Volume. XIX, No. 39
Sunday, 10 April 2005

Striving Together

My Dear Readers,

I have been told repeatedly by many who claimed to be believers that there is no need to regularly attend The Lord’s Day Worship Services and other church activities such as Bible study, and fellowship meetings. They say that God is omnipresent, and so they can worship or pray to God anywhere. God is indeed omnipresent, meaning; He is present everywhere, and at the same time! “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD” (Jer 23:24). God’s presence is everywhere, not only in heaven but in hell also! “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Psalm 139: 8). 

They also believe that there is nothing in God’s Word to command them to regularly worship together and to fellowship with one another. Then, how is it that they make sure they attend to their professional or work requirements by going to regular update or training courses, continuing education seminars, meetings and conferences, to collect their “professional points”? Ah, they will say that they have to do them because they need to improve their knowledge and skills, and more importantly, it is a legal or professional requirement. In fact, God’s Word does say that there is a requirement for His people to worship Him regularly and for His people to fellowship with one another. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25).

We are commanded NOT to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together”. Forsake means “to abandon, desert, disown or renounce”. We are commanded to regularly come to worship and fellowship together. When do we come together? We come together every Lord’s Day to worship God. We also come together in Bible study groups, and other organised fellowship activities – why? To fulfil our requirement as a sinner saved by grace, and to exhort one another. “Exhort” means “to encourage, urge or help”. Encouragement is vital! With all the problems we are facing today – persecution, secular temptations, family and relationship commitments and problems, study demands, work and business pressures, litigious society, etc – we have to help one another with comfort, strength, encouragement and building of our faith in Christ Jesus. We have to exhort each other now and not when problems arise.

Apart from the command of God, there are many other reasons why we should regularly attend church services and activities. Due to space limitation, I will only give two reasons. One of them is to know more about the Word of God: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). How else do we know the (correct) doctrines of God? How are we to know that a preacher is teaching the truth? How are we going to defend our faith when we are challenged? “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Pet 3:15). The only way to know and discern the truth, and always ready to defend our faith is to study God’s Word.

The other reason is to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet 3:18a). After we received Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we cannot just stop there. We cannot remain as baby believers. Do we feed our children milk only even when they are adults? Of course, not. We have to grow spiritually and to apply our knowledge in our lives. When we come together, we pray together to praise God, and seek petitions for others and ourselves. We share our experience, joy, sadness, grief, suffering and burden, and learn how to apply our doctrinal knowledge into practice. As we grow in our faith we learn what it means by one of God’s injunctions through the Apostle Paul, these words: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14). We are in the world but not of it. We are called out, to be separated, from this world. When we are busy with our lives we must put God first, because the Bible says that“ ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Pet 2:9). We are God’s Chosen through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, and thus we must have a proper perspective of our lives in this world as we now belong to Him and Him alone. God must be in every part of our life – at work, study and recreation. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Let us therefore worship God every Lord’s Day “in spirit and in truth” (Jn 4:24), study His Word, and fellowship with one another. Let us be true believers and be a good testimony for our Lord Jesus Christ (Rev 19:10).

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Heb 10:24). God commands us also to consider with utmost care our relationship with other brothers and sisters in Christ, and in whatever we do, we are NOT to do it with or through discord, conflict or rivalry. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (Jas 2:17). Our faith must be confirmed by our proper and appropriate attitude, behaviour, and practice. We must do all things for the glory of God rather for our own “vainglory”, our arrogant pride. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Phil 2:3). Humility is so hard to achieve. It so easy to criticise and look at others’ bad points, but hard to say good things about others, particularly to people who have mistreated or maligned us. When we point at others’ faults we use our index or fore finger, but the other three fingers are pointing straight back at us, and the thumb is pointing down (hell)! “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Luke 6:41). Beware! How do we humble ourselves? How do we “provoke” one another to “love” and to “good works”? It is all too hard, it seems. But, by the grace of God, we can do it! “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2 Cor 9:8). “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet 5:10). It is by the grace of God that we can do what the world cannot understand or condone or considered as foolishness. So, let us “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Phil 2:4-5). If we are Christ’s chosen let us therefore have the mind of Christ. Let us follow in Christ’s footsteps, keep thinking deeply on and of Christ, and stay focus on Him. Allow that thought of Christ to dominate and control our lives that we may NOT insist on our own merits, defend our rights and privileges, promote our own self-interest, and live covetously and selfishly for our selves. I know it is not an easy task. Only then shall we maintain unity amongst ourselves! Amen.

Your Co-Labourer in Christ, Elder Michael D Lee.

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 97: What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s supper? It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgement to themselves.

Please pray for healing for Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements; Bros Sung Sub Chung, John Tann & Kevin Tye; Sisters Myung Ki, Michiko Law, Luan Price, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Varadi, Melissa Wong & Angie Yuen.“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Please pray for - Journey Mercies - Dn David Yeo (S’pore), Mdm Winifred Chin (KL), Bro Bob Chen (Syd), & Bro You Wen Yiep (Melb); Cambodia Missions: Reverends Choi, Hahn and Koo; Bro Hai Seng Lim - Sketch & Tell ministry in Singapore; Provision of job for Bro Simon Yeo; Expectant mothers - Sisters Sherrin, Michiko, and Katie.

Praise and thank God for - Blessed Ladies Fellowship, YAF & AFG meetings; Journey mercies granted to Bro Winston and Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam (Syd), Bro Simon Yeo (Melb), Sis Catherine Teng & Miss Lin Poh (Adl).
Chinese RPGs are available on the literature table. Donation: $1 per copy.

YAF Event - 29 April: Dinner/BBQ at the Stone Mansion to show our appreciation to all members who have provided transport for the YAF group.

Looking Ahead: Church’s 19th Anniversary Service on 1 May. Speaker: Rev John McKenzie. Please invite your family and friends to praise God with us.

Please note: All mothers are advised not to bring food for fellowship lunch on 8 May. The YAF will organise a cooking day on 7 May. All others please help if able to.

Looking Ahead: 15 May: Baptism, Confirmation & Transfer of Membership. Those interested, please speak to Ps Ki ASAP.

Looking Ahead: Monday 16 May: Sunday School Outing at St Kilda’s Park.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041