Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Temptation of Jesus by Dr. Thomas Chung dated 25.1.15

The main text of Dr. Chung sermon is Matthew 4:1-11, but he also referred to similar text in Gospel of Mark and Luke.
Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.  No human can experience this trial.  In itself this is considered a miracle.  The others who experienced this were Moses and Elijah.  In transfiguration of Jesus three of them appeared together.
V4. Word of God, the rhema word of God.
V6. Satan quoted Psalm 91
V7. Satan used the word of God to tempt Jesus.
V10. Jesus addressed the devil by his name – Satan.
“Temptation”, the word in Greek is not much referring to a prostitute plying her trade.  The word meant to be tested. 

Why was Jesus tested?  
Because as the Son of God He is the perfect one and He learnt to obey God. He was also without sin.  He suffered and was made perfect and became a source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.
Heb 4:15 – there was hint of why Jesus needed to be tested.
Jesus was baptised by John because He wanted to fulfill all righteousness.  His baptism was also a blue print for all Christians regardless of how one is baptised.  From the water baptism Jesus received the Holy Spirit ( signified by the dove ).
How did the Holy Spirit worked in Jesus?
How does the Holy Spirit work in us?
In Matthew 4:1 – Jesus was led by the Spirit, in Mark 1:12 Jesus was driven out, Luke 4:1-2 Jesus was led, willing to be led.
1.       Matthew 4:1 – The Greek word had the picture of the Holy Spirit carrying Jesus.
2.       Mark 1:12 – “drove” as like using of force.  Similar word used in John 2:15 when Jesus drove out traders from the Temple.
3.       Luke 4:1-2 – Jesus “led by”, He was willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, no need to use force.

The Temptations
After the 40 days and 40 nights fasting Jesus was very hungry.  After this came these temptations.  We can say that He was vulnerable.  There was no food and no rest.  Jesus was hauled with all temptations.
1.        Satan questioned our place in God. He quoted the Bible in v.5
2.       He questioned our position in God
3.       Prove that God will live for us by showing signs and wonders.
Satan is hungry for worship of man. He even asked God to worship him.  He wanted Jesus to bow before him.
1.       Turning stone to bread – Satan specialized in a) bringing down those spiritually high and may be over confident.  B) those spiritually low.
2.       Forcing God to show signs and wonders.  Satan quoted Psalm 9.  1 Cor 10:9 said we should not put God to the test.  Jesus was saying “I am God”, if you put me to the test you are putting God to the test.  When we put God’s word in context these are "rhema" word of God.
3.       Worship is the central to temptation.  Satan was willing to give up everything if Jesus was willing to bow to him.  Satan also hungry for our worship.  He wanted God to worship him.  Jesus replied “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only”.
Luke 4:6 – Satan willing to give all authority to Jesus if He was willing to worship him.
Luke 4:13 – Satan never let us go.  When there is opportunity he will tempt us.
James 1:2-4 – count it all joy to be tested.  Testing of our faith developed perseverance.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Matthew 3: John, True Servant of Christ dated 18.1.2015 by Ho King Swee

1.      The Ministry of John the Baptist (3:1-12)
2.   The Baptism of Jesus Christ (3:13-17)

2 key lessons we should learn from John the Baptist’s life
(i) His focused and faithful commitment to God
(ii) His humility

1.      The Ministry of John the Baptist (3:1-12)
(a) John the Baptist, forerunner of the Lord

·         Introduction

From Luke 1, we know John came from a preistly lineage; both his father and mother were from the descendants of priests, actually both traced back from the desdecndants of Aaron, the first high priest, from the tribe of Levi. We also know that many would rejoice at his birth and he would be great before the Lord and would be filled wih the HS even from his mother’s womb.

·         John prepared the way of the Lord

How did John prepare himself before he preached and prepared the way of the Lord?

The parents would have told John about the message of the angel on his ministry
John was to live as a Nazerite, as one separated unto the Lord for his unique ministry assigned by God to him. John the baptist fulfilled not only the message by angel Gabriel but also prophecies given by Isaiah as one who cried out in wilderness preparing the way of the Lord.

V4 told us also John lived a simple and humble life. His clothing was of rough material normally worn by poor people and not of fine clothing worn by the rich. His food was also of the very simplest only taken by the poorest prople in those days. Elijah, one of the great prophets of OT also had the similar clothing.

Since the days of Malachi, there was a long silence of about 400 years during which no prophecy was given to the Jews or Israelites. John's birth and ministry was prophesied to his father Zechariah.

400 years is a long time for the Israelites who were now without any prophet who used to speak to them from the Lord God. John’s emergence or appearance seemed to be one both of a great joy to them because now after such a long time they began to hear one who spoke to them from the Lord.

(b) The message of John
Repent (3:2). The Lord Jesus when He began to preach also said the same thing. Repentance was preahced by the disciples and apostles in the NT time.

His message and ministry was mainly to get people to repent and truly begin to live righteously and prepare to believe and follow the one who was to come after him, the Lamb of God and the Messiah. John of course taught his disciples many things from the word of God.

Repentance is one of the most important doctrines and teachings that have been misundertood and not fully lived out in the lives of many so called believers.
Many who profess to believe in Christ have yet to truly live a repented life that bears fruit of repentance thinking that by just a one off confession of sins and asking for forgiveness will be sufficient.
John warned of the coming of the judgment on all who do not repent and live a life righteous before the Lord.

His message was really a strong and fiery one to the people who for so long have been living under no prophet and priest who were truly pointing and bringing the peole back to their Lord God who had called them as a separate people unto Himself.

Now for > 400 years they have not heard from God through His sent prophet. The priests including the high preiest and so called their spiritual leaders not only did not lead the people to live for God but were themselves corrupted such that many were living under great oppression and total darkness.

John therefore taught the people to live a life that bear fruit in fitting with repentance meaning they must show changes in their lives by changing their mind, their action and ultimately growing in true righteousness before the Lord and men. There must be a change in their character inwardly. He rebuked many of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to him demanding thay they bear the fruit of repentance.
It shows us that John the baptist did not dilute the message of God but was bold to speak nothing but the undiluted truth. He was a man who fear not men but God and only wanted to obey and please God
John was even not afraid of telling King Herod Antipas of his sin by marrying his brothe’s wife Herodias and because of that John was put in prison by intigation from the wife who was very furious with John.

How successful was John’s public ministry? How did the people respond to John’s preaching and ministry?
V.5 Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan (Mk.1:5)
John the Baptist had truly a great crowd of followers

v. 5 tells us that his ministry was very popular and well received by the people generally because it says all Jerusalem and Judea went to him. It was stated crowds went to him to be baptised including tax collectors and soldiers (Luke 1). Even many of the Pharisees and Sadducees also went to him.
Many thought John was the Elijah or even more the Messiah!
So John had to clarify that he was neither Elijah nor the Messiah but one who cried out in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. (As prophesied by Isaiah)

In fact John’s ministry was very popular that many from outside of Jerusalem and Judea were also taught of it probably by John’s disciples from these other places outside Israel.
E.g. Apollos, a native of Alexandria in Acts 18:24-26
12 disciples at Ephesus recorded in Acts 19 where we read that Paul met about twelve disciples who were actually only baptised in John’s baptism.

2.      Jesus’s baptism (v13-17)

John gave the highest honor to the Lord who was to come after him saying that even he was not worthy to untie his sandal which was the job of the lowest of slaves.

John was revealed by the Lord God who was the Messiah and knew definitely Jesus was the one when the HS descended on Him after He was baptised. Jn. 1:29-33.
Many prophets were only given prophecies of the Lord's coming but none before John had been given the priviledge to prepare the way of the Lord. John had indeed a very privileged ministry because to him was revealed who the Messiah and he was able to see with his eyes the Lord and savior! 1 Pet.1:10-12.

Once He knew who the Messiah was, John prepared to get his disciples and followers to follow Jesus. John was not after his own name or ministry on earth because he had committed to be focus and faithful in his commitment to the Lord even unto the death.
In John 3:26-30, when the disciples of John told him that more and more people were now going to Jesus for baptism which meant there was now a competitor to John’s ministry. John’s answer clearly showed that he was indeed a very focused and faithful man in his commitment to God. He was never distratced but was humble and willing to be out of the scene to build the kingdom of his Lord. He said, “He must increase, I must decrease.”

1.   Be focus and faithful in your Commitment to God (Heb.12:1-2)
Our primary and ultimate commitment should be to our Lord.

2.  Humble yourself before God and men (1 Pet. 5:5-6, James 4:6, 10)
Humbling ourselves is the surest way to be given and showered with God’s grace

Am I growing more and more like the LORD Jesus in humility?
Christ must increase and I must decrease in my life, every aspect of my life.
What actions do I intend to take to grow in humility?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Life by Song Ting Kee dated 11.1.15

The following passages were read before Bro. Song gave his message, John 10:10, Matthew 11:28-30, Roman 1:16, Roman 1:11-12.
Why are we gathered in church each Sunday?  
Bro. Song shared it is to be mutually encouraged.  Our faith in God will be enhanced when we meet members with similar faith.  We encourage each other.

        God and me
        Me and God
We usually talked a lot about “me” because we were taught from young at home, in school and other places.  We need to move from “me” to “God”.
What is the difference between “God and me”, and “Me and God”?

Hysterical School
Many years ago in Kuching, students in a school was hit by hysterical spirits for three months.  Everyday students went into hysteria and ambulance had to be called to send students to the hospital.  Students heard voices and some jumped from the third floor.  The principal also encountered spirits and he applied and granted a transfer out of the school.  Teachers of other faiths called their priests or elders to pray to drive out the spirits but to no avail.  A group of nominal Christians decided to call their pastors to go to the school to pray and to drive out the spirits.  After the pastors prayed thunderstorm came.  In the afternoon the teachers continued to hear ambulance approaching, but this time around it was not arriving at their school but at a nearby school.  Apparently the spirits had gone to that school.  One of the woman teachers from this school was so touched that she resigned as a teacher to go full time, forgoing even her pension.  She knew God will provide for her.

Japanese Pastor
Sometime ago Bro. Song met a Japanese Pastor.  Instead of greeting him the usual way, he greeted him with “Jesus is boss”.  Bro. Song could see God in him.  He was the second man of a gang and his wife had been praying for him to turn to God.  Eventually he did.  Now he served God.  He got himself a wooden Cross and walked the city of Tokyo proclaiming Jesus as our Saviour.

Student from a local university
Bro. Song has been fellow-shipping with students from a local university.  A young man said you need to believe before you can see God’s ways.  He is right.  The world says “seeing is believing”, but Jesus says “Believing is seeing”.  John 1:1-4.

Prison Ministry
Bro. Song and others from our church have been serving in this ministry for more than 20 years.  Nowadays, more local church pastors are involved in this ministry.  In the recent Christmas celebration Bro. Song’s team spent RM1,800 to celebrate Christmas with the prisoners.  As  ACS is also involved he requested to claim RM1,800 from them.  However, the Secretary General of ACS said actually he was prepared to give RM2,000.  Praise God for others who are willing to share the burdens.

A prisoner requested a pastor to invite his mother to prison to visit him.  On the way the mother got into an accident and could not come.  This pastor visited her and her other family members, eventually all this prisoner’s family members came to Christ.  Hallelujah!
The prisoners who do not know Christ said “me, me, me”.  But after accepting Christ, they became “God and me”.