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Scripture Memory: Living Wisely
Psalm 90:12 
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

1 January 2012
10.45 am Worship Service:

Rev Charles Seet (Are You Walking Worthy of the Lord? Col 1:10)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Colin Wong (What Is Spiritual Growth, Col 1:1-8)

8 January 2012
8 am & 1045am Worship Service:

Rev Colin Wong (Are You Wasting Your Life? Lk 15:11-32)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Secrets to Spiritual Growth, Col 1:9-14)

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BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW!

The New Year has just begun. Many will wonder what kind of year it will be. It is supposed to be ‘new’. To some people, that may mean that it will be different from the old one. Perhaps many are also hoping that the New Year will be a much better one – a really "new" year without all the old problems and trials that we or the world have faced in 2011, a year that will be filled abundantly with a lot more goodness, peace, happiness and blessing for all of us. And thus we wish each other ‘Happy New Year’ or ‘Blessed New Year’ to express our hope of better things to come.

The Sober Truth

Unfortunately not every "new" year in the past has fulfilled all our hopes. As the years come and go, each of them has brought its share of blessings, but every one of them without exception, has also brought its share of burdens! And we can easily extrapolate that the same will be true of the years that are to come as well: Each New Year that comes will present us with an interesting mixture of blessings and burdens.

The sober truth we must accept is that as long as sin and its effects continue to exist and thrive in this world, there will be really nothing new under the sun. King Solomon made this stark observation in Ecclesiastes 1:9 – "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: andthere is no new thing under the sun."

If every year that goes by is generally the same and with nothing really new under the sun, why bother to celebrate the beginning of each New Year? I believe that we who are in Christ have the best reason to do this: Each year brings us one step nearer to the time when our Lord Jesus Christ will finally make all things new!

Our Blessed Hope

Every passing year brings joy to our hearts when we add to it the words of Romans 13:11, "…for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." How thrilling it is to know that we are now getting closer to that glorious final phase of history, when God Himself will say, "Behold, I make all things new" (Revelation 21:5). This removes the humdrum futility of going through the same routine at this time every year. It also lifts us above all the cares and burdens that we may expect to face in 2012.

However, only those who have been made new can enjoy this blessed hope. The only way you can ever rejoice to have a part in God’s new creation, is if you have become a new creation. If you have not been made new, you cannot have any part in it. Your old nature of sin makes you incompatible with it. So how can you be made new? The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…" You must turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.

When you are truly in Christ, evidences of new life will appear in you. Your old sinful nature will gradually be phased out as you begin to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3,4). As the Holy Spirit transforms your character, Christ will be formed in you (2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 4:19). How thrilling it is to experience this transformation and to be assured through it that you will have a part in the glorious time when God will make all things new!

Our Church Theme for 2012:

WALKING WORTHY OF THE LORD

What is this theme all about? It is not just about our daily walk with God, but also about the way we live before the world as His people. It is about our manner of life in all areas – at home, at work or school, and in church. It includes the things that we say and do in response to different kinds of circumstances, the way we handle our career and finances, and the way we handle our relationships with our loved ones, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

All these things ought to be carried out in a manner that is worthy of the LORD Himself. This means that nothing but the best will do. We who belong to the Lord cannot be content with mediocrity in Christian living if we know how awesome He really is. Will you aspire to a higher level of living – one that is worthy of the LORD? Will you make every effort to pursue this glorious aspiration?

One way to learn how to walk worthy of the Lord is to study the parables of our Lord Jesus. This will be the subject of our sermons for the first quarter of 2012.

The Parables of Jesus

What are parables? They are short stories or illustrations that have a spiritual meaning. The word ‘parable’ comes from a Greek word which means ‘placing one thing beside another.’ That which is familiar and easy to grasp is placed beside that which is unfamiliar and difficult in order to illuminate it.

Their Use

Parables had been in use since Old Testament times (e.g. Isaiah 5:1-7) and were used by Jewish rabbis in New Testament times. It is commonly known that stories not only make truths easier to understand, but also easier to remember. Some would therefore classify parables as mere moral stories like Aesop’s fables. But unlike these fables where animals and trees talk, the parables are not fanciful but true to life. The truths they teach also have far deeper significance to man than all the moral lessons of Aesop.

Jesus was the Master of all parabolic teaching. Parables account for about one-third of His recorded teaching. Every one of His 43 parables that are recorded in the Gospels is rich with meaning and excellent instruction for all Christians. Nothing portrays the love of a father for his lost son better than the parable of the Prodigal Son. And nothing shows how we should love our neighbour better than the parable of the Good Samaritan.

For this reason, the parables of Jesus are often described as "earthly stories with heavenly meaning." One writer has described them as both mirrors and windows. As mirrors, they help us to see and understand ourselves, as we really are. And as windows, they help us to see and understand life and God.

Their Features

One feature of these parables that made them so appealing to audiences then and now is their beauty of expression. Jesus used striking images from a wide range of familiar objects including money, food, birds, trees, sheep, houses, fields, fire, sowing, harvesting and fishing. These things added concreteness to spiritual truths.

The themes of the parables that Jesus told are manifold, ranging from salvation, forgiveness, and love for sinners, to prayer, stewardship, and attitudes for service. Some parables that Jesus told are accompanied by an explanation of their meaning, but others are not. Some come in groups, e.g. the three parables of the lost and found (Luke 15:4-32) and the seven parables of the kingdom (Matthew 13:24-52).

The longest parable is the one about the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) and the shortest is the Parable of the Leaven (Luke 13:21,22). Besides the 43 parables Jesus told, there are about 22 parabolic sayings. These are much shorter than parables – usually only one or two sentences long, e.g. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24)

Their Impact

The most important thing we need to know about the parables of Jesus, is that like the rest of God’s Word, they are "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."(Hebrews 4:12)

In the latter half of His ministry, Jesus used parables to arouse and awaken those who had become spiritually dull. These parables had hidden meanings which would only be revealed to those who took the trouble to seek after them. Those who were careless and indifferent would not bother to find out their meaning. Thus, these parables revealed the true spiritual condition of those who heard them (e.g. The Parable of the Sower, Luke 8:4-15). Warren Wiersbe has said, "the parables are not bedtime stories to put you to sleep, but rather bugle calls to wake you up."

May the Lord be gracious to reveal to us our true spiritual condition and arouse us to walk worthy of the LORD as we study His parables together. Knowing how far we are from where we should be is the first step towards reaching it. 
– Pastor

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EMMANUEL REFORMED BIBLE LECTURES

Time: 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm

Venue: Beulah House, 10 Gilstead Road.

Mondays: Biblical Defence for a Reasonable Faith (Rev Jack Sin)

Thursdays: The Unfolding Drama of Redemption (Rev Ho Chee Lai)

Lectures begin on 9 Jan 12.

Please complete registration forms available at the reception counter and place them in the box, together with payment.

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1) Catechism Class for Easter Baptism on 8 April 2012 commences today at Beulah Centre Rm 5-4, 9.30 am. Those seeking baptism, reaffirmation of faith and transfer of membership must attend the Catechism Class.

2) Scripture Memory Verse Review No. 4. The deadline for submitting the review is today.

3) Church Camp this year will be held from 11 - 14 June 2012 at Nirwana Resort, Bintan. Speaker: Pastor Tan Soon Yong. Apply for annual leave to attend this spiritual feast. Look out for more details on the camp and registration.

4) Lost Item! A member left his Canon digital camera in the sanctuary. Please contact the church office 6594- 9399 if you know its whereabouts.

5) Scripture Memory Verses 2012: "Equipped for Every Good Work". Memory verse booklets are available at the front counter.

6) Life B-P Church Calendar 2012. 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.

Preaching Appointment: Rev Wong at Herald BPC, 9.30am.

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