Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Acts Chapter 5: God’s New Temple dated 25.5.2014


There is a Big Battle raging between the temple authorities & the apostles who are the divinely appointed witnesses to the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ. Between the temple & the new building project that God is engaged in - his new temple – which focuses on Jesus, and now his church.

In the Bible, the church isn’t a building – the church is the gathering of the people of God. And God dwells within it, and it is served by his people – priests, within that new temple.
God will do everything in his power to protect that new temple & show the danger in our attitude of treating the church lightly. He will do whatever it takes to keep his church growing.

Internal Attack (Acts 5:1-11)

Satan’s second strategy was to attack the church, the dwelling place, the holy place of God from within involving Ananias & Sapphira, after the first plan of attack from outside in Acts 4. The church of God has their hearts filled by the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31) in contrast with the hearts of Ananias & Sapphira filled by Satan. 

In the church, the sale of capital was voluntary and the percentage of giving was discretionary. While it remained unsold, it remained your own. Even after it was sold, it was at your disposal. There is no compulsion and no prescription. 

The phrase: “kept back for himself” speaks of embezzlement. The lie to the apostles displays a disdain for their authority. But worse still, it is a lie (Ac 5:3) to the Holy Spirit, to God - “put the Lord to the test” (Acts 5:9).

This is a very serious thing that is taking place: the yeast of immorality seeking to take root in the life of the church, as the spirit of divisiveness seeks to work its way in to this new community, this new temple that God is building.

There are 3 times in the Old Testament where people just fall down dead, independent of anyone coming near them: Uzziah (2 Samuel 6),  Korah (Numbers 16) and Abihu (Leviticus 10). In every case, they die as a consequence of an inappropriate, sinful attitude towards God & his holy dwelling place.

What is our attitude to the church? Self-serving? Divisive? Dismissive as weak, undisciplined, powerless?

Or do we honour one another as the new temple of God where God dwells?

God’s Spirit is dwelling among his people and it’s a holy thing, and a pure thing. There is a proper sense of reverence, awe and indeed fear because the people of God is where the living God now dwells.

External Attack (Acts 5:12-42)

The trial of Acts 5 is very like the trial of Acts 4.

The first difference is that the opposition gets violent.

What is it that that Peter says that produced this passionate, hate-filled response on the behalf of the rulers?

First of all, Peter makes clear that his and the apostles’ allegiance now lies with God, and not with the rulers anymore (Acts 5:29).

But God’s allegiance has transferred as well (Acts 5:30, 31). God has raised Jesus form the dead, and has exalted him, seated him now on a throne next to his in heaven.

Even the Holy Spirit has given his allegiance (Acts 5:32).

All the way through the opening 5 chapters, it is to demonstrate where God is at work & where God is no longer at work. God is no longer at work through this temple establishment because the centre has moved from the temple to the apostolic preaching of the Gospel.

The very thing the temple stood for was forgiveness of sins. The very ministry that the priests & the Pharisees & the scribes were to have was to have one of forgiveness of sins. And yet these Pharisees have become so tied up with their own position of leadership – so self-important, so self-righteous – that when true righteousness is offered to them, and forgiveness: well, they hate it, and they turn away. 

The temple authorities and leaders should have embraced this new movement that was taking root. Instead they violently opposed it. 

The second difference in this trial is that God cannot be opposed. 

God is sovereign over everything that is going on and will not be opposed.

The authorities having done their utmost by exercising all of their authority and all their power, yet Jerusalem is now filled with this teaching (Acts 5:28).

The apostles continue to do what they are supposed to do in teaching obedience to Christ even though they were severely beaten and given a death threat. And yet, they rejoice! (Acts 5:41, 42). Why?

Because they have such a high view of the suffering of Jesus Christ – they know that he suffered on their behalf, and that indeed he set an example for them to follow, so that for them to take up their cross and follow him – is not a failure. Rather in many respects it’s a success. 

They think of it as an honour to be dishonoured. They think of it as a means of grace to be disgraced for Jesus.

This is a perspective that will keep us from avoiding suffering when we know it should come our way. It’s a perspective that will keep you going in the midst of suffering. 

Internal Controversy (Acts 6:1-7)

Again as they encounter internal controversy involving widows being neglected as well as external opposition, the apostles have one driving priority: they want to see the word of God proclaimed to a lost world who needs to hear it.

God is in charge, and he will care for his people, and he will achieve his purposes because God cannot be opposed, however violent the opposition.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Church & Disciple Making/He saw & believed by Pastor James Leong dated 18.5.14


Before Pastor Leong started his sermon, he shared with us his ministry in teaching the area of “The Chuirch & Disciple Making”

John 20:1-10 these verses are about the empty tomb.
What did John believed?

Most people believed that Jesus had been resurrected but that was not the case.  He believed that Jesus’ body had been stolen.

What do we believe?
  1. Believed Christianity is a good religion
  2. Believed Christians are good people
  3. Jesus has power to heal and perform miracles – Pastor said if you believed these per se you are not saved.
  4. Believe in Jesus you will have eternal life

What should one believe?
Believe in Jesus alone – no one else can do.
  1. Accept self as a sinner
  2. Acknowledge you cannot save yourself
  3. Believe Jesus died for our sins
  4. Believe He rose on the third day

It is important to know the impact of Jesus dying for our sins.  The trouble is that many do not feel it.  Pastor illustrated with a made-up story of an accident where he died on behalf of a friend and the impact his death had on his friend.  How did his friend feel when he held his dying friend?  What regrets he harboured?

What should one believe?
Have to know Jesus, the One and Only way to God and to have eternal life.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Covenant of the Davidic Kingdom by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 4.5.14

This sermon is based on Psalm 89

Covenant God made with David

This covenant is eternal. God also promises to David a territorial covenant (2 Samuel 7:9-10).

The phrase “Selah” in the Psalms indicates a change in the mood of what is written e.g. a longing – how long?, victory, blessing the Lord.

Apparent Discrepancy

God swore to David that the Davidic Kingdom lasts forever and is unbroken (Psalm 89:3-4; 36-37). This is fulfilled in Jesus. However, there appears to be an error. Has God changed his mind by seemingly rejecting his covenant (Psalm 89:38-39)? It appears God is not sovereign. This is man’s thinking. This is Satan’s lies.

However, in Hebrews, Jesus has entered behind the unseen curtain as a forerunner (2 Corinthians 4:18). 

In Luke 24:27, Jesus opens up the Old Testament as pointing to him (Isaiah 22:22; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11).

There is a small print to the covenant kingship: a conditional ‘if’ (1 Kings 2:4). 

The restoration of God’s Word is fulfilled in Haggai, Nehemiah & Ezra.

End of Davidic Kingdom

This was seen with the Exile and the disappearance of the 10 tribes of Israel.

However in the New Testament, Luke 1:31-33 picks up the Throne of David and this is highlighted in Acts 13:22, 23 and Revelation 5:5 with the 7 seals and the 4 horsemen. Jesus is also described as the root and the bridegroom (Revelation 16; 22:16-17).

Jesus is in control of history.

Rule and Reign of Christ in the Church

Lift up our eyes to see the implications of Christ’s Rule (Colossian 2:9-10):

Jesus has overcome the world and tribulation (John 16:33). The word ‘tribulation’ conveys that which is heavy and weighs down.

We are to be:

  •  built up in Him: growth of Christ-life and holiness
  • rooted in him: spiritual anchor; and
  • living in him: Divine life

Finally, there will be the marriage between the Lamb and the Church.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Equipping for Service by Pastor David Kueh dated 27.4.2014

Ephesians 4:8-16

Sense of freedom, faith, expectancy: a new season – bringing in more souls, new generation of leaders stepping up. Equipping & placement in the Body of Christ.


40 Post-Resurrection days – Jesus equipped & prepared his disciples with Ascension (Exaltation, Enthronement, Leadership, 5-fold) gifts as blessing to wider Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8-10). 
Purpose is service, not a position, to build up spiritually the Body of Christ in all aspects so that it is not lop-sided (free from false teaching, wrong & dangerous trends or emphasis that are very real & that can destroy the church) (Ephesians 4:15). 
This brings about a right relationship for strong, healthy growth – connected, praying, coming alongside and not isolated, independent.

How to recognize & receive the Ascension Gifts?
Issue of misuse, controversy, promoting themselves.

1   Apostles
Meaning: one sent;
Role: exercises general leadership over a church or group of churches to establish & strengthen;
Authority recognized, received & trusted
Tasks: preaching, teaching, training, discipling ‘sons & daughters’, raise up
Examples: Paul (2 Timothy 1:6; 2:1,2); Leaders of Mission organizations; Senior Pastors

Gifting of apostles continues today but not the same as the Twelve Apostles who are unique in history. Equipping is not a programme (classroom) but involves imparting (spending time, intentional investing in lives – God’s Word, Prayer).

2   Prophets
Meaning: speak forth (God’s mind, message to his people) rather than foretelling;
Role: real sense of the condition of the church and speaking life to & awakening the church;
Tasks: comfort, encourage, edify, touch, strengthen, awaken them, resonance in the heart;
Examples: Acts 13:1-4 (see God’s calling on people’s lives – affirm & release the best); Acts 11:27–30 (Respond to gifts)

3   Evangelists
Meaning: ability to preach Gospel in relevant way – clear & effective;
Role: encourage & release to witness & evangelize;
Tasks: equip, impart & motivate the saints with passion for the lost;
Examples: Acts 8:1-8; 26 (Philip); John Sung; Reinhard Bonnke.

 4   Pastors
Normally goes together with teacher.

Meaning: long term responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers, church – “married for life”;
Role: hands on love & heart for people;
Tasks: protect, guard, sacrifice, coming alongside;
Examples: Psalm 23; John 10.

5   Teachers
Not the same as school teacher.

Meaning: Communicate biblical truth in clear manner & relevant to the needs for spiritual growth;
Role: passionate about biblical accuracy; grounded instead of trends.
Examples: 1 Timothy 4:11-16 (not just knowledge but imparting life).

If neglected, dangerous for the church.

Importance of:

  • investing in lives instead of chasing after trends - discipling; 
  • teaching God’s Word