Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,

I thank the Lord for last semester’s study of the book of Hebrews in FEBC. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to delve deeper into His word for a better spiritual grasp and understanding. The epistle of Hebrews was written at a time when everything in society seemed to be shrouded with uncertainties for the Jewish Christians. It is also an epistle that we need today for we cannot say that we are living in the most certain and peaceful of times. The Lord spoke through all the lessons in FEBC to bring home the point that we may know how to live by faith and not by sight.

Moreover as a Christian, I would agree with others who are in the same faith as I am, that we have our Great High Priest to see us through the difficult and trying days that may be coming. The Lord Jesus Christ is ever faithful to preserve us from wavering but on our part we are to live by faith, “for the just shall live by faith”

Although the lessons in FEBC may not have covered everything in so profound a book as the book of Hebrews. Nevertheless the consistent dedication of Dr. Jeffrey Khoo’s teaching that every profound truth is put across with clarity, consequently is of immense practical and spiritual help to the students in the days to come. I have learned in the book of Hebrews, the word “better” is used 13 times is intended of the writer to show the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work to be far more superior than the Jewish system of religion.

How is it and in what manners do the writer of Hebrews shows the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Judaism?

1. Christ is “better than the angels” Hebrews 1:4, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

2. Christ has brought “a better hope” Hebrews 7:19, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”

3. Christ is the mediator of “a better covenant” Hebrews 8:6, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”

Another word that is often repeated in the night lectures is the word “perfect” The word “perfect” is related to us not in the sense of a sinless perfection that we do not have because of inherent sin. But what it means is the perfect standing before God that could never be accomplished by the Jewish system of priesthood or the animal sacrificial system. Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

The apostle Paul repeatedly requested of his readers to examine their faith and why is it so?

The Jewish Christians were then going through difficult times of persecution by the unbelieving Jews and were tempted to go back to Judaism. When Paul was writing the epistle in AD 64, the Temple was still standing and the ceremonies were still being carried out on a regular basis. The epistle was addressed to true believers for they were exposed to false teachers and seduced by their false teachings as intimated by Paul in chapter 13:9, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.”

Inevitably they put themselves in danger of forgetting the truth of God’s word that was taught to them by the first generation of Hebrew Christians. To go back to the old system was not just going back but going backward in their faith.

From time to time as your pastor, I may SMS you, call you and write to you and for fellow believers of the Church that do not turn up for regular worship services, Paul has this to say in Hebrews 10:25, “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.”

The Christian life is a growing life and it is either going forward or backward and no such thing as standing still. The constant reiteration through the night lectures by Dr. Jeffrey Khoo of Paul’s pleadings with the Jewish Christians, “How can you go back to your former system of belief, knowing that Christ has come as the fulfilment of all the types and symbols of the old dispensation that had been done away with?” And today the same question, “will you go back to the former religion?” as we are aware that some amongst us have gone away from the church and from Christ. Perhaps they no longer think that Christ is better than anything they ever had and Christ is no longer regarded to be their all and in all?

The opening of the epistle to the Hebrews comes with an important declaration – Hebrews 1:1 and 2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

In other words, God had spoken and we have His word. To have God’s preserved word in these last days still cannot be over emphasized.

And the Lord owes it but to Himself to preserve His own word and all glory to His name in the wake of the Court of Appeals overturning an earlier decision of the High Court based on the litigation by Life BPC to evict FEBC from its birth place.
And the final decision based on the three judges’ investigation came to the conclusion that Verbal Plenary Inspiration and Verbal Plenary Preservation are perfectly balanced as twin doctrines.

On one hand it may be seen as man’s decision to overturn the court’s judgement but if the doctrine of preservation is believed, it must be seen as the Providence of God ordering it to be so.

God has spoken and we have His word but are we hearing, heeding and believing in it as we see the day of the Lord approaching?”

Hebrews 12:25, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.” There will be sad and sorry consequences to come if we choose not to hear God’s word. But hearing and obeying it will bring joy and gladness to our hearts. It takes more than our ears to hear the voice of God, our hearts must be willing and receptive too. Hebrews 3:7 and 8, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”

Pastor Douglas Ho

Strict Biblical Guidelines on Prayer

There are generally two ways of looking at this matter. The first is to use any term to address God as long as the Bible does not forbid the believer from using it. In other words, if the Bible is silent on it, the believer can use it. The second approach is to address God ONLY in the manner found in Holy Scriptures, i.e., based on how God introduced Himself to us in the Bible.  In short, whatever is NOT found in the Bible the believer should not use!

Believers who adopt the first approach would pray, “dear Father” or “dear heavenly Father.” They reason that it is because God is dear to them. The word “dear” occurs seven times in the KJB. It is used once in the Old Testament where Ephraim is referred to as dear or precious to God (Jer 3:20). Out of the remaining six occurrences, two of them are used in the same manner as in the Old Testament, i.e. as precious (Lk 7:2; Acts 20:24). The other four occurrences have the idea of beloved (the root word is “agape”); only once was it used to refer to Christ by God (Col 1: 13). The other three were used to refer to man (Eph 5:1, Col 1:7; 1 Thess 2:8). Not once was the term used to describe God. The danger with the first way is that there is no control as to how believers might address God. They need not stop at “dear”. If they go beyond the use of “dear” to address God and use other terms like “dad” or “Hi God” or “hello God” or even “Yo God,” on what grounds does one tell them that it is wrong? These are colloquial terms used by some youngsters nowadays as terms of endearment. This opens a Pandora box that cannot be closed. If one were to take this liberty to prayer, should this same principle not be applied to Christian living, dressing, worship, etc if one were to be consistent? The problems that can arise from this approach can be disastrous.

The second approach is safe and always right. It leaves no room for misunderstanding and abuse. Address God in our prayers only by the names that He has introduced Himself to us in both the Old and New Testaments. For example, that God is love is taught in Holy Scriptures (1 Jn 4:8). Therefore, it is very appropriate to address God as “our loving Heavenly Father.” God is gracious and merciful to His people and He is called gracious and merciful, so the believer may address Him as “our gracious and merciful heavenly Father” (Ex 34:6). The Bible must set the parameters for all our prayers including how we ought to address God when we pray. It is only respectful and right! God must be distinguished from man. We like people to address us according to how we introduce ourselves. Thus we must address God accordingly.

Rev. Dr. Quek Suan Yew