From the Board of Elders
Dear Members in Christ,
Lies disguised as truth fatally destroy lives
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6
We make decisions daily. The quality of decisions is basically guided by knowledge, which we call “the mind”. The other component of the decision making process is called the emotion or “the heart” which is based on culture, relationships and past experiences. The mind and the heart influence a) the speed and quality of decision making and b) the acceptance of right or wrong decisions of others.
As God’s children, our mind must be filled with God’s Word so that the heart will not easily prevail over the mind. We must be rooted and grounded in the Word of God so that the devil will find difficulty in possessing and manipulate our hearts. Godly decisions must be premised on the knowledge of God NOT the heart!
Thus, in making decisions, the mind must prevail over the heart. However, the heart often prevails over the mind. The heart is easily manipulated by the master deceiver, the devil himself, if we are not rooted and grounded in God’s Word. The deceitful and wicked heart, without the Word of God, gives birth to pride, covetousness, lies, jealousy, idolatry, self-righteousness etc. which the devil delights.
The devil is the ruler of this carnal world. He wants to tempt, distract and destroy the life of a Christian. In so doing, there will be one Christian less who will not be able to witness for God. Many fall into the snares of the devil and some will never get out of the snares and, sadly, many lives destroyed!
Thank God that God also blesses us with brethren in Christ where we can live, share, help, shelter, warn and guide one another in our Christian living in godly wisdom. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6. The Bible also teaches about “Hear(ing) counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (Proverbs 19:20) from matured and godly counsellors.
The world today is filled with uncertainties. Malaysia is still under the RMCO. Covid-19 has, and still, disrupts the economy and the way of life that we used to know. We are now familiar with the “new normal”. Jobs are lost. Poverty and mental distress are on the rise. Confusion, chaos, cheats and scams are some of the fruits of the deteriorating economy and the works of the devil. Let us take an example of the current concern that the community faces. From both the online and printed media, we read of Christians being victims of local and international scams.
The Bible in Psalm 55:21 warns of cheaters and scammers. They are smooth and skilful talkers. Their intention is evil and not virtuous. “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” They would befriend and win over the heart of a person whom they had never met with sweet and emotional words. They are crookedly intelligent, skilful and knowledgeable. They look, sound and behave so normal and real. Their end objective is to get material assets, like money, out of him/her. They work convincingly and quickly. The person being cheated or scammed is no wiser as he/she is emotionally blinded by the sweet talk and lies. It will be too late when the victim comes to his/her senses. The cheaters and scammers would by then have gone and vanished! The victim will then be injured in body, mind and soul!
Truth definitely hurts when lies are being revealed. Wake up NOW if you are in this unfortunate situation. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalms 55:22. Flee to God. Draw nigh unto Him. Pray and ask God for wisdom and strength to overcome the snare of the tempter, which is the work of the devil! Seek God’s Word, the counsel of fellow brethren and godly counsellors within the church. The Lord will carry you through and preserve you.
Elder Choe TS
The Impact of the 1517 Reformation- Doctrines of Scripture over the Tradition of men (Part III)
This is the continuing series on how the 1517 Reformation brought about focus upon the Scriptures as the authority for the faith and life of the believer. In the previous article, the subject discussed (point 1 to 3) was the impact of the Reformation on the teaching of God’s Word and its effect on public education. Some of the renown educational institutions in Europe had its inception in the days of the Reformation. In this part III of the article, we will examine how the truth in the scriptures revealed to God’s people transformed the doctrines and practices in the church.
1. Elevating Scripture over Traditions
One important development after the Reformation is the introduction of exegetical preaching in reformed churches. This is one important impact of the 1517 Reformation in the area of ecclesiastical teaching i.e. the importance of Scriptural authority over human judgement. This has a huge bearing upon the tradition of the church in those days. In the 1500s, the Church accepted the pronouncements of Rome as absolute authority and Martin Luther and the Reformers were opposed to this view. The revelation that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Timothy 3:16) changed his understanding of God’s authority over the Church. Martin Luther was known to have said, “Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scriptures.” This changed the way Christians were taught in the church, with scripture having pre-eminence over fanciful imagination and over the teaching of man.
The pulpit ministry came into the forefront. No longer was the post-Reformation church bound to the teaching authority of a man held as the titular head of the Church. The Churches today which adhere to Reform theology remain faithful to this idea. The minister who holds the responsibility of the pulpit ministry is careful to submit to the Word of God. A sermon is carefully penned, beginning with the careful study of the Scriptures. The exposition of the truths in the scripture text is prayerfully considered, thoughtfully presented to illumine the minds of the hearers. The effect is to edify the members of the congregation, that “the man of God may be throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16). The word of God is the authority over the life and faith of the believer. It is to be faithfully preached and must not be the subject to the fancy of man.
2. Our Response to the Exposition of God’s Word.
Dearly beloved, let us be thankful for the grace of God in bringing about the 1517 Reformation. The preaching and teaching of the word of God in our churches today is a result of God’s intervention to dispel the superstition that cloaked the ecclesiastical world. The question we have to ask ourselves is – do we value the preaching and teaching of God’s word in our churches? Many would put in time and effort to advance themselves in courses to enhance their career. We urge our students to study hard and diligently in their academic work, for this is right and good. But it is sad that the teaching of God’s word is not given the same gravity, for we often hear of those who take lightly the teaching from the pulpit in the weekly sermons. Sadder still are those who not only neglect the doctrines but would openly transgress against God.
Brothers and sisters, let us not take this grace that God has bestowed upon us for granted. Read, study and diligently consider the words preached from the scriptures. Pray that Holy Spirit of God will illumine our hearts and minds to live our lives in service to Him, and to serve Him faithfully. Let the Reformation work that God had initiated continue to bless us and kindle our love and zeal for His word. Amen.
Dn Lim Seh Beng