The Fruit of Hope: Endurance

The Fruit of Hope: Endurance (1 Thessalonians‬ 1:2-3) by Sinnappan

endurance

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭2-3‬ NIV)

The apostle Paul, together with Silas & Timothy, is thrilled with joy to hear of the spiritual testimony of the saints in the church of Thessalonica. His happiness flows out as thanksgiving to God. He points out 3 particular evidences which prove their salvation.

1. Evidences of Salvation – In the Triad of Blessings
– Faith: Leading to good works among men
It is expresses in energetic waiting for the fulfilment of the action & benevolent activities (Heb 6:9-10).
We are created to do good works (Eph 2:10).
We should not be weary in working out (proving) our salvation.
– Love: Leading to hard work for The Lord (Gal 5:6, 6:9).
We prove our love for God by our toil of sweat, blood & tears! (2 Cor 5:14)
– Hope (Elpis): Leading to patient expectation through trials.
The heroes of faith of Hebrews 11 illustrated the need of enduring patience waiting for the fulfilment of the hope of salvation (heaven).
It is trusting the unseen & intangible as real & true (Lam 3:24; Luke 8:15)

2. Endurance of the Saints – In the trail of believers
Our hope is in:
– His promises – It never fails (Josh 21:45)
– His power – It never faints
He has risen & will keep His word (Matt 19:26)
His resurrection power (John 14:1-2)

Hope keeps you watching in prayer, waiting in patience, working with persistence, witnessing with passion & warfare with perseverance.

Psalm 119

Psalm 119:9-16 by Lai

Word of God

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. (‭Psalm‬ ‭119‬:‭9-16‬ NIV)

1. Dangers that a Christian face
2. Defense against dangers

3 Dangers
1. Possibility of straying from God’s Word
2. Sinning against God
3. Succumbing to the impurities of the world

7 Defense
1. Do not neglect the Word of God (read God’s Word daily)
2. Recount (memorize) God’s verses that speaks to us
3. Meditate & consider God’s Word
4. Hide God’s Word in our hearts
5. Live it out in our lives
6. Consider whether does it help promote God’s Kingdom
7. Delighting & rejoicing in God’s Word

Teach me your decrees. Do not let me stray from your command.
God’s Word is not dead. It is alive!

Would we be happier to get a million dollars or God’s Word?
If you don’t find it joyful, you may need to check the state of your spiritual health & do some soul searching

Need to read God’s Word daily, hiding it in out heart & living it. And to pray for this joy in our lives.

Our Security

Our Security (1 Peter 3:13-17)
By Chen

Jesus saves

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭13-17‬ NIV)

Dealing with Hostility:

1. Passion for goodness – Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?
Be in love with goodness. Make it your joy, your life & your goal.
What is goodness? James 1:27

2. Pliability in suffering – But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled…
Pliability = Adaptability
A joy, privilege & honor if face suffering in the name of Christ

3. Place for Christ – Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts

4. Preparedness to answer – always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness & reverence

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4‬:‭2‬ NIV)

Know what you believe
Answer with gentleness, meekness, humility & reverence

5. Pure conscience – and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (‭Hebrews‬ ‭9‬:‭14‬ NIV)

– Confession
– Ask forgiveness
– Restitution (reconciliation)
– No procrastination
– Education

6. Perspective on options – For it is better if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil
Correct perspective on viewing trials

Ephesians 4: Unity in the Body of Christ

Ephesians 4:1-16 by Wong

unity-in-the-body

Ephesians Overview
Ch 1-3:
– Our spiritual wealth in heaven which God has secured for us
– How God sees us in Christ
Ch 4-6:
– Our spiritual walk here on earth
– How the world sees Christ in us. So we can reflect our Lord Jesus Christ

Doctrine must be expressed in duty of believers.
Must be seen in practice expressed in our daily behavior.

footwashing

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭1-6‬ NIV)

holy-spirit

The work of glorifying God is impossible with our own selves but by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit enables us to serve in a way that glorifies Him & brings us to maturity.
High View of God: God is always the one who provides what we need.

Ch4 v1
– It is God’s appointment
– Live a life consistent with our calling to Christ

v2
– We have a very high calling, the highest possible
– Yet we need to be careful that it must not make us feel proud or superior
– Salvation by grace not works, thus we should be humble, gentle & patient
– This is the very attitude of our Master

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (‭Philippians ‭2‬:‭5-8‬ NIV)

v3
– Manifest the good works
– These are the fruits of the spirit

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John‬ ‭13‬:‭34-35‬ NIV)

church-unity

v4-6
– Unity in church is not something we create for ourselves, but by God Himself
– Our part is to preserve it & promote it
– We share a common hope of His calling

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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. 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. 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. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭7-16‬ NIV)

talents-gifts

– We are all given gifts that are unique & different spheres of service
– Spiritual gifts are given to believers as a result of our victorious Lord’s victory at Calvary. Employ our spiritual gifts consistently with how Jesus obtained it – humbly.
– Find out our place of service in the body of Christ. Can view the church as a field of work. To start doing what God wants us to do. Contribute to the needs of others. Practice hospitality. Rebuke when necessary. Encourage disheartened. Help the weak.
– God is no man’s debtor. God blesses those who bless others.
– The goal of every gift is the church can continue to give to each other & reach maturity.
– As we obey Him, God will manifest His likeness

Conclusion
– We are precious in the eyes of God
– Each one of us has a calling, a high calling, the highest calling from God

George Verwer (OM Founder) on Missions

Sat Jun 6 by George Verwer (Founder of Operations Mobilization) speaking at FPBC.

george-verwer-om

How many have committed yourself, God willing, to long term ministries in missions or in your local area?

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. (‭Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭16-20‬ NIV)

Is God still doing this today?
Yes!

As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. (‭Mark‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬ NIV)

Testimony
– Started earning money as young as age 10 sold raffles for cake mother baked, funfair games carnival at backyard, etc.
– At age 15 owned own business selling portable fire extinguishers eventually with a large sales force & many agencies.
– Thus related better to the tax collector Levi than the fishermen.
– Called by God at a Billy Graham meeting.
– When called was sent by the Holy Spirit (& not by a committee).
– God did amazing things providing when called ranging from a diary farmer giving a vehicle, people buying books sold & even selling a fox roadkill hit by his car (back in the day in New Jersey).
– However faced tough times including car engine blowing up & running out of funds until did not even have money to spend the night in a motel.
– Yet God provided amazingly always.
– Got to Mexico the starting point of missions at age 19 & even though Spanish was weak.
– Not just prayer & faith that the money will come in. There is a need for fundraising.
– Especially for many ordinary people who want to be missionaries, as many have left as faced insufficient funding.
– Even George Müller was a great fundraiser, albeit indirectly, by hinting that he needed money & that you needed to give.
– Copied George Mueller & raised funds for OM.
– We all face many difficulties but most importantly is prayer.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (‭Acts‬ ‭20‬:‭24‬ NIV)

Why missions?
1. The need is so huge (more than 1/3rd of world have NOT heard the Gospel).
2. There is a need for action together with prayer.
3. Challenge to serve long term for missions whether funding (if you’re good at business or raising money) or stepping out long term in faith in missions whether near or far.

E&OE