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Scripture Memory: Assurance
Philippians 1:6 
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

3 June 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Eld Khoo Peng Kiat (The Ministry of the Mature, Mat 5:9)
10:45 am Worship Service:
Rev Colin Wong (Blessed Are The Peacemakers, Mat 5:9)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Mark Chen (A Lesson in Worship, Gen 22:1-19;)

10 June 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (The Prize of the Persecuted, Mat 5:10-12)
10:45 am Worship Service:
Mark Chen (The Prize of the Persecuted, Mat 5:10-12)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Charles Seet (Faith Even in Death, Gen 23:1-20; 25:7-11)

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BE VIGILANT!

Satan is a defeated enemy. Thus we can praise God with the words of Martin Luther’s hymn, "The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him, His rage we can endure. For lo, his doom is sure, one little Word shall fell him!" Since that eternal Living Word has defeated Satan through dying on the cross (Hebrews 2:14), we who belong to Christ no longer "walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). This is the truth that we now proclaim – Christ has defeated the Devil! We can rest in the glorious fact that "greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4).

There is therefore no need to be afraid of him, or of what he may do to you. Perhaps you have believed some erroneous teachings about the Devil: That there are demons here, there and everywhere, and that even believers have demons that they need deliverance from, such as "spirits of debt, and spirits of fear." Every problem and pain is attributed to demonic forces, to the point of building up an intense paranoia about them.

Why should we live in fear when Satan is already defeated and his doom is already foretold? For sure, his power is real and we must be watchful of his devices and ready to resist him. But we must not become overly pre-occupied with him, lest we become distracted from our devotion to the Lord and to His Word. The Lord Jesus should be our main object of attention and devotion at all times.

Having said that, let us also take heed to Ephesians 6:11 – "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." The word ‘wiles’ here refers to the many methods and schemes that the Devil regularly uses against God’s people. He is a master strategist who has devised the most ingenious schemes to hinder God’s work and disable the effectiveness of believers. That is why we must be vigilant and watchful. Let us consider some of his methods.

Disguise and Deceit

Satan is a master of disguise. He may even appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He may disguise false teachers as true teachers, and false churches as true churches. The numerous cults and pseudo-Christian movements that exist today are evidences of his work. To an undiscerning person they appear to be Christian because they bear the outward marks of Christianity. Their true nature will be revealed at the time of judgment.

One example of this was Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8). At the beginning he seemed to repent and sincerely believe in Christ, and so Philip baptized him. But he was greatly impressed by the signs and wonders he saw Philip and the apostles performing and offered them money to give him the power to do what they did and to bestow the Holy Spirit on whoever he wills. Because of this, Peter rebuked him and Simon begged Peter not to let God’s judgment fall on him.

Church history proves that he was not truly converted. According to Irenaeus, Simon the sorcerer became the first great heretic and cult leader of his time. He eventually twisted the Gospel and led many believers astray, even claiming to be God incarnate! He deceived many because of his counterfeit conversion experience and teachings.

God’s Word tells us not to believe every spirit, but to "try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1). Christ described the Devil as the Father of lies. Lying is his specialty. Deceit and deception are his stock in trade (John 8:44). Hence we must be watchful against any deception or disguise that he may attempt to foist upon us.

Disunity and Division

Satan often sows discord or disagreements among brethren in order to divide them. Paul alerted the believers at Corinth that they must be ready to forgive an errant brother when the discipline applied to him had succeeded in bringing him to repentance. There should be restoration and reconciliation among brethren. The reason for this is given in 2 Corinthians 2:11 where he says – "…lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." Satan would take full advantage of any strained relationships between brethren because he knows that they are stronger when united.

We must not allow rumours, strife and division to disrupt the precious unity we have in Christ. These things provide him with the opportunity to devour his prey. When we remain angry with someone and allow it to develop into bitterness, we give place to the Devil. Ephesians 4:26,27 tells us, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil". Let us therefore be vigilant against him by preserving the bond of love among brethren.

Doubt and Distortion

These are devices that Satan uses with regard to the Word of God. When the Lord commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit, Satan skilfully sowed a seed of doubt with his question, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)That opened the way for him to strike Eve with his venomous lie: "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Eve fell into his trap, but at least she did regret later on that she had doubted the Word of God (Genesis 3:13). By then, it was already too late to undo the damage.

Many others did not regret the doubts that came unto them, and in fact they still persist in them. Within the last two centuries Satan has successfully sowed destructive seeds of doubt in the hearts and minds of Christian professors and theologians in many well-known seminaries. As a result of this, one seminary after another capitulated to liberal and modernist teachings. First it was Harvard, then Yale, then Union and Princeton. Many others followed after that. As graduates from these seminaries took over the pastorate of churches, these churches became infected with doubts about God’s Word.

The approach each time is the same. A foundational truth is first questioned, and then doubted, and finally it is replaced with a lie. Concerning creation the question was, "Did God really create all things from nothing in six literal days?" This eventually gave rise to belief in Evolution. Concerning the Flood, the question was,"Could there really have been a flood so great that it covered the whole earth?" This brought the "Local Flood theory" into being. In a similar way, doubts about the miracles of the Bible brought about rationalistic and non-literal interpretations of the Scriptures. And questions about the accuracy of the Bible brought about the rejection of the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. Let us therefore be careful whenever doubts are raised concerning the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures, for the author of such doubts is the Devil himself.

Satan also tries to make people doubt God Himself. The best example of this was his attempt with Job. When God granted him permission to test Job, the Devil did everything he could to make him doubt God’s goodness, by afflicting him with sickness and loss. But Job remained steadfast and did not deny his Lord (Job 1:21).

Besides sowing doubts, Satan often distorts the truth. He did this when he tempted our Lord Jesus in Matthew 4: "Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (vv.5,6)

This portion of Scripture that he quoted was actually misused. Psalm 91 is all about God’s protection of His people when they have no choice but to face danger. It is not about protection from self-inflicted danger, which was the very meaning that Satan was trying to force into it. He was challenging Jesus to jump down from the pinnacle of the Temple to force God to save Him from death. The implication here, is that if God’s hand can be forced to do His bidding, then Jesus must be someone very, very special. This was therefore an appeal to self-centred pride, exalting itself at God’s expense. This brings us to the next device that Satan uses…

Deification of Self

This is one of the most cunning devices Satan has used to make people sin. He tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit by saying, "…in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good an evil." (Genesis 3:5) The enticement to eat the fruit was self-deification – to become like God. Today, he is still convincing people – "You can be as gods." The New Age movement openly encourages the pursuit of self-deification. Its goal is to reach higher levels of spirituality until godhood is attained.

Self-deification is also the goal of sorcery and witchcraft. Initiates are attracted by the promise of wielding supernatural power to do whatever they like. Today, sorcery and witchcraft are being fed to us subtly through books and movies like the Harry Potter series. Let us be very careful about these things!

While most of us will probably not overtly pursue self-deification in the above forms, we need to know that every time we are filled with pride, we are essentially deifying ourselves. When a person is proud he is exalting himself at God’s expense. He is claiming for himself the glory which belongs to God alone. This is the reason why 1 Timothy 3:6 says that no new believer should be put too quickly into a position of spiritual leadership – "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."

Pride causes mature believers to fall as well. King David was nearing the end of his life when he fell into Satan’s trap: 1 Chronicles 21:1 – "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."And when David took a census of his armies to glory in his military strength, the Lord chastised him severely. God sent a terrible plague which destroyed about a tenth of his troops.

Distractions and Diversions

In 2 Timothy 2:23 Paul told Timothy: "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." Verse 26 makes it clear that Satan uses these questions to ensnare believers: "And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." As they get caught up with endless disputes over foolish questions, they neglect what they should really be doing. Believers are thus distracted from the things that really matter as Satan keeps them occupied with trivial matters.

Today we can see how skilfully he has placed so many distractions in the lives of believers. He keeps us busy with many non-essentials. He convinces us to work for long hours six or seven days a week, so we can maintain an expensive lifestyle. He stimulates our minds with new gadgets and worldly influences from the media to pursue affluence, achievements and appearance. If all this sounds too familiar to you, perhaps you are falling into the snare of the Devil. Before you know it, you may find yourself neglecting your walk with God and in a backslidden state.

But take heart, because the same verse mentions that those who have been ensnared by the Devil can recover themselves by repenting of their sins and acknowledging the truth. And when you have recovered yourself from his snare, you must now be even more watchful against him. Watch out for all the devices he uses to make you fall – disguise and deceit, disunity and division, doubt and distortion of God’s Word, deification of self, distractions and diversions. As the Word of God tells us– "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 3:8) And finally, Ephesians 6:11 reminds us to "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Christian, do you have your armour on? —Pastor

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1) Camp Briefing (7 pm) and Prayer Meeting (8 pm) this Tuesday, 5 Jun 12 at Beulah MPH. All campersplease attend the camp briefing.

2) "Faith’s Checkbook": Daily Devotional by C H Spurgeon, Vol 3 (Jul to Sep 2012). Now available at the front counter. The same devotions are available online at http://www.lifebpc.com/devotions.

3) Maranatha BPC will be organising a Holy Land cum Jordan pilgrim trip from 6-17 Nov 2012 in conjunction with ERBL. Those interested (first-come-first-served), kindly give your name, contact details and church by 27 Jun 2012 to Ms Doris Sim at: MBPC at 65458627 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and more details will be given to you. Those who want to work towards a 2 credit hr course under ERBL for this Holy Land trip may enquire at the same email for the course requirements as approved by the faculty of ERBL.

4) Catechism Class for Anniversary 2012 Baptism will commence on 1 Jul 12, 9.30 am at Rm 5-4, Beulah Centre. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the Catechism Class.

5) Our condolences to Chiang Ming Yu and family on the homegoing of his step-sister, Mdm Mallika Jesudasan (56 years old) on 27 May 12.

Preaching appointment: Rev Seet in Batam.

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