CHURCH THEME 2020
The church theme for 2020 is “God’s Church, God’s Family”. It encapsulates the Scriptures’ teaching concerning the Church. The desire is that Tabernacle Bible-Presbyterian Church will continue to strive to be a church that is pleasing to God in every aspect of her walk.

The Session pondered hard over a theme verse and the Lord finally led us to a succinct verse in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Cor. 12:27) We will be learning from this verse with God’s help in the sermon today, to kickstart the year.

The English term “church” is translated from the Greek word ekklēsia. It is formed from the preposition ek, which means “out”, and the verb kaleō, which means “call”. When the word is applied to the church, it refers to an assembly of people who are called out of spiritual darkness into the light of the Lord.

There are also two aspects of the church as taught in the Scripture. Firstly, there is the visible or local church. This refers to the visible witness of God’s people that is present on the earth today in diverse locations. Secondly, there is the invisible or universal church. This refers to the whole body of true believers throughout all ages, who will one day be present in the new heaven and new earth, worshipping the Lord forever.

With these in mind, we see that the church theme teaches us several things concerning the church:

1. The fact that it is God’s Church tells us that the church belongs to God. He is the One who is the head of the church. Hence, everyone of us is accountable to make sure that the church does that which is pleasing in the sight of God. She must fulfil God’s purpose to magnify Christ and His Word.

2. The fact that it is God’s Family teaches us that the church consists of lively stones (i.e. people who profess faith in Christ) and not dead stones (i.e. bricks and mortar). Read 1 Peter 2:5. What does this speak about the modern movement, which focuses on building bigger and grander buildings as means of “glorifying the Lord”?

3. The fact that it is God’s Family tells us that God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. We have a relationship with Him. The Father will care for us and no one will be able to pluck us out of His Almighty hand (Jn. 10:28-29). “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt. 7:11)

4. The fact that it is God’s Family also teaches us that we should do our part to love and care for one another in the truth. “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25)

5. The fact that it is “God’s Church, God’s Family” teaches us that we should be united in the Lord. It is Christ who will unite His people, and it is Christ who will grow His church. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3)

Let us look forward then to what the Lord will teach us out of His precious Word this year, concerning the doctrine of the church, with the church camp at the end of the year to conclude our learning. May God find it pleasing to use Tabernacle BPC to be the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15).




WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke of the signs of His imminent coming in Matthew 24-25. One of the signs of His coming would be, “wars and rumours of wars”.

While concluding the writing of this weekly, news came to me about the killing of Qassem Suleimani, who is possibly the second most powerful commander in Iran. Many papers view it as a dramatic escalation of tensions in the Middle East, sparking more speculation of an impending regional war. The prices of oil and gold soar, as people seek for safe heavens to park their monies. Alas, there is no safe heaven but the Lord Jesus Christ. If only they would flee to Him for salvation.

We know the major role Israel will play in the end times. Will Israel be dragged into the conflict? Let us watch and observe. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matt. 24:32-33) Will we have an opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Israel? Time will tell and the Lord will direct.

One thing is for sure – our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is coming very soon. Do not be a sleepy Christian! Let us watch and be sober (1 Thess. 5:6)

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew