Volume. XXVI, No. 31
Sunday, 29 January 2012


We Are God's Family


Many years ago, in a Church that I used to worship in, we would sing this song – “We are a family that loves, loves, loves one another. We are a family that cares, cares, cares for another……….” I loved this beautiful song so much! The Bible talks a lot about the family of God, the most familiar one being the passage in 1 Corinthians 12, where the Apostle Paul talks about we all being members of one body, and when one suffers we all suffer, and when one is honoured we all rejoice. Isn’t it beautiful to be in such a caring family where the members truly have a genuine love for one another, where people gladly spend and be spent for the other members of the family, where a brother or a sister sacrifices his or her own personal interest so that some other member may benefit? It would indeed be the happiest thing for a person to belong to such a family.

But sadly if we look around, we find that people belonging to God’s family do not live like God’s Children. The very fact that there are so many denominations and Church groups and divisions within Churches, bears a sad testimony to a very disharmonious family. As one prophet in the Bible said – are we not all brothers, why then do we fight? (Malachi 2:10 paraphrased). Yeah, why do we fight with other believers, why do we show resentment and bitterness toward one another? Has not God poured out His Holy Spirit on us, the Spirit of love, through whom we should love one another? But we are quenching the Spirit and grieving the Spirit of God, by the hardness of our heart and our selfish attitude. Oh, that we had such humble hearts like that of Moses, who fell before the feet of God, imploring Him to let he himself be blotted out and that the people of Israel be saved (Exodus 32:32). Or like John the Baptist, who said – I must decrease and He must increase (John 3:30).

Brethren, we are all of one blood, physically and spiritually. Physically we are all descended from Adam and so form the human family. But this family has been ruined by Satan who came to steal to kill and to destroy. But Christians are in a family brought by the Blood of Christ and we are all born of one Spirit. And Satan who has already created havoc on the human family is now bent on destroying God’s family also. And it appears sometimes as though he is succeeding. But Jesus has assured that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. By this, He meant that the Church would be the one which will be attacking Satan’s stronghold, and it is going to collapse. This will happen when we all, as members of God’s Church, are united as one family and as one advancing army, with Jesus Christ as our commander, and we will put the enemy to flight. So let us put on the whole armour of God and join hands with our fellow-soldiers in our fight against the enemy. Sometimes our brother or sister may be wounded by the enemy’s flaming darts, because he or she was not watchful in prayer. When this happens we don’t turn around and show off our spirituality before our fallen brother, but rather with compassion we reach out to him and care for him and pray along with him that he also be strengthened to resist the devil, realising our own weakness and that we also are prone to fall.

I believe we all know that pride is one of the greatest sins, which disrupts a Christian family. And this pride can be very subtle. We can be proud without even knowing that we are proud. We may think we are humble, but then as someone said – the moment we think we are humble, our humility is gone.

The moment we think we know more than our other brothers do, or we think we are better than they are, our humility goes and pride starts creeping in. And then gradually our pride will keep us away from going to prayer meetings and praying with them and studying God’s Word with them. We may then start getting puffed up in our own imagination, then our thoughts will give way to words, and so we’ll start speaking ill of others, then ultimately words will lead to action and that will cause many others also to start drifting away from God’s family. So let us beware of the cunning serpent who can lead us astray with vain thoughts. Let us submit ourselves to God, resist the Devil and he will flee from us, as it says in James 4:7

Brethren, we are in God’s family. And just as in a human family, there are different types of children, some males some females, some toddlers, some grown ups, and all with varying levels of intellectual and physical abilities and emotional characteristics, so also it is in God’s family. Some may have just been born into His family, while some may have been in it for many years; some develop quickly, while some develop slowly. Nevertheless we are His family, we are all saints and members of God’s household and Scripture commands us to do good to all, especially those belonging to God’s family. Scripture also tells us that those who are strong ought to be considerate towards the weak and to not to please themselves and that we are not to put a stumbling block in the way of a growing brother or sister. Apostle Paul says that if eating meat causes his brother to stumble, he will never eat meat lest it causes his brother to stumble (1Corinthians 8:13). That should also be our attitude, that we do nothing that will cause our brother to fall and that we avoid all appearances of evil.

In God’s family, the people of God have to be united, having the same belief what Scripture teaches us. As Psalm 133-1 says - “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”. In many places the Bible tells us that we be of one mind and have the same mind. Jesus also prays to the Father that we all be one just as He and the Father are ONE. HE is our Good Shepherd and we are all the sheep of His flock. Some sheep may be kept in different sheepfolds under the care of different shepherds. But as long as the shepherds follow the direction of the Chief Shepherd, sheep in different folds should regard one another as all belonging to the one Shepherd and not discriminate against sheep from another fold. A day will come when there will be just One Flock and One Shepherd.

Friends, many of us may not have any human family members, many of us may be away from them, or may even be isolated deliberately because of our faith in Christ. But thank God that He has put us into His own beautiful family, as He says in the Bible – He sets the solitary in families (Psalm 68:6), He gives the barren woman a home (Psalm 113:9), and He is the father of the fatherless and defender of the widows. (Psalms 68:5). Indeed how loving is our dear Heavenly Father. He knows all our needs, especially one of our greatest needs – to feel wanted and belonged to. No one can lead isolated lives. We are all part of one another, all one in Christ. He is our peace who has made us all one. (Ephesians 2:14).

The heart of God yearns for each and every one of His dear little children and does not want any of us to wander away. It breaks His heart. He will come down to the wanderer beseeching him to turn back, because he is so precious to Him. He gave the life of His Son Jesus for him. If any one is wandering away from God’s family, the Father implores you – “Come back Home, my Child”.

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Sis Grace Gan.

*Hope Bookstore - Open from 12:30 - 1:45pm.

*While Ps Weng is away for next 2 weeks, any Session member will be available, if required.

*Updating our Church Directory. Please fill in your name & details in the form provided & then place the completed form in the box.

*Today’s Fellowship Lunch is catered. Adult $5. Under 5 years old: Free.

*Easter Family Bible Camp - There will be a meeting after NEXT Sunday’s Worship Service for volunteers who would like, and are able, to be part of the planning committee. All volunteers (experienced/inexperienced) will be most welcome.

 

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

 1. Journey mercies: Ps David & Sis Susan Weng & family (S’pore/Mal); Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family (Adl); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & Stephen (Melb); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), David Chong (Melb), Raphael Ng (Pt Aug/Adl) & Samuel Ki; Sisters Wendy Liang, May & Katrina Loh (Adl) & others who have arrived at their destinations.

2. Missions work in Batam - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng.

3. Church Activities - over the past week.

4. Working Bees (yesterday). 

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

6. Healing - Sis Peng Ha Yeo (Auckland)

7. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

 1. 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, Cathy Carpenter, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Luke Kim & Ministry (Phnom Penh & Veal Renh); Bro John Saray & Ministry (Kampot).

3. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.

4. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

5. God’s Comfort - those who are grieving.

6. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).

7. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

8. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

9. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries; Pastor Mark & Mrs Wiwin Baldwin’s Ministry in Cambodia.

10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

11. House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines - Ministry to drug addicts.

12. Journey mercies: Dn Colin & Sis Grace Gan & family (Adl); Sisters Xandrea Cai, Cindy Chan, Soonja Park & Felicia Tan (Adl) & others who are travelling.

13. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

15. 18th World Congress of ICCC, Serra Negra, Brazil. (Dns Purdee & Sis Peng Ha Yeo)

16.  Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

17.  Unity & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.

18.  Full-time Jobs - for our university graduates.

19. Bro David Chong - God’s guidance as he completes his medical specialist training in Melbourne.

 

 

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