The Trial of Faith

ALC The Trial of Faith
Dec 6-8
Keynote by Mr Loh

alc

1. Introduction
The end of days

““Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:9-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Trials are not only real but can be unmistakably horrifying
Chronic diseases, sociopolitical instability, terrorism, ethnic conflicts, etc
20th century alone, >26m documented cases of martyrdom

2. Trials & Persecutions: A Christian way of life

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:32-36‬ ‭NIV‬‬

3. The trial of faith by Peter & James

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:6-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The trial is necessary

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28-29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The trials are manifold
Can ask why. Although may not get an answer.
Importance of believing its His purpose.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We are called to a life of faith

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Die to self

“for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:7-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Whether we live or die, we belong to God

Coping with pressures & trials.

Seek the Lord’s will. Some may be called to flee (Matt 20:23). Some to stay & endure (Luke 22:41-52)
Exercise legal privileges (Acts 22-25)

Children age 4-14 window best for disciple making (Deu 4:14)

5 proposals:
1. Know the time & God’s eternal plan & believe the sovereign One is in control.
2. Teach the Word & prepare ourselves & the church to stand firm & testify for God when the time with all its trials come.
3. Aware of the Kairos moments for His Kingdom & be courageous to act on them.
4. Look unto Jesus, have faith in God, stay connected & seek His sovereign will.
5. Double up for mission & be prepared to die for our faith.

Breakout
Helping believers with loss after disaster
1. Prayer
2. Presence
3. Purpose
4. Practical help

Practical help
1. Counseling
2. Support in person (not over the phone)
3. Provide accommodation (believers home, church premises, hotel, etc)
4. Provision of clothing, food, transportation, etc (shared among congregation)
5. Provide advise for insurance, legal & other services
6. Rebuilding/repair/cleaning of home destroyed
7. Church & committee in place to handle emergencies

Injury/loss of life practical help
1. Be there personally & appropriate words of comfort
2. All possible assistance
3. Prepared to conduct funeral rites w a gracious heart & reverence

Where & how to gather for worship
1. Meet at cell groups at any available venue (rotate among members not only leaders homes)
2. Negotiate for alternate venues
3. Maintain communication chart
4. Leaders keep copy of song book
5. Walkie talkies

Priorities each day in the face of danger
1. Not focus on worry but focus on God
2. Reconsider priorities especially earthly possession
3. Give thanks to God in all circumstances & situations
4. Complete all plans to God
5. Have faith

Perception/understanding concerning how God is using the authorities governing the country?
1. Although world’s perception that govt is inefficient & discriminatory, will accept that govt is placed as per God’s plan
2. Pray for wise & courageous leaders to be wise including seeking aid from authorities without compromising politically

“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”
‭‭James‬ ‭2:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬