September 18, 2022

Testimonies from 21st Bible Witness Retreat

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

Isabel Ng

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jonah 3:10). 

I thank God for teaching me “The Doctrine of Repentance”, from His Word through Pastor Koshy during the recent Bible Witness Retreat. True repentance is turning from sin towards God in faith, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

One excellent example from the Bible was the godly response of the people of Nineveh when Jonah eventually preached to them about their wickedness against God, and God’s threat to punish them should they not repent. Many Christians pray about their sins, but few take immediate actions to stop their sins. I learnt that repentance is not a sad or remorse feeling towards sins. King Herod in Mark 6:22-26 was “exceeding sorry”, yet “he would not reject her (Herodias’ daughter)” concerning her wicked request to execute John the Baptist. The rich young ruler was also “very sorrowful” (Luke 18:24) that he had to give up his enormous wealth in order to get eternal life, which proved too much for him to obey. This is the “sorrow of the world (that) worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10b), the exact opposite of “godly sorrow (that) worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10a). 

If we say we want to repent, we must cease from sinning and turn to God. It involves a change of mind, attitude and actual actions to break off (or mortify) sins. Mere conviction in one’s heart or confession of sins is not repentance. Our promise or prayer to God to stop sinning without fulfilling them is a very deceitful thing. True faith bringeth about obedience, so repentance without fruits of repentance is dead repentance. God’s Word has made me aware that confessions of sins (which I do so frequently) are only precursors to true repentance. If we, as true believers, say that “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe”, then we must also affirm that “departing from sin is the very best way to show that you repent”. As Pastor reminded us several times during the retreat, “repentance is permanent business of your hearts” and “a Christian’s life is a life of repentance”. May God help me to repent always, sincerely and rightly, till I reach heaven’s shore.

Chong Wing Keong

By God’s providence and loving kindness, the 21st Bible Witness Retreat at Kuching on “The Doctrine of Repentance” was accompanied with much spiritual refreshing and awakening. 

Full knowledge of repentance is essential to true Christianity. Jesus Christ Himself has said that if we do not repent, we will perish. Biblical repentance is an easily misunderstood and misapplied concept that warrants close examination. It is vital therefore to study and know what the Scriptures have to say about repentance.

During the retreat, the participants were truly blessed by the Lord through Pastor Koshy’s teaching, whereby seven messages on repentance were presented in a very systematic and comprehensive way. The 3-day retreat also provided a blessed time of fellowship among the brethren, both from Singapore and Kuching.

All praise be to God for the faithful labour of both the teacher and crew members of the retreat.

Chong Lian Neo

As a homemaker, I endeavour daily to sweep the floor of my house clean of its dust and filth to make it habitable. So, likewise, a believer daily needs to remove the sinful thoughts, unwholesome feelings from his heart. Sins of omission and commission are to be got rid of as well. This can only be done through sincere confessions to our good Lord, Jesus Christ, for He alone can help us to leave sin and live obediently. This is called repentance. Daily, the individual believer needs to guard his heart zealously, not to repeat his sins. This is a major takeaway from the retreat.

Alongside the retreat, I especially enjoyed the warm Christian fellowship that the three days had afforded, as Covid-19 had limited our interactions prior to it.

It was indeed refreshing to be able to stroll leisurely down the River Sarawak to behold its placid waters and nature’s glory that surrounds it. Further ahead was the famous Chinatown, where I enjoyed purchasing local products and watching hawkers ply their trades, especially cooking up delicious local cuisines.

This “getaway” in Kuching to study God’s Word under the tutelage of our beloved pastor is a revitalising experience, which I hope will continue biannually, God willing.

Marcus Chee

Praise and thank God for a blessed time of Bible Witness Retreat! Thank God for His marvellous mercy in allowing us (my wife and I) to attend the retreat and for the precious lessons learnt on “The Doctrine of Repentance”. Through this Bible Witness Retreat, we learnt that repentance involves the acknowledgment, confession, and forsaking of our sins. We also realise what repentance is not, and that it should not be merely lip service or simply feeling sorry for the sins we have committed. Repentance must be derived from a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), and should cause a real godly change in our lives - towards more holiness and sanctity. We finally would like to thank God for the opportunity to fellowship with like-minded brethren in Christ, especially with the brethren from Kuching. Praise be to God!

Doreen Ng

I am very thankful for the spiritual feeding I have received from the 21st Bible Witness Retreat. The messages have helped me to further appreciate Gospel repentance. Gospel repentance is “repentance unto life”, because the new mind is not merely to depart from evil, but to obtain the life that is found in Christ. Repentance is not merely sorrow for sin. There are many who weep over sin but, without repentance, immediately return to the same sin. Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a changed attitude towards sin, with subsequently a change of conduct, and thereby not going back again to the same sin. Judas Iscariot and Esau showed sorrow for their sins, but they did not repent. Remorse and tears often accompany repentance, but they are not repentance in themselves. Repentance is accompanied by change of conduct, just like the boy mentioned in Jesus’ parable in Matt 21:28-32, who at first refused to work in the vineyard. But he later repented, changed his mind, and then went to work in the vineyard. 

Jesus’ first sermon after His baptism and testing in the wilderness was on repentance. All need to repent because all are guilty in God’s sight. Repentance comes before believing (Mark 1:15), before forgiveness (Luke 24:47), and before conversion (Acts 3:19). Repentance is a revolution touching our intellect, emotions, and affecting our will. Repentance is a twofold act: (1) turning from sin, and (2) turning unto God. Turning from sin without turning to God is reformation without regeneration. To receive all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3), the redeemed sinner should never cease to be penitent.

Dns Diana Chan

I thank God for a very blessed and refreshing 21st Bible Witness Retreat, on “The Doctrine of Repentance”, held from Sept 6-8, 2022, in Kuching.

Thank God for the fellowship and the warm Christian hospitality from Bro. Jeremy Teo, Sis. Niki and their children, as well as Bro. Simon Chung, Sis. Fiona and their children. What a joy to see the youths in Kuching serving together (in the music, logistics and AV ministries) with the brethren from Singapore. Praise the Lord for the blessed opportunity! I also thank God for Dn Lok for coordinating the Retreat, and for Sis Rachel Leong for teaching the children.

I praise God for the spiritual nourishment from God’s Word on “The Doctrine of Repentance”. Thank God for Pastor who expounded this doctrine in great depth and breadth. I have benefited from the many valuable lessons on: ‘What Repentance is Not’, ‘What Repentance is’, ‘Necessity of Repentance in a Christian’s Life’, and ‘Blessings from Repentance’. I learned that I must “acknowledge my sin” unto God (cf. Psalm 32:5); that I must confess my sin and “declare mine iniquity” (cf. Psalm 38:18); and that I must forsake sin and “[keep] myself from mine iniquity” (cf. Psalm 18:23). 

Regarding the application of this key doctrine of “repentance”, I realise that even with all my remorse and admission of sin, ultimately, there must be a change in my life. My thoughts, actions, behaviour must change. My life must glorify Christ! In brief, when we repent, there must be a “turn away” from sin, and a “turn towards” Christ. “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way” (Psalm 119:37).

May the Lord help us to cease from sin, and live a life that is holy and acceptable unto God. 

Lim Hong Kim

I thank God for Pastor Koshy’s faithful exhortations, and Dn Lok’s labour of love, together with the rest of the brethren’s service, for making this Retreat a wonderful spiritual experience. Beng Kheng and myself enjoyed the blessed fellowship. We always look forward to BW Retreats. Once again thank you.

Wilson Low

I thank the Lord for Dn Lok’s faithfulness in the recent Bible Witness Retreat. I have been blessed much by the messages, and rebuked by God’s precepts. May the grace of God abound as I live my life, which He has given me, to glorify His holy name. May the Lord of heaven bless both Pastor Koshy and Dn Lok richly, as they continue to serve the risen eternal Saviour and Lord, for His soon coming is so very near.

Simon Chung (Kuching)

I feel very thankful that the decision was made to hold the 21st BW Retreat here in Kuching, so that the brethren from Calvary Kuching BPC may attend it and have an excellent opportunity for fellowship with the brethren from GBPC, Singapore.

As a long-time Christian, I am not a stranger to the doctrine of repentance. However, my knowledge of it is rather sketchy and haphazard. My biggest takeaway from this Retreat was that I was able to learn Scripture’s comprehensive teaching about repentance. I was able to see it from a higher (that is, biblical) perspective. Thank God that each of the sermons was in-depth and thorough so that I could realign my messy thoughts in the light of Scripture, and revisit most of the relevant Scripture verses of both the Old and New Testaments on the topic of repentance.

It is never easy for Christians to live a holy and righteous life in this sinful world. “My sin”, as David said in Psalm 51:3, “is ever before me.” How I thank God that He forgives all who turn to Him in repentance through Jesus Christ. He shall deliver me from the body of this death through Jesus Christ our Lord. He shall renew me day by day. In Him, I am a new creature. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.

Dominic Chung (Kuching)

Praise the Lord that I was able to join the 21st BW Retreat held here in Kuching. I thank God that I had a good fellowship with the brethren from GBPC, Singapore. I am thankful to be able to hear the messages about the topic of repentance, as I wasn’t clear about many aspects of it before. May God help me to understand the lessons and apply them to my daily life, as well as enable me to memorise the relevant Scripture verses and keep them in my heart so that I might not sin against God.

Jeremy Teo (Kuching)

Praise and thanks be to God for the 21st Bible Witness Retreat held recently (Sept 6-8) at the Pullman Hotel in Kuching. It is a biannual event of Bible Witness Media Ministry, of which my family and I have the privilege to attend in person for the very first time. I would like to thank Rev. Koshy and the BOE of Gethsemane B-P Church for their decision to hold the Retreat here in Kuching. It was really a blessed time of learning from the Word of God and of good Christian fellowship. 

Initially, I did not think that I could attend all the sermon sessions because of my job commitments, but thank God that He made a way for me, and things turned out well. The theme of the 7 sermons was on “The Doctrine of Repentance”. It is a topic that is very much neglected by the churches today, but also one that is needful for all to hear and obey, especially us who are believers in Christ. Thank God for Pastor Koshy’s love, wisdom and faithfulness in teaching us from the Word of God. Thank God also for Sis Rachel Leong for teaching the young children. 

Thank God for Dn Lok for his labour of love, humility and faithfulness in organising the Retreat and managing many tasks. Thank God for all the brethren who have joined this Retreat to draw nigh to God and His people. Participants from Singapore are an encouragement to us. It is never easy to travel overseas, especially in a large group. Truly, thank God for the elderly folks and those who came with their little ones to join this Retreat in spite of the many difficulties and inconveniences they faced – I’m most touched by their exemplary dedication to God. 

Our Lord is good, His mercy endureth forever to His people. When we seek Him and His truth, He will provide a way. When we draw nigh to Him sincerely, with true repentance, He will surely draw nigh to us. All praise and glory to His blessed name, now and forevermore.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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