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Scripture Memory: The Reward of Discipleship.

VERSE: Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”

 

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

 

12 November 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Eld Ng Beng Kiong (The Menace of Materialism, Matt 6:19-24)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Eld Clement Tan (Except the Lord Build the House, Psalm 127)

 

19 November 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Calvin Loh (An Antidote for Anxiety, Matt 6:25-34)

6:00 pm Evening Service

Mr Lim Chien Chong (There is Forgiveness with God, Psalm 130)

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ARE YOU CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD?

 

Conformity presents the least problems. It is the easiest way to gain the world’s acceptance, and to avoid any criticism and ridicule. When a person tries to be different, he is liable to draw attention to himself and stick out like a sore thumb. When Daniel’s three friends refused to conform, everyone could see them standing while all the rest were bowed down to the ground. Their non-conformity brought instant attention and reaction from the people and from the king himself (Daniel 3:7-13).

 

The problem with taking the easy path of conformity is that it establishes a close relationship between the one who conforms and the world. James calls it ‘being friends with the world’ (James 4:4). John calls it ‘loving the world’ (1 John 2:15,16) According to these passages, the close relationship forged with the world is incompatible with our relationship with God. James says that being friends with the world makes us enemies of God. If you are a friend of the world, you are not a friend of God. John says that loving the world means that the love of God is not in us. If you love the world, you cannot love God.

 

In this we can see the serious danger that comes with conformed living – it puts us at variance with God. Conformity to this world is tantamount to committing spiritual defection or adultery. It is akin to idolatry, which is the ultimate sin against God and a violation of the first commandment – “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3).

 

The Dangers of Conformed Living

Conformity with the world brought about the downfall of Lot’s family. When Lot left Abraham with his family and flocks, he pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12). By the next chapter, Lot was already dwelling in Sodom (Genesis 14:12). As a result of this Lot was taken prisoner in the battles that were fought by the kings of the east against Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a picture of a compromising Christian who gets hurt in the crossfire between warring factions in the world because he has conformed to it.

 

Instead of learning his lesson, Lot became even more conformed to Sodom. By Genesis 19:1, he was sitting in the gate of Sodom, i.e. he has become a recognized member of the community. The story of Lot ends tragically with the loss he suffered when God destroyed the two cities because their sinfulness. Although he survived, his wife turned into a pillar of salt and his two daughters were infected with Sodom’s immorality.

 

Conformity with the world brought about Israel’s downfall during the time of the Judges. Israel faced the idolatrous culture, customs and practices of the Canaanite world. God had already warned them not to be conformed to Canaanites (Deuteronomy 12:29-31). Despite the stern warning, Israel conformed to them not long after Joshua died, and the Lord had to chastise His people.

 

In the New Testament, conformity with the world brought about the downfall of Demas, who was one of Paul’s fellow workers at Rome. His name is found in the greetings that Paul conveyed in two of his epistles (Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24). But the only other verse where Demas is mentioned after that gives us a brief but sad comment about him: “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…” (2 Timothy 4:10)

 

Having seen the dangers of conformed living, let us consider what we should not be conformed to in this world. When God’s Word instructs us to “be not conformed to this world” it is not referring to the created physical world, nor the world of sinners that God loves (John 3:16). The world that we should not be conformed to is the world system of sin, pride, ambition, pleasure and power that man has built up under Satan. It would include the materialistic and hedonistic attitudes and values which prevail all around us. In this world system, success is measured in at least four ways.

 

Achievements

The world tells us that everyone can get whatever he wants in the end, if he only tries hard enough. Those who work are expected to conform to high standards of achievement in meeting deadlines, improving quality, productivity and efficiency. The desire to achieve is inculcated in children right from their first day of school. Wherever we go, we are being tested, examined, judged and evaluated all according to our achievements. We are accepted if we have achieved, but rejected, if we have not. That is the way that the world sees our worth.

 

But this poses a problem, because not everyone can attain the same levels of achievement. Many who try to do so, fail. Some even take their own life when they cannot achieve. It is a fact that achievement-oriented societies have the highest suicide rates. The Word of God teaches us not to have such a high regard for human achievements (Jeremiah 9:23, 24). Let us recognise the danger of making worldly achievements our measure of success.

 

Appearance

People often judge one another by their looks, charisma and public image. Slimming programmes, beauty treatments and cosmetic surgery have become very popular. Tattooed skin and body piercings are in vogue today, and many want to have them. Why? Because it is commonly believed that good looks bring love and acceptance. Everyone naturally wants to be loved and accepted. That is why many spend plenty of time and expense on keeping up a good outward appearance. They wear nothing but branded items and are fashion-conscious in their choice of apparel.

 

If you spend an inordinate amount of time and money on your outward appearance, or if you feel depressed or insecure because your looks and clothes are not as impressive as others, please be careful: It means that you are conforming to the world’s standards, not God’s (1 Samuel 16:7).

 

Your office environment may also pressurise you to conform to the world’s standards. The busier you are at work, the more approval you receive. Hence many Christians compromise time for spiritual things in order to appear to be busier at work, e.g. doing more overtime and taking on more projects than others.

 

Affluence

Material wealth is the chief pursuit of most people. The rich are often portrayed in the media as the most successful and respected people in the world. They seem to have created their own heaven on earth. Because of this it has become the desire and dream of many to become materially rich.

 

Wealth is not inherently evil. It is not sinful to be rich. Abraham and Job were both materially rich, and yet they were godly men. It is the attitude of covetousness and lack of contentment which the Scriptures frequently warn us against (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

 

Amusements

The hedonistic philosophy of life tells everyone to ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’ With multiplied means of enjoying oneself today, the pursuit of pleasure has become extremely prevalent. Some may try out all the latest exotic spas and high-end restaurants. Others spend much time and money on the newest gadgets, the most thrilling games and the coolest apps which provide hours of playing, listening and viewing pleasure for couch potatoes.

 

The pursuit of pleasure has lured many unwary souls into sin and vice. On-line gambling and pornography have become the bane of the Internet. Whatever the pursuit may be, always ask yourself, “Would I be comfortable doing this with the Lord beside me?”

 

Be Transformed, not Conformed

Thus we have seen that the world measures success by a person’s achievements, appearance, affluence, and amusements. Whenever you are tempted to conform, think of the dangers that were mentioned earlier: Conformity with the world puts you at variance with God. If you are friends with the world and you love the world, you displease the Lord who has saved you. You may also end up in the same sad state as Lot’s family, or as Israel in the time of the Judges, or as Demas who forsook Paul. Let these thoughts be so deeply etched in your mind that you will never forget them! Ask the Lord to seal them in your heart so that you will not be blinded by the dazzling sights and charmed by the hypnotic strains of the world.

 

God’s Word teaches us how to counter the strong influences of the world – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) This ‘renewed mind’ has been re-programmed to think like Christ, to discern the true value of all things, and to prove what is really good and worthy of our time and efforts. It is focused on doing one thing – the will of God. By renewing your mind to prove God’s will you can become less conformed to the world and more transformed to the image of Christ.

 

This is why you must be careful with your thought life. Whatever your mind dwells on will make a lasting impact on your life. How can you develop a renewed mind? By allowing the Word of God to fill your thoughts as much as possible (cf. Psalm 1:2; Philippians 4:8). Your thinking will change as you invest time in the Word by reading it, studying it, talking and thinking about it. Your old selfish and worldly thought processes will be replaced by new ones that are conformed to the mind of Christ.

 

As your thinking changes, your life changes. You will want to live as a pilgrim, having no lasting attachment to this present world and no attraction for the ever-changing trends and fashions of this world. You will no longer regard this world as your home, but as a temporary place that you are just passing through. You will keep looking forward to the world to come (Mark 10:30) and desire to lay your treasures up there in your eternal home. And that will certainly be a far better world to be conformed to!                                           – Pastor  

 

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NOTICE: The Church Library will be opened from 12.15pm to 12.45pm on 19 Nov (next Sunday).

Librarians on duty: Kenneth and Priscilla.

No library between 9.15am and 9.45am (AF Retreat).  

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1)        The EDD is organising a Street Evangelism on Friday: 1st Dec & 8th Dec 2017 Saturday: 16th Dec & 23rd Dec 2017. Please meet at 7pm in front of ION Orchard.

2)        kNOw fear! LTF Camp 2017, 11-15 Dec. Registration booth outside Sanctuary until 26 Nov when camp registration closes. See you there!

3)        Infant Baptism on Christmas Sunday, 24 Dec 2017. Parents who intend to have their infants baptized must register by 19 Nov 2017. Please email Doris Chik by giving child’s name, date of birth and parents’ names and contact.

4)        Catechism Class for Easter Baptism on 1 Apr 2018 commences on 17 Dec 2017 at Beulah Centre Room 2-1, 9.40 am. Please pre-register by emailing to Church Office or filling up the form available at the front counter. Closing date: 10 Dec 2017.

5)        Combined B-P Youth Camp. Theme: “Steady Steady pom B-P”, 18-21 Dec 2017, at Life B-P Church. Between 15-25 year-old. Please register by 17 Nov at: tinyurl.com/CombinedBpCamp2017

6)        Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Lim Jun Kai on the birth of a baby girl on 8 Nov 2017.

Preaching appointment: Rev Quek at AF Retreat, 18-20 Nov.

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

November 19 & 26 - The End of the World

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10