Volume. XXXI, No. 6
Sunday, 21 August 2016


From the Pastors Heart: The Gospel, the Hope of Mankind (14)


In the previous article, we considered that God is sovereign and man must be faithful to Him and His work.  Both thoughts are important for us to understand the role of the message of Christ to change the world and its culture. 

 

All truth is God’s truth.

Today, we need to begin with a delicate thought of the relationship between the knowledge and scholarship of the world and the Christian truth.  Many people have an idea that they contradict to each other.  If a Christian holds unto such a view, then he will do his very best to run away from any knowledge but the knowledge he has gained from the church.  If a non-Christian holds the view, then he will despise the Church and all Christian messages.  However, there is one fallacy in this way of thinking.  It is because all truth must be God’s truth.  Otherwise, where can we find truth?  God’s “knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain . . .” (Westminster Confession of Faith 2.2).  Therefore, it is unthinkable that any truth is unknown to God, and Christian truth has limits and weaknesses.  The God of truth is the origin and source of all truths.  Man has discovered, appreciated, and understood them over the years.  Of course, Man has rejected and refused that all truths belong to God.  However, his objections cannot be properly justified, because he is only a man with limits and imperfections. Unless man claims his knowledge to be perfect, he knows that his objections to God’s truth have their inherent weaknesses.

 

On the other hand, even if a man sees and knows that all truths are God’s truths, problems do not go away.  It is because he also has his own limits as a human being who has a corrupt old nature and powerful influence of the original sin.  He is also susceptible to human errors, unintended consequences of his weak nature, and natural inclinations to sin.  Most of all, there is an undeniable truth that God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts, and God’s ways are not the same way as man’s ways.  Thus, though man knows and deals with the truths of God, he is still susceptible to misunderstand them and to make wrong conclusions.  It is not a problem with the truth of God but with the fathomless limits of man.  If I borrow an expression from 1 Corinthians 13, man sees through a glass, darkly or dimly now on this side of life.  Man sees only in part now.  What I am saying is that it is not possible for us to fathom the knowledge and mystery of God to the extent of perfection.  It gives us ample room not to know the fullest truth of God and not to understand the truth of God as God sees it.  Therefore, we cannot deny a reality that we are prone to make errors, though we have the truths of God both in Christian Church and in secular scholarship.  This reality must make us humble.  It is the foolishness of man that claims the knowledge of truth apart from God.  It is also the foolishness of man that claims the perfection of the knowledge of God’s truth in this side of life. 

 

The proposition that all truths are God’s truth prepares and motivates us to pursue His truth in two ways.  (1) Faith in God and dependence on Him cannot be overly emphasized.  It is because God is sovereign and His ways are mysterious to us.  Apart from our humble submission to Him and sincere desire to receive help from His Spirit, we will never be able to know and understand His truth clearly.  The more we desire to know the truth, the more we should desire to have an intimate and personal relationship with God.  (2) An eager pursuit to gain knowledge is also required.  The universe is a creation by God.  Everything in it is also His creation.  Therefore, finding and discovering the unknown things from God’s creation is a good way to understand the truth of God.  Christian spirituality does not praise ignorance of man.  Pursuing knowledge requires exercise of our minds.  We get ideas from our minds by thinking.  For almost a year, we studied about how ideas and thoughts have changed the world.  As Blaise Pascal said in his Pensees, man is a fragile being like a reed, but he is a “thinking reed.”  I am not praising ideas or thoughts as the champions of our existence.  However, I cannot deny its importance.  For example, when God saw mankind and said in Genesis 6:5, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  Unregenerated mind brings forth evil imaginations continually.  Our sanctified mind by the help of the Spirit of God must be properly used and exercised.  Careful observations in nature (universe, human bodies, animals and plants . . .) and labs, careful examinations of history and historical sites, or careful studies of the human mind and behaviors could be good means to know the truth of God.  We must remember that the fathers of many areas of science were sincere Christians.  It is sad to see that the world sees Bible believing evangelical Christians as an ignorant bunch. 

 

The Holy Spirit – the power of the Gospel

We admit that there are formidable foes of the Gospel in the world.  They contribute to the frequent defeats experienced by the believers of the Gospel.  However, there are two reasons we must not be disheartened. 

 

(1) Apparent defeats of the believers in the world are not necessarily meant to be defeats.  It is because of one simple reason.  The thoughts of God are different from the thoughts of man.  Thus, there are conflicts between these two thoughts.  There are heavenly principles that irk the minds of the world.  Thus, the latter refuses to take the former, which is seen as a defeat of the former.  However, the rejection of the world is only a sign that the heaven is not the same as the world and there are differences between God’s principles and the offers of the world.  Therefore, there is no reason for us to be discouraged when we see the clashes between the two principles.  Rather, it must clarify the truth we must follow. 


(2) The book of Acts has been known as the book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit.  It is true that the book is full of stories of events after events happened to the apostles.  Nonetheless, it is not too hard to find that these events are not of men but of God.  For example, Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  All the works and messages of the apostles were the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit.  Without the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples, there was no book of Acts.  The Spirit of God manifested Himself at Pentecost.  Philip was led by the Spirit of God and taught an Ethiopian eunuch.  Paul’s supernatural ministries were also the fruits of the Spirit of God from Jerusalem to Asia Minor both on the land and in the sea.  It was the Spirit of God who broke the barriers between the Jews and the Gentiles in Christ.  It was the Holy Spirit who used Paul and Barnabas to turn the world upside down.  Yes, we admit that we are weak, and the world is strong.  But, we need to recognize that there was no time when the world was weaker than man.  Apostles themselves lived in strong oppositions of their Gospel and were persecuted and jailed.  But by the Spirit of God they were able to fulfill the missions committed to them.  One weakness of many evangelical Christians is that they have neglected the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  They try to figure out everything by themselves.  It is no wonder that Western churches are on the decline.  The power of the Gospel lies in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bro Benjamin Wong; Sisters Amy Han & Bernadette Ng. Helpers next week: Bros Daniel Ki & Daniel Volvricht; Sis Clara Ki.  
*Congratulations to the new (8th) Session. Ordination of new Deacons & Installation next Lord’s Day.
*8th Session Members: Pastor Timothy Ki; Elders Michael Lee & David Yeo; Deacons Colin Gan & Wai Kin Wong; & Bros Boong Atijatuporn, Sung Hyun Ma, Raphael Ng, Aaron Tan & John Wong.
*Special thanks to Deaconesses Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo who served with distinction in the 6th & 7th Sessions.
*Providence B-P Church celebrates her 2nd Anniversary Thanksgiving next Lord’s Day at 3pm. Anyone wishing to attend & encourage the congregation there is welcome to go.  
*No Adult Sunday School, Ladies’ Bible Study & Wed Bible Study next week.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the  past week.
ACM & Session Election yesterday.
Safe delivery of Bro Barry & Sis Juanita Palm’s baby girl, Gabrielle Amaris.
Working Bees in the last 2 weeks.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore) & Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; & others in affliction.
God’s comfort for Bro Edwin D’Mello & family.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Cambodia Missions:
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for congregation.
Future ministry at Hope BPC: Bro Kevin Low & family.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.
Journey mercies: all others who are travelling
Safety in final weeks of pregnancy: Sisters Maritas Mangco (HoH, Cebu) & Emily Zhang.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
God’s guidance for settlement of new church property.

 

 

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