Volume. XXv, No. 52
Sunday, 26 June 2011


Towards Victorious Christian Living Part 2


Last week, we looked at the attributes of virtue, knowledge, temperance and patience in our study of the first two verses of 2 Peter 1:5-8: “5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This week, we will continue in our quest to better understand the pathway to victorious Christian living by examining the aspects of godliness, brotherly kindness and charity as outlined in 2 Peter 1:6-8.

5. Godliness

“Godliness” here exhorts us to aspire to be as God-like/Christ-like as we can, based on our knowledge of the attributes of God as discussed in point no. II previously. Greek New Testament texts feature the word “eusebeia” when referring to godliness. The Greek word “Eusebeia” can be taken to mean a lifestyle/behaviour that exemplifies correct religious beliefs and attitudes, and appears in verses such as 1 Timothy 2:2, Titus 1:1, Acts 3:12 as well as 2 Peter 1:6 which is the current verse under discussion. Broadly speaking, “godliness” can therefore be concisely described as a type of life or lifestyle which is centred on God, involving reverence, fear of and devotion to Him. 

“Godliness” may be a complex concept to inculcate into our everyday Christian living if we attempt to break down “godliness” into a checklist of attributes or a “to-do” list. Rather, it may be easier for us to look at a synopsis of the life of Jesus Christ in 1 Timothy 3:16 to further our understanding of “Godliness”: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Based on this verse, godliness can therefore be interpreted as the fruits or outcomes of our love for God rather than merely an outward obedience to a list of requirements or commandments.  
Conversely, we can further deepen our understanding of “Godliness” by comparing it to its opposite, i.e. “ungodliness”.   The term “asebeia” is used in the Greek texts to refer to ungodly living and can be interpreted as a lifestyle and/or behaviours devoid of any consideration for God’s sovereign will over one’s life, i.e. lacking piety in thought, words and actions. Such a lifestyle is abhorrent to God, and carry with it extremely serious consequences such as God’s wrath (“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness“ - Romans 1:18). Instead, let us as His children saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, take heed of Titus 2:12, which states “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”.

6. Brotherly Kindness

The concept of brotherly kindness refers to “phileo” or affectionate love as described in the Greek Biblical texts. We should distinguish “phileo” love from the other types of love, which is “eros” (passionate love), “storge” (natural bond between mother and infant, father, children, and kin) and lastly, “agape” love (a selfless love, seeking the welfare and betterment of another regardless of self, also referred to as “charity” as we will discuss shortly). Brotherly kindness provides Christians with the motivation to minister to the needs of one another and in so doing, creates a community filled with mutual care and concern which is one of the attributes of a healthy and thriving church. The apostle John was alluding to this positive aspect of Christian brotherhood in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” We would certainly do well to emulate these words of the apostle John as we strive to build a caring community that is continually growing in Christ, here in Hope BPC.

Note also that the concept of brotherly kindness or love applies not just to the Church or immediate community of believers, but may also be extended to our enemies. The Bible bears various examples of the love a Christian should have for his or her enemy, even when under persecution. A vivid example is given in Matthew 5:38-44: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."  Jesus Christ is the ultimate epitome of these verses when he endured tremendous humiliation, physical punishment and torture at the hands of his Romans tormentors in his last hours, culminating finally in His crucifixion at Calvary, all as part of His Salvation plan for sinful Man (Matthew 27:1-50). We should emulate this example set by Christ in our everyday lives by exercising patience, forbearance/restraint and love in adverse or contentious  circumstances be it at work, school or even at home, and in so doing, bear a worthy witness and testimony for our Lord.

7. Charity

Biblical scholars interpret charity as “agape” or selfless love, i.e. a willingness to sacrifice one’s own interests for the interests of others. We need to look no further than the example of Christ’s supreme sacrifice in dying for our sins at Calvary’s cross, as the ultimate demonstration of selfless love. Hence, there may be no greater aim for a Christian in striving to be Christ-like than to live selflessly. The apostle Paul certainly placed a great emphasis on charity in his letter to the Corinthians, as is written in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” In these verses, Paul prioritised charity above other spiritual gifts such as tongues (language), prophecy, knowledge (intellect) and even faith that can move mountains! So let us remind ourselves to act lovingly not only in church on Sundays, but also everyday of the week, with whomever and wherever our daily lives take us.

In closing, Peter encouraged the early followers of Jesus Christ to continue growing in their faith, as he says in 2 Peter 1:8: “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In this verse, Peter assures us that if we are to let the characteristics outlined in 2 Peter 1:5-8 abide in us in our everyday Christian lives, we will be fruitful servants, increasing in our understanding of God, and growing to be more and more like Christ everyday. May God grant us the grace to continually grow in the knowledge and wonder of Him, as we live our lives Victoriously for Him.   Amen.

Dn Wai Kin Wong

********************************************

25th Anniversary Greeting (4)
 
Dear Rev Ki, Pastor Weng, The Session & Congregation of Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church, Blessed 25th Anniversary!
 
May God bless you all richly and use you mightily for His glory.
 
With love in Christ,
Edward and Lehia Paauwe & family
 
Philippians 1:2-6

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements:
Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Sis Grace Gan.
*Hope Bookstore - New books available in bookstore upstairs - open 12:30-1:45pm every Sunday.
*RPGs & Daily Manna for Jul-Sep QTR, & Bible Witness Nov 10 - Feb 11 available on the literature table.
*Israel Study Tour - 27 Nov - 8 Dec 2011 organised by Life B-P church. If interested to go, please see Ps Weng for more details.
*Today’s Fellowship Lunch is catered. Adult $5 and children under 5 years old - free.
*Reminder: All leaders of fellowship, committee and ministry groups are to submit their annual reports for the ACM to the Clerk of Session, Dn Colin Gan, by 24 July.
*Sis Xandrea Cai has joined Lively Hope Committee
*Deepest Sympathy to Dns Purdee Yeo & Bro Charles & Sis Peng Ha Yeo on the homegoing of Bro Charles’ brother.


Looking Ahead:
*Vacation Bible School, 18 - 22 July.
*Annual Congregation Meeting (ACM), Sat, 27 August.
*AFG Retreat, 1 - 3 Oct.
*Christmas Concert, Sat, 3 Dec.


Praise and Thanksgiving:
Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Ki (Lond); Dn Wai Kin Wong (Rural Vic/Adl); Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Bros Yick Ho Lam (Adl), Joseph Selvanayagam (USA/Adl) & Lucas Yiew (S’pore); Sisters Melissa Chong & Connie Mak (Adl) others who arrived safely.
Church activities - over the past week.
Ministry in New Life BPC, S’pore, & Batam - Ps & Sis Ki.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Session Meeting - God’s guidance & direction.
Working Bees


Prayer Items:
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki (Lond), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh & Kandal Prov); Bro Sun Sokha (Phnom Penh); Rev Srun Chivan (Sihanoukville).
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry.
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa.
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & ministry.
IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.
Ministry in New Life BPC, London - Ps & Sis Ki.
Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.
Ps & Sis  Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin Wong (Vic/Adl);  Bro Jason Teng (Syd); Sis Peng Ha Yeo (Overseas) & those who are travelling.
Hopefuls away: Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Canada); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & Stephen (Melb); Sis Miriam Atijatuporn & Jaden (Thailand); Sisters Marion Chan (Myazaki), Gillian Ong (Bris) & Serene Wong (S’pore).
Job - Sisters Clara Sim & Corinne Teng.
 Studying in Auckland, NZ - Bro Peter Koo
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.
God’s comfort - Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman.
 Street-Evangelism - Protection of participants & Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts. 
High School & University Students - Exams & Assignments.

 

 

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