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Scripture Memory: Expectant Living.

VERSE: Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”

 

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

23 July 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (The Right Conduct, Matthew 5:7,8 )

6:00 pm Evening Service

Bro Joel Seah (Jesus Loves Me Even When I’m Old, Psalm 71)

30 July 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Ps Tan Soon Yong (Come, Everyone Who Thirsts! Isa 55:1-11 )

6:00 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Why Do the Wicked Prosper? Psalm 73)

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THE SOLA SCRIPTURA PRINCIPLE

 

This year, churches all over the world commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. We ought to thank God for this movement because we are now enjoying its results. The most important result was the restoration of the authority of Holy Scriptures, embodied in the guiding principle, Sola Scriptura, which is Latin for “by Scripture alone.” Let us trace the events that led to this.

Prior to the Reformation, the Roman Church made itself the supreme authority over the Scriptures and exalted man-made traditions above the Scriptures. It kept the Scriptures from the people and placed its priesthood between the Scriptures and the people. The overall effect of this was the loss of the authority of the Scriptures in the lives of people.

In the latter part of a 12th century Peter Waldo, a French merchant, began to advocate the Sola Scriptura principle. His followers used nothing but the Scriptures for their preaching. However, for doing this they were excommunicated and persecuted.

In the 14th century, God raised up John Wycliffe, a Bible scholar at Oxford University. Wycliffe was much influenced by the Sola Scriptura principle. He became very bold in using the Bible to expose all the false teachings and practices of the Church. He also made the first English translation of the Bible. The Church bitterly opposed this translation, declaring that by it the Scriptures had been desecrated, that the pearl of the Gospel was now being scattered and trodden underfoot by swine. But God protected Wycliffe and he was able to continue his work. To promote Bible-reading, he established a group of itinerant preachers who went throughout England distributing the Scriptures while evangelizing and preaching the Gospel. For the impact that he made, Wycliffe became known as the ‘Morning Star of the Reformation.’

In the 15th century God raised up John Huss in what is now the Czech Republic. Influenced by the writings of Wycliffe, Huss began to use the Sola Scriptura principle in his teaching and preaching. This immediately brought severe persecution. Although he was promised safe conduct to present his case at the Council of Constance, he was betrayed, condemned and burned at the stake.

Despite the efforts of these early reformers, the Roman Church still held on firmly to its supreme authority and kept Europe under its traditions and false teachings. The Sola Scriptura principle received full attention only in the 16th Century.

Martin Luther

A German monk named Martin Luther was browsing through the books in his monastery’s library when he accidentally found a copy of the Bible. This raised his curiosity to a high degree: He read it with great excitement and was amazed to find what a small portion of the Scriptures was being taught to the people. So he devoted himself to study the Scriptures well in order that he would be able to teach its wonderful truths to the people. He also made the first German translation of the Bible.

After completing his training at the monastery, Luther began his ministry at Wittenberg. There he used the Sola Scriptura principle fully both in teaching at the university and in pastoring the church.

The spark that ignited the Reformation was the sale of indulgences. These were defined as the ‘commutation for money of part of the temporal penalty due for sin, of the practical satisfaction that was a part of the sacrament of penance which also required contrition on the part of the penitent and absolution from a priest.’ This is just like paying a fine to be let off from being jailed.

People were taught that if a person’s sins were not satisfied by penance in this life, he would have to make satisfaction for them in Purgatory, where it is alleged that Christians endured great torments for a long time before entering heaven. The only solution was to buy indulgences for themselves. For a sum of money, the Pope could use his authority to shorten a person’s time in Purgatory. There is no biblical basis for this.

In 1467 a papal bull extended the privilege of indulgences to include the souls who were already suffering in Purgatory, provided their living relatives purchased the indulgences for them. A person could now buy indulgences for himself – to keep himself from going to Purgatory, or for a deceased relative – to help him escape more quickly from Purgatory.

Indulgences became a roaring business which financed the building of St Peter’s cathedral in Rome. They were sold at great discounts by skilled salesmen. One of them, Johann Tetzel, used a catchy jingle: ‘As soon as the coin into the coffer rings, the soul out of Purgatory springs.’ His sales talk even included such blasphemous statements as ‘The Lord our God no longer reigns, He has resigned all power to the pope.’

When Tetzel started selling indulgences in a town near to Wittenburg, Martin Luther felt bound by his commitment to God and the Bible to speak up against it. He wanted to protect his congregation and students from being fooled and robbed of their money by the sale of indulgences. He wrote out a list of 95 statements, or theses against it with an announcement that these statements will form the basis for a public debate. He nailed them to the door of the church, which also functioned as the notice board of the church and university. This was done on the 31st of October, because the next day was All-Saints day when the church hall would be packed with his students and church members for a memorial service. The debate would take place just after the service.

Little did Luther know what far-reaching impact his 95 theses would have. Within four weeks they were copied out and sent throughout Germany and surrounding countries. Many became bold to speak out against the unscriptural teachings and practices of the Roman Church. This grew into the Protestant movement which eventually reformed the Church and broke away completely from Rome. With one voice they all sounded forth the well-known watchword of the Reformation: “By Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura), by Faith alone, by Grace alone, Christ alone, glory to God alone.” Today, Sola Scriptura continues to be the first and most important guiding principle followed by all Protestant churches.

The Authority of the Scriptures in Our Life

This also applies to the way that we conduct our life. With regard to marriage, the Scripture teaches that God instituted marriage to be a permanent heterosexual union. Unfortunately there are Christians today who support same-sex marriage and accuse those who don’t of practicising discrimination.

The Scripture also teaches that we should not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). Unfortunately many Christians today think otherwise and marry unbelievers. The Scripture teaches fathers to take responsibility for the spiritual nurture of their children (Ephesians 6:4), but many hardly spend time with their family because of work.

The Scripture teaches that we should lay up our treasures in heaven and not on earth. But many Christians are pursuing earthly treasures, taking huge loans which they cannot afford to service. The Scripture teaches us not to love the world neither the things that are in the world, and to be modest in our dressing, etc. But many today are compromising with the world – its manner of dressing, its music, and its values.

The Scripture teaches that we should not be ashamed of the Gospel but seeking to make it known to people in every nation. But many Christians today do not take the great commission to make disciples of all nations seriously and make little effort to witness for Christ.

Let us be convinced that we must bring our life and every decision we make under the authority of the Word. Let the Scriptures have the final say over every area of our life. We will not go wrong if we rely on the Scriptures as our authority and guide.

A Rallying Call 

As we remember how the Sola Scriptura principle was restored to God’s people 500 years ago, it is good for us to rally together to commit ourselves to its promotion as well as to the rest of the guiding principles expounded by the reformers.

We will have a unique opportunity to do this by participating in the coming combined Bible-Presbyterian Churches Reformation Conference. It will be held at Calvary B-P Church on 9-10 August 2017 and at Life B-P Church on 11-12 August 2017 with Dr Michael Barrett of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary as our main speaker. All the messages will have Mandarin translation.

May God help us to be faithful in applying the Sola Scriptura principle in everything that we do. – Pastor  

 

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GAF Meeting

Date & Time :         26 Jul 17 (this Wed) at 10am
Venue           :         Beulah Room 4-2

Topic             :         Who is Worthy? Psalm 15

Speaker        :         Bro Ong Beng Hong

Lunch is provided

 

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1) DVD screening of 2 reformers - John Calvin & John Knox on 29 July (this Sat) from 1 to 3pm at Beulah MPH.

2) Combined B-P Churches Reformation 500 Conference from 9 to 12 Aug 2017. Speaker: Dr Michael Barrett. Venues: Calvary BPC (9 & 10 Aug) and Life BPC (11 & 12 Aug).

Please register at http://www.lifebpc.com/reformation-conference. Registration forms are also available at the front desk.

3)        Appeal for Traffic Marshals on the 11th (Fri) and 12th Aug 2017 (Sat) during Reformation 500 Conference. Please call or text Dn David Tan.

 

Preaching appointments: Rev Khoo at Chinese Evening BSF, 7.00 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

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