1 Timothy 1:19 and 20, “…….which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

Before my discharge from Changi General Hospital from a minor stroke, the doctor-in- charge told me to take a break from the norm of life and stressed the fact that a holiday would improve one’s health and quality of life. My wife and I did mull over a vacation on cruise since we have never been on one before. Speaking of which, these questions came to mind, ‘Can a cruise ship sink?’, ‘Are there adequate safety measures to prevent sinking?’,’ Are there measures in saving the lives of shipwreck victims?’ I have read in the Wikipedia that there are more than 3 million shipwrecks on the ocean floor. There are many interesting stories of shipwrecks and lost treasures of the oceans around us. However, a shipwreck may not necessarily be wreckage lying on the ocean floor but what remains stranded on land.

You may never want to board a ship for fear of the sea or to remain aground for the rest of your life. However, as a Christian have you considered avoiding a spiritual shipwreck? Are you aware that the spiritual shipwreck is far more devastating than any maritime shipwreck? Why? Because eternal souls are at stake, yours, mine and others whom we are to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible records for us of Hymenaeus and Alexander in the early church who suffered spiritual shipwrecks. Who were these men? We may not be familiar with their names but Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to remind us that the next person that may make a shipwreck out of his or her faith could be you or me. The Apostle Paul’s reason for their spiritual shipwreck was because they have “put away” their faith and it was an intentional turning away from the truth to untruth on their part. Hymenaeus rejected the truth to embrace false teaching whereas Alexander worked against the Lord and His servant. No one gets up in the morning and says, “I do not believe in God anymore!” The move from truth to error is not overnight but overtime. It is when we excuse the sins in our lives and ignore the seriousness of sin, that will lead to the hardening of our heart in the due course of time. Have we examined our lives closely in the light of the Holy Scriptures of the things that are needed to be done away with? Tolerating small changes that may look harmless but when increased in proportion, it may lead to the shipwreck of our faith.

The Apostle Paul tells us the result of their spiritual shipwreck was to be delivered to Satan, is an expression of excommunication. According to Albert Barnes’ commentary – ‘that scriptures recognizes two kingdoms-the kingdom of God or the church and the kingdom of the world under the control of Satan. To exclude a person from one is to subject him to the dominion of the other…..there can be no doubt that excommunication is here intended.’

Excommunication is the most severe punishment that the Church can mete out to erring believers and yet its design and purpose is to recover to the end that they may be humbled, to love God and to be obedient to His word. Believers who live in sin and allow their spiritual lives to be shipwrecked, will have to face terrible consequences. Galatians 6:7-9, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

What will be said about your life? What will God say about our lives when we are gone from the scene? Will these words in 2 Timothy 4:7,

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”

on the epitaph apply to our lives or will our lives stand as a memorial to those who have fallen out with God and having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck?

Elder Douglas Ho

Shomerim 2011 Retreat to Advance!

The first half of 2011 just flew by and before I knew it, it was time to head to Malaysia, Tangkak for Shomerim retreat. It was a trip I had been looking forward to. Somehow, when the hustle and bustle of life gets to you, one would crave for moments of quietness to listen to His Word and be still before Him.

Painstakingly planned by brother Boon How and his committee, the 4 days 3 nights programme was true to its name; a retreat indeed. Other than listening to God’s Word, there was ample time for rest, siesta, feasting and fellowship.

Our speaker, preacher Joseph Poon preached on “The Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit” where we learnt the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our Christian lives. The messages provided us a better understanding on how the third person of the Trinity works and the involvement He has in our spiritual walk. It was a blessed time of enlightenment as the speaker led us in expounding the scriptures. He is also the first speaker who stayed up with us till 5am on the last night to fellowship with us! We were very impressed and touched!

Preacher Yap Kim Chuan too, demonstrated to us what true Christian hospitality really is. He is generous with his time and is always there to attend to our requests (not that we have many!) and bringing us around Tangkak to try some mouth watering food. The super sinful pratas drenched in melted butter, oil and caramelized sugar, the beef noodles that according to Preacher Yap many Singaporeans would drive up just to have it and how can I forget, the Bak Kut Teh that had many of us (especially sister Yan Fang) pleading for more.

In this camp, Christian love was exhibited as well. Our expert cook, sister Meijie was whipping up supper every night to feed our growling tummies; yes we are still growing and therefore always hungry! Shomerim guys who not only helped with the heavy stuff, but also gave up a number of mattresses for the girls with some of them ended up sleeping on the hard ground or the sofa. The admirable thing, not a word of murmuring or complain; uncle Isaac was all praises for them! All these nitty gritty details made the retreat, a sweet memory that would stay with all who went for a long time to come.

As Shomerim move forward with new plans, may the Lord be our constant guide and strength. We covet your prayers as we strive to do our best for Christ.

Sister Lingqin