Volume. XXXiii, No. 27
Sunday, 30 December 2018


From the Pastors Heart: How to be Godly (Part 8)


We have learnt that (1) watchfulness is a necessity, (2) there are consequences when watchfulness is neglected, (3) we must purpose to be watchful, and (4) we must strive to be watchful.  In order to be watchful our hearts must not wander where they will. Our delights must not be fastened wherever we please, because we are corrupt and depraved in nature.  We often do what we do not will to do, while we do not do what must do.  There is no freedom that does not know boundaries.  Truth has its boundaries, and errors refuse to abide in boundaries.  Sin is a transgression of the law.  Our eyes, tongues, ears, hands, feet, the full force of our minds and thoughts, and all the members of our bodies must be bound within limits.  We fail to be watchful when we are tired and impatient.  When in prosperity, we must watch against lust and vanity (Job 31:1).  The second private means of grace is meditation.

 

What we do in meditation

 

Rogers said, “We meditate when we purposely separate ourselves from everything else to consider (as we are able) some necessary points of instruction to lead us forward to the kingdom of heaven, to better strengthen us against the devil and this present evil world, and to help us order our lives well” (Kindle., loc., 821 of 2097).  (1) We must purpose to meditate because our minds must be set upon the things of God, not to wander.  The word, “purpose,” implies our willful and resolute determination to set ourselves to such matters.  Unless we intend to dwell on heavenly things, we rarely enter into the mode of meditation of heavenly things.  (2) We must separate ourselves from other things including other people or any potential distractions.  It is no wonder that the Lord told us to pray in secret, because such quietness and privacy will keep us from distractions.  We are able to meditate better when we are alone.  Isaac could be a good example.  Genesis 24:63 says, “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.”  (3) We must call precious teachings of heavenly matters into remembrance, so that we may properly respond to the object of our meditation.  In times of meditation, we remember things of God, His attributes, His faithfulness to us, His promises, salvation, redemption, the love of God, and eternity, which will help us to detach ourselves from the things of this world and temporal pleasures.  Also this sort of meditation will help us overcome trials and temptations.  (4) We must enjoy the “commune with God” in meditation.  The forefathers of faith called their self-talk, soliloquy, when they were alone with the Lord.  They had the moments of such occasions, when they desired rest and sought to ease their minds from busyness of life by meditation.  (5) We must use the Word of God for meditation.  Psalm 119:97 says, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”  Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”  Then, the Bible is a tool for our meditation as well as the object of our meditation.  As we can see here, meditation is not deep thinking of our own thoughts but of the thoughts of God. 

 

(6) We may get help from the list of the matters of our meditation provided by Rogers (Kindle loc., 843- 858 of 2097).  They are: (a) God’s Word, (b) God Himself, (c) His wisdom, power, or mercy, (d) the infinite variety of good things we receive of His free bounty, (e) His works and judgments, (f) our own estate, (g) such as our sins, (h) the vileness of our corruption that we yet carry with us, (i) our mortality, (j) the changes in this world, (k) the deliverance from sin and death (l) the manifold afflictions of this life, and how we may in the best way endure them and benefit from them, (m) the many great privileges we enjoy every day through God’s inestimable kindness toward us, and (n) especially those things which we have the most special need of.  (7) We may sigh, moan, and complain to God, or rejoice and are quickened in our hearts about any of these things, in meditation.  In such case, meditation is joined with prayers.  Psalm 119 is a good example, which shows the men of God lamenting, complaining, supplicating, rejoicing, or giving thanks for a variety of reasons.  (8) We must receive benefit by meditation to mortify our lusts and worldliness.  Meditation helps us to fight against the devil’s devices.

 

Why we meditate

 

There are many reasons why we meditate.  The foremost significant reason is to know the will of God and to be conformed to His image.  Another unforgettable reason is to mortify sinful desires deeply rooted in our thoughts and nature.  Our hearts are seasoned with not so desirable thoughts, and vain and foolish delights.  Isn’t it the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 15:17-20, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man?”  Our heart is the source of all wrongs, fear, or reverence.  Thus, meditation helps us to choke the harmful growth in our heart and to increase the growth of godliness. 

Meditation fights sin

 

Sins are like weeds in our hearts.  Most of us have done some gardening work at home.  One of the challenges is to take the weeds out from the good grass.  As my father did while he was with us in Adelaide, one day I began to dig the areas of weeds and to pull them out.  There are deep roots even underground and I had to carefully remove them from the good grass.  One lady passing by was impressed by my work.  She stopped and smiled at me.  When I smiled back to her, she said, “good job.  Keep doing it.  I once tried, but was defeated.”  She loudly laughed and left.  I knew what she meant.  It seems that it is an impossible work to remove them completely from my garden, unless I use weed killers.  Even if I use the chemicals to kill them, I am sure that they will come back.  Sins are deeply grounded in our hearts, and wicked thoughts take a comfortable lodge in them. 

 

By the fact that I am talking about Christian meditation, the readers must know that I am not talking about salvation or justification by faith alone.  Rather what I am trying to present is close to what John says in 1 John 1:6, 8, 10, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. . . . 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. . . . 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  Believers still have sin problems in them.  How can we confess and repent of them?  Meditation assists us in such purposes.  We need to find them first.  Through meditation we discover them, are ashamed of them, and eventually replace them with good and godly attributes.  In order to purge sins from us, we must know of them first.  We need to think of our sins and bring them to account. 

 

In this process, the Word of God plays a significant role.  It is because we need to know of sin in order to find it.  We may not judge ourselves, if we do not clearly understand what is good and bad.  Such distinction has to be made by the truth of God.  Corruption in heart must be disclosed by the light of the truth.  Therefore, meditation of sin must work together with meditation of God’s Word.  God’s Word will show what is good and righteous.  Sin fails to hit the target, which is the righteousness of God. 

 

Our hearts need to be tested if they are right.  Otherwise, we cannot chase away every little ungodly thought, desire and perspective from our hearts and see the dangers of sin.   We test ourselves not by our own measurement, but by the measurement of God, which is His truth.  By knowing our wrongs, we can sift our hearts.  Through this process, we become even more watchful against sins afterwards.  The vacancies from the departure of wrong things and sinful thoughts will need to be furnished with heavenly thoughts and holy desires.  It is an outcome of meditation.  Deep and serious meditation on our own conditions and on God’s bountiful grace will help us grow in godliness, and our frames of mind will be conformed to the image of God.  By now we must be able to see that Christian meditation is not of himself but of God, and that it is not a matter of choice but of duty.

 

Take your time and space just to be alone.  Examine your own heart and meditate on God’s Word.  You shall take one step forward toward godliness.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Session wishes all worshippers a Blessed New Year.
  • Watchnight Service - All are encouraged to attend. Please come & share your testimony about what God has done in your life this year. Please come by 7:15pm for early start.
  • Working Bee this Saturday. Please come to help clean & tidy up the church premises, while shedding weight gained over Christmas.
  • A big Thank You to all who contributed dishes, drinks, cakes, biscuits, etc., to the Christmas Fellowship Lunch & who helped decorate, wash dishes & clean up the Hall.
  • During the days of heat wave, our church Hall can be used for relief. Please contact any Session member for access.
  • Daily Manna (Adult & Junior) for Jan-Mar 2019 available at the Foyer. Donation $1/copy.
  • Church theme for 2019 is “Train Yourself for Godliness” from 1 Timothy 4:7.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: VFG. Next week: AFG.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities this past week.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • God-honouring Funeral Service for the late Bro Wong Peng Cheong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father) yesterday at Berry Funeral.

 

Prayer

  • God’s comfort in grief: Dn Wai Kin Wong & family.
  • Wisdom for pulpit committee: New pastor for our church.
  • Missions: Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions & missionaries all over the world.

 

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063