Volume. XXVII, No. 8
Sunday, 19 August 2012


A Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3-4)


What is the Christian hope? The New Testament idea of hope is very different from our normal thinking about hope. We say to someone: Will it rain tomorrow? And they say: I don\'t know; I hope so. In other words, hope, as we typically think about it, is a desire for some future thing which we are uncertain of attaining. That is not the way Peter, or the rest of the New Testament writers describe hope. When Peter says in 1:13, "hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Chris,” he does not mean we should desire it and be uncertain of it. The coming of Christ is a matter of complete confidence for all the writers in the New Testament. So the command, "Hope to the end" means be intensely desirous and fully confident that Jesus Christ is coming again with grace for his people. Another example outside 1 Peter would be Hebrews 6:11 where it says, "We desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end". So we can define hope, in the New Testament sense, as full assurance, or strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in the future. But there is something even more peculiar about Christian hope: Peter calls it "lively hope" or “living hope”. It is living for at least four reasons.

Firstly, because God is Merciful

God is merciful - it gives us reason to praise Him: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:3a)

The word blessed which is used here, is a different word from the blessed that is used in the Sermon on the Mount. The word used here is the Greek word from which we derive our word eulogy. It means to praise. In the New Testament this word is never used in reference to man. God does not praise man, but man is to praise God, and He is the Father. Henceforth, when Peter considers the salvation of God, all he can do is praise Him. This is especially so because the motive for God’s work is found in Him, not in us but according to his abundant mercy. Dear readers: do you praise God for the mercy He bestowed upon us? Some people believe that God is merciful to some because they have been good or deserve His mercy, but that is not what the Bible says.

God bestowed His mercy upon us unconditionally: “…begotten again “according to his abundant mercy…” (1 Peter 1:3b)

According to the Apostle Peter, God’s mercy is bestowed to the elect according to His foreknowledge of the people. Writing to the elect scattered across the Roman Empire, the Apostle Peter said that they were elected “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” (1 Peter 1:2; cf. Romans 8:29) That means God bestowed His mercy to us according to His foreknowledge of us. Some interpret foreknowledge as God’s foreknowledge of us choosing Him or making a decision for Christ. This does not make sense at all. According to the passage that contains the Golden Chain of Salvation, Paul tells us in Romans 8:29, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Now, is Paul saying that God foreknew something of people, namely, their propensity to coming to God; or is it their inclination that certain people would be more receptive to the gospel? Neither. Notice the relative pronounce Paul used. It is whom, not which or that. It is the people whom God foreknew not a thing. In other words, God is absolutely sovereign when comes to whom He wants to extend His mercy unto. In fact, God even hardens peoples’ hearts for the purpose of His glory and praise. Then you say, “Would this be unfair because God hardens certain people so that they would not believe on Him? God forbid. To this Paul argues, God has “mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:18) Besides, when Paul says God hardened Pharaoh\'s heart, it simply meant that God forced Pharaoh to make the decision that was in his heart. God forced him to do the thing he wanted to do. There never will be a person in hell whom did not choose to be there because every natural man would choose to reject God’s free grace! Why? Because every natural person is without ability to respond to the gospel call unless God gives him the faith to respond to the gospel. To this Paul explains, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6,8) What strength? The spiritual strength, ability or capacity to believe. All men were born in a weak, dying state: neither able to resist sin, nor do any good: utterly devoid of power to extricate themselves from the misery of their situation! Think of a torch-light. The torch-light is only good when it is loaded with batteries, but it would be completely useless without them. That torch-light might have a light bulb, but it does not light because it does not have the power! That is why God must intervene and extend His mercy unto us while we were still without strength! Paul said that we were all dead in trespasses and sin! If we are spiritually dead, how can we respond to God’s call? Could a dead person in a grave respond to your call? This is why we need a “new birth” in the Holy Ghost before we can come to believe in Jesus Christ!

God has made us into a new creation: “…hath begotten us again…” (v.3c)

The word “begotten” there refers to God’s word of regeneration in His chosen people. Before a man can come to Christ, he must first be regenerated in the Holy Spirit. Paul says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:5) This washing of regeneration is what the Lord was speaking about in the third chapter of John: "… Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). The water there in John 3:5 represents the Word of God which washes the sinner. The Spirit, of course, refers to the Spirit of God, the third Person of Divine Trinity. The Holy Spirit which proceeded out of the Father and of the Son, uses the Word which has sanctifying and cleansing power to regenerate sinners in Him! Having been regenerated, born again Christians are also being renewed after the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son (Romans 8:29). Paul urges the believers in the churches in Colossae that “[we] have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:10) To be “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him," in a nutshell, means that we are to put on the new man and rid of the old man, and that new man is Christ Jesus our Lord!

We have living hope because God is merciful and He grants to us His grace unconditionally and it gives us reason to praise Him! And not only has God regenerated us in the Holy Spirit and made us into a new creation, he continues to sanctify us in His Spirit.

To be continued….

Ps Weng

 

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Vacation Bible School Testimonies

 

 

Our Annual Vacation Bible School was held 2 - 5 July 2012, and the main speaker was Preacher Hai Seng Lim from Ebenezer B-P Church, Melbourne. Daily attendances varied between 20 and 25. There were Bible stories, Missionary talks, crafts and games....and fun!

 

Here are the unedited testimonies of some of our students:

 

VBS is fun. I learnt Jesus is the good shepherd; Jesus is the bread of life; Jesus is the resurrection; Jesus is the light of the world; Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

Vina

 

I think that this year’s VBS has been interesting because of all the missionary stories and the unique games.

N.N.

 

VBS is fun with all art and craft, and I learnt about Jesus and the Bible songs. I enjoyed the eating.

Youna

 

I liked VBS and I met a lot of friends.

Kelly

 

Jesus said I am the good shepherd.                                                                                              

Jesse

 

I felt happy I learnt many things about Jesus and I think I might start to be a better person than I was and put my faith in Jesus. When I watched about the people who are born with no hands or legs or eyeballs would be really hard to be born like that. I felt great at VBS and the most favourite thing I like was the missionary story about James O Fraser and William Tyndale.

Sheefali Singh

 

I have learnt a lot of memory verses. I met a lot of friends. I wish it wasn’t the end of VBS.                 

David

 

I learnt that Jesus can save us from our sins and to be thankful for what we have. I like games and craft.

William

 

I love VBS and games and art and craft. I like being a missionary.

Kezia

 

I love VBS with games and missionary stories. I love to watch video clips.

Elizabeth

 

I liked the missionary James O Fraser.

Grace

 

I liked colouring, making the bread, learning about Jesus feeding the people with the bread and the fish.

Leah

 

I learnt Jesus fed lots and lots of people with five bread and two fish.

Asher

 

I like making bread, visiting church, and the story of James O Fraser.

Darren

 

I love VBS!!! It is fun because I can do craft and I can learn about God.                                                      

Jeremy

 

I learnt about  James O Fraser and I learnt Jesus is the good shepherd and the light of the world.

Jwun

 

I feel happy to attend VBS this year because I learnt about God.

Shruti Singh

 

VBS this year was really fun. The crafts were good and the messages were really good.                       

N.N.

 

I have learned that there is a person with no legs and arms. I feel happy the way I am.                                        

Nikola

 

It is fun to learn new things. It doesn’t matter who you are you might find something inside you.

Anika

 

VBS is fun and the games were fun too.

Jasper

 

 

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Dn Tony Law. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Boongs Atijatuporn

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

*All worshippers are encouraged to attend either Calvinism Class or Adult Sunday School Class after fellowship lunch, and to join one of the Neighbourhood Bible Study groups - BSAG, Joy or Maranatha.

*ECM date for the second vote on the Church Constitution amendment will be announced next Lord’s Day.

*25th Anniversary Church Magazine available on the literature table. Please help yourself to a copy

*Hard Rubbish pick up by Unley Council on Mon, 27 Aug. Help needed during working bee to bring rubbish out to street kerb.

*New Address for Ps David & Sis Susan Weng: 169 Brougham Drive, Valley View. Phone: 8263-9689.

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

*Next Lord’s Day Evening Service: Please invite your unbelieving family members & friends to come.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony & Sis May Liu (Adl); Bros Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Joseph Selvanayagam (Bris/Adl); & others who have arrived safely.

2. Church Activities in past week.

3. Healing & recovery from virus illness.

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

5. 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; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth (Nursing Home), Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong, Myung Ki, Vivian Kou (Melb), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; Dn Edwin D’Mello & others in affliction & those suffering from this winter virus and influenza.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).

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

4. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry

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

6. God’s Comfort - those afflicted and grieving.

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

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

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

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

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

12. Journey mercies: Those who are travelling.

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

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

15. Full-time Job - Bro Chilton Chong; Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb) & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.

16. Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches

17. Wisdom & guidance - Those in authority in Government. Salvation of Government ministers.

18. Health in pregnancy - Sis Josephine Wong (Melb)

19. Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

20. AFG - YAF Retreat Speaker: Dr Mark Lehman.

21. Moslems to know the truth & to come to salvation.

22. Session Meeting - for God’s wisdom and help with decision-making by our Session members.

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063