Blessed New Year!

2011jan1openbible4webI would like to invite you to join me to read through the Bible in 2011. Let me know if you would like to join me in this exciting journey. We can encourage one another to keep up the reading of the Bible according to the plan.

Please click the tab above “Bible in 2011” to post your thoughts and also the lessons you learned from your daily reading.

Please click at the link below for the Bible Reading Plan.

www.gethsemanebpc.com/documents/pdf/2011calendar.pdf

My Mission Journey to Kenya

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Though not planned for this year, God’s providential intervention has brought me to Kenya to teach God’s Word in the Bible College of East Africa. I am very thankful for the eleven days of His goodness. Below I recount just a few of His goodness I received in this trip to Kenya

  • God’s strengthening grace that was upon me in abundance, as I toiled to finish the lectures on Zechariah and 1 Peter.
  • Blessed time of fellowship with the Principle, Rev Dr Mark Kim and his dear wife. We have been friends since 1987. He is indeed a missionary with biblical “purpose, principles, passion and practice.” His twenty years of labour in the Bible College of East Africa has seen hundreds of men and women being trained in the Word to be pastors, preachers and teachers in several East African countries. He is also deeply involved in establishing a new Bible College in Arusha, Tanzania, a tremendous achievement for the Gospel work in that country.
  • I also rejoiced to have the opportunity to fellowship with several of my former students from FEBC, who serve here as lecturers.
  • The teaching of 29 students was a very fulfilling experience. I pray that they would remain faithful and fervent in the preaching of the Word in Kenya and neighbouring countries.

Early Saturday morning (4am), I will leave Kenya for Ethiopia to join the brethren in Gethsemane B-P Church of Ethiopia during their 4th anniversary. I am trusting in His great mercy and power to minister His Word for the equipping of saints in Ethiopia. I will also be discussing the plan for the building of the Bible College and the church with the leaders of the church. I am very excited to be in Ethiopia.

I would also like to express a word of thanks to all who are praying for my mission journey to East Africa.

More photos from BCEA below

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Should a church borrow money to do God’s work?

church debtAll the instructions, promises and patterns that I find in the Bible teach me to answer this question with an emphatic, “No.” All my ministerial experience also says the same.

I find it extremely imprudent to borrow money to do God’s work, because:

  • It portrays our God as One who commands His people to do a work, without providing for it.
  • It expresses distrust in the promises of God that He will provide for His work.
  • It entices the church to rely on rich men and banks for aid.
  • It distracts people from seeking God’s guidance and provision and from being fully dependent on Him.
  • It causes the church to presume that it can engage in any project as long as money is made available through the credit scheme.
  • It brings the church under heavy debt and monetary obligations to its lenders.
  • It allows the church’s programme and plans to be determined and guided by the secular principles and ideologies other than God’s revealed Word of promise and wisdom.
  • It denies a great opportunity to teach its people how to live with contentment and by faith and not on credit.
  • It can bring upon the church relentless stress, unwarranted problems and many distractions from the real path that the Lord would want it to go.

By God’s grace, in Gethsemane B-P Church, we have so many wonderful experiences of God’s unfailing provisions for all the ministries and ministers of the church. Whenever there were needs in the ministries, whether small or big, we prayed and the Lord provided.

Just consider a few of the many needs of our church ministries, which the Lord have provided, without the church looking for any kind of loan. We have acquired our Church Resource Centre for S$600,000/-, without any debt. We purchased two lorries for the Gethsemane Care Ministry for more than S$100,000/. We purchased two church vans, the first one for more than S$80,000/-, and the second one for about S$60,000/. We also bought a small van for our mission church in Cebu, the Philippines for about S$ 24,000/- . Just about a week ago, we reached S$500,000/- for the fund to build a church and a Bible college in Ethiopia; and this amount is in addition to S$270,000/- we raised for the purchase of a piece of land there. Today, the church supports 25 people who are in the full-time ministry. The average monthly rental of our church premises is about S$10,000/-. Last year the church’s total annual expense exceeded S$850,000/- , but the  Lord provided us with more than S$ 875,000/-.

Is it not amazing that a small church of 180 members, could do all these without even borrowing? All of us in Gethsemane know that we are not a group of rich people to meet this kind of huge financial needs in the ministry. Whenever the need arose, we prayed, sometimes even with fasting, and God provided. God is our provider, not banks, nor lenders. We live not on credit, but on His promises. Blessed be His name!

“The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20).

Thinking about God’s grace toward me

grace -noahThe biblical definition of God’s grace is His unmerited favour towards the unworthy sinners, by which He provides salvation from sin and its condemnation.

God’s nature is gracious. In fact, we perceive His grace through His divine actions which show His goodness towards us, such as salvation, forgiveness, guidance, provisions, protection, etc. So we can say that God’s grace involves His free actions for the benefit of His people. How wonderful is that God is gracious both in His nature and in His actions!

“. . . The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

“. . . But thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not” (Nehemiah 9:17b).

(Cf. Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 112:4; 116:5; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; 1 Peter 2:3)

I have been thinking of His grace towards me, and pen down my thoughts about it:

Yes, I don’t deserve it,

Neither can I earn it,

Nor can I buy it:

And yet I have it,

For God has giv’n it to me,

Freely, richly, forever.


I’ll never be short of it,

For it’s giv’n abundantly.

I’ll ever trust upon it,

For it’s always sufficient.

I’ll forev’r be glad in it,

For it’s exceedingly rich.

Materialistic Pastors

prosperity preachersMen who became pastors for a career, or men who turned their pastoral office into a lucrative business enterprise for self-gain are not God-appointed pastors. They are the minions of the devil.

Preachers who preach for money are exploiters, extortionists and racketeers! The Apostle Peter depicted them as those who “. . . through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgement now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Peter 2:3). In the words of the Apostle Paul, they are “. . . men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness” (1 Timothy 6:5).

Those materialistic pastors are more concerned about their own affluence and fame than the spiritual well-being of their flock. Of course, they would fiercely disagree with such a charge. They persuade their hearers to believe that their riches and superstar status are all tokens of their godliness and the divine blessings upon them. Just as Peter said, “they with feigned words make merchandise” of their flock.

Christianity is infested with greedy preachers, who take glory in their materialistic, carnal appearance and agendas. They are drunk with the wine of the world. Every one of them appears to be intoxicated with materialism. They are obsessed with amassing material possessions. They flaunt their wealth, and preach the gospel of wealth.prosperity gospel

Sadly, a great number of today’s churchgoers are very contented with such preachers, because either they are materialistic as their preachers are or too naïve to discern the antics of their preachers. These people are least interested in the biblical truth and holiness. They seek mystic, lovey-dovey kind of experience in the worship. When they are served with what their carnal hearts desire, they blindly follow their materialistic pastors. This dreadful phenomenon in Christianity was predicted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

True preachers do not seek a lucrative career; instead they accept a lean life for the sake of preaching and promoting God’s kingdom. Consider the following words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:11–15:

11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

His resurrection secures our salvation (Rom 8:34)

garden tomb“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us”(v.34).

Paul here begins with a rhetorical question. It is also forensic or legal in nature – “Who is he that condemneth?”

The ultimate Judge who would condemn the sinners is Jesus Christ. God has appointed Christ to be the Judge (John 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31).

Is it not amazing that the judge has done everything to secure our deliverance? Firstly, He died to pay the ransom for our redemption. Then He rose again from the grave, and ascended to the right hand of God to intercede for us.

The Judge Himself secures our deliverance from all charges and condemnation! He that will condemn the world has become our Saviour and Advocate, thus any chance of us being condemned is absolutely eradicated.

If Christ is for us, He certainly will not condemn us. Far from condemning us, He is right now at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf.

Christ’s present place “at the right hand of God” is indicative of His honourable position of acceptance by God as His people’s intercessor. The apostle tells us that He “maketh intercession for us.” He represents us perfectly before God to secure our salvation. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Not only does the Spirit intercede for us (Rom 8:26) but the glorified Christ as well. We are safe in the blessed triune God.

It pleased the LORD to bruise Him

CHRIST FAINTING UNDER THE CROSS - DoreIsaiah, the prophet while describing Christ’s sufferings and death wrote, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:10).

The Actual Cause of Christ’s Death: Father’s Will

It was God’s will that Christ should die for us. “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” Christ laid His life willingly on the cross that He may please the will of His Father concerning our salvation.

Normally, people would think of the hatred of Jews, Romans, Judas, Herod, Pilate, etc as the cause of Christ’s death. All these are responsible for their hatred for Christ and for causing Him pain and death. But why would Jesus give into their plot, when He had the wisdom and power to thwart their wicked plan and avoid the cross?

As Isaiah wrote, Jesus was bruised because it pleased the Lord. Way before His crucifixion, Jesus clearly and passionately spoke about His mission on earth as the fulfillment of His Father’s will. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). In John 3:16 Jesus said that “…God gave His Son .” Christ’s death was not an accidental event. He knew fully that He must die for the sins of His people because that was His Father’s plan. So Christ said in John 10:17, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” Jesus yielded Himself to suffer and die on our behalf because it was His Father’s will concerning Him. It will be all the more clear, if we consider His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane as He struggled with the impending death. There, He prayed in submission, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

The Apostle Peter’s words to the Jews add further light on the cause of Christ’s death – “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23). Christ was put to death by the absolute foreknowledge and solemn decree of God the Father, and in this sense “it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”

The Apostle Paul also spoke of Christ’s death as the Father sparing not His Son – “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all . . .” (Romans 8:32). The Father did not surrounded His Son with His protective arm, when He was taken to be nailed to the cross. “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” This, my brethren, was the climax of the Saviour’s woe, that his Father turned away from Him, and put Him to grief. So He cried, “Eli, Eli, sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

What great love has God the Father manifested toward us in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son!

“That Ye Bear Much Fruit” (John 15:8)

ye bear fruit - grapes  1 jpgIt is almost impossible for anyone who reads John 15:1-8 to miss Jesus’ expectation of spiritual fruit from every true Christian.

John 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

John 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

In view of all the above statements of Christ, is there any possibility for any one to think that He is a Christian without bearing spiritual fruit. Even if it means a horrible chill coming upon your heart, let me tell you that if you are without spiritual fruit, you are not at all a Christian. Because, according to Christ, spiritual fruit is the natural outcome of one being joined to Christ, and, hence, the proof of one’s true relationship with Christ.

You may be a member of a sound, biblical church, perhaps an elder, perhaps a deacon, possibly a full-time worker in one of the ministries of the church, and so you appear to be in the vine (Christ); but are you bringing forth the fruits of holiness?

What is the use of my going up to the pulpit to preach if I am without Christ?

Is it a mere association with the church, or is it a living, supernatural union with Christ?

Unless we are joined to the Lord Jesus ourselves, we cannot take His spiritual blessings to others. Unless within us, we have the living water springing up unto eternal life, there is no possibility of rivers of living water flowing out of our hearts.

Christ intents a grand outcome through the lives of all who are joined to Him; and it is that they will be a fruitful people – yea, “that ye bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

(Excerpts from the last Lord’s Day sermon. You can listen to the sermon at http://gethsemanebpc.com/index.php/resources/english-sermons/sermons-2010.html)

Faithful Preaching is a Gift from God!

peacher 2 jpgTo the unrepentant, worldly hearers, godly and faithful preachers are boring and uninspiring. They would rather have less of the Bible-based preaching. They prefer less confrontational sermons that would not challenge or upset their worldly lifestyle. So they fancy a preacher who is accommodative of worldliness and less passionate about holiness.

The honour of the office of a preacher is not that people would appreciate it, but that it is appointed by God and adorned by His eternal truth, wisdom, righteousness,  grace, power, redemption and glory.

There is no profession as glorious as preaching. It was made glorious by the Son of God and His apostles. They gave themselves wholly to the preaching of God’s Word.

A preacher is called to be God’s mouth-piece everyday on earth. They speak forth as God’s ambassadors on earth. A minister of the Word is a minister of God on earth.

The preacher, his office, his message and his duty might be things of man’s derision; but they are indeed the Lord’s delight and glory. He appoints and nurtures them. He empowers them by His Spirit that they might fulfill their duty.

The absence of spirit-filled, Bible-oriented preaching is a disaster, worse than the lack of bread and water.

To the godly hearers, good and faithful preachers are a great delight and the major subject of thanksgiving and prayer.