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Scripture Memory: Answered Prayer.
VERSE : John 15:7 
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

28 October 2012
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (Martin Luther: The Just Shall Live By Faith, Rom 1:16-17)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Matthews Abraham (Gospel of Reformation, Rom 1:16-17)

4 November 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Dn Lee Hock Chin (Job: Blessing God in Times of Trial , Job 1:21,22)
10.45 am Worship Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Job: Blessing God in Times of Trial , Job 1:21,22)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Charles Seet (How Great is God’s Love? Ps 103)

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THE 16th CENTURY REFORMATION AND THE FIVE SOLAS

The 16th Century Reformation is a historical event that should not be forgotten. It is a work wrought by God to recover the purity of the gospel and restore the church from its spiritual corruption after more than 1000 years of spiritual darkness. God raised up godly and courageous men to contend for the faith (Jude 3).

Factors Contributing to the Reformation

The Reformation did not happen in a vacuum. In God’s sovereign purpose and plan, it was brought about by many factors:

a) The weakening of the supranational power of the papacy owing to extreme decentralization of powers and the rise of national states as in Portugal, Spain, France and England that challenged the papal authority of the Roman Church.

b) The full tide of the Renaissance flooded Europe which ignited much interest in the study of Greek and Hebrew languages. There was a frenzied interest in Greek classical literature. The greatest of all ancient Greek literature was the Bible itself and many had taken hold of the Bible to study it, challenging the Roman church’s sole right to read and interpret the Bible (the Latin Vulgate) to the people.

c) The Renaissance spirit of individualism facilitated the ready acceptance of Luther’s emphasis on the priesthood of believers i.e. the right of a believer to have access to God directly and to interpret the Scripture for himself. It confronted the Roman church’s teaching of sacerdotalism whereby only the priests and not the people could approach God.

d) As the sixteenth century began the papacy was plunging deeper into moral corruption and worldliness. The Italian reformer, Savonarola said, "If you want to ruin your son, make him a priest."

e) Feudalism was on the decline with the emergence of the middle class seeking for social and political power. The peasants were restless and looking for a way out of their economic and social oppression from the aristocrats supported by the Roman church.

f) The invention of the Gutenberg printing press, a movable type of printing press facilitated the widespread dissemination of the reformers’ writings against the Roman church to the masses.

Godly Men Instrumental to the Reformation

Before the eventful day of October 31, 1517, godly men like Peter Waldo in France, John Wycliffe in England, John Hus in Prague, and Savonarola in Italy had blazed the reformation trail for an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther. His nailing of his ninety-five theses on the castle church doors of Wittenberg, Germany launched the 16th century Reformation in Europe. It happened at the right time and the right place.

The Roman Church took Martin Luther to task and tried to force him to recant his teachings. He steadfastly proclaimed:

"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen. Here I stand, I can do no other."

With those courageous words, Luther set his course. His holy pursuit was to reform the Roman Church but he was excommunicated from it. But the Lord was with him. From his actions and writings against the decadence and false teachings of the Roman church, came a larger movement of godly men—Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, John Calvin in France and Geneva, and John Knox in Scotland—who were God’s instruments to promulgate the gospel and to expose the errors of the Roman church. There was no turning back. The light of Reformation shone brightly thereafter.

The Five Pillars of Truths

Out of the Reformation came five central pillars of truths.–Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solo Christo, and Soli Deo Gloria. These five central truths or solas rightly summarized the teachings of the Reformation.

Sola Scriptura simply means by Scripture alone. God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word is the only and final authority on matters of doctrine, life, and godliness. Therefore, as believers in Jesus Christ, we submit our lives to God’s authority as revealed in His Word. Sola Scriptura distils the belief that neither the church, nor the traditions of the church, nor even the councils of the church are privileged to hold final influence over the church of Christ concerning what is to be believed and practiced as Christians. The Scripture alone is the infallible authority to bind the consciences of believers.

Sola Gratia simply means by grace alone. We have no claim upon God. We are saved not by any of our good works but it is solely by God’s grace or unmerited favour towards us that we come to saving faith (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 1:3-8, and 2:8-10). God owes us nothing except just punishment for our many and very wilful sins. Our salvation is by grace alone and is never conditioned upon our good works. The Reformers taught from Scripture that we are totally incapable of saving ourselves. We do not seek God (Romans 3:10-11) and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). We are a spiritual corpse, dead in our trespasses, and it is only by the grace of God that the Holy Spirit of God could revive and regenerate us (Eph 2:1).

Sola Fide means by faith alone. The Scriptures teach that we are justified or saved by faith alone (Rom 1:17). Faith is a gift from God and applied by the Holy Spirit’s work in us (Eph 2:8, 9). Although we are saved by grace through faith alone, it is not through a faith that is alone. Faith alone is the basis for our salvation, but salvation is made evident by our works. Our works are the necessary and visible evidences of our faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:20). We are to glorify God through holiness and obedience of a sanctified life.

Solo Christo means through Christ alone. We are saved only through the person and the salvific work of Jesus Christ. It is not by foreseen faith, good works or any righteousness of man that a man is saved. We are delivered from God’s wrath solely through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The exclusivity of the Lord Jesus Christ is taught throughout the New Testament (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Galatians 3:20, Colossians 1:13-18, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Hebrews 4:14-16, 8:6, and 9:15).

Our sole Advocate and great High Priest (Heb 4:14) is Jesus Christ. Every believer in Christ is able to come boldly before the throne of grace (Heb 4:16). The object of our faith and the only source of truth is only and always Jesus Christ. Therefore, He is the one on whom we are absolutely dependent for our salvation (John 14:6). To place our faith in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ alone is foolishness and detrimental to our faith.

Soli Deo Gloria means to God alone be the glory. The Reformation reclaimed the Scriptural teaching of the sovereignty of God over every aspect of the believer’s life. We are to live to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This was in contrast to the monastic division of life into sacred versus secular as perpetuated by the Roman Church. The reformers saw that all of life is to be lived under the Lordship of Christ. Paul expressed it well in Romans 11:36, "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen."

Today as we commemorate the 16th century Reformation, let us thank and praise God for the reformers’ distillation of these five central tenets of truth and committing them to us. Also, our hearts should be filled with gratitude that God has delivered the church from spiritual darkness through godly and courageous men who stood for the faith. Our resolve is not only to cherish our rich spiritual heritage but also to hold fast the faithful Word, earnestly contend for the faith and proclaim the gospel to win souls to Christ.

– Rev Quek Keng Khwang

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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.

‘Early Bird Discount’ of $5 will be given to those who register before 3 Dec 12.

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1) LTF Camp 2012. Speaker: Rev Peter Chng. Theme: "Metamorphosis!" (2 Cor 5:17). Dates: 10-14 Dec. Age: 12-17. Registration opens today. Please register early. For more information, contact Elder Lim Ching Wah at 9183-6783.

2) YF Camp 2012. Theme: Fear of the Lord. Speaker: Rev Jack Sin from Maranatha BP Church. Camp dates: 17-21 Dec. All youth aged between 16-24 are invited. Registration opens on 4 Nov, ends on 18 Nov. Contact John Lim (9660-5446) for more information.

3) Infant Baptism on Christmas Sunday, 23 Dec 12. Parents who intend to have their infants baptised must register by 25 Nov 12. Please call the Church office (65949399) or email Yin Chan giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

4) Catechism Class for Easter Baptism on 31 March 2013 commences on 2 Dec 12 at Beulah Centre Rm 5-4, 9.30 am. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the Catechism Class.

5) Congratulations to Dn & Mrs Peter Koy on the birth of a baby girl on 23 Oct 12.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet at Philadelphia BPC, 10 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