Volume. XXXV, No. 3
Sunday, 19 July 2020

From the Pastor’s Heart: Our Precious Church

There are many institutions in the world including family, nations (governments), schools, hospitals, tax offices (yes, taxation), military, charitable organisations like orphanages, religions organisations, and many more.  Each one of them is important to build healthy societies.  Of all of them, I would say that family and church have a very special significance to all mankind.  This is because it was God who created Adam and Eve and instituted marriage.  He multiplied them to have their family and subsequent generations.  That is why family and marriage are important to us.  Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  He builds His own church, too.  Therefore, church is also a divine institute, whose builder is the Lord Himself.  If a marriage is a private institute, church is a community and public one.  The divine origin of these institutes put weights upon the sacredness of both.  As Jesus said, the institute of marriage should not be broken but one exceptional case.  Church should not be broken as the Lord keeps it that even the gate of hell should not prevail against it. 

I need to repeat one basic truth, there are two kinds of church: universal (invisible) church and local (visible) church.  Invisible church consists of all believers across all generations and all places, while visible churches are localised.  There is one Universal church, while there are many local churches.  Probably, the epistle to Ephesians has the best examples pointing to the universal church.  Ephesians 1:22 says, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”  This church is more than a church in one location.  3:21 offers even a clearer picture of the universal church, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  It is a church throughout all ages.  This church is well mentioned in the famous passage often quoted for wedding messages in Ephesians 5.  Verses 23-25 say, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Verse 27 talks about the universal church beautifully, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  We all know that this church refers to the believers of Jesus from all ages.  The universal church truly is a cosmic and spiritual entity.  See also Colossians 1:18 and 24. 

There are also local (invisible) churches.  Yes, they are plural in numbers.  For example, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s message brought many souls under conviction of their sins to come to the Lord by faith.  Acts 2:47 says, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  This growing church was in Jerusalem, and we call it “Jerusalem church.”  When Peter was in prison, the concerned people prayed for him, which was miraculously answered by God.  Acts 12:5, “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”  Now we are seeing a ministry of a local church.  Matthew 18:17 says, “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”  Again, we see a disciplinary action by a local church against offenders.  

Local churches have organizational structures including ordained elders.  Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”  Elders are overseers in local churches and responsible to feed the flock of God.  Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” 

The main reason I explain to you about churches (both invisible and visible churches) is to let you be reminded of their values and importance.  1 Timothy 3:15 says, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  Church is the house of God, the church of the living God, and the pillar and ground of the truth.  By the way, the church Paul talks about here is a local church. 

Unfortunately, and sadly, most professing believers do not appreciate and understand the value and importance of local churches.  Christ gave His life for His church, the body of believers, local congregations.  Then, we should know that local congregations are making up the habitation of God (the house of God), the church of the living God (the name of God is honoured and His life is in it because He is the living God), and the pillar and ground of the truth (thus, the truth of the Scriptures is faithfully taught, preached, and defended). 

With these recognitions of the value and importance of the church(es) of God, we need to do some soul-searching work. 

(1) The Church is the bride of Christ, not without a spot or wrinkle.  This is an expression to describe the holy and unblemished church.  Yes, the church is supposed to be pure and holy.  It is no wonder that our sanctification is the will of God.  Paul describes the church as the “glorious church” in the same verse (Ephesians 5:27).  Therefore, let us neither belittle nor despise local churches.  Let us not to talk about local congregations in derogatory or disrespectful manners.  We ought to cherish and care for local congregations.  Let us also sanctify ourselves so that we keep our church holy and pure. 

(2) The Church is a body of Christ with many members both in the visible and invisible churches.  It means that true believers of Jesus Christ must be a part of the body (believers’ community).  We are meant to be together and members of one body.  By being together with other members, we are building the same body.  By serving others, we are building the same body.  Tearing the body, hurting the body, or being disrespectful to local churches is not a good attitude.  We also need to remember that all members of the local churches are also members of the universal church.  Thus, our prayers and concerns for fellow believers must go beyond the four walls of our church. 

(3) The Church is the habitation of the living God.  It should mould our character, ministry, relationship, and spirituality in and through the life of local congregations.  It is no wonder that Paul advised Timothy to know how to behave in the church of God.  Our conduct and behaviours in God’s church must be godly, pure, and unblemished, so much so that others would glorify Him for us.  It also means that God is the master and owner of His churches.  What God sees right is right and what He sees wrong is wrong.  His thoughts are the only rules of His churches, and everything must be done for His glory.  There is neither pragmatism nor secular value system that leads and guides the church of God. 

(4) The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth.  Thus, where there is no respect and defence of the truth of God, there is no church of God.  The truth is the very reason that the church of God must be different from the world.  The world does not know the truth, though it can ask a question of “what is truth” as Pilate did.  We all must strive to know and understand the truth.  Our church is precious not only for us but also for our children and their children till the Lord comes again. 


Your Pastor

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Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Sunday Worship Service in-person & virtual, & other fellowship activities in the past week.
  • God’s mercy & protection from COVID-19 in South Australia & many states in Australia: Low number of cases, no community transmission & further easing of restrictions.



  • Healing: Rev Mathews Abraham, Rev Pong Sen Yiew; and others who are sick.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – God’s continued guidance and protection for Australia, cases in Victoria and all who are physically, mentally & financially affected. God’s grace, protection & mercy for all healthcare & other essential workers. God’s guidance & wisdom for government leaders in managing the crisis.
  • Missions – Sis Ang Liang & family, Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage, primary school & kindergarten (Batam).




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