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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The Resolution of David

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4)

David was the ruler of a vast kingdom, the anointed leader of the covenantal people of God. Upon his shoulders rested the enormous burden of government. Prior to that, he was a shepherd and a soldier. A veteran in both the green pasture and the battlefield, David had slain lions and bears; and displayed exceptional valour in many military campaigns against the enemies of Israel. Nonetheless, David was a flesh-and-blood man, and as such he was not immune to errors and sin. Reading through the psalms of David, we are brought face to face with many of his struggles, fears and pain.

LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me (Psalm 3:1)

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long” (Psalm 38:4-6)

David had not only been on the low ebb of human experience, but his soul had soared to the greatest heights of emotions.

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High” (Psalm 9:1-2)

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalm 16:8-9)

Like us, David was a mere man. He was not endowed with some extraordinary, superhuman qualities that we can only admire from a distance off. He was not spared the experience of doubts, sorrow, joy and tears common to all descendants of Adam. In fact, he experienced these emotions to a degree greater than many of us living in a relatively safe, affluent society like Singapore.

David’s psalms provide ample evidence that at the very centre, in the eye of whatever emotional storm he endured, God was present. During his mountaintop experiences of joy, God was right there with him. His focus was on God; his very existence revolved around God. The Most High was his all-consuming purpose. The one desire of his burning heart was to be in the presence of the Almighty – to worship Him, to adore Him, to learn of Him. He was resolved to live and die in the presence of his Master. This earnest desire was expressed in other psalms which David penned (c.f. Psalm 23:6; 26:8).

Despite the earthly honour that God had graciously bestowed upon him, David looked beyond the gift and yearned for the Giver Himself. Would to God that the same holy desire burns within the heart of every Christian today in this materialistic world! Do we pray on bended knees only to present God with a wish-list or ‘grocery’ list? We hear at times men claiming the promise “ask, and ye shall receive” (c.f. John 16:24); however this verse has too often been twisted and mauled to serve the avarice of the human heart.

James warned, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3)

David yearned to be in the presence of God, to enjoy His company because, and only because, of his great love for the Godhead. Remove that from him, deprive him of God’s presence and David would be undone – even if he were to have all the kingdoms of the world.

A month of the year has passed us by. It is not too late to resolve like David to dwell in the holy presence of God, to behold His beauty and to inquire of Him through His Word. Our blessed Lord has expressed it thus, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

 May the Lord our God be the chief of all our heart’s desire.

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Take Heed – Part 2

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee (1 Timothy 4:16).

Following on from last week’s article where our focus was on ‘take heed unto thyself’’, let us look briefly at the rest of the verse and draw spiritual nourishment.

TAKE HEED UNTO THE DOCTRINE

We must take heed to the Word of God. ‘We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19).’ The Scriptures provide spiritual light to guide us (Psalms 119:105, 130). Our attitude toward holy Scriptures is all important.

The people of God ought to give diligence in the study of the Word of God. ‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tinothy 2:15).’ Too many of us are content to reach for a commentary or be spoon-fed by our Bible teachers. What we really need is to search the Scriptures for ourselves like the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11. The psalmist declares with apparent joy, ‘O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalms 119:97).’ May God help us to discipline ourselves to long, concentrated study of the Scriptures!

We must take heed of false teachers. Jesus’ warning, Take heed lest any man deceive you (Mark 13:5)’ still rings loud and true. Many are the voices throughout history that claim to point the way to salvation and heaven. Jesus’ claim ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6)’ admits of no other. The gospel of Christ is the power of God to save all who obeys (c.f. Romans 1:16).

We must take heed to be not only hearers, but also doers of the Word. James is clear on this: ‘But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22)’. Obedience matters! The ones who will eventually be received are those who are obedient to the will of the Father (c.f. Matthew 7:21-23).

SAVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS

The Bible gives us examples of those who forfeit their salvation. ‘Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:19-20).’ Hymenaeus and Alexander apparently were apostates from the truth. They became careless and made shipwrecks of their faith. Stern warning for us running the race of faith!

Paul was careful not to forfeit his salvation. ‘But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).’ When even the great apostle himself would take heed, we 21st century Christians can do no less!

False teachers draw others away, causing their own and others’ downfall. Paul warned the Ephesian elders: ‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Act 20:28).’

When we are true to the Word, we have assurance of our right standing with God; and proclaiming the pure, unadulterated gospel will give others the chance to respond to Christ’s call to turn and be saved.

Brethren, we must be careful how we live and the doctrine we hear and teach. We cannot afford to give way to false teachings and careless living. If we do, we forfeit our souls and become barriers to others coming to the Lord.

Let us exhort one another to be watchful and alert for the Lord may return at any time!


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Take Heed – Part 1

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16)

Scripture explicitly commands Christians to take heed – to be attentive; to give thought and effort to. Paul exhorts us to take heed to our own conduct and to the teachings of the Word. Why is it vital for us to take heed? By doing so, the inspired apostle says, it shall result in our salvation; not only so, but also the salvation of those who are persuaded by the gospel of Jesus Christ which we preach.

TAKE HEED UNTO THYSELF
Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’” We are to take heed because of the enemy who never rests. Satan never takes a day off, he never applies for annual leave and he certainly doesn’t take sick leave. His sole purpose is to destroy the church. The wily old serpent knows his end is in the lake burning with fire and brimstone, and while he still has the time he wants to drag as many down with him as he can. We must therefore take heed against the enemy.

We are to take heed against covetousness. Our Lord says, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” He went on to tell the parable of the rich fool who lost his soul trusting in his riches (Luke 12:13-21). He says elsewhere, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mark 8:36)?” How much is your soul worth?

We must take heed that we do not destroy one another. Listen to Paul: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Galatians 5:13-15).

When brethren quarrel and hurt each other, when contentions arise in the church because of personality differences or ego, we are in fact doing the devil a great favour. We are making his work so much easier by doing it for him. He might as well take a holiday or even retire! Can we imagine how delighted Satan must be when the children of God bear grudges and resentment against one another? This isn’t even the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is that we grieve the heart of our Father in heaven! He gave His Son to redeem us, adopted us into His family, gives us all spiritual blessings in Christ to enjoy and gives us a heavenly inheritance – and shall we repay His love by infighting? May it never be!

We must take heed lest we lapse into unbelief. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty long years and eventually only two of the older generation – Joshua and Caleb – were permitted to enter the Promised Land. Why? Despite witnessing the mighty works and enjoying the providence of God, they sinned (Hebrews 3:7-12). Paul wrote to the Corinthians and we do well to pay heed to the warning, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:11-12).

We must take heed that the light in us is not darkness. “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” (Luke 11:33-36)

Brethren, we live in perilous times. Worldliness, sin and the devil seek our downfall. Let us take heed unto ourselves lest we forfeit our souls.


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Happy Are the Humble

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

I have always thought that the manufacturer knows more about the product than anybody else!  And the One who made us said that we will be blessed if we may be truly described as being “poor in spirit.”  Now, if that’s the way you would like to turn out (I.e., blessed), then please read on.

There were two Greek words for “poor.”  The more common of the two meant that one was so poor that he had to work just to maintain a living.  But the word Jesus uses in the Beatitude means being poor— so poor that one must totally depend upon someone else for survival.  The noun form of that word is translated “beggar” in Luke 16, describing Lazarus.  Now the Lord applies that word to our spirits—we are to be poverty-stricken in spirit.  But what, exactly, does that mean?

The idea the Lord wants us to grasp is one of absolute dependency upon God.  That is simple humility, the antithesis of pride.  The Lord doesn’t want us to depend upon ourselves; He desires us to give our lives to leaning on the everlasting arms.

That is exactly what James was inspired to promote:
(James 4:6-7, 10) “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the   humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

According to the wise man, God hates pride in people. (Proverbs 6:16-17) “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood”

To come to God, we must become totally dependent upon Him.  That implies a recognition of our own powerlessness, and an acceptance of His all-powerful nature.  The Lord said, “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

King David wrote, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalms 34:18)

Jesus Christ simply said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What is your life characterized by?  How does He see you?

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“NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION:I WILL…..”
Like Paul, forget those things which
are behind and  press  forward
(Philippians 3:13-14)

Like David, “Lift up mine eyes unto
the hills from whence cometh my help”
(Psalms 121:1)

Like Abraham, trust implicitly
in my 
God
(Romans 4:19-20)

Like Enoch, walk in daily fellowship
with the Heavenly Father
(Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5)

Like Job, be patient under
all 
circumstances
(James 5:10-11)