Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Acts Chapter 3: Restoration dated 25.3.14


The first two chapters of Acts sees the kingdom of Jesus breaking in & bringing unsettling change in a spectacular way with a new agenda of the kingdom extending beyond Jerusalem to Judaea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. The foundations of the kingdom has shifted from the 12 tribes of Israel to the 12 apostles who are the authoritative witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, commissioned by him to be his messengers to the ends of the earth (Luke 22:28- 30; Ephesians 2:20; Revelation 21:14).

There’s been a new outpouring of the Spirit, a new community that has a whole new set of values, a new King and a new centre point instead of the temple in the old covenant – Jesus Christ, risen and ascended, reigning over all. 

The agenda now is not Restoration or Transformation but Proclamation of the Kingdom with the Holy Spirit as the absolute, essential empowerer: You killed Him, God raised Him, We saw Him.

The Occasion (Acts 3:1-11)

The miraculous healing is a sign that points to the perfect restoration. 

Firstly, we are meant to think the work of Jesus is carrying on – the continuing acts of Jesus - his authoritative apostles are carrying on the work he’s been doing.

Secondly, also meant to go to the future restoration – this sign-miracle is a promise that one day Jesus will return and perfect health, perfect restoration, perfect relationship will happen uniformly.

Death represents the great FULL STOP to all the aspirations, dreams and desires to be fulfilled. The Christian looks forward to a moment AFTER  death or after Jesus’ return, when the restoration of all things will come about. Our great hope is beyond death.

An Explanation and an Accusation (Acts 3:12-16)

In v12-16, Peter insists that God’s resurrection power has been unleashed in this crippled man, that Jesus, and Jesus alone had done it.

Any version of Christianity that wants to put someone in front of Jesus Christ has missed the point. The glory, the focus must always go to Jesus.

An Explanation and A Command (Acts 3:17-21)

God has appointed Lord Jesus, by his death and resurrection, to be the restorer of all things.

The command: Repent!

Again and again, the prophets of the Old Testament promised a day when God’s eternal king will raise the dead, to judgment, and restore all things (Isaiah 25:7,8; Daniel 12:2; Ezekiel 37:4-6)

Jesus is the author of life, the trail blazer of life, the one who, on his own, makes possible the resurrection of the dead that is at the center of God’s promises for his people. It is not the temple anymore that is the centre point of God’s plans. It is now Jesus Christ.

It means that no longer do we need to go to a geographical location to experience the blessings of God. We do not need to go back to Jerusalem or to rebuild Jerusalem if we are going to encounter God’s blessings. Rather we need to just come to Jesus and anyone, anywhere, at any time can do that.

An Explanation and A Warning (Acts 3:22-26)

Peter is saying is that the public resurrection of Jesus challenges every other way of seeing the world. The resurrection of Jesus means that Jesus stands at the end of history – that he is the author of life. He’s the one who will someday summon every single man, woman & child from their grave – some to everlasting judgment, some to everlasting life.

If you won’t turn to Jesus, Moses, Abraham himself, Samuel & all the prophets warn you – that you’ve missed the boat!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Acts Chapter 2 by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 16.3.14

The Holy Spirit was not really featured in Old Testament.  Two books mentioned the Spirit of God.  The Spirit of God featured in Genesis 1:2.  The Holy Spirit occurred in:

  1. Psalm 51:11 prayer of King David
  2. Isaiah 63:10

Joel 2:28-29 – pouring out the Spirit of God.

Jesus also taught about the Holy Spirit.  Luke 24:29- this is the greatest of God’s gifts and also greatest of God’s promises.  John baptized with water, Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit Act 1:5, 8.

The Holy Spirit

  1.  Supreme promise of God
  2. You will be baptized in the Holy Spirit
  3. Works of Holy Spirit is the manifestation of the power of God. 
After the resurrection, Jesus showed example of what it meant to receive the Spirit. John 20:2, John 14, 15, 16.  In John Chapter 16 He gave comprehensive teaching on the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit bear witness of Jesus.

Acts 2 deals in graphic ways when the Holy Spirit came down to the church.

Two Things

Impartation of the Holy Spirit to individuals. 
Impartation of the Holy Spirit to the church.

Impartation of the Holy Spirit to individual

  1. They heard Him – sound from heaven
  2. Saw Him – tongues of fire resting on people 
  3. Felt Him – resting on people
  4. Touch Him – filled with Holy Spirit 
  5.  Manifested Him – V.4 filled with Holy Spirit, in Geek in meant one-off experience.

     However, we are to be daily filled with the Holy Spirit Ephesians 5:18
V.37 and V.38 -  to repent and receive the Holy Spirit.  All these were about Jesus only He can give salvation.

Impartation of the Holy Spirit to the church

The Pentecost in one sense is a blue print for the church.  Different churches have different gifting like some good at mission, some worship, some charities etc.

  1. Sign ad wonders V.43 the greatest of signs and wonders is to witness believers being born again or regenerated.
  2. Early church a community V.44 – help those in need.
  3. Full meaning of grace, steadfast in God’s teaching, devoted themselves to fellowship with one another.
  4. Prayers and worship V 46, 47
  5. Out-reach to interact with those not from the church

Other places where the Holy Spirit was mentioned in Acts, Act 9:31, Act 8:14, 17, Act 10:44, 46.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Acts Chapter 1: Be Jesus’s Witness by Ho King Swee dated 9.3.14

There are two parts to this sermon.
             1. What Jesus did before taken up to heaven ( 1:1-11)
        A)     He presented and proved Himself alive ( 1:1-3)

What did the Lord did for 40 days ?

-          Presented Himself alive and spoke of Kingdom of God to the people.
-          He appeared to more than 500 people after the resurrection.
 B)  He gave final commands ( 1:4-8 )
i)         Wait for promised Holy Spirit at Jerusalem
ii)        To be His witnesses both in Jerusalem and all of Judea, Samaria and to the end of the earth
Are we true witness ( martyr ) for Jesus ? 

C)      He was taken up into heaven ( 1:9-11)
The Lord was taken up to heaven in Mount Olive.  This is the place the Lord is going to descend again ( Zech 14:4,  Eze 11:23)
2.  What the disciples did before receiving the promised Holy Spirit? (1:12-26)

A) The disciples in one accord continued ( devoted themselves ) in prayer ( 1:12-24)
B) The disciples chose a replacement for Judas ( 1:15-26 )

Why did Peter quote Psalm 69 and 103?

In these Psalm Jesus was prophesied.

Why is there a need to replace Judas Iscariot to make up 12 Apostles?

In the throne room there were 12 seats for the 12 Apostles.  In Revelation 12, the new city have 12 gates.

How shall we represent Christ and be the true witness for Christ only?
The speaker share about John Stott how he had followed and lived according to God’s commands, and yet he said the one true important thing for Christians is to be like Christ.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Am I Sarawak’s Keeper? by Pastor Matthew Ling dated 2.3.14

Pastor Matthew is a member of the leadership team at Kuching Minister Fellowship.

As Sarawakians, we must know our rights as citizens of this country and in particular under what circumstances Sarawak came to join Malaysia in the Federation.  It is important to note that Sarawak and Sabah joined as equal partners.

Genesis 4:9 – When God asked Cain where was Abel.  Cain answered whether he was his brother’s keeper.  From here we gathered that his answer was:

a) I don’t know 
b) I don’t care.

Therefore, in terms of Sarawak are we to answer like Abel?

Act 17:26-27
From one man God created nations and He determined where we should stay.  Similarly the people of Sarawak are unique and where we stay determined by God.  Our existence is not an accident.

Sarawak Our Land, Our Destiny
1.       Knowing the people – Sarawak is unique and it has unique people
2.       Knowing the community – Sarawak is made up of communities of people who have lived peacefully among each other for a long time.
3.       Knowing the destiny – God has specific destiny for Sarawak.

Colossians 3:11
God has put us in Sarawak, we are to trust in Him, settle here and take roots, we should not let others distract us and spoil our faith and joy.

Malachi 2:10
We have One Father who created us.

Deuteronomy 32:7-9
God gave us our inheritance and set boundaries for us. Therefore God has also given Sarawakians our inheritance and boundaries.

Isaiah 42:6-7
God will protect and hold the hands of the righteous.

Jeremiah 29:4-7
God instructed the exiles to settle down, marry and multiple. Seek peace and prosperity in the places where God has brought the people.

History of Sarawak
 14th Century – Arrival of Islam
16th Century – Sultanate of Brunei
1839 – Revolt

When James Brooke came to Sarawak he helped to squash the rebellion for the Sultanate of Brunei and in the process, Sarawak was given to him.  He and the subsequent two Rajahs ruled Sarawak.  They were Christians, so the values of Christianity were implanted in their administration and rule. 

In total the Brooke family and the British ruled Sarawak for 122 years.  Sarawak is really blessed because we were ruled by Christians practically.  In fact, James Brooke was the one who invited the Church of England to set up churches in Sarawak.

One of the 9 Cardinals of the Brooke was “That freedom of expressions both in speech and writing shall be permitted and encouraged and that every one shall be entitled to worship as he pleases”.  In fact all 9 Cardinals have Christian principles in them.

Formation of Malaysia
16th September 1963 Malaysia came into being.  Sarawak joined as equal partner. God created Sarawak as a part of Malaysia.

The Unique Sarawak Community
Racial composition, Iban 29%, Chinese 24%, Malay 23%, Bidayuh 8%, Melanau 6% others 6%
Act 17:27 – this has been the creation of God.

Important Dates
27th May 1961 – Luncheon when formation of Malaysia was first discussed
July 1961 – Malaysia Consultative Committee was formed
3rd Feb 1962 – Memorandum on Malaysia
4th Jan 1962 – Sarawak Government’s paper on Malaysia
3rd Feb 1962 – Cobbold Commission
July 1962 – London meeting of the British and Malayan representatives.
Aug 1962 – Inter Government Committee
27th Feb 1963 – report on the inter government committee

Freedom of Religion
Memorandum of Malaysia Clause 12
It is satisfied that the acceptance of Islam as the religion of the Federation would not endanger religious freedom within Malaysia nor will it make Malaysia a State less secular…”

4th Jan Malaysia and Sarawak – also specifically mentioned freedom of religion.

Cobbold Commission Kapit Iban Conference,  Resolution 6 – freedom of religion.

Cobbold Commission Second Division Iban Conference, Condition g – freedom of religion.

Report by Inter-Government Committee – although Islam is the religion of the Federation others can practice their own religion freely.

Before the formation of Malaysia the British parliament also debated about the specific issue of religious freedom.

In 1962 Tun Razak also assured Sarawak that they will have religious freedom.
Federal Constitution article 3(1) – “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”
Article 11(1) –Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.”

In Sarawak there is no law against propagation.

Despite the persecutions, the Christian community continued to increase e.g in 1947, 7.9% were Christians in Sarawak, in 2000 it was 42.6%.

What Does the Future Hold For Us?
In the next Jubilee 2063 are we to see a larger portion of the Sarawak population as Christians?
Cindy Jacob prophesied about East Malaysia “I want to speak to East Malaysia. And the Lord says, "East Malaysia, I am giving you a key to unlock the destiny of a nation," says the Lord. And the Lord says, "Let the church of East Malaysia arise, and I can be to you a hinge," says the Lord, "that will open and close a destiny," says God.”
We are also witnessing churches of different denominations coming together to fight on the issues facing us Christians.  For the first time ACS said “This time for us to speak has come”.

Pre-school Education
The young need to learn and be inculcated in Christian values, so pre-schools are important in particular in rural areas. 

The Sarawak Rural Childhood care and education (RUSA) has been set up to assist in starting these pre-schools.  By 2013, 78 pre schools have been set up and projected to increase to 238 in 2021.

The future of Sarawak depends on what we will do with the younger generation in the next 10 to 15 years.

Ps 82:3-4
v3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
v4 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
(from New International Version)

Once again, a reminder for us: “Am I Sarawak’s keeper?”