Volume. XXXIII, No. 23
Sunday, 02 December 2018


From the Pastor’s Heart: How to be Godly (Part 4)


In the previous article, we considered that the Christian life is upheld and continued by tools, and these tools are helps, but at the same time, they teach us of our duties.  The most prominent tool we must use is none other than God’s Word, because (1) it has the final authority over us and (2) it is sufficient for all and everything.  There is one more point we should consider: (3) it is clear and plain.  The Word of God is not a secret, but open to everyone who desires to read and meditate upon it.  Anyone can read it.  It is not for particular people who can disclose hidden and secret knowledge of the eternal truth as Gnostics have claimed.  Thus, it is the prominent tool that all of us can use in every place and at any time. 

 

The Word came with instructors

 

When we buy a product it comes with an instruction manual, without which we have to struggle to figure out how to use it, or to know how to assemble the parts and pieces.  The Word of God as a tool came together with instructors.  God has not left us in the dark.  The first instructor is obviously the Spirit of God, who is the author of the Bible Himself.  We need to depend on Him who illumines us to understand His holy Word.  We also need to know that He is not the only helper God has provided for our benefits.  There are human instructors who are also led by the Spirit of God and diligently search the Scriptures: not everyone, but certain people whom God has sent and appointed to be our instructors.  The Bible speaks of them as God’s gifts.  Ephesians 4:11 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers”.  The giver of these gifts is the Lord Himself.  He has given them to learn and teach His whole counsel out of the Scriptures to His people, so that they might receive benefit by learning and applying the Scriptures to their day-to-day lives.  We must know that it is not an artificial self-appointment of individuals to be pastors and teachers, but God’s appointment.  They are from the Lord.  Thus, they must be cherished and cared for. 

 

Thus, there are many provisions just for them, the instructors, who are pastors and teachers.  For example, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”  Both honor and material provisions are specified here as the learners’ responsibilities.  In particular, their physical needs are mentioned as their worthy reward.  Galatians 6:6-9 says, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  The point here is that pastors and teachers, gifts of God, must be cherished, respected, and taken care of. 

 

Through the work and ministry of pastors and teachers, the preaching of His word enables the weak Christian to become strong and godly.  The faith of God’s elect becomes perfect (1 Thessalonians 3:10).  The feeding ministry for the flock was charged to Peter, because the sheep are under the care of their shepherds (1 Peter 5:2), “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”  The resurrected Lord committed the ministry of feeding His sheep to Peter (John 21:15). 

 

Pastors and teachers should handle the Word of God with utmost care, because their messages are, after all, from the Scriptures, God’s own Word.  They should be able to preach with authority and power (1 Thessalonians 2:13).  It is also because the Word of the living God is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  

 

The Word benefits a lot

 

The Word of God has power to convert the unregenerate.  We are “born again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever”   (1 Peter 1:23).  However, my primary concern in this article is not the benefits that the unconverted may find from the Word of God. My focus is on the benefits to the regenerate.

 

  1. Knowledge is provided. The godly need to know what is right and wrong.  They should understand the differences between truth and error.  They should come out of their darkened and ignorant minds.  Otherwise, how can they grow into godliness?  It requires the knowledge of the truth, and God’s Word is the truth.  By knowing the Scriptures, the godly gain knowledge of the WAY that leads them to be conformed to the ways of biblical life.  When they lack knowledge of the Scriptures, they are unsettled and ignorant and blind to the pathway of holiness.  The word of God is the lamp and light to the godly (Psalm 119:105). 

 

  1. Renewal is possible. We cannot but consider Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  The first two attributes of God’s Word are “quick” and “powerful.”  “Quick” means “living” or “alive.”  “Powerful” means “active” or “effective.”  By knowing these attributes, we cannot but experience inner and spiritual renewals through the ministry of the Word.  It changes our hearts and minds.

 

  1. Sanctification is expected. Since the time of our conversion, we begin to grow into maturity.  As we find the will of God toward us in the Scriptures, so our minds are girded up.  We lay aside and cast off wrongs and sinful things, and obey and follow the commandments and instructions of God, by which we learn the right way to move upward and forward. 

 

  1. Private reading is encouraged. One mark of true regeneration is the hunger for the truths of God.  We desire to hear God’s Word, and thus, we are eager to come to church to hear the public preaching of the Word of God.  As we continue to grow, we begin to feel that the once or twice a week public preaching cannot quench our spiritual thirst but encourages us to read and study the Word of God even more in private.  If public preaching is like a starter, private reading is the main dish.  Or, if public preaching is like a main dish, private reading is the proper seasoning that gives us abilities to appreciate it even more and better.  Or, public preaching is like the key to open the closed door, and private reading is the act of entering into the room.  It shows us the necessity and significance of public preaching.  It also tells us that private reading is the fruit of public preaching. 

 

  1. Examples are set. When the Word of God forms and molds our Christian character and life, we become good examples to others.  We are established and confirmed in the knowledge of the will of God, by which we grow into a godly life.  We are enabled to counsel others with the wisdom of God.  We spend our time in reading the Scriptures and meditating upon them, which reduces our worldliness and increases our affections to Him. 

 

Hindrances to the Ministry of the Word

 

So far, we have seen the importance of the ministry of the Word and benefits of it.  We are very sure that it is good to depend on the Word of God and to profit from it.  If so, then why don’t we gain the advantages of the ministry of the Word?  Why don’t we get excited about the teaching and learning of the Word of God?  What stops us, and what keeps us from desiring and spending more time to study the Word of God?  Why are there only a few people who are godly after God’s truths? 

 

Faults could be found on two sides: preachers and hearers.  Preachers are exhorted to diligently study and search the Scriptures.  They are expected to be faithful in preaching and teaching God’s Word to their flock.  However, my concern is not of the preachers, but hearers.  Ideally and theoretically, when Christians honor God and hear the Word, they are led and helped to live a godly life.  But, we know that we seldom find such individuals who keep and live a godly life.  If the minsters of the Word are not at fault in their diligence, skill, love, and sound doctrines, it is certain that the fault lies in the hearers.  They do not have ears to hear, and they are neither reverent nor attentive in hearing.  Therefore, we ought to carefully observe what hinders us from hearing the Word.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Those who have completed their Basic Bible Knowledge Course & would like to be baptised, re-affirmed or have their membership transferred please see one of the Elders by next Lord’s Day so that a suitable time can be arranged.
  • Special thanks to all Hopefuls for your support to the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.
  • Special thanks to organisers & participants for the Christmas Carols yesterday & to all those who brought refreshments.
  • Precept Seminar resumes this afternoon. Please help set up the Fellowship Hall for the seminar after fellowship lunch.
  • There will be no AFG, Ladies’ Fellowship, M2M, Wednesday Bible Study, Neighbourhood Bible Study (BSAG, Joy, Maranatha) meetings in December – January.
  • There will be a Christmas Fellowship Lunch following the Christmas Worship Service. More details to come.
  • Flower roster for 2019. Please contact Sis Peng Ha Yeo to sign up. Many thanks to those who have signed up so far.
  • Our church theme for next year is “Train Yourself for Godliness” from 1 Timothy 4:7.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: Neighbourhood Bible Study Groups. Next week: Volunteers.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • Elder David Yeo’s ministries at Ebenezer BPC (Melb).
  • Christmas Carols – Organisers, participants & those who attended
  • Journey mercies: Rev Mathews Abraham & family; Elder David Yeo (Adl); & others who have travelled.

 

Prayer

  • Healing: Those in afflictions.
  • Special Prayer: For healing & quick recovery: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore).
  • Missions.
  • Ebenezer BPC (Melb).
  • Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family – for God’s guidance.
  • New pastor for our church.
  • Journey mercies: all who are travelling.

 

 

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