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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Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

In the Beatitudes the Lord Jesus paints for us a picture of a Christian as a person distinctly different from a worldly person. He is not describing an elite class of Christians; Here He is describing for us how the Christian ought to be.

The Lord begins with this statement: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven(Mat 5:3).”

The Beatitudes are not a set of haphazard, random sayings. There is a proper system, a pattern which follows logically. Spiritual poverty is indeed the foundation upon which all the other Beatitudes are built.

There is a fundamental principle we observe in scriptures: conviction before conversion. When we pay careful attention to every conversion account in the book of Acts, we will realise that this principle holds true.

The Jews on Pentecost were convicted by the gospel. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do(Acts 2:37)?”

When a person comes to the realisation that he is truly a spiritual pauper, he will see His need of the grace of God offered through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican…And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner(Luke 18:10, 13).”

David in his penitential Psalm acknowledged:

“For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psa 51:16-17).”

This is just the attitude of the heart the transcendent, almighty King of heaven and earth finds acceptable. He is above all, and we must know our place—we are beneath Him, mere creatures completely dependent upon His good grace.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Isa 57:15).”

Immediately we are aware that this attitude of being poor in spirit runs against the grain of the world’s philosophy. The world despises it. The world promotes self-reliance, self-confidence and self-expression.

The tentacles of these worldly ideas have crept insidiously into the church, entrapping many well-meaning brethren with its sweet, deceptive philosophy. In the place of humility we have men and women demanding their ‘rights’.

We judge as a worthy leader a brother who is self-assertive and confident. We appraise a preacher not so much by the soundness of his sermons but by his style. The apostle Paul would have been roundly criticised by us today. Paul went to Corinth “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” and preached “not ourselves but Christ” (cf. 1Co 2:3; 2Co 4:5).

To be poor in spirit does not mean we are diffident, nervous, distressed or lacking in courage. It certainly does not mean that we are to ‘play humble’ and try to drum up the ‘fact’ that we are meek and lowly.

We sometimes make ourselves out to be worse than we are (“Oh I’m nobody; I’m never going to be good enough, etc.”), hoping perhaps at the back of our minds that a friend may come along and affirm us, telling us we are not quite as bad.

But the truth is we are far worse than we could ever make ourselves out to be. That is why we need the gospel. A person who needs to remindothers in some ways that he is ‘poor in spirit’ is surely anything but that.

To be poor in spirit is to be painfully aware of our condition without the mercies of God in Christ. It is to have the veil removed from before our very eyes and see that wehave all sinned, and come short of the glory of God (cf. Rom 3:23; 1Jo 1:8).

It is to know that even after we have been added to Christ, we are still completely dependent upon Him; that we are nothing without Him. There is no room for boasting, no ambition to impress God or anyone; no climbing up the ladder for preeminence in the church (cf. 3Jo 9-10).

There is nothing in us—not our social status, not our talents, skills, intelligence and good behaviour that will stand us in good stead before God. It is all by His grace.

The poor in spirit are stripped of pride and self-reliance. They do not try to negotiate terms with God. They look to God in utter submission for His grace and mercy. These are the ones the Lord calls blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


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The Beatitudes—What We are to Be

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying(Mat 5:1-2)…”

And thus began what became known as Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, the most famous and quoted from sermon ever.

The Lord launched into His sermon by introducing a series of pithy sayings—brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigour and substance. These sayings are widely known today as the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes means “the blessings.” They are called such because the first word of each of these sayings is “blessed.”

The Greek word makarios, translated into our English Bible as “blessed”, means in its simplest definition “happy.” What the Lord introduces here in the Beatitudes are the keys to true happiness.

Happiness is the pursuit of every man and woman. Much of what we do is because of pleasant results we hope to attain. We work hard for the paycheck because we can then provide for our families. It brings us happiness when our loved ones are provided for.

We also enjoy the (licit) pleasures of life. Recreation—sports; reading, etc.—are pleasurable activities. We can read in the American Declaration of Independence that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human right.

In other words, we are free to live howsoever we choose to make us happy as long as we keep the law and respect the rights of others.All these are fair and good. But it is also right here in the pursuit of that fleeting sense of pleasure that man has bought into the ancient lie that sin will bring happiness.

We are meant for so much more than the pleasures of this earthly life. The Lord Jesus gives us the keys to true blessedness—true happiness—in the Beatitudes. He is saying to us, in effect, that if we want to be truly happy, we must do it His way.

A read-through of these sayings will immediately impress upon us the stark contrast between the world’s understandingof true happiness and the Lord’s definition of it. What could possibly be the rationale behind the connection between spiritual poverty, mourning and persecution with true happiness? Whatever could Jesus mean by that?

In the Beatitudes the Lord is describing for us the character of the Christian. The rest of the sermon deals basically with the Christian manner of life. But conduct is an outpouring of character, and so it is here at the Beatitudes that our Lord begins His great sermon.

What can we draw from this? First of all, since the Lord is describingthe Christiancharacter, it dawns on us that every Christian ought to develop the character set forth here.

No, he is not describing an elite class of Christians. There is no such class. Every Christian is a saint (Rom 1:7, 1Co 1:2, Eph 1:1, et al.), called out of the world and sin by the gospel (2Th 2:14) for God’s holy purpose and service.

Secondly, every Christian ought to exemplify by daily living every one of these character traits.

Jesus does not mean for us to exhibit some and not the rest of these characteristics. We are not to choose which of these Beatitudes is more suitable to our temperament or disposition and focus on them to the neglect of others.

The Beatitudes are not personality traits, where the melancholic are more likely to mourn whereas the sanguine are cheerfully optimistic, spared from mourning and the comfort which the Lord says will follow.

Each one of us, whatever our personality may be, is to manifest the Beatitudes in our lives.

These Beatitudes are not disjointed, stand-alone sayings. It is a system of traits closely linked with each leading necessarily to the next. It is a progression; we develop our Christian character beginning with the first.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit (Mat 5:3).” It leads on to the next, “Blessed are they that mourn (Mat 5:4).” It is those who are aware of their spiritual poverty who will mourn for their condition.

And such grief for one’s spiritual poverty makes no room or allowance for pride. The worldly idea of self-confidence (or confidence in one’s abilities or sense of identity without consideration of God), is set aside. Instead we find meekness. “Blessed are the meek (Mat 5:5).”

Jesus paints for us a picture of a Christian as a person distinctly different from a worldly person. We are meant to show the world the difference between them and us. In the same sermon the Lord says that we are to be salt of the earth and light of the world (cf. Mat 5:13-16).

We need not fret ourselves too much with how we could attract more visitors to our worship services, or how we could interest a friend to study the Bible with us. When the world sees the difference, their interest will be piqued.

They will respond generally in two ways: they will either become curious to know more, or they will resent our difference from them and hold us in contempt. The Lord does not shield us from the very real possibility of suffering persecution for His sake (cf. Mat 5:12).

The power of the gospel, not only to save us but to change us, is real and in the Beatitudes and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount we see how the change is to be manifested in our lives.

True blessedness is the saints’ glorious heritage.


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A New Year of Spiritual Journey

We are given 52 weeks in a year and now we have 51 left to go. How has it been for us thus far into 2019? It is good and appropriate that we begin the year with God, and press on with Him.

The Book of Proverbs has some wise words for us on our spiritual journey into this year.

“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (Pro 3:1-4).

The New Year brings with it various challenges, excitements and mundaneness. Yet through it all, we are exhorted to remember the law of the Lord and to do His commandments.Solomon urges us to keep the word of God close to our hearts, like engravings that cannot be erased.

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee.” Mercy can be understood in its widest sense: the mercy and kindness of God toward us and the mercy and kindness of man toward one another.

We need the mercy of God every moment of our lives. If it wasn’t for the mercy of God so generously poured out on Calvary, the word ‘hope’ would cease to have any meaning for us.

Everything is built upon the atonement of Christ on the cross: our peace with God, our relationship with Him, our hope of eternal salvation and our destiny of heaven. Well may we cry out with Paul in adoration unto God:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out” (Rom 11:33)!

The word of God is not only for intellectual stimulation. They encourage us; even provoke us, unto good works. True faith is active, never passive. We may recall the words of James on this score:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jas 1:22).

As we have obtained mercy from God, we ought also to be merciful unto others. The Lord says, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Mat 5:7). If we withhold mercy, how can we reasonably expect God to be merciful toward us?

These are wise words indeed to anchor our souls that we may not be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph 4:14).

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Pro 3:5-8).

Trust is at once both an easy and difficult thing to do. Whenever we trust a person, there might be at the back of our minds the lurking thought that he/she might let us down.

Trust is a commitment. It is not offered lightly; it is earned by being trustworthy. Our Lord wants us to trust Him wholeheartedly. He is most definitely worthy of trust. In fact, He is the only one worthy of complete trust.

Unlike our fellow man, the Lord is infallible. He is morally perfect; He cannot do anything against His own holy nature (cf. Titus 1:2). He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Mat 5:45).

Our God richly provides us with everything to enjoy (1Ti 6:17). Above all that, He exhibits His forbearance by sending His only begotten Son as a propitiation for our sins by His blood.

“It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom 3:26).

Everything that God has done and does tell us of His trustworthiness and faithfulness. Friends and loved ones may let us down in spite of best intentions. We fail those whom we love because we are fallible creatures. But not God; He cannot fail.

Man has turned his back on God and has been leaning upon his own understanding since the Garden of Eden. Where has that led us? Nothing butmore pain and misery.

The history of mankind is a testimony of man’s futile attempt to be his own little god. It is the story of creatures created in the image of God, creatures meant for so much more but settled for so much less.

Our Lord calls us to rest our full confidence in Him. Trust Him, live the way He has designed for us to live. Put Him in the preeminent place, reverence Him, have nothing to do with evil. The test of our trust is in braving the storms of life with our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2).

May the Lord watch over us and bless us in the New Year as we press on with Himfor the joy that is set before us.


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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)

 

 


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Sexuality in Scripture and Nature

God reveals His truth in us in two great books—the Holy Book and the Book of Nature. The former is His special revelation and the latter, His general revelation.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2Ti 3:16-17).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day utterethspeech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psa 19:1-2).

We can learn much from observing this material universe in which we exist; we can see beyond all reasonable doubt some of the attributes of the Creator. But as Christians, the Word of God is our sole authority and the basis for our understanding of reality.

Turning to the Bible, we find that nature and revelation, instead of contradicting each other as some skeptics claim, actually harmonise beautifully. Take the creation account in the book of Genesis, for instance. Scientific observations and philosophical thinking have only backed the prima facie case for God’s special revelation.

On the matter of human sexuality, both the Word of God and the creation of God reiterate His design and original order. The dignity of human sexuality is very well defined for us in both the Holy Book and the Book of Nature.

Among the lessons we learn from the creation account in Genesis is that God created human beings as social creatures. We are individuals, yes; but we are not meant to exist in isolation. We are meant to exist in societies, and the most basic of societies is the family.

Genesis reveals that heterosexual marriage is the foundation and basic nature of family relationships.This is a fact we observe from nature as well since the beginning of human history.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen 1:27).

“And Adam said, Thisis now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen 2:23-24).

The Lord Jesus affirms this divine pattern.

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mat 19:4-6).

Heterosexual union is also the natural means by which new life is formed. God told the man and the woman to ‘Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen 1:28).This fact is undeniable. For anyone who rejects the Holy Book, the Book of Nature proves this beyond all contention.

Two males can never produce offspring, just as two females cannot. It is so with every species of animals. Human beings too are created male and female for the purpose of procreation. This is a simple, scientifically observable biological fact.

Sex is created by God not only for procreation but also for pleasure.Song of Solomon 4-5 reveals that sexual pleasure is part of God’s design for marriage. But sexual activity is not a free-for-all;it is conditional. Sex, as God designs it, is allowable only in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

Christians need not be priggish about the pleasure of sex. It is a gift of God for a man and woman married to each other to enjoy. We either teach our children God’s design for sexuality from the Bible, or they will learn from the lies generated by Hollywood and the mass media.

The creation account provides important truths for sexuality and sexual behaviour because it reveals nature’s original order before sin entered the picture. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it wasvery good” (Gen 1:31).

But beyond the physical aspect, marriage is symbolic of something more significant. In the Old Testament, God used unfaithfulness in marriage as an analogy to describe Israel. “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD” (Jer 3:20).

In the New Testament, the husband-wife relationship is again used to illustrate the relationship between Christ and His church.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body…Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph 5:22-23, 25, 31-33).

Both the Holy Book and the Book of Nature define what human sexuality is—its nature, purposes and confines. Man cannot break God’s law as revealed in Scripture and nature. Man will only break ourselves if we attempt to do so.