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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Suffering for the sake of Christ

Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians while he was in prison. He suffered greatly for the cause of the gospel yet we find him in good spirits. He comforted the brethren by assuring them that God has turned his imprisonment into something positive. Here we see Romans 8:28 in action.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).”

Instead of hiding in fear and discouragement, many Christians were emboldened to preach the gospel because of Paul’s imprisonment.

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear (Php 1:12-14).”

Paul was well aware that not everyone harboured a pure motive. Some had ulterior motives for preaching. Nonetheless he rejoiced that many were doing so out of good will and love.

“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel (Php 1:15-17).”

Suffering for the sake of Christ and His gospel can turn us in two opposite directions. One is to display greater fervency and courage as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to His protégé, Timothy:

“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. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully (2Ti 2:3-5).”

After the murder of Stephen, Christians found themselves the targets of persecution by Jews zealous for the traditions of their fathers.

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles…As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison (Act 8:1, 3).”

The early church demonstrated this spirit of resilience and courage under persecution. They did the prudent thing and left Jerusalem yet without renouncing the faith. Instead, they carried the gospel elsewhere.

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word (Act 8:4).”

The other direction suffering for Christ could turn us is discouragement, indifference and, eventually, giving up on the faith. We cannot possibly count or even guess how many have lost heart and denied Christ. What we do know is we do not want to be among that number.

How did Paul and the early Christians do it? Why did they maintain their faith in the face of severe persecution? The key is revealed by the apostle in his first inspired epistle to Timothy.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2Ti 1:12).”

“I know whom I have believed.” Paul knew the Lord; he was in a right relationship with the Saviour. This relationship can be maintained only by obedience. As we are aware, in order to obey we must know what to obey.

The only way to know what to obey is to pay careful attention to the word through disciplined study and rightly handling the word of God. Many students of the Bible, though they gain in knowledge yet they do not take the step of obedience.

“…persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Paul placed his complete trust and confidence in the Lord, with whom he was in a right relationship. Come what may, the trusting, obedient Christian will endure hardship for the Lord’s sake.

On the great day when the church is gathered unto the Lord, we shall rejoice with an everlasting joy. But first, we must endure.

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That in Nothing I Shall be Ashamed

Paul’s Expectation and Hope

Paul wrote the letter to the Philippians while he was in prison awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. He suffered greatly for the cause of the gospel yet he was not demoralised.

The apostle revealed his earnest expectation and hope. “…that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death (Php 1:20).”

In whatever circumstance he might find himself in, Paul was determined that his primary concern was not his welfare but the glory of His Lord, Jesus Christ. He was determined that he would do nothing that would cause him to be ashamed before Christ.

The heavy trials and sufferings he was going through, the threat of impending death hanging thickly over his head—Paul had decided that all these would not break his faith.

Whether we are aware of it consciously, we sometimes worry about the cost of obedience. Will it cost me a career opportunity? Will it cost me a relationship that means so much to me? Will it hurt the feelings of my loved ones? Will I lose face?

Regard for Men’s Opinions

We read in the book of John of certain believers in Jesus who were worried about what their belief would cost them.

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).”

Many leaders of the Jewish people heard the words of Jesus, saw the signs He performed and believed. While they were intellectually honest, they were nonetheless morally dishonest.

They were fearful of what open acknowledgement of Jesus as the Messiah would cost them. They could lose their social and religious status as leaders and members of the Sanhedrin and be driven out of the synagogue. This would mean great shame.

They feared losing the esteem of the people as a result of being put to public shame. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

We will be very much ashamed indeed if we are more concerned about the opinions of men than obedience to Christ.

The Lord Jesus was not ashamed to call us His brethren. “…he is not ashamed to call them brethren (Heb 2:11).” Can there be any reason at all that we can be ashamed of Him?

Fear of Suffering for Christ’s Sake

The apostles suffered for the cause of Christ. They were arrested and beaten for preaching Christ but they rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name (Acts 5:50-41).”

The early church suffered for the cause of Christ. Saul was throwing them into prison but “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:3-4).”

No one enjoys suffering. Suffering is widely perceived to be a shameful thing. People suffering in poverty are sometimes despised for no other reason than that they are poor. Others convicted of crimes and serving prison sentences are regarded as shameful; many of these convicts and ex-convicts carry with them a heavy sense of shame.

But it is not so for the saints suffering for the cause of Christ. The inspired apostles—men who suffered greatly for the Lord—assure us that there is no shame in suffering for Christ.

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified…Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (1Pe 4:14, 16).”

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2Ti 1:12).”

What a glorious statement! “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

The Lord has blessed us with a new year to serve Him. As we launch forth into 2018, may we resolve as the apostle Paul did, “…that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Php 1:20-21).”


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Let Brotherly Love Continue

“Let brotherly love continue (Heb 13:1).”

In one of many exhortations to the New Testament church, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews makes this explicit statement. It is only a mere four words in our English Bible but they are full of applicable wisdom.

The choice of words by the Spirit is meaningful. The very first word in this verse, ‘Let’, implies that the responsibility rests upon us. Christians are to put effort into brotherly love. In other words, it is up to us to make it work.

A car with the best engine in the world is no more than a hunk of metal if all it does is to remain in the garage with a canvas cover over it. It must get out there on the road or the racetrack; it must do what it has been built to do.

What are we if we do not obey the Lord’s command to let brotherly love continue? The motivation for our love for one another is the Lord’s love for us.

“We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also (1Jn 4:19-21).”

For love to happen it is not only our responsibility as a corporate body of Christ, individually we must work at it as well. It is not only my neighbour’s job to love me; it is my job to love him/her as well.

This love is a ‘brotherly’ love. It is the love exclusive to brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Such holy, brotherly love can only be possible among those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It cannot exist with those who are outside of Christ, whatever their claims may be. Obedience to the gospel is the acid test.

We love our neighbours as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). The love we have for others is a reflection of the love that God bestows upon mankind through His only begotten Son (cf. John 3:16). Brotherly love, on the other hand, is familial love as the children of God.

The apostle Paul explains how saints can practise brotherly love.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-3).”

Humility, patience, peace and unity are key ingredients of brotherly love. This unity is “the unity of the Spirit”; it is a unity which comes about by abiding in the doctrine of the Spirit of God—the Bible—not by finding common interests while ignoring doctrinal differences.

“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).”

We are to let brotherly love continue. This clearly implies that brotherly love can be disrupted and discontinued.

There are many stumbling blocks to letting brotherly love continue. As we see from the text quoted above from Ephesians 4, humility is an ingredient of love. Conversely, pride is a hindrance.

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Rom 12:3).”

The one who thinks of himself ‘more highly than he ought to think’ is usually the one who goes around finding real and imaginary faults with others. It is never hard to find faults since none of us are perfect.

Paul says, “Be of the same mind one toward another. Set not your mind on high things, but condescend to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits (Rom 12:16).”

The fault-finder who harbours inordinately high thoughts of himself goes about criticising brethren, sometimes accusing them of hypocrisy, sometimes accusing them of being poor stewards of God’s money, or anything else not to his personal liking.

Besides finding faults with others and leveling baseless accusations at them, he boasts of himself often, telling others of his ‘faithfulness’ and ‘activeness’ in the Lord’s work. This is to boost his ego while attempting to tear down others.

Brethren, this must not be so in the Lord’s church. Such attitude and behaviour is a major hindrance to brotherly love. Forbearing one another in love does not mean we condone sins. It means we recognise and appreciate one another’s differences and idiosyncrasies which are not against the law of Christ.

In matters of the faith, let us exercise unity in the Spirit. In matters of expediency, let us exercise love and forbearance.

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3).” Once again we are reminded of our God-given responsibility to strive to build up brotherly love. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Psa 133:1)!”

True peace is only possible in the Lord when the children of God adhere to His word in faithful obedience. Brotherly love takes conscious effort on the part of every saint. There is no time to lose. Let us keep at it.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (1Pe 1:22).”


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Sorry After a Godly Manner

“For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death (2Co 7:8-10).”

Paul, in his previous letter to the church at Corinth, strongly rebuked them for their tolerance of sin. There were divisions in the church caused by partisanship. They had dishonoured the Lord by their frivolous attitude toward the Lord’s Supper. Worst, they had even boasted of the sin of a brother living in open immorality.

All these demanded reproof and rebuke from the apostle. Ungodliness must not be allowed to fester and grow in the church through condoning or reluctance to address hard issues. Church integrity and discipline must be upheld.

However, to the apostle’s joy and comfort, the Corinthian saints responded positively to his letter. There was the possibility that they might react in anger and defensiveness and lash out at him but they did not do that.

They were grieved at having their sins pointed out. No one enjoys being told where they had done wrong. It can be embarrassing and hurtful. But we learn from the Scriptures that there is a right response to that.

Paul said, “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance.” Their grief led them to examine themselves and realise where they had come short. Having become aware of their sins, they determined to change and turn back to the Lord.

The apostle said, “…ye were made sorry after a godly manner.” This is the right response when we are made aware of our sins. Paul called this response ‘godly sorrow’. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.”

The opposite of that is worldly sorrow. Such a person is embarrassed for having been called out and exposed, but he is not genuinely sorry for what he has done. Perhaps his conscience tells him he is indeed wrong, but he justifies his behaviour with excuses.

“I’m not the only one! Others do it too!” “What’s the big deal? It’s not as if I actually hurt anybody badly!” “Fine, I know I shouldn’t have done it. But nobody’s perfect, right?”

Also likely, this person, stung at having his error pointed out, reacts in anger and attacks the ones who showed him his sin. He might spread malicious lies about them, or he might criticise them behind their backs where they aren’t given a fair chance to answer his accusations. But when invited to discuss issues face to face, he dodges and evades.

He might influence others to his side and form a band to join him in his vindictive reactions. The ‘sorrow of the world’ is not genuine, heartfelt sorrow for coming short of the gospel standard, but a loss of face or hurt ego lashing out at others.

Paul said, “…the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Do note the vast, unbridgeable difference between these two responses. One leads to repentance unto salvation, the other leads to death.

We find in the Psalms many expressions of godly sorrow. One psalmist cried, Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand (Psa 130:1-3)?”

Another psalmist wrote, “Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves (Psa 88:6-7).”

These men exercised godly sorrow. They were aware of their sins, they realised they had actually sinned against the Lord and it evoked in them a sense of grief at having disobeyed their God to whom they owed everything.

Do we sorrow like this when we sinned? Or do we react in hurtful pride, which is the sorrow of the world? Do we realise we have actually sinned against the Lord first and foremost? “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight (Psa 51:4).”

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” Let us observe further the godly response of the psalmist.

“But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning (Psa 130:4-6).”

The psalmist did not wallow in self-pity and lose all hope. Rather, he turned to Jehovah in faith, trusting in His mercy and readiness to forgive. His focus was on the God who is mighty to save. A major key we must learn is humility.

What stops so many from exercising godly sorrow is often nothing more than ugly, self-seeking, conceited pride. Such pride tells one that he has done no wrong, that he is justified in his conduct, or that he isn’t bad enough so to provoke the Lord to wrath.

This is adding sin to sin. Let us learn from the Corinthians and psalmists who sorrowed to repentance and were made sorry after a godly manner. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.


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Confronted for Sins

David. The Jews at Pentecost in Jerusalem. The Jews during the trial of Stephen.

What did they share in common?

David had become complacent. “…at the time when kings go forth to battle…David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel (2Sa 11:1).” David stayed home, and one evening he “arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon (2Sa 11:2).”

He sent for the woman named Bathsheba, who was the wife of the valiant soldier, Uriah the Hittite. David seduced the woman. He thought it would be a one-off affair and none would be the wiser. After all, he was the warrior-king. He was the all-conquering hero. He could have anything he wanted.

David probably did not give the affair any further thought until he received a message from her that she was expecting his child. Now things were getting complicated. David had to deal with this discreetly.

He sent for Uriah from the frontline. He tried to persuade him to enjoy the company of his wife but the soldier wouldn’t. Next David tried to intoxicate Uriah but that failed too. It was then David decided to have Uriah murdered.

On the day of Pentecost, Jews from all across the known world gathered in Jerusalem. Fifty days earlier, Jesus of Nazareth was murdered by the chief priests and political leaders, with the consent of the mob who cried ‘Crucify Him (Lu 23:21)!”

At about 9 in the morning, a strange phenomenon took place among the crowd. Twelve Galileans were extolling ‘the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11)’, not in the native Aramaic language, but in the languages of the foreigners.

As some marveled and others mocked, one of the men, Simon Peter, began telling them of the man who was crucified less than two months ago. He proclaimed that this Jesus was in fact both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).

Stephen was a man full of faith and power, and did great wonders and miracles among the people (Acts 6:8). He was falsely accused by malicious men of blaspheming against Moses and the Law (Acts 6:12-14) and hauled before the Sanhedrin.

Stephen recounted the history of Israel in brief. Upset by his testimony (Acts 7:54) and further provoked by what they deemed to be blasphemy of the worst kind (Acts 7:55-56), the Jews “cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him (Acts 7:57-58).

So what did David, the Jews celebrating Pentecost at Jerusalem and the Jews during the trial of Stephen have in common?

They were confronted for their sins. They were told where they had done wrong. They were urged to repent.

To David, the prophet Nathan said, “Thou art the man (2Sa 12:7)!”

To the Jews at Pentecost, Peter said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36)!”

To the Jews at his trial, Stephen said, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers (Acts 7:51-52)!”

In this age we live in, it appears that sensitivity to people’s feelings have become more important than speaking the truth. Yes, we ought to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), but let us not misunderstand that to mean watering down or diluting the truth.

We are almost too afraid to hurt one another’s feelings or be charged with being politically incorrect—whatever that means. We are more concerned about ‘saving face’—ours and one another’s.

The Lord taught us in Matthew 18:15-20 that when Christians sin, the brethren must never adopt the attitude of the three monkeys—see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. We must confront the sinning brother or sister.

“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).”

A sinner outside of Christ must be told that unless he/she obeys the gospel, they remain under the wrath of God (Rom 1:18ff) and enemies of God (Rom 5:10). They need to understand that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).

Two out of the three examples we cited above turned to God in repentance. When confronted with sin, will you be more concerned about your ‘face’—that is, pride—than to obey God?

Is your pride worth more than your soul?


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The Gall of Bitterness

Simon was plying his trade as a religious conman in Samaria where he found immense success. The superstitious folks flocked to him, mesmerized by his feats of magic and claim to be someone great.

He was achieving fame and almost certainly raking in the cash. The Samaritans in this city loved him! They hung on everything he said and did. They all gave heed to him and called him the ‘great power of God’ (cf. Acts 8:9-11).

Then one day, a stranger came to the city and turned the world upside down for Simon. “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them (Acts 8:5).”

Phillip preached Christ and the kingdom mightily, proving by miraculous signs the veracity of his message. The Samaritans heard and saw, and many of them believed (Acts 8:5-9, 12). They abandoned the trickery of Simon for Jesus Christ and the gospel. This was terrible for Simon’s business.

But Simon, of all people, would know a magic trick from the real deal. He acknowledged that Phillip’s mighty acts were real, and in time he, too, obeyed the gospel. “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done (Acts 8:13).”

Very soon word reached the apostles in Jerusalem. Peter, along with John, came over to check out the situation and pray for the Samaritans, ‘that they might receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:15).’

Simon, even though he was now a Christian, had not quite been transformed by the renewing of his mind (cf. Rom 12:2). The lust for power and fame again reared its ugly head in his heart.

“And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:18-19).”

To his shock, Peter turned to him with a fierce rebuke.

“Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity (Acts 8:20-23).”

The gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. This is the reality of sin. Sin and its consequences are bitter to the soul. Sin holds one in bondage, although the sinner is rarely aware that he is in fact a slave.

Simon was washed by the blood of Jesus when he was baptised yet how easy it was for him to turn back to the bondage of sin. The same can be true of Christians today. We are washed by the blood of Lamb, it is true, but we may find ourselves ensnared again in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.

Take pride for instance. When a Christian allows pride to rule him, he is back again in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Rom 6:16)?”

Remember the two different responses when hearers were pricked in the heart by the preaching of the word? In Acts 2:37-41, three thousand souls responded by humbling themselves in obeying the commands to repent and be baptised. In the other instance, found in Acts 7:54ff, the Jews gnashed on Stephen with their teeth in anger and stoned him to death.

The sin of pride prevented the Jews from responding rightly to the word of God. How do we hear the preaching of the word today? When the preacher expounds from the word and we hear something which our conscience convicts us of, what is our response?

Are we like the Jews, taking offense at Stephen’s rebuke? Do we get angry at the preacher and accuse him—whether publicly or privately, it doesn’t matter—of victimizing us and trying to make us look bad?

Do we throw a hissy fit and drop out of worship services, Bible classes and fellowship activities as a reaction? Do we go about speaking evil of the one who preached against our sins—sins which, if we are honest, we know we ought to acknowledge and repent of?

If we do, then clearly we are still in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.

Let’s come back to Simon. After the stern rebuke from Peter, how did he respond?

“Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me (Acts 8:24).”

This is the correct response when our heart is pricked by the word. Our response exposes the condition of our heart, whether we are humble and willing to submit to God or proud and stubborn, persisting in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.

May God help us to take full responsibility for keeping our hearts with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life (Pro 4:23).

 


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Christ the Ark

On the night of April 14 to the morning of the 15th 1912, the RMS Titanic sank off the North Atlantic Ocean. This was her maiden voyage. She had only been at sea for four days.

The RMS Titanic was supposed to be indestructible. She was the pride and joy of maritime engineering to date, but she instead became one of the worst maritime catastrophes ever recorded, outside of war.

The sinking claimed the lives of about 1500 crew and passengers. Hundreds were left floating in the frigid water, struggling to reach the lifeboats. There were not enough lifeboats.

Hypothermia took the lives of most of the drifters unable to make it to the lifeboats in the -2 degrees Celsius water.

Thousands of years prior to the disaster of the RMS Titanic, many more were drowned in the Great Flood that came in the days of Noah. Those were terrible days of sin and revelry.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen 6:5).”

God, who is ‘of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity (Hab 1:13)’, decided to mete out justice to sinful men and women.

“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them (Gen 6:6-7).”

God was going to send a universal flood to cleanse the evil from the world. But there was a man who caught God’s all-seeing eyes—Noah. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Gen 6:8).”

Noah was given instructions on what to do to save his and his family’s lives from the coming cataclysm.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch…And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female (Gen 6:14, 19).”

The Holy Spirit bears witness to the God-fearing character of the man, Noah. “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he (Gen 6:22).”

Finally the day came when ‘the windows of heaven were opened’ and the judgement of God poured from the sky. ‘…all the fountains of the great deep broken up’ and the earth was covered in the deluge.

“And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark (Gen 7:21-23).”

This is the greatest disaster in history, yet there is another approaching which will make the Great Flood pale in comparison.

“…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2Th 1:7-9).”

Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2Pe 2:5). If only the people had listened to him! How many would have been saved! Yet they rejected the message of God Noah preached; they spurned the chance of salvation.

When the flood came, how many regretted and lamented their ill decision? How many begged Noah to open the door of the ark, which God had shut? It was too late. There was no more salvation to be had on the day the door was shut and the water level rose.

For us today there is still the chance of salvation. Jesus Christ is the ark which we must enter if we are to be saved from a worse tragedy than the one that struck during the flood.

“…when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Pe 3:20-21).”

We are baptised into Christ (Rom 6:3). Just as Noah, his family and the animals entered the ark and was saved from the flood, all who thus entered into Christ will be saved from the judgement of God and His wrath.

All who were left outside the ark perished; all who entered the ark were saved. Have you entered Christ the Ark? Have you obeyed His gospel and been added into His body, the church?

Why delay? The people of Noah’s days delayed and paid the ultimate price for refusing to repent and taking the way of escape provided by God. Why would you be counted among the foolish?