2 Tough Questions on God (And How to Answer Them)

2 Tough Questions on God (And How to Answer Them)

god-loves-the-sinner-but-hates-the-sin

1. If God just forgives all Christians and none of them go to hell, why would any Christian do good when they can sin all they want?

I remember being asked this question by two children, a girl and a boy about twelve and ten years old, after one of my engagements in Hong Kong. Apparently they were sent to me by their mother. When they asked me their question, I could not help but smile, because I remembered asking the same question of Christians when I was their age, also urged on by my parents.

In some religions, the reward for following a law is heaven, and the deterrent for disobedience is hell. Why would anyone make the hard moral decisions if they were promised the reward regardless? Since the solution to man’s problem is a law, the gospel’s idea of a heart transformed by God is foreign to many – as it was to these children.

When the young siblings in Hong Kong asked me their question, I sat down next to them, nodded toward their mother and asked them a question in return: “Do you love your mom?”

Slightly taken aback, they answered emphatically, “Of course!” Smiling, I asked them a simple question: “When she asks you to do something, like clean your room, what do you think would make her happier: if you cleaned your room because you love her, or if you cleaned your room because you were afraid she would punish you?”

Without hesitation, the sister answered, “Because we love her.” And as the words left her lips, the realization was apparent on her face: obedience under the shadow of threat is hardly obedience at all, but compulsion. Christian obedience, devoid of threat and rooted in love, is what God truly wants.

I began to explain to her and her brother that when we respond to the gospel and live as children of God, our Father changes our hearts and makes us want to obey out of love. For the next few minutes they continued asking me questions in earnest, clearly unfinished when their mother whisked them away.

The disjuncture between law and the gospel leads to other common questions Christians are asked. But right now let’s address an important question about Jesus and the Father. . .

Jesus-fully-God-fully-man

2. If Jesus Is God, Why Did Jesus Never Say “I am God”?

Some people believe that Jesus never claimed to be divine. Rather, people began to believe this after Jesus left the earth. So we believed that later Christians were responsible for corrupting the true Christianity.

Why did Jesus not boldly and publicly proclaim his deity? This is a good question, but a good answer is readily available: He did not want to announce his identity right away. This is stated explicitly at the beginning of Mark’s gospel (see Mark 1:34 NIV).

Mark 1:3-4 (NIV)
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus wanted to keep his identity a secret for a time. There were a variety of reasons why (see Mark 1:45; 3:6).

Mark 1:45 (NIV)
Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Mark 3:6 (NIV)
Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Jesus did not want to be killed until it was the right time (John 7:30).

John 7:30 (NIV)
At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

So Jesus did not want to publicly proclaim his identity. This is known among scholars as the “Messianic Secret.” When the days of his death and ascension were approaching, he headed straight for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51). That is when he was arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin to reveal his identity.

Jesus is the Messiah & in the Gospels Jesus only publicly proclaimed that he is the Messiah one time. That one location is at his trial before the Sanhedrin, the very passage where Jesus claims to be God.

To repeat, the one time in the Gospels that Jesus publicly claimed to be the Messiah was the same time he publicly claimed to be God. Jesus was the Messiah even though he publicly proclaimed it only once. We cannot demand he proclaim his deity more often or more boldly. He was not in the business of proclaiming his identity over and over again. He chose to wait for the right moment.

Also, though Jesus did not often proclaim his identity publicly, the Gospels inform their readers of his identity through the narrative of the text (for example, see Mark 1:1; 1:11; 3:11).

Mark 1:1 (NIV)
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,

Mark 1:11 (NIV)
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 3:11 (NIV)
Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”

Throughout his gospel, Mark is preparing the reader for the moment that the Messianic Secret will be revealed, when Jesus will tell everyone who he really is, tying together all his words and deeds. This makes 14:62, the climax and divine revelation, all the more powerful and important to understand.

Mark 14:62 (NIV)
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

It is there that Jesus claims to be the divine Son of Man from Daniel 7 and the One sitting on the throne of God from Psalm 110:1.

Psalm 110:1
The Lord says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”

After reading Mark through the lens of scripture I could no longer avoid the obvious. From introduction to climax, Mark’s gospel is an exposition of the deity of Jesus. The first biography of Jesus ever written is designed to teach that Jesus is Yahweh.

Source: N Qureshi (edited)

APAC 2016 – Day 4


Final day of APAC 2016

Final-day

Corporate Prayer

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Pray that the assembly leaders will be careful not to allow the likes of Jezebel to happen in the assembly. Let us pray that the sisters be encouraged to play their effective non-public faithful roles & not teaching roles. In like manner, let us pray that each assembly will ensue the brothers take up their leadership responsibilities to teach & pray.

Morning Devotion: The Hesed (hay-sad) of God
By Tan Kian Huat, Bethesda Hall (Ang Mo Kio)

message-Tan-Kian-Huat

Hesed (Greek): Four Loves
• Eros (romantic)
• Storge (family, pets)
• Phileo (friendship, common passion)
Agape (love of God, sacrifice, forgiving, unselfish, unconditional)

Agape not a common word outside the Bible. Mainly used in NT.

Steadfast love = hesed

“The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”” – ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭34:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Terrible judgment God no longer traveling with them
Moses meeting God in tent of meeting face to face interceding on behalf of people
God graciously consented to go with His people

“Show Me Your Glory”

God revealed Himself to Moses
God’s attributes
• Merciful & gracious (loving God)
• Slow to anger (patient God)
• Abounding in steadfast love (hesed) & faithfulness (good & kind God)

The “hesed” of God
246 occurrences in Bible
Translated as loving mercy, loving kindness, merciful, goodness, lasting love, steadfast love, etc

“Hesed” in book of Ruth

“But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.” -‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.”” – ‭‭Ruth‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.” – ‭‭Ruth‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Horizontal “Hesed”

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
– Micah‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

• Loving our neighbor because he is part of the community
• Ruth showed hesed to Naomi (Ruth 3:10)

Vertical “Hesed”
• To His chosen people
• Enduring love, faithful love or loyal love
• Corresponds to unchanging nature of God
• Bounded Himself to act faithfully to the commitment He made to His people
• He is a covenant keeping God

“Hesed” in the Psalms
He is our God & we are His people
100% reliable!

Hesed-psalms
“Hesed” in the book of Hosea
Very difficult for the prophet Hosea

Hesed-Hosea

 

God’s agape love in the NT
7 churches commendation & condemnation for most churches
No perfect assembly all with own weaknesses & failures
Yet we are assured of God’s hesed
He will not give up on us
We can cling on His hesed & faithfulness

Esther afraid to approach king even though queen
Nehemiah afraid to speak us as cupbearer
No hesed from those kings

1 Chronicles 21:10-13

3 choices for David
• 3 years of famine
• 3 months of devastation by foes
• Pestilence (hand of the Lord)

Job 13:15
Job 23:10
Habbakkuk 3:2
Habbakkuk 3:17-18

 

Hesed-conclusion

We will take courage to draw near to Him
We know He will surely receive us as we are His people
When we repent He will forgive
His abundant mercy is there for us
He will extend hesed to us as our Heavenly Father
When we return to Him, He will restore
Even though we may feel unworthy & failed Him, yet let us remember the hesed of God

 

Session 7: Evangelistic Endeavour at Philadelphia
Revelation 3:7-13

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Philadelphia (6th church in Revelation)
Philadelphia = brotherly love

brotherly-love

Earthquake prone area; soil rich for vines (grape & wine)
Youngest of 7 cities
Founded 140 BC by King of Pergamos (Attalus) in love of brother Eumenes
Missionary zeal for Greek language & culture would go out far & wide
Earthquake in AD17 city rebuilt & renamed Neo Ceasarae
Last city to capitulate to Ottoman invaders
Popular gods: Dionysus (god of wine), Janus (key bearing god)
Modern city in John’s time & production of liquorice
Spiritually no rebuke not condemnation for the assembly & while not perfect were faithful

V7
Holy = separate, sanctified
True = not in contrast of false, but genuine & holy (1 Thessalonians); 10x in Revelation; True in conduct & character; Holiness & truth itself
Key of David = absolute authority & ability to open doors (Isaiah 22); Jesus has key to salvation, the kingdom, death & hell; He is the key man
Openeth & shutteth = freedom of access; opening of food cupboards to feed the family

1 Cor 16:9
2 Cor 2:12
Col 4:3
Acts 14:27

Foretaste of heaven when many nations gather to praise, honour & worship God
In many places in the world, the door is open & only Jesus can shut it; The great commission – take advantage of the open door! Do we look but not go in? Or do we go straight in?!

V8
Set before thee = right in front of you in close proximity; one cannot miss it
Open door = opened deliberately & wide open
Even though we have little strength or numbers

V9
Behold 7x
Synagogue of Satan = false Jews (by race not spirit)
While this door of opportunity is open far & wide, nevertheless at home is open & enemies of the Lord & assembly will come to see God & worship with believers
Eg apostle Paul – from persecutor to be saved & brought to believers in Damascus & Jerusalem seeing that he was wrong in the past
See Christ as saviour

V10
“I” (the Lord) is in authority & power
Hour of temptation = great tribulation
Believers kept out (from) the hour of temptation
Also application in our day
When great tribulations comes, persecution the world has never seen before, believers will be saved & with God

V11
Behold come quickly to take away the believers on the earth
We are not earth dwellers but pilgrims passing through – headed for a different place
We rejoice!!

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” – ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:51-52‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” – ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Imminent rapture & drove them to preach the gospel
Rediscovered 200 years ago, church became evangelical, many people saved & many assemblies

Imminent & the next thing on God’s calendar, coming swiftly
That could happen now. May be next few year or longer.
Why? God’s patience (not our patience waiting for Him) Not desiring that any should perish

Looking forward to eventually receive our crown
Many crowns in heaven; crown we will lay at Jesus’ feet
Let no man take your crown = let no man rob you of your reward/taking what are yours

Examples losing crown

  • Esau to Jacob
  • Reuben to Judah
  • Saul to David

V12
In this city any who had contributed bountifully to the city & citizens was immortalised in local temple pillar built in his honor
The overcomer made a pillar not in temple god of wine but temple of God in heaven
Honoured in eternal way that we do not deserve

City prone to earthquakes & inhabitants flee seeking safety
Go out no more: promise to the overcomer
The city of God is absolutely secure & an amazing place to be
Nothing can shake it; Forever safe in company of Jesus
Believers today do face physical earthquakes & earthquakes in the lives – persecution, bereavement, sorrow & loss
Headed for heaven where here are no earthquakes, no sorrow, no crying

Write on him he name of my God, the city of my God (new Jerusalem) & my new name
Name written = ownership bearing His name (God the father; the new Jerusalem)
New name suggests a new direction & relationship
When we get home to heaven in death / rapture, we will be enjoying a new relationship with Jesus

Challenges
An open door for service of Christ
The rapture of saints
The judgement seat of Christ

Let us who believe He is coming, be fired up in His truth
Let us be excited in His coming to claim the earth which is rightly His & to setup His Kingdom
“Because He lives!”

 

Session 8: Comfortable complacency at Laodicea
Revelation 3:14-22

Laodicea-today

Laodicea
Comfortably complacent
Today = Apathy, apostasy
Learn from the letter to avoid

“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Vulnerable city militarily as did not have own water supply
Water piped in via aqueduct 6 miles away easily attacked by enemies
Politics diplomatic & compromised
Named after wife of Antichus II (Laodecia)
Refining gold, financial centre, glossy black garments (black sheep)
Destroyed by earthquake AD61 rebuilt with own resources
Spiritually the only church which nothing good is said

V14
Described in 3 ways
• The Amen: only place “Amen” used as proper noun; true & reliable as God of truth
• Faithful & true witness: (re: Revelation 1); one we can come to & seek for help day by day
• Beginning of the creation: not meaning He was created (without beginning & without end); He is the source & power of all things God created (by Him, for Him); Creator of all things (not 1st creation)

V15
I know thy works (said to all churches)
Lukewarm: cold to freezing & hot to boiling
Cold refreshing & very good for many things
Hot good for many things too
Lukewarm: tepid; not good for much;
Not speaking against sin; as if disinterested
Cold: frigid not doing anything; can be heated & become valuable to God
1st preference: hot – for burning in enthusiasm & evangelism

V16
Started cold at the springs but tepid reaching Laodicea
Tastes bad; undrinkable; unattractive; don’t want to hear from you; of no use with God
Want you to be hot & on fire with your whole heart
Assembly like the city tried to be friends with everybody
Is this a description of your assembly?
Do we speak out against sin OR just keep our heads down & low profile?
No persecution as no cause of concern to satan

V17
Rich in need of nothing: actions, lifestyle & approach to things relying on own resources & finances
No difference with non believes
Same attitudes persist into the assemblies
The truth is that you are wretched, miserable poor, pitiable & naked; lacking spiritual vision & destitute spiritually

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” – Provers 29:18

V18
A way back
An investment in our spiritual future
Takes time, effort & determination
In times of recession, there is a flight to goal
Investing in pure gold: gold of heaven; the person of Jesus Christ – his divinity, humanity
People who invest seek a return, for believers pays rich dividends to all whose treasure is there
Speciality of town making silky smooth black clothes
Nakedness: judgment & humiliation
White raiment: righteousness & purity
Rich as my appreciation of Jesus Christ has grown
Salve: restoration of spiritual sight & light; through action of Holy Spirit in my life

V19
As many as I love in spite of our apathy, wretchedness & condition I am in
A call to members of church to repent of their sin & lukewarmness to buy & invest in the righteousness of God
Be zealous: glow, warm up, become hot!

V20
Behold I stand at the door & knock: an invitation to fellowship with Him
Previously looking at open door, now closed door
One standing outside closed door is Jesus Christ & He is seeking entrance
We at assemblies may have closed Him outside & we may be reluctant to let Him in
He is the centre, the theme, the leader of the worship & praise

William Holman Hunt’s painting of Jesus standing outside door knocking

Light-of-the-world

“You forgot the handle!”
“No, the handle is on the inside”

Song of Solomon 5:2-6

He will stand patiently but there will be a time he stays no longer

Hymn: O Jesus, Thou Art Standing
O Jesus, Thou art standing, outside the fast closed door,
In lowly patience waiting to pass the threshold o’er:
Shame on us, Christian brethren, His name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us, to keep Him standing there!

O Jesus, Thou art knocking; and lo, that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle, and tears Thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge, so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal, so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, Thou art pleading in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, My children, and will you treat Me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow we open now the door;
Dear Saviour, enter, enter, and leave us nevermore.

Supper: last meal of the day
2 disciples on road to Emmaus invited Jesus in & received a wonderful Revelation of he truth of Jesus Christ
The invitation goes out today to invite us in

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” -‭‭John‬ ‭14:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Only one that can sit on Father’s throne is Jesus
Thankfully Jesus has His own throne & we are invited to sit on His throne

This letter represents this day & age of apathy & neutrality
Let us invite Jesus to come within our heart to stay

Challenges
• Neither cold nor hot
• Rich but poor
• Opening the door

Hymn: Abide With Me
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide,
The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide,
When other helpers fall and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out lifes little day,
Earths joys grow dim, its glories pass away,
Change and decay in all around I see,
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as thou dwellest with thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of Kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea,
Come, friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour,
What but Thy grace can foil the tempters power,
Who like Thyself, my guide and stay can be,
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless,
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness,
Where is deaths sting, Where, grave thy victory,
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
Shine through The gloom and point me to the skies,
Heavens morning breaks, and earths vain shadows flee,
In life, in death, O Lord abide with me.

 

Goodbye til we meet again

thank-you-farewell

apac2016apac2016APAC2016

APAC 2016 – Day 3 H2

APAC 2016 day 3 2nd half

Overcoming Challenges: HK
By John Short, Austin Avenue Gospel Hall

John-Short

Priests back in the day added oil & trimmed the lamps
“Jiayu!” We need to add oil!

Thank God for all who are full time.
And we are ALL full time Christians.

Stop daydreaming as in daydreaming you’re the hero
In prayer, God is the hero

The return of the Lord Jesus is imminent

Mission: to know the complete gospel of Jesus Christ

Imprisoned as refused to accept politically appointed person as head of church
As Jesus is the head
A body without a head is lifeless
A body with 2 heads in a monstrosity

God is light & God is love
God knew we were unstable
Never fear, God is near

There is one race, the human race
Not use nationalities of mankind to divide
We are all one family in Christ

Perfection = perfection of being bond slave of Christ (Romans 6)

Life is through Him alone

 

Emmaus Report
By David Harvey, ECS East Asia Coordinator Encourager

Emmaus-David

One of the first things Christ did after resurrection was to teach 2 of His disciples
We need to know Him more & His power of resurrection

Don’t be a spoon fed Christian
Don’t eat sardines!

Challenge:

2 disciples on the road to Emmaus listened & learned (Luke 24:13-27)
Berean believers searched the scriptures to confirm what they heard (Acts 17:11)

Book publishing
Prison ministries
Correspondence courses

Exists to glorify God by providing biblically-sound resources & study materials

Why use ECS courses?
• Biblically sound
• Trusted writers
• Concise lessons (30-60mins)
• Wide number of subjects

2015 report
• 1.4m distributed
• 1m corrected
• 71% completion rate
• 103 countries
• 80 languages

Wanted
• Students
• Promoters
• Teachers

ecsministries.org

 

Overcoming Challenges
By Peter Ferry, Christian Assembly

Peter-Ferry

Last 57 years lived in Thailand
Originally from Scotland
Thank God for the joy & privilege of serving Him

#Acts

Paul did not stay on but when had trained men, committed them to the Lord
A great example of one used by the Lord to see local assemblies established whenever he went

Workshop: What worship means
In Thailand almost all from Buddhist background
Worship for Buddhists is subjective looking on
Worship for believers is objective with our eyes fixed on God as we worship
Why do we meet on the Lord’s day?

Workshop: Witnessing
How to witness
Practical experience/role-play
How to speak about salvation
Gone out as a team to the marketplaces

Need for local believers to preach
Need to give younger believers an opportunity to serve
For example, one Sunday worship a month conducted by youth – one to preach, one to lead singing, etc.
All meet together & prepare message together

Work of training is always ongoing

APAC Youth Discussion

APAC-youth

Challenges & what works
Focus on 1 to 1 discipleship
Lose young adults going overseas
Challenge of remaining relevant
Chasing money & choices

Struggle with interest, engagement, comforts, many university activities

Success catching gap between form 5 & before beginning university/college & before starting work
Parental & assembly encouragement

Struggle on whether appropriate to use activities to attract youth

What do the students really want to know?

Ageing church population

Help them in problems faced in everyday life

Homosexuality & sex

If the church doesn’t teach, youth will learn from the world

Worldly & think can go to heaven if sin

Difficult for them to hear the gospel

Difficult for believer to find other believers for marriage

Pray for APAC Youth
Platform to bounce ideas & discuss challenges etc
APAC Youth 2018

 

Cultural Night & Dinner

cultural-night

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Malaysia

APAC 2016 – Day 3 H1

APAC 2016 day 3 1st half

APAC2016

Day 3 Chairing by Adrian Low, Klang Gospel Hall

chair-day3-Adrian

Corporate Prayer 
• Pray that leaders will kneel the Word & exercise it wisely, faithfully & decisively to prevent false teachings encroaching into our assemblies
• Pray that we will hold fast to our faith in times of adversary & persecution
• Pray that we in assemblies will discern false teachings & not promote the teachings of Balaam & Nicolaitans
• Pray we will always remember the Lord Jesus as our source of spiritual sustenance at all times including when we are down

prayer

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Morning Devotion
By Mark from Hui-Lai-Li Christian Assembly, Taiwan

devotional-Mark

 

2 Timothy 2:1-6

Be strong in the grace
Grace is to get what we don’t deserve
We have the salvation of Jesus

My father is a full time worker but I did not agree with his lifestyle. We would have fellowship an hour a week talking on life, school, work & church. I began to realise the important of God’s love who touched me. I began to share the gospel with my school friends & those around me. We need to stand by courage.

Legacy: My father told me that if a Christian ministry cannot be done without you, it will not last. When we are serving we need to look for reliable men who are qualified to teach others as well. Paul entrusted to Timothy. Timothy then entrusted to reliable men & then to others. Total 4 generations. My wife & I serve in university. We train university students to care for high school students. And for the high school students to care for younger ones.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. In Taiwan every young man has to serve in the army for 1 year. In the army, you need to absolutely obey your chief. Asked to lie down, need to comply immediately wherever you are on grass, rock or mud. But does not compare to Jesus who sweat blood, betrayed by humans, whipped naked & crucified.

Paul was imprisoned, whipped, endangered everywhere & full of suffering but not defeated. Likewise we should endeavour to be like Paul.

A church brother who is an athlete undergoes rigorous training & diet everyday. One day, a girl caught his attention & his lifestyle began to change – staying up late & straying from diet. After long talk & searching, chose to focus on sports & wait for Godly woman.

My grandfather is a farmer who gets up before the sun rises. Everyday we gets up to remove weeds, rocks & tills the ground daily. After 4 months, he reaps he harvest. When we are teaching brothers & sisters, we will face many difficulties & need to be strong in Jesus serving His will. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Session 5: Worldly Compromise
Revelation 2:18-29

session5

Thyatira compromise
Least important city among 7 yet receives longest letter
Small but striving town SE of Pergamos surrounded by Hills
Modern town of Akhisar nearby (Population 75k)

Akhisar

Politically not significant but associated & following Pergamos
Meeting of trade guilds where meat sacrificed to idols was eaten, followed by business discussion & actors performing immoralities & often ending involving the audience
If one was to be a successful businessman, one was required to compromise & join a guild so not to lack opportunities for profitability
Produced purple dyes (pale pink to deep purple)
Military base & produced own armaments
Spiritually many different gods to be worshipped associate with various guilds

V18 Angel = leadership of the church (as prev)
The Son of God (only 1x mentioned in Revelation) = Jesus, deity, authority, blazing, eternal, available at any time
In contrast with sun god of Thyatira who had ‘faded away’ & only seen on bright days & not at night
Eyes = all seeing, penetrating gaze
“Flames of fire” vs “like jewels washed in milk” described by Solomon in tranquil beauty
Feet will stamp out what the eyes find unsuitable
Eyes like flames of fire + Feet like fine brass

V19 Commendation by inspector of assemblies
I know = full & comprehensive knowledge
7 things known
• Works
• Charity/love
• Service
• Faith
• Patience
• (First) Works
• (Last) Works
Good thing when assembly attempts to meet needs & help needy in local community
Acknowledges a continuing love
Even in the weakest & worst of assemblies there are those who continue & grow in love of the Lord
It may be that those who are better taught have lost their love for the Lord
How is it possible to love the saints & brethren? Neither I nor any Bible teacher can teach that. Only God teaches you how to love.
Last works more than first works of increasing importance.
Do our works have any impact on the local community?

V20 Few things against you worded in very strong language
Sufferest that woman = leave a her alone; ignores her; major mistake of the oversight

(Sisters have a very important place in the assembly & so many things in assemblies men cannot do
Without them the assemblies would be so much poorer
But to remember the Biblical rule of headship
Not her place to teach or pray publicly when church is gathered
Reminder to brothers & leadership that it is important to lead the leadership & only those with gift to teach
Young men to be encouraged, taught & guided in right way)

Self appointed as prophetess claiming inspiration for the things she said
Teaching totally unscriptural & weak husband (men) not performing their part
Physical or spiritual fornication encouraging them to not worry & join the guilds associating with idol worship
That woman Jezebel seduced MY servants

V21 God’s amazing grace giving her window of opportunity to repent
Refused: set her mind against God & Christ

V22 The time for her repentance had come & gone, but still open for others to repent
Cast = hurl violently & suddenly into bed (figuratively appropriate) of compromise leading to pain, death
Cast into same bed unless they repent of their sins
God’s willingness to forgive should be mirrored by leadership & every individual

V23 Kill her children (those given opportunity to repent but refuse to)
The Lord loves the assemblies so much that there’s only so much He can stand
Don’t push the envelop!

V24 Say unto you (Angel/leadership?)
Rest = faithful saints; remnant not follow her
Jesus ever careful not to overburden His saints (Previously mentioned fornication & meat offered to idols)

V25 Hold fast = hang in there
Until I come = wonderful promise
First 3 churches not mentioned as no longer existent at time of rapture
Other 4 churches still in existence & encouraged

V26 Overcomer will have administrative position in millennial kingdom, which may follow into eternal state
Faithfully until the end given power to reign until the end & all things will finally become true

V28 Given the morning star (Reformation?)
Morning star = Jesus Christ
Spreading light & hope over dark earth
While others cannot appreciate it, overcomer does now & in days to come

More Reading
Matthew 13:31 The Parable of the Leaven (Yeast)
Matthew 24 False Prophets
Dark ages (rise of papacy & persecution)

Challenges
Lack of separation
Unjudged sin
Women in leadership

 

Session 6: Nominal Christianity at Sardis
Revelation 3:1-6

Sardis but did not know they were dead
Reputation (from past) of being alive
30miles SE of Thyatira; Where gold was fine
Today only a small village called Sart (Population 5k)

Sart

On plateau surrounded by mountains all sides suitable as fortress & previously capital of ancient Lydia
Destroyed in 17AD & rebuilt by Tiberius, who waived taxes
People erected monument to Tiberius & overconfident to own security & fell to Cyrus
Never returned to its past glory
What they felt was their strength became their weakness not once but twice
2 temples to Cybele & Artemis (idol worship); loose living & pleasure loving
Economy active & relatively wealthy
Agriculture (fruits), wool & dyes
River ran through the centre of town
No Balaams, Jezebels or Nicolaitans & no outside persecution
The church was at rest. Asleep. Spiritually dead.

V1 7 spirits of God X= 7 different spirits but indicates the wealth, peer & resources of the HS

Spirit of…
1. The Lord
2. Wisdom
3. Understanding
4. Counsel
5. Might
6. Knowledge
7. Fear of the Lord

No commendation (only commendation in letter is some who have not fallen asleep)
Assembly was a beehive of organised activity but the Lord knows what is really happening
Sleepwalking, zombies, dead
Caused by sin in its midst

V2-3 Fire has gone out & testimony so mute that wasn’t worth attacking
Be watchful: arise out of sleep & urged to setup a new watch
4 instructions
1. Watch (for sin, the devil, to pray, for the Lord)
2. Strengthen (the things that remain that are ready to die; dead = more concerned with ritual than Jesus)
3. Remember (whence they had fallen)
4. Repent
Responsibility of leadership, teachers & invited preachers to strengthen & hold on fast to the things that remain
An urgent task in UK, US & Canada

No assembly is perfect. If you find the perfect assembly, don’t join it otherwise when you join, it will become imperfect 😝

Keeping in fellowship, breaking of bread & in prayer.
In the early days was made own at great cost.
Inappropriate & unhelpful to throw away the things they stood for.
Hold fast & repent = keep a firm grip on the Word
Coming as a thief = surprise, unprepared
How is your assembly? Behold he sleepeth?

V4 Few names = Few people
Who are not guilty of defiled their garments
Not soiled, smeared or fouled their character
There is always a remnant who love the Lord

“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.” – ‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

White = the colour of heaven
Will walk with me in white (like Enoch walked with God & taken to heaven)
A wonderful promise
Are we walking with the Lord?

“When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way!”

V5 Book of life occurs 7x in Revelation
Book of life = in heaven penned names of all trusted Christ as their saviour; not to be blotted out
(Maybe differs from Book of the living = all who have lived on earth at any time)

John 17 when the Lord Jesus is praying in connection to his disciples & marked as His

Connection with Israel
Is Israel in remnant?
Matthew 13
Matthew 24

Challenges for Assemblies
Dead men walking
Watchfulness
Judgment
Reformation

APAC 2016 – Day 2 H2

APAC 2016 Day 2 H2 at Aug 18, 2016

Afternoon Prayer by John Short (HK)

John-prayer

 

Being Overcomers in Cross Cultural Mission

Korea-cross-cultural

Foreigners in Korea are increasing every year
Diverse in Nationality & Status
1st = Chinese (2/3rd Korean Chinese)
2nd = American

Confronting many conflicts especially cross-culture families
Outreach program e.g. Ansan East Assembly (Many Chinese & SEA), Chinese Bible study in Daegu Area (since 2000), Korean language study in Wonju Assembly (monthly Gospel hours + planning 1st Gospel camp in Mongolia by combined assemblies)

Summary
Many things to do in Korea especially for foreigners who suffer language & cultural differences
Please pray for Korean Missionaries (31 missionaries in 16 countries)
Against wrong & false teachings (heretics & cults)

GLO Ministries Australia Report
By Andrew Cowell

GLO-Aus

I, GLO & you are passionate on Christ
In Australia lost out first love & we need to return back

I, GLO & you love the church
We exist as servant of assemblies to build the church

I, GLO & you long to see people gathering to Christ in discipleship witnessing & discipling in His name

How do we mobilise & motivate the next gen to love Christ & committed to preach Him to the nations? One of greatest challenges!

Aus peaked in 70-80s, plateaued & now in decline. Happening now & in near future for ASEAN countries.

Starting Q: Is there anything we can do to help?
GLO is not large but God provides resources towards helping assemblies. How?
GLO helps the church
1. DESIGN discipleship environments & training
2. DISCOVER people of vision, faith & action
3. Who can be DEVELOPed and then
4. DEPLOYed (send, command) by the church

Helping be a “midwife” for over 50 years

CROSStalk since 1997 eg English as Secondary Language
Fb.com/crosstalk

CROSSconnect discipleship & ministry training in “Practical Christianity” since 1975 trained 500+ people
Fb.com/crossconnect

CROSStrain makes you fit & ready for missions work since 1994 equipping 50 candidates from over 7 countries for missionary service

GLOministries.org.au

Challenge to reach the nations with the gospel (2.7b)

Ending Q: Is there anything we can do to help?

 

GLO Malaysia Update

GLO-My
GLO school setup in Malaysia many years back
It is difficult as missions is not an easy call
Grateful to GLO Australia for helping establish the school
Satisfying to see graduates of GLO Malaysia serve as church leaders & missionaries
Kathmandu Missions Centre in Nepal led by Amar trained through GLO supported by Malaysian assemblies
Every year usually May evangelism & short term mission and Nov for intensive training
Challenges of the need for training

 

Evening Prayer by Wong from Bethesda

prayer-wong-SG

 

Session 3: Satanic Tribulation for the Church in Smyrna
Revelation 2:8-11

Roy-Hill-session3

Smyrna = Persecution, bitterness, myrrh
40miles N of Ephesus with a beautiful bay in an almost perfect location
Still survives today known as Izmir (only 1 of 7 churches where there’s a living town today)

Izmir-modern-map

Known as “the crown of Ionia”
Destroyed 2-3x in its history (earthquakes, war)
Rebuilt – died & lived again!
An ally of Rome & place temple erected dedicated to Caesar
Centre of emperor worship & intolerable of other religions. Can follow all religions except for Emperor’s Day (the lord’s day) where worry citizen had to burn a pinch of incense on the altar. Very difficult for Christians as only one Lord – Jesus Christ.
Some “Christians” may have burnt but many who refused to bow the knee no matter the (high) cost.

Economy: wealthy & wicked city. Main exports wine & myrrh. Myrhh gum raisin tasted bitter but when crushed fragrant.

3 forms of persecution: pagan, Jewish & satanic

Being a Christian in Smyrna was a serious matter. Slandered by Jews. Tortured & killed by Romans. No word of criticism from the Lord to Christians in Smyrna. The Lord understands, sympathises & empathises.

V8 Jesus introduces Himself in 2-fold way

Jesus addresses Himself as first & last. Existed before evil commenced & will still be there when evil has run its course.
A personal relationship with Him will lift is above life’s trails.
To walk with Him & appreciate His love & care.
Previously Christians could worship. Increased interference from governments. Not allowed to wear cross or speak of faith (in the West!)
Registrars of marriage because of personal convictions refuse to marry same sex couples risk being dismissed.
The landscape is changing rapidly.
Our message of a living God is vastly superior to any other message preached on earth.
Our Gospel message is an attractive message in its own power prices people away from what is wrong & come to that which is right. This is our priority.
First and the Last = Deity

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭48:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Next: description of Jesus’ humanity
Dead… and Alive: an encouragement to martyrs
He died voluntarily & gave His life voluntarily

V9
I knew thy works
I know thy tribulations
I know thy poverty
I know the blasphemy directed against you

Remained faithful in spite of suffering
Directed to fellow saints rather than those in Smyrna
If one is in old age, disability, young in faith, etc the Lord understands
But for the rest of us who are well & there is not much persecution… yet… We need to take action before its too late
Tribulation = pressure = man placed on ground with stone heavy unbearable until life goes away
Poverty = employment & business opportunities restricted by being believers
Poverty not known from birth but thrust upon them
Poor yet rich spiritually (eternal treasures in heaven) & joyful in the spoiling of their goods
Those who persecute His people will one day face Him & need to answer to what they have done to His flock
Blasphemy – those who said they were Jews historically & in connection with own religious practices but the Lord said they are NOT Jews but of the devil
These Jews attacked Christians verbally & spread lies accusing of being a secret organisation with abominable practices like cannibalism (eating body & blood of Christ), immorality (love feasts on regular basis), anti-family (driving families & friends apart)
atheists (did not believe emperor was lord of all), disloyal to heritage, country, God & Roman Empire (as spoke of King of another kind – Jesus), & doomsayers (constantly speaking of end of world where Christ reigns)
Synagogue of Jews had become synagogue of Satan

V10 Do not be afraid of even 1 of these things
Faith of those in persecuted is to be admired & applauded as fear not even 1 of these things
Battle has been fought & victory has been won – devil defeated
Easy to say but when the storm breaks & fire comes, would we stand tall with our heads held high? A huge challenge.
Devil working to imprison believers
Devil = one who lays traps & snares catching men alive
Cast = hurl violently facing hunger, chains, darkness, solitude & torture
Cast one by one causing fear & testing to destruction
John is writing to encourage the saints. What hope can he give them? It will last for 10 days
10 days = 10 years? = 10 emperors? = literally 10 days
Limited by divine sovereignty to short period of time in God’s grace & mercy
Faithful into death we are given the reassurance of the crown of life
Crown of life = martyrs crown = symbol of triumph = token of public honour = life in its fullness
Something to be enjoyed not only in heaven but also on earth (Joy!)

# Hebrews 11

V11 Letters brought to us lessons
Overcometh = succeeds in the trial
All genuine believers are overcomers will not be hurt of 2nd death (the lake of fire)

Parallels Israel in bondage

# Matthew 24

Challenges
• Poverty & suffering
• Blasphemy & fear
• Suffering & faithfulness

Practical Lessons
• We are to thank God for His grace & mercy for us, largely without persecution… but it will come
• Jesus Christ was there in glory before it all started, today is still there & when it is all done will be there

 

Sharing by Indonesia
By Pak Suko

sharing-Indonesia
Total Population: 255.0m
Unreached: 155.6m
Largest Religion Islam: 80%

Under new government, Christianity not considered as a minority religion

Increasing openness of Indonesians repealed by harsh extremisms & legalism

Vision: New Testament church planting movement established in Indonesia

Today 13 assemblies in Indonesia (Jakarta 1, West Java 1, East Java 8, & Central Java 3) with 14 elders & 12 church planters

Even though some think Indonesia is a barren field, there are many opportunities asking through the Lord of the harvest

Change daily conversation topics to the gospel by building bridges = good relationships

Mercy ministry targeting the poor (pre-evangelism), student sponsorship programs (129 students from elementary to high school), traditional medicine, fresh water aid (especially dry season), and youth & outreach camp

Thank all who support especially Jalan Imbi, Kajang & GLO.

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:37-38‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Pray for Indonesia
Keep praying
Keep seeking
Keep praising
Keep hoping
Keep believing
God shows up in unexpected ways

Thanksgiving for the food by Teo Pek Bing, SNGH

prayer-Teo

Corporate Prayer
Thanksgiving for Korea
• Praise God for many missionaries sent out
• His goodness & faithfulness in protecting Korea

Pray for Korea
• NK open up & Gospel proclaimed
• Content for GNTV reaching lost
Prayer for Ephesus Message
• His right hand holds church leaders
• Encourage & rest in His mighty hand & seek His leading
Remember & nurture our first love for God, His people & His work

corporate-prayer-2-1

corporate-prayer-2-2

corporate-prayer-2-3

 

Session 4: The Church at Pergamos Impure Doctrine
Revelation 2:12-17

session-4

Pergamos = Pergamum = Twice married (at same time); Strange name; Tower + Married (Greek)
20 miles from sea & built on a hill
Messenger who carried these messages went in an arc upwards
Pergamos = Ancient capital of Asia Minor
Symbol = sword = granted authority to impose death penalty wo referring to Rome
Unofficial centre for pagan religion; Important for scientific & medical research; Hospital & manufacturer of medicinal ointments; Insignia = serpent of medical profession; Library 2nd only to Alexandria
Academic city rather than commercial but did manufacture ointments + parchments
Spiritually filled with idolatry, altars & temples; Centre for emperor worship & God of medicine
This letter is the only evidence there was an assembly in Pergamos

If the Lord today would write to all churches here today, would be interesting & instructive. Yet as is autonomous nothing we can do about the conditions that prevail there. Most important to us would be own church.

Lord instructed John to write like many times in Revelation

V12
Sharp sword = drawn; not in sheath/scabbard = Word of God = Rapid, swift, painful, impossible to escape (2 edges)
For this city there is no higher court of appeal
Suggestive of fact there is a higher authority than the city, council, Caesar – Jesus Himself
Suggestive God’s authority to examine & expel any wrong doing in the church
The Word of God is our final court of appeal
Everything to be examined on that basis alone
Anything non-scriptural must be removed
Assemblies must not change? No! Change is necessary but within the scope of God’s Word

V13 Starts off in normal way “I know thy works” – fully, completely, comprehensively
Where thou dwellest – Your works considered in connection to where you are
Abraham (Hebrew) = Passer through
Dwelling in the world, not just passing through
Where Satan’s seat is = in the city of the serpent & perhaps in temple of Asclepius (god of medicine) where serpents are worshipped presided by Satan
Satan was there first, & the assembly of God was placed there angering Satan to destroy the assembly
In other cities (eg Babylon) asked to flee but in Pergamos to hold fast showing determination & strength to be faithful
My name speaks of authority & holding fast not only to His Word but to His Name (2 edged & sharp challenge)
Has not denied MY faith = trust in His as the highest, ultimate & heavenly jurisdiction
Everything we have belongs to Him
I want you to remember those days when Antipas was a member of your assembly described by the Lord as my “faithful witness” which Jesus used to describe Himself
Slain = killed outright by Satan
Among you = killed at your side in your sight
Antipas was put inside a hollow brass bull which was heated to impassible temperatures suffocating & burnt to death
Jesus knows you were probably thinking “I’m next”
Jesus encourages, blesses & reminds them He once sat where they once sat being attacked by Satan, Jews & pagans
We must not marvel to find broken bones & blood near the lions’ den, like we find in Pergamos

V14-15
Few things against the church
Few = not indicative of number although there were 3
Assembly here had become divided into 3 sections
1. Still honoured the Lord’s name
2. Followed doctrine of Balaam
3. Followed the doctrine of Nicolaitans
Attacked not only outside but within
Balaam was called to curse Israel & almost killed if not saved by dumb ass
Balaam still continued to try to curse Israel for personal gain yet recognised that could not go against God
Balaam planned for beautiful Moabite women to stumble Israelites
Balaam & Balak succeeded by deceit
Suggested that it was ok for believers to mix in & have an attitude of worldliness
Worldliness = believers indulge in pleasures = accepting its manners = copying its habits = sharing its ambitions = submitting to its wisdom
“Let’s forget about separation & intertwine with the people” casting a stumbling block (trap) entangling the feet of the children of Israel
Today beware still the doctrine of Balaam & the need to disavow the world
Lest will become entangled in the foot & become useless
Fornication = spiritual and/or physical
Nicolaitans tolerated by assembly this evil = guilty!
Sin = feelings of guilt that debilitates the individual

V16 Was there any means of escape?
Repent!
Where there is repentance, there is possibility of recovery
I will come – the divine promise
Sword of the mouth – like angel w drawn sword in story of Balaam

V17 I will give him the hidden manna feeding the children in dark days
Manna spoke of the person of Jesus Christ
Only one that can save Pergamos is Jesus
Manna is described as small (humility), round (perfection), white (purity), (freshness), coriander (fragrance), fresh oil (authority), wafers mixed with honey (sweetness), colour of bdellium (preciousness)
White = livery of heaven (eg garments, robes, linen, throne)
Overcomers promised a new name (eg Abram to Abraham; Sarai to Sarah; Jacob to Israel; Saul of Tarsus to Paul), hidden manna, new direction & new relationship with God
Relates to Israel in the wilderness
Parable of the mustard seed

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Individuals need to be careful who one associates with, & likewise the church
No compromise with the state & Christianity
Road to recovery = Putting Jesus first
New things to be done & great things to be achieved
Thus let us take heed the advice to Pergamos

APAC 2016 – Day 2 H1

APAC 2016 Day 2 H1 Aug 18, 2016

Opening Prayer by Nakano Satoru San

prayer-nakano-san

Morning Devotional Message
By Ichikawa San

ishikawa-san-message

Slept well like a log in beautiful hotel
Great joy able to participate in this conference
Was teacher in Penang-Japan school for 3 years from 1984
Like to learn about prayer with all

1. The power of prayer can overcome impossibilities & brings miracles

“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭21:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

#Acts 12:3-17

#Acts 16:25-26

 

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – ‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let’s pray eagerly

2. Taking time for prayer
How much do brothers & sisters pray every day?
Advice of 3 actions to bring up faith
1. Read the Bible every day
2. Pray every day
3. Participate in church every week

Myself spent time on routine but no enough time on prayer
I can learn from Daniel’s prayer

“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. -‭‭Daniel‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As a result he was thrown into he pit of lions but saw God saving him in response to his prayer.

Learn that they took time for prayer every day. How about you? Do you take enough time for prayer?

My every day prayer requests
1. Pray each assembly member & non-believes come to assembly
2. Pray for current programs for our assemblies
3. Pray for 3 assemblies branched off from our assembly (Kamisoto) in these 40 years
4. Pray for the couple who are to be sent as holy missionary next April

We need to take some time to pray. Through my experience, I have learnt that God answers my prayers. If you take time to pray every day, you can receive blessings from God.

3. Praying for One Another
Back when before starting Penang-Japanese school sent airmail, expensive & 3 weeks to receive the answer
Dr Lim, elder of IGGC, picked us up from the hotel. I was very touched. We went to Burma Road Gospel Hall & were very welcomed by brothers & sisters kindness.

Today we can communicate & exchange info faster than before – sms, fb (2004), Twitter (2006), etc

Today, we can exchange prayer requests over the world today using these tools.
Let us pray for other Christian members from other nations.
I hope & pray that our network of prayer advances more.
Let us share with each other our prayer requests for his/her country.
Let us cover the whole Asia & whole world with prayer.
Let us use prayer which is the most powerful weapon as the prayer of a righteous person is powerful.

Welcome Address
By Wong San Tosh, Jalan Imbi Chapel

Wong-welcome-address

Great indeed is God’s faithfulness

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” – ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

3 aspects of God’s faithfulness
1. He does not fails. He is righteous.
2. He does not faint. He continues to provide & renews our strength.
3. He does not forsake.

“… God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”” – ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Show brotherly love for one another following the footsteps of our Lord.
We are all one in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us rise up to face the challenges in assemblies & church around the world.
May He pour out His blessings on us as we meet on His Word.

KL Mixed Assemblies Conference Choir

APAC-choir

Prayer of Dedication by Peter Ferry

Peter-Ferry-prayer

Session 2: The Challenges of Heartless Formality

Roy-Hill-session2
Revelation 2:1-7
Ephesus = To decline/let go/relax = Desirable & lovely; situated 40 miles from Patmos where John received this Revelation; 4 miles from coast & previously had harbour; fertile soils & fine climate; stunning architecture; ~400,000 population

Situated 40 miles from Patmos where John received this Revelation; 4 miles from coast & previously had harbour; fertile soils & fine climate; stunning architecture; ~400,000 population; Largest city but not capital, however considered as first & free city trusted by Rome thus self-governing

1st city, 1st love, 1st works
Putting the person of the Lord Jesus Christ 1st in everything

Location of temple of Diana, 1 of the 7 wonders of the ancient world
Great anger after apostles preached led to decline of selling of images
Largest theatre in Greek world & magnificent stadium where beasts & men fought
Great baths, well-known brothels, amazing library which rivalled Alexandrea in fame

Laboured for 3 years from autumn AD 82 to spring AD 85
Purpose to warn the leadership of the church of dangers to come
Enormous responsibility to ensure it did not happen/minimised
Received full epistle from the apostle Paul
Likely John’s gospel & epistles, and possibly Revelation, written in Ephesus

V1 Letter addressed to the angel of Ephesus
Angel = Referring to real angels (or not; avoid being dogmatic) OR a messenger sent to bring back letter to own church
Speaking of individual characteristics of the individual churches
To the leadership of the church in Ephesus
To write the letter & put in front of their eyes ensuring they read it
Church = People (more than a building)
Called out & called to (like Abram)
Called to a life of dependence & faith in God
That He should occupy the 1st place in any assembly
Jesus Christ is everything
Lord refers to Himself as He who holds the 7 stars in His hands
7 stars = leadership held in His right (stronger) hand (place of blessing & security)
Many fall prey to scheming of outsiders (ie Jews), faced wrongdoings & wrong messages from within
All of us need to pray every day for our church leaders, elders & teaches as they need even more protection & are exposed to attack
Walking = ceaseless activity
From time to time would exercise discipline
Sometimes in a gentle way, sometimes more severely (1 Cor)
Jesus is as both high priest & also assessor/judge of the assembly

V2 Commendation given by our Lord at every slightest opportunity
Commendation before condemnation
Labour was occurring & patience was evident
Likely that your knowledge of your own assembly is not complete
However Jesus knows completely & absolutely
When writes to the church in Thessalonica, Paul writes of works of faith & labours of love but to Ephesus only of labour & patience without mention of love
When love is missing, hope fails
Not only knows that but is absolutely aware they cannot put up with evil by testing
Also commended that doctrine if wrong, tested & rejected

V3 Born sustained all adversity
Laboured to the point of exhaustion

V4 Condemnation of the church
“Somewhat” omitted as not just something but a grave matter
Luke 15: Parable of Lost Sheep but the son left; Forsaken & abandoned by deliberate choice
Happened suddenly at a point of time in the hearts of the people of God hat they would leave their first love
Love = devotion to Christ
Not obvious to believers but totally clear to the Lord
First love in primacy & quality
Changes in our love deeply affect Him
Eyes were stills seeing; feet was still walking; but the heart of Ephesus was no longer beating

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” -‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

V5 Jesus corrects them & tells them that in many situations there is a way back
1. Remember what the Lord did for me
2. Repent which is necessary & do the first works that emanates from the first love (2 Chronicles 25)
3. Return to God

Behold coming quickly in judgment
Church displaced or members are dispersed until nothing left
Removal of a lamp stand – not a forced destruction

V6 Hold on firmly to with an aversion
Nicolaitans followers of Nicholas of Antioch? Greek from victory over the people? Beginning of separation of clergy from laity?

V7 Revival often begins in the heart & mind of one person
We need to be willing to hear
To the overcomer is promised the tree of life
A privilege for overcomer
Access to tree of life lost in the garden of Eden; regained in paradise – the enclosed garden of God

1. Works without love accomplish little but is not acceptable & profitable to God
2. Important that assemblies resist wrong doctrine
3. Let us as Assemblies of God return to Him & His first works

Apocalypse in Matthew 24:5 (false prophets)

“For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:5‬ ‭NIV

Challenges
First love: for the Lord, His Word & His people
First works: repentance & responsibility

 

Report by South Korea

Korea-sharing

  • History of Korean Brethren Assemblies
  • North Korea situation, persecution & outreach; Pray continue to seek the Lord & rely on Him in faith for the security of Souh Korea; Pray for Gospel proclaimed & reach through neighbouring countries
  • Foreign mission work from South Korea

mission-poster-korea

Korea outreach helped by K-pop & movie wave, brands, etc help with outreach

Prayers for Korea

  1. Pray for more missionaries
  2. Pray for an open door to NK
  3. Pray for mission/training/publishing institutions
  4. Pray for the furtherance of the Gospel & sound teaching of His word
  5. Pray for maintaining good relationships with assemblies worldwide
  6. Pray for wisdom of government leaders
  7. Pray for reaching expats & foreign workers in Korea

GNTV.or.kr

Myung Soo Yoon, CEO of GNTV

myung-GNTV
Broadcast of Grace and Truth
Spreads the gospel globally as Lord commanded in Great Commandment

APAC 2016 – Day 1

10th Asia Pacific Assembly Conference
Rising Up!
Overcoming 21st century challenges
Revelation 2-3
17-20 Aug, 2016 @ KL, Malaysia

rising-up

Welcome Address
Khor Keat San, elder Jalan Imbi Chapel
Praise God for what He can do moving in the hearts of His people
400+ delegates
See where God is leading where we as God’s people build up & spur one another

welcome-address

Opening Prayer by Mr Ung

opening-prayer

Introduction to speaker Roy Hill
Previous Editor of Precious Seed
Earlier in Singapore before heading to Penang & then KL and Klang
Godly humble servant of God

Roy-Hill

Session 1 – Introduction
Thank you for inviting & for introduction

#Revelation 1

Writer is clearly John the apostle
Last remaining apostle from the 12 original apostles
As old man, opportunity to share God’s Word to His people
Written in mid 80s-90s AD in Patmos or Ephesus
WHERE not important. WHY is important.
4 purposes

  1. Prophetical: describing events in the future
  2. Pastoral: contains messages of challenges & comfort for churches & individuals
  3. Theological: completes & clarifies many OT prophecies
  4. Practical: describes existing conditions for churches; Personal for individuals

Main theme: one must be born again (from above)

How do you know & are sure you are born again?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

How should I come & overcome?

Revelation divided into 3 sections

  1. Things seen (Ch 1)
  2. Things that are (Ch 2-3)
  3. Things that will be (Ch 4-22)

Revelation = Unveiling of the person of Jesus Christ; Taking away the veil that men may see Him in all His glory

V1 “which God gave unto Him”
God gave to Son, gave to angels & then gave to John
Not John’s words but God’s!

V4 John officially greets the 7 churches
Why these 7 churches?
Under divine inspiration, these 7 churches bring a particular message to us representative of all 14 churches
Brings a history of the church through the past centuries from the end of the apostolic age until today
7 stars, 7 lamp stands = mystery previously unexplained now explained representing something bigger
Greetings not only from himself but from God the father & Jesus
John’s feet on earth but heart, soul & mind in heaven

V10 Lord’s Day, Not day of the Lord; Not 1st day of the week; Emperor’s day, the darkest day of the year for believers, Revelation given through John giving hope

V12 7 golden lamp sticks = lamp stands
Beaten out of a single piece of gold; unity
Not one single lamp stand but 7 distinct lamp stands (autonomous)
To God, you are His golden creation to throw light & shine the light of Jesus Christ for the world to see

V16 7 stars = 7 angels of the 7 churches
Who are the angels?
Actually 7 angels? 7 messengers? Leadership of each of the 7 churches?

V1 Not John’s words but God’s!
If God were to write a letter to your assembly, what would it say?
God has given us His 66 books especially 22 in NT

V2 “who bear record of the Word of God”
Everything that John saw
Often instructed to do so
Complete & whole – we need to take heed of all the words

V3 “blessed is he who readeth”
Beatitude
Challenge to KEEP the word

V4 John introduces himself simply as John
Sending grace & peace to believers in this most difficult time under Roman rule in the midst of a tumultuous world
Only with that blessing can solve one’s problems

Which was, is & is to come
During changing times spoken as person who IS (ever living, ever present & I AM)
He is alive today!

Only one Holy Spirit with 7-fold ministry; perfect & complete like the other members of the Godhead

V5 Jesus Christ, perfect Messiah, perfect faithful witness – none like Him
Faithful in past, present & future
Faithful unto death
Ruler of kingdoms of the earth
In a fearful period of powerful of Roman emperor who claimed to be God

Doxology song of praise
His work loses us from sins

V6 Made us = creative act
“For ever & ever” occurs 12x in Revelation
“Amen” = let it be occurs 10x in Revelation

V7 people who needed Him to come quickly
“Clouds” = literal occurs 7x in Revelation

Coming down & every eye will see Him
How? Technology
“Pierced Him” in reference to the nation of Israel (not Romans)

V8 Alpha & Omega; beginning, end & everything in between
The almighty

V9 Island called Patmos not because of unfaithfulness but the Word of God & testimony of Jesus Christ
“Being in the spirit” 4x in Revelation
A great throne, a great mystery, a great city
I heard, I turned, I saw, I fell
Shows that John was in all his faculties
Including hearing what God is saying

V11 not just to write but to thrust it to the eyes of the 7 churches
7 things pointed out on Jesus

“And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” -‭‭Revelation‬ ‭1:13-15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The 7 churches can be linked up with other parts of the Bible, church history & even the shipwreck in Acts
Analysis & comparisons good BUT not to miss the message
Not only for John’s day & generation but our day & generation

Certainty of Resurrection of Believers

Certainty of Resurrection of Believers
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
By Wong

Previously covered: Sanctification

Christ-resurrection

Theme: Practical Christian Living in relation to the Lord’s Return
Reflect our position as children of the glorious God
Living forthright Lord
We are closer to His coming than ever before

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” ~‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:13-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Daily expectation of the early church looking for Christ’s coming in their lifetime & this expectation continued in believers till this day.
The Lord is indeed coming
Do not turn your back away from this precious blessed hope

sequence-resurrection

The sequence of resurrection
The Thessalonians Christians were all convinced about the coming of Christ for them
“But what happened to the dead in Christ?”

The certainty of Christian hope
We have hope when our loved ones in Christ are taken away from us in death
If we realise the hopelessness of unbelievers, we will no longer be ashamed or inconvenient to share the Gospel
Compared to the blessedness of believers having wonderful hope of living gloriously in the kingdom of God reunited with God & loved ones

How certain is our hope? (v14)
The coming of Christ for His own is as certain as the death & resurrection of Christ Himself
Greatest miracle in our lives has already happened when we believed in Christ saving us from our spiritual death

Loving His Appearing
Belief ➡️ Behavior
Love His appearing 🔄 Love for Him
▶️ Love for Him ▶️ Precious is the Truth

Those who are asleep in Christ
Death = Asleep (for believers)
“To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord”

The time of Resurrection
“What is going to happen to our loved ones who have gone before us in death?” (v15-17)
Raised in resurrected body immortal & incorruptible without decay

Parallel passage = 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” ~‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:51-53 ‭NIV‬‬

Christ-resurrection

Church viewpoint: Pre-tribulation + Pre-millennial
Rapture: coming for the saints
2nd coming: coming with the saints

The coming of Christ for His church,
From Earth to heaven
⬆️
The Shout of Command
The Voice of the Archangel
The Trump of God
Note: Not Donald Trump

Trumpet of deliverance, grace & mercy

Meeting the Lord in the air (v17)
With the Lord forever
“… But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” ~‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:2-3 ‭NIV‬‬

Where Christ is, there will be heaven
Not important where but whom we are with

The comfort of the Lord’s Return (v18)
Assurance that those who have died in Christ have not missed the resurrection

The challenge of the Truth
The preciousness of the truth of the Lord’s return depends on our personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ
Experience Christ daily, fresh like His mercies & grace
Love sanctified lives, set apart for the holy use of God until He comes again
We need a daily experience with God
Lord’s supper taken week after week, not as a ritual, but a reminder that Christ is coming back for us

Ezekiel 18

FYI: Ruminations sent out weekly before Sunday. To make use thoughts & allow Holy Spirit to help you to take part

Prayer Request: grand-niece age 5 suffered stroke & in ICU. Pray recovery, no brain damage & left side unaffected.

Ezekiel 18
By Ung

father-son

Part 1a: The Proverb of Father’s Sour Grapes (Jun 19, 2016)

Individual responsibility & righteousness

Case 1: The righteous father who does right (Ezekiel 18:5-9)
Case 2: The rebellious son of a righteous father (Ezekiel 18:10-13)
Case 3: The righteous son of a riotous father (Ezekiel 18:14-18)

1. The law governing repentance (18:19-23)
– Can a righteous son redeem his riotous father?
No (and vice versa no)
– Repentant sinner can live
– Resolves to do God’s law
– Results: he shall surely live & not die
– Safe by works? No
– God rejoices when a sinner repents

2. The law governing rebellion (apostasy) (18:24)
– The “righteous” man who turns back & continues in his past sin
– The sad condition: none of his righteous deeds will be remembered
– Consequence: the man will die – there had been no redemption
– Can a Christian lose his salvation? No. Must rise above religious ritual righteousness
– Can a Christian turn apostate? No. They gave the appearance but were never Christians.

3. The Logical Review (18:25-32)
– God’s challenge & rebuke
– God’s law concerning rebellion
– God’s law condoning the repentant sinner: just & fair
– Livid repetition & emphasis – God’s way is just & man’s way is unjust
– God’s plan

  • Repent
  • Remove
  • Receive
  • Reflect
  • Recognise
  • Resolve

Relevant Qs for Today

Q: What can righteousness in Ezekiel mean?
Outward ceremonial religiousness of person (not necessarily referring righteousness we receive from God)

Q: What can “die” mean?
“but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”” -‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:17

Q: Can a Christian lose his standing in Christ?
Hands grasping you. Permanently saved. You cannot be snatched out by force.

Q: Can a “Christian” apostatise?
A Christian is born again
Can an unborn Christian be unborn?
Matthew 7:21-23

Summary: Individual responsibility & righteousness

Nehemiah 13

Nehemiah 13
By Wong

Reconstruction of the wall
Restoration of the people of God

Wall = physical + spiritual security
Keep enemies out + People spiritually fit
God requires His people to live holy lives

Old-town-jerusalem

Believers experience a need to be renewed every day
Then, God supplied manna to Jewish people
Today, God gives grace to us daily

“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” -‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭12:43‬ ‭NIV‬

Jewish people respond fervently when God’s Word is revealed
Wrong has very serious implications
Eg. Cutting off foreigners from amongst them

Separation causes
• Intermarriage
• Intruder staying in temple

Tithes no longer functioning
Priests had to go out to work
Promise to submit to the Word
Promise to support God’s work
Promise to keep the Sabbath
God is not making people poorer but to regulate various appears

“Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.” -‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭13:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Nehemiah not looking at the present but the future

God doesn’t forget us.
But instead asks us to look towards Him.
Nehemiah obeyed God to the very end.
Whatever we do must be in serving God