Volume. XXXVIII, No. 43
Sunday, 27 April 2014


Get Up And Get Going!


We find in the New Testament at least ten appearances of the risen Jesus. In eight of these appearance accounts, Jesus gives an explicit commission, and in five He commands His followers to go into the world and preach the gospel (Boice, Matthew, 645). It would be significant enough to know that our Lord commanded us to preach the gospel, but to learn that He repeated this command should awaken us to the special significance of this injunction. We should also be struck by the timing of the commission to Go ye into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature”. In Matthew and Mark’s gospel, the commission togoand preachthe gospel is the final instruction Jesus gives before ascending into heaven. This is significant when we consider how much we value the parting words of friends and family members before they pass away. Final wishes expressed by our loved ones compel us in a unique and powerful way. So if the injunctions left by departed family members move us powerfully to comply, how much more should the last desires expressed by our risen Lord move us to obedience.

 

As we look at Mark’s resurrection account, it begins to immediately speak about evangelism. The first words of our risen Lord were not, “Go and preach”— these were His last words. Before He gives this final commission, Jesus says and does certain things in order to get His followers back on track.  Before Jesus gives His final commission, He helps His followers to overcome three prevailing obstacles to evangelism; He helps them to overcome discouragementdoubt, and disobedience.

 

Discouragement

 

We begin with discouragement, something that each of the disciples and friends of Jesus would have shared in common. In order for us to have some appreciation for the discouragement felt by His followers, we need to imagine what it was like for them in the time in between Jesus’ crucifixion and the morning of His resurrection. Their leader had been executed, and their own lives were now in danger. What hope did they have of carrying out the mission of Jesus?

 

There was discouragement surrounding the prospect of continuing the mission, and there was of course, great discouragement in losing a beloved Friend, Jesus. John’s gospel describes how Mary Magdalene stood outside the empty tomb weeping. Not only was Mary grieving the death of a dear Friend, but she imagined that the empty tomb meant that Jesus’ body had been taken away. Mary was not thinking about any Resurrection; she had come to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices (Mark 16:1). It was bad enough that her Friend had been executed, but now even her efforts to anoint Jesus’ body had been frustrated. Mary’s discouragement soon gives way to despair, and she weeps. But then Jesus appears, and greets her (John 20:16). Mary’s faith had waned; hope had given way to discouragement and despair, but that all changed the day she was greeted by the Resurrected Jesus.

 

Discouragement is a debilitating force. And so long as discouragement prevails, followers of Jesus will lack the necessary motivation to carry on the mission. Surely this applies equally to us as well. As individual Christians and as a church, if we are easily discouraged, we will be an ineffective witness for the gospel. For if our unbelieving friends see us in a constant state of frustration, if they regularly see in us discouragement and discontent, how will they ever believe us when we tell them that the Christian Gospel is ‘good news’? Before we can go and share the gospel, we must renew our affection for the Risen Christ; for only those who are in a vibrant relationship with Him will possess the motivation to share the Good News with others.

 

Doubt

 

The second obstacle to sharing one’s faith in Christ is doubt. Basic sales principles apply here. Just as it is difficult to sell a product that you do not believe in, it is difficult to convince others of their need to follow the Risen Christ if you yourself are not convinced of the need to follow Him.

 

John’s gospel records for us the words of a man we have come to know as ‘Doubting Thomas’. Speaking to the other disciples, Thomas declared, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Thankfully, Jesus also appears to Thomas, inviting him to touch His hands and side. Thomas responds to this encounter with the Risen Christ, saying to Him, My Lord and my God! (John 20:28). Thomas is able to overcome his doubt thanks to a face-to-face encounter with Jesus. But what about us? Short of Jesus returning to us in physical form, how are we to overcome our doubts? 

 

We overcome our doubts by studying the Bible. John tells us that it was for this reason that the gospels were written; John writes, “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

 

Most of us Christians regard Easter as a very important day. However, what keeps us from a more regular attendance are the doubts that you harbour about certain elements of the Christian faith. What prevents you from heeding the command of Jesus to “go” and “preach the gospel” are the doubts that you have about whether faith in Christ is required for every person. What remains for you then is a choice. You may choose to simply live with your doubts, which will ultimately hinder your Christian witness. Or you can choose to become a student of the Scriptures, and become like one spoken of by Jesus when He said to Thomas, “because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believe” (John 20:29). It has been recorded that Napoleon often told his troops that the word ‘difficult’ does not belong in their vocabulary. Similarly, the word ‘doubt’ should not belong to the vocabulary of the Christian.

 

Disobedience

For some, discouragement is a barrier for Christian witness; for others it is doubt that hinders, and still for others, it is disobedience that keeps us from heeding the commission of Christ. As we think about those close to Jesus to whom this applies, we immediately think of Peter. John MacArthur refers to Peter as ‘the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth’. Peter seemed to always be saying and doing the wrong thing. Without doubt, Peter’s lowest moment followed shortly after his promise to Jesus to never deny Him (Mark 14:31). Peter did deny Jesus—three times—just as Jesus had predicted.

 

We need to bear in mind Peter’s propensity for doing the opposite of what Jesus required as we reflect on this Resurrection account in Mark 16. Because unless we bear in mind Peter’s recent betrayal, we will miss the full impact of what the angel says to the women who had come to anoint Jesus’ body. What we assume to be an angel, described as a “young man” wearing a “white garment” (Mark 16:5), says to the women, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter…” (Mark 16:6, 7a).

 

Why the special mention of Peter? Why not just say, ‘Go tell the disciples’? Surely this is just like our Lord to single out the person most in need of His grace and mercy. Peter wept following his denial of Jesus (Mark 14:72). He felt terrible. The guilt from his disobedience was weighing heavy on him. Jesus knew this, and so Peter is singled out as a special beneficiary of the Resurrection, “go, tell His disciples and Peter.

 

So what keeps you from following the risen Christ? And what prevents you from sharing the gospel with others? Perhaps our trouble is that we look to the last thing that Jesus said without coming to grips with the first things that Jesus said. For those of you who are discouraged, there is a more pressing imperative for you to heed. Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Mt. 11:28, 29). For those of you who come here this morning as skeptics; for those of you who come here harbouring doubts regarding the Risen Christ, I urge you to study the Scriptures; I implore you, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8).

 

Conclusion

 

There remains a mandate for every Christian; we are commanded to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mk. 16:15). So long as we allow discouragementdoubt, and disobedience to fester, we will likely never heed this command. It is only as forgivenbelieving, and encouraged followers of Jesus will we be sufficiently motivated to share the gospel with others.

                                   

Preacher David Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Bro Edwin D’Mello. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Phil Surman

*Special thanks to Preacher David Weng for his contribution, help, ministry & guidance as Assistant Pastor & Preacher of Hope BPC from Oct 2008 till 30 April 2014.

*Special thanks to Rev Edward Paauwe for the Wed evening classes which finished last Wednesday.

*2014 Family Bible Camp - Debrief Meeting held in the Extended Sanctuary. All who attended are welcome to provide feedback.

*2014 Family Bible Camp Committee would like to thank Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe, Group leaders, Singspiration leaders, Musicians, Choir members, rostered Sunday School teachers, those involved with the various Worship Services, transport providers, & all campers for helping to make the Camp a success.

*Catered Fellowship Lunch: Adult $5, Child under 5 years old: FREE

*New Sunday School Teachers’ Training  Course starts in June. If Interested, please see Bro Joseph Selvanayagam or Deaconess Purdee Yeo ASAP.

 

 Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Canada/USA); Bro Raphael & Sis Bernadette Ng & family (Waikerie/Adl); Bros Raymond Ang (Adl/Pinnaroo) & Houston Li (Goolwa/Adl); Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam (Syd); Campers (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 

2. Family Bible Camp. Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Committee, helpers & campers. Good weather & God’s blessings on campers.

3. Church activities in the past week.

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

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

6. BPCWA - 28th Anniv Thanksgiving last Lord’s Day.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore); Sisters Nita Chong’s cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo), Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Ruth Ngoma, Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai) & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Kim family (S Korea)

3. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

4. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry; Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh).

5. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage & kindergarten.

6. New Life BPC (London) - resident pastor; strength & encouragement for congregation.

7. Future ministry - God’s provision & guidance for Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng. 

8. Korea Missions: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Mar-Apr) - health, strength & wisdom.

9. Ministry in Ebenezer BPC (May & June): Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe.

10. Journey mercies: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Melb); Pr David & Sis Susan Weng & family (S’pore/Taiwan/Batam); Bros Houston Li (Goolwa/Adl) & Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl) & others travelling.

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12. Safe labour & delivery: Sis Kerrie Lam

13. Health in pregnancy: Sisters May Lau & Tabitha Tan.

14. God’s guidance & wisdom for those in authority in Australia.

15. PR application: Bro William Song; Sisters Xiao Hui Chye & Yashu Qin.

 

 

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