Lord did upon the earth was to make disciples. Our Lord had written no books, He had built no organization; there were no physical structures or monuments left to commemorate Him. He had placed the future of His earthly work entirely in the hands of His disciples. Had they failed their task, humanly speaking, the church of Jesus Christ would not exist today.

In the last decade, discipleship has become a popular subject in Christian circles. The great difficulty is that when we use this term we frequently mean something entirely different from that denoted by the biblical term. For instance, we hear much talk about discipling others or being discipled. Being in close proximity to a great seminary, I have seen many young and enthusiastic theologs come and go …..

We almost completely fail to grasp the biblical concept of discipleship. It is interesting that we never find the term ‘disciple’ used with reference to the relationship between Paul and Timothy. As a matter of fact, we find the two primary terms for discipleship employed very frequently in the Gospels, sporadically in the book of Acts, and almost never in the rest of the New Testament. …… What was so important in the life and ministry of our Lord should be very clear to us today who wish to be known as His disciples.”

 

To repeat the quote above – “ What was so important in the life and ministry of our Lord should be very clear to us today who wish to be known as His disciples.”

 

But Who Am I?

How would I like to be defined?

A Disciple , a Christian, a Believer in Christ, or a Saint?

Which identity describes my blessedness?  How would God name me?

whoami

 

Does the term disciple best describe me? Does it allude to my intention or does it characterize my faith?

Does the term disciple suggest or hint of my noble pursuits?

Should my identity point to my intents and integrity as one who follows and learns from Jesus or should it point to my God Who set me apart, cleanse me, sanctified me and qualified me to be His ?

If the apostles were to write to a group of us, how would they address us?

Or does the term “saint” best describe the love of God and His sole initiative and awesome and amazing grace to set me apart and give me the gift of repentance and gift of faith to be incorporated into His glorious kingdom?

 

 

“Personal Commitment to Jesus. During Jesus’ earthly ministry the disciple was to “follow” Jesus, an allegiance to his person regarded as the decisive act, whether a literal or figurative attachment. Jewish disciples would follow their master around, often literally imitating him. The goal of Jewish disciples was someday to become masters, or rabbis, themselves, and to have their own disciples who would follow them. But Jesus’ disciples were to remain disciples of their Master and Teacher, Jesus, and to follow him only. Following Jesus means togetherness with him and service to him while traveling on the Way.”

(Michael J. Wilkins)

 

And lastly to quote Jerry Bridges again –

I believe grace motivates a person to obedience. I use Isaiah’s experience – the vision in Isaiah 6 – as a paradigm. At the conclusion of my sermon on Isaiah 6, I said that passage can be summed up in four words: God, guilt, grace, and gratitude. God’s holiness, our guilt, the gospel of God’s grace, and Isaiah’s gratitude is expressed. When God said, “Who shall I send?” Isaiah didn’t ask where he would go and what he would do. Instead, he answered, “Here am I.” And I believe that when we read of Jesus’ experience with the sinful women in Luke 7, we are seeing only the tail end of the story. The only way we can understand that story is to assume she had a prior encounter with Jesus and had become acutely aware of her sin and received his forgiveness. So now she comes out of gratitude to wash his feet. The parable of the debtor brings that out, of course. I define grace these days not just as unmerited favor. I say without guilt there’s no grace. So I define grace in this fashion: it is God’s blessings through Christ to the people who deserved his curse.

 

Thank you Heavenly Father for calling me and saving me, cleaning me up so that Your Holy Spirit can indwell me, and sealing Him in me, never to leave, and making me Your child – yes a saint, called, set-apart and sanctified.  Indeed You are Great, Good, full and overflowing with Grace to me!

Disciples are made, not born (according to a bestselling author.)

But Saints are Born, nod made!

 

Make Disciples (5) – more of Jerry Bridges

Kristen Wetherell, reporting on an interview with Jerry Bridges in 2016 wrote :-

If you’ve become discouraged by your Christian life; if you often feel the weight of condemnation; if you think God has a low opinion of you or is often frustrated by your efforts; if you believe your good works get you higher marks on his judgment scale, you need to preach the gospel to yourself!

Performance is the default mode of every human: thinking we have to do good works to please God (and even other people). Our identities have become wrapped up in our own accomplishments, the opinions of others, and even the spiritual disciplines we practice, rather than the once-for-all saving work of Jesus Christ.

Author Jerry Bridges wants us to remember the gospel by preaching it to ourselves on a daily basis.”

http://unlockingthebible.org/how-to-preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-an-interview-with-jerry-bridges/

 

So I need to preach the Gospel to myself everyday!  I must return to the Gospel of Grace, the power of God to sozo me totally.  My identity is not wrapped up in my performance and discipleship, not even my spiritual disciplines and service to make disciples!   (more of this in the next post – what does it really mean?)

 

And again from the previous post –

http://www.signetringministries.org/2009/10/25/breakfast-with-mr-bridges/

Bridges preaches and teaches Gospel-driven sanctification. The call of conformity to the image of Christ is given throughout the Scriptures. However, it becomes easy for us to become, in Bridge’s words, “duty-driven” rather than “gospel-driven.” To further define, we often see the pursuit of sanctification as something we must do to earn or remain in God’s favor. This thought may be a subtle thought in the believer’s mind. Yet, we still can fall into this erroneous way of thinking. Bridges clearly and boldly established that we are called to pursue conformity to the image of Christ because we are saved. We are totally pure in the eyes of God because what Christ has done on the cross. We are totally secure in the love of God because of what Christ is doing right now—interceding for us at God right hand. We are destined for the resurrection because of His promise to raise us up with Christ when He returns. These are the truths that should be spurring us on to good works, and causing us to pursue holiness.”   

 

Jerry Bridges influenced and impacted many – notable is his call to return to the Gospel of Grace.  Appended are articles and interviews by various people –

 

http://www.booksataglance.com/author-interviews/interview-with-jerry-bridges-on-his-autobiography-god-took-me-by-the-hand-part-2/

“Shortly after The Pursuit of Holiness was published a large evangelical church in our city asked me to teach it as one of the electives in a 10-week Bible study program. Preparing for these lectures forced me to go back to the book. Toward the end of the 10-week series I thought to myself, “There is not enough gospel in this book. ……. I spent the next 10 years thinking about the role of the gospel in the pursuit of holiness. Finally, in 1991, what began as the chapter I wish I had written became a full-fledged book entitled Transforming Grace. This was followed in subsequent years by two other books The Discipline of Grace and The Transforming Power of the Gospel.

 

with C.J. Mahaney

(http://www.cjmahaney.com/blog/an-interview-with-jerry-bridges/)

Jerry: Well, I preached the gospel to myself in light of the fact that I was coming here to teach and one of my favorite phrases, which is not a biblical phrase, but it is based on the Bible, is from the old hymn “Christ the Solid Rock.” This says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” And I just said to the Lord, “Lord, my hope for any blessing on my ministry today at The Pastors College is based on Jesus’ blood and righteousness. His death to pay for my sin, his righteousness imputed to me.”

CJ: Well, let me add my own recommendation. The Discipline of Grace is, I think, a must read and I recommend and have recommended for years that individuals read, in particular the first three chapters, although I commend the entire book, but the first three chapters every day for the rest of your life.

 

And from the Spurgeon Fellowship Journal

(http://www.thespurgeonfellowship.org/journal/int_sp09.pdf)

JB: So there was this barrenness, and I suspect it was due to the modernist/fundamentalist debate. They lost sight of the gospel and the fundamentalists took the theological and moral high ground, becoming very self-righteous. Of course, when you’re self-righteous, you don’t need the gospel because the gospel is only for sinners. Even though I’m a saved sinner, I am still a practicing sinner which means I must preach the gospel to myself everyday. But if you’re looking down your nose at other people then you don’t recognize your own need for the gospel. So that’s my suspicion; that is where it started. I was born in 1929 so I grew up in that era. The first 15 years of my ministry could be described as an “ought-to” ministry. I was always saying, “you ought-to do this.” Thankfully, by God’s grace, I recognized the error of my ways. Now I would like to describe it as a “want-to” ministry. I hope people “want-to” to obey because they have been motivated by the gospel.  

JB: I believe grace motivates a person to obedience. I use Isaiah’s experience – the vision in Isaiah 6 – as a paradigm. At the conclusion of my sermon on Isaiah 6, I said that passage can be summed up in four words: God, guilt, grace, and gratitude. God’s holiness, our guilt, the gospel of God’s grace, and Isaiah’s gratitude is expressed. When God said, “Who shall I send?” Isaiah didn’t ask where he would go and what he would do. Instead, he answered, “Here am I.” And I believe that when we read of Jesus’ experience with the sinful women in Luke 7, we are seeing only the tail end of the story. The only way we can understand that story is to assume she had a prior encounter with Jesus and had become acutely aware of her sin and received his forgiveness. So now she comes out of gratitude to wash his feet. The parable of the debtor brings that out, of course. I define grace these days not just as unmerited favor. I say without guilt there’s no grace. So I define grace in this fashion: it is God’s blessings through Christ to the people who deserved his curse.

AA: So we’re not un-meriting; rather, we are ill-meriting.

JB: Yes; we are ill-meriting and ill-worthy.

AA: Right!

AA: If you were asked to address a group of pastors in a conference setting and given complete freedom to preach your passions, what subjects would you address and why?

JB: Living by the gospel. I would eventually get into progressive sanctification but I would start with the gospel. At Sinclair Ferguson’s church I am going to preach on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. We are constrained by the love of Christ. I spent too many years preaching “ought-to” and that’s the way I lived. And I can recall one day when I was going through 2 Corinthians and the Holy Spirit arrested me with the phrase “Christ’s love compels me.” I asked myself, “What compels me?” And my answer was “duty.” Duty is a high virtue for me. I realized, however, that my sense of duty would not last a lifetime. I prayed, “God, will you begin to compel me by your love?” He led me back to the gospel. AA: It’s the performance treadmill you talk about in Transforming Grace, right? JB: Yes. But you see, the way to the cross is through our sin. We don’t need the cross until we see our sin. The gospel frees you up to be honest about your sin. Without the gospel you have to live in denial. Otherwise, you can’t take it. AA: You mean, as a self-righteous person? JB: Yes, as a self-righteous person you live in denial. But when you see the gospel and when you see that Christ really has died for your sin and you really have been forgiven, then it’s okay to be honest. When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin you don’t fight with it; rather, you say, “Okay Lord, that’s true. That’s the way I am. But thanks be to God for the gospel.

 

 

In March 2016, the Logos Bible Software blog put up a “in memory of Jerry Bridges – with a roundup of articles and quotes” –

https://blog.logos.com/2016/03/in-memory-of-jerry-bridges-a-roundup-of-articles-and-quotes/

The fourth great truth that I learned was the necessity of preaching the gospel to myself every day. I learned to look to Christ as my righteousness rather than to my own performance. Early in my Christian life, I had gone from one extreme, what I call self-effort — this is what the Bible says, so just obey it — to the opposite extreme — you can’t do anything, just trust Jesus to live his life through you. . . . I am responsible to deal with sin, I am responsible to grow in the fruit of the Spirit, but I am dependent on the enabling power of Christ through the Holy Spirit to enable me to do that.”

 

(Next – what does it mean to be a disciple)

GRACE MANIFESTO

“And herein is the true gospel—the good news. Because of the Father’s gracious love, we no longer have to live in perpetual self-evaluation. Grace sets us free from looking at ourselves and worrying about our performance because grace shows us that it was never about us anyway. It—life, the world, the universe—has always been about Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God who came into the world not to make bad people good, but to make dead people live. We look to Him. We depend on Him. And we rest in Him. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39)

This is the grace in which we stand.

This is our Manifesto of Grace.”

 

Above is the summary of a 11 point Manifesto of Grace by Dr. Mark Wyatt