“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God …”
The word “beseech” can mean “to call alongside, summon” and thus “exhort” or “encourage”. It is a word that carries both the firmness and affection expressed in one’s communication. The apostle’s language does not give a hint that compliance to his exhortations is an optional matter. The great doctrines of the Bible are not static, but dynamic. They produce great acts of godliness in those who were once indifferent to the Lord and wallowing in sin.
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul has hitherto been teaching them the unchangeable truths about salvation by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has taught them that in Christ, all their condemnations are removed, and that they stand justified and accepted before God. Their glorification is guaranteed, even though they have been persecuted and maligned by the wicked world.
Now, the apostle is about to urge the readers to act on the truths they have received, making the truth of God’s gracious salvation the foundation of their Christian practice. That is why he began by saying, “I beseech you therefore…” Then Paul adds a note of warmth and earnestness to his exhortation by addressing the readers as “brethren”. He expects that the believers will not only listen with great esteem, but also obey with enthusiasm.
To excite the believers to greater compliance to the truths of God, the apostle then proceeded to appeal to God’s mercy. The summon to an obedient life does not come in a vacuum; it is wrapped in God’s mercies. It is the outpouring of divine mercies that exhorts us to live a life that is adorned with the divine truths. We recognize that the word “mercies” (in plural) denotes all that God has done for us in His Son, which Paul has surveyed in chapters 1–11. Everyone who gratefully acknowledges the abundant mercies of God extended to him in Christ, would happily yield to every divine counsel and appropriate it.
“That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Herein we have the solemn instruction of the apostle Paul concerning what entails genuine worship of God. Two words here, “sacrifice” and “service”, evoke the idea of worship. The word “sacrifice” (thusía) is used here in the sense of an offering rendered to the Lord in worship. Likewise, the word “service” (latreía) denotes a service rendered in worship of God.
All Christians are exhorted to “present your bodies a living sacrifice”. The Greek word for “present” is also translated as “yield”. We are to yield our bodies not as a dead sacrifice on the altar (as in Old Testament sacrifices), but as a living sacrifice. We need not offer our body or anything else as our substitute on the altar. Christ has offered Himself on our behalf as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us. So, no more substitutionary sacrifice is required of us. Here, we are exhorted to yield our bodies not as carcasses on the altar to be burned, but as lives consecrated to God.
Our bodies are to be consecrated to God as “holy”. As Paul exhorted earlier in chapter 6, verse 13, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” True worshippers of God ought to consecrate themselves to live holy lives before the Lord. Our bodies must be instruments of righteousness. Only when we yield ourselves and our bodies to live in holiness, can we glorify God. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). We must strive to order our lives so that “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
The worship that is acceptable and pleasing to God can only be rendered by those who live holy lives as true children of God. It is a despicable thing for a worshipper of God to continue to live in sin. Unholy living is most displeasing and outrageous to God. No genuine worship exists in hearts that have no commitment to live in obedience to His holy Word. Any offering of worship presented by unholy hands is an outrageous act in His presence. It is unthinkable and illogical to think that the Most Holy God can be served with unholy hands. The reasonable service to God can only be rendered when our bodies are His holy temples (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:18-19).
Praise God for the following new Church Session 2015–2017, which was elected during the ACM & Election last Lord’s Day:
|1. Rev Prabhudas Koshy …………………..||as Pastor and Chairman of Session|
|2. Eld Mah Chin Kwang………………………||as Elder and Clerk of Session|
|3. Eld Ng Poh Kok……………………………..||as Elder and Treasurer|
|4. Eld Choy Weng Heng, Alan……………..||as Elder and Assistant Treasurer|
|5. Dn Lee Kek Gee, Francis………………..||as Deacon and Assistant Clerk of Session|
|6. Dn Lim Cheng Kwang, Kelvin…………..||as Deacon and Member of Session|
|7. Dn Lim Hoe Chiang, Daniel……………..||as Deacon and Member of Session|
|8. Dn Lok Kwok Wah…………………………||as Deacon and Member of Session|
|9. Dn Low Boon Siang……………………….||as Deacon and Member of Session|
It has always been my earnest prayer that the Lord will grant our dear church, Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church, an effective leadership. We cannot cease from praying and constantly working towards developing and maintaining a church leadership that is efficient and fruitful. Even for those who have been in the church leadership roles for a long period of time, this must be a constant desire and aspiration in the Lord.
After being in the pastoral ministry of Gethsemane for more than 20 years, I am fully convicted that no leader has complete mastery over the work, challenges, temptations and trials that he will encounter in the ministry. Constant vigilance is necessary from the leadership, individual leader and every member of the church to maintain an effective leadership in the church.
The Church Session (Pastor, Elders and Deacons) and Preachers of the church must assume a collective responsibility to safeguard and guide the church in the truth and holiness of the Lord. They must be cooperative and accountable to one another to provide mutual encouragement, correction and support. They must remain united and harmonious as they serve the Lord together. The failure of a leader to submit, collaborate and join forces with others will affect the efforts of the rest of the leadership.
The apostles had been blessed with responsible men who maintained a reciprocal relationship with them in the ministry. The apostle Paul often expressed his boundless joy in men who served along with him in the
The church leaders are not in a competition among themselves. There should be no rivalry among the leaders of the church. When those in the leadership are like-minded, the church will greatly benefit from their congenial spirit and efforts. This is well demonstrated in Paul’s testimony about Timothy: “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state” (Philippians 2:20).
Together, they must give of themselves to protect and to feed the church. In Acts 20:28, Paul commanded the elders of the Ephesian church, “Take heed therefore . . . to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
The apostle Peter advised the elders, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, … Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1-3).
Every church leader must be diligent in ensuring his daily growth in the Lord. Every church leader’s maxim ought to be “grow or die”. In the church leadership, when one stops growing spiritually, he has started to die.
Every leader must also be cautious to discipline himself in order to remain holy before the Lord. He must examine himself to recognise and avoid everything in him that could damage his testimony and effectiveness as a church leader. The apostle Paul did just that, for he said in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible … But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (Please read 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 and learn from Paul’s firmness of purpose and tenacity as a devout leader of the church.)
Here is a checklist for all in the leadership on appropriate conduct that befits effective church leaders:
To have an effective church leadership, members of the church have an important role to play. Hebrews 13:17 reminds us that our leaders will have to give an account to the Lord about our souls; hence, we must not oppose or bring hardship and grief to their spirit. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Disregarding divine counsels, as is warned in Hebrews 13:17, is to be a hindrance to the work of God’s appointed servants in the church. Unnecessary criticism, rude remarks, disrespect, an uncooperative attitude, threatenings and all such conduct that would bring sadness and struggles in the leaders’ hearts, are spiritually dangerous to oneself and to the church.
Giving your leaders cause for groaning is of no advantage to you. If they struggle with the burden of the ministry, please patiently and lovingly avail yourself to help them in a Godhonouring manner. Let every member of Gethsemane be a great joy to our church leaders, be it pastor, elder, deacon or preacher.
May our leaders truly be able to say of our dear church, such glorious things as the apostle Paul wrote about the early churches. He said of the Thessalonian church, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19). So brethren, I would like to beseech you with the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “Wherefore shew ye to them (the fellow-labourers like Titus), and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf” (2 Corinthians 8:24).
The election to the church session (2015-2017) will be held next Lord’s Day (27th September), and the names of the candidates have been announced last Lord’s Day. The Board of Elders have prayerfully considered the candidates and vetted them in accordance with the requirements of the Scriptures and our Church’s constitution. Some pertinent information on the candidates’ prior service in our church is included in today’s bulletin.
Please also be reminded that the ACM and Election to the Session will be held next Lord’s Day (27th Sept) at 1.30pm. All communicant members are advised to attend the ACM as it is our constitutional duty.
Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy
Candidate for the office of Pastor and Chairman of the Session
Eld Mah Chin Kwang
Candidate for the office of Elder & Clerk-of-Session
Eld Ng Poh Kok
Candidate for the office of Elder & Treasurer
Eld Alan Choy Weng Heng
Candidate for the office of Elder & Assistant Treasurer
Dn Francis Lee Kek Gee
Candidate for the office of Deacon and Assistant Clerk-of-Session
Dn Daniel Lim Hoe Chiang
Candidate for the office of Deacon & Session Member
Dn Lok Kwok Wah
Candidate for the office of Deacon & Session Member
Dn Kelvin Lim Cheng Kwang
Candidate for the office of Deacon & Session Member
Bro Low Boon Siang
Candidate for the office of Deacon & Session Member
Bible Witness Lunch Hour Bible study has been a place of “refuge” for me during the most difficult 8 months in my working life. For the whole of that period, week after week, I eagerly looked forward to the Bible Study to find some solace for my stressed soul. On one occasion when Dn Paul Cheng was the teacher, I arrived in terrible emotional shape in the midst of trying circumstances in office. Praise the Lord through him, God’s Word ministered to me, restored and uplifted me, and then sent me back more ready to face the trials at the office.
“My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word” (Psalm 119:28).
I am one of the “pioneers” who attended the Wednesday Bible Study when it first started in 2005, just after I had joined a company nearby. It was a very challenging working environment, so I always looked forward to lunchtime every Wednesday to find a reprieve and listen to God’s Word which reminded me of God’s providence and power to deliver. Despite the small group (sometimes 2-3 persons only), Rev Koshy faithfully taught the Word. At times, we would manage to finish only 1 verse during 1 session. In fact, we took 1 full year to complete 1 and 2 Peter. This is only because there was so much to learn from each word and each verse of the Bible. Thank God for Rev Koshy’s faithful teaching of God’s Word. I was always encouraged after the half hour of Bible study and wished we had more time.
Nevertheless, there were so few of us that I quietly wondered if Rev Koshy would stop the Bible Study one day He already had such a busy schedule, having to rush to the bookroom after FEBC classes. But he never seemed discouraged. I thank God that the sessions are still running after 10 long years, and now to a very packed room.
In September 2011, when my company relocated to somewhere further away, I was very disappointed as I would not be able to attend anymore. Thank God that since live webcast was arranged, I could still attend “remotely”. Now with the Downtown MRT station opened, it is only 2 stops from my office, which makes physical attendance once again possible whenever I have the time to travel to the bookroom!
There had been very challenging and confusing times in my life in the past decade, but God is good. How could I have survived if not for His sustenance and encouragement through His Word, very often through the Bible lessons conducted faithfully every Wednesday, which uplifted my weary soul and heart. Thank God for this wonderful ministry and may the Lord continue to sustain it, Rev Koshy and the many brethren (Bro John and others) who work quietly behind the scene.
Iam very blessed by this ministry in the bookroom, where Pastor Koshy can conduct a short but very spiritually enriching Bible Study for us during lunchtime every Wednesday. The Scriptures, as explained by Pastor, bring much comfort to me and I am personally impacted by the teachings of His Word, especially as I face struggles in the events and activities of the world during the week. I also thoroughly enjoy the warm fellowship among the participants. Praise God for Pastor Koshy for shepherding us and Brother John for being in charge.
After my transfer to a new employer, I felt very lost. Because of my contract, I go to church only once a month, but that is not enough for me to hear the preaching of God’s Word. In 2013, I was given a weekly half-day off on weekdays. I thank God for the Bible Study @Bible Witness Bookroom, where I can take this opportunity to study God’s Word. Thank God also for the online live broadcast, where I can still join the Bible Study when I can’t come.
Even though my English is not strong, I could understand enough of the messages and be blessed. The exhortations given by Pastor have been instructive to me to change my ways in my walk with the Lord. I learn that as Christians, we will face persecution. Persecution can be physical, emotional or spiritual. It comes not only from unbelievers, it also comes from those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but choose to live and enjoy the pleasures of the world. But I draw comfort from God’s Word that gives me courage to stand strong when persecution comes my way. This Bible Study has helped me grow in faith. May God help me to be faithful to Him and be a witness for Christ wherever He places me.
I pray that the LORD will continue to bless this ministry, and that many people will come to study and know the truth of God’s Word, and that we may be able to share the good news of salvation with lost souls. All praise and glory be to His name!
I must express my grateful thanks to God, for providing us not only with physical food, but also spiritual food for souls. In this regard, I praise God for His kindness for this past decade in giving us a conducive place to have Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study, and for His servant, Rev Koshy, to faithfully teach us. Here, I was able to unlearn wrong ideas, learn and relearn God’s truths as they were taught in the Bible.
Through Rev Koshy’s teaching of Revelation, my love for this world began to grow dim. My eyes were opened and my heart was gripped with fear, when I realised that the Antichrist would reign and many would be deceived, and how God would pour out His wrath and judgments upon this present evil world. Sad to say, many will go through that “great tribulation”. But the believers have this blessed and glorious hope of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return for all His people, upon which He will rule the earth for 1,000 years of peace. Finally, “God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:3-4).
All glory be to God for the Bible Witness Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study.
I started listening to the Lunch Hour Bible Study since last year. Thank God for the weekly lessons during lunch break on Wednesdays. Truly, listening to His Word has been a time for “sanity” in the middle of a stressful working week. I pray that God will continue to bless this ministry so that more of us will be blessed in our daily walk with Him. The theme for me this year being “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16), I desire to be a more fruitful Christian through listening to His Word and practising it. Amen.
Iwant to thank God for the brothers who set up the webcast. It makes it convenient for me to tune in when I travel and have no conflicting appointments. This Bible Study is a time that I look forward to. Tuning in to God’s Word, which Pastor Koshy carefully explains without “sugarcoating”, is a great joy. Pastor Koshy certainly has a gift of teaching. I have learnt much, including the series on Revelation. Thank God for his faithfulness as well.
I also share what I’ve learned with my family. God is constantly calling us to be like Christ and not to conform to the world. Though we may go through many trials, we are not alone but are protected and strengthened by our Abba Father. May we be guided only for the purpose that God be glorified.
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9). This is what my husband and I experienced when we attended the Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study, where we enjoyed the expository study of the Scriptures by Pastor Koshy. Thank God for Pastor’s faithful labouring in teaching God’s Word. Besides providing detailed Bible Study notes, he also expounded on the Bible verses so clearly and systematically.
What a joy to gather in midweek during lunch hour to study God’s Word and have a time of fellowship with God’s people. Instead of having lunch to satisfy our physical hunger with our colleagues, coming together to study God’s Word satisfy our spiritual hunger and longing for fellowship with God’s people, which is more edifying and enriching to our souls. This is so refreshing to our wearied souls when we have commenced with another week of secular work and domestic chores after the Lord’s Day. It was a meeting with the Lord and His people so soon again after the Lord’s Day. Truly, oftentimes the distresses and cares of my life were overcome by the comfort of God’s Word through the Bible Study. I left the Bible Study, saying to myself: “It was good that I have met with the Lord through the study of His Word. With my soul refreshed, I’m strengthened to sojourn the rest of the week.”
Thank God for sustaining and blessing this ministry through 10 fruitful years. Many brethren have been greatly blessed, including my husband and me. We have also seen a steady increase in attendance. Moreover, for those who are unable to attend due to work commitments, there is also the online broadcast of the Bible Study. As the Lord continues to use this ministry, may God’s children who attend this Bible Study be drawn close to Him as they continue to seek Him. May His Name be highly exalted and magnified through this ministry.
In the year 2005, through a generous, godly sister, the Lord provided a shop in Hong Lim Complex, for the Bible Witness Media Ministry to spread the Word from that location. She was happy that her shop could be used for the Lord’s work that souls may be saved through the spreading of the Gospel of Christ and be edified through the preaching of the Gospel. At this time, the Lord also moved Bro John Peh to serve full-time in this newly opened area of ministry. Thus the Bible Witness Bookroom began in September 2005.
In the BW Bookroom we provide Christian resources and materials for those who desire to increase in the knowledge of God’s Word. The bookroom has been managed by Bro John Peh since its inception. The bookroom is also a place where likeminded Christians who work in the Raffles City and Chinatown areas gather together to pray and study God’s Word. We thank God that some homemakers and retirees also join this Bible Study, which is held every Wednesday between 1.00pm and 1.30pm. It is usually conducted by Pastor Koshy; and if he is away on a preaching stint, other preachers from Gethsemane BPC will take lead.
Since October 2011, the Lord has made it possible for us to have a live broadcast of the Bible Study sessions on the Internet. Now, brethren from all parts of Singapore (and the world) can join in the Bible Study! If you log on to https://biblewitness.com/bookroom/lunch-hour-bible-study, you would be able to benefit from the live webcast of the Bible Study. Apart from being a venue for Bible study, the bookroom is often used by fellowship groups of the church for their meetings. The Seniors’ Ministry of Gethsemane B-P Church, for one, meets frequently at the bookroom. Praise God for sustaining the bookroom for the last 10 years!
Today and next Lord’s Day, we will publish the testimonies of some participants of the Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study. We encourage all those who work in that vicinity to join this Bible Study to grow in the knowledge of His wonderful Word.
Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it” (Proverbs 8:4-11).
For those who were there from the beginning of this Bible Study, it has been a blessing. I pray that the knowledge, understanding and wisdom gained will fill their souls to the extent that they neither desire silver nor gold nor the things of this world. May the Spirit of the living God bless all those who are led to come and hear the Wisdom from the Living Word. I thank and praise our glorious Father and Saviour for Rev Prabhudas Koshy who sacrificially labour for the Saviour’s sake, not counting his life precious but putting the flock of Christ first. He truly knows his calling. He “dies” daily to give his all for his loving Saviour. Let us fall on our knees to thank and bless the Lord on how we have all been blessed by this ministry.
May the Lord continue to bless this ministry and grant Rev Koshy the anointing from above through the empowerment of the mighty Spirit.
Thank God for seeing the Bible Witness Bookroom through 10 years and may the Lord continue to bless and sustain this ministry. I only started joining this weekly Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study in the last year, and have since been particularly blessed by the Word of God. I am encouraged to see some Christians who work in the CBD area frequently coming to listen to God’s Word faithfully taught. I am also very thankful that this Bible Study is also made available live via web broadcast. So on days when I can’t be physically present at the bookroom, I usually log in to the webcast of the Bible Study during my lunch break. I also enjoy reading the many good Christian books that are made free for us to borrow. Last but not least, thank God for His grace and faithfulness in enabling Uncle John, the Bookroom manager, to keep the ministry going throughout the past decade. As the hymn-writer put it, “All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above; Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, For all his love.”
I am very blessed by Pastor Koshy’s Bible Study held every week at the Bible Witness Bookroom. As he expounds to us the Scriptures, I have been blessed with a better understanding of Biblical truths and God’s great promises to us in His Word. Personally, the walk of faith on this earth has been very challenging. But I look forward to be fed weekly with the spiritual food that the LORD provides for me through a truly Godcalled pastor. To God be the glory!
Thank the Lord for sustaining and providing for the Bible Witness Bookroom over the past 10 years of its ministry. The provision of biblical literary materials to furnish the bookroom, the place in which to store them, God’s faithful servant to manage and maintain the bookroom, and God’s various spiritual blessings (of which I have been a recipient and partaker in more ways than one) cannot be taken for granted.
One such blessing is the provision of sound and conservative spiritual materials made freely available for the saints’ edification (through their personal study), and for God’s ministers’ reference / research. Besides serving as a wealth of resource, the bookroom is also a venue for the study of God’s Word and fellowship, particularly the weekly Lunch Hour Bible Study, which is most needful in times of a dearth of meeting locations.
I am grateful for being a partaker of His blessings through a ministry that has kept me in the faith in these days of increasing liberalism, and in the light of most Christian bookstores compromising and accommodating to the preferences of the world. I pray that the Lord would continue to preserve, sustain and use the bookroom for His glory, and for the spiritual growth of His saints.
We came to know of the Bible Witness Bookroom after reading a few issues of the Bible Witness magazine, which “compelled” us to come for the Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study. Within a short time, we have learned so much of God’s truths, which we could not learn through attending other churches’ (rather “shallow”) Bible lessons over the past few years. The Bible Witness Media Ministry is a rich “oasis” of the teaching of God’s Word, and we pray for God’s blessings on the Pastor and all who labour in love in this God-given ministry.
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]raise the Lord for the Lunch Hour Bible Study held at the Bible Witness Bookroom. We rejoice with thanksgiving and praise to God at the 10th Anniversary of the Bible Witness Bookroom ministry, even as we have concluded the recent study on the theme “Blessedness”.
How apt indeed to consider what blessedness this ministry has been to us. It has provided a place and time to withdraw ourselves (midweek, in the middle of the day) from the toil of earthly labour and to find a timely “balm” of refreshment for the weary soul. It has been such a sweet, blessed assurance to anchor ourselves and engage our hearts and minds in the meditation of God’s infallible truths and promises. How grateful we are to sit at Jesus’ feet and find rest in sweet communion with our gracious Lord and Master, as He reveals Himself and His will through His Word. May all who labour in this ministry continue to abound in His work (1 Cor 15:58).
(more testimonies next week)
In last week’s Pastoral Exhortation, 5 biblical lessons foundational to Christian parenting were given. A few more lessons vital to biblical nurturing of our children are discussed in today’s article. These lessons are crucial to effective Christian parenting. Parents themselves must be committed to the correction and changes of their habits and attitudes, if they are to spiritually nurture their children for God’s glory.
Impatient parents will drive children to be bitter, disillusioned and uncooperative. We must show them the same longsuffering and patience that the Lord graciously extends to us. Parents must pay attention to not being easily irritated or quicktempered. Colossians 3:21 advises, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Likewise, Ephesians 6:4 counsels, “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
We cannot be in a hurry to get our children to cultivate godly thinking and attitudes in their lives. We need to have the patience to guide them and help them to overcome their sins, and nurture within them godly virtues. In the process, we also find ourselves being shaped for His glory.
Patience is needed to firm up our children in the way of the Lord. Being patient does not mean we allow our children to misbehave or live foolishly without fear of the Lord. Proverbs 27:5 reminds us, “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (cf. Proverbs 28:23). On the same token, Proverbs 19:18 puts parents in mind of the need to rebuke and chastise their children when they stubbornly err – “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” In addition, Proverbs 13:24 warns, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (cf. Proverbs 22:15).
Though parenting is full of toil and, at times, even forebodings, Scripture calls us to be joyful parents. Jesus spoke about the joy of motherhood in John 16:21, “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” Not only the birth but also the upbringing of the child is to be a joyful experience. Psalm 113:9 assures every mother that with the Lord’s help, she can “be a joyful mother of children.” Chastening our children is no easy or enjoyable process for either the parent or child. However, Hebrews 12:11 says, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” A father or mother who corrects the child is advised to say, “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things” (Proverbs 23:15-16). Parents who patiently and firmly follow the biblical counsel on nurturing their children are promised greater joy concerning their children – “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice” (Proverbs 23:24-25)!
Nothing makes children sad and disgusted in a home more than their quarrelling parents. Where the husband and wife remain faithful and sincerely, tenderly and passionately love one another, children will find much joy, encouragement and comfort as they grow up. Do not let our marriage lack vitality or fail. “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Its health is paramount to good and effective parenting. Our mutual commitment and fidelity will be an example for them as they grow up to love their spouses and children. Children should learn from us how to love, forgive, forbear, care, strengthen, provide, protect, respect and nurture one another. Proverbs 5:18 pronounces a blessing on a loving couple’s offspring – “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.”
Parents should guard against depending on their own wisdom and strength. Apart from the Lord, we cannot nurture our children for His glory. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127; cf. Psalm 128). Ultimately, we must wholly entrust our children to our heavenly Father’s care. We love our children and desire their good, but have not the power to secure it. Let us trust Him who knows how to give good gifts to His children (cf. Matthew 7:11).
Peter and his fellow apostles prayed for God’s leading in the appointment of a man to replace Judas. “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:24-25). Scripture clearly records in another text that the prayers of the early church for godly men to lead the ministry were answered – “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
We need the help of the Holy Spirit in determining the right persons for the offices of the church. The Spirit knows every man’s heart. From the example of the anointing of David as King, we know that in the selection of leaders, God is interested in the spiritual condition of the heart, rather than outward appearance. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). This is why Peter and the rest of the apostles prayed, “Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship”. If we have to have men of God’s choice in the leadership, we must sincerely seek His mind in prayer, even in fasting.
Another reason why we must pray in our selection of godly leaders is that it is the Spirit who equips men for the offices of the church. The Spirit is the giver of spiritual gifts that are necessary for the offices of the church. “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:11). So only the Spirit can show who are the men whom He has equipped with the appropriate gifts for the edification of the church.
Even our Lord Jesus prayed all night long, before He chose the apostles. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” (Luke 6:12, 13). So let us pray for godly leaders during our prayer meetings on Tuesday nights and in all other prayer gatherings. We must seek God’s will in the appointment of church leaders, in a manner similar to Moses, who prayed: “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation” (Numbers 27:16).
Parenting is one of the greatest responsibilities in this life. Having godly children is a tremendously blessed experience that fills our hearts with great joy and praise to God. The apostle John’s words in 3 John 4 capture the sheer delight of parents with godly children – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
I am very glad and grateful that God has blessed my wife and me with three children. As much as I enjoy their presence in our life, I am also overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy and fear of failure. But all thanks and praise to God for the infallible counsels of His Word, which have been our source of wisdom, help and strength in parenting our children. As I continue to co-labour with my wife in our home in nurturing our children, I would like to share with you lessons that we have learned which form the bedrock of Christian parenting.
Worthy Christian parenthood can be possible only when we live with a total commitment to the glory of our God. We must guard against our predisposition to love our children and their future more than our Lord. Our great Saviour cautions us, “he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). If we love our children more than the Lord, we will be miserable examples and guides for our children in genuinely and passionately loving God. Christian parents who live without a wholehearted love for God will surely mislead their children into being lovers of themselves and this world more than God. It is significant that we do not let them be the ultimate focus of our love. By loving God more than everyone, our hearts shall be sanctified by His glory and, hence our children will have the greatest pleasure of growing up in the shadow of His glory which fills our hearts. They, being sinful like us, will display their streak of unhappy rebellion against our insistence to live for the Lord. But we, as parents, cannot follow our children; instead, we are to love the Lord and command our children in the way of the Lord. The shepherding of our children’s souls requires the highest and noblest of motive of heart, even the love for the Lord. This is best established by Christ who commanded Peter to feed “my lambs” when he affirmed that he loved Christ more than all else. To love our children, who are His lambs in our households, with pure, sanctifying love, we must first love our Lord unswervingly.
Our chief concern ought to be the salvation of the souls of our children. We must not settle for mere external religiosity that is nothing more than a general discipline of life. We must not be fooled to think of their participation in children’s activities of the church as a sure mark of their salvation. We shall not exchange the Christian faith for mere moralism in our children. Our children’s good manners and social etiquette do not mean that they have genuinely trusted God. Hence, we must labour and pray to see that their lives reflect a heart renewed by the love of Christ. Be earnest in plainly telling our children of the need to repent from their sins and believe in Christ. Moreover, warn them of God’s wrath against unrepentant sinners. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” From time to time, we must probe them for some token of assurance of salvation that comes by faith in the atoning death of Christ. Let us say to our children that without Christ they shall perish, but if they put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be saved to the uttermost. What an invitation Scripture gives us to declare to our children – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31)!
We and our children are sinners who are in need of grace. Even though everyone in the family has trusted the Lord, there is a need for us to correct ourselves and grow each day in faith, wisdom and service of the Lord. Thus, we must examine ourselves regularly in the light of God’s Word and with the help of the Holy Spirit. We must be quick to repent from all sins, and be diligent to grow in faith and obedience. We must not assume we are perfect. Neither should we be complacent about our need to grow in the Lord. We should also, like Job who prayed for the sanctification of his children, be concerned about our children’s salvation and sanctification (cf. Job 1:5).
The Scriptures make it plain that parents are to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of God’s Word. We cannot take this responsibility lightly. Christian parenting is impossible without the teaching of God’s Word. “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Providing Biblical knowledge is more important than preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner. We cannot afford not to teach our children God’s Word daily. Instruction of God’s Word should not be just a matter of Sunday school, but a daily affair of our home. If we would not daily feed our children God’s Word, they will be spiritually impoverished. Let us neither ignore nor despise the importance of daily teaching God’s truth to our children.
For all those who love God, nothing is more enjoyable on earth than serving their God. Joshua said it best – “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). Our homes itself must be a place of service to God and His people. Hospitality is one of the best ways we can serve God. Together with our children, we can serve others in Christ’s name. We can welcome unbelieving friends (even our teenage children’s friends) and tell them of the Gospel. We can entertain, comfort, counsel and strengthen believers and servants of God. We can be loving hosts of the fellowship meetings of our church and visiting missionaries. We can be compassionate and zealous in praying together as a family for fellow brethren, leaders of the church, missionaries, missions and the church. As a family, our major family activities can be participating in church activities, serving in various ministries and cheerfully giving for the Lord. Whenever possible, use the family car to fetch those who have difficulty in getting to church or fellowship meetings. When Christian parents make serving the Lord their main preoccupation, their children will have a compelling pattern to emulate.
Our church esteems the ministry to the children as an important work that the Lord has committed to us. Since 1991, the Lord has given us the burden to reach as many children as possible with the Gospel and also to provide sound biblical knowledge to the children whom God has given us in our church. Since 2008, Pr Kelvin Lim has been appointed to labour among the children. An assiduous GCM Committee (comprising Pr Kelvin Lim, Bro Neo Kian Seng, Bro Kenneth Wong, Sis Choy Luan Kheng, Sis Winnie Yap, Sis Melissa Mah, Sis Kamalamangai) has also been ministering to the children. A good number of our church members also serve on various occasions as teachers, helpers, musicians, drivers, refreshment providers, etc. to attend to the spiritual and physical needs of the children.
We exhort all the parents to do your utmost to let your children benefit from all the various activities for children. Do you know what are the regular activities organized by the church and the GCM committee for your children are?
As a church, it is our duty to carry out God’s will concerning ministering His Word to children. Echoing the Lord’s call to children to come to Him is the duty of all parents and the church leaders. May the Lord help us to accomplish it enthusiastically and effectively.
Now consider the following Biblical passages, which through precepts and patterns sound forth God’s will concerning the ministry to the children:
Deuteronomy 4:9 – “… teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”
Deuteronomy 6:7 – “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Deuteronomy 11:19 – “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Joel 1:3 – “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
Psalm 34:11 – “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”
Psalm 78:2-4 – “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.”
Psalm 145:4-6 – “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.”
Proverbs 4:1 – “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.”
Proverbs 7:24 – “Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.” (cf. Proverbs 8:32).
Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Mark 10:14-16 – “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”
2 Timothy 3:15 – “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Recently, GCM has resumed the Saturday ministry to our children. The meetings will be held on three Saturdays, simultaneously with Men’s Fellowship (2nd Saturday), Ladies’ Fellowship (3rd Saturday) and Adults’ Fellowship (4th Saturday) at 4 pm. Such GCM meetings are also being held near the venues of the other fellowship groups so that while parents attend their respective fellowship meetings, their children will be ministered to by the GCM. If you need more information on this ministry, please talk to Pr Kelvin Lim or any of the GCM committee members.
GCM T-Shirts: GCM has printed T-Shirts for children and adults who serve in the GCM. Sis Melissa Neo has designed the T-shirts, and our TGCM brethren have printed them. We encourage all the participating children and adults to wear them so that they can be easily identified during the outings to public places like parks.
Neglect not Saturday Children’s Ministry: Our children spend most of their time in the worldly environment of schools and other places of activities. Their hearts are heavily influenced by the materialistic and carnal philosophies of this world. Unless we are diligent to provide for them a spiritual environment where they can have godly teaching and fellowship, they will soon be drawn away by the world. It is a very serious mistake that some Christian parents make by neglecting the special activities planned for their children’s spiritual nurture. The Bible warns parents that a child without constant reproof and guidance will be misled and spiritually ruined. Proverbs 29:15 says, “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame”.
Spiritual nurture is more important than secular education and all other training. Let not our hearts esteem the pursuit of worldly achievements above the spiritual nurture of our children’s souls. In Proverbs 16:16, we are reminded of the high value of biblical education – “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Again it is said, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14).
The apostle Paul, in defence of the Gospel, testified of God our Creator: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 117:1-2)!
Today, as Singapore celebrates the 50th year of its nationhood, we look towards the LORD with hearts full of joy and thanksgiving for His providentially blessing our nation with 50 years of stable and efficient government, peace, prosperity and religious freedom. It is indeed remarkable that we Christians can live and thrive in this beautiful city-state without the terrifying conflicts and persecution that Christians in many other parts of the world are facing. The strife-free, tolerant, harmonious nation that Singapore has become is indeed a very special blessing from the LORD to us. So let us give thanks to Him.
Our LORD expects His people from every nation to be thankful and to praise Him for His blessings. As the Word of God exhorts us in Psalm 117:1-2, let us praise Him for His merciful kindness to our nation. Certainly, it is the LORD who has blessed us, so that we “are multiplied greatly”; it is He “who suffereth not their cattle to decrease” (Psalm 107:38).
In the midst of our joy and celebrations, let us not forget the LORD our God. Our hearts and minds must acknowledge that He is the Sovereign One who reigns above all nations, including our Singapore. “For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28). “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth… For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness” (Psalm 47:2, 7-8).
While we dwell in this country as her citizens and residents, let us live as God’s honourable and holy people. The Christian faith and virtues that we pursue are most certainly advantageous to the well-being and prosperity of any nation. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Nothing in Christianity undercuts a morally wise polity. Instead, its precepts and practice support and exalt a nation that is committed to righteousness and justice.
How wonderful it is that through the preaching of the Gospel, the church can turn many who live in sin to the salvation and righteousness of Christ! Our church’s Gospel ministry has turned many who have been entangled in vices and crimes to live in righteousness and peace. The Gospel dispels vice from the hearts of people and fills them with a steadfast love for godly virtues. Moreover, the Gospel of Christ and its accompanying biblical counselling have brought peace to many homes, relieving them of painful, destructive conflicts and troubles. Hence, let us continue to exalt Christ so that those who live in the darkness of sin may see His light.
However, we also need to be wary of the rising tide of immorality in our nation, as is also the case all over the world. Whatever is morally wrong cannot be politically right! It will cause great upheaval to individuals, families and the society. So Scripture warns us in Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” We are further cautioned: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17; cf. Colossians 4:5). May God give us wisdom and vigilance!
Dear Rev. Koshy,
Greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord!
I hope you and your family are doing well in the Lord. I also trust that the ministries of the Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church are flourishing by His grace.
My family, by God’s grace, is doing well in the Lord, and our kids are growing also. God has sustained and protected us all these years in all our ministries as missionaries. By the way, we had just celebrated in June the 10th anniversary of our being missionaries in Kenya. As we look back, we have much to thank God for His grace in our lives. Also, we are thankful for the love and prayer we have received from His people, especially from you and the Gethsemaneans. For such long years of love and support, we are debtors of His love. Thank you once again for your pastoral heart and love towards our family.
Well, I would like you to know that we are taking a furlough from this month onwards. I believe I have mentioned it briefly last year when we attended Gethsemane’s Missionary Conference. The mission board has strongly advised us to go on furlough every five years. We had never imagined that we would actually take a year’s break from the mission field. The idea was suggested to me by Rev. Kim after he has observed our family, as we were showing signs of stress due to many struggles from cultural differences, and other problems we had faced. So we thought it was not a bad idea to take a break from the mission field for a year. We thus prayed and decided to take a break for one year from our mission work in Kenya.
We are considering the requests and suggestions from the mission board to go to the US. We are also thinking of taking up some theological studies. Please pray for me that I will remain faithful to all that I have learned from God’s Word in FEBC. And if the Lord permits, we hope to return to Kenya in August 2016. Please pray for us that we may come back with joy, peace, readiness and strength for another term to serve the Lord there.
Once again, thank you for the support and prayer from Gethsemane B-P Church all these years. May the Lord continually bless, strengthen and protect the church ministry in these last days.
We thank the Lord for GBIOnline that has been on a partial trial run for the last few months. Currently, 37 students from 4 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia) have signed up for the two subjects that have been offered, namely ‘the Book of Jonah’ and ‘the Names of God’. The next stage, God willing, will be in full swing, with more subjects being made available for students to choose from.
Three more series of lessons will soon be ready for all online registered students.
Let us continue to pray for GBIOnline, that the Lord may use it for the equipping of our church members, believers from around the world, as well as the students of our Bible Institutes in our mission stations in Ethiopia and the Philippines.
Brethren, please do not miss this excellent opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of God’s Word! If you cannot attend the Wednesday night class, you can always sign up for the online course. Visit our GBIOnline website (www.gbi-online. com), and register yourself to study His excellent Word.
I would like to thank God for enabling me to attend GBI-Online Wednesday Night Lectures on System Theology (Theism). Though I was having a very busy schedule at work, the Lord enabled me to attend the GBI classes without fail. The course has provided me with deeper knowledge of God and also equipped me with clearer spiritual understanding.
When this course was first announced in the church, I was hesitant to sign up as I was worried that I would not understand the lessons. But thank God that He has granted me wisdom to learn and grow in the knowledge of Him. Nevertheless, the lessons certainly required both mental and spiritual disciplines. I found myself praying constantly for His guidance and help to study His Word. The Lord helped me to yield in humility and prayer to the learning of the Word, and I soon find joy in exercising my mind to receive His truth.
Though this course, I learned that we are not able to fully understand God; only when He reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit and the Word can we grow in the knowledge of Him. Otherwise, our imperfect and ignorant thoughts about God will lead us to false worship. Concerning the Holy Trinity, I learned that there is only one God, but three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are co-eternal and co-equal in essence and substance.
I also learned that our Almighty God is self-existent, sovereign, self-sufficient, eternal, incomprehensible, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, loving, gracious, merciful, holy and just. God existed even before heaven and earth came into existence. He is independent in His being and causes everything that He created to depend on Him. God is not dependent on us. God reigns supreme on His throne over all His creation after the counsel of His own will. He is without beginning and end. He is not limited by time, but He controls time.
Our God is all-powerful and has unlimited authority and influence. He has the ability to do whatever His will dictates and He is present everywhere, all the time. God is all-wise and all-knowing. He is the source of wisdom and He knows even our secrets. God is unchangeable and he cannot change, for He is always perfect. God loves His people and His love is unmerited. His grace is directed towards our debt and need, while His mercy is directed towards our guilt and misery.
Through this series of study, I also learned about the decrees of God and how God executes them. God’s decrees are His eternal purposes, according to the counsel of His will, for His own glory. He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. God has already planned everything even before His creation of all things and all things are executed according to His plan. Nothing takes God by surprise. Nothing is outside His knowledge. He knows everything. His decree is totally free of any external influence. God controls all things – even evil – to fulfil His plans and purposes for His glory. He never does evil and is never to be blamed for evil. It is His creatures that are guilty of the evil they do. This course made me realise that God executes his decrees through His works of creation and providence. He made all things very good, out of nothing by His Word within the space of six days. God made all things through Christ, with the Holy Spirit also at work in the creation. He cares for all creatures and provides them with all that they need. God also governs, preserves and sustains all His creation according to His eternal decrees, and He rules over His creation forever!
Furthermore, the study of Christology helped me understand Christ better. The Deity of Christ teaches me that our Lord Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity, who is God eternal who pre-existed even before the creation. Christ is of equal substance with God, the Father. The Humanity of Christ teaches me that He became man by the Virgin Birth. He took upon a human body when He came to this world and He continues to exist forever in His human form in heaven. He has a human soul, and hence possesses thoughts and emotions as well. However, he is without sin. Christ is one Person with two natures, fully God and fully man. His natures are distinct and not mixed, yet not separated.
Through all the knowledge that I have gained from this course on “Theism”, I am better equipped to live my Christian life with fear and love for God. Now I am happy that I can also explain these truths to my family when I lead them in the reading of the Scriptures. I thank God for His goodness that has sustained me throughout the course.
Just a week ago, a young Christian sister shared with me how troubled she felt when her long-time school friend revealed that he is a gay. As a Christian, she was also deeply concerned as to what is the right way to relate to her friend who has now openly “come out” as a homosexual. Should she continue to associate with that friend or separate herself completely? Can she maintain some kind of friendship with that friend, who now openly lives as a homosexual, so that she may have opportunities to share the Gospel with him?
There was another similar situation not too long ago, when I was asked what Christian parents should do if any of their children say to them that he or she is homosexual? Before I give my response to the above questions in the light of Scripture, I would like to exhort all Christian parents to teach their children Scripture’s categorical condemnation of homosexuality as a sin and its warning of God’s wrath against those who practise and would not repent from it. Parents’ biblical instruction and supervision of their children till they grow into adulthood is very important (see Proverbs 22:6, 15; 29:15, 17). We must prayerfully give ourselves to the spiritual nurture of our children so that they may be guided and nurtured in the way of holiness, even in the midst of the world’s increasing attempts to influence them with its wickedness. As with all sins (such as pornography, fornication, greed, selfishness, lying, theft, pride, murder, drug addiction and gambling), homosexuality is also being increasingly promoted in our modern society.
What should Christians do if a friend or a family member suddenly “comes out” as a gay? The biblical principles for Christians’ response to homosexuals are no different from the biblical counsels concerning Christians’ response to all other unrepentant men and women who live in unbelief and immorality.
Our Bible Witness Web Radio (BWWR) continues to spread the blessings of God’s wisdom and truth around the world. The testimonies we receive from around the world speak of these. Below is a communication between a listener from Australia and BWWR’s Sis Melissa Mah:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank God for the ministry of Bible Witness Web Radio. It has been a source of great blessings for me as I have been following the broadcast messages, especially those on “Women of Virtue”. As a working adult Christian, I constantly seek to find some good biblical material to listen to while I am at work and this need has been met by BWWR. I am greatly blessed by the Q & A sessions, where the questions discussed are addressed with support from the Bible and based on teaching from God’s Word.
Truly, I realise that the issues that have been brought out through such discussion are very relevant to the sisters of our time, such as how to dress modestly and the role of women in the church.
Thank God for the labour of love in this ministry and I will continue to uphold the ministry in prayer.
Dear Sis Angeline,
Thank you for sharing your thanksgiving for this ministry. We are very thankful to the Lord for His enabling grace and strength to do His work. Of our own selves we are unable to accomplish anything, but we trust in God’s promises that He will grant us all that we need in the Gospel work, including His guidance and provisions. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.
The “Women of Virtue” segment is planned by Sis Carolyn Koshy, who co-labours with Pastor Koshy and the Bible Witness Media Ministry team to produce this weekly programme.
Praise God for the Q & A sessions; in this respect, please pray that the Lord will guide us to select topics that are of great spiritual benefit to BWWR listeners in general, and the ladies in particular.
The redefinition of marriage, through the increasing influence of the homosexuals, is throwing a vicious challenge to Christians and their families, and the church. Our society is under great pressure from the homosexuals to accept theirs as an alternative lifestyle. Our youths and children are most vulnerable as they are increasingly pressured not only to act acceptably towards the homosexuals’ behaviour but also to support them.
A couple of weeks ago when I was in Australia, I was told by some high school and college students how they were pressured by their schoolmates to show support for the LGBT movement by wearing rainbow colours. A few of them have to endure angry and rude responses from their friends when they rejected their demand. In recent years, the rainbow colours have become universally recognized as a symbol of LGBT pride and identity. The rainbow flag has found wide application on all manner of products, including jewellery, clothing and other personal items; indeed, the rainbow flag colours are regularly used as a show of LGBT identity and solidarity.
am concerned how our youths and children face such pressure from a fast-changing society that expects them to be supporters and even participants of this carnal pursuit of a generation which has completely rejected the traditional moral norms, and disregarded biblical virtues and prohibitions. Christian parents also need to know what biblical advice they should give to their children.
As a people of God, all Christians must follow divine counsels for our conduct in a world of sin. When changes occur in the culture of our society, especially when they lead to rampant moral decline, Christians are admonished not to be swept away with the world. We are expected to stand steadfastly with the biblical truths and instructions, to engage zealously in preaching God’s Word, and also to patiently and lovingly work for the salvation of souls. 2 Timothy 4:3-5 exhorts us, “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. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
God has opposed homosexuality in every age – in the days of the patriarchs (Genesis 19:1-28); in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13); in the days of Israel’s Babylonian exile (Ezekiel 16:46-50); in the Apostolic era (Romans 1:18- 27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 7-8); in the last days (Luke 17:26-30; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
LGBT advocates have been “selling” their carnal agenda to Christian youths and children by promoting their warped interpretations of passages in Scripture that address homosexuality. Their pro-gay arguments from the Bible are not only warped, but also completely irrational! They quash God’s design for a proper human matrimonial relationship, which is the complementary relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4- 6; Ephesians 5:22-33). We should not be intimidated by homosexual advocates and their vain reasoning which is utterly contrary to the Scriptures.
We should not go along with those who refuse to acknowledge the sinfulness of homosexuality. The Bible repeatedly warns us against being supportive of conduct that is condemned by God as sin. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). To call evil good is to misguide people to the wrath of God. Not warning people of their wickedness is a woeful attitude that God will judge. Ezekiel 3:18 says, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
We, Christians, must not compromise what the Bible says about homosexuality. Even though we want to show charity and compassion to those who are lost in sin, such as homosexuality, we must not do it without loving the LORD and His truth. To express our love for man at the expense of righteousness and devotion to God would make us promoters of sin. Homosexuals and all sinners, who stand defiantly against the will of our Creator and Redeemer, according to the Scriptures, are worthy of eternal damnation in hell (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8). So if we truly want to show compassion and charity to the homosexuals, let us always warn them of God’s wrath and to turn from their wicked ways. The judgment of unrepentant homosexuals, as it is the case with all unrepentant sinners, is absolutely certain. To deny this truth of God’s Word is to deceive those who are perishing.
Though a great number would refuse to repent from the sin of homosexuality, we are reminded in the Scriptures that we should preach the Gospel of God’s saving love to sinners, no matter how wretched their sins may be.
I have come across several sad and suffering homosexuals. Their lives have been wrecked by this sin. They were not at all looking “gay”. (The word “gay” has always meant “happy”, until it has been ‘hijacked’ to describe the homosexuals!) They were consumed by “vile affections” (Romans 1:26). Their lust had caused them to abuse their physical bodies (use of drugs and alcohol are also common among gays), and ruin their relationships with parents, spouses, etc. Some of them are still in great suffering of soul and body, craving for liberty from this accursed bondage of sin and God’s wrath (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).
God welcomes even homosexuals to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to enter His joyous and blessed kingdom. There were former homosexuals in the Corinthian church. Concerning them Paul said, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Even in our church there are former homosexuals who have repented and turned to the Lord Jesus for salvation. They now live their renewed life with great joy and peace.
So, let us be ever willing to preach the Gospel to those who are lost in the sin of homosexuality. Proper Gospel presentation requires us to tell of God’s wrath against their sins – even homosexuality – and point them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and deliverance from sin. Preach the truth of the Gospel faithfully and zealously. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25).