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Scripture Memory: Christ’s Return. 

VERSE : Revelation 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

6 November 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Colin Wong (God’s Providential Deliverance, Acts 23:1-35)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Charles Seet (The Sabbath Is Made for Man, Lk 14:1-6)

13 November 2016

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Dr Tedd Tripp (Freeing Our Hearts from Idols, Eze 14:1-8)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Eld Ng Beng Kiong (Where Are the Nine? Lk 17:11-19)

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IS GAMBLING BENEFICIAL OR SINFUL?

In recent weeks there has been many responses to the partial lifting on the ban on online gambling. It is feared that this development will send a wrong signal and encourage more people to gamble. Those who advocate the legalisation of gambling believe that these fears are unfounded since the two local operators are required to implement a host of social safeguards such as age and gambling limits.

This may actually be part of a global paradigm shift in attitudes concerning gambling because of the huge economic gains and job growth it brings. Some have therefore tried to put it in a good light. As one website claims, “We could see a decrease in medical expenditures to our elderly if the US government would wake up and see that gambling, when operated professionally and with the clients’ welfare in mind, can have a positive impact in ways even we never thought of.”

Another source claims, “For the working class, gambling can make them relax from a hard day’s work. If a tired person is relaxed, he is able to think and do well. For couples, it is an alternative way to bond together without the kids. It can take their mind off the pressures that they have.” A health website claims that, “Gambling is an activity that seems to work well in keeping the mind young in many people around the world… Blackjack requires the use of short term memory. Exercising this part of the brain is very important in the fight to stave off senility.” Can such claims about gambling be true?

What is Gambling?

The word ‘gamble’ is derived from the word ‘game’. Many have been deceived with the idea that gambling is just a harmless game or recreation. But unlike most games which are driven by a harmless desire for fun, gambling is driven by two very powerful forces:

Firstly, it is driven by the thrill of risking one’s assets. The most dominant element in gambling is the taking of risk. In gambling, a person risks his assets on a speculated result, in the hope of getting gains for himself. A person who takes a risk knows that he may lose something that is valuable to him, and his body responds to that knowledge. Adrenaline pours into his bloodstream. The greater the risk taken, the more adrenaline floods his body. This heightens a person’s alertness and energy level – his heart beats faster, his blood vessels dilate, and the sugar level in his blood goes up. For a while he gets an extra ‘wind’ to do something that is mentally or physically strenuous. This is known as the body’s fight or flight response.

It is this physiological response to risk-taking that gives the gambler an exhilarating sensation that is similar to taking stimulant drugs. When this ‘high’ feeling is combined with the end result of making quick substantial gains, the desire to enjoy more of this euphoria develops into an addiction to gambling.

Secondly, gambling is driven by covetousness. The desire to get something out of nothing stems from a covetous attitude. To covet is to seek for something that is not in the will of God for us. Every gambler covets two things at the same time: a desired outcome and the material gains that come with it. He covets the desired outcome in order to obtain his coveted gains.

Why is Gambling Sinful?

Covetousness is condemned by the tenth commandment “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exodus 20:17) Gambling is sinful because it violates this commandment.

But covetousness is often not the only sin involved in gambling. The gambler’s covetousness leads to other sins as well. It spurs him onward to keep going after the elusive desired result, until he does not mind crossing the boundaries of propriety and good judgment just to get it. Nothing matters more to him than obtaining what he covets. He may resort to lying, deception and cheating to get what he wants.

This is why it is impossible to permit gambling in society, without having to deal with all the undesirable strains and pains that it brings to moral life, spiritual life, married life and family life. The world of sports has become defiled by game-fixing because of heavy betting. Friendships turn bitter overnight because of evil schemes to win bets.

This is not new. In the time of the Judges of Israel, Samson made a bet with the Philistines for 30 sets of expensive clothing that they would not be able to guess the answer to his riddle. They took on the bet, but found the riddle too hard for them to solve. Since they did not want to lose the bet and pay up, they bullied Samson’s wife into tricking him to reveal the answer. So Samson lost the bet through underhand means (Judges 14:12-20).

Even those who have never read the Bible recognize that gambling is a social evil that has ruined many lives and done irreparable damage to whole families. Some years ago Russia imposed a ban on casinos in Moscow and other big cities. Why did it do this? According to the Civil Chamber, “The destruction of families, crimes against people, theft and robbery, psychological illness, a large number of suicides, especially among adolescents – that’s the price Russia is paying every day for the spread, everywhere, of gaming arcades.”

Since the two casinos opened in Singapore many people have become heavily in debt or bankrupt. The number of pawnshops have increased from 114 to 217. High-profile cases of corruption have been linked to the casinos. Singaporeans are now reported to be the biggest gamblers in the world, spending US$1,376 per head every year on gambling in casinos.

What are the Negative Effects of Gambling?

1. It is very addictive. Statistics reveal that 52% of Singaporeans gamble at least once a week before they turn 30 years old. In the US, gambling addicts constitute a higher percentage of the population than alcoholics. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul says, “all things are lawful, but I shall not be brought under the power of any.”

2. It causes people to lose sight of reality. Gamblers live in a dream world of riches, hoping for that unreal ‘chance of a lifetime’ to fall into their lap. They believe that all their problems will be solved if they strike it rich. But they are just like the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21. He dreamed of enjoying overflowing affluence for the rest of his life just because he had a good harvest, but he died that very night.

3. It makes people believe that luck rather than hard work is the way to prosperity. It therefore goes against the biblical work ethic which teaches us to work for a living. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

4. It causes people to become intensely self-centered. Nothing else matters to the gambler except the thrill of risking his assets to make big gains for himself. It leads to getting, rather than giving as a way of life. Cf. James 4:13 – “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain”

5. It often draws people into a life of dishonesty and sin. Gamblers often resort to borrowing money, cheating, stealing and embezzling funds just to feed their habit. The sins of gamblers tend to grow bigger and bigger. Cf. 2 Timothy 3:13 – “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

 6. It results in families destroyed by poverty. The parent who gambles becomes so caught up with gambling that he is not able to feel for others any more. He gambles late into the night instead of spending time with his family who needs him. He sells off the house and other family securities, and destroys the lives of his loved ones. Studies have shown that for every one problem gambler, 5-10 other people are affected. 1 Timothy 5:8 – “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

One can see from the above effects how easily man’s depravity is expressed wherever any form of gambling is permitted and indulged. In the light of all these, it is clear that Christians should totally abstain from any form of gambling, even if it is legal or for small stakes, or done only occasionally.

Can Gambling Be Beneficial?

Those who believe that gambling can be beneficial have fallen into a faulty kind reasoning that goes like this: “It is all right to sin, if it is for the sake of doing something good.” This faulty reasoning is addressed in at least two passages of Scripture: Romans 3:7-8 – “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?  And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” Romans 6:1-2 – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

If we justify gambling, we will soon end up justifying many other gross sins as well. For example, a person might use the same faulty reasoning to justify lying: “Telling lies makes people more creative, it is an art, because it takes a lot of ingenuity and skill to make others believe something which is utterly false. Therefore it can be good to tell lies.” That is why people who do this very skillfully are called ‘con artists’.

The same faulty reasoning might also be used to justify stealing: “Stealing is all right when it is to take from the rich and give to the poor who are being exploited by the rich.” Let us learn this important truth: It is never right to do wrong in order to gain the opportunity to do what is right or good.

The bottom line is this: There is really no good reason at all for anyone to gamble. Whatever benefits a person may gain out of gambling are offset by its hazards. And these benefits can be obtained from better sources. God has made us in His image to strive for better things – things that are above, things that are eternal. We were created for the noble purpose of glorifying Him and to enjoy Him forever. In order to do this we must lay aside every weight and every besetting sin. And that includes gambling.

Dear reader, if you have been openly or secretly indulging in any form of gambling, God commands you this day to repent of it and lay it aside. He takes every sin in your life seriously, including this one.                                                                           —Pastor

 

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FAMILY SEMINAR (11-14 Nov)

A gentle reminder for registered participants:

11 Nov (Fri)      7.30pm      :           Marriage

12 Nov (Sat)     9am           :           Shepherding a Child’s Heart

14 Nov (Mon)   2pm           :           Moms & Dads

                 7.30pm    :           Instructing a Child’s Heart

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1) SG Secure: Global terrorism is on the rise and Singapore is facing our highest threat level. These threats can happen at any time and in any place, including churches. Let us support our government’s initiative to be prepared by downloading the SG Secure App into our mobile devices (For details, see www.sgsecure.sg).

2) Church Staff Employment: The Session is pleased to announce the appointment of bro Lun Chee Leong as Media & Tecnology Officer (MTO) wef 1 Nov 2016.

3) Infant Baptism on Christmas Sunday, 25 Dec 16. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 13 Nov 16. Please email church office giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

4) This year’s Youth Fellowship Camp 2016 will be from 19-23 Dec! Ages 17-25 are welcome. Do register at the booth in front of the Main Sanctuary or online at http://tinyurl.com/jlx46jm. Registration ends 20 Nov. See you there!

5) The annual Lively Teens Fellowship Camp will be held on 5-9 Dec 16. All teens who are 11-17 years of age are encouraged to join! Open for registration.

6) Our condolences to the family of Robin He & Lim Seng Hoo on the homegoing of Robin’s mother, Mdm Zhou Fu Ying on 3 Nov 2016.

7) The family of the late Mdm Chow Song Sian would like to express their deep gratitude and appreciation for the pastoral team, Session members and church for their love, prayers and support during their recent bereavement.

 

Preaching appt: Rev Seet at Thai Service, 2.30 pm. Rev Quek in Batam.  Rev Khoo at Chinese BSF, 7 pm.

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

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25