Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ask the Father in the Name of Iesou

John 16: 23 - 28 NKJV

At Cell Group Meeting, Wesley Methodist Kampar. Fri 29Sep2017

In that day - "I will see you again" (John 16:22)

Whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give it to you (John 16:23)

Hitherto, you have asked nothing in My Name (John 16:24) - "ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full".
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
You will ask in My Name (John 16:26)

The authority of the Name of Iesou is explained in several other places, among which are :

Ephesians 1: 17 - 23, especially v 21, Iesou is given a Name above every other name by the mighty power of God.
 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Also in Philippians 2: 9 - 11, we read that God has highly exalted the Name of our Lord Iesou, such that at the Name of Iesou every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Iesou is Lord - to the glory of God the Father.
"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Conclusion

Let us learn to ask from God our Father in the Name of our Lord Iesou Christou.

Iesou came forth from God His Father

John 16: 27,28 NKJV
". . . the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
I made this note during Cell Group meeting at Wesley Methodist Church Kampar last night.

It is noteworthy that our Lord Iesou made it clear to his disciples, and to others in his audience, that He came from God whom He called His Father.

Several other records of such statements are found in :

John 8:42 KJV
Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
John 13:3 NET
Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,
John 20:21 NASB
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
John 20:17 KJV
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Conclusion
Our Lord Iesou came from God - His God and our God, His Father and our Father.

The Helper sent by the Lord Iesou

John 16: 7 - 15 NKJV

These are part of my notes written during Cell Group Bible Study, Wesley Methodist Church Kampar, last night Fri 29Sep2017.

The discussion last night on John chapter 6 did not touch on this verses where our Lord spoke to his disciples about sending them a Helper after he leaves them. So I decided to write these notes down while the discussion continued on other points of John 16.

In John 5:7 we read that the Lord Iesou will send them a Helper. This Helper, also called the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13), will carry out a three-fold task:

(1) The Helper will Convict the world (John 16:8 - 11)
 - of sin : because the world would not believe in the Lord Iesou (6:9)
 - of righteousness : because the Lord Iesou would be going to His Father (6:10)
 - of judgment : because the ruler of this world is judged (6:11)

(2) The Helper will Guide the disciples (John 16:13)
 - He will guide them into all truth
 - He will not speak on his own authority
 - Instead, He will speak only what he hears
 - He will tell the disciples about things to come

(3) The Helper will Glorify the Lord Iesou (John 16: 14,15)
 - He will take from what belongs to Iesou and declare it to the disciples (6:14)
"All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you." (John 16:15)
Conclusion:
Today we are reminded of the teaching of our Lord Iesou Christou that our Father will give the Holy Spirit to us when we ask from Him:
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Let us ask God for His Spirit to guide us and to glorify our Lord Iesou.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

How shall we continue living?

I was browsing through some old sermon notes this morning and came across this sermon I preached thirteen years ago :
Kampar Chinese Methodist Church (Morning) 09Mar2003
Bandar Baru Methodist Centre (Evening) 09Mar2003

How shall we continue living?

Romans 6: 1 - 23

Introduction

Christians are often ridiculed
  • for being easily forgiven by merely believing in Jesus Christ without any need for punishment or retribution and
  • for being dogmatic about everybody as sinners regardless of how good or bad a person is.
Let us ask ourselves two questions for today's Christian living:
  • verse 1 - shall we continue in sin?
  • verse 15 - shall we continue to sin?
This passage from Romans 6 tells us that there are three things which form the basis for a Christian to continue living as a new person in this world:

I  He shall perceive himself

 - as alive to God

verse 11 - reckon (recognise, consider) himself as dead to sin and alive to God - through Jesus Christ.

The rationale for verse 11 is elaborated in verses 1 - 10, where the apostle tells us that as a result of being baptised into Christ we have already been
  • buried with Christ  - verse 4
  • planted together with him in death -  verse 5
  • crucified with him  - verse 6
Likewise, we shall also be
  • raised from death  - verse 4
  • in his likeness  - verse 5
  • freed from sin, will live with him - verse 7, 8
A significant observation is that Christ has been resurrected from death, never to die again - death has no more dominion over him  - verse 9

Hence verse 2 and 11, a Christian must continue living by perceiving himself as -" we have died to sin, we consider ourselves a dead to sin and alive to God, in Christ."

II He shall present his members

 - as instruments of God

verse 13 - instruments, and verse 19 - servants

There are teachings from of scripture which teach us how we should put to use various parts of our bodies:

A. Our Eyes

Matthew 6: 22 - the eye is the light of the body.
Matthew 5: 29 - if your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away ...
1 John 2: 15, 16 - the lust of the eyes is one of the desires of the world which does not belong to God.

e.g. we are quickly evolving from a listening and talking, reading and reasoning people into a "watching and wowing" people - TV, movies, videos, computer games, even simple lessons for school-children are being embellished with bright, colourful, rapidly moving pictures accompanied with enthralling sound effects etc to provide the "wow, that's cool man ..." factor.  It is easy for our eyes to cause us to sin.  Are we gradually getting addicted to colourful visuals and computer graphics and animations, making us feel bored with merely reading, or listening or talking face to face? Do our eyes lust for the things of this world?

In contrast, Christians are to present their eyes as an instrument of righteousness for God's use in this world.

B. Our Hands

Matthew 5: 30 - and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off . . .

I'd like to tell you a story of a man whose wife was a gambler ...
  • frequent quarrels, children neglected, a daughter who became mentally retarded after suffering from prolonged high fever while mother was busy gambling.
  • she had a gambler's hands.
Subsequently, the man separated from his gambling wife, and he went on to marry another woman:
  • took care of step children well
  • planted vegetables, sold them at nearby market to supplement family income
  • later, went to church with husband, bought a Bible and a hymn book,
  • this good wife had a mother's hands.
Eventually the man passed away after a long battle with liver cancer.  By then the good wife was already suffering from cancer but she did not let her step-children know.  Last week, she, too, passed away after the doctors at LamWah Ee Hospital, Penang failed to save her.  When my wife and I went to pay our respects, at her house,
  • her step children were ungrateful
  • threw out all her belongings, including her Bible and Hymn Book by the road out side her house, even before the funeral wake began
  • they had ungrateful hands
This morning, what hands do we have?  Do our hands offend us, causing us to sin?

C. Our Feet

Isaiah 52: 7 - "How beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings ..."
Ephesians 6: 15 - " ... your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace"

Where do our feet bring us? to what places? for what cause?

Narrate: conversation with friend who is a direct sales agent, who commented on Kampar folks being greedy for "small benefits" - by walking all the way to a new housing area to attend Japaneses style sales talks, submitting to demands to line up, bow and make greetings in Japanese, in return for free gifts of household utensils, groceries etc.

D. Our Tongue

Matthew 5: 37 - " . . . but let your communication be yea,yea, nay, nay"
James 1: 19 - "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath . . ."

James 3: 3 - 8 - our tongue: a little member of our body, but causes great damage.  Likened to a small bit that turns a big horse, or a small rudder that turns a big ship, or a small fire brings great destruction. " . . . defiles the whole body, sets our life on fire."

Observation: growing up in poorer parts of downtown KL, heard frequent use of harsh words, condemnations, even some cursing, by angry parents on their mischievous children.  Today, the trend appears to be reversed, there is increasing prevalent use of harsh words, swearing, and cursing by young people, sometimes children, in public and among friends.

Question

A Christian must continue living by presenting his body as instruments to serve God - Have we yielded the members of our bodies to God?

III He shall partake his gift

- as everlasting life from God

verses 22 and 23 of tonight's passage:
  • we are free from sin
  • we have our fruit unto holiness
  • as much as we received death as "wages" from sin, we now receive eternal life as "gift" from God through Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

Let us recognise ourselves as dead to sin and alive to God through Our Master the Anointed One. Let us continually yield the members of our bodies to become servants of God and, in doing so, continue living by receiving, partaking together with all fellow Christians this gift of eternal life from God.  In this manner, we do not come under reproach of others.

Also: see my notes on the same topic posted in Dec2013

Shall we go on sinning because we are under grace?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Of Esaias, Elias and Zecharias

Of Esaias, Elias and Zecharias: how names were rendered in the KJV.

My first bible was a King James (Authorized) version given to me by a classmate soon after I became a Christian.

One of the peculiarities that struck me was how names of Old Testament characters were spelt with a final s, e.g. Esaias for Isaiah (Matt 4:14, 8:17), Elias for Elijah (John 1:23)

I learned much later that this was because the KJV transliterated those names from Greek forms, which required all masculine names to end in s, esp. in the genitive case.

Today I came across the following link to an even older KJV 1611 page which shows how the name of the Messiah was rendered: IESUS, transliterated from the original form iesou, which had to carry a final s because it's a masculine name, iesous, which in turn was a transliteration of the original Hebrew name Yeshua (rendered as Joshua in the OT).

Newer editions of KJV replaced the i with j and the name of Our Lord changed from IESUS to JESUS.

So, because of Greek and possibly some Latin influence, many Hebrew names are rendered in non-hebrew forms in the NT of the KJV.

Isaiah became Esaias, Elijah became Elias, Zechariah became Zecharias.

And Yeshua (or Joshua) became Iesou, Iesous, Iesus then Jesus.


http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611_John-Chapter-1/

Sunday, August 30, 2015

If in this life only we have hope, then we are the most pitiable

Yesterday morning I received news that a dear sister, the wife of the elder of our former church has passed away. In the words of the apostles in the New Testament, she has fallen asleep in the Anointed One (Christos).

My wife and I made the five hour journey to Temerloh in Pahang to be with Dr Liew and his family at the evening funeral wake. While singing the solemn hymns and listening to the heartfelt messages, several verses from the First Epistle to the Corinthians came to mind, with a question:

"When a loved one departs from this world, what hope is left?"

Do we hope that the deceased will somehow come back to us alive and well?
Do we perhaps hope that the departed person will communicate with us? Perhaps, call us and talk to us on the phone? Or appear in a vision or dream?

We know that none of these would be possible.

What then do we hope for? What hope do we hold on to?

This hope is explained by the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 15 by way of a strong caution, a warning if you like, against some who deny the resurrection of the dead.

19 "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable,"

It is easy for any Christian to affirm his or her hope in the Anointed One (Christos). If, however, our hope in the Lord is merely for better days in this life, 

if everything ends at the grave, 

if a loved one who dies remains dead forever,

if "in this life only" we have hope

THEN, the Apostle tells us, we are to be the most pitied of all people in this world! For then we have put our hope in vain. We have even become false witnesses, as written in verse 15

15 "Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise."

Dear brothers and sisters, the Apostles in the New Testament testified that God raised up Yeshua His Anointed One (or Iesous Christos in Greek). Likewise, we have been called to bear the same testimony today, that Our Father in Heaven has raised up his Anointed One from death. 

Herein lies our hope. Just as God has raised his Anointed from death, God will also raise us from death. In verses 21 through 23, we read:

21 "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power."

Yes, our Lord the Anointed One was resurrected, and on the last day, we who belong to him will also be resurrected from the dead. 

Earlier, in verses 17 and 18, it is recorded that if the Anointed is not risen, then our faith is futile. And all who have "fallen asleep" in the Anointed One are as good as perished!

1 Corinthians 1517 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Our Lord was raised from death by God to be the first fruits of many more, including us, to be raised likewise by God on the Last Day, the day of resurrection, when our Lord Yeshua the Anointed One will deliver the Kingdom to God.

Brothers and Sisters in Iesous Christos, our hope does not end at the grave. When a dearly beloved among us departs, we hold on to our hope that God our Father will raise us all from death one day just as he has raised his Son.

Towards the end of 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle presents a contrast of Adam the first Man against our Lord Iesous Christos, the Last Adam, the Second Man.

Adam was the first Man created by God. In Genesis 2:7, we read that God formed Adam from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living being.  

In other words, the first Adam received life and became a living being. In contrast, the last Adam was raised from death and became a life-giving spirit. (v.45)

Also, the first Man came from the dust of the earth. The second Man is the Master who came from Heaven. (v.47)

Finally, while we now bear in our body the image of the first Man, of dust of the earth, one day, at our resurrection, we shall also bear the image of our Master, the heavenly Man. (v.49)

Let us hold on to this hope.

Dedicated to Brothers and Sisters of Temerloh Gospel Chapel who have received us warmly and shown us hospitality generously, particularly, Albert SK Yong, Kim Lee, Cassey and many others.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The necessity for good works.

At Leng Kwang Baptist Church, Bukit Timah, Singapore, on Sun. 30Nov14.

Reading Titus chapters 2 and 3.

At the beginning of this epistle, Titus was urged not to heed Jewish fables and the commandments of men. These man-made traditions formed the bulk of rabinnical traditions until today, from lighting candles to elaborate washing rites to numerous rules about what constituted work on Sabbath. Such man-made commands and traditions are akin to various "works" observed in traditional Christian Churches today e.g. Christmas Trees, Easter eggs and bunnies, sign of the cross, veneration of the dead saints and prayers to Virgin Mary etc.

The apostle goes on to declare in Chapter 3 that the kindness and love of God has appeared to mankind. This, he writes, is achieved not by works of righteousness that we have done but instead by His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the holy Spirit. (Titus3:5).

Notwithstanding the implied futility of our "works of righteousness" in the above declaration, the apostle emphasises repeatedly throughout chapters 2 and 3 of this epistle that it is absolutely necessary for disciples of the Messiah to do good works in their lives.

There are four verses in Titus chapters 2 and 3 in particular that tell the disciples to do good works.

Firstly, disciples are to be a pattern of good works.
In 2:7, Titus was urged to show himself a pattern of good works.

Secondly, disciples are to be ready for good works.
In 3:1, the dosciples are reminded to be ready for every good work.

Thirdly, disciples are to be careful to maintain good works.
In 3:8, we are called to affirm constantly that those who have believed in God should be careful in maintaining good works in our lives. This call is reiterated in 3:14 where we are told that we should learn to maintain good works.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us do good works all the time. Our Lord Yeshua the Messiah taught us in his sermon on the mount:

Matthew 5: 16 KJV
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.