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Scripture Memory: Reconciliation.

VERSE : Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness 

9 August 2015

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (Righteousness Exalts a Nation, Pro 14:34)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Jack Sin (Righteousness Exalts a Nation, Pro 14:34)

16 August 2015

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Lee Hock Chin (A Call to Christian Leadership, 1 Cor 16:13-19)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Eld Tan Cheow Hock (Coming Forth as Gold, Prov 17:3)

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CHRISTIAN PATRIOTISM

As we celebrate our nation’s 50th birthday today let us consider what it means to love Singapore. Every citizen is expected to love his own country, and everyone today is a citizen of some country. A long time ago one could avoid citizenship simply by sailing to some uninhabited part of the world. But today every part of this world belongs to a nation which claims jurisdiction over its inhabitants. Thus it is impossible to live without being a citizen of some country.

Because everyone is a citizen of some country, everyone enjoys a citizen’s benefits such as the maintenance of peace, justice, law and order. But they come with a price, because every country has its own laws and regulations to comply with, from the moment of birth and right up to the moment of death.

At birth, a child is issued with a birth certificate for a fee of $18. As he grows up, his education incurs the payment of school fees. When he turns 15, he pays $10 for his NRIC. In his late teens, he gives two years of his life in national service and thereafter continues to go for reservist training. When he starts drawing an income, he pays taxes. If he buys a vehicle, he pays COE, road tax and ERP.  If he buys a house, he pays property tax. If he buys anything else he pays GST. If he marries, he pays $26 at ROM. If he travels, he pays $80 for a passport. But when he dies, his death certificate is issued by the authorities free of charge! Whether we like it or not, we have to comply with every law and regulation from birth to death, or face the unpleasant prospect of being prosecuted by the state.

Patriotism motivates us to carry out our responsibilities to the state.

All these responsibilities can easily become a burden that breeds complaints and resentment unless one has a sense of love for the state which is known as patriotism. This goes beyond mere willing obedience to the nation’s laws and regulations. Patriotism supports the very existence of the state, as well as its rights and institutions. It is the sense of belonging to one’s country which makes a citizen rise up to defend its existence, rights and institutions when threats to these arise.

The Bible records some instances of patriotism. When Saul was just anointed as the first king of Israel, some Israelites living east of the Jordan were severely oppressed by the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:1-15). They would only lift the oppression if the Israelites there agreed to have their right eyes forcibly removed. When this news reached King Saul his feelings were strongly aroused, and he stirred up all the tribes of Israel to battle. The Ammonites were soundly defeated and the patriotic spirit of Israel was kindled.

Another instance can be seen in David’s slaying of Goliath. David was only a shepherd boy then, but when he heard all the awful insults that were hurled against Israel daily by this great Philistine, he was so fired up that he said to his countrymen, “What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the Living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26)

That is how we should feel if some terrorist organisation attempts to harm our people or invade our shores. Then we must not shirk our duty to protect Singapore even to the extent of sacrificing our own lives for it.

Patriotism sometimes conflicts with our loyalty to God.

However, while Bible heroes like David were willing to risk life and limb for their country, we must also remember that there is a distinct difference between Israel’s patriotism at that time, and that of any nation today. They were a theocracy – a nation under God’s rule – and we are not. Because of this, anyone who tried to harm Israel was actually fighting against God. Any Israelite who disobeyed the state was also disobeying God.

This situation does not exist anymore. No nation today can legitimately claim to be God’s kingdom on earth. Christ has already said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Patriotism may not always be binding on God’s people, especially when there is a clear conflict of loyalties between God’s kingdom and the state. As Christians we should always be patriotic, but never at the expense of our loyalty to God.

Let us understand that we all hold two citizenships – citizenship in an earthly kingdom and citizenship in a heavenly kingdom. Ephesians 2:19 tells us – “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Of these two citizenships, one is temporary while the other is permanent. The world is our temporary home. We are pilgrims sojourning for a time in the world (1 Peter 2:11). Our permanent home is heaven. That puts our heavenly citizenship above our earthly one.

Therefore in any conflict of interests, love for God must take priority over love for the state. For Christians who live in countries that are intolerant to Christianity, this may mean breaking those laws of the state that prohibit obedience to God, or that cause disobedience to God. We must be willing to be accused as traitors before governors and kings for Christ’s sake (Matthew 10:16-18). The apostle Paul was brought before two governors and two kings to answer such charges. We must be willing to be charged as “unpatriotic’ or even as traitors when we take a necessary stand for our heavenly kingdom.

Let us maintain our loyalty to the Lord, while being as patriotic as God’s Word allows. Christian patriotism is summarised by Christ Himself: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 12:17) It is restated in Romans 13:7 – “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”

Recognise that state authority is ordained by God.

Since Jesus said that we are to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, we must recognise that God has given the state certain rights over our lives. No government can rule on earth unless God grants it authority to rule. Romans 13:1 tells us that there is no power but of God and the “powers that be are ordained of God.” Psalm 75:6,7 says, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another.” 

Ancient nations and empires like those of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome were raised up by God to wield extraordinary political power, but only for a limited time. When it has fulfilled God’s purpose, it will fall and be replaced by others. God does not explain why He does these things. We must simply trust that He knows best how to manage all the governments of this world for His own glory.

This relieves us from all the anxiety we feel if we see injustice, oppression or corruption perpetrated by any government. Remember this: We should leave it to God to effect all the needed changes in the government. Although we can and should speak up when things are not right, we should always stay within the legal boundaries.

Respect the right of the state to rule.

      Romans 13:2 tells us that those who resist government authority “shall receive to themselves damnation.” We should never organize or participate in any public protests, demonstrations and strikes against government authority, but we can certainly vote it out of office. Voting during elections is the only legitimate means to terminate authority. But it is still God who works through the collective choice of the people to appoint whoever He wills into authority.

This implies that the best thing we can do if we are unhappy with those who are in authority and we have exhausted all proper channels to seek for a change, is to pray for them. This is mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The unexpected change in the Roman Empire’s policy towards Christians in the 4th century provides the clearest example of the efficacy of prayer!

Render to the state whatever it requires.

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” implies that the state has a legitimate right to collect taxes and revenue. Since the government is put in place by God Himself to serve His purposes on earth, we are obligated to support it.

Instead of complaining about how much we lose through taxes and revenues let us think positively of how they are being used: To build roads, bridges, MRT lines, public utilities and to maintain our army, police force, fire department, schools, social institutions, sports facilities, parks and the large cost of maintaining a clean and green environment.

We are also to render to the state the respect and honour it deserves (See Romans 13:7). Sometimes we begrudge someone in authority the honour he deserves just because we do not like him. We think that he is not competent enough or that he lives too lavishly. This is where we need to distinguish the office from the person.

When Jesus took a coin and asked, “Whose is this image and superscription?” (Matthew 22:20), it had the portrait of Emperor Tiberius on one side and a picture of him seated on his throne on the other side. The inscription declared him to be Pontifex Maximus (Great Ruler). But history reveals that Tiberius wasn’t such a great ruler. His reign was cruel and vindictive. And yet Jesus had nothing to say about that, for He distinguished the office from the person.

At the same time Jesus made it clear that we must not render unto Caesar the things that are God’s. These things must be rendered to God alone. No human authority has the right to require from us anything that is due to God.

Refuse the state whatever belongs to God alone.

Some Roman emperors demanded worship from their subjects. Polycarp, the disciple of the apostle John, was executed for refusing to worship Caesar. In the same way if government authorities should ever demand the things that are God’s from us, we must object and bear the penalty for our objection. When the Antichrist rules the world he will demand not only loyalty but worship from all people. Those who refuse will not be able to buy or sell (Revelation 13). If this should happen within your lifetime, please remember to render only to God the things that are God’s.

What are the things that we should render unto God? God wants our wholehearted worship, love and trust. He wants broken and contrite hearts that grieve over sin and delight to do His will. He wants our time, our talents and our treasures. The Lord rightfully claims us and all that we have for Himself, not only because He is our Creator and Sustainer, but also because He has redeemed us with the precious blood of Christ. Let us not withhold what we should render to the Lord our God, for He truly deserves much more from us!                                       —Pastor

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GOSPEL SUNDAY

Date: 30 August 2015

Time: 8 am & 11 am

Topic: New Life for You

Speakers:
Rev Gabriel Gan (English Service)

Rev Kew See Seong (Mandarin/Hokkien)

Members are encouraged to invite their friends and relatives.

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Life Church 65th Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner

Ban Heng Pavilion Restaurant, #04-02 HarbourFront Centre

Saturday, 17 Oct 2015, 6.30 pm

The sale of dinner tickets will begin next Sunday.

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1) Infant Baptism on Anniversary Sunday18 Oct 15. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 30 Aug 15. Please call the Church Office (6594 9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

2) Music Ministry requires musicians to play for evening wakes (when they occur) and music score transcribers urgently.  Those who are able to commit to help, kindly contact Bro. Daniel or Sis. Hui Chuien for more details. Transcribers can help from home.

Preaching appts: Rev Seet at Indonesian Service, 4.00 pm. Rev Wong at Shalom BPC, 9 am and in Medan (10-17 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

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