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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We Need Godly Leadership

The most common understanding of the definition of leadership is the word ‘influence’. By this definition, everyone is involved in leadership at some point and to some degree, whether as parents or older sibling at home, teachers at school or management at work.

Asfundamentally influence, leaders can influence others for either or bad. In this sense, church leadership and secular leadership are similar.

The world looks at what a person does in determining his leadership quality. God, in choosing leaders, looks at what the person is on the inside. God is interested in who we are.

The emphasis is on character. Church leadership is not a popularity contest. Elders are recognised and appointed because they exhibit the qualities spelt out in the scriptures. An elder, then, is an elder in character before he is an elder in office.

The world looks for successful men to lead; the church looks for spiritual men to lead. Successful business leadership does not necessarily translate into spiritual leadership.

One definition of character says it is doing what is right when no one is watching.Others say character involves compassion and courage and the ability to meet the demands of reality. Still others say character is the fruit of difficult life experiences. To have character, one must be ready to pay the price.

We learn in the Scriptures of only one type of character God looks for in His children. It is called ‘godliness’.

“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1Ti 4:7-8).

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1Ti 2:9-10).

Godliness is for every Christian, not only leaders. But as the ones who exercise major influence over God’s people, it is imperative that leaders must be godly.Leaders with godly character are vital for the church. We want politicians, teachers, doctors, public servants, etc. with character. It is even more so in the church.

Competenceis of course important as well.God wants competent men to serve as elders.

“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1Ti 3:4-5)

A godly person may not necessarily be competent for a work that needs to be done. For example, if the church assigns a brother to take care of maintenance matters but he knows next to nothing about how to carry his duties,it is not fair to him and the church. The same goes for other areas of service.

Now look at the flip side. If the church appoints as leaders men of dubious character, we might have a problem. Competence does not equate character. Let’s say this person struggles with honesty or covetousness. It will not be wise to involve him in the church treasury.

A leader who is both godly and competent can be trusted and relied upon to carry out the work of a shepherd of God’s people.

We can work on growing in godliness; we can grow in family likeness with our heavenly Father.Begin with the Word of God. God has given us all things to live a godly life through the knowledge of Christ(cf. 2Pe 1:3).

From the moment of our spiritual rebirth we must begin the cultivation of godliness.

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1Pe 2:1-2).

The Bible uses the term ‘give diligent’ to instruct us in our attitude and approach to the Word of God.

“Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2Ti 2:15).

We do not rest content only on the fundamentals of God’s truth, but we continue in diligent study, increasing in the knowledge of Christ.

“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:13-14).

Growth in knowledge is indispensable and the first step in cultivating godliness. But with every bit of knowledge we accumulate, we live it and make it a vital part of our lives.

“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” (2Pe 3:18).

We need godly leaders, men who love God with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Let’s help one another grow toward that.

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Christian Interaction

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1Pe 3:8-12).

Peter is here laying out for the church practical pointers for how we can show the world the distinction between them and us by how we treat one another. We exist in a community of faith. In this community we learn to love, encourage and support one another as our Lord would have us to.

The apostle exhorts the saints to begin with unity of mind. This is foundational. We who made up the church are traveling on the appointed way to heaven, and unity in mind, in doctrine and practice is paramount.

Saints recognise and acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We share in the common salvation (Jude 3); we have obtained a faith of equal standing with the apostles by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 1:1).

Divisions will destroy any congregation. Paul beseeched the church at Corinth to be united.

“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).

Unity is what the Lord would have for all who are called by His name.

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21).

With unity in place compassion naturally follows. We are aware that we were not always saints. There was a time when we were sinners, enemies of God and His Christ, men and women under the wrath of God. But the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people (Tit 2:11), and we are saved by the power of the gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16).

Even now, as we make our way back to our home with the Lord, we sometimes stagger and stumble along. When we see brethren sin, instead of ostracizing them and adopt an attitude of condemnation, we ought to extend compassion to the weak and seek to restore them to the faith, all the while taking heed that we do not ourselves give in to temptations.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:1-2).

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (Jas 5:19-20).

Love is what binds us together. This is holy love, not love without a divine standard. We are made holy and set apart by the word of God (John 17:17). love, in other words, is based upon the firm foundation of the word.

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that lovethanother hath fulfilled the law” (Rom 13:8). We love one another as brethren because the Lord loves us and has redeemed us (Tit 2:14). The Father has adopted us into His family as His children (Eph 1:5).

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:26-27).

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt. But let this not be so in the church of the firstborn (Heb 12:23). Peter wants us to be “tenderhearted, humble-minded”; to be friendly and kind.

Even when a brother or sister should offend or hurt us, we must not seek retribution. “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing.” this is the very opposite of compassion and brotherly love. Instead of getting back at the offender, we are to bless that we may obtain a blessing.

James says that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (Jas 3:6).Let us then take special care to keep our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking deceit.

Paul instructs us: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col 4:6 ESV).

Saints are peace makers and do-gooders. We are to actively pursue peace. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18 ESV). Likewise, we seek opportunities to administer benevolence on those in need.

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).

May God help us as His children to make a distinction in this sinful world, to shed the light of God in darkness.

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Looking Beyond the Cares of This Life

Life is hard, so the popular saying goes. We toil hard, either under the sun or in an air-conditioned environment, and it wears us down. Go to the Central Business District in Singapore and we see working men and women walking at an increased pace.

Whether a person is a Bible believer or not, he/she can intuitively agree with the writerof the Book of Ecclesiastes.

“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecc 1:14).”

Many Christians seem to be sucked into the same whirlpool of mindless toiling. We work for a paycheck, we work to pay the bills, but we have lost a sense of higher meaning. We work for the sake of working, bowed down by the cares of this life.

Like Martha. The Lord said to her in a gentle rebuke, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).

In our fast-paced, hectic society, Christians understand only too well the condition of the seeds that fell among thorns.

“And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14).

The children of God ought to be able to look above and beyond the mere toils of this life. We should see beyond the horizon and see that “There’s a beautiful place called heaven, it is hidden above the bright blue, where the good, who from earth-ties are riven, live and love an eternity through.”

This earthly existence is not all there is. We have a hope that transcends all the riches of this world.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Pe 1:3).

This is a hope that calls us to action. A living hope is lively and active, never passive.

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:13).

“…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways…not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ…you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1Pe 1:18-21).

Our faith and hope are in God. Is this a reality in our lives?

Are we, like Martha, anxious and troubled about many things? So much of our anxiety and troubles are caused by carnal concerns in this temporal world. If this world is all there is, then we have nothing but the cares and concerns of this world.

The apostle says to us, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Php 3:20). As citizens of heaven, this world is not our home. We are pilgrims passing through to our home in “glory land that outshines the sun.”

Since this is the case, is it worth it to allow the cares of this world to overwhelm and choke us, robbing us of our sense of peace and meaning? Yes, we do have to make a living. “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2Th 3:10).

Take time to meditate on what really matters. Take time to ponder about the first things.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Mat 6:31, 33)