Volume. XXIII, No. 26
Sunday, 21 December 2008


From The Pastors Heart: Ready for His Coming


Christmas is just around the corner. Though the whole world suffers with an economic crisis, this seasonal festivity seems still to hang around.  Nearly everyday, my mailbox is full of advertising papers. Well, another Christmas comes, and life appears to go on without any glitch.  Christmas is a day when the believers of Jesus Christ remember His birth and its significance.  It is more than probable that December 25 is not His real birthday.  In fact, no one can be 100% sure of which day Jesus was born.  His birth date is not our concern.  However, the fact that He was born in the flesh is our primary concern.  The Son of God was incarnated.  John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  His birth is signified in His name, Emmanuel, God with us.  It is the most shocking news that we may ever hear about.  God became a man, which is a declared truth that is not comparable to any known truths in human history.  His birth provided a way for our salvation and redemption.  He lived in human flesh and died for sinners.  His blood made a once-and-for-all sacrifice for His people, and they do not need any more sacrifice for their atonement.  It is the value and meaning of His first coming, celebrated in Christmas remembrance.

 

Today, what I’d like to talk about is not of His first coming or Christmas.  The importance of His first coming also needs to be found in His not-yet second coming.  As His first coming was prophesied and fulfilled, so the remaining prophecies concerning His second coming will be soon fulfilled.  When year 2000 was closing down, there were many feverish talks about His next coming.  As the year-mark passed, it seems that any talk about His second coming becomes an outdated and tiresome message.  I was not amongst the people talking about His second coming as Y2K was zooming in.  However, I feel that it is a time for me to talk about the subject more fervently.  It is not simply because not too many people are talking about it, but because I really feel urged to talk about it.  Such inner urges are pounded with some observable facts in the world.  I’ll talk about them from two categories.

 

The first one is spiritual.  Amos 8:11-13 says, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.”  Spiritual starvation from the scarcity of God’s Word is one of the signs of the last days.  By the grace of God, I have had privileges to visit many countries and churches in different continents.  One of the most striking impressions I’ve got is that even the people of God do suffer from the lack of biblical teaching and preaching.  Modernism or liberalism is, of course, very prevalent with Christian churches.  Now even within the so-called evangelical churches, it is hard to expect to hear any powerful and straight forward preaching from the Scriptures.  Their teachings have been diluted by wrong theologies, humanism, and experientialism.  In a sense, all of them are originated from pragmatism.  People do not lay their hope, faith, and wealth in heaven, but on earth.  The focus of their faith lies on the things of the world, which is totally against John’s admonition in 1 John 2:15-17.  The messengers of God have found their messages from “thus saith the Lord,” but the false messengers find them from their dreams, imaginations, experiences, hopes of people, and other pragmatic reasons.  They themselves do not recognize the problem of spiritual thirst from which their people have suffered.  However, I have seen spiritually thirsty people crying for the truth of God.  The fervent and enthusiastic responses to the preaching of God’s Word (as I have seen in different churches and countries) only vindicate my evaluation of the current spiritual condition of Christian churches.  I have often heard from God’s people that they could not find a church where they might attend for worship.  These words did not come from highly decorated theologians, but from simple people whose desire is to hear God’s Word and worship Him in Sprit and in truth.  As I look at the intensity and extent of apostasy amongst professing Christians, I do see that the Lord’s Coming is not too far away form now.  Before He comes, there will be a great apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2).  If I add one more thought to this spiritual problem, it is that I do not see much unity and love amongst Christian churches and their members.  In this case, so-called fundamental churches are not exceptions.  Probably they are guiltier of this sin than any other groups.  It is because they hate their fellow brethren in the name of truth.  Let me quote a few verses from 1 John 4.  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (vv. 7-8).  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (vv. 11-12).  I have rarely seen a man who loves the truth, loving their brethren also.  It is an irony to see that a lover of truth hates his brethren for whom his Savior died.  It is another sign of Christ’s near coming. 

 

The second observable fact is that there are signs of troubles today as the Scripture has been telling us.  It was a thought provoking experience to read Noam Chomsky’s book, What We Say Goes: Conversations on US Power in a Changing World, co-authored with David Barsamian (in fact, the latter was his interviewer).  Chnomsky begins his interview with a provocative remark: “There is a certain discipline that you have to meet.  In a well-run society, you don’t say things you know.  You say things that are required for service to power.”  He is cautious of media reports.  It simply means that we cannot trust in media reports without critical thinking.  I need to go into a few different observable facts that may indicate the near coming of Christ.  One is of nature.  The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) released a statement on global warming on 2 February 2007: “The first major global assessment of climate change science in six years has concluded that changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps show unequivocally that the world is warming.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that major advances in climate modelling and the collection and analysis of data now give scientists ‘very high confidence’ (at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct) in their understanding of how human activities are causing the world to warm.”  There are potential uncontrollable dangers through the Avian flu.  Birds are flying everywhere.  They do not know any national boundaries.  Maybe global warming will aggravate this problem even more.  Think about the global availability of fresh water.  Global warming will definitely affect many parts of the world.  The melting of ice deposits on mountains and glaciers will accelerate the desertification process.  Basically, it means that people in many parts of the world will suffer with the lack of drinkable water.  The recent energy crisis is not irrelevant to our study.  The US army is in Iraq, and it cannot leave Iraq without securing energy sources.  It has the second-largest oil reserves.  It shares its borders with Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Somehow the major energy producing region is under the rule of the Shiite majority.  If these countries (Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia), make any sort of political and military alliance, without any difficulty we can see an immediate threat to the world energy supplies.  Interestingly, though Saudi Arabia has been a close ally to the west, it is also true to say that the majority of the terrorists involved in 9/11 came from that very country.  Well, we are going to hear more about wars (probably continuously from the Middle East) and disasters.  People will look for a great leader who may be able to deliver them from those tragedies.  These problems are of economical and political crises.  Well, it seems that what we are observing today points to the biblical prophecies of the second coming of the Lord Jesus.  All I want to tell you today is that you need to watch and pray.  If we pay attention to the Bible as much as we do to the stock market news, we will get heavenly comforts and consolations.  As we are about to celebrate Christmas, so I must say of the second coming of the Lord Jesus as John said, “Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!”

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor

 

 

 

 

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Kitchen Rosters - Team Leader: Sis Marion Chan

Wishing all Worshippers a Very Blessed Christmas.

RPGs for Jan-Mar 2009 available on the literature table.

There is no Men’s Fellowship this month.  

Special Thanks to our Sunday School teachers and helpers in organizing the Sunday School Christmas Party.

 

LOOKING AHEAD:

Watch Night Service, Wed 31 Dec at 7:30 pm.

Sunday School Teachers’ Training Video on 18 & 25 Jan 2009, 7.30pm.

 

PRAYER ITEMS:

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Stephen Khoo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagan, & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Yeom. Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia (Pastors & believers in rural Villages); Kuching - Teo family

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor Ki: future ministry

Journey Mercies: Dn Mark Heah & family; Bro Lawrence Tan & family (KI/Adl/S’pore); Bro Vincent Sim & family (Adl/S’pore); Bro Yew Kay Cho & family (M’sia); Bro Timothy Tan & family (S’pore); Bro Lincoln Law; Sisters Marion Chan & Gillian Ong (Adl), Lydia Fan (UK), Judy Li (Seoul/Dalian); Mr Laurie Brown (Adl) and all others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: ministry in Hope BPC; application for permanent residency in Australia.

Outreach to Mandarin speakers in Adelaide.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Tabitha Heah & Judy Li.

BPCWA (Perth) - God’s guidance & wisdom.

Ebenezer BPC (Melb) - Cambodia Missions - Bros Joseph Lo & Richard Tee, & Sis Wui Chiuen Kew

Hopefuls & regular worshippers away during the summer vacation.

 

PRAISE & THANKSGIVING:

Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren, Dn Mark Heah; Bro Timothy & Sis Constance Tan; Bro Jason Tan & parents; Sisters Shu Ai Cho & parents, Purdee Yeo (Adl),  (Ald); Bro Winston & Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam (Perth); Bro Leonard & Sis Susanne Teo (Canada); Sisters Marion Chan, Clara Sim & parents (Hbt), Sheila George & Shilsha Ninian (India), Lydia Fan, Vanessa & Felicia Tan & parents (S’pore)

Church activities: E-Ministry; Shorter Catechism Class; BSAG Bible Study; Sunday School Christmas Party; YAF Carolling.

 

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063