Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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Should We Follow the Ten Commandments Today?

Most people believe we should still keep the Ten Commandments. Is this true? What does the Bible say?

The Ten Commandments were given to the nation of Israel at Mt. Sinai after they left Egyptian slavery (Deuteronomy 4:13; 9:9, 10). Moses said: “The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive” (Deuteronomy 5:2, 3). This was a new law God had given. It had not been given to their ancestors. It was given only to the children of Israel!

The command to keep the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week, which is Saturday) was not required of man before Mount Sinai (Read Nehemiah 9:13,14). It was not required for any people except Israel for it was not given to anyone else! The Law given at Sinai to Israel, which included the Ten Commandments, was made only with the nation of Israel and no one else! Gentiles (non-Jews) were not required to keep the Law unless they became converts to the Jewish faith. Even if the Old Covenant had not been taken away in Christ, it would not be required of non-Jews. It never was intended for them.

Jeremiah, who lived under the Law given at Sinai, said that this Law was temporary and that God was going to make a New Law with His people: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt” (Jeremiah 31:31,32). The New Law would be different from the Old. Jeremiah spoke these words 900 years after the Law was given at Mt. Sinai and 600 years before Christ gave the New Law. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament quotes this passage from Jeremiah and applies it to Jesus Christ who is “also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second” (Hebrews 8:6-13).

Jeremiah 31:31-34 also states some other differences between the Old Law and the New. The Old Law was written on tables of stone, but the New would be written on a believer’s heart. The Old Law did not provide for final forgiveness of sins, but the New did. The Ten Commandments were part of that Old Law. They have not been required of people to keep since Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago (Colossians 2:14). Christ at that time gave a “better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).

What happened to the Old Testament (the Old Law, or Old Covenant)? The New Testament tells us, “In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13). “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect…” (Hebrews 7:18,19). “Then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, 0 God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9). “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity, there is also a change of the law” (Hebrews 7:12). The apostle Paul wrote: “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements (the Law of Moses) that was against us, which was contrary to us, And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Paul also wrote concerning this Old Law which contained the Ten Commandments: “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24, 25).

When was the Old Law taken away and the New Law given? It happened when Jesus shed His blood on the cross: “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives” (Hebrews 9:15-17).

What was the purpose of the Old Law which was given to Israel at Mount Sinai? Paul answers: “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hands of a mediator” (Galatians 3:19). The Seed is Christ (Galatians 3:16). The Old Law, which contained the Ten Commandments, was given to keep Israel under control until Christ came. Since Christ has come and has fulfilled this Law, He has taken it out of the way. He has given us a New Law (covenant or testament). We must go to this New Law to learn how God wants us to serve Him today!

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Repentance: The Most Difficult Command

The word “repent” in its various forms occurs more than 100 times in the Bible. This shows the great importance of repentance. Nearly every church requires repentance from sin of those who wish to be members. However, repentance is a greatly misunderstood command of God. It is also a very difficult command. Some have said it is the most difficult command in all the Bible.

What is Repentance?
Sometimes the best way to learn the meaning of a word is first to look at what it is not before looking at what it is. Many people think repentance is just being sorry for one’s sins. This is not what repentance is! The apostle Paul wrote: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). If one is sorry for the sins he has committed, it will cause him to repent of them. On Pentecost Day, the Jews who heard Peter preach Christ “were cut to the heart.” This shows they were very sorry for their sin of crucifying Jesus, but their sorrow for sin was not repentance. Peter still had to tell them to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37, 38).

If repentance is not being sorry for one’s sins, then what is repentance? According to all the teaching of the Bible, repentance is a change of one’s mind toward sin. It is produced by godly sorrow for one’s sins. The result of this change of mind toward sin will be a change of life. A good example of what is involved in repentance is a parable that Jesus told: “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went” (Matthew 21:28,29). The son disobeyed his father. When he regretted (was sorry) for his disobedience, he changed his mind about his decision. He then did what his father had asked him to do.

Repentance involves restitution. “Restitution” means that we will make right the things we have done wrong in so far as possible. If one has murdered another person, he can not restore that person back to life. He can, however, help the widow and children of the man he has killed. If one has stolen money from another person, when he repents, he must return the money he has stolen. John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees: “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8).

Who Should Repent?
Those who are not Christians must repent of their sins in order to be saved. Jesus commanded “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Paul told the people of Athens that God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). On Pentecost Day, Peter told the Jews who heard the Gospel and had cried out, “What shall we do?” to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37, 38).

Christians who have sinned also need to repent. When Philip preached in Samaria, Simon, who had been a sorcerer, became a Christian. When he saw the apostles giving the gifts of the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on the Christians, he wanted to buy this power. “But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:20-22).

Why Should One Repent?
We have already learned that godly sorrow produces repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). In Jesus’ parable of the two sons, we learned that the son who refused to obey his father regretted his decision. Therefore, he changed his mind and did his father’s will. His regret (godly sorrow for his disobedience) caused him to repent and obey his father’s command (Matthew 21:28, 29). One will repent if he is sorry for his sins.

One will also repent of his sins when he understands God’s goodness toward him. Paul asked,“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). God loves us and sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:6-8). God’s goodness should make us want to repent of our sins against Him.

One will also repent of his sins because the Day of Judgment is coming. Paul told the idolaters in Athens: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30, 31). Christ is now ruling from the right hand of God in Heaven, but one day He will come again to raise the dead and judge the whole world (Acts 1:9-11; John 5:28, 29 ). Everyone who is living and who has ever lived will be judged (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). We must repent of our sins so that we will not be condemned at the Judgment!

When Should One Repent?
The Jews on Pentecost repented the same day they heard the Gospel. They were then baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:37, 38, 41). Since one can not be saved without repentance, then one should want to repent as soon as possible (Luke 13:3). Life is short and uncertain (James 4:13-15). Death is certain and will come to each one of us sooner or later (Hebrews 9:27). We are going to be judged for our sins at the Last Day. Therefore, we should repent immediately! The apostle Peter wrote: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Dear Reader, what about you? Have you repented of your sins? Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins? If not, please do so today so that you will be prepared to meet the Lord.

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What is Acceptable Prayer?

God speaks to us through the Bible. We speak to Him through prayer. In prayer, we make our thoughts known to the mind of God. No matter how much good we do, or how much we study God’s Word, we still need His care and protection. This is the reason Paul told us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It is important that we know the answer to some basic questions about prayer.

Who Can Pray?
Only God’s children have the privilege of prayer (1 Peter 3:12; James 5:16). The privilege of prayer is for those who are “in Christ.” Does God hear the prayers of sinners? Yes, He hears them, but He does not answer them. However, God does help those who are seeking the truth (John 7:17). For example, Cornelius was not a Christian. He was a good man who believed in God. He wanted to be saved. God sent Peter to teach him what to do to be saved (Acts 10:1-11:18).

Why Do We Pray?
Prayer is a way for us to enjoy fellowship with God (Acts 2:42). We pray for God’s help when we need it (Hebrews 4:16). We pray because God has commanded us to pray (1 Timothy 2:8; Luke 18:1). We also pray to thank God for the the blessings we receive from Him (James 1:17).

Where Do We Pray?
Can we pray only in the church building during worship? No, we can pray anywhere and everywhere. Two children were late for school. One said, “Let’s stop and pray.” The other said, “Let’s run while we pray.” We can pray whenever we need to. It does not matter where we are. Paul prayed while he was in prison (Acts 16:25). Jonah prayed while he was in the stomach of the great fish (Jonah 2:1). Daniel prayed in front of an open window in his room (Daniel 6:10). Hannah prayed at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 1:9-18). Jesus prayed in a garden (Luke 22:39-41). When the church assembled to worship, they prayed. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (Acts 2:42). “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:5).

To Whom Do We Pray?
Roman Catholics pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Sometimes they pray to dead “saints.” Other people pray to the spirits of their dead ancestors. But Jesus taught His disciples to pray to God, the Father (Matthew 6:9). We pray to the Father through (in the name of ) Jesus Christ our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).

How Should We Pray?
Must we kneel when we pray? No. The Bible records a number of different positions for prayer. We must pray in faith (James 1:6). We must pray to God with “clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3,4). Our prayers must be in keeping with God’s Will (Luke 22:42).

Does God Answer Prayer?
Yes! He answered Elijah’s prayer at Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-39). He gave Hannah a son in answer to her prayer (1 Samuel 1:9-20). In answer to the prayer of Hezekiah, He saved Judah from the Assyrians (Isaiah 37:15-36). God answers prayers in three ways. Sometimes He answers “Yes” when He knows it is best for us. When Hezekiah prayed to live, God gave him fifteen more years (2 Kings 20:1-6). Sometimes God answers “No” when He knows it is best for us (James 4:3; 1 John 5:14). Elijah prayed for God to take his life when Jezebel was seeking to kill him (1 Kings 19:4; 2 Kings 2:11). Paul asked three times to have his “thorn in the flesh” removed, but God did not remove it (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Sometimes God says “Wait.” Our request may be right, but it may be asked at the wrong time (1 Corinthians 1:25). This is one way we can learn patience (James 1:3). Abraham had to wait twenty-five years for the son God promised him. Moses had to wait for 40 years before God was ready for him to lead Israel to freedom.

Five Areas of Prayer
(1) Praise (Luke 11:2). We praise God for His power, wisdom, glory, holiness, righteousness, mercy, and longsuffering. We show our respect and reverence in this way.

(2) Thanksgiving (1 Timothy 2:1). We thank God for salvation, the joy of life, and for all the blessings He gives us. We must be thankful from our heart (Hebrews 13:15).

(3) Confession (Luke 11:4; Psalm 66:18). Christians ask forgiveness for every sin they commit (1 John 1:7-9; Acts 8:22).

(4) Petition (Philippians 4:6). We ask for the things we need, subject to God’s will (James 4:3). If we ask for help to be better Christians, then we need to work to be better Christians.

(5) Intercession (Colossians 1:9). We pray for others ( 2 Thessalonians 3:1).

We pray to God because He wants us to speak to Him. Prayer is an important part of a Christian’s life. It is one of the blessings of being “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Does God hear your prayers? If you are not a Christian, you do not have the privilege of prayer. If you are living in disobedience to God, He will not hear your prayers. All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). In order to get into Christ, we must believe and be baptized (Mark 16:15-16; Galatians 3:26-27). Why not obey the gospel today so you can have God’s assurance that He will hear your prayers?

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God’s Plan for Marriage

Marriage is nearly as old as the human race. It was ordained by the Creator Himself. It was God’s will that a man and a woman become one in marriage. No provision was made for either polygamy or divorce. Marriage was intended by God to be for life, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Also study, Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39. His plan, as given in the beginning, was: “one man, one wife; for life!”

It was not long, however, until men departed from God’s original plan. Polygamy began to be practised (Genesis 4:19). When the Law of Moses was given to Israel, the people had become so hard-hearted that God permitted divorce, but only under certain conditions (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Even then, God was not pleased with divorce. He said: For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce” (Malachi 2:14-16).

When Jesus came into the world and gave His law for all mankind, He did not give a new and different law of marriage. Instead He called mankind back to God’s original plan (Matthew 19:3-12). His commandment, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” is still God’s will for us today!

The Lord allowed only one cause for divorce. This cause is fornication on the part of one’s marriage partner. Fornication on the part of a marriage partner gives the innocent partner the right to divorce and remarry. But no such privilege is given to the guilty partner! To divorce and remarry for other than the one Scriptural cause is to commit adultery. To marry one who has been divorced who was not the innocent party is to commit adultery. “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:9). Also read Matthew 5:31,32. Adulterers will not go to Heaven. They will spend eternity in Hell (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8). Those who are living in adultery must repent, stop committing adultery, and seek the Lord’s forgiveness if they want to be saved.

The home is the basic unit of society. It is the function of the home to provide companionship, the satisfaction of basic human needs and the rearing and training of children. The community, the church, and the nation can only be strong when the home is strong. Many evil forces are seeking to destroy the home today. Among these evil forces are easy divorce laws, fornication, false views of woman’s role in society, but most of all, ignorance of, and a failure to obey God’s law of marriage which is given in the Bible.

God’s people must never compromise God’s will on marriage! We have no right to change God’s requirements! In a day when the world increasingly accepts divorce and remarriage for almost any cause, God’s people must stand out as lights shining in darkness (Philippians 2:14,15). It is not our duty to be changed by the world’s standards, but to bring the world to God’s standards. Paul states in Romans 12:1,2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” To this end, we should strive diligently to make our homes conform to God’s righteous ways recorded in His Word. It is very important that we teach our children that marriage is for life and divorce is sinful except for the one reason that Jesus gave. Let us never forget or forsake the divine admonition: “Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). God’s plan for marriage is still “one man, one wife, for life!”

Let us teach our children God’s will on marriage, divorce and remarriage. We must set an example for our children and for the world by following God’s plan for marriage!

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Is Hand Clapping in the Church Scriptural?

Why do some clap their hands (applaud) during the worship of the church? Some clap when they agree with a point the preacher has made. Some applaud when he finishes his sermon. This is to show their approval of it. However, there is no Scriptural authority for hand clapping in the worship of the church! One of the principles which will help us understand the Lord’s will for worship is to”speak where the Scriptures speak, and to remain silent where the Scriptures are silent.” In other words, when the Lord teaches us by a command, approved example, or implication in His Word, we have authority to do it. If He does not, then we are doing it without His authority.

What is the proper way to show agreement or approval in worship? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 14:16. Paul wrote: “Otherwise, if you bless with the Spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” The manner of Paul’s question implies that the proper way to show agreement is to say “Amen.” Even though this passage is dealing with the miraculousspiritual gifts of the apostolic age, it clearly shows how the Lord expects His disciples to show agreement today.

If God had simply said, “Show agreement,” then hand clapping, whistling, or anything else could be done to accomplish it. However, God did not simply say “Show agreement!” He said to say “Amen” to show approval or agreement. This principle is clearly seen in Genesis 6:14. The Lord told Noah to “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.” Since God commanded the specific kind of wood to be used, no other kind could have been used with His approval. Since, in the New Testament, God has commanded the way to show approval or agreement in worship is by saying “Amen,” then no other way can be used with His approval! God does not have to say, “Thou shall not practice hand clapping or any other thing except to say “amen.” When He commanded saying “Amen,” this eliminated (left out) every other way of doing it!

The apostle Paul wrote: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). To do a thing “in the name of the Lord” means to do it by His authority. Therefore, we must have authority for everything we do in our worship and practice. Where is the verse which gives us authority for hand clapping in worship? It is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament!

Please consider the following arguments from the Word of God:
A) All Scripture is given to thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
B) No Scripture authorizes hand clapping in the worship of the church.
C) Therefore, hand clapping is not a good work!

A) It is a violation of Scripture to go beyond what is written (Revelation 22:18,19; 2 John 9).
B) Hand clapping in the worship of the church is not written in the New Testament.
C) Therefore, hand clapping in the worship of the church is a violation of the New Testament!

A)“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).“Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
B) The Word of God does not mention hand clapping in the worship of the church.
C) Therefore, hand clapping is not an act of faith and is a sin!

A) God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” through His Word (2 Peter 1:3).
B) God’s Word does not give us anything concerning hand clapping in the worship of the church.
C) Therefore, hand clapping in the church does not pertain to life and godliness!

Some try to justify hand clapping in the worship of the church by arguing, “It is mentioned in the Old Testament.” While this is true (see Psalm 47:1), this does not authorize it in the worship of the church today. We are under the New Testament law of worship. The Old Testament Law was for Israel and has been replaced by a new and better covenant (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 7:12; 8:6-13). The fact that hand clapping was commanded in Old Testament worship does not authorize it in New Testament worship any more than the fact that the burning of incense and the offering of animal sacrifices in Old Testament worship gives authority for them in New Testament worship. We are not under the Old Testament law of worship today! If one leaves out the offering of animal sacrifices and burning of incense, he must also leave out hand clapping.

Some try to justify hand clapping in the worship of the church today by insisting that it is a matter of option. One can choose to do it, or one can choose not to do it. But if it is an option, why not leave it out? Many Christians cannot do it in good conscience. If it is not commanded, but merely a matter of option, then it should not be used for this will cause division. Those who oppose hand clapping in worship do not believe it is an optional matter. They oppose it because it is an addition to the God given pattern of worship in the New Testament.

When we worship God, we must simply follow that which He has revealed to us in the New Testament. Hand clapping as an act of worship is not revealed in the New Testament. Therefore, in order to please God, we must leave it out of our worship! God demands respect for His Word. To add to it or to take away from it is to incur the wrath of God. It will result in one’s being kept out of the Holy City, which is Heaven (Revelation 22:18,19).