Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread
By Chen

penang_food

We love talking about food!
Different stories & cultural differences about food
Car parks & other rooms negotiable EXCEPT kitchen which is an essential!

Double whammy: cooking oil increase; petrol increase

““This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:9-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

From young we are thought to say please & may I. But here it says “Give us!”
Too demanding?

God come & build your kingdom
Our will takes 2nd place, God’s will comes 1st
God is holy, almighty & sovereign

Asking God to forgive our debts… our past
Asking for God’s future guidance & leading
When we pray like this, we affirm God is our source: the source of everything

Bread: everything necessary for the preservation of our life
We in Penang may find it difficult to relate as our rice container is always full & our larders are full too
But when we pray then we realise that our prayer has already been answered

God has provided for you

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Will you trust & depend on God?

We already know that all our needs has been provided long ago
A good father provides for his children
A God who takes care of all my needs & I don’t have to worry

Give us today; us referring to as a church & community
Give so we can share with those in need

“All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭2:44‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Faith if not accompanied by action is dead

There was a recent need for school going children who could not go to school
Church members stepped in to help

Markets around the world crashed recently when Trump was elected president & then recovered rapidly
People get worried over things that may not happen at all
Rest assured we have a God who takes care of our needs

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

All your needs will be met & taken care of
Enjoy directly from God our provider
When we go to God we find our place is already written with our name & we don’t have to worry about our food
We just have to thank God

Our daily bread is not necessarily provision but can come in challenges for our good & His good

I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength
We need to learn to be content

“… give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Galatians 5

Galatians 5
By Johnny

peace

Where is the joy in ill gotten gains?
Will he have peace in his heart?
Only inner peace with Christ

Is peace the absence of problem? No, that’s impossible in life. There’s actually good stress (re: book of Job)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There are people who commit suicide
Recently man who “fell” from bridge
Suicide is not what someone wakes up one morning & decides but crumbles under problem faced

Peter had inner peace even though was in chains
How? Known fundamental fruit of God allows him to be filled with serenity

3 basic truths
1. To know that God is there. He sees what we are facing. (Phil 4:6-7). Faith move mountains & opens doors.
Providence = providential (Latin)
Foresight: God has already seen ahead what is going to happen

Do not worry about anything, pray about everything

2. Know that God is aware (Psalms 139)
Peter knew God was aware of his execution
For us to be able to sleep like a baby in all situations
God not only knows, God cares

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In then eye of the hurricane, we can be the “I” in the hurricane – calm even though difficulties

3. God cares. He is the source of all serenity.

““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Basic Biblical Eschatology – Part 2

Basic Biblical Eschatology – Part 2
By P.B. Teo

eschatology

Eschas=last things
Ology=study

Millennium Rev 20
Angel down from heaven
1000 years – 6x
Rev 20:2-7
V3 Satan bound – deceive not

Basis for premillennial pretribulation view
Church distinct from Israel (does NOT replace)

“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel:”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Promises & curses applies to Israel & NOT the church

Great tribulation – Matt 24, Daniel 70 weeks

““Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.”
‭‭Daniel‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

(7 + 62) 69 X 7 = 483 years from rebuilding temple to Christ’ death for us
Unfulfilled promises to Israel will be fulfilled in the millennium on earth

Rapture
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Hope; Lord personally; In the air; Comfort

“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

New incorruptible bodies

Not for wrath
No more judgment for believers
Instead hope & comfort
Trials are for training

Problems w Other Viewpoints
Post millennial: Christ comes after the millennium as so many people become Christians during the church age. Christians suffer tribulation whenever gospel opposed. Rapture, Jesus coming & end of world at same time.

Amillennial: Symbolic, spiritual millennium right now. Satan is bound. Martyrs live & reign w Christ. But how is Satan in the abyss now? Deceives now but unable to wage war? Christians suffer tribulation in the world. No future earthly future for Israel. Rapture, Jesus coming & end of world at same time.
Israel replaced by church thus unfulfilled promises fulfilled in the church spiritually. Great tribulation is for Christians/church. Rev 6-19 judgments are for the church.
Difficulty explaining two witnesses (Rev 11)
Difficulty explaining 144,000 from 12 tribes sealed (Rev 7)

Conclusion
The basis for premillennial pretribulation view
Rev 20 = 20 Literal 1000 years reign on earth
Church does not replace Israel

Q&A
Q: Millennium 1000 years: Will we be part of earth’s population or a separate group of people with our new bodies?
A: 2 groups of people. We will be like Jesus & able to interact with others. But our new body is like Christ. We will reign, not marry, etc.

Q: Rev 7 how do you determine the tribes as records destroyed, intermarriage, etc
A: Do not know how. But somehow after nation ceased to exist, Jews are back in Israel now. Believe the truth in God’s Word that will happen.

References
Heraldofhope.org.au
GotQuestions.org
Berita-Bethel-Ung.com

Christ in the Old Testament: Part 5

Christ in the Old Testament: Part 5
By Dr Lai

messianic-psalms

Luke on the road to Emmaus

Ecclesiastes: you will find life is meaningless, chase after the wind

3 things people chase in today’s world: money, power & pleasure
Live without Christ in meaningless
Only in Christ can you find true life

Song of Songs is a picture of Christ & love of His bride

“You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Messianic Psalms

“The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.””
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭8:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Christ suffering as our saviour

“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.

They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭22:6, 16, 18‬ ‭NIV‬

Christ the shepherd

Psalm 23
In the Middle East shepherds will lead his sheep by voice & he knows them by name
Do we know our Lords voice?
Does He know us?

Christ the King

“Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭24:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;”
‭‭Job‬ ‭19:25-26 ‭‭NIV‬‬

Esther
The devil’s attempt to prevent the coming of Christ by annihilating the Jewish people

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:39-40‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let us study scripture to know God & know life.

God’s Timing: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

God’s Timing: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 by Stephen

God's-timing

The Man of Lawlessness
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Introduction
Paul was writing to the believers in Thessalonica to clear up confusion about the 2nd coming of Christ. Some believers had stopped working as they believed the Christ would come at any moment. Today we are much closer to Christ’s return but are to be at work & not idle – To share the gospel, help those in need & build Christ’s body, His church.

Pray that we will learn the following:-
1. Christ will come in His timing that only He knows
2. The evil & wicked will be judged

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.

The day of the Lord can mean the end times & also the final judgment day.
Prophecy: referring to teaching or letter falsely claiming that Christ is coming. Today we still hear of claims that Christ will come on so & so day.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
Throughout history there has been many types of antichrists who continues their evil work. Just before Christ’s 2nd coming will come the man of lawlessness who is the antichrist who is a completely evil tool of Satan & equipped with Satan’s power. However, we should not try to label anybody as antichrist & try to predict Christ’s return.
He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

The name antichrist itself includes the Greek prefix anti which means against & instead of. Satan wants to be worshipped & obeyed instead of Christ.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.

Paul does not specifically identify who is retraining & holding back the lawless one. Many Christians believe it is the Holy Spirit who working through the church to accomplish God’s purpose today.

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.

Today’s world is filled with much evil, criminal acts, corruption, etc. However we have yet to see the horror of total lawlessness. Why does God allow this to happen? So men can see their own sinfulness & the bitter experience of life without the lordship of Christ where men are no better than vicious animals.
When the church is raptured, the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the world as well. The Holy Spiritwill be at work during the day of the Lord but will not be restraining the forces of evil today.

Principle 1: Believers to be wary while evil deceives secretly then openly
Believers are to not be deceived of false assertions of Christ’s coming as He has told us so, while the lawless one is at work secretly today & will openly oppose God in the future.

How do you stay truthful away from falsehoods, lies?

How will you live as a believer when opposition of God is openly & publicly happening?

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

No one on earth will be able to overcome the antichrist who is powered by Satan.

“Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? (Rev 13:4)

Satan’s false Messiah will use counterfeit miracles, signs & wonders to deceive & gain followers. Not all miracles are necessarily from God. Christ’s miracles were significant not only for their power but their purpose – to help, heal, show his divinity & point us to God.

Man of lawlessness power will be from Satan to destroy & lead people away from God. If any religious personality draws attention to only himself, his work is not from God.

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Does God allow people to be deceived? We first need to examine God’s nature.
God is good & created a good world that fell because of men’s sin. God will one day recreate the world & it will be good again. God is stronger than evil, allows evil & thus has control over it. God offers a way out through Christ for all who wish to overcome evil. God uses everything both good & evil for his good purposes.

Indeed our God hates evil & will one day destroy evil completely forever. God does not entice anyone to become evil but those who commit evil may be used by God in order to hasten judgment.

Principle 2: Christ to return and evil condemned to perish

Christ will return overthrowing the lawless deceitful one & condemn all who follow the lawless one’s wickedness

What are you looking forward to in Christ’s return?

What do you do knowing that there are family & friends around you who are in danger of being condemned?

Conclusion
Christ will come in His timing to judge the evil & wicked. We must be careful of rumours of Christ coming. We must be wary of false teachers & false signs. We as His body have a responsibility to live & build for His Kingdom until He returns.

Security of Believers

Security of Believers: Ready for the day of the Lord
1 Thessalonians Chapter 5
By Wong

security-in-christ

Review
Thessalonians were spiritually well
Working in faith, laboring in love & steadfast in hope

Intro
Ch 5: the return of Christ to judge

The day of the Lord

“for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Outline of future events

The signs of the coming of our Lord

Conclusion
Be assured of our safety

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-18)

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-18) by Johnny

parable_shrewd_manager

“Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “ ‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “ ‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.””
‭‭
“The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”
‭‭
““The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” ~Luke‬ ‭16:1-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Manager: cunning, shrewd, rascal

In today’s business world, “scratching each other’s back”

Christ not teaching us to be dishonest, but there is a lesson to learn

2 groups of people:
1. People of the world: physical
2. People of the light: spiritual; personal relationship w God

Understand shrewdness of the world but not becoming like the world

Every week we hear of scams & corruption
Not just uneducated but professionals
We need a little wisdom as we live & operate in world filled with dishonest people
If not shrewd, eaten up like lamb among wolves

We must learn to be wise & at same time innocent as doves
Like every command in Christian life, is impossible without indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Money is not evil; it is morally neutral
It is what we do with money that determines the moral value
It can be used to build shelters for poor, educating, building churches & spreading the Gospel
In the other extreme it can be used to smuggle drugs & firearms, to but a very expensive branded bag, etc

1 Timothy 6:9-10
If chasing for money, we end up with no time for God

“Money Defined: An article which may be used as a universal passport to everywhere except Heaven, and as a universal provider for everything except happiness.  Money is a wonderful servant and a terrible master.”- Anonymous, published in the Wall Street Journal

Worldly Wealth
All the wealth in the world belongs to God
God is the one who causes us to prosper, however much He has given us

When we crave for something, ask is it a need or a want?
He will meet our needs but never promised to meet our wants
If we have money to buy lunch & drive a car, we are wealthier than 80% of the world

Heavenly Wealth
If we proof we are worthy with worldly wealth, He will entrust us with heavenly riches
He is trustworthy – Let us go ahead & trust Him

““No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

If you live for the sake of making money, you cannot serve the true God
If we serve the true God, He will enable us to make money
The love of God comes first!

V9: one day money will be gone
Think of a wealthy person you know that has passed away
For example Loh Boon Siew was poor & made his millions but

Supermarket there’s an expiry or best before date
Thank God that there is no expiry date for he Bible

God has given us grace, salvation & gifts to use wisely for His name. To invest in people for His Word. To be able to use what He has blessed us with wisely.

Romans 2:1-16

Romans 2:1-16
By Chen

Judgment

Statute of Justice
Brutus the elder had to judge his own soms for rebellion
One day, Christ passing judgment against those who rebel against Him

Paul writing to 2 groups:
1. Jews who think they are exempted
2. Gentiles who claim they don’t have the law (and thus not facing judgment)
Jews traditionally think God will wipe out Gentiles & special favour for Jews
Jews focus on ritual & sacraments

God judges on us 6 different elements
1. Knowledge
2. Truth
3. Guilt
4. Deeds
5. Impartiality
6. Motives

1. Knowledge
Therefor: re – prev chapters
Pass judgment: know that God will judge you

““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

2. Truth
We know: common knowledge, fact & truth
Perfectly judged not based on superficiality

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

3. Guilt
We all experience God’s goodness & providence
Tolerance: forbearance, ceasing hostility – Christ holding back His judgment not wanting people to perish
When we sin, we are showing contempt
The wages of sin is death
Every time we sin, God has the right to take our lives away

4. Deeds
Not talking about salvation by works

““I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Works: product of our faith

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Distress: origins – narrow place

5. Impartiality
God does not show favouritism
Each of us having different degree of work
Those who sin without knowing the truth will still perish
Perish: not functioning as intended
Intended: continue to worship God VS hell and suffering

““The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:47-48‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Declared righteous: obey the law, Bible

Non-believers judgment
1. Creation: revealed to all His wrath & nature (Rom 1:20)
2. Conduct: do by nature things required by the law (wrong to kill; speak out on injustices, pay our debts, etc)
3. Conscience: inner voice & sense of what is right vs wrong
4. Contemplation: accuse/defend others; capacity to know what is right & wrong

6. Motives
Feel good about ourselves?
Relieve guilt?
God knows our motives (Psalm 139:1-7)
Seat warming on Sunday? No deeds to show? Ungrateful?

“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭2:5‬ ‭NIV

Acknowledge God as our Lord who searches our hearts & thoughts.

Pray for deeds/conduct that is not right to correct us & worthy of God’s calling. To appreciate & be thankful for you are a good who is always fair & is the giver of our lives.

Serving in One Body

Serving in One Body based on Ephesians 4 by Stephen

serve-one-another

Ephesians 4:1-8, 11-16

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.

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.”

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 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.

serving-in-one-body

 

Introduction

Ephesians can be divided into 2 parts: doctrine & duty

Ephesians Chapters 1-3 is on doctrine – our riches in Christ

Ephesians Chapters 4-6 is on duty – our responsibilities to Christ

Ephesians 4 on our duty to serve as a member of Christ’s body.

 

Eph 4:1-3

 

“Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” ~Numbers 12:3

Jesus says this: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~Matthew 11:29

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” ~1 Corinthians 3:4

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” ~Colossians 3:15

Principle:  Believers are to live worthy lives, humbly & patiently, to be united in Spirit & peace.

Illustration: An old man had many sons, who were always falling out with one another. He had often, but to no purpose, exhorted them to live together in harmony. One day he called them round him, and producing a bundle of sticks, bade them try each in turn to break it across. Each put forth all his strength, but the bundle resisted all their efforts. Then, cutting the cord which bound the sticks together, he told his sons to break them separately. This was done with the greatest ease. “See, my sons,” exclaimed the father, “the power of unity! Bound together by brotherly love, you may defy almost every mortal ill; divided, you will fall a prey to your enemies.”

Application: What are your life priorities? Work? Wealth? Bf/gf/spouse? God? Need to know your priorities & not have priorities change every time the wind blows!

What are you busy with daily? Endless list of things to do? Making money? Enjoying life? Or is your priority on things of God?

How much time do you spend with God? Do you have personal quiet time daily with God? Read the Bible daily? Bible study? Pray more than 5 times a day? A matter of heart & honestly answering on how important is God truly your priority daily.

 

Eph 4:4-6

Ephesians 4-6 is about the unity of Christians as one. The only foundation that is strong is Christ & the Word of God.

Indeed God has dominion over all creation, especially His church & through all were God works using His people & even non-believers to accomplish His will.

Principle:  We are one – in body, spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God & father

Illustration: Mahatma Gandhi’s life philosophy was based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Gandhi even was in England, South Africa & elsewhere to know more about Christianity but never became a Christian. The Christian missionary Stanley Jones asked him: “Mr Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower (Christian)”? The latter’s reply was clear: “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ”. Our actions & words as Christ’s body affects how others especially non-believers view Christianity.

Application: Examine how we are one body in so many ways. In what ways are you one with Christ in?

In what ways do you need to change your heart, mind & actions?

Eph 4:7-8, 11-3 (T9)

 

Christ is He who is the giver of all this gifts. Christ who resurrected, conquering death & ascended into heaven. Christ is pictured like a triumphant & great riding in on His chariot & leading His captives & sharing the spoils with his followers. Captives here does not refer to non-Christians but our conquered spiritual enemies, our sinful nature & even death!

 

Apostles refers to the 12 chosen divinely by Christ to witness His death & resurrection. While today there are no more apostles, we are all called to apostolic ministry. Apostolic ministry includes prayer, building the kingdom of God on earth, equipping & strengthening churches. It is not the job of elders & deacons but every member.

When we think of prophets, we often think of prophecies & foretelling of future events. However, a prophet’s primary role is to proclaim the Word of God for the purpose of edification & encouragement. Christians today however receive spiritual knowledge not directly from the Spirit nor through prophets BUT through the Spirit from studying & reading His Word.

Evangelists are bearers of good news. While not everyone is an evangelist, we are all called to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5). All of us are to witness for Christ & bring people to know Him.

Pastors & teachers are shepherds like how an assembly is a flock of sheep. The pastor leads his flock following the example of Christ who is our Good Shepherd. In our assemblies, pastors are known as elders.

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3)

The primary role of a pastor or elder is to feed & lead the flock. Feeding refers to spiritual food which is the Word of God. Other responsibilities depending on the assembly’s needs would be on pastoral life, pastoral counselling & pastoral leadership.

 

Principle:  Each of us is apportioned Christ’s grace & given gifts equipping us to works of service building up the body of Christ until all reach unity, knowledge & maturity like Christ

Illustration: Story of this woman named Poppy Smith in Australia. When she was teaching a Bible study class, one of the other leaders told her that “Maybe God will use you in speaking at women’s retreats & conferences.” Poppy responded with “Why would I want to do that?” Later the HS convicted her & Poppy repented of her “I’ll do what I want attitude”. She changed her heart & attitude so God can use her to bless others. Poppy still fills inadequate & out of depth sometimes but she holds on to 3 truths from God’s Word:

  1. We are equipped to serve by our gifting of the HS (1 Cor 12:4-7)
  2. We are empowered to serve by the indwelling power of the HS (Eph 3:16-21)
  3. We are expected to serve & bear fruit that glorifies our Father (John 15:1-8)

Application: In what times in your life can you recall receiving God’s grace?

How are you using God’s gifts to you to serve & build up the body of Christ?

How are we as a church growing in unity, knowledge & maturity like Christ?

Eph 4:14-16

 

Truth without love is brutality
Love without truth is hypocrisy

 

The more we love, honour, depend & grow in our relationship with Christ, the more we flourish in grace & see God’s impact in our lives. He is our head thus we honour Him.

As members of one body, we are not only together as one but we belong to one another. We affect each other & we need one another. Every believer whether young or old in age or faith has a role to play in ministering & encouraging one another in different ways. If you are isolated, you cannot minister to others nor can others minister to you.

This spiritual unity of the body of Christ is not something we create but it is from Christ as it is His body. Our role is to love & protect His body. Not attacking any part of the body. But we can & should rebuke & teach in both truth & love.

Truth unites, but lies divides.

Love unites, but selfishness divides.

Principle:  We are to no longer be infants tossed around by evil but speak the truth, grow, build & work in love, growing to be like Christ our head who holds & joins us the body together.

Illustration: The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the Good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” – Martin Luther King Jr

Application: Are you growing & serving in love Christ & his people?

With whom will you share the truth of His Word this week ahead?

Conclusion

Christ is our head & us, one serving growing body. We as His people are not to seek excesses but to grow & serve with truth, love & maturity as one body following Christ who has equipped us. All the members of our church can reach a greater measure of love to Christ & one another. Loving & serving among Christians leads to spiritual growth as it is in love & it’s fruits that the body edifies itself; whereas a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

Psalm 27: Wait for the Lord

Psalm 27: Wait for the Lord
By Wei Sheng

wait-for-the-Lord

Focus on what should we do when we wait for the Lord

Wait definition: to stay in a place in expectation of something to happen or have to do

How many of us can wait for 30mins?
I myself can’t even wait for 5mins! End up pacing & doing things to distract myself from agony of waiting.

Either we are anxious or agitated.
God however does not want us to wait in anxiety.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When we have difficulties, what do we do when we face a problem? Google? Ask someone nearby? For David, the Lord is his 1st light & salvation.
Whom shall I fear? David has a high view of God – bigger than everything else (enemies, problems, etc)
Lord = stronghold; David’s security. What is ours? Money? Job? Loved ones? These are blessings from God. But for David, was none of these but God – David’s ultimate security.

“When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Very few of us today have mortal enemies but for David there were actual physical threats to his life.

“Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Not hyperbole. David really has full confidence in God. Even from when he was young facing Goliath.

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What if you can only ask one thing to God right now, what would you ask? Solve problem? Something causing you anxiety? But for David is to only me near with God. That is the ultimate blessing & security being near God.
Do we seek God like David did? He has confidence that if he is near God, he has nothing to worry about.

To gaze on the beauty of the Lord when we are besieged by problems is very difficult. This is what David wants & what David did.

How close are we with God? This reflects our relationship with Him.

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Not asking for God to solve His problem, but to be in His dwelling. How many of us can truly say “God will take care of me”, let it go & dwell in the Lord.

“Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The confidence David has with God. David is not just waiting indifferently but continually singing & seeking God. We must believe that God can not only solve our problems but lift us higher. With Him & in Him we will rise above our own fears & problems. He knows as a certainty that God will save him.

Attitude of not just waiting but to seek Him & desire to be with Him

David was not prideful but knows that he is a sinner. God is willing to listen to us because He is merciful.

“Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:7-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Sometimes we think because we have been walking right by God, we think we are ok with God & become like Pharisees having confidence not in God but own behavior.

Pray for God to answer & help us. Have we sinned without realising? Do we become discontent & draw away from God?

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Not saying our parents will forsake us, but that God loves us so much. Even more than humanly possible by our parents.

In life, we have good family members, friends, etc. But all of us make mistakes & will fail others. Only God is perfect.

“Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

David seeking not only God’s help but wanting to walk with the Lord. If we are not walking in His way, we cannot see His plan & purpose. Ask God to help us to walk in His way.

When we are under pressure or treated unfairly by others, we tend to do things that hurt ourselves & displease God. Instead, we need to seek more & more of God.

“Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

David knows that God has control over all. Everything that happens is with God’s permission.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:13-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In times of darkness, how much confidence do you have in God?

David was able to stay in one place waiting expectantly.

When we face difficulties & feel agitated let’s see how David waited in Psalms 27. It is not so much for something to happen but for God to fill us. Let us seek God in confidence of God’s greatness & goodness.