My dear son,
I realize you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and first released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face may have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my ministry style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to summarize in writing the values and life lessons I have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you.
Union with Christ is central. The Apostle Paul’s most used phrase – “in Christ” (and equivalent terms and metaphors) contains the essence of this central reality. Paul received it from Jesus (“abide in Me” – John 15:4). All fruitfulness – life, ministry, doctrine, relationships, and so on – flows out of our vital and inseparable connection with Him. This is a Trinitarian reality, that is “all the fullness of Deity dwells . . . in Him” (Col.2:9). Relationship is possible in Christ because the relationship among Father, Son, and Spirit is eternal (John 17:24). Out of Him flow grace and truth – we have received these out of His fullness which we have all received (John 1:16-17). Maintain this as the center of who you are and all you seek to do.
The Church is and will increasingly be in need of being trained in truth. So, preach the Word, preach the Word, and preach the Word.
The Church is and will increasingly be in need of love. So, love the people, love the people, love the people.
The world is and will increasingly be in need of salvation. So preach the Gospel, preach the Gospel, preach the Gospel.
We all need and will increasingly need hope, the Blessed Hope, so love His appearing, love His appearing, love His appearing (2 Tim.4:8, Heb.12:1-2).
Out of His grace, His promises, and His fullness all life, character, and ministry flow. As these things are increasing in our lives, we will be fruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (Second Peter 1:2-8).