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Scripture Memory: Protection.

VERSE : Isaiah 43:2  “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

24 July 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Colin Wong (The Cost of Gospel Ministry, Acts 14:1-20)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Ho Chee Lai (Lord, You Can Make Me Clean!, Matt 8:2-4)

31 July 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Peter Tan (The Unchanging Christ in a Changing World, Heb 13:1-9)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (I Have Not Found So Great Faith! Matt 8:5-13)

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COMFORT FOR SUFFERING

God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways all our lives through. In this life we should expect severe testing, trials, troubles, tribulations, problems and afflictions. We have to accept suffering and heartaches as part of the Christian life.

But God promises to give us the comfort we need to cope with all these trials and suffering in life. And God has a good purpose for allowing us to suffer. These are taught by Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.

To understand what Paul wrote here, we need to know the background of this epistle. The city of Corinth was the most important city in Greece in Paul’s time but it was also a cesspool of sin. It was from such moral and social corruption that many were saved. However as they were still growing in sanctification, many problems arose within this church.

Paul wrote 1 Corinthians primarily to correct these errors. They must be resolved because the Church is to be a holy temple of God. However after the epistle was sent to them the errors were not resolved immediately. Hence, Paul went to Corinth personally to resolve them. But this turned out to be painful trip for both Paul and the Corinthians.

When Paul returned to Ephesus, he wrote a strongly-worded epistle to them in which he rebuked them severely. After some time he received news that the majority of the members had responded well, with godly sorrow and true repentance! This became the occasion for Paul’s writing 2 Corinthians. There was a change in tone. Now he was very tenderhearted, full of compassion and sympathy.

In 1 Corinthians what stands out is the church’s need for correction, but what stand out in 2 Corinthians is its need for comfort. This epistle begins and ends with comfort (1:3; 13:11). Paul wanted the Corinthians to experience God’s comfort for their godly sorrow. Having understood the background of this passage, let us learn three lessons from it.

1. All who serve and obey Christ must be willing to suffer.

This was true of Paul and his fellow workers, as he said in v.5 – “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us…” These sufferings do not refer to Christ’s sufferings on the Cross, but sufferings that come as a result of serving Him. Sometimes suffering is caused by the people we serve. It was not easy for Paul to correct the errors of the Corinthians. He met with strong resistance and sharp criticism from them. Some even questioned his apostleship. But Paul endured all these willingly for the sake of Christ, since He was ministering to them on Christ’s behalf (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20). All who minister in Christ’s stead will also suffer in Christ’s stead.

In verse 8, Paul reveals how intensely he had to suffer as ambassadors for Christ – “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves…” The trouble mentioned here may have been the mob violence which Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths instigated against Paul by Ephesus (Acts 19). What is more significant is the effect that this trouble had on him – The words ‘pressed out of measure’ mean ‘unbearably crushed’ or ‘utterly burdened’.

But Paul was not the only one who suffered. He acknowledges that the Corinthians had also suffered (v.7). What they suffered was ridicule and persecution for choosing to follow Christ rather than the world. Obedience to Christ often puts us at odds with the world. We have to deny self and take up our cross.

This may stretch your moral fiber to the very limit. When you are under great pressure, it is so tempting to take the easy way out – to tell a lie, or plead ignorance. You are vexed in your workplace by the unethical practices that are going on around you. But on the other hand, you are attracted by enticing promises of quick gains, and even of gaining the whole world if only you would compromise some biblical principles.

Please settle it in your mind that while salvation is free, following Christ is costly. Our Lord never said that it would be easy to follow Him. He said, “…strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14) Most people prefer the broad way, the easy way, which leads to destruction. It requires much effort and courage to do God’s will and obey His Word daily. You must resolve to do God’s will and obey His Word daily and be willing to suffer for it.

2. All who suffer for Christ will be comforted.

Verse 5 – “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation [comfort] also aboundeth by Christ.” The word ‘comfort’ here does not mean the removal of all suffering and discomfort, or feeling nice and comfortable. It means being encouraged, refreshed or helped while we are still suffering. This enables us to endure suffering well.

This supernatural consolation or comfort “…is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer…” (v.6) It imparts grace, strength and courage to us so that we can endure our sufferings. In fact, with such comfort we can even rejoice and thank God for afflicting us! Paul and Silas were able to sing praises to God after being wrongfully accused, and then mercilessly beaten and chained in stocks in the Philippian jail. We must be thankful to God for giving us such an amazing comfort for all our earthly trials. We need not be fearful of suffering any more when we know that with such comfort we can endure them well.

When we receive this comfort, we will also be able to comfort those who suffer (v.4). God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters for others. In fact, after we have found comfort in times of trouble, we are able to give better comfort than others. Who can comfort a widow who has lost her husband better than another widow who has received the Lord’s comfort? Who can comfort a person who is diagnosed with cancer better than someone who has been able to cope with cancer with God’s help?

 Knowing this will give you a fresh perspective on every trial that you go through in life: God has deliberately designed it not to hurt you but to help you to be a blessing to others. Every painful experience is designed to make you a source of comfort to others. So don’t let your trials go to waste but make good use of them. Who knows how many people will be blessed as you are more equipped by your trials to comfort them in their sorrow?

3. All the comfort we need is found in God.

He is called ‘the God of all comfort’ (v.3). The apostle Paul had experienced God’s comfort for himself. According to Acts 23:11, on the night after Paul was almost torn apart by mob violence in Jerusalem but rescued just in time by Roman soldiers, “…the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” No comfort could have been better for Paul than this.

Many people look for comfort in all the wrong places. Some look for it in food (Hence the term ‘comfort food’). Some try to drown their sorrows in alcohol. Some find comfort in shopping. The latest popular therapy that is recommended for coping with stress and trials is by practicing meditation or mindfulness. But these have Hindu and Buddhist origins and we should have no part in them.

All these sources of comfort cannot compare with the One we have. No comfort can ever be better than God’s personal comfort. As Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: 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. What a comforting promise this is from a God who is ever present with us!

God’s presence with us is manifested through the Holy Spirit who dwells in the heart of every believer. In John 14-16 the Holy Spirit is called the ‘Comforter’ four times (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7). The Holy Spirit often uses His written word to comfort us (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Whenever you feel distressed, turn to God’s Word and let Him speak to you through it. Reflect on the many ‘exceeding great and precious promises’ that He has given for your comfort and see how uplifting this is to your soul!

However in order to obtain comfort from God you must trust in Him for deliverance (v.10). The way to express trust in God is through prayer. This means that whenever we suffer we must turn to God in prayer. And as you pray, the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). God’s comfort is always available to us through prayer. Joseph Scriven found this out by experience – “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear – All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

All this ought to make us realise how good it is to be God’s children. To unbelievers suffering is a curse; suffering only makes them weak. But to us suffering is a blessing, and it actually makes us strong and refines our faith as gold! However, we must qualify that there is no blessing in suffering as an evildoer (1 Peter 4:15-16).

Unbelievers also have no reliable source of comfort to cope with suffering. But we have a source of real comfort that never fails – Emmanuel, God with us! He is a very present help in trouble who gives us all the comfort, joy, peace and hope that we will ever need in life. May the comfort that God gives to us overflow to comfort others who are suffering also. – Pastor

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Results of Scripture Memory Verse Programme Review Exercise No.2

We congratulate the following who have achieved a score of 70% and above:

1.   Angela Tan

2.   Annette Kunst-Teh

3.   Betrand Lam

4.   Chan Sok Kheng

5.   Claire Tan

6.   Daniel Tan

7.   Deborah Tan

8.   Fidelia Beatrice Alvina

9.   Folla Karuti

10. Ian Liu

11. Iris Loe

12. Jennifer Goh

13. Jireh Loo

14. Joel Neo Rong Yao

15. Johannah Koh Mei Choo

16. Jotham Lim

17. Joyce Ang

18. Karen Heng-Sin

19. Lee Chee Weng

20. Lee Jing Jing

21. Leong Li Peng

22. Leong Sow Mun

23. Leslie Tan

24. Lim Buay Hock

25. Lorene Chee

26. Matthew Sim

27. Melissa Wong Song Ting

28. Ong Phei Hong

29. Patrick Kok

30. Rachael Kwok Wei Yan

31. Rae-Ann Lim

32. Ryan Lim

33. Sherrie See

34. Sim Yen Hua

35. Tan Khoon Lee

36. Tan Kwee Mui

37. Tan Min Hui

38. Tessa Teh

39. Timothy Neo

40. Woon Yee Shin

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Be A Soul Winner

Be Equipped to share the gospel to Your Loved Ones and Friends.

Good Soil Evangelism & Discipleship 2016

12 & 17 Sep, 2016

Register at LBPC Website or URL: bit.ly/gsed2016

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1) Infant Baptism on Anniversary Sunday, 16 Oct 16. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 28 Aug 16. Please call the Church Office (6594 9399) or email Yin Chan   giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

2) Musicians are needed for vigil services. Please contact Daniel Phang.

3) Elder Edmund Tay’s family would like to thank all the pastors, admin staff, members of Life Church and other churches, and friends for their condolences and gifts on the homegoing of Elder Tay on 15 July 16 at the age of 85.

 

Preaching appt:  Rev Quek & Rev Khoo on mission trip from 21 Jul to 1 Aug.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11