Volume. XXXV, No. 22
Sunday, 29 November 2020

From the Pastor’s Heart: Are you really sure?

The question I am about to ask you has many dimensions and implications in life.  It is, “are you really sure?”  It could be a question about your wellbeing, critical issues of life, significant decisions made, some factual certainties, directions of life, or it could be a question about relationships, whereabouts, methodologies, ways of thinking, choices of jobs and studies, parenting, and many more.  In particular, I’d like to relate this question to your spiritual walk with the Lord, because it is very much applicable to our day-to-day life experiences.  The topic of “spiritual walk” is not simple at all, because it could raise subsequent questions from salvation and forgiveness to obedience to God and keeping His commandments.  Or, it could also raise a question like if you are really sure that you are in the will of God.  Even within the believers’ community, there are walls inside of their hearts that keeps them from achieving oneness of mind.  The primary reasons behind these divisions are individuals’ firm conviction that they are right while others are wrong, or that they are victims and others are offenders.  They use their own measuring rods to determine right and wrong.  None of us is exempted from such practices.  “Measuring” itself is not a problem at all, but rather it is necessary for us to examine our deeds, words, and thoughts and to discern if we are doing right or wrong.  For example, we are to discern and prove the will of God.  Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Sometimes we should be proved for our love of God and His people objectively.  Paul says to the Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians 8:8, “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove [to examine or to text] the sincerity of your love.”  We are to prove ourselves whether we be in the faith.  2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “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?”  Ephesians 5:10, “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”  1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”  All of them are asking the same question, “Are you really sure that …?” 


Most Christians think that they are not too bad or not bad at all.  It does not mean that they deny their sinful nature.  They simply believe that they are forgiven by the blood of Jesus and that they are living a good moral life.  They lay verdicts of their own opinions about themselves.  However, there is one flaw.  The law allows no man to be a witness in his own case.  It is because man’s self-love overreaches conscience and perverts, distorts, and abuses truth for his own interest.  There is always a chance to deceive himself.  John 5:31-32 upholds a principle of “witnesses” as follows: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.”  Even Jesus did not present His case solely based on His own testimony, though He is the Perfect Person.  How much more do we ordinary people need external witnesses to justify the verdicts we may receive over everything concerning us?  The heart of man is delicate and deceptive.  Jeremiah 17:9 testifies it as follows, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  How can we accurately answer the question, “Are you really sure?” without misjudging ourselves and situations we are in?


Here are a couple of examples showing cases of misjudging ourselves:   the church in Sardis that the Lord spoke of in Revelation 3:1b, “… thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”  It appears to be alive and is made known to live, but, in reality, it is dead.  The internal self-evaluation was positive that she had a life in her, but the external judgment by the Lord Himself was totally opposite.  The church in Laodicea is even more serious.  Revelation 3:17-18 says, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”  While the Laodicean church thought of herself as rich and abundant without any need, the reality was diametrically contradictory.  She was miserable and naked.  She was blind to herself. 

2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  What we find is that there is a difference between what we think of ourselves and what we really are.  We may be content with having a form of godliness.  In the meanwhile, we may deny the power of it.  What we think of ourselves is not the same as what we are.  Thus, we continue to ask a question, “Are we really sure that....?”


In order to make our study meaningful and profound in relation to our spiritual life, I’d like to bring out a few questions or concerns we may need to consider.  (1) Having considered the problems of churches in Revelation 2-3, I cannot but consider Christians’ attitude or views of salvation and subsequent Christian life.  Congregations in Asia Minor had different strengths and weaknesses.  Some were better than others.  It indicates that spiritual conditions could be different from congregation to congregation, and from one believer to another.  It means that we cannot see all Christian communities and professing Christians in one particular uniform way.  There are differences of the strength of their fellowships with the Lord and of the spiritual maturity.  Christians have heard of salvation or the love of God so much so that these terms become almost like clichés that do not move their hearts any longer.  However, if salvation or Christian living is at so cheap a rate and easy to get by, then how should we understand the Lord’s teachings like the one in Luke 13:24, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”  The word, “strive,” means “struggle” or “fight.”  “Seek” means “try.”  It means that there must be conscious efforts in our life to make ourselves fit for “something(s).”  It requires tests or examinations to assess our present condition and to know the goal set before us.  This thought becomes even clearer by reading the following few verses:  Hebrews 6:11, “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.”  The Greek word for “diligence” literally means “zeal,” “pursuit,” or “exertion.”  The same word is employed in 2 Peter 1:5, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.”  2 Peter 1:10, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”  Interestingly, the NIV translates the Greek word for “give diligence” as “make every effort.”  The nuance of the word rejects any idea of lukewarmness or laziness in the Christian life.  How many Christians are passive in their service to the Lord?  We are waiting for something to happen in us like a sudden surge of passion for God or mysterious spiritual sparks that may consume us with the love of God.  We have misjudged our spiritual condition and are ignorant of the biblical guidance on such matters.  We think that God must do some mysterious things in us so that we could respond to them.  Our cold heart, passiveness, and even negligence of a zealous spiritual life, are ascribed to God’s negligence of His duty over us!  This unbiblical mindset has ruined the spiritual life of many professing believers.


 “Obedience” has been a topic of our studies during Wednesday Bible Studies for the last few months.  What we have found through this study is that we keep the commandments of the Lord if we love Him.  Our love for God comes from our desire for Him, coming from our will to obey Him.  This subject requires some more discussion in the coming weeks.




Your Pastor


More Lively Hope



  • Please note this Sunday’s offering collection will go towards the missionaries of IBPFM (Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions).
  • Due to the recent Covid-19 developments in Adelaide, please worship from home until further updates from the Session. Links to the new Youtube channel and Facebook live streaming and video sermon recordings are available on the church website (http://www.hopebpc.com).
  • If attending Sunday Service in-person, essentially those running the service & those who really need to worship in person, please register your attendance with Bro Edy P Lok by Thursday.
  • Serving Roster Jan-Mar 2021: please email your availability and/ or if you would like to be added in any area of service in the new year to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com by Tue, 1 Dec, 2020.
  • Flower Roster for 2021: sign up forms are available in the Foyer & the Hall. Please contact Sis Peng Ha Yeo to sign up.
  • Please exercise hygiene & physical distancing measures & follow all the government rules regarding Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Tithes & offerings - Bank details:
    BSB No.: 015-257    Account No.: 2649 27547
    Please indicate if it is an offering, tithe or for a specific person or ministry.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Journey mercies: those who have travelled.



  • Comfort in grief - the family of Bro M. J. Eapen on his homegoing.
  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev Mathews Abraham, Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore) and others who are sick.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – God’s continued guidance & protection for South Australia & all who are affected.
  • Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & family, Filadelfia BPC, orphanage, kindergarten & primary school (Batam).



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041