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Scripture Memory: Counsel.
VERSE : Proverbs 11:14 
"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

27 October 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Is Jesus Really Your Lord?, Mat 7:21-23)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Charles Seet (On This Rock I Will Build My Church, Mat 16:13-18)

3 November 2013
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:
Rev Charles Seet (Do You See the Harvest Around You? Mat 9:35-38)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Dn Lee Hock Chin (Whom Does God Use? Mat 10:1-4)

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THE SOLA SCRIPTURA PRINCIPLE

Today, churches all over the world remember the Protestant Reformation which began 496 years ago. We ought to thank God for this movement because we are now enjoying its results. The most important result was the restoration of the authority of Holy Scriptures, embodied in the guiding principle, Sola Scriptura, which is Latin for "by Scripture alone." Let us trace the events that led to this.

Prior to the Reformation, the Roman Church made itself the supreme authority over the Scriptures and exalted man-made traditions above the Scriptures. It kept the Scriptures from the people and placed its priesthood between the Scriptures and the people. The overall effect of this was the loss of the authority of the Scriptures in the lives of people.

In the latter part of a 12th century Peter Waldo, a French merchant, began to advocate the Sola ScripturaprincipleHis followers used nothing but the Scriptures for their preaching. However, for doing this they were excommunicated and persecuted.

In the 14th century, God raised up John Wycliffe, a Bible scholar at Oxford University. Wycliffe was much influenced by the Sola Scriptura principle. He became very bold in using the Bible to expose all the false teachings and practices of the Church. He also made the first English translation of the Bible. The Church bitterly opposed this translation, declaring that by it the Scriptures had been desecrated, that the pearl of the Gospel was now being scattered and trodden underfoot by swine. But God protected Wycliffe and he was able to continue his work. To promote Bible-reading, he established a group of itinerant preachers who went throughout England distributing the Scriptures while evangelizing and preaching the Gospel. For the impact that he made, Wycliffe became known as the ‘Morning Star of the Reformation.’

In the 15th century God raised up John Huss in what is now the Czech Republic. Influenced by the writings of Wycliffe, Huss began to use the Sola Scriptura principle in his teaching and preaching. This immediately brought severe persecution. Although he was promised safe conduct to present his case at the Council of Constance, he was betrayed, condemned and burned at the stake.

Despite the efforts of these early reformers, the Roman Church still held on firmly to its supreme authority and kept Europe under its traditions and false teachings. The Sola Scriptura principle received full attention only in the 16th Century.

Martin Luther

A German monk named Martin Luther was browsing through the books in his monastery’s library when he accidentally found a copy of the Bible. This raised his curiosity to a high degree: He read it with great excitement and was amazed to find what a small portion of the Scriptures was being taught to the people. So he devoted himself to study the Scriptures well in order that he would be able to teach its wonderful truths to the people. He also made the first German translation of the Bible.

After completing his training at the monastery, Luther began his ministry at Wittenberg. There he used theSola Scriptura principle fully both in teaching at the university and in pastoring the church.

The spark that ignited the Reformation was the sale of indulgences. These were defined as the ‘commutation for money of part of the temporal penalty due for sin, of the practical satisfaction that was a part of the sacrament of penance which also required contrition on the part of the penitent and absolution from a priest.’This is just like paying a fine to be let off from being jailed.

People were taught that if a person’s sins were not satisfied by penance in this life, he would have to make satisfaction for them in Purgatory, where it is alleged that Christians endured great torments for a long time before entering heaven. The only solution was to buy indulgences for themselves. For a sum of money, the Pope could use his authority to shorten a person’s time in Purgatory. There is no biblical basis for this.

In 1467 a papal bull extended the privilege of indulgences to include the souls who were already suffering in Purgatory, provided their living relatives purchased the indulgences for them. A person could now buy indulgences for himself – to keep himself from going to Purgatory, or for a deceased relative – to help him escape more quickly from Purgatory.

Indulgences became a roaring business which financed the building of St Peter’s cathedral in Rome. They were sold at great discounts by skilled salesmen. One of them, Johann Tetzel, used a catchy jingle: ‘As soon as the coin into the coffer rings, the soul out of Purgatory springs.’ His sales talk even included such blasphemous statements as ‘The Lord our God no longer reigns, He has resigned all power to the pope.’

When Tetzel started selling indulgences in a town near to Wittenburg, Martin Luther felt bound by his commitment to God and the Bible to speak up against it. He wanted to protect his congregation and students from being fooled and robbed of their money by the sale of indulgences. He wrote out a list of 95 statements, or theses against it with an announcement that these statements will form the basis for a public debate. He nailed them to the door of the church, which also functioned as the notice board of the church and university. This was done on the 31st of October, because the next day was All-Saints day when the church hall would be packed with his students and church members for a memorial service. The debate would take place just after the service.

Little did Luther know what far-reaching impact his 95 theses would have. Within four weeks they were copied out and sent throughout Germany and surrounding countries. Many became bold to speak out against the unscriptural teachings and practices of the Roman Church. This grew into the Protestant movement which eventually reformed the Church and broke away completely from Rome. With one voice they all sounded forth the well-known watchword of the Reformation: "By Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura), by Faith alone, by Grace alone, Christ alone, glory to God alone." Today, Sola Scriptura continues to be the first and most important guiding principle followed by all Protestant churches.

The Church Growth Movement

Today the Church is faced again with issues which violate the Sola Scriptura principle. The modern-day Church Growth Movement advocates the use of worldly techniques or carnal methods to increase church attendance. The basic philosophy is: As long as a method works in the world, it can be used to obtain results for the church. One church installed a special effects system costing half a million dollars that can produce smoke, fire, sparks and laser lights in the auditorium. The church had sent its staff to Las Vegas to study live special effects used in its entertainment halls.

By employing such techniques some churches are able to fill huge auditoriums with thousands of people several times a week. When we see this we might think: Since these techniques work and produce such good results, Shouldn’t we change with the times? Why not keep our sermons short – only 10 minutes – so that we can have time for more meaningful activities, and people will have more to look forward to in each worship service?

Do not be fooled by the growth that such methods bring, as they are superficial. There is no real change in the hearts of sinners and no accompanying change of life. There is no holiness and fervent obedience to God that distinguishes the people of God from the people of the world.

Without following the Holy Scriptures, all our efforts will fail. Even if we are most zealous and fervent in serving the Lord, it will all be wasted effort if carried out without it. The Apostle Paul testified that before he was saved he was the most zealous Pharisee of his times. "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Philippians 3:6). And yet for all his efforts, the Lord gave him not a word of commendation, but a stern rebuke: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" (Acts 9:4) How shocked he must have been to learn that all his efforts to please the Lord were actually persecuting Him! Paul later wrote concerning his fellow Pharisees – "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." (Romans 10:3) He should know this well since he was once like them.

Without the right knowledge, all our best efforts are but filthy rags in God’s sight. Whatever zeal or sincerity we have would be misdirected if what we do is not according to what God has given to us in His Holy Scriptures. So let us always seek the knowledge of God’s Word which He has prescribed for doing His work.

The Authority of the Scriptures in Our Life

This also applies to the way that we conduct our life. With regard to marriage, the Scripture teaches that we should not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). Unfortunately many Christians today think otherwise and marry unbelievers. The Scripture teaches fathers to take responsibility for the spiritual nurture of their children (Ephesians 6:4), but many hardly spend time with their family because of work.

The Scripture teaches that we should lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth. But many Christians are pursuing earthly treasures, taking huge loans which they cannot afford to service. The Scripture teaches us not to love the world neither the things that are in the world, and to be modest in our dressing, etc. But many today are compromising with the world – its manner of dressing, its music, and its values.

Let us be convinced that we must bring our life and every decision we make under the authority of the Word. Let the Scriptures have the final say over every area of our life. We will not go wrong if we rely on the Scriptures as our authority and guide. May God help us to be faithful in applying the Sola Scriptura principle in everything that we do. – Pastor

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LTF Camp 2013

Theme: What God wants of me.

Speaker: Mr. Lim Chien Chong (Grace B-P Church)

Dates: 9-13 Dec

All teens aged 12-17 are invited!

Registration opens today and ends on 10 Nov.

Contact Elder Lim Ching Wah (9183-6783) for more information.

Love gifts to defray the costs of the camp are greatly appreciated.

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ERBL LECTURES (JAN-MAY 14) : Expanded to Day Lectures!

Day Time Course Lecturer

Mon 7.30 - 9.30 pm OT Survey II Rev Charles Seet

Tue 10 - 12.00 pm Basic Greek II Rev Ho Chee Lai

Wed 10 - 12.00 pm Theology of Prayer Rev Isaac Ong

Thu 10 - 12.00 pm 2 Corinthians Rev Isaac Ong

7.30 - 9.30 pm NT Survey II Rev Ho Chee Lai

Fri 10 - 12.00 pm Nouthetic Counselling Rev Dr Jack Sin

Closing date for ‘Early Bird Discount’ of $5 is 2 Dec 13, and is valid only with payment. Lectures begin on 6 Jan 14. Place completed registration forms with payment in the box.

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1) Scripture Memory Verse Review No. 5. A written review exercise of the verses is obtainable at the front counter. Review Nos. 1 to 4 are also available for those who missed it. Please submit by 10 Nov 13.

2) Infant Baptism on Christmas Sunday, 22 Dec 13. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 24 Nov 13. Please call the Church office (65949399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

3) Migrant Workers’ Outreach. We thank God for helping us to complete the 10 weeks of English lessons. There will be a graduation service cum gospel meeting for the migrant workers, you are welcome to join us. Please register with Bro Beng Hong by today. Venue: Pasir Panjang Christ Church; Date: 3rd November 2013 (7.30-10.00pm).

4) GAF Mtg. 2 Nov 13 (Sat), 4 - 6pm. Rev Daniel Khoo will speak on "Live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-13). Those who wish to contribute food, please contact Mrs Evelyn Tay, 6280-3344.

5) Congratulations to Dn & Mrs Heng Shao Sheng on the birth of a baby boy on 23 Oct 13.

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