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Scripture Memory: Worship.

VERSE : Psalm 96:9 “O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

10 August 2014
8 am & 1045am Worship Service
Lee Hock Chin (Brotherly Love, 1 Thes 4:9-10)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Walk the Talk, Rom 2:17-24)

17 August 2014
8 am & 1045am Worship Service
Rev Charles Seet (Comfort and Hope in Loss, 1 Thes 4:13-18)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Tan Thiam Hong (Just As I Am, Rom 3:21-31)

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SPIRITUAL UNITY

One of the things that our Lord Jesus prayed in His last hours before He died on the cross was the unity of the Church – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; That they all may be one; as Thou Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us...” (John 17:20-21)

Here Jesus compares the unity He prays for us to experience with the spiritual union which subsists between the three Persons of the blessed Holy Trinity. Since it is our Lord’s desire that we should experience this spiritual unity, let us also be praying for it and seeking after it.

The Delights of Unity

Spiritual unity should be something most precious to us, because the Lord Himself delights to see us united as one. In Psalm 133, the Lord inspired the psalmist to write, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.” This describes the solemn ceremony where Aaron was anointed as the first high priest of Israel during the time that they were moving from Egypt to the Promised Land. This was a very significant event to the Israelites, and for that reason it portrays the divine blessing that God pours forth upon spiritual unity.

Continuing with v.3, “As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded blessing, even life forevermore.” Now the psalmist compares the blessing of unity with the refreshing dew of Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon is located at the northern end of Israel. It is the primary source of all the water that flows down the River Jordan, and it causes the area around Mount Zion or Jerusalem in the South to flourish with luxuriant plant life and vegetation. The idea being expressed here is “How refreshing and invigorating is God’s blessing where there is sweet spiritual unity!”

The Difficulties of Preserving Unity

Spiritual unity must therefore be very important to us. As Ephesians 4:3 says, we must endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This is a commitment that every member of the body of Christ must be willing to make. To preserve spiritual unity we should live by this rule: “In things essential unity; in things doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity.” We must not divide over small issues and peripheral matters. Instead of judging one another self-righteously we must learn to forbear one another in love.

However it can sometimes be a great challenge to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is always discord and disagreement to contend with among Christian brethren. The church at Corinth was divided because of an emphasis on different personalities – some were of Paul, some of Apollos and some were of Cephas. Unity is disrupted whenever discord tears believers apart and sets us at variance with one another. And this is nothing else but the result of the remnant sinful flesh in us that often makes us behave in a self-centered and self-interested manner.

Our church has many departments, ministries and fellowship groups. If each of them wants to have its own identity and runs independent of the others there is a real danger of fragmentation and division. The challenge we face is how to maintain cohesiveness. Each group and department of the church must not run independently but be mutually dependent entities, answerable to the leadership of the church.

The Development of Unity

We thank God that it is possible for us to preserve spiritual unity because Christ has come to dwell in our hearts to subdue the selfish sinful nature that is in us. Because of Christ we now have a way to develop and preserve real spiritual unity. Do you know what that way is? It is the way of brotherly love. It is the love that flows out from the Christian’s heart as a result of the Living Water that flows within that heart. It is the love which is produced as the fruit of the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us. This love develops spiritual unity in at least three ways:

1. Love facilitates communication among believers.

Love makes us less self-centred and more concerned for others. Thus, we will desire to communicate more to minister to others and to be ministered to by others.

Malachi 3:16 – “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name.” Such communication is essential for believers to become like-minded brethren, to be of the same mind and speak the same thing (1 Corinthians 1:10).

2.        Love fosters patience and mutual trust among         believers.

Love makes us patient with one another. Patience is the first characteristic of love mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:4 – “Charity suffereth long…” Love is also willing to trust one another with our thoughts, opinions, and motives. Nothing destroys unity more than unnecessary distrust and suspicion. The Devil is always trying to sow seeds of distrust and suspicion in our thoughts, to divide us and drive us apart.

How do we prevent these seeds from taking root? By love. According to 1 Corinthians 13:5,7 true Christian love “thinketh no evil… beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things.” Love stops us from judging the motives of others (and we often make wrong judgments on this). Love keeps us from imagining the worst about others and from putting the worst possible interpretation on the actions of others. Love enables us to give others the benefit of the doubt.

3. Love furnishes the willingness to forgive other believers.

Without this, it is very difficult to resolve disagreements and conflicts objectively. Disagreements and differences are unavoidable because we are not a homogenous group of people – we have our differences and preferences. When we are objective we should be able to resolve them and reach a good conclusion.

What often makes disagreements so difficult to handle are the hurt feelings and bitterness that we sinfully allow to simmer and grow within us (cf. Hebrews 12:15). The only way we can overcome these feelings is by love – the same love that enabled Jesus to pray on the cross for His aggressors, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23;34).

The Demonstration of Unity

Having understood the delights, difficulties and development of spiritual unity, it is now up to each member of the church to do his or her part to demonstrate this unity by exercising Christian love, especially when we come together for worship on Sundays. Here are some practical ways to do this:

1. Speak gently and kindly to those who sit around you if you need to ask them to cease any activity that distracts your worship. Accept graciously any request to cease such activity.

2. Give consideration to those who are infirmed with age or weak with disability by giving them priority in seating. Assist them if they need help to get in and out of their pews.

3. Whenever there is a shortage of sitting space, place your bag on the floor or on your lap rather than on the pews, to allow more worshippers to sit. Refrain from reserving seats for family members or friends if they have not yet entered the sanctuary.

4. Let those who drive their families to church have priority to park their vehicles within the church premises. If you drive alone and have a good pair of legs, park your vehicle along the roads outside and take a brisk walk to church, or park at Revenue House and use the shuttle service provided by the church.

5. Be easily contactable whenever your vehicle is parked in a way that prevents others from moving out. Be considerate to others so that they will not have to wait long for you to move your vehicle. Be patient with others if you need to wait for them to move theirs.

6. Observe any instructions given by the traffic wardens when you arrive, on where and how to park your vehicle. Be courteous to them, treating them as fellow brethren and not as servants. Be sure to smile and thank them for their help as they are doing voluntary service for God’s people.

7. If it is raining when the worship service ends, offer to give a lift to the nearest MRT station to worshippers who take public transport.

May the Lord help all of us to exercise Christian love so that we may do our part to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. —Pastor  

 

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GOSPEL SUNDAY

Date: 31st August 2014

Time: 8 am & 10:45 am

Topic: Why is the Gospel Good News? (Rom 5:6-11)

Speakers:
Pastor Tan Soon Yong (English Service)

Rev Tang Chee Keong (Mandarin/Hokkien)

Members are encouraged to invite their friends and relatives.

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1) The new songbook, “Then Sings My Soul” will be made available to Life Church Members through a loan scheme. Due to copyrights obligation each Member of good standing is allowed to loan a copy of the songbook either in hardcopy or PDF softcopy. This loan is extended for as long as you are a Member of Life Church.  Please fill up the Letter of Undertaking form enclosed in the weekly and deposit it into the collection box at the Front Reception Counter. The date for collection will be announced at a later date. Today is the last day for the pre-order exercise. This loan is made available while stocks last.

2) Infant Baptism on Anniversary Sunday, 19 Oct 14. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 31 Aug 14. Please call the Church Office (6594 9399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

3) The family of David Lee wish to thank all who have sent their well-wishes, condolences, prayers, visits and contributions during his recent homegoing.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Filipina Service, 10.45am and Indonesian Service, 4.00 pm. Rev Wong at Olivet BPC, 9.30 am.

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