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Scripture Memory: Forgiveness.
 VERSE : Psalm 103:12 
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

14 September 2014
8 am & 11am Worship Service
Eld Chin Hoong Chor (Serving Our Members, I Thes 5:14,15)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Colin Wong (Abba, Father; Rom 8:14-17)

21 September 2014
8 am & 11am Worship Service
Bro Lee Hock Chin (Not Happiness but Joy, 1 Thes 5:16 )
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Tan Eng Boo (Lord, Are You There? Rom 8:18-26)

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My dear Reader,

WHO ARE YOUR FRIENDS?

The Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes wrote, “Tell me what company thou keepest, and I’ll tell thee what thou art.”  He was not a prophet, he simply understood the strong influence friends exert over our lives.  You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. 

There is an English Proverb that says, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  The idiom simply means people who are a lot alike tend to gather together and become friends.  It’s important to know the kind of friends you stick with together lest you be led astray.  Psalm 119:63 brings this truth to light.    

But first, what is a friend? A dictionary defines it simply as “A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.”  Friendship is necessary in life.  Everybody needs a friend or friends for social interaction.  A person without friends can be lonely.  He has no one to share with his joy, problems or struggles.  Therefore, it is good and necessary to have friends to share our joys or woes.  However, it’s important to have good friends because our lives can be wrongly influenced by bad friends.  That is why friends are to be chosen carefully.  

Who were the friends of the Psalmist? Who did he associate with most? Psalm 119:63 says, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.”  This verse has two parts. 

First and foremost, the Psalmist was a friend of all who feared God.  He loved to be in such a community of believers who revered God and His holy name.  He would not miss any of these gatherings of the saints because he knew that when he socialized with them, his soul would find satisfaction, joy and blessing.

How about you? Who are your friends? What kind of friends do you look for? There is no lack of teaching in the Bible on how to choose our friends carefully.  Proverbs 12:26 is a good verse – “The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour” means the righteous man chooses his friends carefully.  He is cautious in friendship.  He is careful in choosing a friend.  He does not look at a person’s personality or his outward appearance, but rather at whether this person has a godly influence on him (This is one of the tips for choosing a life partner).

Friends can influence and develop each other’s characters for the better.  First, friendship is liken to a piece of iron sharpening the other piece of iron (Proverbs 27:17).  The Word instructs us to be a friend to those who revere God.  Such a friend will help us to shine for the Lord.  That is why we ought to be able to identify who are our good friends and who are our bad friends, for Paul said,“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). 

Second, friends like to do things together.  Proverbs 23:19-21 sounds a warning.  We are told to give serious thought to the way we live.  We are exhorted not to associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food because drunkenness and gluttony will reduce us to poverty if all we do is eat and sleep.  We will soon be poorly clothed.

Dearly beloved, you and I choose friends to spend time together and to enjoy one another’s company.  Who are your friends in church, office or school? Are they friends who encourage you to live a holy life? Or are they friends who lead you astray by introducing you to join gang, go wild party, drink throughout the night, play computer games day and night, take drugs, vandalize public places or text messages during worship service? John Willison aptly said, “Shun the company that shuns God, and keep the company that God keeps”

Third, do not associate yourselves with people who are full of vulgarity.  Do not choose them as your friends.  Proverbs reminds us that in the multitude of words sin is not lacking (Proverbs 10:19). 

Nowadays, I hear vulgarity not only in public places but also in the church.  Some people’s mouths are a hotbed for sin – gossip, profanity, vulgarity, blasphemy, curse words, anger, criticism and more.  Where did they learn it from? Well, they must have learned it from the kind of friends they mingle with.  Let us not forget the warning that evil company corrupts good habits (Proverbs 22:24, 25). 

Dearly beloved, as Christians, none of the above things should be named among us.  We need to seek God’s help to choose our friends carefully and have the courage also to steer away from friends that might lead us astray or affect our behavior and change our beliefs (Proverbs 1:10-19).

The second part of Psalm 119:63 says “I am a companion of them that keep thy precepts” shows the Psalmist was a friend of all those who obeyed the Word.  He longed to be in a company of friends who obey the Word.  He knew the benefits of keeping the Word.  The Word warned him of impending danger and by obeying it there is great reward (Psalm 19:11).  That is why the Word was far above fine gold to him (Psalm 119:127).

Obedience is what God wants from His children more than anything else.  God said, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).  King Saul was a good example.  God commanded him to strike the Amalekites and all that they have – man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.  But he did not obey God completely.  He told his men to spare Agag the king, the best of the sheep, oxen, fattened calves, the lambs and all that was good (1 Samuel 15:3, 9).

Saul’s disobedience angered God.  He said to Samuel, “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments” (1 Samuel 15:11).  Consequently, God had to remove his kingship and gave it to another person (1 Samuel 15:23).

God wants obedience from His children unreservedly.  He wants His children not only to listen to His Word but also to obey it completely.  Speaking to the people on the Mount, Jesus said that he who hears His teaching and does it will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain poured and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on it but it did not collapse because its foundation was on rock.  However, he who hears His teaching and does not do it will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against it, and it collapses because its foundation was on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). 

James has a similar illustration.  He said if a man is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  However, if a man look closely into the perfect law that sets people free and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice, he will be blessed by God in what he do (James 1:23-25).  

Dearly beloved, who are your circles of friends? How wonderful it is to be found dwelling among saints who obey the Word! God is pleased to see you mingling with saints who not only listen to the Word but also obey it unreservedly (James 1:22).  Amen.

—Pastor Colin

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1) A Reminder about Giving to Missions: Rather than giving offerings that are designated to specific individuals or mission stations, you are encouraged to give to the Missions Fund and let the Missions Committee disburse them as it sees fit. This will facilitate an informed stewardship of resources for the Lord’s work in missions.

2) The Cry Room is closed today for repair and renovations. 

3) “Evening by Evening”: Daily Devotional by C H Spurgeon, Vol 4 (Oct to Dec 2014). Available at the front counter. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions.

4) Scripture Memory Verse Review No. 4. The deadline for submitting the review is TODAY. Review Nos. 1-3 are also available for those who missed them. Obtainable at the front counter.

5) Combined B-P Youth Camp, 15-18 Dec at Oldham Hall at ACS (Barker Road). “The Lordship of Christ” by Rev Isaac Ong. Register at https://cbpyc14.com/Cost: Now till 30 Sep - $70; 1 Oct till 30 Nov - $90. Contact: Joshua Lim,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

6) Chinese Vacation Bible School (CVBS), 3 - 5 Dec 2014. Registration Forms for Helpers and Children are available outside the Sanctuary. Completed forms can be deposited into the collection box. Forms are also available online @http://www.lifebpc.com/cvbs. Closing date for Registration is 16 Nov 14. For enquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7) Our condolences to Mrs Lim Gaik Lee and family on the homegoing of her husband, Prof Lim Chin (67 years old) on 12 Sep 14. The funeral service will be held today at 2:00 pm at The Chapel, Garden of Remembrance, 920, Old Choa Chu Kang Road, after which the Cortege will proceed to Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery for the graveside service.

8) Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Alvin Chan  on the birth of a baby girl on 3 Sep 14.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Macedonia BPC, 2pmRev Wong at Herald BPC, 9.30 am and Life Evening Service, 6 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

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