Volume. XXXii, No. 28
Sunday, 07 January 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: Take Heed…

A new year dawns and we are moving forward to the heavenly kingdom patiently and faithfully. Having pondered on the theme for this year for a few months, I felt that my main focus this year must be given to strengthen the foundation we have in order to build a stronger and healthier community of God’s people, which is the House of God. I could not see any better passage than 1 Timothy 4:16 for such a theme: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” The lessons we may glean from this verse is fit for me personally and for the church corporately. By the end of this coming February, my 19th year of service at Hope Church is completed, and the 20th year begins. As I am looking back and forward for the church, I am anxious to prepare you, a church, to stand firmly for the day when I am not here anymore. Such anxious thoughts raised a question in my mind, whether my beloved church families have a solid foundation for their faith and Christian living. This question also compelled me to review our foundation and to clarify it for everyone to clearly understand what we believe.

We cannot build a house without a foundation, and likewise our church must have a proper foundation on which it can be built. (1) The builders laid a foundation in order to build the temple of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 3:10-11). It was a significant event that brought the whole ministerial team, priests and Levites, to praise and thank the Lord. (2) There is a wrong foundation that should never be laid. A good illustration comes from the city of Jericho. Once after it was destroyed, a curse was pronounced upon anyone who would lay its foundation again (Joshua 6:26). (3) There is a weak and defective foundation which is prone to destruction (Job 4:19; 22:16). Luke 6:48-49 is a good example. “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (4) The most significant foundation the church of God must have is none other than Christ, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The church must be built on this foundation, without which there is no true church. (5) The church of Christ is also a foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). It refers to the revelation they had declared, revealed, and written, which is the Bible. It means that Hope church cannot be built apart from the Bible. (6) Lastly, Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” There are two things we may consider from the verse. One, we must have a good and solid foundation. Then, we should move on to build a building on it. We should not stay on the foundation only without building on it. Two, foundation refers to principles too. Metaphorically, the Greek word for foundation (themelios) means beginnings of first principles. According to the Hebrew passage, it may refer to the doctrine of Christ and other fundamental doctrines including repentance and faith. (7) In summary, our church must have the foundation of Christ. This foundation also includes revelations, the Bible, which is His witness. Church ought to have principles of Biblical truths, which is a part of the foundation, too.

Then, what?
1 Timothy 4:16 illustrates the theme of this year well: “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” First, the overall exhortation is “Take heed.” Its Greek word (epecho) means (1) to have or hold upon, apply, to observe, attend to, which also means “to give attention to,” (2) to hold towards, hold forth, present, and (3) to check. There versions translate the word as “keep a close watch” (ESV), “pay close attention to” (NAS), or “watch…closely (NIV). We must know that the word is in the active tense and imperative mood. It simply means that “take heed” is a constant command, and we must obey. It is our duty to take heed or watch out constantly. In order to keep our foundation solid, we should take heed to…

Second, there are two things or spheres that we may take heed: ourselves and Biblical teachings. Because 1 Timothy is a part of the Pastoral Epistles, Richard Baxter applied it to the pastors as following: “The pastor who takes heed to himself, must take heed that the work of grace be truly accomplished in him; that he grow more and more in it; that his conduct do not stand opposed to his doctrine; that he do not live in any sin which he condemns in another; that none of the qualities requisite for his office be lacking in him. Whoso has to care for his flock, must give heed that no other than pure doctrine is preached.” (1) To take heed to ourselves comes first in order. We are quick to judge others, while we are blind to our wrongs or intentionally ignore them. Psalm 26:2, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2) To take heed to doctrines is important. Doctrines or teachings of the Bible are the essence or contents of our faith. They are important because they define our faith. What we believe is the definition of our faith. This doctrinal or biblical knowledge feeds our faith, on which basis we live and behave. If we have wrong doctrinal knowledge or lack of it, then our faith will be misled. Right doctrinal and biblical knowledge will lead us to moral excellency and pure faith. Thus, we should take heed to our own private lives and knowledge we have concerning God and His Word.

Third, there is a time factor in relation to “take heed…” How long should we do it? Paul says, “continue in them.” The ESV says, “persist in this,” and the NAS, “persevere in these things.” We do not have any difficulty to identify “them.” We look into the word for “continue.” Its Greek word is “epimeno,” which means “to stay at or with, to tarry still, still to abide, to remain, to persevere, or to continue.” It denotes the action persisted in. This work is present active, which implies its continual action. In other words, we ought to remain in them continually. And it is also a command. It is not a suggestion but a command.  

Fourth, there is a reason why we ought to take heed… 1 Timothy 4:16b says, “for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1) If we reverse the sentence, it may mean, “if you do not do this, you shall not save both yourselves and them who hear you.” The consequence is dreadful. (2) We may not see “save” here to refer to salvation. However, it warns the believers about possibilities for them to fall back, backslide, or to destruction in this life including moral and spiritual bankruptcy.

Then, it is obvious that we ought to take heed… for ourselves and for our church. That is what we are going to attempt to do throughout this year. I’ll try to assist you this year. Let us work together to take heed… by the grace of God.


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Church Theme this year is “Take Heed” from 1 Timothy 4:16.
  • Visitation to Alwyndor Aged Care today: Leave church at 2pm. 
  • Cambodia Missions has begun. 
  • Those who completed BBK course & would like to have Baptism, Re-Affirmation of Faith or Membership Transfer, please see the Elders by 28 Jan.
  • Kitchen area is restricted to Kitchen & Building Committee members.
  • Thank you to all who came to Watchnight Service.
  • Adult & Junior RPGs available at the Sanctuary Foyer. Gold coin donations.
  • Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team A. Next week: Team B.


  • Healing: For those sick or recovering.
  • Journey mercies:  For those who are travelling.
  • Cambodia Missions – God’s guidance, protection & wisdom for those in Camodia.
  • PR Applications
  • God’s provision: For Missionaries.
  • Jobs: Those looking for employment.

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Journey mercies:  For those who have travelled and arrived safely.
  • Good exam results for Year 12 students.
  • Testimonies at Watchnight Service.
  • Calvary BP Church’s (Jurong) 45th Anniversary in Jan 2018.




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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041