Volume. XXIV, No. 47
Sunday, 23 May 2010

From The Pastors Heart: Worship Part 8

It has been a challenge to all preachers to encourage their congregations to observe the Day of the Lord. Until a few decades ago, all businesses were closed on Sundays, and churches were packed with people. Since shops and businesses were allowed to run as usual on Sundays, everything began to change. Entertainment comes before worship even on Sundays. Christians have not been able to escape the negative effects of these social changes. On top of that, Christians’ biblical and world views have been changed to be more pragmatic and materialistic, which encourage them to find more self-gratification and pleasure. Such changes have led professing Christians to discover a new meaning of the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Day Worship. The Lord’s Day observance is determined by the individual’s taste and pragmatic reasons, not by Scriptural principles any more. Thus, if it is inconvenient for them to worship in their church on Sundays, they do not mind skipping church but going somewhere or doing something that may give them immediate satisfaction. Entertainment plays an important part in this regard. Entertainment on Sundays includes sports, parties, shopping, or anything that removes a place of worship from their hearts. Some people voluntarily choose to work on Sundays for better remunerations and conveniences, while their worship suffers. Some people have stopped going to church and turned to worship alone or to TV Christian programs. Of course, among them there are people who were disillusioned by unhappy experiences from their previous church life. Despite all of these problems or potential problems, I must emphatically say that worship in God’s church together with fellow believers is important to all who are saved by the grace of God.

There are so many things I need to talk about the Lord’s Day worship, but I must limit it to a small scale and will deal with the rest through preaching later. Noah Webster defines “Sunday” as “The christian sabbath; the first day of the week, a day consecrated to rest from secular employments, and to religious worship. It is also called the Lord\'s day. Many pious persons however discard the use of Sunday, and call the day the sabbath.” By all means, we must learn the importance of corporate worship. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” After all, a local church is not a building but a people of God. Thus, each member of this body must come together and worship together. Many of us are interested in evangelism. Evangelism can be done by sharing the Gospel with others or by distributing some reading or listening materials on Christian messages. At the same time, when we come to church on Sundays, people also know that we are Christians. When the world sees believers not honouring the Day of the Lord, what will attract them to come to church on the Lord’s day? Some people may argue that coming to church every Lord’s day is not convenient. Well, we do not come to church on Sundays because it is convenient but because it is the day of the Lord when all God’s people are gathered to worship Him. It is the same to the Jews on Saturdays and to the Moslems on Fridays. Christian freedom is not boundless. We are free but only in Christ. I hope and pray that all God’s people will review and examine the ways they honour the Lord on His day. The real question is: “where is your heart on the day of the Lord?” I’ll say that whatever is and will be before me, I and my family will worship the Lord on Sundays, and we will sanctify the Day of the Lord. I Hope that you will say the same thing. The next principle of worship is:
Fifth, worship needs to be well prepared.
Worship is not just one of those casual activities we do every day. The object of our worship is God, which puts a lot of weight on the importance and seriousness of worship.
One, sin must be dealt with. 1 Samuel 15:25, “Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD” [cf. 15:30]. King Saul did not obey the voice of the Lord and was afraid of people. And he also offered sacrifices to God, which was a violation of levitical rules. He should have waited for Samuel to come. However, he did it for himself. He later recognized that what he did was sinful. He confessed in 1 Samuel 15:24b, “. . . I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy [Samuel’s] words . . . .” It indicates two things: (1) sin must be confessed and repented of, and (2) worship must be done in God’s terms not man’s. Man may say that doing things for worship will make him a worshipper of God, but what God sees is different until things are done according to His ways.
Two, reading the Scriptures and confessing of sins are necessary before proper worship. Nehemiah 9:3 says, “And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.” Reading the Word of God is an important part of the worshipper’s life. It will teach him about how to serve the Lord. Deuteronomy 17:19, “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.” Without knowing His law, how can we know how to serve and worship Him? Again, it means that we serve and worship the Lord according to His will as revealed in His Word. Deuteronomy 31:11 also says, “When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.” Jesus indicated the importance of the knowledge of the Word of God wherever there is a dispute over manners of worship in Matthew 12:5, “Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?” Therefore, it is appropriate for us to prepare ourselves for worship by reading the Scriptures.
Three, proper washings and dresses are also important preparations for worship. 2 Samuel 12:20 says, “Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.” David pleaded to the Lord to spare his son’s life from Bathsheba. However, he had to suffer with the consequence of his sin of adultery. When he found that his son died, he washed himself and put proper clothes on and came to the house of the Lord to worship Him. To him, it was not a light matter to worship the Lord and he dressed himself properly. The issue of proper dress code for worshippers may be more controversial than other issues related to worship within today’s religious climates. Many people probably argue that washing and dress codes should not be a part of serious talks within churches. We are living in a different era from the times when David lived or Paul wrote his epistles. Besides, God does not look at our appearances but our hearts. As long as we have right hearts before God, how we dress ourselves should not be anybody’s business. I think that there are lots of misconceived and misunderstood ideas about how we dress as Christians. Having a dress code does not make us legalistic as some people think. Some restaurants have dress codes. Different social functions require different dress codes. It is not too hard to identify people by their dress codes. Soldiers have their uniforms, and police forces have their own too. Even students have their school uniforms. In fact, if I wear a police uniform and walk on the street, I am falsifying my identity. Therefore, talking about Christian dress code should be our concern. To those people who argue that our dress code is not God’s concern and we must focus on inner spirituality, I must say that it is true that our inner being must be beautiful. At this moment, we need to read 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” God is concerned about our dress code! I’ll share a bit more on this point next week.
Pastor Ki
(New Life B-P Church, London)

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Raymond Ang. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Sis Tabitha Tan.
*Deepest Sympathy to Mrs Angela Nguyen on the passing away of her maternal grandfather, Mr Cong, in Vietnam.
*Helpers needed for VBS. Please see Sis Josephine Wong if able to help & for more information. Please invite your friends
*Sparks4Christ Fund Raising Project - for Photocopier.  The Sparks are eager to help with this project and would appreciate your blessed support next week - Next Sat (during working bee): car vacuuming $7 per sedan, $10 per MPV; Next Lord’s Day - Sausage Sizzle lunch: $2 per sizzle without onions, $2.50 per sizzle with onions.
*The Seniors have their meeting postponed to this Wed. Help needed with food & transport. Please see Sis Peng Ha Yeo if able to help.
*New organ required for Sunday School. The current organ has been in use for at least 15 years & is breaking down.
Looking Ahead
*AFG Bible Camp/Retreat in 11-14 June.
*24th Anniversary Thanksgiving on 20 June.
*Vacation Bible School, 12-16 July.
*ACM & Sixth Session Election - Sat, 28 August.
*Gospel Rally -12 September.
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Bro Ngie Joo Gong; Sisters Yvone Kam, Sarah Lo & Buey Yeo (Adl); & others who have travelled.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. YAF Activity at Warrawong National Park.
4. Daily mercies, protection & guidance.
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Samuel Ki, Elton Law, Jonathan Liao, Len & Richard Pearson, Moses Tan (S’pore), Winston Selvanayagam, & Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki (UK), Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. God’s comfort: Mr & Mrs Lajos (Lou) Lodi & family; Rev Dr SH Tow & family; Sis Yvone Kam & family & Mrs Angela Nguyen & family.
3. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).
4. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry in S’pore/Malaysia/Indonesia (June) & Adelaide (July).
5. IBPFM (USA) - Board, missionaries & funds.
6. Ps & Sis Ki & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond).
7. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
8. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
9. Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Holland); Sis Sarah Lo (Keith); & others travelling.
10. New Photocopier for church - God’s provision.
11. New organ for Sunday School.
12. ACM & Session Election on 28 August.
13. Job - Sisters Xandrea Cai, Marion Chan, Judy Li, Corinne Teng & Mag Yu (S’pore).
14. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Demelza Ting. 
15. 24th Anniversary Thanksgiving Speaker: Elder KH Koh of Sydney BPC.
16. Street Evangelism - Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts.
17. Final Stage of pregnancy: Sis Josephine Wong



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