“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)
Greetings from Perth, where I have been ministering God’s Word, together with my wife Carolyn, to the brethren of Bible-Presbyterian Church of Western Australia. The church camp ended on Thursday afternoon. The study of the Word was based on the theme, “Sanctified and Meet for the Master’s Use”, taken from 2 Timothy 2:21. The Lord has helped me to preach altogether 9 sermons on the theme in the camp, including the sermon during the last Lord’s Day service. I am personally blessed to have an opportunity to study, understand, and preach on that particular theme – firstly for my own sanctification and profitable use in the Lord’s Hand, and secondly for all the people of God gathered in the BPCWA Church Camp. Carolyn, who taught the children during the camp on the same theme, also rejoices in His enabling grace that strengthened her to serve Him.
Here in the camp, we also had the company of the Cho family (Wai Mun, Jolyne and Benjamin), and Sis Elizabeth Poon from our church, and a couple of families from Truth B-P Church, Singapore. Bro Benjamin Cho will be enrolling in a university here to pursue his studies; so we thank God that he can find pastoral care and church fellowship in BPCWA.
I write this letter on Friday morning from the church’s guest house (named Jeremiah House), where we will be staying till we return to Singapore on Tuesday (12th July). I have several more scheduled programmes of teaching God’s Word to fulfil before I return – a family seminar (with three sessions over two days), a combined fellowship gathering, and a Church Session retreat. I am grateful to know that you have been praying for our ministries here earnestly. We too pray daily for all the ministries of our church and all of you.
I take this time to convey the greetings of Rev & Mrs Joseph Poon, together with the brethren of BPCWA, to all of you. God willing, I will be with you during this Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting.
Meanwhile, may the following exhortations strengthen you in your pursuit of God. I am sharing them that you may be further encouraged to seek a closer walk with the Lord.
Cultivate a deep desire for God like the psalmist who said, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:25). The psalmist, by using a very persuasive Hebrew device of a question and an assertion, here expresses his deep and firm love for God. He is supremely satisfied in God. He desires no one more than the LORD whom he has been trusting. Such should be the sentiment of every child of God towards God.
By asking “Whom have I in heaven but thee?”, the psalmist exalts God above all the angels and the souls of the departed who are in God’s presence. None of the angels – not even the archangel – is worthy of such complete trust and adoration which the psalmist has for God.
Similar sentiments of affection and adulation towards the matchless greatness and glory of the exalted God of heaven have been confessed by many of His servants. Moses said, “O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might” (Deuteronomy 3:24)? King Solomon testified, “LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart” (1 Kings 8:23). Similarly, Job affirmed in the face of mistrust and false accusations, “Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high” (Job 16:19). The psalmist also openly sang, “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD” (Psalm 89:6)?
Truly, “great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods” (1 Chronicles 16:25). May we, too, “praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psalm 148:13).
The unparalleled greatness and goodness of our God also cause the psalmist to unequivocally declare, “there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” He would go to no one but his God for the help he needs. He is assured that the God of heaven is very gracious and will condescend to aid him in all his difficulties and struggles. The matchless greatness and goodness of God make His child crave for His presence and support. May we truly say, “The Lord is with me; I am satisfied in Him.
The apostle Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68b). These were the words of Peter to the Lord Jesus Christ at a time when “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). The Lord Jesus then confronted the twelve: “Will ye also go away” (John 6:67)? It is in answer to this query that Peter, with his characteristic fervour and promptness, declared: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
Many followers of Christ had been offended at His doctrine. They used their own feeble sense, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, to judge His wondrous words of life. So they ended up saying, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). They were not saying that His saying was hard to understand, but that it was hard for them to agree with or accept. His words were displeasing to their unbelieving hearts. They took offence at His statement: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life, in you” (John 6:53). They misrepresented His doctrine by critically looking at the “letter” of His profound saying, without perceiving the “spirit” of His words. How rash and foolish of them to choose to leave Him immediately! If only they had a little more patience to tarry with Christ!
Upon their departure, Jesus turned His attention to the twelve. The sudden departure of the multitude must have troubled the disciples. However, Jesus asked the bewildered disciples a probing question: “Will ye also go away?” He tested the genuineness of their decision to stay with Him. He wanted them to affirm their faith in Him and renew their allegiance to Him. The Lord compelled none to remain with Him against their will. He wanted each of them to make his choice whether to follow Him or not. Yet even among the twelve, there was one who would leave the Lord in order to betray Him (cf. John 6:70, 71).
When faced with the departures and betrayals of nominal Christians, we should not be unduly alarmed. Like Peter, we should seize the opportunity to reaffirm our faith and commitment to Christ. We too must boldly make our confession: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Let us also have a firm resolution to adhere to Christ, our only Saviour and Lord. We ought to follow our Lord even when others leave Him. We seek no other companion more than our Saviour and Lord.
It has been 17 days since my family has been away from Gethsemane and Singapore. My wife Carolyn and I had just returned from India (Friday, 1st July at 10.30am) after spending that many days with my ageing parents. (My children are still with their grandparents, and will return only on 13th July). We also had a wonderful opportunity to get together with the families of my two siblings for the first time. Since I started serving in Gethsemane in 1991, I did not have an opportunity like this to be with my parents, siblings and their families together. So it was indeed an edifying and joyful family get-together.
During the last two Lord’s days, I also preached at the church that I grew up in. This also gave me an opportunity, after almost 30 years, to meet with some childhood friends and relatives with whom I grew up.
Right now, we are getting ready for another 12 days of ministry in Perth. Please pray for us, as we minister in Bible-Presbyterian Church of Western Australia. By the way, Pr & Mrs Andrew Koh are away in Melbourne to minister to the youths in Bethel BPC; so please uphold them in your prayers.
Please consider prayerfully for your spiritual strengthening the following two devotions that I would like to share with you. Till we meet again, the Lord be with you and bless you.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
The psalmist here instructs God’s people concerning how they ought to possess indefatigable faith in God, even when they are encircled by terrors and troubles. The psalmist is not only an example of unfaltering faith, but also an encourager who exhorts fellow believers to put their confidence in God. The psalmist’s confession of God’s goodness towards His people is remarkably invigorating.
Here the psalmist makes three assertions about God which believers should affirm wholeheartedly in their times of troubles. The first truth that we should affirm in the midst of our troubles is that “God is our refuge”. Some have built for themselves what appear to be well-fortified castles with tall, strong walls and thick iron gates, guarded by hosts of strong men with powerful weapons. Yet time and time again, such man-made refuge have been breached by enemies and all kinds of perils. A far superior refuge is the LORD God for all who trust in Him. He is their impregnable refuge. Taking shelter in God is far better than running into manmade shelters. God is our safe shelter!
The second truth that God’s people must affirm always is that God is their “strength”. When they feel weak and defenceless, God is the source of their strength. They can come to Him, and renew their strength. God’s omnipotence provides His people with assurance and motivation to endure their troubles and accomplish all that God has called them to do. Let His people believe that God’s strength is their strength. Let them arise in confidence to fulfil all His good purposes, even when troubles assail them. God is our unfailing strength!
The third solemn truth that God’s people must affirm constantly is that God is “a very present help in trouble”. When trouble is near His people, God is nearer to them than the trouble. He never withdraws Himself from His troubled people. He draws near to His children in their trouble. God is closer to His people than their nearest and dearest family member or friend. He will be with them as their Help. His presence will be nearer than the trouble. He will never be absent from His people. Troubles confronting God’s people are not a sign of God’s abandonment of His people. Rather, they are an opportunity bestowed by God for them to experience the grandeur of His presence. Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah”(Psalm 4:4).
Man’s experience on earth is such that committing sin is more common than refraining from it. At every provocation or temptation, man finds himself easily in the sway of sin, unless he guards himself with God’s help. In fact, even without any external provocation or temptation, man is found gravitating towards sin. So the counsel given by David is a crucial one to us all. David’s admonition to everyone is: “Stand in awe, and sin not”.
The Hebrew word translated as “stand in awe” carries the idea of trembling within. Some have translated it as “be angry”, suggesting that the apostle Paul had taken his admonition – “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26) – from these words of David. There may be some truth in that. David was here addressing men who were trying to discredit him with their vain words and lies (cf. v. 2). His counsel to those restless men was how to abstain from sinning. The best remedy against sin is to “stand in awe”. They ought to tremble with godly fear regarding their sinful conduct and its consequences. Their hearts must be stirred against their sins.
We must take heed of David’s counsel in order to prevent ourselves from sinning foolishly. Let there be always a fear and dread upon our minds, which arise from a sense of divine holiness and justice against sin. There is no greater prevention against sin than a due sense of the presence of the Almighty God who “is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). If we nurture and maintain a holy reverence for our sovereign God’s glory, and a holy dread of His wrath and curse, we will not dare to provoke Him with our sinful conduct. Let us be “tremblers” rather than “triflers” before God.
David’s next advice against sin is to “commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still”. The proper attitude of awe ought to be nurtured by communing with our own hearts. Teaching ourselves how to think and act in a way that would rid our lives of all sinful conduct is a solemn duty we should not neglect. We must take time to look into our hearts to watch out for any seed of sin germinating within us. We must search our hearts to uncover and remove the roots of our misdeeds, as well as teach our hearts the godly ways in which we ought to walk. To truly nurture our hearts, we must find a place and a time of quietness; hence the need to retire into our chamber (“bed”) and examine our hearts before the LORD.
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13).
In a local congregation of believers, a variety of experiences may be found at a given time. While some people experience severe afflictions, others are presented with reasons for jubilation. It is also true that all alike are subject to afflictions and happiness. Both those types of experiences can be in different persons or in the same persons at the same time. And sometimes, change from one extreme to the other can happen suddenly.
Extreme circumstances, if they occur to people whom we love earnestly, can affect our thinking. With varying events, our emotions will also rise and fall accordingly. Such divergent experiences in our congregations would make us wonder who we should attend to and how we should respond to those situations. As a matter of fact, such extreme situations can happen simultaneously or successively in our church or personal lives.
Christians are urged to carry out their corresponding duties in those varying circumstances. Appropriate spiritual responsibilities, which are mentioned in our text, have to be discharged readily. If we readily carry out our biblical duties, we can minister to people in varying circumstances in the most befitting manner.
What should we do when we find others or ourselves in trying circumstances? The apostle James advises us to pray. “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.” We should pray, asking God for the wisdom we need to understand the situation and manage it to bring glory to His Name (cf. James 1:5). We can pray for His grace to endure troubles (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). We can also pray, if it is His will, that He will remove the troubles. Through prayer we not only communicate to God our needs, but also commune with Him. One of the major divine purposes of our afflictions is that we may draw closer to Him in prayer.
What should we do when we find others or ourselves in a situation of joy and gladness? James says, “Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” Psalms are thanksgiving, worshipful songs to the Lord. Singing psalms to the Lord is the most preferred way of praising and worshipping God for all His benefits in our lives. Joyful experiences are given to us so that a worshipful spirit may be built up within us. While afflictions are sent to teach us to pray, happiness is bestowed that we may learn to praise Him.
I was just lamenting last week about how fragile life is. An ex-colleague of mine (who was the same age as me) collapsed suddenly in her house and died of the condition known as “brain aneurysm”. A day later, my cousin (who was 10 years my senior and without prior medical history) died suddenly from heart attack. I asked myself: if the same thing were to happen to me or my loved ones, am I ready to meet the Lord or to part with my loved ones?
Incidentally, I woke up last Sunday (19th June) with a blurred vision in my right eye. It was like a foggy piece of shield covering my eye. I waited to observe to see if it would get better, worse or be status quo. I went to church as usual, but it didn’t get better. By evening, the tension in my right eye started to build up. I felt mild pain from the right side of my head, down to my cheek and upper jaw. Common sense told me something wasn’t right. My heart was palpitating fast. I couldn’t sit, stand, or even breathe well. I was not sure if I would be able to visit any specialist, it being a Sunday. I decided to call Bro Han Meng (who is a doctor in our church) and told him all my symptoms. He advised me to see a doctor immediately because it got to do with my vision, and he reassured me that there would be a specialist on standby. With that assurance, I walked to the nearest hospital alone, which was about 10 minutes’ walk from my house. It was nearing my boy’s bedtime, so I didn’t want the whole family to come along. Throughout the episode, I was all alone, but my Lord was with me, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5b).
When the “on-call” eyespecialist saw me, he diagnosed it as “acute angle eye closure glaucoma”. He said that I must be admitted immediately because it was an emergency case. Eye-drops had to be administered hourly to bring down the high pressure on my right eye. Throughout the night, the nurse-on-duty came in hourly to apply eye-drop on me. I vomited 4-5 times throughout the night as I was feeling nauseating, even though I didn’t have my dinner earlier. Every time the eye-drop was applied on me, I experienced total blackout in my right eye, which scared me quite a bit. The blurry vision only slowly resumed after about 10 minutes. The nurse told me that was the effect of the medicine. At dawn, my eye pressure dropped significantly, and I could see much better, though vision was still blurred. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
The eye specialist told me that I was his youngest patient in his 25 years of medical practice (the previous youngest one was 44). Obviously, this isn’t a record I am glad to have anyway. For those who do not know what is “closedangle eye closure glaucoma”, according to Wikipedia:
Closed-angle glaucoma can present gradually or suddenly. The sudden presentation may involve severe eye pain, blurred vision, mid-dilated pupil, redness of the eye, and nausea. Vision loss from glaucoma, once it has occurred, is permanent. But, if it is treated early, it is possible to slow or stop the progression of disease with medication, laser treatment, or surgery. Treatment of closed-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency. It occurs more commonly among older people and more commonly in women. Worldwide, glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness after cataracts.
On Monday morning, I had safety keyhole laser treatment on both eyes (the other eye was done as a preventive measure). The doctor said I should be thankful that I saw him the night before because if it was treated late, vision could be lost. How could I not be thankful to the Lord’s perfect timing? “The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17a).
I was discharged on Monday, but I would have to go back to the outpatient clinic for a periodical check. If there is no improvement, the doctor may have to perform cataract surgery to remove my lens and replace with artificial lens. But I will cling onto the promises of my God. He knows what is best for me.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Pastor and Sis Carolyn for their prayers for me though they were in India then. Also, my appreciation to Eld Mah, Sis Melissa and Sis Kim Lei for their words of comfort. Special mention must be made of Sis Gina, who availed herself to help us at home; not forgetting Bro Han Meng for his prompt medical advice and prayer, as well as other friends from Gethsemane who had prayed for me. Truly, my heart is overwhelmed with God’s love shown through the brethren from Gethsemane.
I would like to thank God for bringing all of us safely back home after this year’s church camp. This year’s camp theme, ‘Joy is My Inheritance’, was very meaningful to me, because in school people would think and say bad things disrespectfully about Christians. I had doubts and fears, but my sister and brother would often sing, ‘O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake…’ This is truly a wonderful phrase that I would remind myself when someone tries to attack the Name of God.
has a plan for me. My responsibility now is to study hard to praise God’s Name and defend the Word of God. I would also like to thank the Lord for delivering the messages through Pastor Koshy and our preachers, so that I could know the true meaning of joy, which is my inheritance.
On the way back to Singapore, I chanced upon many impoverishedlooking families along the route. It made me wonder if they have enough to feed themselves and meet their daily needs. I pray that one day these people would come to know and find joy in the Lord. Surely, we must always be grateful to God for what we already have, whenever we want to ask for something from Him.
May the Lord bless and keep us all till He takes us back with Him to our eternal home.
As we had signed up rather late for the church camp (due to my parents’ hesitancy in making their decision), we could not get a place in the coaches hired by the church. So I decided to drive up to the camp. I dreaded driving such a long distance of about 370km along Malaysian highways. I prayed earnestly for God’s help and protection, and a lot of preparations were also made. God provided Sis Kim Lei, who helped me with GPS, and also arranged for me to drive with a convoy of cars driven by Elder Choy and Pr Daniel Lim. Thank God that we arrived in good time to attend the meetings.
We had a wonderful time of fellowship, and great “feasting” of God’s Word and good food. I benefited greatly from the preaching of God’s Word, especially from the theme messages on ‘Joy is My Inheritance’. For quite a while, I had been weighed down by many things in life. So the messages on joy were most appropriate for me, and they helped to lift my spirit up before the Lord.
Surely the Lord has supplied all our needs in His time. My mother and I were unwell for a short time, but the Lord restored us quickly. Oh, how we must praise the Lord for His goodness towards us! Also, I would like to thank each and every one who have helped us and prayed for us. “But let those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee” (Psalm 5:11). Truly, as Nehemiah 8:10 declares, “the joy of the LORD is (our) strength.”
Thank God for the good gift He has bestowed upon His people in the recent church camp, wherein we were able to set aside time to learn of the inheritance of joy He has given us, even joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). Thank God for the preaching of His Word through the theme sermons, which opened our eyes to behold wondrous things out of His law (Psalm 119:18), thereby causing us to rejoice greatly “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Psalm 119:111).
Thank God for the timely warning against taking pleasure in and pursuing after delusive counterfeit joys, particularly shallow and superficial spiritual joys, which cannot abide in time of trial. We must beware of the short-lived joy of one who receives the seed of the Gospel and the Word of God in “stony places”, as highlighted in the parable of the sower. This served as a timely reminder to examine ourselves, as to whether we be in the faith (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5) and whether our joy in the Lord be genuine.
Thank God for the assurance that true and divine joy – being God’s gift through Christ, sustained and maintained by the Holy Spirit – surpasses understanding and circumstances, even in the face of sorrow or fear (cf. John 16:33; Proverbs 14:10). Hence, those who refuse to be comforted (Psalm 77:2) have failed to look to the Lord (the Source of our joy) and failed to realise that this joy is plugged into the inexhaustible and perfect goodness and glory of God. The true sentiment of a pious soul is joy in the Lord, dwelling in the presence of God and experiencing the outpouring of His joy full and complete (cf. Psalm 16:11b; John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13).
Thank God for the exhortation on overcoming hindrances to joy through repentance from sins, the remembrance of the Lord’s goodness and mercy (Psalm 77:10; 31:7; Deuteronomy 26:11a), and communion with Him (Luke 10:21). Also, it is good to be reminded that the joy of the Lord (which triumphs over dejection) is the strength of His people (Psalm 21:1); being the common inheritance of the saints, it ought to be infectious (Deuteronomy 26:11b; 27:7; 32:43).
Thank God as well for the various morning and evening devotions faithfully delivered unto us, which put us in right perspective of our lives in Christ, revealing to us the many causes for joy in the Lord, exhorting us to give thanks to the Lord, to trust in His faithfulness in times of trials, and to submit fully to His will (Psalm 40:8).
Finally, I thank God for His hand of mercy and preservation throughout the camp, and for His unfailing provisions for our physical needs even as we rejoiced in His spiritual blessings through His Word and communion with the saints. May the Lord sanctify us to receive His Word with humble hearts, and grant us sincerity of faith, that in His presence we may find the fullness of joy unspeakable.
Ithank the good LORD for making this camp trip possible even though I dislike travelling over a long distance. When we arrived at the first rest-stop in Malaysia, my left knee was so painful that it left me limping for 2 days, up to Wednesday. In spite of this pain, God’s love, joy and peace stayed in my heart.
I thank God for kind souls who offered their help, like Pr Dennis (who got herbal roots for me through Rev Lee Kim Shong), Sis Annie (who offered me her cream) and Sis Jessie (who gave me her plaster and knee guard). Pastor even asked whether I needed a wheelchair. I wish to thank all the brethren who had prayed for my healing.
This camp also stirred me to constantly examine myself, whether I am doing “right in the eyes of the LORD” or “evil in the sight of the LORD” (which basically spells the difference between the good and bad kings of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament). For me, to have the joy of the Lord in my heart is to do right, especially in the house where my family members (particularly my impressionable grandson) are ever listening and watching.
I often remind my girls that together with serving, they must have daily communion with the Lord. Our strength and joy come from our Lord God Almighty, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Amen.
We live in a world that is full of unbiblical philosophies and practices, which have pervaded and deeply influenced societal thinking and attitudes. Our firm convictions and commitment to holiness are often viewed with contempt, scorn and even hatred! Jesus, being aware of the hostility that we will face in the world, has prayed for us: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16).
Our faith in the truth of God’s Word will not only be tested and challenged, but will also be hated as well. Faithful Christians, be they adults, youths or children, all are facing many difficulties in society, schools and workplaces, simply because of their adherence to the doctrine of creation. The evolutionists would like to depict us as anti-scientific and irrational people. The tension that Biblebelieving Christians feel today is multi-faceted and very severe. The idea of atheistic evolution has crept into almost every academic discipline of our time and even our workplaces. Let us therefore be prepared to bear a bold and yet holy witness for the Lord. As Jesus has forewarned, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
If you are taught evolution, it is not necessary that you walk out of the class immediately. You can listen attentively to what is being said, but with biblical discernment (cf. 1 John 4:1). If the lecturers are against Scripture, you must not subscribe to what is being taught, but reject it. Study the issue further in the light of Scripture through research and interacting with knowledgeable Christians. Of course, the matter of exams is, admittedly, a sensitive issue. Though exam is not about whether you believe what has been taught but rather about how well you recall the content taught, to reproduce what is being taught which is against your biblical convictions can be rather troubling to one’s conscience. It is like being pressured to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image to escape the fiery furnace (cf. Daniel 3:14-15). This undue desire to be acceptable to the scholarly (but godless) world runs counter to the biblical injunction to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). We strongly advise that if your conscience is stifled or severely affected in taking such courses, then prayerfully consider pursuing another course of study. This is surely one application of biblical separation.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Christians should exercise godly wisdom at all times to discern and to keep away from projects and works that compel you to compromise your faith. Be it research or project work, one needs to ensure that one keeps away from promoting unbiblical theories and philosophies. Do not be partakers of unbiblical endeavours! It is very evident that many unregenerate teachers in schools, colleges and universities attempt to brainwash Christians with their pseudoscientific arguments to deny the truths of Scripture. Please know that this is one of the devil’s subtle weapons against Christian youths. When such an effort is made against our biblical convictions, be “wise as serpents” and turn it into a witnessing event to explain to them and other Christian friends why the Bible is the truth and that they are in error. Never compromise your faith in the Biblical truths! Though the nonbeliever may not be concerned with the accuracy of the Biblical truths, whenever the opportunity presents itself, explain to him why his theory is scientifically flawed and that the evidence supports the Biblical facts.
As Christians, we must conduct ourselves in an honourable manner at all times. We should be “harmless as doves” and not foolishly disrupt the class to protest the teaching of the lie. We must act wisely in a cordial and peaceful manner as much as possible (cf. Psalm 34:14; Romans 12:18), showing submission to authority (cf. Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17). If we have to be involved in discussions or debates, we must present our points logically and clearly. With the wisdom that God will give us (cf. Psalm 119:98-99), we are to refute the fallacies of the atheistic evolution worldview by presenting scientific evidence correctly in support of Biblical facts. But at all times, we must pray that we will be able to speak in meekness (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). Remember, arguments with non-believers who are set in their hearts against the Scriptures, will achieve very little.
On the other hand, if a Christian educator needs to mention evolution as a part of the curriculum, he must not hesitate to point out the fallacies of that theory. Thus, he must not miss that excellent opportunity to be “salt” and “light” (Matthew 5:13- 16) of the world, by pointing out the problems of lies attached to that theory. We must not miss such an opportunity to refute atheistic education. Show to your students why evolutionistic claims are not facts but myths, and thus are downright lies to discredit the Biblical account of Creation. The Christian educator, while explaining the evolutionary theories, must not be afraid to point out their fallacies. In academia, it is acceptable (and, in fact, expected) practice to challenge theories with substantiated arguments.
However, if in the event that we are forbidden to disprove widelyaccepted though unsubstantiated theories (in which case, the regulatory board is no longer regarded as upholding academic honesty), there is a clear bias in that educational institution. We then have to make a stand for God’s truth! Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). God will make another way for us, and He promises to take care of us (cf. Proverbs 3:5-6). May we be strengthened by the sterling words of testimony uttered by the ancient saint, Joseph – “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
Dear Christians, we need to rise and shine for the Lord in this dark world of unbelief and ungodliness. Ephesians 5:11 reminds us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” We are further exhorted: “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).
Bible-believing Christians face a lot of struggles in and challenges to their faith, with the biblical moral standard under relentless attack from the world today! The Bible teaches that things will not get better as regards to the spiritual and moral landscape of the world. Pay attention to the following biblical predictions by the Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul concerning the last days’ spiritual and moral decadence, and heed their warning to the church to carefully avoid it:
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12).
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Sadly, such corruption of human society would not even be shocking to many of those who call themselves Christians. This is because the church itself will deteriorate, embracing false doctrines and immoral lifestyles, as forewarned by the Scriptures:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). [This is a prediction of great apostasy within the church before the appearance of the Antichrist during the 7-year tribulation (cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15).]
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
In the church and in the world, anti-God beliefs are already gathering strength. Unless our congregation is vigilant against this evil trend, we will be no safer within the church than in the world!
Scripture expects us to be good soldiers of the His truth in these last days, and “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). Also, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). We can certainly count on His unfailing promises that He will be with us to help us to bear witness to His glorious truths (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).
For this reason, Gethsemane Defenders’ Ministry (GDM) was formed. Our aim is to equip believers to be valiant, bold, ready soldiers of Christ, having put on the whole armour of God and being strengthened with His truth and Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-17). We pray and hope that all Gethsemaneans will be strong and well-armed with the truth of God’s Word to answer everyone who ask them about the reason of their faith and hope (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).
In the inaugural seminar, “The Bible Above All Sciences”, the topic of evolution was specifically dealt with. We firmly reject evolution, for it has no place in the Bible. The origin of the world did not occur through an evolutionary process of millions of years, but is the result of a six-day work of creation by God (cf. Genesis 1 & 2). [Please read also the articles written by Pr Ho Kee How in Bible Witness Volume 15, Issue 4.]
Consider the following Bible verses that unequivocally declare that God created all things, and that He did it in 6 literal days of creation:
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).
“… the world was made by him” (John 1:10).
“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).
“… for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:17).
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6).
“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” (Psalm 102:25).
“I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded” (Isaiah 45:12).
“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18).
“God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9).
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
“… by whom (the Son, Jesus Christ) also he (God the Father) made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2).
“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands” (Hebrews 1:10).
“… he that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11)
Let us be fervent in exalting our God as the Creator. We must glorify God by declaring that which He has repeatedly said about the origin of all things. Subscribing to the theory of evolution is impossible without contradicting what He has said in His Word about the origin of all things. So, we affirm that God created all things in six literal, 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago, as reiterated in Genesis 1 & 2, as well as other portions of the infallible Scriptures. We ought to be unashamed in believing, defending and declaring a relatively recent six-day creation doctrine against the advocates of millions of years of evolution. There is no biblical or scientific reason to be ashamed of believing in what God has spoken clearly and emphatically.
There has been much enthusiasm among our brethren about the upcoming church camp (to be held 6-10 June, 2016). If the Lord permits, 217 brethren will gather at The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The camp committee, led by Dn Francis Lee (Camp Master) have made all the arrangements and will continue to labour to ensure a smooth running of the camp.
Even our children are excited about the church camp. During last Tuesday prayer meeting, as I sat with our young children to pray, I asked them whether they were looking forward to the church camp. Their enthusiastic reply of “Yes! Yes!” was very heartening, and we prayed together for the camp’s blessings. May the Lord use this camp to bring salvation and spiritual growth to our children. During the camp, our children will be ministered to by Pr Joshua Yong, Sis Ng Boon Choo and Sis Ho Xiao Wei (full-time workers from Calvary Pandan and Truth B-P Churches). Pr Kelvin Lim and the Gethsemane Children’s Committee will be at hand to help the children during the camp as well.
All our preachers, elders and deacons will also be at the camp to minister to you. Pray for those who chair the meetings and preach, that the Spirit of God would empower them to minister His Word to us. Let us pray that all of us will be greatly edified and that great joy may fill our hearts.
I would like to encourage you to make full use of the time and opportunity to learn God’s Word, to pray with one another, and minister to one another with joy and love. Please be courteous and helpful to one another. One very important aspect of the church camp, to which every participant should give utmost attention, is holiness in our private and public conduct. Godly conduct is crucial to a peaceful and happy time of fellowship and learning of God’s Word. So, let us be watchful to flee all temptations and consecrate ourselves to worship Him “in the beauty of holiness”.
Therefore, please adhere to the following advice:
Some Important Advice for the Camp
As we gather together in His presence, may the Lord make us rejoice with great joy!
Have you been developing a close friendship with unregenerate people? Have you been ‘dating’ an unbeliever? Or have you been maintaining your relationship with a Christian in an unbiblical, worldly, carnal manner? Then, please consider the following warnings of God’s Word, and quickly deliver yourself from the displeasure of God and much heart-wrenching consequences in life.
Consider what an ungodly relationship brings upon you:
Ungodly marriages and adulterous relationships of Christians not only despise but also pour contempt on the sanctity of your spiritual union with the Lord. So, all Christians are admonished in 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication… What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
All genuine Christians are joined to Christ, and hence, there exists a sacred spiritual union – a close, intimate spiritual oneness with Christ – “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” Because of this spiritual union of believers with Christ, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Ephesians 5:30). This sacred union with Christ is an abiding relationship that His people cherish more than all other relationships. They are eternally bound to Him and therein grow in closer communion with Him. For this reason, they should not enter into or maintain any relationship that would betray or desecrate their union with Christ.
If you are a Christian, you certainly would not appreciate a relationship with someone who does not honour Christ. If you are truly bound to Christ, you will not drift away from Him with someone who does not appreciate Christ and His righteousness. It is a terrible scorn on Christ to be in an ungodly relationship!
A Christian’s intimate relationship with unbelievers places him in a league that accepts and supports unbelief and unrighteousness. Hence, Scripture warns us, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
How could Christians, who are saved out of unrighteousness, darkness, idolatry and all other forms of worldly and satanic activities, be in alliance with those who continue in them? Christians are always expected to keep away from the ways of unconverted men. 2 Corinthians 6:17 exhorts believers, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you”. Christians should never associate with anyone in a manner that would erase the line of demarcation between them and unbelievers. It is the duty of Christians to extricate themselves from all relationships that would require them to accept quietly and support others’ unbelief and ungodliness.
Christians are warned: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Close and intimate communication resulting from ungodly companions will corrupt any Christian. Anyone who thinks that he or she will be unaffected by close companionship with unregenerate people is deceived. A Christian who grows closer and closer to a non-Christian is lying if he claims that his morals have not been corrupted. The influence that an ungodly person can have on Christians should never be underestimated – “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6)!
God’s people are therefore warned: “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble” (Proverbs 4:14- 19). Likewise, Proverbs 22:24-25 cautions: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”
Scripture cautions us about men and women who would not only walk disorderly but also become a motivation for others to follow their ungodly example. 2 Peter 2:2 speaks of this dangerous and ensnaring scenario – “And many shall follow their pernicious ways”!
Why would you or I be a bad example of rebellion and betrayal? Instead, let us be “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1Timothy 4:12b).
Jesus has said to His disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:18-19).
Gethsemane Bible- Presbyterian Church has always been emulating her Saviour’s example and embracing His teaching, by constantly evangelising and reaching out to the lost souls, across all ages. On top of the demands of various ministries that our church has undertaken, Pastor Koshy’s burden has also been to reach out to the elderly with the Gospel message.
By the providence of God, Pastor Koshy (together with a team of brothers and sisters) was guided to commence this outreach effort to the elderly in May 1997, by ministering to the Lions Home, which was situated at Bedok South Avenue 2. Since then, by the grace of God, several elderly folks have, through this ministry’s humble efforts, come to believe in the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and were subsequently baptised.
In 2003, Lions Home expanded by setting up a branch in the Toa Payoh area, so as to accommodate more old folks in need. Praise be to God, we were also permitted to arrange for another Gospel outreach to the elderly folks in that home. Many more brothers and sisters responded to this “open door” and got involved. Over the years, we thank God for these brethren’s zeal in their efforts to exhort and encourage those senior residents in both the Bedok and Toa Payoh Lions Homes. This has further led to a few more elderly believers being baptised!
Come October 2015, when the Singapore Government decided to acquire possession of the land occupied by Toa Payoh Lions Home for further development, the affected home was then moved to No. 9, Bishan Street 13. In spite of the change in location, we thank God for the administration’s continued granting of permission for us to carry on with our ministry to the elderly at the new Bishan premises. God willing, we will see some “fruit of our labours” very soon, as two more elderly believers from Bishan Lions Home have expressed their decision to get baptised. The names of these two elderly brethren are: Mr James Wee and Mdm Theresa Kok Khim Ee
Bro James Wee accepted the Lord as his Saviour a few months ago and has been joyfully attending our meetings regularly. Last week, when I ministered to him, I impressed upon him, from the Scriptures, the need for a believer to be baptised in the Lord when he has received Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Bro James understood this and has expressed his delight to be baptised.
As for Sis Theresa Kok Khim Ee, she has believed in the Lord since a few years ago. However, due to certain circumstances, she was not able to be baptised. The Lord has been good to her as she has always professed her steadfastness towards her Saviour Jesus Christ. She too has been a regular participant in our Bible study at Bishan Lions Home every alternate Sunday when we visited them. We thank God that Elder Mah has explained to Sis Theresa with regard to baptism, and she has expressed her readiness to be baptised.
As our Lions Home Ministry team continue to labour and render our services to God, we exult joyfully for the constant reminder and encouragement by the apostle Paul in Romans 10:15 – “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Please continue to remember us in prayer as we continue to labour for His glory and honour.
JJesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Here, Jesus first of all directs our attention to the fact that He is the “Son”. By using the title “Son”, He wanted to draw us to the fact that He is the undisputed Heir of all things, who wields the ultimate authority and power concerning all matters, even to free a man from his servitude. So in the preceding verse, He had said, “And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever” (John 8:35). As the only begotten Son of God, Christ enjoys unchallenged, eternal right to exercise the full authority vested in Him by the Father to liberate slaves. Jesus Himself said in John 3:35 – “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” Only Christ, the Son, has the power and freedom to liberate us from everything that shackles us.
Christ alone has the right of freedom. Since the Fall of Adam, all men are born slaves to sin, without the power to deliver themselves. Only by the gracious bestowment of freedom by the Son of God could one ever obtain one’s freedom. So our freedom is a benefit conferred by Christ, and we obtain it by faith. By His Spirit, He liberates our souls that we may gain freedom from sin and continue in that freedom. Thus Paul testified in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” About the freedom He grants us, Jesus says, “ye shall be free indeed”. An emphasis is placed on the word “indeed”. His freedom is not some unreal, foolish figment of imagination.
Many today are like the Jews whom Jesus rebuked for claiming that they were never in bondage and had always been free. They boastfully say that they’re free to do whatever they like to do. They do not acknowledge that they are actually under the wretched bondage of sin.
Nonetheless, those who put their trust in Christ take heed that they “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
The Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry exults in the Lord with praises of thanksgiving for His bestowal of His bountiful love and blessings for the past 11 years. We marked this anniversary occasion with a special thanksgiving held on 7 April 2016 at Aloha Loyang Resort. Praise God for giving us clear, beautiful weather on that blessed day! With joy overflowing from our hearts, we gathered to commemorate and recount the Lord’s abundant grace and mercy which we have witnessed and tasted in our lives.
The meeting proper began in the morning with the worship of God in singspiration, followed by a devotion message on “God’s Benefits to Christians” by Rev Tan Kian Sing, taken from Psalm 103:1-6. After the devotion, sisters in our midst testified with their voices in singing praises to God. We then had a Gospel outreach to the eleven unbelieving relatives and friends who had been invited by their loved ones to join us.
After the lunch break, the “sporting” seniors gathered at a nearby field to contest in friendly games. The elderly “competitors”, who were divided into four teams, certainly had a memorable time engaging in the games. We thank God for His protection and a good time of fellowship with the saints.
In the evening devotion, Pastor Koshy exhorted us from Psalm 116:12-19, on the importance of “Christians’ Gratitude towards God’s Benefits”. We are grateful to God for His inspiring and comforting Word, which not only gives us consolation and hope, but also instils in us the conviction that though we advance in age as elderly Christians, we still have this privilege and joy to honour and serve Him.
Of course, we must not forget the many brothers and sisters who have lovingly and enthusiastically laboured in various areas contributing to a very fruitful Thanksgiving Service, as well as those who testified of their gratitude and appreciation towards the Lord.
May our prayer be as the psalmist’s: “Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee” (Psalm 71:18-19)! May our gracious God continue to use the Seniors’ Ministry for His glory and honour. Amen.
I started going to church since I was 36 years old. Through a friend from Truth B-P Church, I was introduced to the Wednesday Lunch Hour Bible Study at the Bible Witness Bookroom, where I came to know Pastor Koshy, Sis Carolyn and Bro John Peh. I was very impressed with Pastor Koshy’s teaching of God’s Word. I like his teaching because he speaks loud and clear on God’s truth. This is why I decided to join Gethsemane B-P Church.
I attend the Seniors’ Ministry every Thursday held in different homes. Thank God for Eld Mah and Pr Jeremiah who preach God’s Word and pray for us. We also visit the sick in hospital and pray for their salvation. Since I joined this ministry, God has changed me. I began to open my home for Christian gatherings. Before, I was very quiet and hardly mixed with people. But now, I’ve more senior friends and sometimes we go out together to visit the sick and pray for their salvation. This helped me to be more caring and friendly. I also desire to share God’s Word by telling people how Jesus loves us and died for our sins. As my Mandarin is not so good, I mostly speak English to them, but I can understand when they respond in Mandarin.
How time flies! I have been in this church for about 6 years, and am now a member. I’m thankful to Eld Mah, Pr Jeremiah and Pr Daniel for their care, love and patience. I appreciate Pr Jeremiah and Pr Daniel for fetching us from the MRT station every Thursday. Sometimes we were late, but they never complained or got angry.
Every morning, I give thanks to God for His grace, mercy and providence, and pray for guidance, protection and strength. He has given me peace and blessed me with much spiritual blessings. May you also receive blessing from the Lord, especially those who have not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Accept Him now because we do not know what will happen tomorrow. We do not know when we will leave this world. It can be today or tomorrow. The Bible says that those who believe in Him shall be saved and have everlasting life. Jesus has already prepared a mansion for us in heaven. Praise the Lord!
Ibelieved in the Lord in 2006 when I followed my son and daughter-in-law for worship in Gethsemane B-P Church. I was baptized in Dec 2006. After believing in the Lord, I have experienced much peace. I pray 3 times a day, constantly asking the Lord to keep my family safe and healthy, and to protect us in our activities everyday. When I have pain or sickness, the Lord has thus far granted me quick recovery. Though I am now 93 years old, I am still mobile – praise be unto God!
I attend the worship service every Sunday and the Seniors’ Fellowship every Thursday. I thank Pastor Koshy who often enquires about my wellbeing. Although he does not speak Chinese, I know he always keeps me in prayer. I want to thank Pr Jeremiah and Pr Daniel, who regularly fetch me to the Seniors’ Fellowship, come rain or shine. I also want to thank Eld Mah and all the preachers who have taught us the Word of God. They often encourage us to strengthen our faith in God.
At the Seniors’ Fellowship, I enjoy fellowshipping with the older members of the church. I thank God for the sisters who often enquire about my well-being. The Seniors’ Fellowship has given elderly folks like us meaningful avenues to pass our time. The highlight every year must be the one-day outing to Malaysia. Besides listening to God’s Word, we also have a time of relaxation in touring the countryside, after which we would have a sumptuous meal.
I pray that God will continue to prosper this ministry so that more older folks have the opportunity to listen to the Gospel and come to the saving knowledge Jesus Christ. All glory be to God!
In Romans 15:1-2, Paul records for us the duty which every Christian should know and be fully committed to – “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”
Every Christian is called to be a member of the church, where he renders himself for the edification of other Christians. Paul has earlier stated this truth in Romans 12:5 – “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” In 1 Corinthians 12:25, he further emphasises “that the members should have the same care one for another.” It is God’s design that we edify one another through mutual care.
The first counsel that Paul gives in the above text is that the strong are to help the weak. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak”. Paul’s use of the word “ought” (opheilo in Greek), which means “owe” or “be a debtor”, suggests that the strong ones must feel an indebtedness to God to help His weak children. The word “bear” (bastazō in Greek) has meanings such as “carry”, “endure” and “support”. Hence, it is the duty of every Christian to bear patiently with the weaker ones around him and help them to walk and grow along with him. He who is spiritually strong should neither despise nor neglect those who are weak. Instead, he graciously renders himself available to support and help them. “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye” (Romans 14:1a). In 1 Corinthians 12:22-24 we read, “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked”.
The second counsel for Christians is “not to please ourselves”. A Christian should not be self-centred if he is to help others as God expects. A person’s spiritual maturity is evidenced in his willingness to give up his rights so that others may be helped. We must be willing to deny ourselves if we can promote others’ happiness in doing so. Our conduct should not be motivated by our personal happiness or gratification, but rather by the welfare of others. We must, like Paul, be able to sincerely say, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).
The third counsel is to “please his neighbour” – “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification”. No Christian is exempted from the exhortation given in this verse. Every Christian is urged to “please his neighbour”. In the light of the context of this verse, the word “neighbour” denotes a fellow church member or a fellow believer. To “please” another is to conduct in a polite or courteous manner towards that Christian brother or sister.
Many biblical admonitions, if carefully implemented, will enable us to be “pleasing” towards one another. Some of such admonitions are briefly enumerated below: