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 Futility of Skepticism

Jesus was asked to go to the house of Jairus, a ruler of a synagogue, because his daughter was sick to the point of death. When He reached the house He heard a noise made by the people there because the little girl had died. Jesus very calmly told them, “Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth (Mat 9:24)…” What was the response He received? “And they laughed him to scorn.”

Before then Jesus already has a reputation for healing. That was how Jairus knew about Jesus. But up to that point Jesus has not raised the dead. Healing the sick and bringing to life someone who was dead are quite different.

The people thought Jesus was talking nonsense. They did not believe Him and so they laughed at Him. To laugh someone to scorn is to ridicule him, to look down on him. Many skeptics are still laughing Jesus to scorn. When we try to reach out to the lost with the gospel, we can expect to encounter skeptics who might not be too friendly.

If we keep in mind some simple facts, we do not have to become discouraged by them.

Skepticism Does Not Disprove God

Remember that even though we may face the ridicule of unbelievers, their unbelief does not prove that God is not true. Even though the people laughed at Jesus, it did not affect or bother Him. He calmly went about doing what He came for. “But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land (Mat 9:25-26).”

On another occasion, in Matthew 13:54-58, the Lord returned to Nazareth but many of the townsfolk did not believe Him. They knew of His earthly family and thought they knew Him too, and so were skeptical even though they ‘were astonished, and said, “Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works (v. 54)?”’

Verse 58 says, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” This was not because His power was affected by their unbelief, but rather it was clear they were not ready to receive Him. They already knew He has wisdom and power yet chose to be skeptical. It would be pointless to show them more signs to try to change their minds.

 

Men’s unbelief has no sway over the power of God. Paul writes in Romans 3:3-4,

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged (Rom 3:3-4).”

Skepticism Does Not Change God’s Purpose

The Father sent the Son into the world to seek and to save the lost (cf. Lu 19:10). This purpose does not change just because many refuse to believe. We still have the eyewitnesses’ accounts with us today.

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:30-31).”

Skepticism Only Hurts the Skeptics

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal 6:7-8).”

It is foolish of the skeptic to think that his unbelief will not have any effect on him. Paul says “he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” The bloodthirsty Jews who cried out to Pilate, “His blood be on us, and on our children (Mat 27:25)” never thought that in less than 40 years God’s judgment would fall on Jerusalem.

Any skeptic who takes his unbelief to the grave will be shocked to realise that there will be a day of reckoning when they will have to answer for their unbelief. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2Co 5:10).”

Skepticism Does Not Obstruct True Seekers

The skepticism of the majority will not stand in the way of true seekers of God. The Lord says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jer 29:13).” True seekers search the scriptures diligently like the Bereans (cf. Acts 17:11). They will not be content just to take another person’s words for it. They want to find out for themselves.

We must also be true seekers like Ezra. “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments (Ezr 7:10).”

When we reach out to someone with the gospel and the person shows signs of a true seeker, we must take good care of that precious soul. Teach the person the word of God, plant the seed. If the person’s heart is really good soil, God will give the increase.

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The New Testament Descriptions of Christians

There are many descriptions we can find in the New Testament. They help us to better understand what it means to be Christians. When we consider some of them, do take some time to ponder if how we live the faith is in harmony with them.

Children of God

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not (1Jn 3:1).”

Christians are called sons, or children, of God. It was not enough for God to send His only begotten Son to die in our place. He went further and adopted us into His family as children (cf. Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5)! Amazing love! Should we not love, honour and obey our heavenly Father?

Servants of God

Christians are servants of God. Some folks may react negatively to being called servants. They may feel it is beneath them to serve. Paul lines out for us the reason why the redeemed of the Lord should serve Him.

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness…But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6: 17-18, 22-23).”

Workers of God

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2Ti 2:15).”

Closely related to our servanthood as Christians is the fact that we are workers of God. Our Lord has left us here with a mission. He wants us to continue His work of seeking and saving the lost (cf. Luke 19:10). The Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16) is the heritage of every Christian.

A worker is diligent in his area of responsibility so that he can be approved by the Master. Our diligence as workers covers areas of our Bible study, personal evangelism and doing good unto others. The Lord Jesus is our perfect example. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work (John 4:34).”

Soldiers of God

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2Ti 2:3-4).”

A soldier must be disciplined, courageous, trains hard, able to endure hardship, mission-minded and if need be, make the ultimate sacrifice. This sounds like a tall order yet as Christians we must display the same willingness, courage and discipline.

Paul explains that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12).”

He exhorts us as fellow soldiers to arm ourselves for the great conflict. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph 6:13).”

Athletes of God

“And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully (2Ti 2:5 ASV).”

Christians are athletes running in the Christian race. The Christian race is the only race worth running in life, for it promises a crown of life to all who complete the race according to the law of Christ.

Generations of the faithful have run the race before us. Now they are waiting for us on the other side, cheering us on! But even more so, our Lord Jesus has run and completed the race. He is the finish line we are aiming for.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds (Heb 12:1-3).”


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The New Testament Descriptions of Christians

There are many descriptions we can find in the New Testament. They help us to better understand what it means to be Christians. When we consider some of them, do take some time to ponder if how we live the faith is in harmony with them.

Children of God

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not (1Jn 3:1).”

Christians are called sons, or children, of God. It was not enough for God to send His only begotten Son to die in our place. He went further and adopted us into His family as children (cf. Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5)! Amazing love! Should we not love, honour and obey our heavenly Father?

Servants of God

Christians are servants of God. Some folks may react negatively to being called servants. They may feel it is beneath them to serve. Paul lines out for us the reason why the redeemed of the Lord should serve Him.

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness…But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6: 17-18, 22-23).”

Workers of God

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2Ti 2:15).”

Closely related to our servanthood as Christians is the fact that we are workers of God. Our Lord has left us here with a mission. He wants us to continue His work of seeking and saving the lost (cf. Luke 19:10). The Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16) is the heritage of every Christian.

A worker is diligent in his area of responsibility so that he can be approved by the Master. Our diligence as workers covers areas of our Bible study, personal evangelism and doing good unto others. The Lord Jesus is our perfect example. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work (John 4:34).”

Soldiers of God

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2Ti 2:3-4).”

A soldier must be disciplined, courageous, trains hard, able to endure hardship, mission-minded and if need be, make the ultimate sacrifice. This sounds like a tall order yet as Christians we must display the same willingness, courage and discipline.

Paul explains that we are engaged in a spiritual warfare. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12).”

He exhorts us as fellow soldiers to arm ourselves for the great conflict. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph 6:13).”

Athletes of God

“And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully (2Ti 2:5 ASV).”

Christians are athletes running in the Christian race. The Christian race is the only race worth running in life, for it promises a crown of life to all who complete the race according to the law of Christ.

Generations of the faithful have run the race before us. Now they are waiting for us on the other side, cheering us on! But even more so, our Lord Jesus has run and completed the race. He is the finish line we are aiming for.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds (Heb 12:1-3).”


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The Holy Assembly of the Saints

Every Sunday Christians all over the world gather to worship God. It is a time of celebration and rejuvenation, a time of remembrance and fellowship. When the saints assemble, we teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Col 3:16). We offer unto our heavenly Father the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name (Heb 13:15).

We hear the preaching of the Word and continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in prayers (Acts 2:42). We take the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine in solemn meditation of the Lord Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice to redeem and reconcile us to God

Every member of the church has an important part to play in making the assembly one that worships God in spirit and in truth. The church must be united in purpose. Before the family of God assembles, let us prepare our hearts and minds to appear before His presence. We are God’s children gathering for the purpose of worshipping our Father in grateful devotion. How can we do that if we bear resentment or hurt feelings toward one another?

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1Co 1:10).”

How shall we approach God in worship? The writer of Hebrews says, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:28-29).”

Yes, by God’s grace and mercy and the finished work of Christ on the cross, we have received an unshakeable kingdom. The only right response is godly reverence in our service and worship. What can we do in regard to that? Once more, let us prepare our hearts and minds. Remove everything that distracts, lay aside everything that encumbers us. It might be unfinished work, or an imminent deadline. It might be friends or an emotional burden. Leave them. The time for worship is for God.

When we assemble, we must be ready to hear the Word of God preached. In the church, there is no such thing as a popularity contest. It is dangerous to become respecters of persons. Do we perk up our ears only when the brother up at the pulpit is someone whose ‘style’ we like? What if he isn’t someone I respect? Am I then justified to allow my mind to switch off and tune in to something else?

God forbid! The brother preaching is not expounding his own message but God’s, if he has been a diligent student of the Bible and careful and faithful in his sermon preparation. When we refuse to listen, we are not rejecting the person up behind the pulpit, but God whose message is being preached.

Of course, merely hearing the Word is not the be all and end all. We must be ready to apply it as well. When Cornelius and his household heard the preaching of the gospel, they readily received it in obedience (cf. Acts 10:48; 15:7-9). James uses the example of Abraham to teach us that more than hearing and mentally agreeing with the message is required.

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (Jas 2:21-24).”

When we assemble, week after week, we ought to be determined to learn of all the counsel of God. It is easy to slip into the habit of having a favourite doctrine or two and neglect other Bible teachings. Paul was careful in his ministry. He held nothing back.

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ…Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God (Act 20: 20-21, 26-27).”

Brethren, how do we treat the holy assembly of the saints? We owe it to our Father and the brotherhood to do better than shift into an autopilot mode every Sunday. Let us assemble with our hearts and minds tuned in, ready to worship the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.


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Not of the World

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (John 15:19)”

It is easy to be tempted to try to serve two masters – God and mammon. Jesus says that this is impossible (c.f. Mat.6:24). Let’s remind ourselves where the Bible puts the emphasis.

We are to Serve the Lord

We are in the world not to serve our purpose but God’s purpose. The Lord has given us the Great Commission.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Mat 28:19-20).”

The Lord Offers Us the Honour of Serving Him

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor (John 12:26).”

We are to Serve the others

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Co 4:5).”

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Gal 5:13).”

We belong to God

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:14).”

We died with Christ

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:1-4).”

We Abide in Him by Keeping His Word

“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked (1Jn 2:5-6).”

The Lord has Overcome the World

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

In Temptation

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Co 10:13).”

The Lord is with Us

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil (2 The 3:3).”

God is Able to Keep Us

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).”