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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Be Careful What You Choose

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul (Psa 106:13-15).”

Psalm 106 recounts the sad history of Israel, filled with accounts of the people’s unfaithfulness. From the time of the Exodus to the time of the judges, Israel repeatedly turned against her God.

A chilling fact was revealed in verses 13-15. God gave His wilful people their hearts’ desires, “but sent leanness into their soul.” He gave them over to the consequences of their unholy desires, to gradually destroy their souls like a disease would the physical body.


Jacob Stole His Brother’s Blessing
We read in Gen 27:18-29 of how Jacob, in his desire for the blessing which belonged to his brother, deceived his father, Isaac. Isaac was shocked that his own son had done this. He said to the distraught Esau, “Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing (v. 35).”

Jacob got what he desired but it caused the break-up of the family. He had to flee for his life from his brother who intended to kill him. There was no peace for Jacob at Haran. There he received a taste of his own medicine. His uncle Laban was also a crafty man and deceived Jacob into marrying Leah. Imagine Jacob’s shock in the morning when he discovered his wife was not the woman he wanted to marry (cf. Gen 29:25).

Over the years Jacob continued to suffer from Laban’s deception. He said to his wives: “And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me (Gen 31:7).”

Even his own sons deceived him. After they sold Joseph to slave traders, they dipped his coat in animal blood and brought it to Jacob. Believing that Joseph was dead, Jacob was inconsolable (Gen 37:33-34). Jacob had a tough life, deceiving but being deceived in return.


Israel Demanded a King
Israel looked at their neighbours with their kings and they wanted the same. They demanded a king from Samuel (1Sa 8:5-6). Their desire for an earthly king was in fact a rejection of God as their King (1Sa 8:7-8).

Despite Samuel warning them of the demands a king would place on them, the people persisted in their desire for a king. “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles (1Sa 8:19-20).”

Most of the kings they had were not godly men, and they led Israel and Judah on a downward spiral. They lived to regret their foolishness. They would have been better if they had stayed with God as their king (cf. Hosea 13:9-11)


Be Careful of Our Hearts’ Desire
Good salary.

No one complains of having a job that pays well. Some jobs pay better than others, and people commit themselves to education and training hopefully to find employment that pays well.

What happens if a well-paying job requires us to do things which we know is not right? Which requires us to compromise morally? Or to forsake the assembly of the saints? What would we choose? Paul says:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1Ti 6:6-10).”


Approval of men.

Some people are not greedy for money, they are greedy for approval. There is a passage in the gospel account of John that reveals just such an attitude. There were among members of the Sanhedrin, believers of Jesus. These were men on the right path – they were given “power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his (Jesus) name (John 1:12).”

But what do we learn of these men? “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).”

Be careful what you choose. You may get it, and with it, leanness of soul.

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Examples of Righteousness and Unrighteousness

Balak, the king of Moab, wanted Balaam to come and curse Israel (Numbers 22:5-6). God told Balaam not to go (Numbers 22:12). Balak used gifts to try and get Balaam to go even though God still did not want him to go (Numbers 22:22). Balaam, instead of cursing Israel, blessed them (Numbers 23:1-11). In this passage Balaam said, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his” (Numbers 23:10). In the middle of this blessing we find an important lesson. For one to die the death of the righteous, he must first live the life of the righteous. This is something Balaam failed to do. If we want to die the death of the righteous, we cannot follow the example of Balaam (2 Peter 2:15).

Righteousness is truly a biblical subject. The word “righteousness” appears 302 times in the Bible, and the word “righteous” is found 238 times in 225 verses. The Bible defines “righteousness” as simply doing that which is right (1 John 3:7-10; Acts 10:35).

In order for man to be pleasing to God he must be righteous for God is righteous (Matthew 5:6, 48; 6:33; Romans 1:17; Psalm 35:24). To do that which is right (righteousness) one must know what is right. One can know what is right. It is the Word of God; the Bible (Psalm 119:123, 142; John 8:32; 17:17). However, it is not enough just to know what is right, one must do that which is right (Matthew 7:21-23; James 2:17-26; Romans 10:10).

The Bible records many examples of righteous people. Abel was called righteous by the Hebrew writer (Hebrews 11:4). Noah, Daniel, and Job were grouped together as those who were righteous (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). The apostle Peter called Noah a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). Abraham was called a righteous man by the apostle Paul (Galatians 3:6). Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was also called a righteous man in 2 Peter 2:7-8. The parents of John the Baptizer were also described as righteous before God (Luke 1:5-6). Even Pontius Pilate, who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, recognized that He led a righteous life (Matthew 27:19, 24). And indeed He was Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

Examples of Unrighteousness
The Bible also gives many examples of those who were unrighteous. Whereas Abel was described as a righteous man, his brother, Cain, was described as a wicked one and a murderer (1 John 3:12). The Bible uses Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of ungodliness (2 Peter 2:6). To be ungodly is to be unrighteous. Many times the nation of Israel was unrighteous. In the wilderness they worshipped a golden calf (Exodus 32:1-6) and because of their hardened hearts, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 13:30 – 14:4; Hebrews 3:8-17). They wanted an earthly king (1 Samuel 8:7) thereby rejecting Jehovah God as their King and they followed the evil examples of the kings of other nations which led to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Jesus condemned the wickedness of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-33). Wickedness is unrighteousness. The destiny of the unrighteous is eternal punishment (1 Corinthians 6:8-10; Revelation 21:8).

However, the unrighteousness of mankind can be turned to righteousness. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul points out the unrighteousness of man (Romans 4:9-10, 23). In the first three chapters of the same book, Paul dealt with the sins of the Jews and Gentiles—all of mankind. This unrighteousness is not inherited (Ezekiel 18:4, 20-24; Matthew 18:3). Unrighteousness (sin) is something that one does (1 John 1:10; 3:4). Paul also shows what is involved in changing from unrighteousness to righteousness in Romans 6:16-18. In verse 17 it states that one must obey from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered (that is, one must hear the Gospel, repent of his sins, confess Christ as the Son of the living God, be baptised for the forgiveness of his sins, and live according to the Word of Truth). This means that one must turn and resist Satan and submit to God (1 Thessalonians 1:9; James 4:7).

It should be the goal of all to die the death of the righteous but we must remember; to die the death of the righteous one must live the life of the righteous (Psalm 166:15; Proverbs 14:23; Revelation 14:13).


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Repentance: The Most Difficult Command

The word “repent” in its various forms occurs more than 100 times in the Bible. This shows the great importance of repentance. Nearly every church requires repentance from sin of those who wish to be members. However, repentance is a greatly misunderstood command of God. It is also a very difficult command. Some have said it is the most difficult command in all the Bible.

What is Repentance?
Sometimes the best way to learn the meaning of a word is first to look at what it is not before looking at what it is. Many people think repentance is just being sorry for one’s sins. This is not what repentance is! The apostle Paul wrote: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). If one is sorry for the sins he has committed, it will cause him to repent of them. On Pentecost Day, the Jews who heard Peter preach Christ “were cut to the heart.” This shows they were very sorry for their sin of crucifying Jesus, but their sorrow for sin was not repentance. Peter still had to tell them to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37, 38).

If repentance is not being sorry for one’s sins, then what is repentance? According to all the teaching of the Bible, repentance is a change of one’s mind toward sin. It is produced by godly sorrow for one’s sins. The result of this change of mind toward sin will be a change of life. A good example of what is involved in repentance is a parable that Jesus told: “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went” (Matthew 21:28,29). The son disobeyed his father. When he regretted (was sorry) for his disobedience, he changed his mind about his decision. He then did what his father had asked him to do.

Repentance involves restitution. “Restitution” means that we will make right the things we have done wrong in so far as possible. If one has murdered another person, he can not restore that person back to life. He can, however, help the widow and children of the man he has killed. If one has stolen money from another person, when he repents, he must return the money he has stolen. John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees: “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8).

Who Should Repent?
Those who are not Christians must repent of their sins in order to be saved. Jesus commanded “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Paul told the people of Athens that God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). On Pentecost Day, Peter told the Jews who heard the Gospel and had cried out, “What shall we do?” to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37, 38).

Christians who have sinned also need to repent. When Philip preached in Samaria, Simon, who had been a sorcerer, became a Christian. When he saw the apostles giving the gifts of the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on the Christians, he wanted to buy this power. “But Peter said to him, Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (Acts 8:20-22).

Why Should One Repent?
We have already learned that godly sorrow produces repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). In Jesus’ parable of the two sons, we learned that the son who refused to obey his father regretted his decision. Therefore, he changed his mind and did his father’s will. His regret (godly sorrow for his disobedience) caused him to repent and obey his father’s command (Matthew 21:28, 29). One will repent if he is sorry for his sins.

One will also repent of his sins when he understands God’s goodness toward him. Paul asked,“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). God loves us and sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:6-8). God’s goodness should make us want to repent of our sins against Him.

One will also repent of his sins because the Day of Judgment is coming. Paul told the idolaters in Athens: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30, 31). Christ is now ruling from the right hand of God in Heaven, but one day He will come again to raise the dead and judge the whole world (Acts 1:9-11; John 5:28, 29 ). Everyone who is living and who has ever lived will be judged (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). We must repent of our sins so that we will not be condemned at the Judgment!

When Should One Repent?
The Jews on Pentecost repented the same day they heard the Gospel. They were then baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:37, 38, 41). Since one can not be saved without repentance, then one should want to repent as soon as possible (Luke 13:3). Life is short and uncertain (James 4:13-15). Death is certain and will come to each one of us sooner or later (Hebrews 9:27). We are going to be judged for our sins at the Last Day. Therefore, we should repent immediately! The apostle Peter wrote: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Dear Reader, what about you? Have you repented of your sins? Have you been baptized for the remission of your sins? If not, please do so today so that you will be prepared to meet the Lord.