Monday, 30 September 2013

Sermon on John Chapter 11 by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 29.9.13

The Bible is the Word of God and it is profitable for:
a)       Teaching
b)       Shaping our conscience
c)       Changing our behaviours
d)       Transforming our characters
The above list helped to shaped us to be like Jesus.  Christian love is not the same as Hollywood love.  We are to love what is good and hate what is evil.  We must be balanced so that we do not end our love like Hollywood.
The Story of Lazarus
John chapter 11 especially the story of Lazarus spoke of the character of God in Jesus.  Jesus was human and yet divine. In John chapter 10 Jesus was depicted as a fugitive, and the authority wanted to get him. Chapter 10:32 they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy.  Ch.10:39 He escaped from the authority.  Lazarus lived with Mary and her sister Martha at Bethany which was about two miles from Jerusalem.
Two things Jesus wanted to established:
1)        He was the promised Messiah as prophesied by the prophets in the Old Testament. John 12:16
2)       He is the Son of Gd. John 10,11,12.  Chapter 10:36, the Jews accused Him of blasphemy when Jesus said He is the Son of God.
Raising of Lazarus
The account was unique in John 11.  Lazarus, Mary and Martha had a special relationship with Jesus.  Jesus loved Lazarus.  When he died Jesus wept.
Two aspects of Jesus:
a)       His humanity – He exhibited human emotion.  He grieved for Lazarus until He wept.
b)       Divinity of Christ – Yet Jesus is God.  He could raise the dead.
Resurrection Life
For Christians, water baptism symbolized the dying of self, and as one rose from the water, one is resurrected. Colossian 2:12. 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18.  Martha knew the concept of resurrection because she said if Jesus had arrive earlier, Lazarus would have been alive.
In John 11:6 the verse said Jesus delayed in coming to Lazarus.  This delayed can be interpreted that we do not have to worry about delays in answers to our prayers.  God knows what He is doing.  God’s ways are higher than our ways.
The Upper Looks
As Jesus prayed He looked up.  He has confidence in His prayers.  E.g Matthew 14:19, the story of five loaves and two fishes.  In John 17:1 He prayed for His disciples with confidence.
Humanity in Divinity
When He saw Mary and Martha grieving He was troubled V.33. V.35 Jesus wept. V.38 Jesus was deeply moved.  Jesus was moved in a) anger b) with trembling.
Why was Jesus angry? Why was He grieved?  He was angry because He came face to face with the thing He came to destroy – death.  He grieved because He should be with the family that he loved when they were facing the deep difficulties. 
The lesson is summed up in Hebrew 4:15-16 (ASV)
15 For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Generation X and Y by Chew Phye Keat dated 22.9.13

Generation X and Y by Chew Phye Keat dated 22.9.13
Bro. Chew Phye Keat is the current Chairman of FES ( Fellowship of Evangelical Students ) Malaysia.  FES started in 1962 in the Peninsula.  In the 80s FES had about 5 staffs and now they have 30 staffs.  However, the total numbers of education institutions are about 750 in Malaysia.  They are now in about 80 of them.  There are a lot more grounds to cover.
Bro. Chew is in Kuching to celebrate 10th anniversary of FES, Sarawak on Saturday 21st Sept 2013 at our Church.
Generation X, and Y
Bro. Chew shared that from his own observations and experience he noted the challenges that people have to handle in this current age.  Why is there Gen Y? He said because we had Gen X.
Gen X – those born in 1925 to 1942, they were known as the “Silent Generation” simply because they got through two world wars and had to rebuild their lives.  Those born in 1961 to 1980 were known as “Baby boomers”.  This was the generation many of us are in.
Gen Y – those born in 1980 to 2000.  This is where the younger generation like the present students in universities and those young working adults are.  Why these generations?  This is because each group have their own specific characteristics.  Between Gen X and Y there appeared to be a “generation gap”.  Bro. Chew that he does not own a smart phone.  His wife of late learnt about the smart phone when her friends are using “Watsapp” a communication platform on internet delivered through smart phone.  In order to have access to this system one must have a telco’s data plan.  So she got one and had been communicating with her friends on “Watsapp” but she found it “troublesome” as many of her friends seem to be on-line for hours!
God is with us in all generations.  Psalm 90:1  Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations”.
  We cannot reach Gen Y with Gen X platform because our experiences are different.  This is a challenge for parents in handling the Gen Y.  Bro. Chew shared that we can use prayer of Jesus in John 17 to relate to Gen Y.  Jesus was praying within earshot of His disciples because He wanted them to hear what He had prayed. 
John 17: 6 – Jesus revealed those He got out of the world.
John 17:11 – The people are in this world and He is coming to us.
John 17:14 – the world hates them and this is pivotal to our faith.  Bro. Chew shared that when he interviewed new believers before they go for baptism, he found those with dramatic conversion more able to relate how they came to Christ.  Those who have been from church all their lives seem to be unable to share how they came to faith.  One of the challenges that the Christians youths of Gen Y found difficult to blend in with the non believing friends is that they usually do want to participate in what the non believers say and do.
John 17:18 – people are sent into the world.
7 Characteristics of Gen Y
1.       Self confidence – people of this generation are usually self confident and they articulate what is in their mind well.
2.       Entitlement – people felt they are entitled to things.  Bro. Chew said this is not necessary bad.
3.       Peer connected – phenomena like FOMO – fear of missing out.  PVS- pocket vibration syndrome, like when you put your mobile on vibration mode and you check it constantly.  This characteristic is closed to peer pressure.
4.       Technologically competence – in a negative sense technologically addicted.
5.       Self actualized – this is Maslow theory of self actualization. You can be whoever you want to be.
6.       Morality – what feels right to you is right – from Bro. Chew experiences with the young people he said many non believers are questioning why Christians are against homosexuality.  They felt that they had the right to choose their relationships.  But for Christians there are absolute like God’s prohibition of homosexual relationships.  This tendency is not in their DNA Bro. Chew said, they must have been abused and mistreated in their lives.
7.       Narcissistic – love of self.
These are the challenges.  So how do we cope with these?  How do we help the Gen Y to be in this world and yet not of this world?
3 Areas to watch
1.       Pride – this can destroy
2.       Moral compass – Christians be the moral compass i:e be counter culture.  Philippians 1:9-10
3.       Be sent into the world – this is about God and not about you.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Knowing God – Godliness/Chris-likeness by Ho King Swee dated 15.9.13

Knowing God – Godliness/Chris-likeness by Ho King Swee dated 15.9.13
God is beyond our comprehension.  God revealed Himself in many ways, like in Creation.  To know God is to grow in Christ-likeness.
Result of truly knowing God – Godliness and Christ-likeness.
1.        What is Godliness?
2.       How to grow in Godliness?
2 Chronicles 16:9 gives a hind, our hearts must grow perfect towards Him.
As we know God we will become more and more like Him – because Godly or Christ-likeness.  Having a heart fully committed to Him ( grow perfect towards Him ).
Godliness is having the right attitude towards God, 1) fear God for His holiness 2) to love God with deep appreciation of His infinite grace 3) to desire God for who He is.
Psalm 33:18 & 147:11- key words, love and fear.  Psalm 25:14 – Lord confides to those who fear Him and He makes His covenant known to them.
Deuteronomy 6:1, 2 – commands of God, to fear Him. Deu 6:4, 5 to love Him, Deu 10:12 to fear and love God, Deu 11:1 to love God, Job 23:11 to love God, Job 24:14 command to fear the Lord.
1 Peter 1:17 – conduct yourselves with fear of the Lord, 1 Peter 2:17 to fear God.
Revelation 14:6, 7 – the angel instructed us to “fear God and give Him glory”.
Revelation 15:4 – people acknowledged the fear of God.
John Murray said, “The fear of God is the soul of godliness”.
The fear of God is a personal attitude towards God that come from our hearts of adoration, love, reverence and honor. Focus on His majestic holiness.  The fear of the Lord is a constant fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  The fear of the Lord is not fear of punishment as in 1 John 4:8.  Avoid evil but love holiness and righteousness.  Fear God for His perfect beauty, transcended holiness and glory infinite love and grace.  Walking in fear of the Lord will result in obedience to God.  When we love we will obey God. ( John 14:5,21,23).
2 Cor 7:1 clean ourselves from defilement bringing holiness to completion in fear of the Lord.
Psalm 2:11 serve the Lord with fear and trembling.
Act 9:31 walking in fear of the Lord and in comfort of the Holy Spirit.
The fear of God and love of God is the difference of our heart response to Him.  These will lead us to trust. Obey and know Him ultimately.
Example o King David, he was after God’s heart Psalm 27:4.
Paul’s greatest desire wanted to know Christ Philippians 3:10.
The levites had no inheritance Number 18:20 God revealed to Aaron, Deu 10:9.
How to grow in Godliness/Christ-likeness:
1.       Love not the world ( 1 John 2:15,16 )
a)      Lust (desire) of the fresh
b)      Lust (desire) of the eyes
c)       Pride (vain glory) of life
2.       To love God above all things including ourselves ( Luke 14:22, 9:23, Gal 2:20)
3.       Train ( discipline and perseverance ) ourselves in Godliness.
4.       Hearken unto God’s Word and pray earnestly. ( Proverb 2:1-5 )
1 Timothy 4:7 train ourselves to be Godly.  John 15:4 abide in Christ, Gal 5:22 fruits of the Spirit.
Practice and walk in presence of God ( constant fellowship with the Holy Spirit ). John 14:26 Holy Spirit will teach us all things. 2 Cor 7:1 cleanse ourselves of all defilement and bring Holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord.
Act 24:16 – have clear conscience towards God and man.

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Names of God by Ho King Swee dated 8.9.13

Knowing God – The Names of God by Ho King Swee dated 8.9.13
God has many Names.  Knowing His many Names is a process, a life time process. His Names reflect His characters, natures, and attributes.
Greatest prayer is John 17. John 17:3  - know the true God. Jer 9:24 – let those who boast that they know Him.Psalm 113:1-3, let the Name of the Lord be praised.  Matthew 6:9 – hollowed the Name of God.
J.C Ryle said by the Name of God reveals His attributes, like power, holiness, justice, mercy and truth.
Psalm 9:10 knowing God’s Name, we trust in Him.
C.H.Spurgeon said God set His Name so there is no mistake who He is. Isaiah 42:8, Psalm 9:10.
The Names of God breed faith in us.
1.       Elohim
Elohim means God in Gen 1:1 occurred 2606 times.  Gen 1:1-4. Also means power and might.
2.       Yahweh
YWHWH, Yahweh, Jehovah – means LORD I am that I am occurred 6,823 times. Notice LORD in capital letters. Gen 2:7.  Most important the tetragrammaton the four letters of God YWHW. In Judaism this word is forbidden to be uttered.  Usually this word translated as LORD/Yahweh.  The pronunciation has been lost modern scholars conjured the word as “Yahweh”.
Yahweh/Jehovah was used when God relate to the people.  He established the covenant with man.  The Name speaks of holiness, righteousness, love and grace that is revealed to man. Gen 3:9, 3:13 God called unto man. Gen 4:6, 9 Jehovah spoke to Cain.
Exodus 3:13 Moses asked God who shall he said God was.  Exodus 3:14, God said “I am that I am”.  Exodus 3:15 God instructed Moses to reveal His Name to the people.  “I am” means God is self sufficient, and self existing.
Angels were sometimes referred to the son of God, not son of the LORD. Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7.
a.       Do we desire a meaningful deeper relationship with Yahweh or the LORD?
b.      What steps are we taking to build that relationship?

3.       Adonai
Adonai means Lord, stressed relationship of man to God. Gen 15:2.
a.       Is God our Adonai?
b.      What hinders us from total submission to our Master or Lord?  What are we going to do about these?

4.       El shaddai
I am God Almighty ( El Shaddai) Gen 17:1-5.  El shaddai means all bountiful, compels nature to do what is contrary. Occurred 7 times. God changed name of Abram to Abraham after revealing His Name to hm. Sarai changed to Sarah.
a.       Do we believe God El Shaddai can do all anything against the laws of nature?
b.      Do we know God as El Shaddai who is able to do the impossible for us?

5.       Jenovaj Jireh
Jehovah Jireh, God who provides. Gen 22:13 Abraham took the ram caught in the bush as sacrifice, Gen 22:14 Abraham called the place Jehovah Jireh.  Jehovaj as revealed to Moses Exodus 6:1-8. 
6.       Jehovah Rapha
Exodus 15:25 God turned bitter water sweet, Gen 15:26 Jehovah who heals, Jehovah Rapha. This Name appeared 6 times in old testament.
7.       Jehovah Nissi
Jehovah Nissi the Lord is my banner. Exodus 17:8-16.  Exodus 15:8 Moses built an altar and called the place The Lord is my banner, Jehovaj Nissi.
8.       Elohim
Jesus is the Creator through whom all things were made/came into being. John 1:3, Heb 1:3
9.       YHWH/YAHWEH/Jehovah
John 1:1, 2 in the beginning the Word was God. John 1:2 He was with God. John 4:26 Jesus said “I am” the one.
The 7 “I am”- a) John 3:35 b) John 8:12 c) John 10:7 d) John 10:11 e) John 11:25 f) John 14:6 g) John 15:1
10.   Jehovah Shamma
Matthew 1:23 Emmanuel God with us
Paul’s Greatest Desire
Philippians 3:8 knowing Christ is most important to him.  Philippians 3:10 Paul “that I may know” Him.
We have to commit in the intake of God’s Word daily and communion and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. 2 Cor 13:14
David’s Desire
He was after God’s own heart Pslam 27:4
11.   Jehovah M’kaddesh
The Lord who sanctified. Exodus 31:12, 13.
12.   Jehovah Shalom
The Lord is my peace.  Judge 6:22-24.
Other Names of God
a.       Jehovah Tsevo’t – The Lord of Host (Amy) 1 Sam 1:3
b.      Jehovah Tsidkenu –The Lord of righteousness. Jer 23:6, 33:16
c.       Jehovah Rohi –The Lord is my shepherd. Psalm 23:1
d.      Jehovah Shamma – The Lord is there. Ezekiel 48:35