Text: John 6:66-71

We thank the Lord for seeing Tabernacle Bible-Presbyterian Church
through thirty-five good years. Just five more years and Tabernacle
BPC would have walked the same number of years that the children of
Israel took to graduate from the school of the wilderness for the
conquest of the Promised Land. The Lord has helped us all the way and
guided us with His good hand. Praise be to His Name.

This year has seen many dealings with the challenges posed by the fallout
from the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic consequences of the
Ukraine-Russian war complicated matters further. Many are wary of
the possibility of a recession or even a depression. Are you worried
about these things?

Christ taught in His earthly ministry that those who call themselves
disciples of Christ must be prepared to deny themselves, take up their
crosses daily, and to follow Him (Luke 9:23). Yet many when put to
the test, count it strange to be found in afflictions. Some feel offended
by the Word and start to contemplate by turning away from Christ.
Others grow numb or apathetic with time and “fade away” from the
faith. They are not willing to count the cost of following Christ.

We see two groups of people in John 6:66-71. The first group were
“following Christ” simply to see a spectacle or to gain some earthly
benefits. They have heard of how Jesus had fed the multitude of 5,000
miraculously with five loaves and two fish, and were flocking to obtain
“free food”. When Jesus pointed out that they should be looking to
partake of the bread of life (which is Christ Himself), they felt
offended and went away from Him. These were false disciples and had
no saving faith to begin with. They were only interested in filling their
stomachs and not the salvation of their souls.

On the other hand, we have Simon Peter who refused to desert the Lord
Jesus Christ. He gave an excellent answer, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure
that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69)
A true disciple yearns for God’s Word, and his faith rests solely on
Christ. He will not let go of Christ’s Word because it is life to Him.
Most of us have professed to be Christians for many years. Perhaps
you are now experiencing afflictions and tribulations. Will you also go
away or will you stay?

Next comes the question of the true doctrine of the Scriptures. The
fathers of the B-P movement earnestly contended for the faith, so that
succeeding generations may receive the pure doctrine of God’s Word.
The rich doctrinal heritage that we have today was established with
many tears. However, with time, some has grown weary of these
teachings and desire to taste “novel” waters? If the root in these
doctrines are not strong, when afflictions, issues or temptations come,
the first step is to abandon these doctrines and to seek new tastes. Now
that Tabernacle BPC has been in existence for 35 years, the question is
also posed to us, will you go away from this rich heritage in Christ or
will you stay?

Let us not forget that among the twelve disciples, one was a devil –
Judas Iscariot. We must pray that we will never betray the Lord. Let us
with our whole heart say, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning
back, no turning back!”

May the Lord find it pleasing to grant us many more years of faithful
service, till the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you ready for
Christ’s return? There is no turning back till we reach the pearly gates
of heaven.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew