Volume. XXVII, No. 48
Sunday, 26 May 2013


Be Ye Likeminded


Today we celebrate our 27th Anniversary as a local branch of the Body of Christ. As a church we have grown not only numerically, but we have also grown spiritually. Over the years, many have testified of a better understanding and obedience to the Word of God, thanks to the servants of God whom He has called such as Rev Edward Paauwe and Rev Okman Ki. We also thank God for others who have spoken to us and deepened our faith and love for the Lord. We also treasure the fellowship that we have had with all Bible believing churches, and we hope to continue to strengthen our ties with these churches as Paul urged his readers, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil 2:2). But, what exactly does it mean to be likeminded, or to have one mind? It seems that many Christian Churches interpreted and applied this verse, either rightly or wrongly, as a common ground for fellowship with other churches. If we read the context of Philippians 2 carefully, such likemindedness is founded on the mind of Christ (Phil 2:2b,5) and the mind of Christ is encapsulated in His divine love and humility. For without such, unity amongst the Christians is impossible to achieve. So, what does it mean to be likeminded? Let us examine some of the passages of the Scriptures to draw light on its meaning.   


Love in Communication

The apostle Paul says: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor 15:33). Love in communication demands that we speak to those whom with we disagree, with patience and meekness, being swift to hear and slow to speak. Raising our voice in conversation never helps resolve disagreements, but rather aggravates them. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger,” says Solomon (Prov 15:1). Those of us who are naturally disposed to have a quick temper or are often tempted to be impatient must especially take heed to this exhortation that we are to dwell peaceably in the midst of brethren with differing opinions. Let us remember that charity or love “doth not behave itself unseemly [inappropriately]” (1 Cor 13:5). It means love is not arrogantly conceited and inflated with pride. Love is not rude or unmannerly and does not act unbecomingly. That is to say: Christian love cannot be found only in the heart. It must be demonstrated in words and deeds. The Apostle Paul is saying someone who speaks harshly against another is being unloving towards him no matter what he claims his motive to be.

Love in Judgement

Love in judgement is the exercise of judging the motives or intentions of others as lovingly as possible. God has not commanded us to judge people’s motives and those who often do fall into the same sin as the Pharisees. Judging other people lovingly is to seek to put forth the best interpretation possible for the words and actions of our brother that will cast him in the best light. This we must practise with one another so that we are slow to condemn what is done and said by our brethren. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt 7:2). This must be practised by the church leaders when interviewing members, especially when discipline is involved. We must, for example, be very reluctant to conclude that a brother or sister has deliberately committed some sin which requires correction. But the same love in judgement must also be practised by members towards the church leaders when they cannot agree with their decisions and policies. Bear in mind, for example, that in general many months of prayer and consideration and a lot of private admonishment and persuasion would have been exercised by the church leaders before they are compelled to take the next step in church discipline.

Love of Oversight

I am referring to ‘oversight’ not as in the rule of the elders over the flock, but as in the overlooking of faults. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” says the apostle Peter (1 Pet 4:8). Not only must we exercise love of judgement in regard to our brethren’s intention, we must so exercise love that we seek to overlook faults and trespasses against us. We are, of course, required to admonish one another in love (Eph 4:15) and to restore the one who has been overtaken in a fault (Gal 6:1), but we must not hold the mistaken idea that we should admonish one another over everything we do not agree with or that displeases us according to our philosophy. We should rather seek to overlook all minor faults and irritations. Let us learn to ask ourselves: “Is it worth it to bring this up? Does it really matter? Will the cause of Christ be served by my seeking to correct my brother or sister in the matter? Do I really need redress over this matter?” To this, the apostle Paul asks the Corinthians, who had sought redress for the wrong against them through the civil courts: “Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (1 Cor 6:7).


Love Towards Honour

The apostle Paul teaches us to prefer one another in honour (Rom 12:9-10). What does it actually mean? Love towards one another’s name or honour involves a refusal to gossip about another person’s fault. One who gossips is said to be an unfaithful individual and thus destroys another’s reputation. The Bible says, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (Prov 11:13) and “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Prov 18:8). In order to build an atmosphere of love in a Christian church rather than suspicion one towards another, it is essential that we strenuously resist the temptation to talk about one anyone’s fault behind his or her back. Such practice, if not corrected, will bring potential strife and contention amongst God’s people. “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Prov 26:20). If there is something which we say about someone else for which we would feel embarrassed if the person comes to know we have spoken about him, we should probably not say it. If we can’t say something good about our brother or sister, it is better not to say anything lest we are overtaken in a fault. For, in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Prov 10:19) If we have to tell the person whom we are speaking to that he or she must not go back to the person to tell him what we said, it would be best not to say anything at all, or we will be sowing discord amongst the brethren whether we intend to or not.


Love in Truth

Charity or love “rejoiceth in the truth” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:6. Amongst other things this means that brethren who love one another often find their greatest joy in knowing that they are likeminded in the truth, not in contentious or debatable issues. Some Christians think that if you disagree with him in certain controversial issues, then he can no longer fellowship with you. This is totally not what the Bible is saying about likemindeness. For, there is nothing loving or humble about it. Since Christian love is centred on Christ our chief joy, it is natural that we find ourselves unable to love those who do not love Christ to the same degree that we would love the brethren. In fact, a benevolent love for the unconverted would compel us to seek to bring the truth of the Gospel to them. However, it must be confessed that very often many Christians would bicker with one another and fail to act lovingly towards one another because of differing convictions and opinions on certain theological or doctrinal controversies, which in my personal opinion, should be confined for debates and discussions within Bible Colleges and Seminary settings.


What shall we do about such differences? Well, the first thing we should do, I believe is to make use of our Confession of Faith as a tool of unity. The Westminster Confession of Faith, the subordinate standard of our all beliefs and practices, contains the most accurate interpretation of Scriptures. I believe we can safely confess together the doctrine in it. But what about areas not covered or explicitly explained in the Confession? Well, in these areas, it is essential for us to respect one another’s viewpoints and seek to interact with one another as lovingly and humbly as possible. We should not condemn one another’s views in those areas that are outside our Confession of Faith. We must not try to aggressively compel others to take our position, nor should we indeed emphasise on our differences which may be considered as non-essential, such as Eschatology. Love rejoicing in the truth does not mean that where truth is at stake, charity may be abandoned. And, contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints certainly does not mean picking up a fight with someone who does not agree with us in a spirit of militancy and aggressiveness. Such attitude will only be seen as an expression of our pride and arrogance, which we are all tempted to commit. Rather, it means that we should focus on the truth we have already attained together (Phil 3:16) and defend it in meekness and fear (1 Pet 3:15).


Conclusion


Charity never fails. As we mature as a church of the Lord Jesus Christ, I believe nothing is more needful than learning to dwell together in Christ’s love. I believe that if we would learn to exercise love towards one another at least in the areas listed above, we shall more and more enjoy a foretaste of the blessed fellowship that awaits us in eternity in the presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May God help us as we look forward to His imminent return!

 

Pastor David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

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

*Special Welcome to our guest speaker: Rev Edward Paauwe.

*As announced last Lord’s Day, Ps Weng will not stand as a candidate at the next Session Election.

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

*YAFers: please note there will be no YAF this Friday, 31 May.

*Catered fellowship lunch today is FREE.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Elder Michael D Lee; Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & family (Melb); Bros Raymond Ang (S’pore), Raphael Ng (Barossa/Adl) & Houston Li (Adl); Sisters  Felicia Tan (Adl), Gillian Ong (Lond/Italy), Serene Wong (Lond) & Sharon Ying (Per); & others who are travelling. 

2. God’s richest blessings & guidance on Hope BPC in the last 27 years.

3. New Life B-P Church, London - 17th Anniversary Thanksgiving today.

4. Church Activities, in the past week. 

5. Volunteers at Working Bee yesterday.

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

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 Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki (UK); Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi (Nursing Home) & Audrey Yeo; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Pong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Bro Chanthon & Sis Siang Lai  & Ministry (Siem Reap).

3. Kenya Missions: Deaconess Purdee Yeo & Sis Sarah Carpenter.

4. Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki.

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

6. Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & missionaries.

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

8. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for ordination; commissioning today as missionary pastor at Ebenezer BPC - Pr HS Lim  (Melb, Vic).

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

10. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (S’pore); Elder Michael D Lee (Adl); Bro Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family (Barossa/Adl); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (Europe/Adl); Sis Lee Lan Chong (Adl); & others who are travelling. 

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12. Full-time Job - Bro Timothy Ngoma; Sisters Felicia Tan, Corinne Teng & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.

13. Australian Visas - Sisters Clara Sim, Felicia Tan (work) & Sharon Ying (PR)

14. God’s guidance - future of Hope BPC

15. Holy Matrimony - Sis Heng Yee Cheah (to Bro Chang Loong in S’pore) on 1 June.

16. Ministry in Singapore: Rev Edward & Mrs Lehia Paauwe.

 

 

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