Thinking Biblically About Church – Part II

In commemoration of Gethsemane B-P Church’s 30th Anniversary

The church is also called unto His fellowship

As much as the church of God is called to be saints, it is also “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Likewise, the apostle John wrote: “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Our fellowship (or partnership) with Christ, the Son of God, must determine every fellowship we have with people or organisations.

Our fellowship within the church must also be based upon Christ. In other words, we should not enter into a relationship or fellowship that would dishonour or hinder our fellowship with the Son of God. John warned us, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). Paul also reminded us in Ephesians 5:10-11, “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

Every church member ought to examine himself to see whether his fellowship with Christ is growing more affectionate and profound, or whether it is hindered by sins and worldly friendships and activities. The effectiveness of a church is very much dependent on the strength of its members’ fellowship with Christ. If church members abide in Christ, the church will be a fruitful one. The stronger its relationship with Christ, the greater is the impact of the church as a witness to the world!

The church is called to be one united people

In 1 Corinthians 1:24, we read: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” God has called both Jews and Greeks alike, that they may have Christ as their power and wisdom. In the church, everyone, regardless of ethnic or national diversity, has the same spiritual inheritance. In Christ, every man, whether Jew or Greek, is called to partake of the divine provision of power and wisdom.

All believers share in the same spiritual inheritance. Therefore, there is no reason why any true believer should feel that he is less privileged or more privileged than others. We are all joint-heirs with Christ. In Romans 8:17, Paul wrote: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”.

Let us, therefore, regard one another in the church with mutual respect and love. Let us not despise but esteem one another, and thus keep our unity in Christ for God’s glory. Paul dealt with members of the church who were from different classes of society, and taught them how they should live as Christians though God’s providential appointments for them in society vary. He wrote: “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God” (1 Corinthians 7:17-24).

Even though Christians are all one in Christ, each believer should remain in the same calling which the Lord has providentially allotted to him. Jewish believers should not try to become Gentiles, and Gentile believers should not try to become Jews. A Christian’s racial or social background and his present vocation are of little consequence in his spiritual relationship with Christ. If the vocational status of a Christian can improve, well and good; if it does not, it is not a matter of concern. What matters is that every Christian should realise that he is Christ’s slave and needs to render obedience to Him. Every vocation then becomes Christian service performed for the Master (Ephesians 6:5-8).

A Christian then can live in peace (1 Corinthians 7:15b) in his calling to whatever earthly vocation, and carry it out as one being responsible to God. In the church, members must hold one another in high esteem (Philippians 2:3; cf. Romans 12:10). No church can prosper if it is not united by mutual love and respect. Selfishness and pride will ruin the church, but humility and a sacrificial spirit will promote its unity and strength. So, may all church members take heed of Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4:3, 4 – “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling”. This advice is further emphasised by Paul in Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

 

Anniversary Greetings

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”(1 Peter 2:9)

Heartfelt greetings to the Pastor, the Session, and the members of Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, Singapore! We praise the covenant-keeping God of Israel for His faithfulness in nurturing, equipping, multiplying, empowering and blessing Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church for the past thirty years. The LORD has indeed preserved Gethsemane in His truth and has made her thrive in His work all these years.

As we look back, we can see the providing and guiding hands of the Almighty God upon Gethsemane both in her home and foreign missions. The Lord has fought her battles and strengthened her hands to accomplish His purpose, in season and out of season. Therefore, may we all rejoice in His goodness and give hearty praise to the living and true God

In these perilous days of apostasy and compromise, it is our prayer that the leaders and members of Gethsemane will remain united as they “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). And as we look forward to another year of service, let us “Expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God.” And may each passing moment of the future years be dedicated to the fulfilling of your higher calling in Christ Jesus (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 28:18-20)!

All the brethren in Ethiopia wish you all a joyful and fruitful 30th anniversary commemoration.

Yours in Christ’s service,
Rev Ephrem Chiracho
[on behalf of Gethsemane BPC Ethiopia and Gethsemane Bible Institute (Ethiopia)]

 


Dear Pastor, the Church Session and our beloved brethren at Gethsemane B-P Church (Singapore), On behalf of the brethren here in Gethsemane BPC-Cebu, please receive our warm greetings on the occasion of your 30th Anniversary!Three decades of service in the Gospel ministry is a milestone. It is one special occasion that we all can rejoice for all that the Lord has done in and through the church. At a time when people are into celebrating “month-saries” or “week-saries” (giving the impression of passing and fleeting endeavours/undertakings), we rejoice indeed in the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in keeping you through these past 30 years.By the grace of God, I have been with the church since the year 2000 and have seen how the Lord prospered the work in various aspects of the ministry. In addition to the regular ministries of the church, we praise the Lord for the Bible Witness magazine and the Web Radio, The Gethsemane Care Ministry, Gethsemane Bible Institute, as well as your active missions involvement through the setting up and support of mission churches in different parts of the world. As one of your mission churches, we have been greatly blessed by your zeal, enthusiasm and support for the Lord’s work.One thing that I must mention here is the church’s sound and solid Biblical teaching and preaching, which the Lord has been pleased to use to “add to the church such as should be saved” all these years. I would take this opportunity to appreciate Pastor Koshy for all his labours and love for the Lord’s work and the Lord’s people. Pastor, thank you so much for “your work and labour of love, which (you) have shewed toward his name…” (Heb. 6:10). Praise God also for the Church Session for their commitment to serve the Lord with gladness and in much humility. Lastly, to my fellow Gethsemaneans: “be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

May the Lord richly bless you, and continue to prosper your labours, and enable you to do even greater things for His glory.

Yours in Christ,
Reggor B. Galarpe
Gethsemane B-P Church, Cebu City, Philippines

 

Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy, 27 March, 2018