“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)
No matter where Christian youths live, they face immense challenges to their faith and holiness. No one can concisely describe those odds stacked against them. The challenges they encounter are no more just matters arising from their own fleshly lusts and enticements of friends, but also from the internet social media that (directly or indirectly, openly or subtly) seek to undermine their faith and Christian values.
Another dreadful influence on Christian youths come from certain youths who profess to be saved but live a worldly life. There is enormous pressure on Christian youths – even from within the church – to act like the world. Be it in the area of their beliefs, speech, conduct, entertainment, activities or dressing, Christian youths are pressurized to follow the worldly trends.
I believe that young people ought to be the “frontline” of our churches’ spiritual army. For they are, to a great extent, the “face” of our churches. Young people make a statement about their churches, just as they do about their families. The churches and families with godly and well-mannered, strong and enterprising children have much to rejoice, while ungodly and ill-mannered, lazy and lethargic young people bring disgrace to their churches and families.
In Psalm 127:4-5, we are told of the blessedness of well-guided youths – “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.”
We do know of certain young men of biblical times who have been endued with great measure of divine strength and wisdom to win their spiritual battles. Do we not remember youthful Joseph, Samuel, David, Josiah, Daniel, Timothy and many more standing up for the LORD in their times? May our youths today be like them in displaying unusual maturity and ability.
For the empowering of her youths to stand for Christ, the church is provided with the best spiritual resources. We are not without aid in guiding our youths to victory in the spiritual battles waged against them. Christian parents, church leaders and youths themselves need to avail themselves of those divine provisions for the equipping and empowering of Christian youths.
The Word of God – the Bible – is the youths’ first and foremost resource. The apostle John says in 1 John 2:13-14, “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one… I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” John here speaks of strong and triumphant youths of the church. He is not referring to their physical strength, but their spiritual strength which comes through spiritual resources that God provides.
Many physically strong young men are being taken captive by the devil. They are “wrestled to the ground” and chained by worldliness in the pit of sin. As enlisted soldiers of Christ’s army, they need something far greater than natural vigour to fight their spiritual battles. As Scripture exhorts, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10); and “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Christian youths must be exhorted to yield to God in devotion and ceaseless prayer so that they may be empowered in the might of God.
Their spiritual strength, as 1 John 2:14 says, comes from the Word of God that abides in them. The Word is not kept out of their lives, but always embraced, studied, believed and obeyed. When the Word is kept within them, they shall be always empowered and equipped to fight and win their battles. The Word of God makes the youths pure. Psalm 119:9, 11 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word… Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It establishes them in their spiritual walk and keeps them from faltering – “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (Psalm 37:31). When His Word remains in His people, it makes them followers of Christ, for Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Jesus also promised that the Word-abiding Christians will achieve great things for the Lord through prayer – “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
The victory of spiritually empowered Christian youths is guaranteed – “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:13, 14). With the strength and wisdom of the most Holy God, they shall have victory over the wicked one, even the devil.
All the young men (and women) of Christ must fight against the devil. They cannot make peace with him. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). All those who are saved have already tasted the victory – “ye have overcome the wicked one.” In Christ we have victory. He has defeated the devil on the cross. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). They who have found their strength in the Lord and His Word will overcome all the ploys of the wicked one.
Final conquest is sure!
They have strength of the Lord in them.
They have God’s Word within them;
They have the devil under them.
We as a family, have been greatly blessed by your preaching for the past twelve years. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has given us salvation, peace, obedience to God and hope in our life. We thank God for the timely instructions received from the Word of God through your preaching. At the same time, God has also blessed us with good health and a job. We would like to share our blessings with you. Please use this token of our love for the purchase of insulin pump or for your medical use.
May our God keep you and sustain you for many more fruitful years in His service. We rejoice with you in Christ Jesus.
Truly, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
A Gethsemane family.
Today, 25 adults and 6 young children will be received into Gethsemane’s membership. This is one of the largest intakes that we have in Gethsemane. As we witness this joyful event of 31 new additions to our church, it is most appropriate and necessary that we remember that church membership is a commitment which we make in response to the biblical instruction that believers be joined to a local church as her responsible members.
Believers are exhorted to function like the members of the same body. Each believer ought to be a member of a local congregation and be committed to serving one another. In Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul gives specific and practical instructions to the church that all members should minister to one another, just as the members of one’s body would function. It is to equip believers for mutual service that God has given each and every believer certain spiritual gifts.
Romans 12:5-8 exhorts us, “5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
In the light of the above Scriptural teaching, every Gethsemanean is asked during the pledge of commitment by the new members: “Will you promise to be regular in reading the Bible and in prayer, in the worship service and in the support of this church through your service and giving?” Dear members, have you been sincerely and faithfully fulfilling the pledge you have made before the Lord and this church? If you are a new member, please be sincerely resolved to serve the Lord and His people as God has taught His people in His Word.
Though in our church there are plenty of people serving on Sundays and throughout the week, every member must humbly and prayerfully offer himself or herself to areas where he or she can best exercise his or her God-given abilities. As our church grows in number, there will be more spiritual and physical needs of our members and worshippers to be met. There will be more young believers to be nurtured, more hurting ones to be comforted, weak ones to be strengthened, sick ones to be visited and attended to. If our church would run like a “well-oiled machine”, it is important that each and every member of the church be involved in serving one another.
The very purpose for which God has brought us together as a church – the body of Christ – is “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:25-27). If there is even one member of the church who is not giving himself or herself to the care and service of the church, the church will be less than what God has designed her to be.
Brethren, let us be committed to fulfil the biblical mandate to serve one another. Being a formal member of our church, let every one of you be resolved in your heart and vow before the Lord – “I will love the people the Lord has added to this church. I will do whatever the Lord will enable me to do for the care and edification of my fellow Gethsemaneans.” Let love and care flow to one another on a daily basis. It is our special privilege as Christians to serve the Lord Jesus Christ by serving His body. Even a small service, such as giving a drink to a thirsty brother, is regarded by the Lord Jesus Christ as a service to Him and will be rewarded by the Lord Himself (cf. Matthew 10:42; 25:40). What a wonderful thought that whenever we serve the members of His church, we are serving the King Himself!
1. Seth Ong Yi Kai s/0 Mr & Mrs Ong Wai Meng, Aron
2. Lim En Zhe, Phineas s/o Mr & Mrs Lim Tiong Nam, Marcus
3. George Lijoy, Johan s/o Mr & Mrs Kunnathu George, Lijoy
4. George Lijoy, Hannah d/o Mr & Mrs Kunnathu George, Lijoy
1. Chan Hor Ying Cathrine
2. Lim Wan Hoe
Transfer of Membership:
|1. Chee Yiu Fatt, George||14. Jonathon Lim Yong Zhong|
|2. Chan Lay Cheng, Alice||15. Liu Junxiong Timotheous|
|3. Chee Wei Heng, Marcus||16. Lee Shing Shyan|
|4. Hendrick Foo||17. Siew Xiangyou, Elvin|
|5. Tan Ee Huang, Laura||18. Debra Lau Yi Koon|
|6. Kunnathu George, Lijoy||19. Rayson Tan Junrong|
|7. Paul, Simmi||20. Rossellini Tan Yeling|
|8. Joish Paul||21. Lee Jong Lee|
|9. Neethu Joish||22. Lim Chai Geok, Mary|
|10. Jeff Joish||23. Lee Zhao Ming, Gideon|
|11. Jiah Joish||24. Tan Kim Teck Robert|
|12. Kay Boon Khai, Jordy||25. Seet To-Mei|
|13. Khong Wei Dong Jonathan|
Next month, Gethsemane Defenders’ Ministry will be holding two lectures (23 & 30 October) in conjunction with this year’s Reformation Sunday.
Reformed and Presbyterian churches traditionally observe Reformation Sunday on the last Sunday of October, marking Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The 16th century Reformation was indeed a battle for the Bible, and one of its battle cries was “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone).
Knowing the history of the church will enable us to be informed and better equipped Christians for the spiritual battles of our time. So please plan to attend.
23rd October (1.30pm – 3.30pm) “16th Century Battle for the Bible” by Andrew Koh
30th October (1.30pm – 3.30pm) “21st Century Battle for the Bible” by Prabhudas Koshy
The Lord has furnished our church with many fellowship and ministry groups so that members and friends may have opportunities to grow and serve the Lord. We thank God that all of them are well-organised and wellmanaged for the spiritual benefit of His people. Apart from the regular meetings, they also arrange special events like seminars, retreats, fellowship-outings, prayer meetings, evangelistic programmes, etc. Our preachers and Session members regularly give leadership and teach God’s Word in their activities.
So brethren, make every effort to participate in the fellowship/ministry groups of the church. “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Bro Aron Ong
The GYAF is an avenue which God uses to minister to His children, particularly the young adults of Gethsemane.
For me, the GYAF message on 20 May 2016 was an especially timely one. The exhortation taken from Hebrews 10:25 on “and so much the more” – as regards to the assembling of ourselves together and the exhorting of one another in Christ – was a reassuring and encouraging message for me. It exhorted me not to give up but keep pressing forward in Christian life and service. At that point, I was just a month into parenthood – a “newbie” dad still settling into the new reality, trying to integrate my newest responsibility with my existing ones. My wife Shan was in her post-pregnancy confinement (though nearing the end of it then), and so I had been going to church alone without my immediate family for that past month. This had been an emotional struggle within me – part of me wanted to attend church, yet another part of me wanted to stay home together with my recuperating wife and newborn baby.
The temptation to slow down in the things of God is always there, all the more so when burdens of life increase. It is very easy to just give up, if we become transfixed by our own circumstances and some others around. However, to do that would be unfaithful to Him who has called and saved us.
Amidst life’s struggles, busyness, frustrations and troubles, we are still to be growing, fruitful Christians. As the palm trees that flourish in hostile desert conditions to produce sweet dates, and like the strong cedar trees that grow in favourable fertile conditions, may our Christian lives be ever flourishing and strong throughout all of life’s changing scenes, that we may show forth the glory of our Lord who has planted us and will make us flourish in Him (cf. Psalm 92:12-15).
That message was an apt reminder, for which I praise God!
Sis Low Hui Lin
The Gethsemane Young Adults’ Fellowship (GYAF) has been a blessing to me in the years that I have been in this church. I praise the Lord for using the GYAF to minister to me in several ways.
It was through the GYAF that I was assimilated into the church. During the months before my husband and I got married, I started attending the GYAF meetings. Through this, I was able to get to know more members of the church. I am thankful for several sisters who put in the effort to talk to me and make me feel welcome at each meeting.
Through the past 7 years, the GYAF has continued to be a source of blessing for me. I especially am thankful for the faithful preaching of God’s Word during each meeting, through which I have learnt much and grown in the Lord. How I sometimes wish that the preaching would not end, so that I can hear more of God’s Word!
The GYAF has also provided me with the opportunity to be in closer fellowship with some brothers and sisters-in-Christ as we get to know one other better. God has used the brethren from the GYAF to encourage me at different points in my life, for which I am thankful.
I praise the Lord for His goodness to me through the GYAF. May the Lord continue to use the GYAF mightily to do His work.
The spiritual frontline is not one to be trifled with. It is where spiritual warfare occurs almost all the time, and throughout the life of a genuine believer in Christ. The outcome thus hinges on how a Christian fights these battles. Just as any physical warfare is of a matter of life and death, where great amounts of resources, thoughts and efforts are being put into fighting it, a Christian must also fight his spiritual battles valiantly with the help of God. If a Christian slackens in spiritual warfare, the adversary, who pounces at any given opportunity, will easily catch him or her unawares.
One of the many spiritual battles that a Christian has to fight is the battle against “spiritual sleepiness and drunkenness”. It is the attitude of being insensitive towards godliness and not living a life that is all-pleasing to God. Spiritual sleepiness and drunkenness is the behaviour of unbelievers who are not at all ready for the imminent coming of Christ. It could also refer to living an active life of revelry and unrestrained enjoyment of sins. But a Christian fights against all such dispositions towards sins. Christians ought to be watchful and to be battle-ready. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 tells us that the means to be sober is to put on “the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation”. It is unthinkable for any soldier to go to war without his gears. So, let no Christian go to his spiritual battles without putting on the armour that God has provided. What then is this Christian armour that God has provided for the Christian soldier?
A breastplate is an important piece of ancient military armour. The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary provides the following information about this ancient piece of armament:
With the rise in popularity of the arrow and with its speed of flight and imperceptible approach on its victim, the mail came to be more and more necessary to cover the torso. Fish scale-like construction of small metal plates sewn to cloth or leather was the breastplate for the ancient soldier. These scales could number as high as 700 to 1000 per “coat.” Each coat obviously could be quite heavy and expensive to produce in volume.
This piece of breastplate was a central piece of a Roman soldier’s armour. It protected the torso, which contained vital organs like the heart and lungs. The breastplate was used as the main piece of defence in war.
A Christian soldier must put on this breastplate at all times. Arrows fly in all directions in a battlefield. It is impossible to predict from where and when the arrows would fly towards the soldiers. This often leaves soldiers helpless and defenceless. However, as long as this breastplate is put on, a soldier will have the best form of defence he needs. Likewise, Christians cannot predict when the enemies of Christ will attack him. Yet when they put on this “breastplate of faith and love”, they are able to withstand spiritual attacks. Christians are also exhorted to put this on continuously as the tense for “putting on” in verse 8 is in the continuous. This continuity also connotes that Christians are in constant spiritual warfare. Unlike ancient soldiers who could put down the heavy breastplate once they left their battlefields, Christians must always have their spiritual breastplate on them.
The first element of this breastplate is faith. A Christian must always act in the faith that God has granted him for his salvation and Christian life. He will remember his Christian position and will only do things that are in accordance with his faith. This is how a Christian ought to defend himself against spiritual attacks at all times. A Christian who is not sober and watchful forgets that he ought to act as a follower of Christ. When the fiery arrows of temptation are shot in his direction, the “sleepy” and “drunken” Christian is caught off-guard. Being unguarded, the poor Christian will be pierced by the arrows without mercy and be defeated. On the contrary, a watchful and sober Christian will always be prepared for any spiritual attack because he is aware of the dangers lurking around him.
The second element of the breastplate is love. A Christian soldier who wears this breastplate has an unwavering love for God. His love for God never diminishes. A constant love for God guards against all fiery arrows of temptations that are being shot at Christians. It provides a strong motivation for resistance against temptations. This is because a Christian who loves God cares most about his relationship with God. He does not seek to gratify himself. His love for God will rouse him to resist temptations. In the face of temptations, a Christian who bears in mind his love for God will ask: “How can I do this wickedness against my Lord whom I love? Will what I do grieve His heart or disappoint Him?”
The next piece of defence armour is the “helmet, the hope of salvation”. It is a vital piece worn by soldiers for the protection of the head. Blows aimed at the head could be fatal. Thus, helmets were made of metallic material, like bronze and brass lined with leather, to take these blows. Usually, the helmet is the last piece of armour a soldier will put on before he heads out to war. A meticulous and prudent soldier will not forget his helmet even when he rushes out to war. Even though he has made all other preparations and worn all other parts of the armour, he will not go to war without his helmet.
The helmet of a Christian is his hope of salvation. Christians who wear this helmet are assured that the Lord has saved them and that they will have the final victory. Soldiers must have the hope of victory in any battle that they fight. Having done all the preparations for war, a soldier must go with the hope of victory, and not with an attitude of fear and defeat. A Christian also cannot afford to be a sceptic, filled with doubt and fear. He is called to be an overcomer. This is echoed in 1 John 5:5 – “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” All Christians are called to be victorious in their battles. No matter what the devil does, he will not prevail against Christians in their full battle order. Christians must fight their spiritual battles with the mindset to win. Christians must gird their armour on and sound the battle cry as they fight their spiritual battles confidently
With God as the Captain of the Christian army, let all Christian soldiers go forward and face their spiritual battles readily and steadily, as declared by the hymn, “Sound the Battle Cry”:
“Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner,
Ready, steady, pass the word along;
Onward, forward, shout aloud, “Hosanna!”
Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.”
Greetings to you all in the blessed Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Lord’s Name be praised in all His marvellous works which He has done in our midst. By the grace and mercies of the Lord, the Gethsemane B-P mission churches in Bogo and San Antonio have been hitherto sustained by the Lord. Recently, we just had the 8th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of the Gethsemane B-P Mission Church, Bogo (which was held on 24 July 2016). We praise the Lord for preserving the church. The church had undergone some difficulties whereby some ended up leaving the church, but the Lord has been faithful in even adding regular worshippers into our midst. Praise the Lord for the preaching of God’s Word from Pastor Reggor that challenged the church towards revival. May God’s people respond rightly as the Lord does a great revival in our midst.
About a month later, the Gethsemane B-P Mission Church, San Antonio, held her 7th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on 21 August 2016. The Lord has been gracious to send into our midst brethren from the Cebu church to rejoice together with us, granting us a blessed time of mutual encouragement. Thank God for the many children who came – these children are from the children’s outreach of the San Antonio church. The brethren were exhorted from God’s Word by Pastor Reggor on maintaining the right perspective in service. Praise the Lord for brethren who continue to be stedfast and joyful in their service to the Lord. The Lord is merciful and gracious in adding to the church two new members, Zoey Jimenez and John Paul Narandan. May they grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ unto maturity.
All glory and praise be to the Lord for using our late Preacher Dominino some years back to start these two mission churches. Praise the Lord for his faithful service to these churches until he was taken home. Praise be unto the Lord for His continuing grace in nurturing these two mission churches. Indeed, “His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth forever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion” (Psalm 111:3-4).
Praise the Lord for the loving and unfailing support of the Gethsemane B-P Church, Singapore, to our two mission churches. Thank God for the love and support of the church and brethren in Singapore. We know that the Singapore church has her own burdens, yet your liberality abounds! It is also heart-warming to know that your church remembers us in your Tuesday night prayer meetings. Praise the Lord for helping us carry the burdens of the two mission churches and cast them upon the Lord.
Please do continue to pray for us as we look forward to another blessed year ahead of us. May the Lord be pleased to continue to use these two mission churches to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the saving of souls and for the glory of His Name. May the Lord grant us His grace, that the brethren will continue to abide and grow thereby in Jesus Christ and His Word.
Lovingly in Christ,
Eld Eliezer Ortega
“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).
Greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
I praise God for keeping His church, my co-labourers, my family and me in faith and good health to continue His work. The Lord of the harvest has been very gracious in sustaining us and providing the direly-needed resources for the work He has entrusted us. Moreover, I thank God for your labours of love, constant prayer and support for God’s work in Ethiopia whereby the Almighty is fulfilling His purpose in our land.
Spiritually speaking, the Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia are passing through great tides of apostasy, charismatic delusion and moral declension. While we do not expect things to get better in these last days, we are called to hold forth the Word of Life, live blamelessly and shine as Christ’s lights “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation” (cf. Philippians 2:15-16). Despite some “dropouts” from God’s army in our church, I praise God for upholding us to stand against all these unbiblical tides, and also for all the brethren who stood by us in prayer and selfless giving.
Following is a brief update on God’s work in Ethiopia:
By God’s enabling grace, Gethsemane has been shining forth the gospel light of Jesus Christ over the town and its environs. In our weekly evangelism work, we usually do a person-to-person evangelism whenever conducive. We also give out tracts (especially “An Appointment to Keep”, translated into Amharic and Oromo). God rewarded our efforts by a few who have professed faith in Christ. As we press on in the days ahead, may God bring in greater harvest.
Besides, Bro Bayera (a graduate of GBI) has begun a mission work in Sebata Awas, Gora Kebele. Some people have shown interest in the Gospel. But due to the recurring uprisings in Oromia region, he could not fully carry out house-to-house evangelism as planned. We are prayerfully doing all we can to get the breakthrough. Once we get a number of converts, he will settle there and continue the work. Please pray for this work.
ii. Gethsemane Children’s Ministry
This ministry provides an opportunity for the poor and disadvantaged children in our community to learn to read, write and understand basic arithmetic. This year, 29 children completed their education, which is provided free. Next academic year, we will have 3 classes: Nursery, KG1 and KG2, with about 45 poor children benefiting from this gratis service. 3 of our church members (1 volunteer and 2 paid staff) are serving in this ministry. This ministry has allowed us to give the Good News both to the children and their parents. It is our prayer that God’s special favour be on this work to yield rich spiritual fruits in days to come. May God use the seed sown in their hearts to bring them to salvation.
iii. GBI, Ethiopia
“Thou … be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1-2).
GBI exists to train and prepare faithful Christian leaders, preachers and teachers for the Church of Jesus Christ. It strives to achieve this by equipping them with sound biblical and theological instruction, training the heart to develop biblical virtues, and providing vital skills needed for effective preaching and teaching of God’s Word and biblical leadership of the church. Thus, GBI is a firm ground which the Lord has given to Gethsemane to disseminate the Reformed and Bible-Presbyterian Faith, to counteract the apostasy in our land, and to prepare faithful, devoted, skilful ministers for the work of the Gospel.
After 4 years of training, 2 have graduated with Diploma in Theology on 29th November 2015. One of the graduates, Pr Dejene Daka, went back to the rural church and is now serving as a pastor in a local church in Wolayta Zone. The other is our church member, currently serving the Lord fulltime in Alemgena. Praise God for His unspeakable gifts. In GBI, Ethiopia, we have 3 programmes:
May the Lord bless these efforts for the glory of His Name, the edification of His people and the salvation of sinners. I truly thank God for all the brethren who earnestly pray for and sacrificially give towards this work.
Pr Engida is in charge of the work in Addis. He takes all the duties related to the spiritual care of the flock there. Dn Imane and I will go there monthly to help the work on alternate Sundays. We use a rented house for our services and for Pr Engida’s family’s residence. Finding a willing property owner with an affordable rental, has been our problem these past 2 years. The current owner, under pressure from pagan neighbours, had told us to leave as we just completed a 1-year term of leasing this month.
Each move brings its own difficulty. In any case, this time we almost could not get a proprietor who is willing to lease property for church service. After a month of desperate search, we found a property which is leased out on a 6-month term of payment. Though the owner is a member of an evangelical church, he is not willing to let us use it on a 3-month term of payment. This puts us in a most difficult situation. Yet, we have no option but to take it. This shows us that the time ahead is more difficult than we imagine. We need prayers of God’s people, that God may intervene in all our difficulties to sustain the ministry in Addis Ababa – for God alone has the solution to this problem.
The Excellencies of Christ’ is the topic of the upcoming Bible Witness Retreat (7-9 Sept). As it has been with every previous BW Retreat, the lectures in the coming retreat would also be the culmination of a series of study on a theme which I have undertaken. In the last BW retreat, the study and the lectures were focused on the Doctrine of Christ. It has whipped up a greater desire to learn of the excellencies of Christ as revealed in His Word. So I have been prayerfully learning and preparing to share with you in the upcoming retreat on the remarkable truths of Christ’s glory. As I look forward to the retreat, I pray that God will bless us with richer knowledge of His glorious Son.
The excellencies of Christ afford an inexhaustible and soul-satisfying study. To the apostle Paul, the knowledge of Christ was a cause that he would undertake at the expense of all things in life – “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Nothing in the world is of any comparison to His infinite glory!
The excellencies of Christ arise from the fact that in Him dwelleth all divine and human excellencies. The beauty of the divine attributes is found in Him in all fullness – “in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). He is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Also, whatever perfection of human virtues is also found in Him, for He was “holy, harmless, undefiled” (Hebrews 7:26), “without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet 1:19). He is the transcendent God, yet He condescends to reach us. In Christ our Lord, we find the beauties of divine majesty and meekness of a perfect man, for He is the Lion and also the Lamb (Revelation 5:1-10).
The knowledge of Christ’s superlative excellence is sure to evoke within us an all-consuming passion for Him and His glory. The meditation of His excellencies would make all the glittering luxuries and glamour of this world grow pale and dim, while stirring our souls to crave for richer knowledge and experiences of His glories. However high we may rise in the knowledge of Christ, still there will be the inexhaustible riches of His excellence.
So, let us therefore eagerly come to His presence to learn of Him.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
This verse begins with the connective particle “wherefore”, which refers us to James’ discussion in the preceding verse that God begat Christians according to His will by the truth of His Word. All genuine Christians are the children of His family. In this regard, James addressed fellow believers as “my beloved brethren”. Then he exhorted them as to how they should conduct themselves as children of God’s family.
The first conduct of a child of God that James teaches, is that he ought to “be swift to hear”. The primary emphasis of this advice is that every Christian ought to be eager and ready to hear God’s Word. Listening attentively to the instructions of the divine truth, by which every Christian is begotten, is crucial in the life of God’s child. His foremost calling is to be a student, rather than a teacher, of God’s Word. He must be teachable and have a great appetite to feed on God’s truth. A holy curiosity and a receptive spirit are paramount if he is to grow in the knowledge of God.
is certainly not an advice to promote some kind of unsociable reserve. There is no virtue in being uncommunicative. We are not forbidden from speaking altogether. We are not taught to abstain from speaking entirely, but to be slow to speak. The admonition is against talkativeness and hastiness to be a teacher. Such restraint in speech has been taught in the wisdom books of the Bible. Proverbs 10:19 reminds us, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 17:27 says, “He that hath knowledge spareth his words”. In Ecclesiastes 5:2, we are warned: “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God.”
The third conduct of a child of God that James teaches, is that he ought to be “slow to wrath”. Quick-temperedness and fiery outbursts will lead to many great and heinous offences and sins. So we are to control our temper. Moreover, to be a good learner of God’s Word, one needs to be patient in spirit. Let us not be angry, especially when we are rebuked and corrected by His Word. Proverbs 14:29 reminds us, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding”. He who is slow to anger shall attain wisdom and honour, but the wrathful man, only foolishness and shame.
Whether it be a custom, habit or game, Christians must “not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12b). We should be cautious to avoid being enslaved by anything, even if it seems lawful. As Christians, we must ask ourselves: “Will this enslave me? Will this hinder or profit my spiritual life?”
With Pokemon Go’s arrival in Singapore, I must warn our children, youths and adults against being brought under its spell. Pokemon (originated in Japan) was introduced to the rest of the world in the mid- 1990’s. Its new version, Pokemon Go is an “augmented reality” game. Players would chase Pokemon cartoon characters in real world environments using their smartphone camera and a phone app. Reports show that some churches in the US have become ‘Pokemon Go gym’ locations, where players (known as trainers in the game) gather to battle against one other. It would not be too long for such things to happen in Singapore churches too!
Why should we dissociate ourselves from this fantasy game? Firstly, it is not all that innocuous as it is made out to be. Christian writers have warned about its troubling similarities with some occult practices. (By the way, “Pokemon” is short for “pocket monster”!) Its hundreds of cartoon characters depict demonic creatures – including a fictitious creature (Gengar) displaying power to curse Pokemon players, thus teaching children that cursing through magic is OK. Though promoted as an amusement, in reality, it is a promoter of occultism – clairvoyance, summoning of spirits, practice of mind-control, dabbling in magical arts, etc. It also promotes ungodly activities like gambling. The more immersed you are in the game, the more severe the spiritual maladies! Secondly, though there is no official report of Pokemon players becoming demon-possessed or witchcraft practitioners, it is not a harmless game. There is much evidence that it affects the mood and behaviour of those given to it. Moreover, it can also cause not a few physical dangers! Just last week, media reports highlighted some bad, dangerous behaviour of these gamers.
There is nothing wrong with having some fun using our imagination. But when it involves characters and activities of occult themes, our minds will be gradually influenced to ignore Scripture’s prohibitions and be open to spiritual dangers. Due to its subtle power to negatively affect our behaviour and spiritual integrity, we must dissuade our children and youths from playing Pokemon Go. What we and our children need is not fun with the occult, but godly discipline that turns us from worldliness to Christ. Brethren, avoid all things that are not spiritually expedient.
We are all sinners. The problem is that not all of us think so. Worse, some even think themselves to be less a sinner than others. Without the problem (i.e. sin), scarcely would the cure be appreciated.
TGCM is a ministry that preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ to ex-offenders. Upon their salvation, TGCM is the platform which nurtures these men in the knowledge of God’s will, and works out the transformation in their lives. The TGCM brothers were those with a bad past. Vice, wickedness and sin ruled their lives in a more manifested way than most of ours. Some bad things we thought of, these brothers did. Some evil things we cursed, these brothers performed. Some things so blatantly horrible that we shun, these brothers embraced. These are the men whose “sinsickness” had plagued them so sore that the efficacy of the cure is most appreciated.
Truly, the Bible did not make any unwarranted claim when it said that the Gospel of Jesus Christ – of His substitutionary, atoning work which He did by coming to be born a man, to live, die, and ultimately rise again – is the power of God to save all. There is no sinner whom the blood of Christ cannot cleanse if only the sinner genuinely repents. Believe in your heart what Christ has done to pay for the sins on your behalf, confess the Lord, and forsake your sins – that is the repentance of the Bible. TGCM brothers are testament of that promise.
There is nothing that can pick a poor lost sinner, change his heart, and turn his life around the way the Gospel of Jesus Christ can. Those tender words of Jesus, “Follow me” will resound into an irresistible call for sinners to forsake all the sins of the world and come to a Saviour. The call to leave sin and death, and to plead before a furious and all-righteous Judge is also an appeal before the most merciful and loving God. The ways of darkness that once gave joy now lose their glamour, relative to the joy of being reconciled with God! Oh, peace with God the Judge! Free from the guilt of sin, and free from its bondage! There is nothing other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ that may impart such elation to those who receive its cure. Upon salvation, living is now for Christ, according to the Bible. There is no stronger motivation.
Other modes of “restoration” or rehabilitation without the Gospel may change the manifestation of sin. One wrong is substituted with other less severe wrongs. Illegal wrongs are replaced with “legal” wrongs. Or perhaps wrong is momentarily avoided, in the light of punishment if committed. But the heart is not changed; the root issue is not addressed; there is still no purpose in life. Some may retort that many have since found families or businesses which now provide meaning and purpose to live changed lives. Yet, if these are removed (which are easily lost), the sinner is reverted to his former state. But the joys of salvation and peace with God, none shall ever take away! Even in death, nothing can change God’s love towards us, and His forgiveness of our sins. Truly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power to change lives. God Himself works within the hearts of the TGCM brothers, sanctifying them day by day for His purpose.
There is no news as beautiful to great sinners than that there is a great Saviour. And who are great sinners? The TGCM brothers undoubtedly are. But so are we, and so am I. Just because we haven’t done what (or as blatantly as) they did, doesn’t make us any less a sinner in the sight of God. All have come short, as the allrighteous and holy Lord accepts nothing but perfection. We do right indeed to praise and glorify God for the greatness of His Gospel to change the lives of such great sinners as these ex-offenders. But equally praise God for the greatness of His Gospel to save us, who are just as great sinners too!
Sometimes, because we think of our sins as less severe than they are, we appreciate the cure less than we ought to. But by God’s grace, He sends a stark contrast for our contemplation. By almost all definitions, TGCM brothers have been great sinners in need of the powerful and most precious Gospel. This contrast allows us to fully appreciate the greatness of God’s gift of salvation, and the efficacy of His saving grace. But in God’s sight, we are as great sinners as they. So, this same Gospel saves us too, if only we believe.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Sinner, repent and find mercy in the Lord!
(A youth who attended the TGCM 11th Thanksgiving Anniversary Service)
As Singapore celebrates its 51st National Day, it is good that we, Christian citizens and residents of Singapore, know our godly duties in this nation and rededicate ourselves to them.
Dear Pr Jeremiah Sim (preacher-in-charge of the Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry),
In the blessed Name of Jesus, warm greetings to you and your wife. I also greet all the members of the Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry group. I hope and pray that this letter may find you all in the best of health.
I cherished those days when I was with you because it was during those times that I realised how good and great our God is. I am greatly thankful to God that He has since extended my life, not to suffer but to enjoy.
I am very grateful to our loving and merciful God for blessing me with loving and caring children, who are serving in God’s ministry. They are my only treasure here on earth. I do not have glittering gold or abundance of money but I have Jesus. And in Jesus, I have what the world cannot give and this is the eternal life that all His children will enjoy after this life. Jesus has said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions … And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). That is His promise, and I trust Him.
Truly, as the hymn goes, “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at His Word”. I thank God for His words in the Bible. Verses like Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 46:4 and Philippians 4:6 have helped me overcome my peculiar problems and made my trust and faith in God stronger, especially now that I am old.
I encourage those who are in your old age like me to learn more Bible verses and apply to your daily life – you’ll be spiritually stronger and more refreshed physically. When the spirit is strong, so is your body.
Thank you also for the gift of a computer. God really has His amazing ways in answering prayer (Psalm 37:4), very often through the giving from good friends. Undoubtedly, God is really faithful to His Word.
I am hoping and praying that I can come back and be with you again, God willing. Again, thank you very much. Praise be to our God, hallelujah! To God be the glory.
In Jesus’ Name,
Rebecca Delina, the Philippines
(She is the mother of Eric Delina)
These days, confronting falsehood and sin head-on is no more regarded as a necessity or as helpful. Instead, confronting error and ungodliness is frowned upon and condemned as hurtful behaviour. The tragic result: in Christian families and churches, a culture of resigned acceptance of worldliness has since taken root!
The attitudes of relativism and political correctness have become so common among Christians that many of God’s children are left without reproofs of life and proper warnings, leaving them to be ruined by their errors and sins. The crowd-pleasing mindset of Christian parents and church leadership alike has left both their children and flocks vulnerable to the most vicious perils of unchecked worldliness. The moral and spiritual integrity that is required of Christians and churches are hard to find in these days.
The hesitation of preachers and parents to confront the sins of their congregations and children are like that of the days of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel: “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter” (Isaiah 56:10-11).
“For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 6:13-15).
“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand” (Ezekiel 33:6).
By their silence, leaders and parents have consented to the incursion of worldliness. Their lack of determination to confront and fight against sin at all costs has made them thorough compromisers. They have permitted immodesty, fornication and materialism in their homes and worship places without firmly and decisively acting against them biblically. Even in so-called fundamental, conservative churches and their homes, there are so much goings-on that would surely be condemned by the Lord.
Brethren, remember the biblical admonition: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Not to reprove works of darkness is to be in fellowship with them. It is either confront or conform!
A deep, death-like spiritual slumber has befallen the church and Christian homes. Without a doubt, the moral and spiritual situation surrounding us is dreadful and calamitous. It is the Laodicean spirit, which was rebuked by our Lord Jesus Christ – “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. …thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17).
A spiritual awakening is desperately needed among Christians to know and appropriately deal with their death-like spiritual slumber. We must regain our fervour for truth and holiness. We must boldly and decisively deal with sin and error in our homes and church. Take heed to Paul’s admonition: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:11–14).
Are there some among you, who are members of Gethsemane, living in worldliness and sin? Are there some parents in our midst who have lost all your moral compass and courage to confront the worldliness and materialism in your family? If you fail to confront, the only outcome is that you and your home will serve the world more than Christ.
Are you a person who is irked by the preaching of the Word against sins that are rampant in our midst? Do you then advocate that the preacher should not rebuke sins of the people, because that is very disconcerting to people? If you are such a person, you need to know that your attitude is totally unbiblical – for the Bible specifically commands the preacher thus: “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15); “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).
If we fail to confront sin and falsehood, we will soon conform to them!
In our world that teaches its youths to pursue self-honour, giving honour to whom it is due is not at all seen as an important virtue. A great many people do not even bother to think about the need to show respect and honour. Nothing is as dishonourable as one’s neglect of giving honour to those whom the Bible says it is due.
The Word of God teaches us in Romans 13:7 that we are to “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Giving honour to those whom it is due is an obvious duty of Christians. The freedom that Jesus gives to us does not cut us loose from our obligation to show respect and love to those in places of respect. Rude and disrespectful attitudes, words and actions from Christians are unworthy of Christ.
Esteeming others is our duty, whether it be in family, church or society. “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:17). Paul exhorted the Roman Christians: “in honour preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). The Bible repeatedly teaches us to have that beautiful attitude, which is a promoter of Christian fellowship and also a preventer of bitterness, jealousy and quarrels among the brethren.
Hesitation to show respect is not fitting to the spirit of genuine Christianity. So I would like to urge all Gethsemaneans to cultivate a respectful spirit. We must not be passive in giving honour to others. We must be joyful and quick to show our respect for others. Be enthusiastic in greeting others, for we are told, “greet ye one another” (1 Corinthians 16:20; 1 Peter 5:14).
The church is particularly commanded: “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints” (Hebrews 13:24). It is the duty of every church member to be diligent to show his appreciation for the spiritual leadership given to them with respectful greetings extended to pastors, elders and preachers. This instruction is emphatically taught in Hebrews 13:17 – “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.” Those who show respect to God’s servants, as Scripture exhorts, are assured of special blessings that would profit them.
“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23).
This saying is set in the context of having wise counsellors. There is great profitability in listening to men who can provide wise advice about matters of life, including both spiritual and mundane matters.
It is unquestionably God’s will concerning us that we be wise in speech to exhort and edify one another. God wants His people to cultivate wise speech. God’s Word sounds out His great expectation concerning their communication with one another. “The lips of the righteous feed many” (Proverbs 10:21). Also, “the tongue of the wise is health” (Proverbs 12:18), i.e. wherever wise speech is maintained, the affairs of life will be healthy. Moreover, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4); thus when the tongue is guided by the Spirit of God and by the words of Holy Scripture, it will elicit wise thoughts in the hearers.
In every Christian home, godly conversation must always be maintained. Parents are expected to be wise teachers of their children at home. They must teach their children God’s truth (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; 11:19). Furthermore, children are warned against swearing against the parents. “Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness” (Proverbs 20:20).
The Christian’s duty to exhibit gracious, wholesome speech is repeatedly exhorted in the epistles of Paul. In Ephesians 4:29, he admonished, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” By the same token, he said in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” The provider of an apt answer will indeed have great joy. His own conscience will rejoice that his words have been helpful; on top of that, the gratefulness of the hearer will also be a reason for his joy.
We should be careful not only about the content and manner of our speech, but also about the timeliness of our speech. “A word … in due season, how good is it!” Our words should befit the situation. A piece of advice, given at the right moment and in the most suitable manner, will be very profitable to the hearers. So before we speak, let us examine whether our words are truthful, edifying, gracious and appropriate.
It is our honourable duty to recall all good things that the LORD has done amongst us and give praise to Him duly. Scripture frequently exhorts us, as His people, to give thanks to the LORD. One of many such exhortations is 1 Chronicles 16:8- 10: “Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.”
Over the past 13 years, the Lord has nurtured in our midst an effective Gospel ministry to the Chinese-speaking relatives of our members and friends. It has pleased the Lord to use it to bring several of our dear ones to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also to nurture those who have believed in Christ through the Word and fellowship. Therefore, in gratefulness to God, we will worship Him in a combined worship service of the English and Chinese congregations.
Preacher Daniel Lim, who ministers God’s Word amongst our Chinese-speaking brethren, has been faithfully and zealously serving the Lord for about 11 years. He not only regularly preaches God’s Word during worship services on the Lord’s Day, but also holds Bible studies after worship service, and whenever brethren need them. He also regularly visits the sick and those who are in need of encouragement. On Tuesday nights, he leads brethren from the Chinese Ministry in Bible Study-cum-Prayer Meeting. His ministry is also extended to Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry, The Gethsemane Care Ministry and Gethsemane Prison Ministry. The Lord also strengthened him to regularly travel to Malaysia and preach in the Chinese ministries of Kemaman Life B-P Church, Terengganu, and Calvary Jaya B-P Church, KL. Let us pray regularly for Pr Daniel Lim, that He may serve victoriously for the Lord.
We are also grateful for the brethren who co-labour with Pr Daniel Lim in Chinese Worship Service on every Lord’s Day, and also on other occasions. We gratefully remember and praise the Lord for all those who serve as worship chairmen, pianists, ushers, helpers, etc. May God be your special joy and strength in your wholehearted service.
Let us serve Him as we are exhorted to do in His Word. Please consecrate to serve Him according to the following Scriptural exhortations.
Serve Him whole heartedly
Serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind
Serve Him with sincerity and in truth
Serve with gladness
Serve Him with humility
Serve Him with fervent spirit
感谢我们在天上的天父对我们 客西玛尼笃信圣经长老会华文崇拜 在过去十三年的恩待，供应与赐福。 十三年的光阴有如早上的露水，太 阳一升起就消散无影无踪。然而在 这岁月不留人的日子里，神大能的圣 手不停地保护着我们，神的信实，慈 爱更没有停止，离开，每天都是何等 的丰富。在这一年里蒙神在他的管 教里，让我们对神建造我们生命，经 历，跟神话语的认识可说是何等宝 贵生命的领悟，而且对神要我们在主 里所当活的生命与行的事借着圣经向我们启明白好让我们行天家道路有目标，尊神的旨意行。 天父是配得一切的感恩与荣耀，我们在这欢庆的十三年周年一起来崇拜感恩，愿父神加多您 的恩惠在我们每个儿女身上，让我们多一些的依靠，爱主，行在神喜悦的道路里，更体贴父神 的心意将您爱世人，为世人成就了救赎恩典，借着主耶稣基督十字架的舍命第三天复活，让世 人认识您唯一真神，凡信靠您的必不灭亡反得永生。愿主在我们这些软弱的器皿来盛满您的恩 赐，智慧，生命，让我们在新的一年里都协力跟随，侍奉主，愿主圣名常得赞美与荣耀。