Volume. XX, No. 27
Sunday, 01 January 2006

From the Pastors Heart: Let Us Be Renewed

Unless the earth rotates faster than before, why time flies faster than before, sometimes I ask. Although three-hundred thirty-five days a year must be the same every year, somehow I feel that clock moves forward quicker than before. Looking back year 2005 and welcoming a new year, there are both regrets and high expectations in my mind. One of the regrets I have at the moment is that I have not done for the Lord as much as I wanted to. I feel that I have not grown up as much as I wished to. There are lots of rooms in my life for improvement. I do not think that I am the only one who needs improvement. With such thoughts, I have chosen Colossians 3:10 to be the theme verse for this year: “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” There are a few things to ponder on. Before I go into my points, let me say about the nature of our old man that has to be put off. The old man does not believe in God, or the reality of God. Often it tries to explain away that the belief in the existence of God is only psychological. The old man abhors a teaching about the existence of hell. It is worth noting that the belief in hell is the number one objectionable teaching of Christianity. It is so true, when Paul said in Ephesians 4:17-18, that “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” The passage depicts the condition of the old man. Old man means more than unbelief. It also means sinful lifestyle. It includes immoral and unethical manners of life. It means selfish and immature attitude.

However, I do not mean that old man is found only among unbelievers, as if Christians are all perfect and mature without blemish. I am not ready to indict the unbelievers as less holy and charitable people than Christians in common sense, as if the latter are superior to the former in terms of morality and ethics. We need to pay attention to the charges laid against Christians by the enlightened unbelievers. For example, Bernard Russel, I may describe him as an agnostic, rather than atheist, argued the following: “If you mean by a ‘Christian’ a man who loves his neighbour, who has wide sympathy with suffering, and who ardently desires a world freed from the cruelties and abominations which at present disfigure it, then, certainly, you will be justified in calling me a Christian. And, in this sense, I think you will find more ‘Christians’ among agnostics than among the orthodox.” It is a serious indictment against the believers’ double standard or hypocritical attitude. It is only a hint that all of us, Christians, need to be renewed and sanctified. Therefore, our theme verse for this year is very relevant to all of us.

I. It is for the believers’ edification.

Paul did not write the epistle of Colossians for the unbelievers, but for the believers. In this exhortation, he encourages the believers to see that there is a room for their growth. He tells them to be renewed. This renewal is not one time event, but rather continual. This exhortation gives us a fresh challenge and a wake-up call. Bible-believing Christians have heard about a doctrine of justification by faith. Most of them also believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. However, some of them have an idea that behavioral changes or lifestyle changes are not necessary because they are saved by faith through grace and their salvation is secure. Against such misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the doctrine, Paul challenges all of us, believers, to renew ourselves and to put on new man, which is a product of new creation by Christ within us. How much of old man is still found in your life? We should not set this question aside as if we do not have anything to do with it. In Acts 6, the apostles asked the congregation in Jerusalem church to choose six men to look after church affairs. One of the qualifications is that they must be men of honest report. The phrase, “honest report,” refers to “be well spoken of,” or “good reputation.” It talks about the quality of these men. 1 Timothy 3:2 talks about qualifications to become a bishop: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” It talks about his blameless character and good behavior. Verse 7 in the same chapter says, “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” It says of a danger of appointing an immature man for a church office. The point is that Christians must strive for growth and that every one of us has a room for improvement.

II. It is for the believers’ sanctification

Christians are moving forward and seeking after the righteousness of God and His kingdom. They are washed by the blood of Jesus, and Jesus died for their sanctification as well as justification. There is a list of things to be put off in Colossian 3:5-8. Verses 5-7 say, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.” Fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness must be checked and removed from Christians’ life. There are two reasons for this putting off process. One is that these things are characteristics of the children of disobedience against whom the wrath of God comes. Therefore, the believers of Christ must not be a part of them. The other is that verse 8 describes them as products of a lifestyle before their conversion. They walked and lived in them before, but they are not supposed to dwell in them any more. This part of our old man must not be active any more. Nonetheless, Paul says in verse 5a, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” There are some things that must be suppressed and opposed within us. Verse 8 says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” They must be added to the list to be put off. We must be able to see that the people who should put them off are not unbelievers but believers. It tells us that we, Christians, need to be renewed.

We call it as Christian sanctification. I do not want to use such big term like sanctification to move into a nonsensical and any complicated theological but to ask a few simple questions: Are we honest? Are we sincere? Are we faithful? Are we compassionate? Are we diligent? Are we helpful? Are we loving and caring? Are we reasonable and understanding? Let us return to the basics to become good characters. We need to be renewed from being lukewarm, selfish, and having double tongues. Let us renew our vows we had made before. Let us be renewed in our prayer life, giving life, family life, relations to others, and everything we can think about. May God help us to do so!

With prayers,
Your pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 26: How doth Christ execute the office of a king? Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Dn Edwin D’Mello’s mother, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tae-Yul Lee’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei, & Auntie Sheila George, and others afflicted with illness. "For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Khmer pastors & their families serving in remote villages; Bro Vana Rith in Paillin; b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for health & God’s provision; c) Journey mercies - Ps & Mrs Ki & family (Vic); the Ngan family (Melb/Syd), Bro John Wong (Adel), Sis Wendy Gong (Kalgoorlie), Ting family (Syd) & others who are travelling; d) Sketch N’ Tell ministry of Bro Hai Seng Lim; e) PR Visa applications: the George family; f) Hopefuls away in India, Malaysia, S’pore, & interstate; g) Bro Jonathon Liao - temporary job in KL & Sis Clara Sim - to be accepted for uni course at Flinders Uni.

Praise and Thank God for – a) Blessed Christmas Day Worship Service last Lord’s day - new visitors, presentations by Youth Instrumental Ensemble, Sunday School Children and Church Choir, good attendance, & Christmas lunch; & Watch Night Service - message & testimonies last night; b) Journey mercies - the Budiman (Syd/Adl), Chong, Ngan (Adel), Tan & Yong (Melb) families; Bros Johnny Tan (Kalgoorlie) & Simon Yeo (Melb), & Sis Wai Ching (Echo) Ha (HK) & others who travelled recently; c) Success in Year 12 exams - Sis Clara Sim.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $20,000 for Pastor’s car by 31 Mar 06.

Warmest regards and Christmas/New Year greetings from Dn Edwin D’Mello (Mumbai), Brothers Jeremy and Lip-Kah Teo (Kuching), Sis Judith Creamer (USA) & Preacher Chang Chew Nyet (Sihanoukville).

Special Thank You to all who have contributed (prayers, labour, time, talents, love-gifts) to Hope Church in 2005. May the LORD bless and guide each one of you in 2006.

RPGs for Jan-Mar 2006 QTR available now. Donation: $1.00 per copy. Junior RPGs - please see Sis Purdee Yeo.

Service Roster for Jan-Mar 2006 QTR available. Please see Elder Michael Lee.

Christmas Concert CDs available at $4.00 per CD. Please see Dn David Yeo for details.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041