Volume. XXXiii, No. 42
Sunday, 14 April 2019

From the Pastor’s Heart: For Your Godliness

Some of my friends, who are also preachers or pastors, have told me over the years that I should be careful if I plan to preach from the book of Job.  They said that I would taste a bit of Job’s bitter experiences.  I do not know whether they said it out of their experiences or not.  However, I have also heard the same thing from quite well known, renowned preachers.  Well, you judge why they have said such a thing.  Year after year, I do prayerfully choose our annual theme for the church.  Interestingly, each year I have experienced some extraordinary things that could not but remind me of the theme of the year!  This year, our theme is about godliness, and it emphasizes on the individual’s duty and accountability to be godly.  The theme could be an indication that our personal concerns and efforts to be godly may be challenged in our personal and church life this year, in particular.  There are two particular sources feeding us with thoughts, desires, and the willingness to be godly, and these two sources will guide and nurture us to be godly we desire to be. One source is Biblical and theological knowledge.  Godliness is a very concept and notion which is based on our view of God.  Where can we find any knowledge of Him?  It is the Bible.  Having and reading the Bible may not be enough, if we do not understand.  Therefore, understanding must come together with reading the Bible.  Even if a person has a noble desire to be godly, if he does not know God as he should, his desire may lead him to wrong ideals of godliness and he becomes ungodly.  The second source is none other than culture of the day.  It could be literature, music, fashion, arts, philosophy of science, peer pressure, and many social agendas, which could influence on our minds to form a view of godliness.  The end result is that there is no more barrier between sacred and secular, church and world, Christians and others, etc. 


The worshippers in Hope Church have come from many different countries as well as many different church backgrounds.  Thus, when they come to Hope Church, they could find some differences both in strength and in weakness.  Some men come to church with shorts, or some women are scantily clothed and expose themselves overly (at least in my judgment).  It brings us to a talk about dress code.  It is just one of many examples.  Their views and expressions of godliness could be different, and it is more than possible that they would innocently do something that Hope Church does not encourage her members to practice.  Then, how could I bring all of them to be united in the perspectives of godliness?  Of course, I can expound the Scriptures as I have been preaching in the last few months.  I delivered at least five theme messages, but it does not mean that everyone understands what godliness is and how it could be expressed externally.  We cannot show our inner character.  However, it is possible that we can show our inner character by demonstrating it externally.  This external demonstration is a reflection of our view of God and His holiness.  Sometimes people ask me whether they can do this or that.  Well, I do not have all the answers for them.  However, they can ask the same questions to themselves, if what they are going to do does reflect their understanding of God and His holiness. 

I have been reading Alfred Edersheim’s book, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services.  I found a good section to help us with our understanding of how we can demonstrate our godliness even externally.  Having talked about the Temple and the sanctity of this place, he says as follows:


“… It will readily be understood how sufficient outward reverence should have been expected of all who entered upon the Temple Mount.  The Rabbis here also lay down certain rules, of which some are such as a sense of propriety would naturally suggest, while others strangely remind us of the words of our Saviour.  Thus no one was to come to it except for strictly religious purposes, and neither to make the Temple Mount a place of thoroughfare, nor use it to shorten the road.  Ordinarily the worshippers were to enter by the right and to withdraw by the left, avoiding both the direction and the gate by which they had come.  But mourners and those under ecclesiastical discipline were to do the reverse, so as to meet the stream of worshippers, who might address to them either words of sympathy (‘He who dwelleth in this house grant thee comfort!’), or else of admonition (‘He who dwelleth in this house put it into thy mind to give heed to those who would restore thee again!’).  As already stated, it was expressly prohibited to sit down in the Court of the Priests, an exception being only made in favour of princes of the house of David, probably to vindicate their consistency, as such instances were recorded in the past history of Israel.  Alike the ministering priests and the worshippers were to walk backwards when leaving the immediate neighbourhood where the holy service was performed, and at the gate of Nicanor each one was to stand with his head bent.  It need scarcely be said that reverence in gesture and deportment was enjoined while on the Temple Mount.  But even when at a distance from Jerusalem and the Temple, its direction was to be noted, so as to avoid in every-day life anything that might seem incongruous with the reverence due to the place of which God had said, ‘Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually’ (1 Kings 9:3).  Probably from a similar feeling of reverence, it was ordered, that when once a week the sanctuary was thoroughly cleaned, any repairs found needful should be executed if possible by priests or else by Levites or at least by Israelites and only in case of extreme necessity by workmen not Levitically ‘clean’” (pp. 32-33).  It continues…


“Other Rabbinical ordinances, however, are not so easily explained, unless on the ground of the avoidance of every occupation and undertaking other than worship.  Thus ‘no man might go on the Temple Mount with his staff,’ as if on business or pleasure . . . nor ‘with the dust upon his feet’; nor ‘with his scrip,’ nor ‘with money tied to him in his purse.’  Whatever he might wish to contribute either to the Temple, or for offerings, or for the poor must be carried by each ‘in his hand,’ possibly to indicate that the money about him was exclusively for an immediate sacred purpose.  It was probably for similar reasons that Jesus transferred these very ordinances to the disciples when engaged in the service of the real Temple.  The direction, ‘Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves,’ must mean, Go out in the same spirit and manner as you would to the Temple services, and fear not—’for the workman is worthy of his meat’ (Matt 10:9, 10).  In other words: Let this new Temple service be your only thought, undertaking and care” (p. 33).


The Jewish worshippers in the Temple were all serious about the place of worship and the act of worship.  Everything was considered by the sacredness of the worship place and worship itself.  This thought of sacredness came from their view of God.  We, Christians, view the Jewish worshippers in the Temple as people who are near to God by their lips but far away from God.  Then, how about us?  We have a view of God as a loving father, without considering Him as a holy God with consuming fire.  Everything seems to be very casual from dress to language about God.  We do not consider what God deems holy.  What is important to us is what we think important.  As long as anything is agreeable with us, we think it alright.  After all, we are our own gods, and we serve ourselves.  There is no understanding, no value, no concern for the holiness of God in our considerations.  In such a state of mind, how can we be godly and holy, as God commands us to be?  Can you put God before you always and know whether what you are doing is acceptable unto the Lord in His holiness?  Remember that God is not mocked.  Train yourselves unto godliness.  If we do not know His holiness, we do not know what sin is….



Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Wishing our Khmer brothers & sisters in Christ a Blessed Khmer New Year.
  • Our Annual Easter Family Bible Camp starts on Good Friday. If you have any additional queries, please see Sisters Natalie Ki or Purdee Yeo.
  • There is no Fellowship Lunch after Resurrection (Easter) Sunday Worship Service at church location (CLG).
  • IF is organizing a Mother’s Day Picnic on Sat, 11 May, 10am at Thorndon Park. All are welcome. Pls see Sisters Natalie Ki or Sherilyn Wong for details.
  • RPG & Daily Manna devotionals for Apr-Jun (Adult & Junior) available at the Sanctuary foyer. Donation $1/ copy.
  • Please observe all parking signs when parking on council strips. Please DO NOT block the driveways of our neighbours & DO NOT park on the streets north & west of our church compound (Bedford Square).
  • Lunch Duty: This week: YAF.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Dn Raphael Ng & family (Adl); Bro Tien Lee & family (Holland); & others who have travelled.



  • Special prayer for healing: For all who are afflicted.
  • Easter Family Bible Camp – Camp Speaker: Rev Kevin Currell; camp organisers & participants.
  • Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & ministry, orphanage, kindergarten & primary school (Batam).
  • Australian Federal Election, 18 May – God’s guidance & wisdom to elect the right party to govern this nation.
  • Persecuted believers in Islamic, Communist, Hindu & Buddhist countries.
  • Journey mercies: Rev & Mrs Kevin Currell (Adl/Wellington); Campers (Wellington/Adl);  & others who are travelling.




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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041