Volume. XXVI, No. 34
Sunday, 19 February 2012


From the Pastor's Heart - Worship Part 19


(For previous articles on Worship by Pastor Ki, please refer to Lively Hope published on and before 10 October 2010.)

 

We have been studying the reasons why Christians are encouraged to go to church for corporate worship. We have studied three reasons so far. The fourth reason is that the believers of Christ should have spiritual fellowship with other Christians. When we gather together in the name of Jesus Christ, the presence of the Lord is promised in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” 1 John 1:3, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Christian fellowship strengthens our faith and Christian life. Ecclesiastes 4:12, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The fifth reason is that it is God’s desire for us to be gathered together. Hebrews 10:24-26, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 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. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the nowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” There are a couple of lessons we may learn from this passage: (1) when we are together as a church we do motivate and encourage one another so that we may love one another and do good works for one another; (2) Especially, as the Lord’s coming draws nearer, we ought to assemble ourselves even more; and (3) quite strikingly, the writer of the book of Hebrews related this issue of the believers’ gathering to the knowledge of the truth in verse 26. The third point is interesting. While the verse indicates that the knowledge of the truth is important for our understanding of corporate worship, there are people who seem to cherish the truth of God but refuse to be a part of the Church. There has been a movement called the Nonchurch movement, which was founded by Uchimura Kanzo in 1901. He wrote many books, and according to Wikipedia, there are about 35,000 people belonging to the movement in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. However, it is also interesting to see that this movement has its own organizational forms and rules. In fact, there is also a rule for membership. For example, only those who have “endeavored to live the Christian life for at least a year” can be members. They also must be committed to monthly meetings, spending Sundays to nurture faith and morals, and abstaining from tobacco and liquor. They also have Bible studies. What they do not have are liturgy, sacraments, and ordained ministers, but they have Bible teachers. Though there may be some genuine desire to serve the Lord amongst the followers of this movement, there are some problems with it. However, we should never forget that the Church is the wife of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24): “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” And at the same time, the Bible also calls local congregations the church of God. For example, 1 Thessalonians 1:1 says, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus, the nonchurch movement, even by its term, is not so biblical.

 

The sixth reason is that it is God who has given us the church organization. There are a few considerations we need to think about. (1) God has given us the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus). As a part of God’s inspired Word, these epistles give us lessons about God’s desire, plan, and will for His people. There are at least three main themes in the epistles: teachings in the church, ministries in the church, and organizations of the church.

 

Concerning the organizations of the church, the Lord instructs us about church offices such as pastors (elders, bishops) and deacons. Therefore, it is biblical for the  believers of God to be a part of a church with proper organization. Proper church organization (church offices and ministries) is necessary to protect the church of God from false teachers and disorderly individuals. For example, Paul recognizes the presence of church officers. Philippians 1:1, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons [underline added].” Titus 1:5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city [underline added], as I had appointed thee.” Having a proper church organization (offices) is biblical. (2) God has given instructions to the believers concerning their relationship to the leaders. Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.” (3) God has given us instructions concerning discipline done by His church. Matthew 18:15-17, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church [underline added]: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (4) God has given His gifts to His church, especially for the right teachings from the Scriptures. Ephesians 4:7-12, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

 

The seventh reason is that the disciples of Jesus were gathered to worship the Lord on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. Acts 20:7 says, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” They observed the Lord’s Supper and the preaching of the Word of God on this day. The eighth reason is that all believers are to be the members of one body. Jesus Christ is the head (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18), and all believers are making up the one body. Thus, they are to be together. The Holy Spirit has given them different gifts, and all members need to contribute to build up the body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.” The members in this one body are interdependent, not independent. When we are alone, we are incomplete. The ninth reason is that believers belong to one household, not many. 1 Timothy 3:14-15, “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” We need to learn how to behave within the household of God. And also, believers must work hard together to maintain the church’s purity by upholding the truth of God. It is because the church is the pillar and ground of the truth.

 

Lovingly,

Your Senior Pastor (now in New Life BPC, London, UK)

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Dns Joyce Gong. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Daniel Volvricht.

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

*Uni O-Week: Those to wish to help, please see Sis Clara Sim or Sis Sarah Carpenter.

*Updating our Church Directory. Please fill in your name & details in the form provided & then place the completed form in the box. (Last day, 4 Mar).

*Easter Family Bible Camp - Volunteers are welcome to be part of the planning committee. Please approach Dn Colin if you are interested.

*Next week’s Fellowship Lunch is catered: Adult $5, Child under 5 years old FREE.

*Sis Lydia Fan leaves for S’pore for work next week.

*Adult Sunday School - all encouraged to attend.

  

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Ps David & Sis Susan Weng & family; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (HK); Dns Purdee Yeo; Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Cyndi Chan (Syd), Rosalie Gan, Yvone Kam, Piah Buey Yeo, Peng Ha Yeo; Mrs Soonja Bak; Bro Raymond Ang (Adl); & others who have arrived at their destinations.

2. Church Activities - over the past week.

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

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

5. Missions work in Batam & vacation - Ps Weng & family

 

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. Recovery from Surgical complications - Mr. Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father in Singapore); Dn Edwin D’Mello (haematoma).

3. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro John Saray (Kampot)

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.

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

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

13. Journey mercies: Bro Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo); Sisters Cyndi Chan, Jillian Chia, Yashu Qin (Adl); Gillian Ong (Bris), Rosalie Gan (Melb) & Lydia Fan; Mr. Kwai San & Mrs. Joy Fan (S’pore); & others who are travelling.

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

15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

16. Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

17. People affected by the floods in Qld & NSW.

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

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

20. Specialist medical exams - Sis Monica Tan.

21. God’s guidance in work - Bro Youwen Yeap & Sis Lydia Fan (S’pore); Bro Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo).

22.  Uni O-Week - stall helpers & outreach to new International students.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063