Volume. XXXII, No. 11
Sunday, 10 September 2017

From the Pastor's Heart: Marks of True Church and Christians - Part 2

This message was preached at the 3rd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of Providence BPC on 13 Aug 2017
In Part 1, Pastor Ki noted that Christian influence in society has been decreasing. In his introduction, he illustrated about this clash between church and the world at St Helen's Church in Bishopgate, London. Renovation was required to provide more seats for the "financiers and office staff working in the busy district" who came during their lunch hour to pray and to hear God's Word. However, secular "society in general wanted to preserve the architecture" of the church as a monument. Therefore, there is a clash between the secular world and the church! As our church "tries to stand on its own feet and continue to grow" the people of God will face "trials, challenges, confusions and discouragements".

In his first main point, "Challenges to face", he gave us two lessons. The first lesson is that "we must be aware of the dangers of religious pluralism". He went on to define "Religious pluralism" and described its dangers. He reminded us that the Bible "speaks against Religious pluralism", and that "the Christian understanding about Christianity as an exclusive religion does not mean that we are against religious liberty in our country".

If you want to read in detail Part 1 of this article please go the church website or see Sis Marion Chan for a hard copy.

We will continue with the second lesson of "Challenges to face".

Challenges to face (continued)

Second, even a religion called Christianity without putting Christ on the top of every belief and consideration is dangerous. How and why could a religion called Christianity be dangerous? Didn't I just say that Christianity is an exclusive religion, and it is a religion of truth? Then, why and how could it be dangerous? If religious pluralism is a danger from outside, this new point refers to a danger from within Christian churches. There are many false teachings and false teachers within Christian churches.

1. Let us not be surprised that there are false teachers and teachings within Christian churches.
a) It is because Satan hates the truth and the believers of Jesus Christ. Therefore, he is producing and planting many counterfeits in the communities of the people of God. Satan is active in order to deceive the children of God and the world. 2 Corinthians 11:14, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

b) Christ Himself has warned His people about false teachers. Matthew 7:15 says, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." False teachers are creeping into the believers' communities, churches, and trying to deceive them as much as possible. It implies that the object of our faith is not people. Churches must be examined and tested and proven to be true churches.

c) We must know that churches can err. After all, they are run by people who are imperfect and fallible. Therefore, they can do wrong things. Pastors are not perfect, elders and deacons are not perfect, either. Therefore, the Christian faith does not encourage its followers to believe in man or the organization.

2. Christianity is a very broad term, and people find it difficult to define it. Thus, under the umbrella of Christianity, there are so many kinds of churches. There are two things you and I need to understand.

a) The first point we need to understand is that not everything is right simply because it is attached and related to the name of Christianity or Christian churches. As we have seen from the previous point, there are false teachers and teachings within Christian organizations or even churches. Thus, we cannot put our trust and confidence in them, even if they have names of churches or Christian organizations. Therefore, it is dangerous to have Christian fellowship or cooperative work with them, until they are proven to be genuine Christians and Christian churches.

b) The second point we need to understand is that we do not have to be exactly the same. What I mean is that there are different denominations within true churches of Christ. Over the years, many people have asked me a question about the reason why there are so many denominations, while all of them believe in one God through one Bible. I must say that such variances are made because of man's finitude and imperfect knowledge of God. In the Bible, some issues are very clear, while others are not so clear, which allows different people to see them differently. However, there are two things we need to remember.

i) The central truths of the Bible are all the same across the line of denominations. For example, all true Christians must believe that there is one God in three persons. God created man, and man fell into sin. The Son of God came into the flesh and lived and died for sinners. He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and someday He will come again. If a man denies any one of them, he is not a Christian. It does not matter what denomination he belongs to.

ii) However, there are some unclear or non-essential issues that we may understand somewhat differently. Such differences are demonstrated by denominational names such as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, or Brethren churches. We do allow and accept such differences and respect one another in Christ. Therefore, having varieties of denominations is neither sinful nor unbiblical. What matters is that Christ must be in the centre of Christian beliefs and teachings.

To be continued. . .

More Lively Hope



* Registration forms & pamphlets for Holiday Bible Club are available in the foyer.
* Helpers needed for Holiday Bible Club. Please see Dn John Wong if you can help.
* Cambodia Missions, 16-30 Jan 2018. Please see Elder Michael D Lee if you are interested.
* Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team B. Next week: Team C.

Praise & Thanksgiving
* New worshippers & church activities in the past week.
* Journey mercies: others arriving safely at their destinations.

* Healing
* Journey mercies: Pastor Ki & others who are travelling.
* Postal Plebiscite on same-sex marriage: God's wisdom & guidance for people.
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