From the Board of Elders
Dear Members in Christ,
Calvary Jaya BP Fellowship (CJBPF), located in the district of Petaling, has been declared an EMCO zone, from 3rd to 16th July 2021. We pray that by God’s mercy, this will be lifted when the Covid-19 cases decline by then. The whole zone will then migrate to the National Recovery Plan (NRP). The NRP is the four-phase plan that will steer the country out of the pandemic with full reopening of the economy, people movements and thus gatherings. The transition of one phase to another is subjected to 1) daily Covid-19 cases 2) sufficient ICU hospital beds available 3) the percentage of the population vaccinated (for details please refer to the NRP by the Government).
We are indeed thankful to God for overseeing and protecting us from ill health particularly from the Covid-19 infections. While trusting that God will look after us, and knows what is best for us, we also need to do our part in ensuring that we take responsibility for our health. We need to ensure that we eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, keep our mind healthy with God’s Word and also fellowship with fellow brethren. God has also provided us protection through the provision of vaccines. Do not be too anxious on the brand of vaccines. God will provide the right vaccine to you accordingly. You just have to trust Him. It is thus our duty to receive vaccination to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the community. This will directly help the nation to lower down the daily Covid-19 infection cases.
In God’s good pleasure and timing, we can all gather once again, in-person, in CJBPF to worship God, to do His work and have fellowship with one another. Let us look forward and pray for the soon return of this day! “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” Psalms 122:1. What a rejoicing this will be.
Eld. Choe Tong Seng
Dear Members in Christ,
“Comfort One Another” 1 Thessalonians 4:18
When the occasion arises where a friend or a relative is in grief, it is only right and merciful to offer comfort to such a person. Some brothers and sisters are particularly gifted in the area of giving comfort, and this is commendable, for it is a biblical exhortation for Christians to comfort one another. When Paul exhorts that we “Weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15) it is a call to empathize with and to offer comfort to those who are hurting or grieving. But, what can we do to offer comfort to a fellow believer who has lost a loved one? The Bible gives us a good message to offer to the grieving believer in such situations. We recall Paul’s reminder to the Thessalonian Christians which reads,
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.
A. Beware that grief does not overshadow the knowledge of the truth
In the Thessalonian church, there was an erroneous notion that was circulating in the church about the resurrection. This ignorance has to do with the departed loved ones of the Thessalonians. Paul says, “concerning them that are asleep, that ye sorrow not.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The phrase “that are asleep” refers to those believers who have died, and the Christians in Thessalonica are grieving in a way that is not consistent with their faith. Paul gives this injunction, “that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” because the Christians who had lost loved ones are grieving in the same way as the pagans.
We must not suppose that all the Thessalonian Christians were ignorant about the hope of eternal salvation in the Lord Jesus. In 1 Thessalonians 1:8, he commends them for their faith, which was sounded out even as far as Macedonia and Achaia. He gives thanks to God for the display of their faith, “how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9,10. So, readers, you see that the Thessalonian church knew about the coming of Christ and the hope that is to come. But some grieve and sorrow as if without hope.
To these people, Paul exhorts, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” 1 Thessalonian 4:15. Paul in writing this verse emphasizes to them that the resurrection of the dead is a certainty, and when the Lord Jesus returns, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
The Christian who has lost a loved one undergoes a very trying period. Parting can be very painful, and the sense of loss of companionship and love is heaviness upon the heart. Only God’s word can remind and comfort us, and this is what the Apostle Paul was trying to remind the Thessalonian Christians when he says, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord...”. It was promised by God, and God will accomplish it.
What can we do to comfort someone who is grieving? Share with them a portion of God’s word. God Himself is the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort.
B. The eternal hope give the best comfort for the Christian
The words that Paul exhorts the Christians to share one another to comfort one another are these words, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord,” and Paul ends with the exhortation “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 18.
Those who have been sorrowing as if they were without hope were ignorant of the resurrection of the dead. Perhaps they might have fallen prey to the misconception that the resurrection of the dead is a past event. Paul had to address this error in another epistle, in 2 Timothy 2:18 when he wrote about some who, “concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”
But think about what Paul wrote to the Christians. Firstly, the trumpet sound of the angel, and the return of the Lord Jesus, and the “dead in Christ shall rise first.” Then we who are “alive and remain will be caught up together with them.” These words would be such a comfort for the grieving Thessalonian Christians. They are not separated from their loved ones forever, in Christ, they shall meet again. And if the Lord Jesus returns whilst they are still alive on earth, they shall be caught up, raptured into the air together with their loved ones who had fallen asleep before them.
Summary: Our eternal hope and comfort of one another
Dearly beloved, let us be encouraged by the words of scripture. Let us be ready to offer comfort for one another in times of grief. Whether it is by a condolence card, or a message on the phone, or a vigil visit (if MCO regulations permit), let us share a word of comfort to strengthen one another. Remember we are one body in Christ, and we weep with those who weep. Remember our eternal hope, and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherefore comfort one another with these words. Amen.
Dn. Lim Seh Beng