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Scripture Memory: Security.
VERSE : Isaiah 46:4 
"And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

9 December 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (Priscilla and Aquila: Helpers in Christ, Rom 16:3)
1045am Worship Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Priscilla and Aquila: Helpers in Christ, Rom 16:3)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Bob Phee (To Live is Christ and to Die is Gain, Phil 1:13-24)

16 December 2012
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:

Rev Charles Seet (Mary and Joseph: Parents of Christ, Luk 1:26-38; Mat 1:18-25)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Why Do the Up-Look? Psa 121)

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WILL YOU HELP THE NEEDY?

In the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told, a man on his way to the city of Jericho was attacked by robbers and left to die. Two people passed by but did not stop to help. They both perceived the need, but there was no compassion or response at all from them. It was only a Samaritan who perceived the need, who had compassion on him, and then responded by going to him, binding up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, setting him on his donkey, and bringing him to an inn to be taken care of (Luke 10:30-35).

As we go through life, we are bound to meet people around us with needs. As Christians, we ought to do the same things that the Samaritan did: Perceive the needs, have compassion and then respond by doing something to help them, wherever we can. But as we do this, there are some important guiding principles from Scripture that we must know on how to respond to the needs of others.

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and the father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:1-4)

The kind of help that is mentioned here is almsgiving. The usual picture that people have of this is that of showing kindness to someone begging for money on the streets. But that is not all that almsgiving is. One definition, given in Pooles’ commentary is: "Alms are any acts of kindness freely done by us for the relief of any that are in distress and misery." By this definition, alms is meant for anyone in distress or misery, e.g. the sick and the discouraged. And alms need not always be in the form of money. Sometimes alms can take the form of our time or effort to help someone in distress, e.g. visiting, tending to wounds, and encouraging.

In His teaching, Jesus assumes that His disciples will give alms. He said, "When thou doest thine alms, and not "If thou doest thine alms." The Bible tells us further that believers who are blessed materially by God are particularly held responsible to help those who are in need: "Charge them that are rich in this world…That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." (1 Timothy 6:17,18) But while it is good to help the needy, there are some guidelines that our Lord gave on how it should be done.

Do It without Hypocrisy

Jesus says, "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets." (v.2) A hypocrite pretends to be what he is not. God hates hypocrisy so intensely that whatever he does – whether praying, fasting or giving alms – becomes an abomination to Him (Proverbs 15:8).

Do you help others in order to receive the praises of men? Do you enjoy recounting all the good things you have done? Please be careful not to be like that. Religious hypocrisy is utterly hateful in God’s eyes, and that should make us tremble to be found guilty of it. Every time you do anything to help others, you should ask,"Who am I doing this for? Is it for God or for myself?"

Helping others is good but it must be done with the right motives. Jesus said, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them" (v.1) When you help the needy do not hope that it will gain anyone’s attention. This is the second guideline we need to observe in helping the needy…

Do it Quietly

Jesus says, "But when thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." (v.3) This expression emphasizes the fact that we should do good things quietly, and also be quiet about what we have done. The Lord takes delight in those who work in the background, those whose efforts often go unnoticed.

But someone may say, "Did Jesus not say in Matthew 5:14-16 that we are to let our light so shine before men so that they may see our good deeds? Isn’t there a conflict between these two passages?" There is no conflict at all, because they are not talking about the same thing. In Matthew 5 the motive is to bring praise to God by the good character and testimony of our life before the world. Under normal conditions righteous conduct should be visible so that God may be glorified. We should therefore not hide the fact that we are Christians in our place of work or neighbourhood.

But righteous conduct must never be made visible just for the sake of winning man’s acclaim for ourselves. It must never become a show we perform when we know that people are watching and then revert to behaving our normal way when no one is watching. If we have a tendency to worry about what others would think about us whenever we do anything, then all the more we should seek to do things quietly, not telling any one, and learn to be satisfied that God alone has seen what we have done. Always remember this: It is far better to be praised by God than by men.

The best way to give is anonymously. We who belong to Christ must be so given to God, that our giving is prompted solely by obeying God and having compassion on men. Then our Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward us (v.4). Actually, true giving desires nothing in return – even the rewards in heaven should not be in view, and if these come they are regarded as an unexpected bonus from the Lord.

Do it Wisely

When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to minister to the needs of people, He gave them this warning:"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16) In this evil day and age we must not be unaware that some are ready to take advantage of generous people, and they will use them as milking cows to gain a comfortable life for themselves.

In some third world countries there are street beggars who work for big syndicates that take all the earnings they receive from soliciting alms and provide them with some bare lodging and food. Giving money in such instances is not good as it will only encourage these syndicates to perpetrate their evil deeds. Please exercise due diligence to be careful and wise in your giving.

Do It without Neglecting Your Main Task

When a woman anointed Jesus with very expensive ointment, some disciples thought that it was a great waste. They thought that she should have sold the ointment and used the money to help the poor. But Jesus praised her for this costly expense on Him. He said, "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial." (Matthew 26:11,12)

From this we learn not to put any work of helping the needy above everything else that we ought to do for the Lord. Be careful to consider: How much of your time and resources should be taken up with helping the needy? According to the Scriptures, the great commission God has given to His people is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe whatever God has commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20). Helping the needy is needful, but it must always take second place to our main task, which is to fulfill this commission.

This commission was given at a time when there were hardly any institutions in society to protect the needy. It was extremely difficult to be a widow, orphan or alien in those times as they had no rights. Hence Christians could not neglect these needs and had to do what they could to help them. But even then, such help was to be given only when those who were needy had no other sources of help available (see 1 Timothy 5:4,16).

While the material needs of the poor and needy today are no less important than those who lived before, they have a more important need that only the Gospel of Christ can meet. Only when their spiritual need for salvation is met by this, can they find eternal rest and relief from all poverty and suffering. Hence any effort to help them should be accompanied with efforts to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Let us be sensitive to God’s leading concerning how we can be used by Him to give comfort, help and relief to those who are needy and in distress, remembering how much He has given to us. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

And as we do these things let us not forget to follow the above guidelines so that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be exalted through our giving. —Pastor

CHRISTMAS OFFERING FOR THE NEEDY

In line with the spirit of giving, the offering collected at our Christmas Eve worship service (8:00 pm, 24thDecember 2012) will be designated to help the poor, needy and underprivileged through Christian ministries in Singapore and overseas.

The Christian ministries that will benefit from this offering will include, but not be limited to, the following:

• Homes for senior citizens or for the intellectually disabled

• Drug rehabilitation halfway houses

• Ministries to the handicapped, to the blind or to orphans

• Ministries to poor Christian families in Third World countries

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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE LECTURES

Time: 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm; Venue: Beulah House.

Mondays: The Poetic Books of the Old Testament (Rev Charles Seet)

Thursdays: The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev Ho Chee Lai).

Lectures begin on 7 January 2013.

Please complete registration forms available at the reception counter and place them in the box.

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1) Prayer Meeting this Tuesday will be held at the sanctuary.

2) The Korean Church will move to their new premises at Bukit Panjang estate with effect from today. This exit comes after 32 years of using our premises. With immediate effect, our neighbour’s car park will be closed at 1pm on Sundays as it will not be kept opened for the Korean Church.

3) "Morning by Morning": Daily Devotional by C H Spurgeon, Vol 1 (Jan to Mar 2013). Available at the front counter today. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions.

4) Life B-P Church Calendar 2013. Members who wish to have additional calendars as Christmas gifts for their friends and loved ones may request for up to 2 additional ones from the deacons.

5) Catechism Class for Easter Baptism on 31 March 2013 is held at Beulah Centre Rm 5-4, 9.30 am. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the Catechism Class.

6) The YF and YAF will be celebrating their 59th and 31st anniversaries on 31 Dec 12 at 7pm. Theme: Rise up again. Speaker: Eld Ng Beng Kiong. The event will be held at the MPH in Beulah Centre. Dinner will be provided and all members of the church are invited to join us for this event. Please contact Cornelius (83996638) or Joshua (91529628) for more information.

7) "The Christmas Stranger," a musical by Moriah B-P Church, 14 & 15 Dec 12 (Fri & Sat) at 7.30 pm in Moriah BP Church, 31 Simei Rd. Get your tickets at www.moriahbpc.org or call 6788-4770. Free admission.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Life Chinese Service, 10.45 am and Indonesian Service, 4.00 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