Jurong Outreach

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


Leave a comment

May One “Judge” Other Churches?

If a Christian teacher says that “false teaching” is occurring in a congregation of which he is not a member, would this be considered “judging?” Would it violate a church’s “autonomy?” There are actually two elements of this question that require consideration.

JUDGING

Somehow, many folks assume that all judging is wrong (yet they are not reticent to judge those whom they feel are judging). But all judging is not wrong. Hypocritical judging is wrong, I.e., condemning someone of the very thing that you are practicing.

(Matt 7:1-5) “Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
5 “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

(Rom 2:1) “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”

Superficial judging, ie. Judging on the basis of mere appearance, is evil as well.

(John 7:24) “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

On the other hand, Jesus commanded us to judge righteous judgment, which is a judgment (pronouncement) consistent with Scriptural teaching. Paul rebuked the Corinthian Christians because they were flaunting their differences before unbelieving authorities, rather than “judging” these matters within the confines of the congregational environment.

(1 Cor 6:1) “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?”

And so, a certain type of judging is not only not wrong; it is positively required.

CHURCH AUTONOMY

The second aspect of the question deals with what one may or may not criticize relative to the affairs of a neighbouring congregation. If the subject under consideration has to do with an issue of mere expediency, it is not appropriate for the members of one congregation to be harshly negative toward the activities of another congregation. Expediencies are matters of personal judgment, and ought not to be targets for hostile barbs.

Having said that, the notion has some involved in the thinking of many that a congregation may practice virtually anything it pleases—no matter how much of a departure from the truth—and no one, who is not a member of the congregation, is at liberty to offer any censure. Such view is far from the truth.

When Paul wrote First Corinthians to the church in Corinth, he was living in Ephesus, (1 Cor 16:8) “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” where he laboured for approximately three years. (Acts 20:31) “herefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

While in Ephesus, the apostle received reports of various happenings in Corinth. Accordingly, he wrote First Corinthians to address problems within that congregation. That congregation was divisive in spirit, (1 Cor 1:11) For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

The Corinthian saints retained a fornicating brother within their fellowhip (1 Cor 5:1) “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.”

Some were litigating their differences before heathen judges; others were abusing spiritual gifts, (1 Cor 12-14). Some of them even denied the future resurrection of the body, (1 Cor 15:12) “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?”

It apparently never occurred to Paul that he was “meddling” in the affairs of a congregation of which he was not a member. A Christian has the right to oppose error—wherever it may be. We would respectfully suggest, however, that it is not a reflection of maturity and balance to virtually consume one’s time in monitoring the problems of other congregations. When one virtually makes a career of “policing” the brotherhood, he reveals that he does not have a responsible view of what Christianity is about.

Written by Wayne Jackson

Advertisements


Leave a comment

We Need Each Other

John Donne was right when he observed, “No man is an island.” Whether we care to admit it or not, the truth is undeniable: we need each other. “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rm 12:4-5).

An old Ozark farmer was once plowing a field with his only mule. He bellowed, “Giddup Pete, Barney, Johnny, Ralph!” A stranger inquired, “Just how many names does that mule have?” To which the farmer replied, “Oh, his name is Pete. But he doesn’t know his own strength. I put blinders on him and yell out all those other names, and he thinks they are helping him. Like all of us, the mule needed to feel he was part of a team.

We do better when we know we have help. The Bible encourages those of us in Christ to “exhort one another daily” (Heb3:13), to “bear… one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2), to “pray one for another” (Jam 5:16), and the list goes on and on. We are not isolated individuals; we are brethren, members of the same spiritual body, fellow heirs in the kingdom of God. We are “labourers together with God” (I Cor. 3:9).

Are you an encourager? Do you help to promote harmony within the body of Christ? Are you ever “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3)? Just as you need the help and strength of others, they also need your help and your strength. All of us in the body — young and old, rich and poor, intellectual and illiterate — all of us need each other. That is the way God designed the church to operate.

A Band of Brothers (Romans 12:10-11)

Much is made of the camaraderie and brotherhood of our soldiers. Yesterday, while listening to the radio, I heard how this camaraderie is exemplified. Martin Savage, of CNN, offered four marines the opportunity to call home. One marine asked if he could give his call to another marine so that he could call his wife who was expecting. The other three marines asked to use their calls to call the parents of a young man who had been killed in action. Savage was so touched by their selflessness and camaraderie, that he broke down and said, “where do they get young men like this?” It’s heartwarming to hear of stories like this. Examples of human compassion, friendship, and selflessness are the kind of stories that rekindle our faith in our fellow man.

But what about the camaraderie and brotherhood that should exist among the soldiers of Christ? Do we routinely exhibit selfless love and concern for each other? Is it clear to all that the body of Christ, Christians, possess a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood unparalleled to anything in this world?

Brethren, don’t let petty differences keep you from behaving like a brother. We’re soldiers in the army of Christ. We face a daunting opponent. We need each other in this battle. If we have to worry about “friendly fire” as well as the assaults of the enemy, our effectiveness will be severely hampered. On the other hand, if we know that we don’t stand alone; if we know that we are a part of a “band of brothers” we’ll be emboldened by the camaraderie and acts of heroism will become routine and expected.

The Worth Of Life

The span of human existence

On this earth is brief at most;

And while we may live today,

Of tomorrow we cannot boast.

It can’t be long for any,

And it should sober every man,

That many who read these lines

Have used up their allotted span.

The sacred writers of old,

With metaphor and vital fact,

Give attention to brevity of life

And thus how man should act.

Life is as a fragile flower –

A sleep, a dream, a shepherd’s tent;

A tale that is told and soon o’er

Or as a night that’s far spent.

Thus life’s worth is measured

Not by year, or month, or week,

Nor moments of pleasure or woe,

Nor by earthly things we seek,

But by the things we give

And good things we do and say,

By the way we live and by

The roses we spread on the way.

By the help given to others

As over the way we’ve trod,

By the hope we have of Heaven

And the devotion we show to God!

Wardell Halliburton


Leave a comment

Behind Enemy Lines

In the light of the Gulf War:

A small town in the hills of West Virginia and an entire nation are rejoicing over the news that an American prisoner of war has been rescued. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk from Palestine, W. Va., was rescued by U.S. special operation forces in Iraq earlier this week. Jessica was part of the Army’s 507th Maintenance Company, which was ambushed near Nasiriyah after making a wrong turn during early fighting in the invasion of Iraq. Jessica and other U.S. soldiers – including five that were shown on Iraqi television answering questions – were taken prisoner in the ambush. Injured during the ambush, Jessica is now receiving treatment for her wounds, but she now is safe – rescued from captivity!

Jessica’s rescue parallels ANOTHER grand rescue in which YOU and I are the captors.

WE have lost our focus and our way, made some “wrong turns” (what the Bible calls SIN), wandered away from safety and protection, and have fallen into enemy hands. WE have been taken captive by OUR archenemy, Satan.

Yet, while WE were prisoners of war, helplessly held hostage, God sent His Son to OUR rescue.

Just as those U.S. forces risked grave danger in rescuing Jessica, the Son of God ALSO entered into enemy territory, penetrating deep behind enemy lines, to rescue US. And in so doing, He gave His life so that WE could be rescued (Romans 5:8). Because of His “special operations,” YOU and I can be saved from our sins and from our enemy.

THOSE who have willingly followed the “PLAN” laid out by their great Rescuer have “been redeemed – rescued – by the precious BLOOD of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19). The MISSION to rescue ALL who are held in bondage to SIN was ACCOMPLISHED successfully by Jesus (1 John 2:2). However, this GIFT of freedom must be accepted in order to be enjoyed.

The “TERMS” of acceptance include faith (Hebrews 11:6), repentance of the “wrong turns” (sin) that we have committed in our lives (Acts 17:30-31), confession that Jesus is the Great Rescuer of all mankind (Romans 10:9-10), and baptism for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). To CONTINUE to enjoy freedom from this formidable foe, one must CONTINUE to follow the instructions of the “Captain of our Salvation” (1 John 1:7).

The world has become a battleground for human souls in a war of GOOD vs. EVIL with MANY trapped behind enemy lines. But, with your obedient cooperation, MORE good news can be shared: “Another P.O.W. has been rescued by Christ to the glory of God!”

We Thank Thee

We thank Thee, Father, for the care

That did not come to try us;

The burden that we did not bear,

The trouble that passed by us;

The task we did not fail to do,

The hurt we did not cherish;

The friend who did not prove untrue,

The joy that did not perish.

We thank Thee for the blinding storm

That did not lose its swelling’

And for the sudden blight of harm

That came not nigh our dwelling.

We thank Thee for the dart unsped,

The bitter word unspoken,

The grave unmade, the tear unshed,

The heart-tie still unbroken.

Thank Thee at this moment,

we are spared.


Leave a comment

Restoring the Joy

Are you unhappy with the church? Are you disappointed in the worship? Have you gotten to the point where you just attend once in a while? When you try to motivate yourself to come, does the whole process feel like sheer drudgery? And when you are here, do the lessons seem kind of boring? Has the Lord’s Supper lost some of its flavour? Do brethren appear to ignore you? And have you started wondering how many things you could buy with the money you put in the contribution?

Cheer up! You’re not the only one who has ever felt this way. One of the most spiritual men of all time, “man after His [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam 13:14), also once lost the enthusiasm that he had formerly possessed in his love and service of God. In Psalm 51:12, he prayed to God, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.”

David did that? Yes, David, conqueror of giants and author of the most devotional literature in the Old Testament, reached a point in his life where he could no longer feel close to the God he loved. What could have happened to such a devout man, to have caused him to depart from his Creator?

The same thing that hindered him is working on you, if you fall into this category—sin! David wrote Psalm 51 after Nathan rebuked him for his sin with Bathsheba. “Now wait just a minute,” you say, “I certainly haven’t done anything like David did. I may have my faults—but nothing that serious.” Good. But it’s not the specific sin of adultery—or the follow-up sin of murder—that is under discussion. The point is that when a person can not be happy or content in his relationship to God (or the church over which Jesus is head), then something is wrong, and that something involves sin. Salvation in Christ is the greatest source for elation that exists in this world. Misery cannot
accompany a person walking in the light (1 John 1:7), nor can it dominate the Christian who maintains his faith in God. Even persecution cannot make us sorrowful. Those in Thessalonica “received the word in much affliction” -yet “with joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess 1:6).

Only sin in some form can rob of us of the joy that is ours. David was keenly conscious of the effects that sin had upon him. “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psa 51:3). He had chosen to sin, knowing that what he was doing was wrong. Any time we choose to sin, we know it is going to affect our relationship with God.

“BUT SIN IS NOT MY PROBLEM”

“Well, sure,” you say, “My problem is not sin; it’s just that I feel listless and lackluster about attending worship. Perhaps if the sermons were shorter, the singing was more inspiring, and we had a few plays…” Sorry, but the problem is still sin. Anyone who is bored, listless, and lackluster ought to begin to think, “Maybe the problem is me” – instead of fixing the blame on everyone else. Perhaps the problem is not being conscious of sins that are not-so obvious and well-recognized as adultery, stealing, etc. Sins like PROSPERITY. Are you absorbed with THINGS? No? Of course, we would all deny it. But really think about it. Compare yourself to what people in other countries have. Are we not just slightly slanted in the direction of materialism? It is still true that a person’s “life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

The church and its worship may not seem exciting to us when most of our life is spent among the tangibles. Spiritual truths have never seemed to inflame God’s people, but they should; they are of greater substance and duration than those things of a physical nature. And the physical never satisfies; that’s why we’re always on the lookout for a bigger and more exciting “toy.” Forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, and eternal life do not seem to compare favourably with the short-term enjoyment of physical things.

Returning to Psalm 51, we find several suggestions to improve one’s spiritual condition. The first is to acknowledge
transgressions (V3). Unless we see the sin in our life and take responsibility for it, we cannot overcome it. David acknowledged his transgressions (V1), his iniquity (V2), his sin (V2), and the evil he had done (V4). He also expressed a strong desire to be right with God, but he knew that only God could help him out of the ungodly position he was in:
– “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity” (V2):
– “Cleanse me from my sin” (V2);
– “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” (V7);
– “Was me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (V7);
– “Created in me a clean heart, O God” (V10);
– “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God” (V14)

David was aware that he could not undo what he had done; he knew there was no way to atone for his sins. This he cries out, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies” (V1) David knew that the only thing that prevails with God is genuine repentance. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (V17). Since this relationship is between the individual and God, it cannot be faked—except by self-delusion.

If you need the joy of your salvation restored, ask yourself, “Have I been praying as I once did? Have I been reading and studying the Word of God as I did formerly: What has been the emphasis in my life?” If your love and zeal for God have cooled, take responsibility for your actions. Call upon God as David did; call upon God to renew you. Then you will not only be right with God– but useful once again (V13).