Volume. XXXII, No. 7
Sunday, 13 August 2017

How Firm is our Church Foundation? - Part 2

In Part 1, in discussing how we build Build Our Church on the Solid Rock of Christ! Elder Colin Gan exhorts us to be Peacemakers, Be Light to Those Around Us, Do not be Unjustly Angry, and Continue Loving Those Who Hurt Us. To build our church on the solid Rock of Christ, Elder Colin Gan exhorts us further. Do All Things with the Right Motive (Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18) As in one of Pastor's recent sermons, take care with what motives we are serving the Lord. Are we seeking the glory of men or do we serve because we follow the example Christ has set before us (John 13:13-17, Matthew 20:25-28)? If we want to do what is pleasing in God's sight, then serve God faithfully in quietness, not for our own gain, but for the benefit of the Church of God. Remember, we are building God's Kingdom, not our own empires; remember that those who serve for men's glory already receive their reward here on earth (Matthew 6:2), and Jesus' judgement upon them on that Great Day will be, "... I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23). Be Forgiving (Matthew 6:12, 14-15) Forgiveness is one of the hardest thing to do because it strikes at our pride and our perceived rights. It is not just saying, "I forgive you", but it needs to go to the depths of our very being - our thoughts, feelings and emotions. In forgiving, we must think no ill against those who have wronged us and even love them again in spite of the pain and hurt we received. This is not to say that we allow others to take advantage of us, but we can be forgiving even as we are mindful of the person. Even as God does not hold our sins against us when we repent of them in Christ, so we should not continue holding that wrong over the person's head once it has been forgiven. Verses 14-15 tells us that if we do not forgive others, we ourselves will not be forgiven. But apart from scriptural passages telling us that it is God's will for us to forgive one another, it is also God's wisdom that when we truly forgive, we allow ourselves to be set free to be like Christ, to love as God would love, and not be under the bondage of bitterness and vengeance that only eats into our souls. And if forgiving once is hard enough, we know all too well that Jesus calls us to forgive and keep forgiving (Matthew 18:22); let us learn to be a forgiving Church. Seek God First Above All Things (Matthew 6:33) Let not the things of this world occupy our thoughts. This is not to say that we have no need for what is necessary for living, or that these things are not important, but as verse 21 says, "... where your treasure is, there will your heart be also", and in verse 24, "... Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Let us have the right perspective. As Christians, we know that the one who provides all our needs is not the world, but God. If we are occupied by the things of this world in order to provide our needs and wants, then we are essentially saying that we doubt God's promise to care for us. Here God is saying that if we seek after Him and His righteousness, trust Him to provide all our needs. Our wants will be a blessing to us as it becomes aligned to God's will - we will want to serve him, we will want to build His Church, we will want to seek the good of others above ourselves, we will want to be more Christlike, you get the picture. Even so in Church matters, let us seek God first whether things are going well or not, whether things are going according to plan or going awry, when things are happening too fast or not fast enough for our liking, when we are getting along with people or having relationship issues, when we agree or disagree with decisions made, whatever we are doing, let us seek God first. This must be so especially for all those in positions of leadership or responsibility within the Church, but it is equally required of each one of us. Since God is in control of all things, trust Him in whatever situation we face that all is working according to His plan and timing, and not ours. Commit all things to Him in prayer with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7) and He will add what things are needful unto us. In so doing, we not only build up the Church, but ourselves as well, by learning how to trust God more. Avoid Being Judgmental & Hypocritical (Matthew 7:1-5) Let us be clear here that this is not talking about the rational faculty of judgement that God has given to us to judge things in the proper manner, but rather the groundless, rash, harsh, and uncharitable judgement stemming from our evil and ill nature against any person. Let us not set ourselves up to judge others, for has God called us to be a judge of others, or has He called us to esteem others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3)? Neither let us "judge the hearts of others, nor their intentions, for it is God's prerogative to try the heart, and we must not step into his throne; nor must we judge of their eternal state, nor call them hypocrites, reprobates, and castaways; that is stretching beyond our line" (Matthew Henry). Judging others is not a thing to be taken lightly, for by the measure we judge others, we will be judged as well of Christ. Remember that there is not one of us that is righteous for we are all sinners, and when we judge others we become hypocrites for there is sin (and possibly greater sin) in us as well (Romans 2:1). This is why the passage talks about the mote in my brother's eye and the beam in my own eye. So, in the Church, forbear and let us not judge one another, but rather see how we can learn to accept one another with love in Christ, checking ourselves that we too refrain from doing the things that are not right before God. Do Unto Others (Matthew 7:12) This echoes the second greatest commandment, "...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:39), which is why it is the "... sum or substance of the Old Testament ... a summary expression of all that the law [requires]" (Albert Barnes). Many of the things that have been written above in this article will undoubtedly be addressed if we but adopt this attitude in our lives, and the Church will grow in Christ for the motivation for this is God's love manifested in us. In love, it is not burdensome, but if we try to keep this commandment legalistically, it becomes a millstone about our necks. Even as we like to be greeted, respected, served or ministered to, listened to, remembered, invited, visited, and so on, let us first do the same to others in love. If we continue in this good work without fainting, in due season we shall reap the joy of seeing our Church excelling in love and care for one another, which pleases and glorifies God. Where we find it difficult to love others in this way, let us come to God and ask Him to enable us by His grace, for "... how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:11). Follow Rightly (Matthew 7:15-23) Lastly, to build our Church on the Solid Rock, we must all be grounded in the right doctrines. The Word of God is not to be read frivolously, but we must make sure that we know His Word so that we are not led astray by false prophets or corrupt doctrine. To follow rightly is to study the Bible so that we know its Truths, so that we are not led astray. It is right for the Church leadership to correct errors in the Church, but it is equally right that the Church ensures that its leaders faithfully teach and apply the Word of God, for no man is perfect in all his ways. In all this, it must be done with love and compassion that we might admonish one another to good works. Conclusion After reading this article, please forgive me if you find that I have not lived up to all that I have written; I am still a sinner like yourself. But by God's grace, may He place in our hearts the desire to help continue building the foundation of Hope Church on the Solid Rock. Will we put our shoulder to the wheel with fellow servants of God for His glory? No one is able to do all things, but "[God] is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in [all of] us" (Ephesians 3:20). May His grace be upon us all in this matter. Thank you & God bless.

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