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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Character of a Christian

Webster defines character as “an individual’s pattern of behaviour or personality.”Each one of us has a different character—traits that make us different from anyone else.  WE can recognize these traits from the very start.  Christians are to have certain traits that make them distinguishable from those who are without.  Notice four character traits of a Christian.

A Christian loves.  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 John 4:7).  A Christian is a child of God, born of God, a son of God.  Being such, he is instructed to love because God loves us, and God is love.  We are to love God and man.  Jesus said,  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God… Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36-39).

It would be ludicrous for us to profess to be children of God and then hate our fellow man.  John said that those who do not love do not know God and those who say they love God and hate their brothers are liars.  You cannot love God and hate man (1 John 4:8) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  (1 John 4:20) “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?”  It is very hard to love especially those who are unloveable; but God loves the unloveable and expects us to do the same.  We love God and man because He  first loved us and gave himself for us.  A trait of every Christian is love.

 A Christian forgives.  Forgiveness of our sins is the basis of our reaching Heaven.  However, we are given a condition for forgiveness: we must first forgive others.  Jesus said, “but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses, neither will  you Father forgive your  trespasses”  (Matthew  6:15).   Here Christ makes forgiveness of others a constant precondition of man’s forgiveness by the Father.  With Christ as our example and God as our strength, we must learn to forgive and forget.  The word “forgive” literally means to send away, to blot out, to obliterate.  God forgives and forgets our sins; we should forgive and forget the sins of the brother who sins against us.  How could we expect the love of God to sink deep into our hearts if  our hearts are so hard we cannot forgive others?  Forgiving others becomes much easier when we come to know the peace that comes from having our sins forgiven by the Father.  Be forgiving and be forgiven.

A Christian fights.  We may think of the Christian as a fighter, but the life of a Christian is a life of war—war against the evil works of darkness.  Paul wrote that we should put on the whole armour of God so we could withstand the fiery darts of the wicked

(Ephesians 6:13) “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.”  Then, he tells us how we can identify the enemy.  They are not flesh and blood; they are powers, principalities, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness

(Ephesians 6:12) “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.”

In short, anything that is contrary to the holy ordinances of Almighty God is an enemy of God and, therefore, our enemy because we are God’s children.  We fight them until we die or until Christ comes again.  We must be consistent in our battles.  We cannot war against sin today and then turn and allow it to run unchallenged in another situation.  If it is sin, it is an enemy of God and an enemy of the Christian.  We are marching in the battlefields with Christ as our commander, waging war against the unfruitful works of darkness, assured of a victory over sin in the last day when Christ returns with His mighty angels  “And to you who are troubled rest with us, 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;  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”  (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) but, until that day we must wage a ceaseless battle against sin, bringing the lost to Christ.

A Christian lives.  We are dead to the world but alive to Christ.  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21).  We live as Christians on this earth for Christ and His cause.  WE are dead to sin and to the world but alive anew in Christ, working for the furtherance of His kingdom.  Those who remain faithful will live forever.  “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

We love because Christ loves; we forgive because Christ forgives; we fight because Christ fights; and we  live because Christ lives.  These are the four traits of a Christian—four traits of Christ.  This is the character of a Christian.  Christian, are these your character?

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Getting our feet wet

“And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest).  That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city.  Adam, that is beside Zaretan, and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.” (Joshua 3: 15-16)

I.   God gives the command

1.   For the priests that bare the ark, it was necessary—commanded that they get their feet wet in the flooded banks of the Jordan. (Joshua 3: 9-13)

2.  Likewise, the Christian is commanded to get his/her feet wet in teaching God’s word (Matthew 28:18-20)

II. God’s Instructions are clear and concise

1.  God did not leave it to Joshua’s discretion as to how to cross the river Jordan. (Joshua 3:9-13)

2. Likewise, God has given us specific instructions in evangelism.

A. The child of God is told to “Go” (Matthew 28:19; Mk16:15)

B. The child of God is told to “teach the Gospel” (Romans 10:14-17; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16: 15), and no other gospel or philosophies of men. (Galatians 1:8-9)

C. The child of God must teach God’s word in its entirety.  (2Timothy 3:14-17; 4:2-5)

III.  God promises to be with all those who obey Him.

He promised to be with Joshua and Israel (Joshua 3:7)

He promises to be with us as well. (Matthew 28:20)

IV.  Satan will try to flood the Christian’s heart with those things that would prevent him from obeying God, from “Getting his feet wet in Evangelism.”

A. The flood of fear—Satan wants us to be afraid to teach others about Christ.  He tries to make evangelism a frightening thing by creating misconceptions about it in the minds of Christians everywhere.  Some misconceptions are:-

1. You have to go far away from home to be involved in evangelism.—On the contrary, often times the most effective             evangelism is not accomplished by speaking to the masses on foreign soil.  It is done at home, work or school, sitting across dining room tables sharing a meal, one soul at a time; friends, co-workers, neighbours, family.  Don’t let Satan deceive you into thinking you are ineffective if you do not  teach in some foreign country.  While such is necessary and commanded, it is not the only form of evangelism.

2. I do not know enough to teach someone else.—Satan wants us to doubt our knowledge and ability to teach others.  While we will never know the answer to every question we may be asked, we must understand that there comes a time in every  Christian’s life when we ought to be teachers.  (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 3:15) at the very least, the child of God ought to be able to share with others the plan of salvation, and the hope we have in Christ Jesus.  If we cannot do this, then perhaps this is where we need to begin our personal study of God’s word.

B. The flood of doubt—Satan wants the child of God to doubt that God will do what He has promised to do.  God has promised to be with us, but Satan wants us to feel alone and afraid.  Satan doesn’t want us to remember passages such as (Philippians 4:13)  “I  can do all  thingsthrough Christ which strengtheneth me.”   He magnifies our weaknesses in an effort to shrink our courage.  The child of God’s only defence against Satan in the word of God, for he hath said, I will never leave thee,  nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper,and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

C. The flood of procrastination—Satan is the originator of Procrastination.  He loves to deceive man into always assuming there will be a tomorrow.  Forgetting that tomorrow is no guarantee.  (James 4:13-17)   Procrastination in evangelism is a sin.  It is a choice not to do today what we know we ought.  It is arrogant to assume there will be a tomorrow.  Teaching the lost should take precedence over all else.  This point is well Illustrated in Jesus reply to the man who asked to put off following Jesus until he buried his father.  Jesus told him to,  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:60)   Stressing the importance of setting cares of the world aside and putting God first. (Matthew 6:33)

Getting our feet wet in evangelism is a command requiring both faith and obedience.  The child of God must continually resist Satan’s attempts to flood our hearts with fear, doubt and procrastination.  We must have the faith of Joshua, and the priests who were willing to get their feet we at God’s command.  When we obey God we know that HE will be with us and HE will do all that He has promised.

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The Long Walk Home

It had been a long day. The man was tired, hungry and sore. Yet, still he faced the long walk home. He was weary to the bone, but He began to put one foot in front of the other, for He had not been home in a very long time. The man was aware of activity all around Him. He was conscious of a throbbing headache and his back had been hurting all day. These things, however, were suppressed, for surely He had other things on His mind. Life had been burdensome from time to time. The man had seen good friends and family pass away. He had shown goodwill toward His fellow man, only to have it thrown back in His face. He had been honest and forthright, only to be ridiculed for it. He did not lie, cheat or steal; yet, few people were impressed by this conduct. He stood by His friends in difficult times, yet most of His friends did not return this loyalty. He was a good brother to His siblings, but there existed a gap between Himself and His family. Yes, the man had a lot on his mind as He travelled home.

Weary beyond belief and deep in thought, the man did not at first realize that He had been approached by someone. A hand fell on His shoulder and Jesus of Nazareth lifted His weary eyes and looked into the face of Simon of Cyrene. Simon took the weight of the cross off the shredded back of God’s Son. Jesus continued the long walk home, still carrying the sins of the world.

Yes, life had been burdensome from time to time. The Lord had left His heavenly home over thirty years before. He who was equal with God came to walk among men. He came not to condemn, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17.) He came to save the souls of men, even these men, who ridiculed Him as He walks toward home. As He approaches the place called Golgotha, He wipes the blood from His forehead where the thorns had cut so deeply. He looks at these people whom He loves, as they shout obscenities in their hatred for Him. He came here to save them, but the rough hands that yank Him to the ground show no mercy. Many hands hold the King outstretched upon the cross. Men hold His arms – He chooses not to move them. Dull spikes are driven through His hands – He chooses not to stop them. Spikes are driven through His feet – He allows it. The cross is raised and the weight of His body pulls on the new wounds. His body screams, but His mind recalls the necessity of this moment and He cries out, “. . . Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)

He is almost home. It is all over now, except for dying and rising from the grave as He had promised. Then He will ascend to the Father and He will be home again. Having shed His blood, having been the sacrifice for the sins of the world, He will abide in heaven forever, where He will intercede for those who follow Him.

The body of Jesus died on the cross that day. But Jesus had promised to do what no mere man could do.

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17,18.)

Jesus said He would not only lay His life down, but by His own power He would take it up again. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an event that cannot be disputed by rational people. The evidence is overwhelming. The Jews of the day certainly would have produced the body of Jesus if the body was to be found. The weight of eyewitness testimony alone would be more than sufficient in any court of law, to prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did happen (Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 16:9,10, 12, Acts 1:3 1 Corinthians 15:4). Jesus overcame death as He said He would. He then ascended to the Father where He sits at the right hand of God in the seat of power. (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Every child of God seeks heaven as his eternal home. From the time one emerges from the waters of baptism, one faces a long walk home. When the Christian walk seems too long or too hard for you, remember our Saviour’s long walk home. Remember that long ago day when He trudged through the streets of Jerusalem. He was wounded, mocked, spat upon and totally in control. He chose to walk to His execution for you. Now, how hard is your walk?

Remember as well that this same Jesus arose from the grave by His own power. He intercedes for you. He had the commitment to die for the sins of man and His Word has the power to bring you safely home, if you walk as He walked. So when the road is long, look to the horizon and keep walking. When the road is hard, put your head down, grit your teeth and endure. Our Lord did.

~ Paul Hoover ~

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Jesus And His Temptations

The definition of the word temptation is: “to entice.” Entice is defined: “to attract artfully or adroitly by arousing hope or desire. To lure; an inducement to pleasure or gain.” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

To lure, to arouse, or entice are all good definitions to describe accurately the wily ways of Satan. Wily or no, Satan had no measurable ill effect on Jesus Christ! Jesus had a perfect knowledge of the Scriptures and through that knowledge He escaped the artful ploys of His opponent. Comforted by the words: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” Jesus “then was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 3:11; 4:1). Jesus fasted for forty days.

A period of forty days and nights of fasting is a long time! It amounts to exactly 960 hours! Going without food for a day often causes hunger; multiply that by forty. “He was afterward an hungered” (Matthew 4:2). Total starvation would seem the better term!

Can one perceive being that hungry and resisting the tempter who would say, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3)? Human that I am, my first reaction would be to have loaves of bread in all shapes, sizes and flavors of my choice! I would have a picnic! My spirit would be weak. Not so, Jesus. He was the Son of God in human form. There is no doubt He could have in a single thought made all the stones into bread. To gratify His human need was secondary. Quoting the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 8:3 to be exact, Jesus said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3). Imagine being very hungry and saying “no” to a possible feast to end a forty day fast. Jesus spoke of another source of food, Spiritual food, the bread of life!

The power of Satan paled as his invitation to end the fast in pleasure was so confidently rebuffed by Christ. God must have been well pleased! During times of temptation do we weigh the provocative invitations of Satan against the reliable Word of God? “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 7:63). Jesus is that bread of life come down from heaven to do the will of the Father. He was the perfect example. Do we do as Jesus or do we please self?

Unable to defeat Jesus in his first attempt, the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in the holy city. Again, we read, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down…” A second snare was set. The answer: “It is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7). How presumptuous of Satan to assume Jesus would tempt His own Father; His God! Jesus had a complete faith in God. He knew God as a Father. That Father would care for Him. Jesus would not ask God to prove himself! Jesus may have recalled these words: “This is my beloved Son.” If we are in Christ, “behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). How strong is our faith in Him? Need we prove or even so much as question the love God has for us?

Taking Jesus with him on to an exceeding high mountain, Satan looked over all the kingdoms in their glory. From this spacious point of view he made his final offer to Jesus. “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

What wealth, honour and pleasure! The world and all of the glory of possession within reach! Now how unwise could the devil be? The earth was already the creation come from the Father, and He, Jesus had been there. Jesus and the Father are one (Gensis 1:26). The Son of God did not mince words! “Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, “Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.” Once more, Jesus knew how to defeat the sordid ways of Satan. To bow to him would only end in disaster! To watch the total kingdom of God fade into nothingness because of a preposterous proposal was not in the mind of Christ. By kingdom, I mean a heavenly kingdom. The earth and all of its pleasures were meaningless if God was not included. This kingdom was His home and God was His Father. He took pleasure in knowing one day He would return to His home. This is called hope. This same hope continually invites us to worship and serve God and Him only. This is the plan Jesus presented to us, despite the devil and his temptations!

“Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Now was the time to eat! The angels came to serve Jesus!

Temptations will come to all. Jesus set forth the example to follow. Do not bow down to the attractiveness of toady’s tastefully packaged pleasures. It is just another way Satan is trying to entice us. Boldly take a stand. Use the Word as Jesus did. The tempter will flee, the Bible says so! We are to “set aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Learn from Jesus and His temptations.