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Scripture Memory: Comfort.

VERSE : Psalm 119:50 “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

7 December 2014
8 am & 11am Worship Service
Rev Charles Seet (Always Loved by the Lord, 2 Thes 2:13-17)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Eld Chia Ah Lak (Am I a Stone in One’s Path? Rom 14:13-23)

14 December 2014
8 am & 11am Worship Service
Lee Hock Chin (Helping a Disobedient Brother, 2 Thes 3:10-15)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Not For Myself Alone, Rom 15:1-7)

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GOD’S DECREES & YOUR SALVATION

When did your salvation begin? Was it at the time when you received Christ as your Saviour and Lord? Actually it began long before anything was created. It began in the decrees of God from eternity past. Acts 15:18 brings this out– “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” There are six important things you need to know about them.

1. God’s Decrees Never Change

He does not keep making His plans and changing them as history develops. Therefore nothing ever surprises God. With regard to salvation, God does not elect a person and then change His mind about him later on. The number and identity of all who will be saved have already been defined and determined before the foundation of the world.

Pause for a moment to reflect on the implications of this, if you are saved: It means that God has already known you, loved you and chosen you long before you existed. God already planned the day when Christ died on the cross for you, the day when you were born, the day when you heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. He even planned for your reading of this article. And since all of that has happened exactly as God planned it, all that He has planned for your future will also happen. What a comforting thought this is!

2. God’s Decrees Are Free and Sovereign

They are determined only by the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). Psalm 115:3 tells us, “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.” All His decrees were made without the slightest influence, interference or pressure from anything or anyone.

None of us enjoy such freedom. Whenever we make plans, we cannot help being directed or constrained by our circumstances and limitations. We cannot do all that we want. We have to make do with the limited options that are available to us. Besides this, our choices are always influenced by the people and things around us. We do things in a certain way because we are accustomed to do so or have been taught to do so.

In contrast, God is entirely free to do whatever pleases Him. With regard to salvation, God’s choice of the elect was not at all influenced by anything worthy that He foresaw in them. Some believe that God elected those whom He knew would readily respond to Him and love Him. They claim that Romans 8:29 supports this belief, since it says, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son,” But the word “foreknow” here (proginosko) does not merely mean advanced awareness or knowledge. It actually means “foreordained”. In fact that is how the same word is translated in 1 Peter 1:20 – “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.”

If God’s choice had been based on His advanced knowledge of our receptiveness to the Gospel, then His choosing would ultimately be conditioned on our will. And His choice merely confirmed those who were already going to choose salvation. God’s choice would then no longer be free and sovereign, since it is conditional.

But the Bible teaches that election is unconditional. This can be seen in Romans 9:15,16 – “For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Thus you are saved not because you decided to be saved, but because God had decreed that you would be saved.

3. God’s Decrees Were Made for His Own Glory

This is God’s ultimate purpose for all that He does. Everything is designed to bring glory to Him. This fully applies to our salvation, as seen in Ephesians 1:11,12 – “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:  That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

Through His whole brilliant scheme of saving us, God is revealing His manifold wisdom for all to behold with awe and wonder. We are on display. By saving us, God has made us live exhibits of His mercy and grace. He is glorified when His wisdom, mercy and grace are fully revealed through us!

4. God’s Decrees are Comprehensive

There is not one event, action, or decision that is excluded from God’s decrees. He has perfect, total jurisdiction over everything in this universe. This is testified in Acts 17:26“And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”

A distinction needs to be made between two kinds of decrees that God made: efficacious decrees and permissive decrees. Decrees which cause those events which God has determined to effect through His own immediate agency are called efficacious. In other words, whatever God Himself directs to happen will certainly happen. However there are other events which happen only because God had determined to permit free agents to effect them. These events are caused by God’s permissive decrees.

5. God’s Decrees Do Not Make Him Responsible for Sin

This distinction between efficacious and permissive decrees helps to solve a moral problem: It answers the commonly-asked question, ‘Who bears the final blame for evil and sin?’ Since God’s decrees are comprehensive, they also include man’s sins. Does this make God morally responsible for these sins?

And with regard to salvation, does God’s decrees make Him responsible for the condition of the unsaved on the Day of Judgment? Can an unsaved person justifiably say the following to Him on that day? – “What I am now is entirely the result of your eternal decree. Since you had not chosen me before the foundation of the world, it is not my fault that I am not saved. What right do you have to make me suffer for it by sending me to hell?”

The answer to this perplexing question is a definite NO. No unsaved person can ever blame God for his condition. This is because his condition is the result of his own sins. God merely permits him to reap what he has sown. He is justly condemned to suffer eternal death in hell because he freely chose to rebel against God or ignore Him despite the abundant testimony he had had through nature, through God’s people and through God’s Word.

Now that we have seen how our salvation began with God’s decrees, what remains is for us to see how we should respond to it.

6. God’s Decrees Deserve a Good Response from Us

It should not cause us to question God. Many people are bothered by this question – If God is the One who decided who should be saved, then why did He choose to save only the elect? This question, if not properly answered, can lead us to doubt God’s goodness. It is argued that if God is good, He would surely not bear to see any sinner dying in sin and suffering forever in hell. He would then have elected all. Since He did not elect all, His goodness is not infinite but limited.

But we must remember that God is infinitely pure and holy. According to His holiness, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4,20). He is of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot tolerate sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Hence by right, no sinner should be saved at all. Thus, if God had chosen to save no more than one sinner, that would already have been exceptional grace. It is utterly undeserving. But lo and behold, He has chosen to save a whole multitude of sinners. That multiplies His grace many times more.

The following scenario will help us to understand why we should never question God for choosing only the elect to be saved. In a certain kingdom, fifty men had been justly given the death sentence for crimes they had committed. All are waiting on death row for their execution. However on his birthday, the ruler of that kingdom decides to show his goodness by granting amnesty to some of them. So he goes down to death row and says to three men, “Out of the goodness of my heart, I hereby remove the death sentence from you. You may walk out of this prison now as free men.”

The three men are understandably elated. They prostrate themselves before the king, thanking him profusely for sparing their lives. But the remaining 47 become restless and angry at the king. They protest to him, “Sir, you cannot do this to us. You are not being fair to us!” And the king replies, “Well, if it is fairness that you want, not even one would be released. What I have given these men is not what they deserve, but what they do not deserve.”

The same thing applies to our salvation. The fact that God chose to save only the elect does not mean that He is being unfair to the rest. Elect or not, everyone was justly sentenced to eternal death because of sin. But God’s goodness is magnified in choosing us to be saved through Christ. And this choice which He made before the foundation of the world then set in motion the outworking of His providence to bring the Gospel to us, and the inworking of His Holy Spirit in our hearts, to bring us into the salvation that we now enjoy. And hence we ought to be most grateful to God for giving us what we do not deserve at all.

Understanding how your salvation began should create a desire in your heart to worship and glorify the Lord. It must bring you down to your knees in praise and adoration of the One who decrees all things, purposes all things and works all things for His glory and for our good. How great is His wisdom and love to us, who are most unworthy sinners. God is truly beyond all comparison, because there is no one like Him who determines what the end result of all things will be right from the beginning. Let us offer our best praises to our sovereign and merciful God! — Pastor

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Christmas Programme

Sunday School Christmas Gathering 
20 Dec 14 (Sat) at 10.00 am

Combined English Christmas Service 
21 Dec 14 (Sun) at 9.30 am

Christmas Carol Service (English & Chinese) 
24 Dec 14 (Wed) at 8.00 pm

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EDD is organizing a Street Evangelism at Orchard Road. Please come and join us.

Date:                           20th Dec 2014 (Saturday)

Prayer Time :             6.00pm in Beulah House 

Departing Time:        6.30 pm (leave church to outside CK Tang Entrance)

Evangelism Time:    7.00 to 8.30 pm (Evangelism time at Orchard Road walkway )

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ERBL LECTURES (JAN-MAY 2015)

Day Time                       Course                                Lecturer

Mon 7.30 - 9.30 pm         The OT Historical Books      Rev Charles Seet

Tue  10 - 12.00 pm          The Doctrine of the Church   Rev Isaac Ong

Wed 10 - 12.00 pm          Daniel                                 Rev Ho Chee Lai

Thu 10 - 12.00 pm           Colossians                          Rev Colin Wong

         7.30 - 9.30 pm       Equipping Lay Leaders         Rev Dr Jack Sin

Fri    10 - 12.00 pm          Westminster Standards        Rev Isaac Ong

Closing date for ‘Early Bird Discount’ of $5 is 7 Dec 14 (next Sunday). Lectures begin on 12 Jan 15. Please complete registration forms and place them in the box, together with payment.

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1) This Tuesday’s Prayer Meeting will be held at Beulah MPH.

2) Scripture Memory Verses 2015: “Wonderful Words of Life”. Memory verse booklets are available at the front counter.

3) The Sunday School cordially invites all members and friends to the SS Christmas Thanksgiving Fellowship on 20 Dec 14 at 10am, followed by fellowship lunch. The theme is “The Reason for the Season.” Please come and rejoice to commemorate Christ’s birth.

4) Life B-P Church Calendar 2015. Members who wish to have additional calendars as Christmas gifts for their friends and loved ones may request for 1 more copy from the deacons.

5) Catechism Class for Easter Baptism on 5 April 2015 commences on 4 Jan 15 at Beulah Centre Rm 2-1, 9.30am. Please pre-register by emailing Yin Chan or filling up the form available at the front counter. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the catechism class. Closing date: 28 Dec 14.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Maranatha MLF, 1.30 pm. Rev Wong in Batam.

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