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Scripture Memory: The New Heavens and Earth.

VERSE: 2 Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

 

31 December 2017

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (By Their Fruits, Matthew 7:15-23)

10:30 pm Watchnight Service

Rev Charles Seet (Built Upon the Rock, Matt 7:24-27)

 

7 January 2018

8am & 11am: Worship Service

Rev Charles Seet (Basking in the Light of the Son, John 1:1-18)

6 pm Evening Service

Rev Quek Keng Khwang (Forsaking All I Take Him, Gen 11:31-12:9)

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A YEAR-END BENEDICTION

 

Benedictions are God’s word of blessing upon His people pronounced at the end of worship. In the times of the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel was required to pronounce the benediction which God prescribed in Numbers 6:24-26 to bless the Israelites at the end of the morning sacrifice. And as we come to the end of 2017, it is most appropriate for us to receive a year-end benediction from our Lord. Jesus Himself ended His own ministry on earth with a parting benediction on all His disciples (Luke 24:50-51).

 

Following this example, the apostles of Christ concluded the epistles they wrote with a benediction. These came in various forms, and they are often used to end worship services in churches today. The one found at the end of Paul’s last epistle to the Corinthians goes like this: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14). This is the only benediction that mentions all three persons of the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

People often think that the doctrine of the Trinity is much too abstract and theological to be of any practical use. But this is a very false perception of this doctrine. It actually has much relevance to us in everyday life. It keeps us humble, gives us a model for marriage, family life and church life, deepens our worship and strengthens our prayer life, and it also provides the firmest basis for confidence and hope. The benediction at the end of 2 Corinthians shows that our greatest confidence and hope is found in the Trinity.

 

The Excellent Source of the Blessing

The Trinity reveals God’s perfect harmony in all His works. In everything that God does, we see the three persons working together in perfect harmony. In Creation, the Father is the Author of creation, the Son is the Word by whom all things were created, and the Spirit is the Life-giver moving upon the face of the waters. Each part of creation was a sovereign act of each person of the Trinity, and none of it would have been made without the work of each person.

 

The perfect harmony of the Trinity is seen most clearly in the work of Salvation: It begins with God the Father choosing us to be saved before the world was made. In the fullness of time God the Son became a man to die on the Cross bearing the punishment for our sin. Then, at some point in our life, God the Holy Spirit brings us to salvation by calling us to faith in Christ and by regenerating our hearts. Without the part played by each person in the Godhead, none of us would ever be saved.

 

The perfect harmony of the Trinity can also be seen Prayer: The Father receives and answers our prayers. The Son intercedes for us as our Advocate before the Father. And the Holy Spirit helps us to pray with groanings which cannot be uttered.

 

And here in the benediction to the Corinthians we see the three persons of the Trinity working together just as perfectly in blessing us, since it pleads for “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [to] be with [us] all.” The same three persons in the Godhead who work together in creation, in salvation and in prayer, also work in perfect harmony to bless us. What great assurance and joy this ought to give us.

 

Besides revealing God’s perfect harmony, the Holy Trinity also reveals God’s perfect unity in all His works. The unity shared by the Father, the Son and the Spirit is indivisible. They are one in essence and can never be put asunder. There is also no conflict, difference of opinion, or disunity within the Godhead.

 

This perfect unity which characterises the Trinity becomes a powerful example for us to follow. We are all one body in Christ and we must therefore preserve the spiritual unity that we share in Christ (cf. John 17:11,21). The Corinthians especially needed to build such unity among themselves because of the problems of divisions in their church (1 Corinthians 1:12). How could they proclaim the unity and harmony of the Trinity to the world effectively, when there was so much strife and division among themselves?

 

However, by invoking all three persons in the Trinity, Paul was not merely encouraging the Corinthians to work together in unity and in harmony. He was also assuring them that the Triune God Himself will work in them and enable them to accomplish His will, if they keep trusting in Him. This should also be our source of comfort whenever we feel downhearted or frustrated by our own inability and weaknesses to resolve our difficulties and problems. We must remember that nothing is impossible with God.

 

The Effective Substance of the Blessing

This unique benediction contains a trinity of blessings – grace, love and communion. And just like the Trinity of God, these three are actually one great blessing. They flow together in one mighty stream from the same source.

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ indicates God’s favour on Jesus. As God’s only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus always enjoyed God’s favour (Luke 2:52; Matthew 3:17; 17:5). By being in Christ, we too can enjoy this special favour of God. God will be as favourable and gracious to us as He is to Christ – all because we are in Christ. Through this grace we have privileged access to God at any time. It assures us that God will hear us when we pray and that He will respond to us favourably. What a wonderful privilege it is to have the grace that Christ enjoys!

 

The love of God the Father is the fatherly affection that He lavishes upon His children. Through faith in Christ we have become God’s adopted children (1 John 3:1). As our loving heavenly Father, God blesses us, keeps us, guides us, and He even chastises us whenever we are unruly. No matter what happens to us, our welfare is securely in God’s hands. He will take good care of us because He loves us. How blessed it is to be a child of God!

 

The communion of the Holy Spirit is the sweet intimate fellowship that we can enjoy with God through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. This is the best part of the entire blessing! It is through the Spirit’s presence in us that we can know God personally, and experience His love, joy and peace deep within our hearts. The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is just like a down payment of all that we shall have in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:). This includes the glorious eternal fellowship we shall have with God up there. What a sheer delight it is to be able to enjoy a foretaste of such sweet fellowship with God now!

 

Hence we have seen how this three-fold benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14 imparts a blessing that progresses from the enjoyment of grace to love, and from love to fellowship with God. There is really no greater bliss for our soul than this! This is the happiness we all should be seeking for, rather than the momentary pleasures this world offers.

 

But perhaps your joy has been marred by certain sins in your life that you are still struggling with. Perhaps you fear that God may exclude you from His blessing because of those sins. Then you must take comfort from the last four words of the benediction: “…be with you all.” This shows that all believers are included regardless of their state of sanctification.

 

The Extensive Scope of the Blessing

There were many in the Corinthian church who were still in dire need of correction for their sins. This can be seen in the strong warning Paul gave them just a few verses earlier– “…I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare… Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.” (2 Corinthians 13:2,10)

 

But soon after giving this warning Paul utters the blessing of God’s grace, love and communion for all of them. This is our comfort: Although we may be weak and imperfect Christians, the Triune God still welcomes us if we seek His help to change our sinful ways. His blessing is meant for everyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation. He is ever ready to forgive us and bless us no matter how broken or sinful we are.

 

On this last day of the year the Lord wants you who are weary with failures and burdens to come and receive His blessing. He says to you, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Will you come to Jesus to receive His blessing?

 

Whatever state your spiritual life may be in right now – whether it is good or not so good, cold, warm or lukewarm – you need the Lord’s blessing. Then you will be most grateful for the extensive scope of this blessing. It is meant for all who belong to Christ. And through it you will have all that you need to respond well to God’s Word with obedience.

 

The next time you hear this benediction pronounced at the end of a worship service, please do not regard it merely as a word of dismissal. Listen carefully to the words of blessing as they are uttered, and express your wholehearted agreement to them by singing the three-fold Amen at the end. Pray silently from your heart that the Triune God will surely grant His glorious blessings not only to you but to every worshipper who is present.

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you. Amen.           – Pastor  

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W a t c h n i g h t    S e r v i c e
Tonight at 10.30 pm
“Built Upon the Rock” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Rev Charles Seet

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1) New Sunday School Class 2018

Focus : Soteriology, Contact Evangelism, Disciple Making and Discipleship

Venue : Beulah, Room 3-2

Starting Date: 14 Jan 2018, 9.40am

Class is open to all brothers and sisters in Christ of all ages.

Those interested, please contact: Ong Beng Hong

2) Music Seminar: All church members are invited to attend the upcoming Music Seminar on 3 March 2018 (Saturday), 9am to 6pm with lunch provided. Venue: Church Sanctuary. Pianists/choir members are encouraged to also attend the 4 March (11am to 3.30pm) session and organists the session on 2 March (7pm to 9.30pm). Please register online at https://www.lifebpc.com/music-seminar . For more details, contact Russell Indran.

3) ERBL Lectures (Jan-May 2018), 7.30-9.30pm. Mon: The Ten Commandments by Rev Charles Seet Thu : The Book of Romans by Rev Ho Chee Lai Lectures begin on 8 Jan 18. Please complete registration forms and place them in the box, together with payment.

 

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

January 21 & 28 - The Power of Prayer

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16