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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

8th Anniversary Of Chinese Service

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Chinese Service was started in 2003 with a deep desire to reach out to our elderly parents and friends who are Chinesespeaking. We thank God that the Lord has used this ministry both to reach out to the unsaved with the Gospel, and also to build up the believers in the Word of God. In 2005, the Lord has provided Preacher Daniel Lim to minister God's Word in the Chinese Service. We thank the Lord that he has remained committed to feeding the flock of God in the Chinese Service.

For the last three years, a Chinese Bible Conference has been held annually. This year's Bible Conference was held yesterday, with Rev Koa Keng Woo, Pastor of Muar B-P Church, expounding God's Word. Today, Rev Koa preaches the Word in our Combined Service in commemoration and thanksgiving of eight years of Chinese Service. May the Lord empower and use His servants to bless us with His Word.

Once again, I encourage you to uphold Preacher Lim and the Chinese Service in your prayers. In addition to his preaching in the Chinese Service, Preacher Lim co-labours with Jeremiah Sim in the Seniors' Ministry and with me in the TGCM. He also travels often to Kemaman and KL, Malaysia, to preach His Word.

As we thank God for the Chinese Service, we also rejoice that the Lord has given two other language services, namely Filipino and Malayalam. "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9- 10).

Finally, let us continue to make an effort to bring Chinesespeaking friends and relatives to this ministry to hear the Word and worship our Great and Only Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 

 

Transforming Grace
(Pastor Koshy's sermon during TGCM's 6th Anniversary)

 

Sermon text:

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

What is the grace of God? It is God's goodness and favour shown towards sinful men who do not deserve it. It is not as some would define God's grace as His reward for man's works. If God were to reward us for our works, it will result in man's utter condemnation in hell. Every one of us deserves God's wrath and hell. Listen to the warnings of God in the Bible against our sins. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death." Isaiah 3:11 says, "Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him."

Against such a dark, fearsome and gruesome backdrop of our sin and woe, God's grace emerges and shines like a brilliant rainbow so that sinners may look towards His grace and be transformed by it.

God's grace declares salvation to all men

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (v. 11). God's grace has worked out salvation for the condemned sinners. Verse 14 also recounts how God's grace has provided for us such a great salvation - "Who (Jesus Christ) gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people."

Today, everywhere, we can see how man tries in vain to find his way out of his sins. Some pay money to religious places, others sacrifice on religious altars, climb mountains, torture their bodies or meditate.

But the Bible tells us that God has already worked out our salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, has come to this earth and lived a perfect life. Thus, as a perfect man, He had no sin of His own to deserve death. And yet, the Bible says, because He loved sinners like you and me, He took our sins on Himself and suffered and died on the cross in the place of all sinners who would come to Him by faith. There is no one who loved sinners like Jesus. He is the only Saviour that God has prepared for the salvation of sinners in this world.

Take note also that verse 11 says that God's gracious salvation has appeared to "all men". The phrase "all men" implies that no matter who you might be, you must know that God's grace has brought salvation. Today, we declare Jesus Christ and His salvation to you because God has commanded that we must preach Christ everywhere to all creatures.

Whether you are rich or poor, well-educated or uneducated, a police officer or a criminal, an old man or a young man, there is salvation for you, if you look to Jesus Christ who died on the cross to redeem sinners.

In Gethsemane B-P Church, we have all sorts of people who have found their salvation in Jesus Christ. Some of us are decent, well-educated men, nonetheless wretched sinners. Others were drug addicts and criminals, despised even by the society. But the fact is that we are all condemned before God. And yet through Christ, we found our salvation from sin, and now we happily serve Him.

God's grace transforms sinners

God's grace that saves a sinner from his sin and hell also transforms him. God's grace will not leave a sinner in his gruesome sins. According to verse 12 of our passage from the Bible, God's gracious salvation appears to all men, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."

The grace of God has very a practical influence on a sinner who has come to Jesus for salvation. God's grace will instruct him to give up his past sinful life. The grace of God will teach such a one to abhor the sins that he once embraced.

The saving grace of God will then teach him to live "soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present verse world". God's grace will warn him against living an unwise life of being intoxicated with alcohol and drugs. It will caution him against destroying his body with cigarettes and party drugs. God's grace will not any more permit him to behave perilously, destroying himself and others through vices and crimes.

At this juncture, let me sound a caution. There are those who teach that because God is gracious, we can continue in sin. This is a distorted doctrine. It is a satanic lie. God does not give grace that you may destroy yourself with your sins. If you continue to sin without repentance, then it is an indication that you are not under God's grace. Let it be known that God's grace transforms a sinner, and puts him in the path of righteousness.

The grace of God points to holiness, and urges us not to sin. O my friend, the way of salvation is the way of holiness and purity.

I heard of a certain preacher, who calls himself a "preacher of grace", openly telling his congregation that they should not be concerned about their worldliness and sin because God is gracious. I also recently heard about certain halfway houses that claim to be Christian homes and yet permitting their residents to continue to smoke and live a worldly life.

In The Gethsemane Care Ministry, we preach and insist that God's grace should not be regarded as a licence to sin. On the contrary, we insist that God's grace is the power unto holiness.

God's grace empowers us to live a holy life as we are led by His Word and the Holy Spirit. The Bible is God's gracious Word. So if you have come to seek the grace of God, then you must yield to all that He graciously teaches you in His Word. The Bible is the manual for those who are transformed by God's grace and are concerned about how to live their lives in this present world.

The grace of God does not teach us to live the way the world lives, but the way that His Word teaches us. The mercy of God teaches us not to conform to this world but to renew our mind according to His Word so that we might live a godly life.

I would like to tell all those who have come to TGCM and are now serving with us, that they always remember what is said in the last part of verse 14 - that God's grace in Christ is to "purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works".

I know of some men who come to TGCM to be changed but would not submit to the teaching of God's grace. They are arrogant and rebellious. They refuse biblical counsel given to them. They want to do things in their way. They reject the good biblical counsel we give from God's gracious Word. They have gone back to the world and remained entrapped in one sin or the other.

My dear friend, if you would seek God's grace with a believing and submissive heart, your life will be adorned with wisdom, righteousness and God's blessings. I know this because the grace of God has transformed me and countless others. Now, would you not turn to the grace of God and yield yourselves in obedient faith to Christ?

Give yourself to Christ, to be led and instructed by Him. There is no other Saviour; Jesus Christ can save.

Finally, God's grace prepares us for the Lord's return

Titus 2:13 tells us that the grace of God that saves and transforms sinners also gives them a blessed hope - "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Jesus is coming again to take all those who have trusted in Him to be in heaven with Him forever. What a blessed hope has God's grace granted to us! Though we are undeserving of heaven because of our many sins, His grace gives to those who come to Jesus the hope of heaven when He comes again.

Some of you might remember a man named Goh Eng Siew, Ricky, who stood on this stage last year and witnessed of God's transforming grace in his life. He died a few months ago of cancer. But he died a death of hope. When he was in the Singapore General Hospital, a few of us went to visit him in the last few hours of his life. I stood by his bedside while he was struggling to breathe. Because he was still conscious, I decided to talk to him. He knew he will soon die. I took his hand and asked him whether he was ready to meet the Lord. He said with a sudden enthusiasm "Yes, Pastor". He then prayed to the Lord and committed his soul to the Lord. Let me tell you, my dear friends, one day when Jesus comes again, Ricky, being transformed by God's grace, shall arise from his grave and be in the company of all those who are saved in the presence of God. Yes, I am assured that I will see him again at the presence of our blessed Saviour.

Where shall your soul be if the Lord brings an end to your life on earth today? There is no need to fear death or hell if you trust in the gift of God's grace, even eternal life in Christ.

Conclusion

O how astounding is the story of God's transforming grace! The grace of God is so abundant towards a sinner who comes to Christ by faith. It grants him salvation, transforms his life and gives unto him a blessed hope. It changes his miserable life into a holy and blessed life. It removes condemnation, and grants a blessed hope of heaven.

We ask you now to come to Christ and put your trust in Him. Pray in your heart, "O gracious God, have mercy on me and save me from all my sins. Change me, mould me by thy grace. O deliver me from the power of sin. Make me know the power of thy grace. Teach me to live according to the truth that I may never again be destroyed by my sins." If you pray in faith, He will save you and give you the blessed hope. Amen!

 

Pastoral Exhortation