Volume. XXVII, No. 36
Sunday, 03 March 2013

Contradiction in Terms - Part 2

…….continues from last week.

Last week, Deacon Colin Gan wrote “A Complaining Christian”, “An Unfruitful Christian” and “A Selfish / Self-Centred Christian”. If you want to read last week’s article please let Pastor Weng or Elder Michael Lee know, or you can access our website at www.hopebpc.com

A Self-Righteous Christian

There is a well-known parable Jesus related, which I believe is very familiar to us.  It follows that Jesus "spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14).

If we are not careful in guarding our hearts, we might find ourselves having the attitude of the Pharisee.  We may start off pleasing God by faithful obedience to His will, but as time goes on and obedience becomes all-consuming for its own sake, we find that insidiously the act of obedience has become even more important than God Himself.  Is this not the result of the Pharisaical tradition?  The purpose or reason for obedience is replaced by the soulless act of obedience.  As we remain true to the act of obedience each day, bit-by-bit, we think better of ourselves when compared to the faults of this person or that person.  We begin to judge as the Pharisee judged, and compassion is replaced by harshness.  It is  no wonder that the self-righteous person will not be justified before God as this is the philosophy of "justification by works," and not by the grace of God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Proud Christian

What have we to be proud of?  Ourselves?  Our reputations?  Our abilities?  Our works?  Our wealth and possessions?

What are these to God?  Let the following verses set our understanding right:

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

“Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” (James 5:2-3)

“...the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:10-12)

We have nothing to be proud of.  Our good works and intentions are but filth when compared to God\'s standard of righteousness.  Our great achievements will not last into eternity, but only for a season like the grass in the fields.  But what will be of lasting value is what God has done in our lives, and this too we have nothing to be proud of as it is God who has purposed it and brought it to pass.

So, there is no room for pride in a Christian, and the more so as we mature in Christ, for He Himself tells us that, "...he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matthew 23:11-12).

From the above examples, it is obvious why they are contradictions in terms.  I am sure you will be able to add to the list out of your own experiences, and as you do, look into God\'s Word and see what God says about them.

We are all imperfect, and each of us will have our own set of contradictions in terms to deal with.  They are not something that we can change instantly to become perfect, but will require time and effort for us to learn to live less contradictory lives.  Yet, we can take heart that, by His grace, God continues His good work in us to make us more like Christ and fit us for His glory above, and like the Psalmist we can say, "Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."  (Psalm 73:23-26) Amen.

Deacon Colin Gan


More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Daniel Volvricht. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Phil Surman

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

*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.

*Session thanks the YAF for organising the O-Week stall, the Sparks4Christ & YAF for organising the Welcome Night, & helpers with these activities.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bro Aaron & Sis Monica Tan & Annabelle (USA); Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan (S’pore); Bro John (Adl/Melb) & Sis Josephine Wong & family (Melb); Uncle Wong (Mal); Bros Jonathan Yeo (Syd) & Lucas Yiew (Adl/Tas); Sisters Megan Lim & Christabelle Selvanayagam (Adl); & others who have arrived safely.

2. Sis Felicia Tan’s dad is recovering well from cancer treatment.

3. Church Activities, in the past week.

4. O-Week at Adelaide Uni: helpers & visitors.

5. Sparks4Christ - YAF Welcome night: helpers & visitors.

6. Street Evangelism last Lord’s Day.

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

8. Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items

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 - Bro Thi Chhay & Ministry (Kratie); Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

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 Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma (Zambia); Bro Jonathon Yeo (Adl) & Sis Michelle Lee (Melb); & others who are travelling. 

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12. Full-time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee & 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 for our nation’s leaders.

17. Uni students: for guidance in their studies.



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