Monday, 27 January 2014

Covenant of Mercy by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 26.1.14

Dr. Thomas Chung’s message is based on Genesis 9:8-17.
God’s covenant is the foundation of Judaism and Christianity.  These covenants are essential to our faith as God fulfilled all the covenants He made with us.  Even in the midst of suffering and devastations we can see God’s fulfilling His covenants.  Like floods all over the world, wars in Syria and Africa, and other calamities elsewhere.  God showed His mercy. Dr. Chung related a case of a child surviving being buried underground for seven days in Syria.
The covenant of mercy God’s made with Noah although was given to him was also passed on to us.  God also have mercy for animals, places etc.
6 Covenants
1.       Covenant He made with Noah – Covenant of mercy.
2.       Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – Covenant of inheritance.
3.       Covenant with Jesus – Covenant of eternity.
4.       Covenant with Moses – Covenant of obedience.
5.       Covenant with David – Covenant of kingship.
6.       Covenant with Jeremiah and Ezekiel – Covenant of regeneration.
Covenant of mercy
This covenant was what God made with Noah.  God took His covenant very seriously.  In Gen 9:8-17, the word “covenant” appeared 7 times in this short passage.  A covenant is an obligation undertaken by a person to fulfil a promise.  Two other meanings of covenant means agreement and testament.
God’s covenant with Noah in Gen 9:8-11.  In verse 11 God said there will never be another great flood like the one in Noah’s time, and indeed we had not seen such flood.  The covenant of mercy God gave Noah is unconditional.  It is also a covenant of grace.  Grace is unmerited favours of God.  We cannot earn it.  It is given by God freely.
Implications of covenant of mercy                                                                                                                                                              These implications can be seen in the Old and New testaments.
2 Samuel 12:20-23
The above passage is about King David committing adultery with Bathsheba who bore him a son.  Their son was ill and King David fasted and prayed for 7 days but the child died. After that King David refreshed himself and went into the house of God to worship Him.  Despite the death of the child God had shown mercy to King David who acknowledge by worshipping Him.
In Ezra chapter 9 we also saw how the Israelites disobeyed God and intermarried with their neighbours besides other sins they committed.  However, Ezra said God had not punished them to the extent of their sins.  Ezra 9:13.  We can see the mercy of God here.
The climax of the mercy of God – The Cross
The ultimate mercy of God is the Cross.  On this Cross His One and Only Son died for our sins.  God demanded justice and all who have sinned must die.  By right we should all be dead because we are all sinners.  But God had mercy on us.  His Son was made sin for us.  He paid the price for us.
God’s mercy is in action even in tribulations and devastations like floods, earthquakes etc.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

First Baptist Church Vision & Calling dated 5.1.2014

Isaiah 58:12
*     Rebuild ruins
*     Raise up foundations
*     Repairer – Broken Walls
*     Restorer – Streets with Dwellings

Ephesians 4:13-16; 5:27
*     Maturity in Christlikeness
*     Each member doing its work
*     Radiant purity & spotless: light of Christ shining forth

Isaiah 58 ‘As If’ Religion

The biggest problem or barrier that stands in the way of the church’s mission  is the church itself. God has told his church to go and make disciples of all nations. He’s told us that repentance and the forgiveness of sin should be preached in the Name of Jesus to all the peoples of the world.

The biggest problem is the church itself. The church knows the salvation of God. We know that like sheep, we have gone astray but the Lord kindly has chosen to lay upon the Lord Jesus the iniquity of us all.

And yet our hearts remain far from him. 

The only hope for the church is to come back to God, the one who chooses to dwell with those who are lowly and contrite in spirit - to come back to him in humility and to ask him to transform us.

The desperate problem of sin: that even Israel’s best efforts at religion are like filthy rags in God’s sight.

Israel’s Pleasure; ‘As If’ Religion (Isaiah 58:1-5)

‘As if’ Israel did righteousness & did not forsake judgments of their God; cared about God, but they don’t – NOMINALISM. 

Israel did not abandon their religion but their HEART not in it. 

Not only was their religion heartless but Israel had the gall to suggest the real problem was God: distant & unwelcoming.

Israel had an overinflated view of their religious activities & an underinflated view of their sin.

True faith is never confined to mere attendance: it always makes a difference to your life & always transforms your relationships. Instead, we see Israel oppressing their workers, quarreling, fighting or looking down on others.

Their big concern in life was not God & his pleasure but they themselves & their own pleasure.

Questions for First Baptist Church:

Whose pleasure are we seeking?
Where is your altar of worship?
What captivates your heart?
Is religion one compartment of many compartments in our lives?
Does it transform our relationships?
How does it impact the way we treat each other: family, colleagues?
How does it affect our attitude to the poor?
How do we react when our pride is hurt? Do we quarrel & fight?
Are we a peacemaker, not just a peacekeeper?

God’s Pleasure: Self-sacrificial Service of Others Isaiah 58:6-14

3 Conditional Statements: “If you do this, then I will bless you” found in Isaiah 58:6,7 & 8,9a; Isaiah 58:9b & 10-12; Isaiah 58:13 & 14.

This is not telling someone how to become a member of God’s people because Israel was already in a relationship with God.

What does God really want from us?

2 Visions for the Church:

Mature: Ephesians 4:2, 13

The church is characterized by a united body of believers standing for truth, acting in patience, gentleness, humility, forbearance and modeled collectively on the man Jesus Christ.

Holds fast to their convictions because defined by Jesus and not by the prevailing culture knowing that the only true source of hope for them & for the world around lies in the words of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

They cling to Truth, living it, speaking it and bringing light in a dark world.

Immature: Ephesians 4:14

Believe the Gospel but doesn’t care much for truth, convictions. Faith consists of hotch-potch of changing ideas with no clear convictions.

Generally keep their faith to themselves & sees faith as a very private matter.

They are described as infants and children, at sea being tossed to & fro by different doctrines or teachings rather than as a united and mature adult.

The problem stems from inability to put their faith into practice.
They haven’t grasped that Jesus is everything & so let other things take his place.

Which one best describes us?
How do we protect ourselves from false teaching?

By speaking the truth to one another by asking:

What have we been learning about Jesus this week?
What struck us about the talk, message?
Ask someone to explain the talk if can’t understand it.
Asking each other what we’ve been putting into practice this week?
What we are struggling with?
Telling each other of opportunities we had to share the Gospel.
In what ways can we be better in speaking the truth to one another?

It is only by speaking the truth in love that we will grow up to be the mature church.

Who is responsible for building the church to maturity?

You are! I am! Every member ministry


FBC – we meet to read the Bible and to explain the Bible to one another, and activities which have God’s Word at the heart of all of it - speaking the truth.

We are responsible to fill our lives and conversations with content that has lasting value; bringing the truth of the Bible and its implications to bear on every situation in life.


A Christ-centred community equipped, empowered and networked to impact the unreached in Sarawak and the nations.


We want:
    to equip and empower every member of First Baptist Church in fulfilling God’s calling on their lives and the next generation built on the foundation of strong relationships;

·       to network and share resources with other churches in demonstrating compassion for the marginalized and the unreached in Sarawak and the nations built on the foundation of the worth of each person.

Exciting to see the outcome as to what is the unique calling of FBC coming from the FBC leadership themselves. Ordinary, normal brothers and sisters willing to give full time in serving the Lord and the Body of Christ.

·        Good relationships

FBC has made the focus on relationship-oriented its cutting edge with trust and unity as the key.

This is evidenced in inter-congregational as well as intra-congregational relationships. The Iban congregation feels at home and supported by the other congregations. There is trust and unity between the leaders.

The good relationships have led to the respect of individuals and people as seen in the compassion ministry of reaching out to the marginalized instead of being inward and self-centred e.g. the Prison Ministry, SMILE, Habitat, ELC.

This is also seen in FBC being a giving church in terms of resources, service, talent and love.
        Empowering church

Instead of top down which is controlling, the church is supportive and consoling: the priesthood of believers, where there is discipling, training and releasing of believers so that everyone can do something.

The focus is on many leaders instead of one great leader.

There is teamwork, not one “big shot”.

This is an “everyone church” that is people (Community, Family)-focused, and not corporation-focused with one great leader and where the individual must fit into the vision and goal of the corporation.

Instead, people are respected and honoured rather than controlled. People are released to minister.

Health brings growth.

This is evidenced by natural growth rather than hormonal, genetically modified growth. Organic rather than corporation type of growth.

It is important not to compare. You cannot be someone else. Be yourself with the unique calling God has given you. Otherwise, you end up very frustrated

·        Giving and Servant heart for others (compassion)

This focus forms yet another cutting edge of FBC which God will use.

·        The Next Generation

FBC is focused on the next generation as well as the previous generation.


·        Scripture Reading: Daily Intake
Every member finishes reading the whole Bible in 2014

·        Witnessing for Jesus
Every member witnesses to 3 persons in 2014

·        Missions: Compassionate Heart
            Short Term Missions 2014 (2 weeks)
            LG  Missions 2014 (Weekend)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

John - Summary dated 29.12.2013


John’s Gospel is about getting to know Jesus personally – He is God’s Messiah and King. First few chapters of John focuses on this kingdom that is being ushered in.

In Matthew’s Gospel, the disciples were given the secrets of the kingdom.

Here we are given those secrets – born again, water of life, the Divine Son, the Bread of Life, the Life-Giving Spirit, the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd – the discourses or teachings about the kingdom that is being ushered in.


John’s Gospel begins with echoes of the Creation account in Genesis and continues with the theme of Eden renewed in the new creation, the works during the Sabbath, the Garden where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.


Narrative: Tells us what we should understand and what we should be thinking (as in a drama play) e.g. reveal glory of God, put trust in, fulfil Scriptures

PURPOSE John 20:30,31

20:30,31 miraculous signs recorded that you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, have life in his name

IDENTITY John 1- 4

Does God exist? Where is God? How do you know God? John 12:44 – 46 Having seen Jesus, you have seen God. This is God Himself breaking into His Creation, declaring Himself once & for all.

ETERNITY Genesis 1

Christ in Eternity


Christ in History with the picture of a Messianic Banquet from the first miracle during the Wedding at Cana (Isaiah 25:6 – 8; John 2:1 – 11)

Royal Official’s son close to death: death removed (John 4:43 – 54)

Miracles of Identity: Jesus as Bridegroom, Messianic King, Judge, Good Shepherd

More than 7 miracles:

1.   Water to wine
2.   Heals Official’s son
3.   Feeds 5,000
4.   Walk on water
5.   Heals man born blind
6.   Lazarus’ resurrection
7.   Own resurrection
8.   Supernatural catch of fish
9.   Nathanael
10.   Woman at the well

 WORK OF GOD John 5 – 10

SABBATH John 5:17;9:3,14

Miracles involving Sabbath healings as Work of God: God’s New Creation – God rested but is still working. This resulted in intense hostility against Jesus which revealed the wickedness of man

HUMANITY John 5:24; 6:63; 7:7; 8:12,34,44

Analysis of humanity without intervention from God:

1.   Dead 5:24
2.   Condemned 5:24
3.   Helpless 6:63
4.   Evil 7:7
5.   Blind 8:12
6.   Enslaved 8:34
7.   Children of evil one 8:44

Nice, decent, friendly people in offices, neighbourhoods, families

WHOSE FAMILY? John 1:12; 8:42- 47

God or the evil one

LIFE John 11 – 20

Full of work of Christ

“I am”:

     1. Light of the World
     2.   Good Shepherd
     3.   Door for the sheep
     4.   Resurrection and Life
     5.   Open blind eyes
     6.   Set you free
     7.   Bring Father to in your house, your life

John carefully puts together in his account 2 signs bracketing how Life from God comes:


John 11 followed by John 12: Cross

CROSS John 12; 18; 19

Through Christ dying sacrificially on the Cross

To carry God’s judgment for our sake who are already condemned


John 20 preceded by John 18, 19: Cross


Very last chapter, why did John the writer focus on Peter instead of his own relationship with Jesus?

God is a relational God.  John 17:3; 20:30,21

In relationship, we need:


To God and to man: So important BUT we often AVOID

Ministry of Reconciliation : 2 Corinthians 5:17-21


In John 20:3-9 John arrived at tomb first but did not go in, Peter arrived later & went in first. Finally John went in, saw and believed but no account of Peter believing.

There was no mention of Peter after that: Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, appeared to disciples on evening of first day of week (they were still fearing the Jews) – receiving the Holy Spirit & forgiving sins; appeared to Thomas

Peter’s call in Lk 5:1-11 is reflected in almost the same way as Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter to his call in John 21.

In Matthew 16:17-20 Jesus said it was not flesh & blood that revealed his identity to Peter but God; He was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

In John 21:18,19 Jesus reinstated Peter after he was broken for use John 12:24-26;

In Acts: Peter preached & 3,000 came to Christ;

In 1 Peter 5 Peter the apostle in humility sees himself as a fellow elder.