Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sermon Series: Equip The Saint (Ephesians 4:11 - 16)

Sermon Series: Equip The Saint (Ephesians 4:11 - 16) 


Shalom, church! Come and join us for the 2nd Service message. Have a blessed Sunday and stay safe. God Bless.



Saturday, January 30, 2021

Saturday Devotion: 1 Corinthians 9:24 - 27

Paul often uses athletic metaphors to communicate important truths of what it means to live as a Christian. He chose these metaphors so that it is easier for his audience to understand. This passage is no different as the Corinthians were great lovers of sports and Corinth was the location of the biennial Isthmian games, an event that was second only to the Olympic Games in importance.

Paul was emphasizing our goal as Christian is to work to advance the gospel (see v.19). For us to advance the gospel, we need to run towards the imperishable crown. When we are in a race, we do not just standstill. Paul says in Philippians to work out our salvation which means we must continue to obey and abide in Christ.  Being a Christian means we must be spiritually productive and press on to achieve the purpose God has called us to.

Paul also reminds us everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training (v.25). Just like an athlete who prepares for his competition, we must be determined, intentional and focused. Translating this to our walk with God, we too must be intentional in our walk with God. We set aside our time to read his Word, in prayer and worship. We must be determined to grow deeper in our relationship with God by joining bible study and by gathering with other believers to worship.

We must also be focused and fix our eyes on Jesus. Just as Jesus was focused on His ministry on earth to the point of his death on the cross. Paul followed the footsteps of our Lord and towards the end of his earthly life and ministry and said “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. (2 Timothy 4:7).

Our Christian life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Runners or sportsmen will understand that there will be days in which you are not at the optimum level to race, but they do not give up and they will still finish the race. In our journey of faith, there will be times when we become discouraged. That is where we must not give up and remember God’s promises to us. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Suggested prayer:

Heavenly Father, I pray that you strengthen our faith, strengthen our walk with you for we want to abide in You until we finish this race you called us to. Empower us so that we will not be tired and not grow weary for your plans and purposes in our lives. We live to glorify your Holy name. Amen.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thursday Devotion: Three Reasons To Be Thankful (Psalm 92)

Over 70 times in the New Testament, we are commanded to give thanks and praise to our God.  In the book of Psalms alone, it is thought that there are around 36 references to thanksgiving, occurring in 24 different Psalms.  So why is thankfulness so important?  The truth of the matter is, there are infinite reasons to give thanks and praise to our God – and it would be impossible to list them all, but here are three to get you started!


1. BEING THANKFUL IS GOOD

Psalm 92 opens with these words: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High, to declare Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night.

Giving thanks is good!  The word good here could be interchanged with ‘right’ or ‘fitting.’  Thankfulness is the only appropriate response to God whose lovingkindness we wake up to each and every morning, and whose faithfulness we can sing of night after night.  Thanksgiving is the only fitting response to Jesus, who laid down His life to save us.  Thankfulness, particularly when spoken out loud, is good for the soul, and edifies those around us. Thankfulness carries a lovely fragrance, which always beautifies and edifies the atmosphere. Thankfulness is good.


2.BEING THANKFUL LEADS US TO JOY

Psalm 16:11 tells us that in God’s presence there is fullness of joy.  So how do we get into God’s presence?

It can be all too easy to wake up in the morning and immediately begin to focus on our problems or the long list of things we need to get done. This doesn’t make for a very joyful day.

Psalm 100:4 exalts us to ‘enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!’  We come into God’s presence through the gateway of thankfulness and praise.

Thankfulness can sometimes feel a bit like climbing up a hill. When we first come to God, we may be feeling anxious, stressed, or even just empty. But as we begin to release our praise and thankfulness to God, we ascend higher and higher, until sooner or later we get a new sense of perspective. As we declare God’s lovingkindness, as we speak out His precious and magnificent promises,  it’s like standing and gazing over the panoramic horizon of God’s grace and goodness, which stretches endlessly before us.


3.BEING THANKFUL IS GOD’S WILL FOR US

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us this:  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I often used to ponder what the will of God was for my life. Well, this verse takes the mystery right out of that! God’s will for me is to be the kind of person who rejoices – a lot – in fact, in every circumstance!  To be someone who abides in communion with God, in whose presence there is fullness of joy.  And to be the sort of person, that in a world filled with much moaning and complaining, exudes thankfulness. Thankfulness brings glory and honor to God the Father.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and your faithfulness every night.” Psalm 92:1-2 (NKJV)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Knowledge puffs up while love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1-7

Paul appears to be answering questions from Christians in Corinth. In the previous chapter he talked about engagement and marriage. In our passage today he talks about food sacrificed to idols. This is one of those subjects where there is no one answer for all situations. It is complicated.

Because it is complicated Paul examines the hearts of the believers that influence their beliefs on this issue. 

Instead of discussing the minutiae of this food versus that food. Paul wants us to look at our hearts. In verses 1-2 he notes


“Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know”.


Paul is highlighting the importance of having Biblical knowledge as well as humility and love for our brothers and sisters. This is very wise of him to start with this teaching. It is so easy to promote one idea and think we are better than others and look down on others with a spirit of pride. Many times in the church, Christians have done this, grieved their brothers and sisters, and caused significant church splits. In Romans chapter 14, in which Paul talks about this same issue, he makes clear, we need to decide what we believe, and also consider others’ beliefs. We are forbidden from judging others because they believe something different about a disputable, complicated issue in which people of many cultures have different ideas and practices. Paul in Romans 14:23 exhorts us to look to our faith, and not violate our consciences. Notice Paul says it is ok to eat the food in 1 Corinthians 8, verses 5 and 6, and then in verses 9 to 12 he says consider your fellow brother or sister and don’t offend them or nullify their faith by what you eat or drink.

There are some things in life we all have to believe to remain in the faith. There are other things where differing and sometimes contradictory values are tolerated and considered equally valid. It is ok to eat this food if you are not offending your brother or sister, but not okay if you do. In other situations, Christians have different ideas about the consumption of alcohol, eating meat versus vegetarianism, celebrating holy days or considering all days alike. 


Paul in Romans 14:23 tells us that there are some issues we should just keep between ourselves and God. There is no value in sowing controversy, division and confusion in the fellowship of believers. Having knowledge is good, but knowledge is better when we are also filled with love for our brothers and sisters.


Suggested prayer: Heavenly Father, may we love Your Word and gain knowledge. May we also not forget to love our brothers and sisters with humility. Forgive us Father for our pride, and may we build our brothers and sisters up in love and seek to edify the church. We thank You for all the cultures and nations that make up Your church and may we all grow together in Your grace in unity as we go on towards maturity in the Body of Christ. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

#SermonSeries: Equipped in God's Promise - Salvation


Good afternoon, church! Come and join us for 2nd service sharing.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Saturday Devotion: 2 Chronicles 20

The story of Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 20:1-30) shows us how to have confidence in a crisis-- Jehoshaphat was shaken one morning when his intelligence sources came running in with the horrifying news, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. Jehoshaphat’s life and his entire kingdom were on the brink of extinction! Talk about a reason to panic!


What would you do if you heard some threatening news that affected your future and maybe your life? This godly king did the right thing. Jehoshaphat turned his attention to seek the Lord and called the nation to prayer and fasting. He did what was not automatic in a crisis: He prayed. Many times, we think of prayer as a last resort. After we have exhausted every other possibility, all we do is pray. Jehoshaphat resisted the temptation to panic, or trust his army. He recognized his great need, so he prayed. Yes, recognition of our great need should drive us to prayer.

The Apostle Paul writes that in Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

Jehoshaphat starts by (20:6) reciting God’s attributes: “You are the God of our fathers” Jehoshaphat didn’t look at the approaching army but at the greatness of His God. If we fill our prayers with the greatness of our problems, we’ll shrink our faith. But if we fill our prayers with the greatness of our God, we’ll excite our faith.

A battle so big, you have no idea how to face it or a battle so unexpected, you had no time to prepare? Realize the battle is the Lord’s – (2 Chronicles 20:14- 16). We must lean into our faith walk and trust in the promise that, in the battles that are bigger than us, we rejoice that we will not have to fight them. We are assured that when we stand with God, we get to see the deliverance that the Lord brings when He fights the battle for us.

After consulting with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
‘Give thanks to the Lord, For his love endures forever’” (20-21).
This was a bold, audacious move. As they began to sing and praise, God set ambushes for their enemies, and their enemies were defeated. Worship opens the door for God’s delivering power to flow into our desperation. Worship is our means of spiritual victory.

Just as God promised, the battle belonged to Him and He won the victory on behalf of Judah. Praise is sure evidence of your faith. When one really believes the words and promises of God, they cannot but help to praise Him.

PRAYER
“Heavenly Father thank you for fighting the battles that are bigger than me. Lord, thank you for the promise of deliverance when my worldly vision sees defeat.  Thank you for victory when the enemy tells me I’m crushed. Give me supernatural strength to grow stronger in my faith in you through the big battles. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thursday Devotion: The New Me (1 Corinthians 6)

Corinthians 6:6 captures the spirit of today, “I have the right to do anything". Freedom is today idolatry. 1 Corinthians speaks of conflict and taking one another to court,  sexual immorality, greed, drunkardness,  slandering and swindling. Today the world says these are okay. Everything is relative. You determine what is right or wrong. No one else should do it for you. 


"I have the right to do anything". This is the root of our sins and we must repent, not just the behaviour but our sinful pattern of thinking. There is a very wrong and sinful way of thinking. We must turn away from it, otherwise we will always let sin rules. 


Paul refuted all these sins in a very simple way, you are a new creation in Christ. This is the 'new me'. Why should I not go to court to settle conflict with a fellow believer? Because my eternal destiny is to rule and judge with God. Why should I not commit sexual sin? You body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 


To Paul it is that simple, your identity in Christ determines everything. And not the identity the world tells you, which is basically 'You are god' as only God determine what is wrong and right. And when we truly understand this 'new me' in Christ, we live completely different. We no longer let the loud voice of the darkness rule over us. Instead we live with a renewed life and a renewed mind. 


Reflection:

What is your identity? You belong to Christ or you belong to the world? If you answer is the former, let it shapes your living and thinking in such a way you live for eternity right now and you honour God right now. 


Prayer

Lord Jesus, so often I want to be like the world, choosing my wrong or right. I get lost and forgot who I really am. Today I remember and affirm that I am a new creation in you and I belong to you. And I have an eternal destiny in you. What a amazing grace. Let me live in such a way that I think and live as one, and not as the world. In your precious Name. Amen

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Do not Fight With One Another (1 Corinthians 6:1 - 8)

The Corinthian church had some serious problems that greatly concerned the apostle Paul. In this chapter, Paul is clearly enraged by what is going on between believers in the church. There appear to have been disputes that had been taken by church members to the civil courts. Paul is not talking here about serious criminal offences, but about trivial (v2) disputes. He is angry that these have not been settled between people who are supposedly guided by the Holy Spirit and of one family in Christ. Instead, they have taken their complaints to the secular courts, whose way of life was different to Christians because they did not live by the word of God. Paul wonders how this can be. He tells the church, “Dare you take this before the ungodly for judgement?” (v1), and tells them that their behaviour is shameful (v5). He is angry because this indicates that the people valued their pride, selfishness and desire to be ‘right’ above the instructions given to Christians to be united.

Colossians 3:13 tells us, “bear with one another and forgive one another if anyone of you has a grievance against someone”. Ephesians 4:2 tells us to be “completely humble and gentle, to be patient, bearing with one another in love”. Going to court over trivial matters goes against this teaching. Fighting each other in public is a terrible witness. People are not going to be at all impressed with the church or with Christians, if they see us having petty arguments and fighting. It makes us look proud, mean and argumentative. Nobody is going to want to follow whom you claim to follow if they see this kind of foolishness. Unfortunately, we have all seen examples of in-fighting amongst Christians. The motivation is often pride, selfishness and the desire to be ‘right’. The desire to please God is often the last thing on peoples’ minds when they engage in petty fights and one-upmanship. It is not edifying to God. Paul states in v7 that the very fact that there are lawsuits among them means they have been defeated already. We cannot fight the good fight if we are divided and engaged in useless arguments. Paul states in v8 that it is preferable to be wronged by another believer and leave it at that, instead of taking is further. What he means here is that we should practice forgiveness, grace and mercy, which is what Jesus Christ showed us when He died for us on the cross.

2 Timothy 2: 23-24 states, ‘’don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed’’. This reminds us to be careful of what our aim is, when we discuss matters with our brother or sister in Christ. The relationship and fellowship should be prioritised. Beware of those who claim that they know the ‘truth’ and insist on being the one who is ‘right’ whilst others are ’wrong’. The intention when speaking to others should be to build the other person up in Christ, to encourage them in their walk with God and to strengthen the fellowship. If the intention is to assert your superiority or righteousness, then it is likely to be motivated by pride and sin. Be mindful of your intentions before you speak. Be careful of those who bring strife and encourage divisiveness instead of peace and unity. Remember that Romans 12:18 teaches us to ‘’live at peace with all men as far at it depends on you’’.

Suggested Prayer

Father God, teach me to deal with my brothers and sisters in Christ with grace, kindness and humility. Help me to be an encouragement to others and help me to avoid any foolish arguments. Give me the wisdom to know how to speak and act according to your teaching. Forgive me for any foolish words I may have spoken to others and help me to do what is right according to your will. Cleanse my heart of the sin of pride and self-righteousness and help me to be kind and gracious to others. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

#SermonSeries: Equipped with God's Promise - Reward


Good morning, church!

Come and join us for Sunday Service as we focus on God's Promises this week. Have a blessed Sunday and stay safe! God bless!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday Devotion: Seeking Wise Advise (2 Chronicles 10 & 1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

2 Chronicles 10

After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became king. The people approached King Rehoboam seeking relief from Solomon’s heavy taxes. The young king then sought out advice from the elders. The elders advised him to be kind to his people but King Rehoboam rejected their advice and consulted instead the young people who had grown up with him (v6-8). Presumably, he was looking for people to advise him to cater to his own intentions. The results were disastrous and the advice that his friends gave backfired. It led to conflict and rebellion.

We face difficult decisions constantly. Where do we go to for advice? We must first seek God, above all others. Proverbs 3:5 says: lean not on our own understanding but to lean on God. It is wise to seek advice and views from your elders. It could be from our pastors, lay leader’s of the church or people who are close to you. After receiving the advice, we have to discern if the advice given applies to God’s word to our situation. To accept other’s advice means we must practice humility and not to be too proud to reject it when the advice does not suit your intentions.  The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15).

1 Corinthians 5:1-5

The next passage we have a passage where the Corinthian church did not seek God for His counsel when they faced a sin issue in their church. Paul was writing a firm and stern warning to the Corinthian Church on the issue of sexual immorality practiced by someone in the congregation. Paul was taking the Corinthian Church to task by asking them why are they allowing such behavior in their church. The Corinthians knew about the situation but were not upset about it. If they had turned to God’s word, they should have known it is declared sin by the Bible (Leviticus 18:8) and should not have tolerated such behavior. Perhaps, they could have written to Paul for advice but they did not.

Application: For some of us, it can be difficult to confront a friend or a family member when they are committing a sin. How does one balance between being loving and being too judgmental?   First, we obtain guidance from God’s word: We can look to the example Jesus gave when he confronted the woman caught in adultery in John 7:53 to Joh 8:11. Although Jesus said her sins was forgiven, it was not excused. Jesus did not ignore her sin. Jesus never teaches us to shy away from sin or to tolerate sin. All of us have a responsibility to confront sin when we see it and lead them to repentance. Secondly, we can turn to Matthew 18:15-17 on how to deal with sin amongst church members.

From these two passages:

a)       We learn to seek God first for wisdom comes from the Lord;

b)      Even if we seek advise from our closest friends or elders, we must check it with God’s word; and

c)       The best advise will come from someone who can apply God’s word to your situation and encourage you to come to your own decision in alignment with God’s will.

 Suggested prayer:

Heavenly Father, we look to you when we are faced with difficult decisions. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Guide us by the power of Your Holy Spirit to make the right decisions in accordance to Your Will.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

#ThursdayDevotion: Prayer of Moses (Psalms 90)

Most theological scholars believed that Moses wrote this prayer after being told by God that he and the whole generation of 20 years and above then (except for Joshua & Caleb) lost that privilege to enter the promised land because of a lack of trust & faith in God that he struck the rock in anger to bring water out for the grumbling Israelites to drink instead of speaking to the rock as the Lord had told him. They had to continue wandering in the wilderness until that whole generation who disobeyed God died in the desert (Numbers 20).

 

With that as a background, we read that Moses started the prayer by reflecting on who God is -our dwelling place (v.1), Creator, Everlasting God (v.2) and Judge (v.6). Then he recalled what they have gone through, standing under the wrath of God (v.7-11), and ending that prayer requesting God for wisdom and compassion.

 

It is comforting to note and be reminded that in these challenging times, with the unceasing presence of the coronavirus, that God is our dwelling place. He has been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  In John 15:4, it says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” As we remain in Him, He will continue to refresh us and shelter us from all harm. Let us not “run away” from God but rather “run towards” Him and find our refuge in Him. When God is our dwelling place in the midst of our everyday life, we can tap into His divine power. As mentioned in 2 Peter 1:3 that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

 

The reflection on God as the creator reminded us that God was there in the very beginning, before the earth was formed. Knowing He is our Creator reinforces our confidence that God can and will take good care of us. God is also our Judge. When our lives come to an end, all of us will face the judgment of God (2 Cor 5:10). Knowing that statement will help us not to think that we are invincible, and will led us to seek for God’s mercy.

 

Verse 12 reminds us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. It is very easy for us to put off the important things of God until we have time to do. We tend to be so busy living our lives. But the problem is that time does not wait for us. Time is precious. When the minutes and seconds passed, we cannot take them back. We must make full use of time by investing them for a good cause, to do God’s will. When we do that we will reap in a good harvest in due time. If we keep telling God to wait, the day may come when it is too late to do anything at all. Life is short. It is like the morning fog as mentioned in James 4:14. No one knows the length of their life, only God knows. Therefore, we need to work to make the most of each day by living wisely, live life with God in mind.

 

Suggested Personal Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for being my dwelling place. I ask for your wisdom and strength to enable me to walk in your ways. Help me not to take for granted each new day that you have given to me, but to know how to spend that day wisely with you in mind.

 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

#TuesdayDevotion: He catches the wise in their craftiness (1 Corinthians 3:18-23)

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile. 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

People have different, even opposing ideas about the nature of wisdom. In recognition of this, Paul in this passage, gives us an understanding of some aspects of true wisdom, or spiritual wisdom versus aspects of worldly “wisdom”.

Paul begins in chapter 3 verse 1 by rebuking the believers in the Greek city of Corinth. They were worldly and not spiritual. If Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Brunei, would we fare any better? Are we filled with spiritual wisdom or worldly “wisdom”?

To discern the true answer, we should ask a number of questions. What is worldly wisdom? Paul’s answer in verse 3 is the proof of their worldly wisdom. He rebukes them because of their jealousy and quarrelling amongst themselves. The tried to dress this up in spiritual terms by saying “I follow Paul”, and for others “I follow Apollos”. It is unfortunately very common amongst Christians not to be honest with themselves or others about their sinful worldliness and instead to try and spiritualise it to make it seem much better than it is. Paul saw through those people even when they tried to hide their worldly wisdom by expressing their devotion to him, Apollos or Cephas (Peter). He clearly rebukes them throughout chapter 3.

In our passage today he begins with; “18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.”

In verse 18, Paul makes clear God hates jealousy and quarrelling. Because God hates it, we need to confront it in ourselves. I personally have seen first-hand how quarrelling and jealousy ruin whole churches and have heard stories of other churches that have been ruined.

Paul made it clear he did not want to build an empire to his ego in the church. He did not want to elevate himself above Apollos or any other leader. He just said that in comparison to the greatness of God, neither he nor Apollos were that important. Paul was humble in God’s sight and the sight of the church. Humility is a significant sign of spiritual wisdom, and Paul demonstrated humility in his life. He prioritised the kingdom of God, over any kingdom that others may have considered he was building. He is also careful to give glory to God for any success in his ministry, (see verses 10-15).

Paul says “do not deceive yourselves”. It is very easy for Christians to be deceived. He makes clear in this verse that God’s wisdom, spiritual wisdom is opposite to the “wisdom” all around us in the world. He says we should consider ourselves “fools”, that is perceiving our own need to go to God in prayer for wisdom. Of note, when he says we should be “fools”, he means from the point of view of people of the world. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. We need to see our lack in order for us to go to God for His rich wisdom. Another reason to reject worldly wisdom is because ultimately as Paul says in verse 19-20, it is “futile”. Bragging about ourselves, being jealous of others’ success and quarrelling about it are all futile. They don’t build the Kingdom of God on earth. As Jesus orders us to “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness”, we must stay away from trying to build our own kingdoms that diminish His Kingdom on earth. As John the Baptist said; “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30). In order for Christ to be glorified, we have to get out of the way!

In summary, from today’s passage, what aspects of spiritual wisdom are highlighted? Build God’s Kingdom, not your own. Don’t be jealous or quarrel with others. We are warned, our work on earth will be shown for what it is on the Day of Judgment. If it is just about us and our kingdom, ignoring or not prioritising the Kingdom of God, we shall still be saved, but everything we consider riches shall be burned up. We shall be: 

“as one escaping through the flames” (See verse 15).

We need to take the long view, God’s view. It is easy to just think of the short term. Things that make us feel good today often do not last. We need to invest in the Kingdom of God. We need to learn and practice His priorities.

Suggested prayer: Heavenly Father, I want right now to humble myself and pray, and seek Your face and turn from any wicked ways (be specific if you need to be). May You hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land. Enable us by Your Spirit to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

#SermonSeries: Equipped in God's Promise - Renewal

Hello, church! Come and join us for Sunday sermon.
Date: 10th January 2021



Saturday, January 9, 2021

#SaturdayDevotion: 2 Chronicles 1 & 2

We all have wants and desires; more money, more authority, less stress, or a better relationship. We pray for the results we want to see, put our time, energy and effort into achieving our goals.

In today's reading, Solomon had a difficult decision to make. Solomon had the opportunity to ask God for anything he wanted. Perhaps this offer can be regarded as God's “coronation gift” to the young king. It was also a test, which he passed: instead of asking for riches or success, he humbly asked for the wisdom to carry out his God-given responsibilities (v. 10).

By asking God for wisdom first, Solomon showed where his heart's treasure lay, that is, in which direction his deepest desires pointed. How about us? Let’s say with the psalmist: “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God ... Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps. 84:2, 10).

The second chapter also highlights the need for a temple. Solomon's temple would restore things to the way God had designed. King Solomon wanted to build an extravagant building for God. He understood that nothing man-made could contain the Creator of the cosmos, as even the universe is too small to enclose Him. And neither was he deceived into believing that somehow God needed him. When Solomon said the temple he built “will be great,” the literal meaning is “must be great.” This revealed Solomon’s heart for God. He wanted to honor God through the greatness of the building.

2 Chronicles 2:5–6: “And the temple which I [Solomon] build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him?”

He is big enough to create and maintain all that exists and yet still able to intimately stoop down to the lowest sinner with His saving gift of grace. If God seems too vast, too distant to be reached, it is not a problem of dimension, size, or power on His part, but a problem of submission on ours.

Is He your King? Never till He is so; will we know the fullness of God’s love. Those who question or refuse His authority are always in doubt about the love of God to themselves and to the world. All is love where Jesus reigns. Go, spread your trophies at His feet, And crown Him

Lord of all!

Reflect:

If you knew God would give you anything, what would you ask for? Do your prayers need to change to be more selfless? If so, how?

Is he the Lord of ALL in your life?

LORD, You know we are nothing, but You, who are everything, have condescended to include us in Your kingdom. We surrender afresh to Your Lordship this day, O God. AMEN.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

ThursdayDevotion – “Not on Eloquence but God’s Power” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

#ThursdayDevotion – “Not on Eloquence but God’s Power” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NIV)

Power versus Eloquence

In today’s reading, the Apostle Paul spoke of his qualification as an apostle and messenger of the Gospel. The people were comparing him to other teachers and preachers, some who were true teachers while others were false teachers. It was known to the apostle that there were teachers who were better skilled in public speaking than he was, but he also noted that these were the very ones who are leading them astray and bringing disunity among them. These eloquent speakers were divisive as they were impressive.

So, Apostle Paul in verses 1 to 5 drew them back to his visit to them in Corinth. He told them to remember how the message he had preached came with the demonstration of God’s power, particularly in bringing salvation and transformation in the lives of the hearers, though it was not “impressive” by human terms.

Impressed with Eloquence can lead to idolatry
We live in time of where we can access amazing speakers and preachers on the internet with great ease. Some of us frequent these preachers for their eloquence and highly electrifying preaching styles. They have become our online “pastor”. But, if we are not careful, we end up idolizing them, and instead of drawing closer to God, we become a fan of the preacher. This was what happened in the Church of Corinth.

I have sat through many sermons and I must admit that at first hearing, these preachers do sound wise. They use words like a master painter painting on a canvas or like a master sculptor sculpting a lump of clay into a beautiful masterpiece. It is simply mesmerizing and captivating. I find myself drawn into their carefully crafted words, illustrations, and rhetorics but often leaving the auditorium feeling empty, unfed, unfilled, dissatisfied. These were “wisdom” without God’s power.

Be selective

Friends, there are many good and amazing speakers out there. The internet is an amazing resource for us to access these wealth of Bible teachers. But in your search of truth, be selective. Have a set of biblical criteria and develop a discernment to recognize the “hot air” preachers from the Spirit-filled and empowered preachers.
The goal of a Spirit-filled preacher is not to draw people to him but to lead them toward Christ “so that [their] faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power (verse 5).” When you listen or read a Christian sermon or article, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if the wisdom spoken or written glorifying Jesus Christ and aligned to the Gospel preached by the apostles.

My prayer for you is that you will be mature in your faith so that you will be wise in God.
Ephesians 4:13-15 (NIV),
“13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Let’s pray:
Father, may I grow in maturity and wisdom so that I may not be swayed by lies and deception. Holy Spirit guide me into the truth of the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Amen.
 


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

#TuesdayDevotion: The Importance of Being United In Christ (1 Corinthians 1:11-18)

The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the early church in Corinth because he had received some news regarding the divisions in the church. Paul knew the church well because he had led the early Christians there to faith. This news concerned and dismayed him greatly, so he wrote urgently to them in order to advise them. 

He started with a greeting of peace and blessing (1 Cor 1: 1-3) and thanksgiving for them (1 Cor 1: 1-9). This was to express his intention to bless them. Then he addressed his first concern, which were the reports he had received of disunity and church division. He had heard of quarrels amongst them regarding who they claim to follow, “One of you says, I follow Paul, another, I follow Apollos, another, I follow Peter, still another, I follow Christ” (v 12). He told the church that their quarrels made no sense because they were all followers of Christ, not the individual preachers or teachers who claimed to follow separate personalities. Paul named 4 groups of people; those who claimed to follow himself, those who claimed to follow Apollos, those who claimed to follow the disciple Peter, and those who claimed to follow Christ himself. The quarrels here probably had nothing to do with the “leaders” themselves and indeed Paul was appalled that anyone should claim to be his follower as an excuse to separate themselves from the full body of Christ. 

Paul’s advice against church division and disunity is as important today as it was in the early church. In this situation, the people of the Corinthian church had quarreled for reasons they claimed were due to their allegiance to a particular leader’s validity, but this had nothing to do with the truth. Often when people quarrel and decide to leave the church body, the reason they give has little to do with the actual problem. We often hide behind “holy” reasons or excuses so we can feel better about our sin. There could be many reasons for division in church. I can think of feeling hurt or offended, pride, jealousy, hidden sin, misunderstanding, insecurity, loneliness, lack of discipline, lack of evangelism, fear of confrontation, personality clashes, power struggles, the need for control, neglect, apathy, disobedience, dishonesty, fear of losing members and endless other possible reasons. 

Be watchful. Church division is destructive. Rebellion, disobedience and disunity lead to the corruption of the church. There are numerous warnings against disunity amongst believers in the Bible. We are told to keep watch against it. For example, Romans 16:17-18: “I urge you brothers and sisters to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of na├»ve people”. Romans 16:19-20 tell us “to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil and the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”. 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 teach us to “encourage each other and build each other up”.

We are mistaken if we believe that being committed to our church fellowship is optional, depending on how we feel, or what we get from it. Being committed to your church fellowship is a witness of Jesus’ unity with His Father (John 17:22-23). This is how God has designed and commanded it. A divided church, and a person divided from the church, is not likely to be an effective witness to the world. If we know God’s command but deliberately keep on sinning, Hebrews 10:26-27 tells us very clearly that “there is no sacrifice for sins left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God”. 1 Corinthians 12: 12-28 describe how we are all integral parts of God’s body. We need and support each other. We should have an equal concern for each other. We suffer together, we are honoured together and we rejoice together. This is the gift of being part of the body of Christ. It is crucial to remember that the maintenance of a healthy fellowship with believers should always be the priority above pride, offence, self-interest, or the need to be right. 

Personal Reflection:

Have you ever experienced the sweet joy of close fellowship? Can you describe how it felt to be part of a group of believers whom you felt close to, whom you could trust and rely on? Have you also had to go through the experience of church division and the breaking up of fellowship? Do you recall how this felt? If you have been through this, you probably felt pain, betrayal, bewilderment and anger. This is natural, because division in church is not part of God’s plan. It is the tearing off of parts of a body. No wonder it feels painful! However, the sweetest joy that you felt in good, close fellowship is a brief taste of what our fellowship will be like in heaven. God intends us to have close fellowship with each other and with Him for eternity. Take some time to pray daily for your church fellowship and for the members of your care group. Pray for God’s protection over this fellowship and pray that it will be an effective body of Christ to do God’s work and to be a light of hope in the world. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Series: Equipped in God's Promise - Abundant Life

#SundaySermon Series: Equipped in God's Promise - Abundant Life
Date: 03.01.21
Shalom Church!
Come and join us for this week's Sermon on a new series, Equipped in God's Promise - Abundant Life! Have a Blessed Sunday and Stay Safe! God Bless!





Saturday, January 2, 2021

#SaturdayDevotion: Jeremiah 10:11 - 25

In this passage, we read that God was warning his people not to adopt the idolatry of the surrounding nations. Sadly, despite God’s repeated warnings about worshipping idols, the people of Judah were overrun with idolatry. We read in verse 11 that God is contrasting himself to the pagan gods, Yahweh is a living and active God who has created the heavens and the earths.  God is reminding us that only He is worthy of all our worship, time and praise.

What is wrong with idolatry?

Idol worship can take many forms and it is anything that we put our trust, time, heart and commitment other than God or more than God. Idolatry starts with our heart. That is why Matthew 6:21 says: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.  What do we treasure more than God? For different people it can be different things. For some, it could be good grades. It could be our job. It could be success in business. More often than not, it will be money or possessions.  It is really difficult for many of us give up our money despite knowing that everything that we have comes from God and material possessions are only temporal. There is no better example of this than when Jesus was speaking to the rich man in Mark 10:17-24 and Jesus said “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” Though the rich man followed all the Old Testament commandments, his treasure was not God.

Another idol which we need to remove is technology: our phones and social media. Truth be told, many of us cannot live without our phones. There is a term called nomophobia which is when an individual experiences anxiety due to the fear of not having access to a mobile phone. It can be a loss of reception, a dead battery or loss of mobile phone that can trigger such an anxiety. A lot of us spend too much time on our phones. Some of us also look to social media for affirmation through likes on our photos when our affirmation should be our identity as a Child of God. It is a continual challenge to evaluate whether or not an idol has replaced God in our hearts. I pose a few questions for reflection as to how do we know if we have an idol in our life?

a)       What scares or worries you?

b)      What do you spend most of your time and money on?

c)       What brings you most joy?

d)      Where do you go for comfort?

Suggested prayer:

Heavenly Father, we honour and we live to glorify you. Jesus, be the centre of our lives. We seek your forgiveness if we have replaced You with idols and we ask that you remove these idols. Reveal to me if my heart has been loving something more than you.