The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all
things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced
greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest
in the truth.I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:1-4)

It was my privilege to speak to the Ladies’ Bible Fellowship on the passage above on 14th
August 2021. This passage reveals the joy in the heart of the Apostle John for a fellow saint in
Gaius. John was cheered by Gaius’ consistent walk in the truth. This was seen especially in his
sincere charity to the brethren, and especially to travelling missionaries (i.e. strangers in verse
5), making sure that they are refreshed before they resumed their journey. By doing so, he
revealed himself to be a fellowhelper to the truth with the Apostle John (v.8). Thus, John was
overjoyed to find such kindred spirit in the work of the Lord.

The heart of the Apostle John ought also to be the heart of every pastor. Pastors rejoice the most
when the congregation of God whom they have been called to shepherd on behalf of the Lord,
grow and walk in the truth. Their call is to preach, warn and teach till they “may present every
man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Thus, what cheers the heart of the pastor the most is the
evidence that there is a sincere pursuit of godliness and growth in spiritual maturity among
God’s people.

The pastor’s joy when others walk in the truth should also be our joy. As fellow brethren in the
family of God, we are to be fellowhelpers to the truth, building one another in the most holy
faith. And as our brethren do their best to fulfil God’s will in their lives, our hearts rejoice
because we know that God’s truth is magnified. All glory be to the Lord.

On the other hand, the pastor’s heart is grieved when there is sin and spiritual apathy in the
camp. His heart sorrows when there is envy, striving and divisions within. Consider Paul’s
testimony to the Corinthian Christians in 2 Corinthians 12:19-21 – “Again, think ye that we
excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly
beloved, for your edifying. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would,
and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths,
strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will
humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not
repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.” O
how a pastor’s heart will grieve when there is but lip service to the truth!

What can a pastor do when his heart is grieved because of the spiritual deficiencies among
God’s people. The first thing he must do is to identify with God’s people. Is the spiritual state of
God’s people not his responsibility? Thus he must go before the Lord on his knees and pray like
Nehemiah, “Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the
prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy
servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both
I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not
kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy
servant Moses.” (Neh. 1:6-7)

A pastor’s grief must also be the grieve of every Christian. Just like how we rejoice when others
walk in the truth, our hearts must also be grieved when others backslide in the faith. Are you
concerned of one another’s spiritual life? The church must not be a place for us to just socialise,
but a place where we seek to help one another magnify the truth of God’s Word. Tabernacle
BPC must be such a congregation.

We must be careful to guard our hearts against envy. Envy will lead us to hate those who
thrive in the truth. This will lead us to be no different than Diotrephes, who loveth to have
preeminence among men, and refused to receive the Apostle John and his fellow co-labourers
in Christ. Instead of being a fellowhelper to the truth, we will end up being a hindrance in the
work of the Lord.

How then to have a heart which will rejoice when others walk in the truth? The first step is to
cultivate your own love for the truth. See how John begins, whereby his love for Gaius is one
that is in the truth. All our affections must stem from the Word of God. Otherwise, they are
worldly and ungodly affections. Love God and His Word sincerely, and the rest will follow.

As the pastor called to Tabernacle BPC, I am thankful to see the love of some brethren for the
Word of God. Recently, one brother testified that he wanted to know more about the Bible but
was hampered by his illiteracy. Thus, he sought to buy audio recordings of the Bible so that he
can hear the Word of God daily. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of
God.” (Rom. 10:17) Such a testimony is a joy to the pastor’s heart.

May the truth of God’s Word continue to be your joy in your life.


There are some who may wonder, what is the prerequisite of one who is called to the music
ministry of the church. What is most necessary for me to do well for the Lord as a worship
leader, a church pianist, a choir member or leading in song in the Sunday School ministry?
We may be familiar with the saying by Martin Luther, “Music is next to Theology”. This
statement can be further expanded – “Music without Theology is Dead”.

The role of music in the church is to aid in the instruction of the truth. “Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16)
Similarly, Ephesians 5:18-19 declare, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be
filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:18-19) The music to be played must be
guided by theology. Otherwise, the music we render is but vain notes and worthless before the

The need for skills is surely needed for musicians. Otherwise, the music rendered will be a
distraction to worshippers. However, more important than skill is theology. A musician’s
theology is reflected in how he or she renders a music piece. How should a note be struck?
How should a tune be sung? What message does a chordal or rhythm construction bring?
What dynamics and pace should be employed to the hymn? All these questions can only be
answered with the heavenly wisdom that can only come with spiritual maturity and discern-

How can I be a faithful church musician? The first step is to grow in God’s Word. Many focus
on improving their technique, but missed out on this critical element. We want every note to
count for the Lord so that it may magnify the truth of God’s Word. Therefore, we urge all
musicians to keep studying God’s Word so that you may improve in this aspect.

Lastly, remember that being a church musician is different from being a concert musician.
One seeks to bring attention to himself with the playful rendering of the music. On the other
hand, the church musician seeks to bring attention to God and His Word. Thus, let the
musician decrease and Christ increase. Let the music aid in bringing the truth to the hearers.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew