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Scripture Memory: Salvation
Matthew 7:13 
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

27 May 2012
8 am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (The Vision of the Virtuous, Matthew 5:8)
10:45 am Worship Service:
Rev Ho Chee Lai (The Vision of the Virtuous, Matthew 5:8)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Mark Chen (A Man of Compassion, a God of Mercy, Gen 18:16- 33)

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 (The Ministry of the Mature, Mat 5:9)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Mark Chen (A Lesson in Worship, Gen 22:1-19;)

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COVETOUSNESS AND ITS REMEDY

I was working as a Trained Hospital Assistant in the Prison Hospital at Outram Road in the 1950s, attending to sick prisoners. In the course of my work, I found that the crimes committed by the prisoners were mainly crimes arising from covetousness. The love of money is the cause of their downfall. The crimes were those of criminal breach of trust, house-breaking, gambling, robbery, snatch-theft, cheating, pick-pocketing, kidnapping, murder, gang-related crimes, prostitution, rioting, shoplifting, etc.

Today besides the above, it is phone and lottery scams, "kidnap-hoax" scams, impersonations of court officials, police officers and doctors, outrage of modesty, rapes, statutory rapes on the Internet, crimes against the elderly, motor vehicle thefts, casino crimes, money laundering, commercial crimes, etc.

The sin of covetousness, to a lesser or greater degree, affects every walk of life, regardless of age or sex, or social status. Covetousness is not a trifling matter; it is a sin not easily detected because like cancer, it comes in insidiously. No wonder the Bible warns us from cover to cover, concerning covetousness and its terrible consequences.

¨ Origin of Covetousness

Jesus said, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: And all these evil things come from within, and defile the man." (Mark 7:21-23; see also Galatians 5:19-21 "works of the flesh")

¨ What is Covetousness?

The Greek word for "covetousness" is pleonexia meaning the will to have more, e.g. a larger portion, advantage, etc. Covetousness may be defined as an inordinate desire of wanting more than what you already have; a desiring of something which does not belong to you; it may be someone’s money, spouse, property, etc. (See Ecclesiastes 5:10; Habakkuk 2:5)

The Bible says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (I Timothy 6:10) Money in itself and of itself is not at fault, but it is the lust for it, the love for it, the "pre-occupation of getting it" that is a root cause of many of the problems in the world.

In the words of C.H. Spurgeon, "No man ever need fear offering a reward of a thousand pounds to a contented man, for if anyone came to claim the reward, he would prove his discontent. You say, if I had a little more, I should be very satisfied. You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled."

¨ Covetousness: The Sin Forbidden

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s." (Exodus 20:17)

Paul said, "...I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7)

¨ Covetousness: a form of Idolatry

Paul said, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." (Colossians 3:5; see also Ephesians 5:3, 5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) It is quite usual to think of idolatry as bowing down before idols and images but it is really more than that. It is worshipping money. Does money possess us, or do we possess money?

¨ Characteristics of Covetousness

o It is insatiable (Proverbs 21:26)

o It is a root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10)

o It is oppressive (Proverbs 22;16; Ezekiel 22:12; Micah 2:2)

¨ Admonitions against Covetousness

The Psalmist said, "Incline my heart unto thy testimonies; and not to covetousness." (Psalm 119: 36)

Jesus said to His disciples, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15) The rich fool was self-centred and not God-centred. He cared only for himself, oblivious to the needs of others. He put time before eternity; he put material things before spiritual things; he put the kingdom of pleasure before the Kingdom of God; he prepared for life’s contingency except death. No one can be happy or content who lives only for SELF.

Spurgeon said: "A man’s contentment is in his mind, not in the extent of his possessions. Alexander the Great, with all the world at his feet, cries for another world to conquer."

Cyprian, the third century Bishop of Carthage, gave wise counsel which is relevant even today, when he wrote about the affluent: "Their property held them in chains... which shackled their courage and choked their faith and hampered their judgment and throttled their souls... if they stored up their treasure in heaven, they would not now have an enemy and a thief within their household... They think of themselves as owners, whereas it is they rather who are owned: enslaved as they are to their own property, they are not masters of their money but its slaves."

Life’s Application

How you and I need to take heed of the Lord’s admonition. Covetousness is inconsistent in the life of a Christian (Ephesians 5:3; Hebrews 13:5) especially in Christian Ministers (I Timothy 3:3). Paul said, "I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold or apparel." (Acts 20:33)

"How we need to hear the voice of the New Testament as it calls us to a life of responsible stewardship of our resources." (Art Beals)

In the Old Testament we have the wise counsel of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro. He told Moses to look for "able men, such as fear God, man of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, rulers of ten...to judge the people at all seasons..."(Exodus 18:21-22)

¨ Covetousness: Reproved and Punished

James said, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even, of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not." (James4:1-2)

Coveting is forbidden by God (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21). Covetousness can lead to terrible consequences.

¨ Examples of Covetousness and its Consequences

o Adam & Eve (Genesis 3:6; 1 John 2:16) - Universal Desolation

o Achan (Joshua 7:21, 25) - Theft

o Ahab (1 Kings 21; 2 Ki.9:30-36; 10:17) - Murder

o Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10) -Deception and Death

o David (2 Samuel 11) - Adultery and Murder

o Gehazi (2 Kings 5:20-24) - Lying

o Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26:14-15; John 12:6) - Death

¨ Covetousness and its Remedy

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (I Timothy 6:11) Paul’s strong warning against materialism contains a command to flee from it and to earnestly follow after qualities building up character, such as righteousness, godliness, faith and a Spirit-filled life manifesting patience, love, gentleness, etc. (Galatians 5:22)

Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus also said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

Paul said, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." True godliness with contentment is indeed great profit. Paul also said, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11)

In Hebrews 13:5 we read, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (See also Philippians 4:11-12,19) "Without covetousness" means not money-loving; it is not just money but it includes other possessions as well.

True contentment is founded on the assurance of God’s very presence, and the confidence that we have in approaching His throne of grace daily, and also His precious promises extended to us.

AW Pink said, "Let not covetousness rule your heart nor regulate your life." Yes, we must learn to be careful how we use our money or how we spend it because God has entrusted it to us; we are His stewards and we are accountable to Him.

¨ Why "be content with such things as ye have"?

Because of God’s precious promises such as:

o I will never fail thee. (Joshua 1:5)

o I will not forget thee. (Isaiah 49:15)

o I will never forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

o I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:20)

Personal Application

As Christians, let us completely trust God and His promises because He is faithful in all His promises. He is our covenant-keeping God who is faithful in all that He has promised. He says what He means and means what He says. We can absolutely trust God and His Word (Proverbs 3:5-6). Let us set our hearts more and more on heavenly things, things of eternal values, and less and less on earthly things which are temporal (Colossians 3:1-3).

Let us remember this: If we have Christ, we have everything! We have the greatest riches because we possess Christ. "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10). Our God is rich beyond compare! Paul said, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

Conclusion

May God help us that we may be content with what we have presently; that we may not fall into this terrible sin of covetousness because it is inconsistent in us as Christians, especially in ministers of God.

The remedy for covetousness is to take heed of God’s Word and to obey its commandments: "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15)

Let us remember this: We have a clean and green environment, healthy and clean air to breathe; safe and clean water to drink; houses to live; enough safe and healthy food to eat; good public health, etc. All our daily needs are being provided for, as promised by God, our Heavenly Father. Because the Lord is our Good Shepherd, we will not lack anything. Our wants are few; what more do we want?

¨ A Jewel of Contentment

George Washington Carver: Black American scientist, botanist, educator, inventor. He was also dubbed as "Peanut Man" and "Black Leonardo." He was born on 12th July 1864 and died on 5th January 1943 at Tuskegee.

"One of the 20th century greatest scientists, George Washington Carver’s influence is still being felt today. Rising from slavery to become one of the world’s most respected and honoured men, he devoted his life to understanding nature and the many uses for the simplest of plant life. He is best known for developing crop rotation for conserving nutrients in the soil and discovering hundreds of new uses for crops such as the peanut."

His "scientific discoveries included more than three hundred different products derived from the peanut, some one hundred from sweet potatoes, about seventy five from pecans, and many more including crop rotation."

Money had no charm on him. He could have amassed great fortunes through patenting his numerous inventions. But he said "God gave them to me, how can I sell them to someone else." It was also reported that someone suggested to him that he could easily use the proceeds accrued from his patented products to help his people. He smiled and said that "If I had all that money I probably wouldn’t be interested in helping my people." – Elder Khoo Peng Kiat

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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE SEMINAR

Spiritual Insights into The Minor Prophets

by Dr John A Battle

18-23 June 2012 (Mon-Sat), 8.30 am – 1.00 pm at Beulah MPH. Details are available at http://www.lifebpc.com/erbl.htm 
Please complete registration forms available at the reception counter and place them in the box, together with payment. Closing date extended.

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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE LECTURES

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

Mondays: Historical Lessons from the Ancient and Medieval Church (Rev Jack Sin)

Thursdays: The Epistles of Peter: Triumph & Truth (Rev Isaac Ong). Lectures begin on 16 Jul 12.

‘Early Bird Discount’ of $5 will be given to those who register before 18 June 12.

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1) Golden Age Fellowship, Sat, 2 Jun 12 at 4.00 pm. Beulah MPH. "Live Out the Word" by Ms Ruth Fan. Contact: Mrs Evelyn Tay, 6280-3344 or Thiam Hong 9733-6261.

2) 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.

3) Life B-P Church Camp 2012. 11-14 Jun 2012 (Mon-Thu). Theme: Unity in Diversity. Camp Registration Office set up in FEK Resource Room (the old MIS Office) for collection of camp fees, passport submission and enquiries. Opening hrs are 0930-1045hrs and 1200-1300hrs. To register online, please log in to http://www.lifebpc.com/churchcamp2012.htm. Limited vacancies. First-come-first-served.

Camp Briefing next Tuesday, 5 Jun 12 at 7 pm at Beulah MPH.

4) Our condolences to (1) Esmeralda Teo and family on the homegoing of her grandmother, Mdm Soh Lay Kheng, 86 years, on 22 May 12.

(2) Chua Hui Tin and family on the homegoing of her mother, Mdm Seah Sok Meng, 83 years, on 24 May 12.

Preaching appointments: Rev Wong at Life BPC Chinese Service, 10.45 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