Volume. XXVIII, No. 44
Sunday, 04 May 2014


Waiting on God - 1


This year’s church theme is “Wait for God.” A few months ago, I wrote an article about the theme, in which I briefly touched on the meanings of two phrases, “wait for” and “wait on.” If my memory is correct, I said that the Bible translators did not seem to treat them differently but often used them as if they were synonyms. I have been looking through dictionaries and googling to find the exact meanings of both expressions. There are generally two opinions. One, in British English, “wait on” means to attend to or to serve, while “wait for” is to wait for something which is as we commonly use today.  However, in American English “wait on” also means to wait for in some regions. Two, in the previous centuries both phrases meant “to wait for” in both continents but gradually in British English they became to have different meanings. Whichever way English dictionaries define these phrases, I would treat them to mean the same thing in the next few articles for the purpose of expounding the theme of the year in more details. I also will use Andrew Murray’s small booklet “Waiting on God” as the foundation of my talks. Someone in the US who has been praying for me over the years sent me this book in the early part of this year for my devotional reading. It is a really tiny small book but its contents are quite stunning and inspirational. Many parts of my writings will be direct quotations from this booklet.

The first reason that we need to wait on God is because He is the God of our salvation. Psalm 62:1 says, “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.” It is worth noting that the Hebrew word for “wait” literally means to silence, while the Septuagint employs a word, which means “to subject” or “to subordinate.” In waiting upon God, there is no human activity but complete silence in total subjection to God. It tells us an attitude of the people waiting on Him. There is even an emphasis on this point by beginning the verse with “truly,” which also literally means “surely” or “indeed.” Interestingly, when the Septuagint translates the verse, though there is no Hebrew word for “for,” it employs a Greek word meaning “for,” which introduces a reason why we need to wait upon God.  Contextually, the reason for our waiting upon God is that salvation comes from Him. There are many testimonies of God as the only source of salvation.  Jonah 2:9, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” As God is the sole Creator of all things, He is the sole Savior of His people. Therefore, the highest duty and honor of man is to honor and glorify God.  

If a man does not know God, he cannot attain salvation. Jesus utters His high priestly prayer in John 17. He says in verse 3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  The knowledge of God is directly related to our salvation.  It is significant to understand God whom we ought to wait for.  It is not a feeling, religious imagination or even zeal but a solid knowledge of God that will lead us to salvation. We also need to recognize that any defected knowledge of God will lead us to unbiblical god(s) and wrong religions. Any level of defected knowledge of the biblical God has produced a great deal of miseries not only on a spiritual level but also in physical and political arenas. In the spiritual realm, we know that the first few centuries after the birth of the Christian church the whole Christendom suffered because of defected knowledge of God.  For example, the doctrine of Trinity was not well understood. Though Tertullian was the first one to use the term “trinity,” his understanding of the doctrine was deficient. A famous church father, Origen, could not fully comprehend of the relationship between the Father and the Son. He was the one who had put stepping stones for the Arians to develop their false doctrines against the doctrine of Trinity. The Arians are ancestors of modern day Jehovah’s Witnesses and all sects denying the deity of Jesus Christ. Defected knowledge of God is as dangerous as false religions.  

For example, World Magazine reports an article about Uganda, which was its cover story, on its February 8 issue in 2014. At least 15 percent of Ugandans claim their allegiance to Islam.  “From 1971 to 1979 Major General Idi Amin, a Muslim, ruled Uganda: A corrupt dictator, he murdered between 100,000 and 500,000 Ugandans, according to international observers and human-rights groups.” The rest of the countrymen claim their faith in Jesus Christ. Interestingly, “Anglican leader Onesimus Asiimwe notes that two out of three Sunday worshippers are under 25 years of age, and nominal Christians far outnumber mature ones.” Then, we cannot miss his self-assessment of his people, as he stated, “our Christianity lacks depth.”  What did he mean by it?  While the British ruled this country, they brought missionaries but unfortunately materialism, too.  Professing Christians are not well grounded on the Scriptures.  In the meanwhile, Muslims equipped with zeal and enthusiasm based on their works-based religion oppressed others from different faiths including Christians. “Islamists offer dollars and a promised land of dolls to young men willing to give their lives to kill Christians and Jews. Other Muslims purchase wives from nominally Christian Ugandan fathers who are willing – if there’s enough money in it-to have their daughters become Muslims.  Some Ugandans would rather be employed by Muslims than unemployed Christians. A variety of quasi-Christian ministries have fought back by offering their own rewards through a prosperity gospel.  Faith healers have found a market: When Benny Hinn came to Kampala, some Ugandans arrived six hours early to get a place. . . . The Transforming Nations Alliance contends that ‘[Ugandan] Christians are still very shallow in their understanding of Scripture and still have a mindset locked in the animistic worldview that is fatalistic . . . hence the poverty, social instability, domestic violence, and other social problems that bedevil the nation.  The level of corruption is so high that the stability of the nation is seriously threatened.”  

The article continues to say, “South of the Sahara, the number of Muslim adherents has gone from 11 million in 1900 to 234 million in 2010, and the number of those professing Christ during the time period soared from 7 million to 470 million. Yet, TNA reports that ‘while many Sub-Saharan African countries boast of large Christian populations, their impact or influence is hardly seen or noticed in the real world. The Church in these nations has largely lost credibility and is accused of being totally irrelevant in society.’ If those 470 million Christians are educated and energized, they can avoid falling under Muslim enslavement.” I quote from this article not primarily to talk about my concerns over Christians in African continent against Muslim advancement, but to illustrate the overall effect of shallow Christian teachings within Christian communities.

Andrew Murray aptly says, “All that the church and its members need for the manifestation of the mighty power of God in the world is the return to our true place, the place that belongs to us, both in creation and redemption, the place of absolute dependence upon God.” However, a real question we must raise is on how we can do it without having proper knowledge of God of the Bible. Not knowing God means that there is no knowledge of man, either.  If we do not know who we are and who God is, then how can we wait for God?

Lovingly,
Your pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements


Kitchen Roster Leader: Today: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day:  Bro Raphael Ng.
*Greetings & good wishes from Dr SH Tow, Senior Pastor, Calvary Pandan B-P Church, S’pore.
*Ladies’ Fellowship Mother’s Day Lunch is at “Little Canton”, 173 Henley Beach Road, Mile End. Please contact Sis Peng Ha if interested to attend by Tues, 6 May.
*New Sunday School Teachers’ Training  Course starts in June. If Interested, please see Bro Joseph Selvanayagam or Deaconess Purdee Yeo ASAP.
*Greetings card from Bro David & Sis Susan Weng is on the notice board for your perusal.
*There will be no Lord’s Supper today. It will be held next Lord’s Day.
*Please invite your family, relatives & friends to join us in our 28th Anniversary Thanksgiving.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Melb); Bro David & Sis Susan Weng & family (S’pore); Bros Raymond Ang (Adl/Pinnaroo) & Houston Li (Goolwa/Adl); Sis Mary Ting (Syd/Adl); Campers (Adl); & others who have arrived safely at their destinations. 
Church activities in the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.
Thanksgiving: Covenant BPC (Perth) - 4th Anniv on 27 Apr; Evangel BPC (Petaling Jaya) - 8th Anniv today
Korea Missions: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki.

Prayer Items
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.
Special Prayer: Bro YoungSoo Kim & family (S Korea); Sis Queenie Lau.
iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Srun Chivan & Ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry; Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage & kindergarten.
New Life BPC (London) - resident pastor; strength & encouragement for congregation.
Future ministry - God’s provision & guidance for Bro David & Sis Susan Weng. 
Ministry in Ebenezer BPC (May & June): Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe.
Journey mercies: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi & family (Adl); Bro David & Sis Susan Weng & family (Taiwan/Batam); Bros Houston Li (Goolwa/Adl), Raphael Ng (Waikerie/Adl) & Aaron Tan (France); Sisters Queenie Lau, Christabelle Selvanayagam (Adl) & Jun Lin (Melb); & others travelling.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Safe labour & delivery: Sis Kerrie Lam
Health in pregnancy: Sisters May Lau & Tabitha Tan.
God’s guidance & wisdom for those in authority in Australia.
PR application: Bro William Song; Sisters Xiao Hui Chye & Yashu Qin.

 

 

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