Announcements (25 Oct 15)

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Oct 252015
 

Reformation Sunday: Today we commemorate the Reformation – may the Lord enable New Life to defend the faith always.

Adults SS Class at Chapel, 11.30 am. Lesson 6: Cultivating Endurance by Dr. Jim Berg. All are Welcome!

Operation Clean-Up THIS SAT 31/10 @ 9am: NBCs & Fellowship Groups, please refer to the notice board for your assigned area. Lunch is provided.

Elders’ Interview for all Catechumens on Sun 1/11 @11.30am in the Kindergarten Office – all concerned, please attend.

Evangelistic Movie Outreach: “Facing the Giants” on 21 Nov, 3pm @Chapel, followed by light refreshments.  Please invite your unsaved family and friends to come along for an enjoyable afternoon!

Combined Youth Camp (17-19 Dec): All youths (ages 12-20) are strongly encouraged to attend.  Registration begins TODAY and ends on 22 Nov.

Holy Land Tour (Tentative dates: 18 – 30 Nov 2016) Registration is ongoing. There will be a tour briefing at 4pm Sat. 7/11 for all who are interested. Copies of the tour details are available at the foyer.

Calendar 2016 is pinned up on the church notice boards. The calendar is also available in the church web site for members’ planning of 2016’s leave and/or commitment.

Hymnal Fund: New Lifers are encouraged to give to this fund as the church is working on replacing our church hymnals.

25 Oct 15 – Reformation in France

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Oct 252015
 

By Rev. Lim Chee Boon

On 31 October 2015 we celebrate the 498th Anniversary of the Reformation of the Christian Church.  It was on this date in 1517 Martin Luther nailed a list of 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther opposed the Catholic Church in the selling of “Indulgences” for the absolution of the sins of the departed family members, relatives, friends, and also for one’s own future sins.  The practice was unbiblical and it corrupted the Catholic Church.   The 95 Theses is also known as “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences.”  What Luther did marks the beginning of the Great Reformation of the Christian Church.

From Germany the movement spread to Switzerland, France and other parts of Europe.  The French Reformation was attributed largely to John Calvin.  He was also highly critical of the abuses in the French Catholic Church.  In 1536 he wrote the first edition of “Institutes of the Christian Religion.” It was revised on a number of occasions and the final edition was published in 1559. This book was a clear explanation of Calvin’s religious beliefs. It aided the Reformation Movement in tremendous ways because the Protestant Church has a clearly defined teaching of the Christian Faith.  There is a part of the French Reformation not mentioned by many writings on the Reformation Movement in France.  It is known as the Huguenots Movement.

WHO ARE THE HUGUENOTS?

The origin of the name “Huguenot” is unclear.  There are several hypotheses: one of the most popular theories is found in Henri Estienne’s “Apologie d’Herodote” (1566).  In the introduction he gives a very clear explanation of the term Huguenot:   “The Protestants at Tours used to assemble by night near the gate of King Hugo, whom the people regarded as a spirit.  A monk, therefore, in a sermon declared that the Lutherans ought to be called Huguenots as kinsmen of King Hugo, inasmuch as they would only go out at night as he did.  This nickname became popular from 1560 onwards, and for a long time the French Protestants were always known by it.”  Today the Huguenots are members of a French Protestant denomination, inspired by the writings of John Calvin.

The Huguenots grew in numbers in the 16th century.  As they gained influence and more openly displayed their faith, Catholic hostility grew, in spite of increasingly liberal political concessions and edicts of toleration from the French crown.  A series of religious conflicts followed, known as the Wars of Religion, fought intermittently from 1562 to 1598.  The most notable event was the Battle of St Bartholomew in 1572 where thousands of Protestant Christians were massacred.  The conflict ended in 1598 when King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes on the day 13 April.  Under this decree, Christians have freedom to practice their beliefs in the land.  They were permitted to inherit property, engage in trade, attend all schools and universities, and be treated in hospitals on the same basis as everyone else.

THE REVOCATION OF THE EDICT OF NANTES

The religious freedom enjoyed by the Huguenots lasted only for 88 years.  The Edict of Nantes was revoked by King Louis IV on 18 October 1685.  He issued the Edict of Fontainebleau that abolished all legal recognition of Protestantism in France, and forced the Huguenots to convert.  Although the revocation was the personal act of the King, it was nevertheless a popular measure, approved by the Catholic Church of France, and by the great body of the French people.  With the revocation hell broke loose on the Huguenots.  The Catholic Church, the enemies of the Reformation Movement, and especially Queen Madame de Maintenon unleased their furies on the Protestant Christians in France.  Maintenon wrote to the Duc de Noailles, “The soldiers are killing numbers of the fanatics – they hope soon to free Languedoc of them.”

Some Huguenots fled to neighboring countries where religious freedom is observed.  Many of these French Christians remained in the homeland.  Men were sent to the galleys (slave ships) and the women to prison.  If they died, the corpses were dragged around the streets to create the atmosphere of fear in the hearts of the Christians.  Children of Protestant families were removed from their families and placed in the custody of Catholic parents.

THE PURITY OF THE FAITH

The Huguenots paid a great price for their faith.  They held to the purity of the gospel and would not recant it.  They chose to suffer in the hands of those who denied the truth.  They are shining stars of the Reformation Movement.  How do we commemorate the Reformation?  We can do it by “contending earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).  The Ecumenical Movement is taking the Protestant Church back to the fold of the Roman Catholic Church.  Let us stand faithful and true to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.

Announcements (18 Oct 15)

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Oct 182015
 

Note of thanks: Sister Lena & Brother Gabriel would like to thank Pastors, Session, and members of the church for the encouragement and love gifts given during their recent bereavement.

Adults SS Class at 11.30am, Chapel. Lesson 5:  Cultivating Self Control by Dr. Jim Berg.

Session Meeting TODAY. All Session members, please attend.

‎Operation Clean-Up 31/10 9am: NBCs & Fellowship Groups, please refer to the notice board for your assigned area. Lunch is provided.

Evangelistic Movie Outreach: “Facing the Giants” on 21 Nov, 3pm @Chapel, followed by light refreshments.  Please invite your unsaved family and friends to come along for an enjoyable afternoon!

Combined Youth Camp (17-19 Dec): All youths (ages 12-20) are strongly encouraged to attend.  Registration begins on 25 Oct and ends on 22 Nov.

Holy Land Tour (Tentative dates: 18 – 30 Nov 2016) Registration is ongoing. There will be a tour briefing at 4pm Sat. 7/11 for all who are interested. Copies of the tour details are at the foyer.

Hymnal Fund: New Lifers are encouraged to give to this fund as the church is working on replacing our church hymnals.

18 Oct 15 – Obeying When It Hurts

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Oct 182015
 

Obeying When It Hurts

By Eld. Yap Chee Kian

In his book Miracle on the River Kwai, Ernest Gordon tells the true story of a group of Prisoners of War (POWs) working on the Burma Railway during World War Il:

“At the end of each day the tools were collected from the work party. On one occasion a Japanese guard shouted that a shovel was missing and demanded to know which man had taken it. He began to rant and rave, working himself up into a paranoid fury and ordered whoever was guilty to step forward. No one moved. “All die! All die!” he shrieked, cocking and aiming his rifle at the prisoners. At that moment one man stepped forward and the guard clubbed him to death with his rifle while he stood silently to attention. When they returned to the camp, the tools were counted again and no shovel was missing.”

No other details were given in the story about the man who stepped forward and why he did so but obviously his death saved the lives of many. What this man did is similar to what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross: He gave his life so that we may live. What I wish to highlight here is the obedience of Christ to His Heavenly Father, even unto death.

Biblical Obedience Or Human Morality?

Biblical obedience comes from a reverential awe of who God is and what He has done for us. There is a distinction between obedience that comes from choosing to obey God and doing what is moral in our human understanding. There are many morally upright people in our society who do not know God and yet the things they do may even put Christians to shame. Their morality may be the result of environment, upbringing, personal integrity and perhaps even Church influence. There is however no reverential fear for God in them. If the Christian is not careful, he may also do likewise and conduct himself in moral uprightness but having little to do with the fear of God. This is not biblical obedience.

Biblical obedience begins with the heart of love. 1 John 5:3 says: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. This summarizes the obedience which expresses our love for God. Deuteronomy 6:4 – 5 (verse 4 is also known as Shema Yisrael שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל‎; meaning “Hear, O Israel”) instructs the Israelites:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

This is to be passed down from generation to generation. Again, this is emphasized by Jesus in Matthew 22:37: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

The Cost of Obedience

Obeying God costs Jesus his life. If we think the cost is nothing to Jesus because He is God, remember He is also fully man. The Bible in Hebrews 4:15 tells us that He is subjected to the same infirmities that we are subjected to, but yet without sin. Hebrews 5:7 gives a graphic description of what Jesus went through as He agonized over His impending death at Calvary: Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. Following our Master will mean that obeying God will cost us dearly too. Let us examine two areas where obedience can be costly:

Choosing forgiveness (Rom 12:12,14,17) – God loved us and forgave us at great cost to Himself. We are to love others, even at great cost to ourselves. Sometimes, this means a willingness to NOT see justice done as a condition of forgiveness for a personal wrong committed against us. This does not mean that we condone the misdeed. Instead, we are prepared to let it go because we choose to obey God. We may have to humble ourselves, cause inconvenience to ourselves and even forgo our sense of justice. Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom was a Dutch Christian who, together with her family members, helped many Jews during World War II. She was imprisoned for her actions and many of her family members died during the imprisonment. She related the story of how she chose to forgive her persecutor whom she met years later. (Read her book: I’m Still Learning to Forgive).

Depending on God (Rom 12:9-11,18-21)–We need to realize our total dependence on God when we choose to obey Him. This costly submission to God means we will lose our independence. Oswald Chambers, an early twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist and teacher, in a daily devotion in his book: My Utmost for His Highest said that our obedience will be tested when we need to depend on God. Our entrenched human pride will resist the humiliation of refusing to be independent. We are to be constantly on guard that we do not dictate to God any condition for our obedience to Him.

Application – Consciousness of God

Our obedience to God needs to be examined daily. We will be constantly tempted to disobey God just as Adam did so at the Garden of Eden. Cultivating a conscious awareness of God’s presence daily will guard our spiritual foot step. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, gave us a warning here, “Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God”. Let us draw near to God and depend on Him in every situation as we seek to obey Him out of a reverential heart of love for Him.

Announcements (11 Oct 15)

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Oct 112015
 

Blessed Children’s Sunday: May the Lord continue to bless New Life with many children and all our children will come to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Session wish all our children a Blessed Children’s Day

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Adrian Tung on their joyous marital union yesterday!

Deepest condolences to the families of:

  1. Freddie whose grandmother passed away
  2. Lena whose father went home to the Lord.

May the Lord comfort and strengthen the bereaved families.

Note of thanks for praying for the Mission Team to Cambodia. Praise God for fantastic team members & a fruitful outreach!

Adults SS Class, 11.30am Lesson #4: Cultivating Knowledge by Dr. Jim Berg. All are Welcome!

Children’s Sunday (TODAY) 9.30am – 12.30pm: Please ask all our children to attend the Watermelon Party in the Kindergarten Classrooms.

SAF 9th Meeting (17/10 at 4:00-6:30pm) @ Chapel. Speaker: Eld Paul Tsao on “How can we serve the Lord?” Rom 12:1. Chairman: Dn Emmanuel. Please come to fellowship later at 5:15pm, even if you cannot attend the sharing session.

Session Meeting will be held NEXT SUNDAY. All Session members, please attend.

Combined Youth Camp (17-19 Dec): All youths (ages 12-20) are strongly encouraged to attend.  Registration begins on 25 Oct and ends on 22 Nov.

Holy Land Tour (Tentative dates: 18 – 30 Nov 2016) Registration starts NOW. There will be a tour briefing at 4pm Sat. 7/11 for all who are interested. Please collect a copy of the tour details from the foyer.

Hymnal Fund: New Lifers are encouraged to give to this fund as the church is working on replacing our church hymnals.

11 Oct 15 – Apollos and Aquila

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Oct 112015
 

Apollos and Aquila

By Eld. Prasad

I once had a pair of twins in my Sunday school class, namely Apollos Tan and Aquila Tan. They were good students, quiet, attentive and keen to learn the Word of God. It is interesting to know that there are an Apollos and an Aquila in the Bible.

Apollos was an evangelist, apologist, church leader, and friend of the apostle Paul. He was a Jew from Alexandria, Egypt, an eloquent man who knew the Scriptures, well instructed in the way of the Lord and fervent in the Spirit. In A.D. 54, he travelled to Ephesus, where he taught diligently about the Lord in the synagogue. However, at that time, Apollos’ understanding of the gospel was incomplete, since he had heard only what John the Baptist had said about Lord Jesus and the baptism of John (Acts 18:24-25). John focused on repentance from sin, which is the first step (Luke 3:3). But the whole message is to repent from sin and then believe in Christ. This probably meant that Apollos preached repentance and faith in the Messiah and believed that Lord Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. But he did not know the full magnitude of Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection and about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Aquila and Priscilla, friends of Paul, spent some time with Apollos and filled in the gaps in his understanding of Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 18:26).

Aquila and Priscilla were a first-century Christian missionary married couple. They lived, worked, and travelled with the Apostle Paul who described them as his fellow workers in Christ Jesus (Rom 16:3). We also know that Aquila, husband of Priscilla, was originally from Pontus and also was a Jewish Christian. According to church tradition, Aquila did not dwell long in Rome since the Apostle Paul is said to have made him a bishop in Asia Minor.

Apollos, from the instructions from Aquila and Priscilla, was now armed with the complete message, and he immediately began a preaching ministry and was used of God as an effective apologist for the gospel (Acts 18:28).
Apollos travelled through Achaia and eventually found his way to Corinth (Acts 19:1), where he “watered” – by helping the believers grow stronger in the faith which Paul had “sown” – by planting the seed of the gospel message in the people’s hearts (1 Corinthians 3:6).  Apollos, with his natural gifts, had attracted a following among the church in Corinth, but simple admiration was growing into divisiveness. Against Apollos’ wishes, there was a faction in Corinth that claimed him as their spiritual mentor, to the exclusion of Paul and Peter. Paul deals with this partisanship in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13. Paul wondered whether the Corinthians’ quarrels had divided the church. But Christ is not divided, and neither should we, His true believers, allow anything to divide us. We cannot love personality over truth.
The last mention of Apollos in the Bible comes in Paul’s letter to Titus: “Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them (Titus 3:13). Obviously, Apollos was on his way through Crete, where Titus was, at that time. Just as obviously, Paul still considered Apollos to be a valuable co-labourer and friend.

Some believe that Apollos eventually returned to Ephesus to serve the church there, although there is no biblical confirmation of this. Also, some identify Apollos as the unknown author of the book of Hebrews; again, there is no biblical support for such identification. The author of Hebrews remains unknown.
In summary, Apollos was a man of letters with a zeal for the Lord and a talent for preaching. He laboured in the Lord’s work, aiding the ministry of the apostles and faithfully building up the church.

No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we are in our faith, the sinful world always will challenge our faith. We still have much room for growth. If every day we find some way to draw closer to Christ, we will be prepared to stand for truth in any and all circumstances.

The lives of both Apollos and Aquila should encourage each of us as in the words of Peter, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18).

Brethren, we are to use our God-given gifts to promote the message of salvation to the many unsaved who has not heard the truth about salvation.

Announcements (04 Oct 15)

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Oct 042015
 

J.O.Y. Sunday: All youths Sec 1 upwards, welcome to this youth programme @ the Chapel 11.30am.

Adults SS Class at Fellowship Hall, 11.30am @ Fellowship Hall. All are Welcome! Lesson #3: Cultivating the Excellence of Christ-likeness by Dr. Jim Berg. 

Children’s Sunday (NEXT SUNDAY) 9.30am – 12.30pm: Please invite children in your neighbourhood or your relatives to this evangelistic event.

Wedding of Bro. Adrian Tung and Sis. Ng Li Jin on 10/10 11.30am. All guests are to be seated by 11.15 am.

Combined Youth Camp (17-19 Dec): All youths (ages 12-20) are strongly encouraged to attend. Registration will start in October

Holy Land Tour (Tentative dates: 18 – 30 Nov 2016) Registration starts NOW. There will be a tour briefing at 4pm Sat. 7/11 for all who are interested. Please see Sis. Julia Ong to collect a copy of the tour details.

Hymnal Fund: New Lifers are encouraged to give to this fund as the church is working on replacing our church hymnals.

Pastor Gan will be on leave (28 Sep – 6 Oct). Members who need pastoral care and counsel can approach Ps Lim or Ps Nathan or the Elders.

04 Oct 15 – Call to All

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Oct 042015
 

Call to All Matthew 28:19-20

By Rev. S. V. Nathan

Introduction:

The Church is a community chosen and called by God to witness, testify and proclaim the gospel to the world until the second coming of Lord Jesus Christ.  The word “Church”, which comes from Greek word “Ecclesia”, is from two words – ek (out) and kaleó(called). In other words, a Church is a body of Christians “called out” of the world to come together into a separate Called and Commissioned Community.  The Church has High Calling of being a Witness to the whole world.  As Christians we are called to walk worthy of our calling in this world. Thus, I call your attention to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to ponder over again and remind ourselves of our negligence of duty in being Disciples of Christ.  The Great Commission is a most significant passage in the Holy Scriptures. It was the last recorded personal instruction given by Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples. It is also a special calling from the Lord Jesus Christ to all His followers to take specific action while on this earth. The Great Commission is the beginning of faith in action for all Christians. There are four major aspects in these verses:

  1. All Power – Authority (18b): “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

This is an incredibly powerful statement which demands faith in Jesus Christ, validating His power and authority in the lives of Christians and their commitment to Him.  This verse acts as a clear claim to Christ’s omnipotence, and therefore His deity. If Christians do not believe this, complete faith does not exist. Jesus is very clear about His power and authority in the world – it is complete and total from the beginning of time (John 1:1-3, Col 1:16-18). Thus, Christ’s power and authority urges us to act.

  1. All Nations -Territory (19a): Go ye therefore, and teach all nations

The Great Commission is unique, with global scope and effective until the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here the authority is given to Apostles who represented Christ & Church worldwide without national boundaries and the time extends until His Second Coming. The local church is commissioned to accomplish a specific task in the territory assigned. Therefore, the church is responsible for the spiritual life of the people living locally and globally.  The commission emphasizes that the church has to “GO & MAKE DISCIPLES” without any boundaries. Thus, Jesus calls all His followers to act and share the Good News of salvation throughout the world. Are you ready to Go and share the Gospel with the lost and unreached.

  1. All Things – Task: (v20a): Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”

Jesus provides specific direction with affirmation to His followers. Christians are commanded to teach others about Jesus Christ and the entirety of His truth.  The emphasis in this verse is not going or baptizing or teaching; but making disciples by teaching them to observe all things.  We can’t profess Christ as Saviour and Lord, while rejecting certain of His teachings. We need to take caution not to deviate from the focus – the very nucleus of the Gospel – by doing other things. The gospel must be the focal point in Missions and Evangelism, whether locally or globally.

  1. Always With You – Promise of His presence (20b): “….lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.

This commission is also unique because of a special promise of the presence of the Lord, which is not to the distant future, but in all times – past, present and future. Hence, as we teach Christ’s truths, we can be confident in faith that Jesus Christ will support us. This fact has proven trustworthy throughout the centuries as millions of believers have heard, accepted and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yes, Christ has ascended back to heaven, but He is present by the power of the Holy Spirit in every believer at all times.

Conclusion:

Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ calls us all to step out in faith and spread the Good News. This is faith in action! People who obey this command change their spiritual lives forever! We could be spreading the Good News to a neighbour or moving to another country to reach the people there. We could be sharing with less fortunate kids down the street or spreading the Word in our own neighbourhood. Wherever we are, every faithful Christian is compelled through obedience to share the Gospel. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, where has He called you to go? Who has God put on your heart to share the gift of salvation? What small or large steps can you take, with the knowledge that Christ will be by your side, “to make disciples of all the nations”? The places and people who need to hear the Gospel are everywhere! This great commission is packaged with a great promise that “He is with us always, even unto the end of the world.” Here we are expected to obey in order to receive this great blessing. Let these words exhort and encourage every one of us to take the Gospel seriously and serve Him in our respective capacity and vicinity. May God bless you abundantly.