Volume. XXIX, No. 48
Sunday, 31 May 2015


From the pastors heart: Reflections on our 29th anniversary day


 

As I am sitting in my office and thinking about our church’s past, present, and future, there are a large volume of thoughts passing through my mind.  Hope Church is celebrating her 29th birthday today.  She has passed her childhood and adolescent age and is now fully grown up, ladylike, waiting for the coming of her bride, Jesus the Lord.  Thank the Lord for His unspeakable grace, mercy, patience, kindness, and love toward her church for the last twenty-nine years.  Thank Him also for many same minded churches and individuals making contributions to establish this church through their prayers and offerings.  Thank the Lord for faithful men and women who have served Him faithfully over the years in Hope Church.  Some of them are already in glory, while the rest of us are waiting for our blessed moments.  Thank Him for the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions through which many churches and individuals have made their contributions toward Hope Church up until the recent time.  This mission board appointed Rev. and Mrs. Paauwe to pioneer the church planting work in Adelaide.  And also late Rev. Dr. Timothy Tow and his faithful co-workers offered their kind hands and hearts to assist the young church to secure her worship place, affectionately known as the Stone Mansion.  Many pastors and church leaders came to minister to the Hopefuls over the years.  The Hopefuls are grateful for their love and friendship.

 

This year’s anniversary has a special meaning.  It is because the congregation finally decided to do something that they have been thinking about for some time.  They decided to move to a different place by selling the current worship place.  If anyone is sentimental, then he/she must be sad because the Stone Mansion was already sold, and the church is expected to vacate this place latest by October.  However, there are more reasons for all of us to rejoice in the Lord.  The foremost reason to rejoice is the very reason why the church has to move to a different place.  The Lord has increased the number of worshippers in Hope Church, and the Stone Mansion is not able to meet the current needs of her various ministries.  The Session and the congregation have felt that the church needed a more suitable place in terms of the size of the sanctuary and other needs.  All of us should give thanks to the Lord for His abundant blessings upon His church.  Personally I am very grateful to faithful men and women in church.  They have given their time and efforts for the growth and unity of the church.  The Session has been working tirelessly to ensure that Hope Church keeps an uncompromised stand on her beliefs and practices.  Leaders from various fellowship groups have proven themselves as the Lord’s humble servants.  Now all of us ought to pray hard in order to find a new place where we will continue to build our church for succeeding generations.  As I am thinking of all these matters in my heart, one particular thought of Christ’s church stood out.  1 Corinthians 6:15 says, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.”  As we know, Jesus came in the flesh.  Christianity is a religion that takes bodily existence with all seriousness.  Paul asked the Corinthian believers in the quoted verse, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?

 

I think that his question is both interesting and serious.  Paul says that the believers’ bodies are the members of Christ.  Are you surprised?  I am not saying that the believers’ souls are not the members of Christ, but that their bodies are the members of Christ.  I am sure that our souls are united to Christ by faith.  However, Paul’s point is not about souls here but bodies, yes, he meant physical bodies.  I have seen and met many professing Christians who are with Christ in spirit but not in body.  They seem to profess all the right confessions of faith according to the Scriptures, but they do not live up to their confessions.  Or, they seem to be with fellow believers in spirit but not in bodies.  It is clearly shown in Christian services.  Not all Christians are serving the Lord together with other believers in church ministries.  Somehow some people exempt themselves from serving the Lord in their bodies.  They use their bodies only to serve their own things but not things of the Lord.  It seems that the Corinthian believers were like that.  Paul with amazement raised them a question for answer, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?  He says in 1 Corinthians 6:13, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”  Doesn’t it say that the body is for the Lord?  It means that in  normal Christian life and faith practice, Christians must serve the Lord not only in spirit but also with their bodies!  Matthew Henry has something to say about 6:15: “If the soul be united to Christ by faith, the whole man is become a member of his mystical body.  The body is in union with Christ as well as the soul.  How honourable is this to the Christian!  His very flesh is a part of the mystical body of Christ.”  Paul seals his exhortations to the Corinthian believers about the importance of their bodies in 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”  Somehow, many professing Christians practice their Christian faith only in part.  They glory the Lord in spirit, but their bodies are not involved in God-worship and His services.  Many professing believers prefer visitors’ status to active participants in church ministries.  They rejoice in worship, and when it comes down to the matters of fellowship and services, they leave all the work with other people. If we want to check us out to see if we are serving the Lord in our bodies, we may need to examine two particular areas of our life: (1) sanctification: are we keeping ourselves in purity (not only in heart but also in body), and (2) Christian services in our bodies in our local churches.  The local churches make up the body of Christ.  Are we a part of the body of Christ, not only in spirit but also in body?

 

Some professing Christians have misunderstood their religion quite badly.  Mark Noll used a term, “democratic individualism” in his book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.  Many years ago, I had a time to minister to a small local congregation in America.  During the annual congregational meeting, the members of the church permitted non-members to be present as observers.  There were a few important issues to be voted.  One non-member was not happy that she was not allowed to vote for those issues.  Her argument was that she was a US citizen and even able to vote for her president, so why she was not allowed to vote in a church in the land of her own country?  She said that it was not democratic.  With reverse thinking, there are lots of professing Christians who think that they can do whatever they want and like to do in church, because they believe in democracy.  Even church politics are flourishing in some very unfortunate churches, because of their understanding or misunderstanding of democracy in the Lord’s business.  In addition to this problem, lots of professing Christians are holding on to an idea of individualism.  They believe in and follow Jesus Christ just for themselves and their interests.  They are not interested in the body of Christ.  They don’t care.  They do not care about other members of the same body.  They have forgotten or ignored that all believers are members of one body, and that they are inter-connected and inter-related.  Such a strange idea may have come from a wonderful teaching that they were saved through their personal relationship and personal faith in Jesus Christ.  It is true that we are not saved as a community or group.  We are not saved because we belong to such and such entities.  Salvation is attained individually, when we are regenerated and born again individually.  However, what we must know and understand is that we become belonged to one body when we are saved.  We are not alone any more, but a part of one body.  We, believers of Jesus Christ, are members of the same body.  It means that individualism should not take the dominant place in our churches.  We are different, but we are to be united when we come to the Lord and His kingdom.  As we celebrate our 29th anniversary, let us look inside of our faith and examine our thoughts and practices to see whether we have lived as members of one body or not.  As we pray for our relocation, so must our hearts and bodies be united in the Lord by the Spirit of God for His glory and His church.  May the Lord bless us as a church according to His might!

 

With lots of praises,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro William Song. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Boong Atijatuporn.

*Warm Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Tracy Minnick.

*Congratulations & Greetings to Hope BPC received from Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Ps David Weng (Providence BPC); Pr Hai Seng Lim (Melb); Bros David Chua (KL) & Charles Tan (Sg); Sisters Hong Phin Beh, Iris Surman, Yu Yuet Teng (KL) & Heng Yee Cheah (Sg).

*All kitchen cleaning roster volunteers, please meet in the Extended Sanctuary for a brief meeting after service.

*Ladies Fellowship on Sat, 13 June at 2 pm will be a cooking demonstration (dessert) by Sisters Jasmine Tanuwijaya & Mira Herliani, students from Le Cordon Bleu Australia.

*From tomorrow, Bro Joseph Selvanayagam steps down as our Sunday School Superintendent, and the new Superintendent is Bro John Wong.

*Rev Alfred Ngoma will be the Sunday School Supervisory Pastor from tomorrow.

 Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to the hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

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

5. Covenant BPC (Perth) - 5th Anniversary.

6. Evangel BPC (KL) - 9th Anniversary.

7. New Life BPC (London) - 19th Anniversary.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Please refer to the hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Mrs Janet Jara (Chile); Mrs Pat Johnson (W Virgina); Grace Ma (illness).

3. God’s healing: Sis Wol Hee Kim & DaHee (S Korea). 

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne & preparation for missions work in South East Asia (June).

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

6. New Life BPC (London) - God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.

7. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

8. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

9. Journey mercies: Please refer to the hard copy of Lively Hope.

10. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Julie Tan’s daughter (Katrina), Mag Kim (UK) & Josephine Wong.

11. Final weeks of pregnancy: Sis Emily Zheng - for safe delivery of baby.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

14. Persecuted believers in Islamic & communist countries. This week: Bangladesh & Pakistan; North Korea

15. Protection & Preservation of Israel. Salvation of Jews.

16. God’s guidance: Sale of The Stone Mansion & future purchase of property for church.

17. Australia: God’s wisdom for our political leaders. People to repent and to turn to God.

18. Bundaberg, Qld: Sis Wendy Liang

19. Next Lord’s Day: Installation - Rev Alfred Ngoma as Sunday School Supervisory Pastor; Bro John Wong - Sunday School Superintendent.

 

 

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