John Sung's Grandson, Pastor Timothy Wang, Shares Message of “Being Crucified With the Lord”

Rev. Timothy Wang, the grandson of John Sung, shared a sermon in a virtual celebration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of John Sung on October 27, 2021.
Rev. Timothy Wang, the grandson of John Sung, shared a sermon in a virtual celebration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of John Sung on October 27, 2021. (photo: Chinese Pastors’ Fellowship)
By Li ShiguangNovember 12th, 2021

On the first day of the gathering to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the birth of influential Chinese evangelist John Sung, Pastor Timothy Wang, the grandson of Sung, shared the theme of "Being Crucified With the Lord".

On October 27, Pastor Wang preached on Gal. 2:20, saying that there were three levels of Christian life growth and revival - "what we know", "what we do", and "what we are".

“There are many people who may have much Bible knowledge in their minds, read the Bible and spiritual books a lot, and listen to sermons from plenty of famous people. They are warriors who read and recite the Bible in the church, but none of these things can be equated with the change and renewal of your inner life,” said the pastor. 

Rational and intellectual knowledge could not replace the change, growth, and renewal of our inner life. This was about what we know.

When John Sung, the “Wesley of China”, was 13 years old, he followed his father to preach in the countryside. Sometimes his father was very busy, so he would preach on behalf of his father. Called by people at that time a "little pastor", Sung did much ministry work since childhood. Many people would become enthusiastic about participating in various church ministries after believing in the Lord, especially during the time when they first came to the Lord. Their hearts were very hot and would participate in many ministries. This referred to what we do.

But our ministries were no substitute for renewal, growth, and revival of our inner life because God values who is in us and how much Christ's nature and stature are in us. This is about what we are.

The key to shaping the inner life was to experience the crucifixion with Christ so that Christ's life could truly reign in us, Pastor Wang stressed. 

He stated, "Chinese people have a deep misunderstanding of death, believing that death means disappearance and that people then would no longer exist. The death in the Bible does not mean that we do not exist any longer, but that we are separated from the relationship. We died with the Lord, and our death announces that we are free from the bondage and enslavement of sin. Therefore, death with the Lord is necessary for our salvation. And then there is the birth of the Lord on the Cross, which is the resurrection of the Lord, which marks the establishment both of the kingdom of the Lord's reign and of a new system of life,"

"We have been crucified with the Lord, so that the death and resurrection of the Lord's cross may work in the life of each of us who believe, so that Christ may live and reign in us."

As for how to be crucified with the Lord, he said, "You need to rely on the Holy Spirit.” The work of the Holy Spirit was to make the objective reality of Jesus Christ's redemption on the cross a subjective experience for each of us who believe. 

"The Holy Spirit transforms our hearts from stone to flesh and makes us willing to come to the Lord humbly. The Holy Spirit makes us know the truth and know Christ; By the light of the Holy Spirit, we may see our sins, confess, and repent; the Holy Spirit reborn us and now lives in our hearts, fills us, and helps us to be sanctified."

Pastor Wang cited the example of John Sung’s rebirth. When Sung studied chemistry in the United States, he was told by a pastor to study theology at the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. During his study in the seminary, his belief system was completely disrupted by the atmosphere there, which emphasized reason, knowledge and science instead of the truth of the Lord's cross. It was said that students were also impacted by the theological thoughts including that “reason is supreme”, “men are saved by doing good” as well as the Social Gospel. He began to study Buddhism and Taoism and translated Chinese classical text Tao Te Ching into English.

It remained so until 1926 when the seminary invited a 15-year-old sister, a girl preacher who revived Sung in her revival meeting. On the night of Sung's repentance and rebirth, the Holy Spirit brought him under the cross, and revealed many sins in him, such as cheating in exams, being indifferent to relatives, and falsifying the working hours...... 

Later, Sung was taken to a mental hospital, where he spent 193 days. During that time, God once again broke his pride and made him a new person. When Sung was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was filled with the love for God and for souls. He resolved in front of God, "I resolve to preach in China even at the expense of my life, as long as my countrymen are saved, for which I am willing to die.”

Then he was filled with the power to preach the Gospel and expose people's sins through the Holy Spirit, so that people would repent and turn to God. He not only preached the word of repentance, but he practiced it in his daily life. 

The second way was found in crucifying ourselves with the Lord through his word.

"We need to follow the Lord, be like him, be crucified with him, and take up our cross every day."

The third way out referred to that God would crucify us with the Lord through suffering and pain.

Sung often said, “There was a thorn in Paul's body, and the Lord also gave me a thorn (hemorrhoids) to keep me from being proud.” 

In 1940, he wrote in a letter, “God made me experience the pain of the cross, and when I looked at the cross, I gained the strength to endure the pain even though it hurts so much. I am a servant of God, and when I am baptized by fire, I can only keep my mouth shut and humble in the dust.”

Pastor Wang concluded that “what we know” and “what we do” were no substitute for “what we are”. The shaping, growth, and renewal of the Christian's inner life depended on God, through crucifixion with the Lord. 

- Translated by Stephen Huang

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