Volume. XXVII, No. 35
Sunday, 24 February 2013


Contradiction in Terms - Part 1


Have we ever considered how we live, and whether our lives are consistent with our Christian profession, or are we a contradiction in terms?  If not, maybe we should examine ourselves more carefully, because it does affect our Christian testimony and faith.  Why should we be surprised to hear others say, "And he calls himself a Christian," when our lives are a contradiction in terms.

The following are some examples of how, as Christians, we might be seen to be a contradiction in terms. 


A Complaining Christian

We can all be consistent Christians when our happy lives are moving along swimmingly, and all seems good in the world, but when problems, datelines, setbacks, troubles, disasters suddenly beset us, our instinct is to express ourselves in anger, in self-pity, in anxiety, and it becomes very natural to believe that we alone are being dealt with unfairly in life, and to complain against everything and God!  It comes so naturally, that we do it without even being conscious about it.  People do hear us when we complain and start to question whether Christianity makes a difference after all.  In effect, we are saying that our God cannot help us, or we are dissatisfied with our God, or we cannot trust our God, or our God is unfair. 

If we take time to stop and think about it in the context of God\'s Word, we will realise that being a Christian does not mean a guaranteed trouble-free life, but rather the opposite - that we are guaranteed a troubled life.  Remember that our Lord Jesus Christ said, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. ...The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." (John 15:19-20), and what Paul and Barnabas taught the early Christians, "...that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22).

 

But in such situations, God comes and assures us that, "...all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28), and so like Job we can say, "...shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?..." (Job 2:10) Whatever challenges we face in life, we do so with God, and we can be assured that God is using them to make us better Christians - He is moulding and refining us for Heaven.  For this reason, Paul wrote, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


An Unfruitful Christian

This sounds incredible, but there are many such Christians around; those who claim to be Christian because of nationality, or being born into a Christian home, or having said the sinner\'s prayer, but who then go about their daily lives unchanged.  Jesus\' Parable of the Sower comes to mind, where all the seeds that fell by the wayside, the stony places and among thorns (Matthew 13:3-23) were unfruitful.  Are we like those seeds?

God\'s Word tells us that God expects us to be good stewards of all that He has given us - our lives, our minds, our abilities, our needful provisions, as well as the good things in life - and to be fruitful in the use of them for His glory.  We all know the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) where the fruitful servants were praised and rewarded for their faithfulness in investing their talents for their lord, while the unfaithful servant was punished by being cast "into outer darkness:”* where "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (which is what we can expect in hell).

Being fruitful is also how others can tell that we are Christians, and that God can make a great difference for good in a person\'s life - it becomes an attractive testimony for God, for we know that "...every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." (Matthew 7:17-18)  Who would reject or shun the good fruit of the Spirit in a person, which "..is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5:22-23)?

Fruitfulness is also a gauge of our relationship with God for Jesus said, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:4-5).

For these reasons, true Christians are fruitful Christians, and all others are a contradiction in terms.


A Selfish / Self-Centred Christian

It is in our old nature to be selfish and self-centred.  Even when we appear to do good deeds, they are the motivations of a selfish desire for recognition or self-satisfaction.  We act ultimately for ourselves, even if we like to say it is for the good of others.  But God looks at our hearts, and is not fooled by outward deeds, and will judge us according to our motives, whether for Him or for self, "... for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7).

As Christians, we are to die to self and live for Christ - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20).  When this is true in our lives, then our motives will be right before God, and our deeds will be without "...strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind" esteeming "other better than themselves." Every man looking not "on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." (Philippians 2:3-4).  The phrase, "things of others," implies the welfare, the good, the happiness of others, and not merely their material things.  Thus, as Christians the welfare of others is our priority, even to the detriment of ourselves, for Christ Himself died on the Cross of Calvary for our sakes. (….to be continued)


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Dn Edwin D’Mello. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Daniel Volvricht

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

*Adult Sunday School (Gospel of Luke) starts today. All are encouraged to attend.

*Combined Ebenezer-Hope Family Bible Camp Please register as soon as possible.

*Ebenezer BPC (Melb) needs an expanded car park. Funds needed. Please contribute if you can.

*Today’s Fellowship Lunch is catered. $5 per adult; children under 5 years old FREE.

*O-Week: Help at the stall is appreciated. Please see Dns Purdee Yeo.

*Welcome Night this Friday. Please invite friends. 

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Adl); Bro Aaron & Sis Monica Tan & Annabelle (Melb/Adl); Bro Lucas Yiew (Adl/Per); Sisters Xandrea Cai, Jillian Chia, Yvone Kam, Michelle Lee, Megan Lim, Josephine Wong (with Stephen & James),  Buey Yeo, Sharon Ying (Adl) & Clara Sim’s parents; & others who have arrived safely.

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. Session meeting last week.

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

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Requests

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), 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; & others in affliction.

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

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

4. Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions: Rev Keith Coleman, Board members & missionaries.

5. Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & missionaries.

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

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

8. House of Hope, Cebu - God’s guidance for counsellors, & drug addicts to receive Christ & be healed.

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

10. Journey mercies: Bro John (Adl/Melb) & Sis Josephine Wong & family (Melb); Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb), Christabelle Selvanayagam & Catherine Teng (Adl); & others who are travelling. 

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

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

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

14. Final weeks of pregnancy - Sis Kerrie Lam. Good labour & safe delivery.

15.  Australian work visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Felicia Tan

16. Australia - God’s wisdom & guidance for our politicians.

17. Queensland floods - comfort for those who lost their loved ones and properties. Salvation of souls

18. O-Week at Adelaide Uni: International students to hear the Gospel and come to our Lord Jesus.

 

 

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